|Everything looks better on a sunny day|
Anyway it was a brief run from our country stop into the urban sprawl of Blackburn, a place that's as bad as its name. The canalside is the usual post-industrial mess of dereliction while the canal itself has a scum of floating plastic bottles and food cartons, and under the surface lurks a formidable quantity of weed mingled with semi-sunk rubbish.
|Vast piles of weed hauled out at each lock|
I'm sure there are nice bits of Blackburn but they aren't round the locks. At one we encountered a local lad, spaced out on something considerably stronger than the can of lager he was holding. Mumbling incoherently, he offered to help – and I had to haul him back from falling in the lock. We left him sitting on a lock beam, drifting into a world that was probably nicer than the one he actually lived in.
Further on a couple were walking a muscular Staffie wearing a muzzle on a harness you could restrain a disturbed adult with. He kept taking hungry looks at Brian who – aware of the muzzle and harness – stood on the boat roof and barked back.
|The 'bungalow garden' with buzz cut lawn and no flowers|
|A lovely and lively canalside garden|
|The 'I don't actually like the canal' garden|