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Published: August 18th 2018
Out and about again today, this time to Rufford Old Hall (NT) in Lancashire. Siri took as around the south of Greater Manchester this morning onto the M60 before guiding us onto the M56. From the M56 we switched to the M6 heading north as far as Interchange 27. Leaving the motorway we headed off into the countryside on the A5209, B5246 and A59 to the small village of Rufford.
Using our Australian National Trust cards to enter Rufford Old Hall we saved ourselves another £7.50 each! Built in the 1530s Rufford Old Hall is one of Lancashire’s finest Tudor buildings. Built during the reign of Henry VIII, it was originally built to an H-plan for Sir Robert Hesketh. Apparently this was the thing to do at the time, you built your grand manor laid out in a H, for Henry. This way if Henry VIII came to visit he would be flattered by the H-shaped floor plan!
For reasons of copyright we were a bit limited in our ability to take photos today. We were able to take as many photos as we wanted of the outside of the hall and the gardens but, indoors, we were only
allowed to photograph the Great Hall. Not to worry, we still took heaps of photos despite the dreaded scaffolding and restorative works in progress. With a bit of creative thinking we managed to find some strategically placed shrubbery that masked the Men At Work!!
We made our way inside just in time to catch the introductory talk in the Great Hall which was very interesting. My favourite story by far was about the current Lord Hesketh who sought permission from the National Trust to host his 21st birthday party in the Great Hall. Permission was granted and he duly held his party on a cold, winter’s night. It was so cold in the Great Hall that the party goers decided a nice log fire in the long disused fireplace would be a great idea. Unfortunately the long disused fireplace had a blocked chimney and there was an explosion in the fireplace ... which is why the fireplace surrounds and mantelpiece are blackened!
Also of note was the free-standing, carved wooden screen made of bog oak in the Great Hall which probably dates to the period between 1530 and 1540. It has been described as being ‘of an exuberance
of decoration matched nowhere else in England’ and is the only known surviving example from the first half of the 16th century. It was very impressive indeed.
We ate some lunch in the cafe at Rufford Old Hall before continuing on to Southport. Albert expressed an interest in driving over to Southport soon after we arrived, but it just hasn’t worked out for the four of us to do a day trip to the coast. Since Rufford is only about seven miles from Southport we decided that we should carry on to the seaside.
After doing some research on what there is to see and do in Southport we were rather bemused by the idea of visiting the British Lawnmower Museum! We made that our first stop and it was ... amazing. I mean, who knew that there was so much to know about cutting grass? For instance a team of scythe men were so highly skilled that they could achieve a bowling green finish without the benefit of some new-fangled mechanical mowing machine! And yet the idea of a mowing machine took off and scythe men soon became redundant.
There were so many lawn mowers to
be seen from push mowers to ride-on mowers to electric mowers, they were all there. There were also mowers donated by famous people ... like Eric Morecombe and Brian May ... and the local hang man! I think my favourite, though, was the early ride-on mower that was inclined to tip over when turning and cut off toes when reversing. Ouch!
When we had pulled up to the museum I was just about to take a photo of the outside when a big blue van pulled up. Oh well, I decided, I’ll try again when we’re leaving. When we were leaving this guy pulled up in his car and then dithered about on the street outside the museum for so long that I gave up waiting for him to shift and I took a photo with him in it. That got him moving - he came across the street demanding to know if I was taking photos of him. No, I said, I’m not taking photos of you, I’m trying to take a photo of the amazing British Lawnmower Museum!! He wandered off shaking his head and no doubt thinking that all Aussie tourists are a bit strange.
Of course we couldn’t go to the seaside without walking out along the pier ... despite the fact that it was blowing a gale and threatening to rain. We walked out to the end of Southport Pier where we were able to buy ice-cream cones. It was too windy to eat the ice-creams outside so we consumed them as we wandered around the old-fashioned penny arcade. Fortunately the rain held off and we made it back to the car without getting wet.
We asked Siri to take us back to Stalybridge and she had us re-trace our route back to Tarleton. For reasons known only to Siri she then decided to deviate from this mornings route. This afternoon she decided to take us via the B5247, A581 and B5252 to pick up the M61(South) at Chorley. We flew down the M61 and then around the north of Greater Manchester on the M60.
We had been asked to pick up a few things at Tesco on our way back. With all the road work around Stalybridge it took us almost as long to drive from Tesco to Quarry Clough as it did from Southport to Tesco!! In fact, with
my move and exercise goals still not achieved I said to Bernie I would walk home and we would see who arrived first! I was just turning off Mottram Road for the steepest bit of the walk when Bernie caught up to me. Since I was very close to my goals by this stage - and the rain was getting heavier - I rejoined Bernie in the car for the final uphill pinch.
Ta dah - Bernie’s luck has turned. He finally won a game of Jo tonight!
Steps: 10,533 (8.12kms)
Tot: 2.597s; Tpl: 0.079s; cc: 12; qc: 33; dbt: 0.0367s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb