Saturday, 26 October 2013

In search of fish and chips.

In line with meteorological predictions yesterday began wet and rainy. When I went out at the crack of dawn to take the grandchildren to school I did not hold out great hopes for our proposed quest to walk to Diggle Chippy later in the day with my brother-in-law. However, by the time he arrived the rain had stopped, amazingly! What’s more, he assured us that the latest forecast said it was going to improve even further. 

So we set off in the late morning but, in view of the amount of rain that had fallen, we decided against going up hill, over fields and along bridle paths. Instead we went up the road not far from our house, over the hill and eventually onto the sweetly named Sugar Lane to take us down into Diggle. 

En route, we admired the autumn colours in the trees and trudged through piles of fallen leaves, so many that we wondered that there were any left on the trees. Surprisingly large amounts but if the promised wind and storms come this weekend I doubt they will last long. 

 Diggle is one of those ribbon-development villages, originally little more than a row of houses alongside the road, almost all serving to house workers at the local mill. The mill has disappeared but there are still some old industrial buildings in operation. Nowadays housing estates have been built behind the main road but it remains a village without a true centre, more a kind of stop along the way over towards Huddersfield. 

At the end of the village stands Diggle Chippy. If you were to apply for planning permission now, explaining that you intended to put up a kind of prefabricated shed and turn it into a fish and chip shop, I doubt if it would be granted. And yet, there it stands. And it has been there for quite a while. 

We were a little concerned that we might arrive to find it closed as the last time we did this we arrived just on the last minute and they had run out of fish. We were obliged to make do with their home-made pies and pasties. Such hardship! However, on this occasion they were still open and we were able to buy our fish and chips, along with cans of traditional dandelion and burdock and cups of tea to wash it all down with. 

Inside, the walls are decorated with photos of Diggle in times past, class photos from the local primary school back in the fifties, pictures of the Whit walks, train crashes and goodness knows what else. A mini-museum in a converted garage. And the chipshop lady fills you in on historic details!

 As usual, we ate al fresco, heading for a nearby duck pond with a picnic area. The fish and chips were excellent as usual. Here is a link to some very favourable reviews of the establishment.

Suitably refreshed, we continued our walk along the canal towpath, taking us past fields that have been converted into riding schools and meeting friendly horses along our way. 

Inevitably the route went past numerous lock gates and places where the water is wider, presumably to allow crossing in the past but now also used as turning circles for pleasure trips along the canal. Here and there it goes through tunnels and you also see reminders of the canal’s former use for transportation: bits of our industrial past. 

And so we made our way homewards, a leisurely stroll for my husband and his brother, reminiscing about this and that. I, on the other hand, had to step up the pace so that I could get home and leap in the car to go and collect the small people from school. Just in time. 

 Such is the life of a busy grandmother!

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