Wednesday, November 28, 2012

They say that things equal themselves up ...

... and that is certainly true. After the expenses of yesterday, I stepped out of Caliburn on the car park of Morrison's supermarket in Winsford and found 7p on the floor. "Spend! Spend! Spend!" I hear you say, but it is certainly true that every little helps to ease the ailing budget.

But that's not all.

After all of my exertions around Nantwich, I nipped up the road to Hurleston and Car Transplants, one of the biggest car breakers in the area. It's run by someone who was in my year at school and, bless him, he never was very bright and maths wasn't his strongest subject. I asked him if he had a wheel for a Transit, and said that I wasn't bothered about the tyre. A good tyre would be fine but it really was the wheel that I was after.

He produced a wheel with no tyre, fair enough, and said that he wanted £30 for it which was not all that unreasonable. However we wandered off down the yard to see what else there was and he unearthed a wheel with a tyre. Quite frankly, the tyre is rubbish even though there was about 5mm of tread on it and it will only be going on Caliburn in the direst of emergencies. Nevertheless after much humming and hawing he said "I'll have to charge you £25 for that - I mean, there's plenty of tread left on it".

Trying desperately to keep a straight face, I paid up and legged it out of the yard with the wheel and tyre before he woke up. I just about made it to Caliburn before I exploded with laughter. Blimey - it was a near thing.

I'm not sure how much you know about my upbringing as a small child but if you are ever wondering about my nomadic lifestyle and somewhat marginal existence, I have to say that it's all in the blood. That's how I was brought up as a child.

We never had a permanent home until I was about 18 months or something like that and we moved to Osborne Grove in Shavington. Prior to that we drifted about as squatters in the various abandoned air force camps that were dotted about all over the border between Cheshire, Shropshire and Wales. One of the camps that we lived on and which, surprisingly, I have a couple of memories, is the old Calveley Airfield between Nantwich and Tarporley in Cheshire.

I've often driven past the end of the road where it's situated and today, an appointment having let me down and being just a couple of miles away, I decided to go for a wander.

It's said to be the most complete of the World War II airfields, having been abandoned in 1946 and then used as a huge haulage depot ever since. However, its existence is very much under threat as the buildings slowly decay away into nothing without any care and attention.

I drove through about an acre of mud, climbed a couple of fences, and waded ankle deep in heaven alone knows what, and eventually I reached the site.

Even the conning tower is still there in the centre of the airfield, looking very much the worse for wear like everything else here. In fact, it's really depressing to see the kind of condition into which it has been allowed to decay. I spent an hour or two wandering around photographing everything I could find and which I could reach (the conning tower was definitely out of bounds) because I have a feeling that this whole site is having its swansong. I hate to think what another couple of years of abandonment will do to the site.

And that still isn't all. On the modern industrial estate here is a solar energy supplier that I stumbled across by accident. I went over for a chat and was entertained for a good hour or so by the General Manager. Every now and again they have enquiries for 12-volt DC systems on remote sites and usually turn them away as they don't have the expertise. Hence our lengthy discussion.

Late afternoon brought a chance encounter of another kind. A friend of mine from a while back and in another existence was travelling down the motorway from the north just as I was crossing the motorway from west to east. This called for a pause at the Fox and Hounds at Sproston for a coffee and a chat about old, old times. I tell you what - it isn't half a small world. 

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