Back to Daisy Nook.

Wandering the sloppy banks of Crime Lake, a buzzard flew overhead, and my dog Panda flashed his muddy black and white coat as he bounded ahead. I hadn’t visited Daisy Nook Country Park in ages. On a damp December afternoon, I left Newton Heath with Panda after a brief lunch.

The walk there involved passing through Clayton Vale, crossing Clayton Bridge, heading under the railway viaduct by Millstream Animal Sanctuary along a grim industrial road called Green Lane. Green, in other parts, but not by Lord’s Brook and the stinky sewage works. Trudging through the soggy pathway at Medlock Valley Fisheries, the rough path saddled alongside the River Medlock and nearby railway. At a footbridge by Hadfield Wood Recyclers, a left turn headed us onto the Manchester and Ashton-under-Lyne Canal Hollinwood Branch. This is a pretty area within Greater Manchester. It is worth visiting every season.

The pathway sweeps along ruins and flooded canal troughs until the M60 motorway disects the route, offering a bleak metal bridge. Afterwards, the canal returns, flooded by plants and trees overlooking hither and dither. By Lumb Lane and below tiding stables. A cafe and car park adds accessibility to the various pathways and bridleways.

The unique Daisy Nook Country Park features water Sammy’s Basin, Crime Lake, and Bardsley Canal. Water creatures are varied, from coots, moorhens, swans, and so on to otters and river rodents. Dozens of old canal relics remain, including double locks, bold staircase locks, and odd right angle turns. The Waterhouses Aqueduct passes over the River Medlock. The views above and below are worth the steep walks on either side.

Author Ben Brierley published A Day Out, which was set around Waterhouses and featured an area called Daisy Nook. That moniker stuck with locals. The name Crime Lake comes from Crime Valley, which isn’t a Scandinavian drama. Crime used to mean land intersected by a stream. Now, it’s more associated with crime. Fishing without a permit is a crime.

Daisy Nook is a special part of Failsworth, an area of Oldham Town, and a place my Gran used to live. Crime Lane Aqueduct is as picturesque a place as you can possibly see. This is a unique spot to sit and enjoy the sunset and explore Benjamin Outram’s ironworks lay under the outwardly brick appearance of Crime Lake Aqueduct. This hybrid bridge was a place I visited with Gran and Ernie when I was young. Daisy Nook still has magic and a draw. Many dogwalkers and friendly people said hello, as did a curious kingfisher and a big grey heron.

On the pathway back, instead of taking the right turn alongside the railway after the Hollinwood Canal, I crossed the wooden floored bridge and turned right immediately. A cycle path marked by solar lights guided us back towards Clayton Vale. Sadly, at Taunton Brook, we had to go off-road to avoid the deeply flooded pathway and then scramble around other parts. At the Greenside Lane (Droylsden) to Edge Lane path, it was necessary to double back and head up Clock House Avenue to find a route to Clayton Vale. That negotiated it was plain sailing, and we made it home for a deserved dinner.

Merry Christmas 2022.

The first Christmas I’ve had in Britain since 2013 is finally here. What a year to choose! As gas prices soar, sprouts finally have their day. As a shortage of cauliflower hit our local Lidl, we moved to brocoli (which is better all round) and trimmed it all off nicely. That’s Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve done. Having ate with Dad and Shaun, I’ll spend tomorrow at my Mam’s with Mum and Paul and Paul, and Beardie and Panda.

In fact, I think that I spent Christmas 2013 in Cornwall, so 2012 was the last Christmas I had in Manchester. Today, I met my good friend P.M. Brahma and went for lunch at the fantastic Northern Soul Grilled Cheese in Manchester, then a coffee in Afflecks and some dessert afterwards. Later, Panda, Blue, Shaun and I walked Clayton Vale. The Eve of Christmas has been quite relaxed. My thoughts have been elsewhere, but I am trying my best to enjoy it here.

On reflection, seeing the resting place of a deceased homeless person, hearing of a 19 year old lad hanging himself and the unfortunate death of a pedestrian at the hands of a Police car, could and should put many things in perspective. I’m not a huge fan of Christmas and its pressures on people. Please do stay safe. Please talk. Give help, where you can. Don’t be a knobhead. The world needs more light and love.

Dad has been good, treating us all at Christmas. Yesterday, on Christmas Eve’s Eve, I visited Aunty Chris and Uncle Ed. It’s always a pleasure to see family. A few brews and a wander ended up with getting back to walk Panda down Clayton Vale. Why not?! A good way to relax in the freezing winter mist. Panda was happy. That’s the main thing. I’m excited for Christmas at Mam’s house and switching off a bit. If my mind allows me to switch off. Much to say and do.

All the best for Christmas and New Year. Hope it’s a good one, no matter how hard it seems. Peace and love. 🐝