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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

On days like this...

memories surface of places and times past.

Those sunny childhood summers... Today the town has a swimming pool, bought by public subscription in the days when that was how things were done.

Previously, on hot, dry, dusty summer days we'd head for the river and walk along its banks to find somewhere to swim.
(i)
North-west and south west of the town the river is bridged and a public right of way follows along the river bank.
(ii)
Typical of the rivers in the area it once had mills along its banks. Here is the weir complete with salmon leap in the background. Below the weir the river divides and there is the 'cut' that once fed the mill with water for power. The mill and its waterwheel disappeared long ago, so to the small row of workers' cottages. I have to dig back deep into my memories, but as children we use to roam the banks of the river. One time we ended up at the mill and climbed a wall to see the huge waterwheel. (I was a braver soul in those days).
(iii)
Further down the river and a bridge in a similar style to the ones upstream. Here, people came, young and old, to bathe, paddle and swim in the river. Most folk chose the far side, with its unmade 'road' and later on a small car park. In summer, there was often an ice cream van parked nearby. My friends and I preferred the side of the river in the foreground. Less busy, because the river ran faster here.

How did we get there? None of our families had cars, nor did anyone think to get the bus. We walked everywhere, Shank's pony was good enough for us.

Although the river is much shallower now, in the early 20th century there were steamboats on the river. (Small ones, nothing like the giant ones elsewhere).



Acknowledgements
Images courtesy of Geograph.
(i)
 © Copyright Alexander P Kapp and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.
(ii)
© Copyright Christine Johnstone and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.
(iii)
© Copyright David Long and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

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