Monday, 10 May 2010

Rossendale & Politics

Overheard in the car on the way north:

Chairman:Look at all this yellow rape in the fields. I wonder if it changes the local ecology?

Hay:It must – all the flowers mean more insects, which means more birds, which means more cats, which means more dogs, which means more….. what eats dogs?


My opinion of the Accrington / Burnley / Rossendale area was reinforced over the weekend, however I have to retract my opinion of the B&B. It was modern and totally delightful, with attentive hosts who certainly knew their stuff. I can heartily recommend Number 678, which is the name of the guest house where we stayed in Rossendale, as attested by the following photographs.

The above was the view from our bedroom window. A brook babbled along the end of the garden and facing us was a massive escarpment favoured by fell walkers.

It was £65 for the two of us for the one night, with a delicious full-Lancashire breakfast that included real black pudding. We were the only residents and thus had the whole house to ourselves (the owners living just up the road).

However, as for Rossendale itself:

Hideous! This is the view outside the front of the guest house.

Rows of grim, grey, granite houses in what could only be described as a rugged and challenging environment, having the visual appeal of a Puritan jazz festival and less adornment than an Amish barn. It’s no wonder there are Baptist or Methodist chapels on every street corner – there’s so little to do that even religion must at one time have been considered to be entertainment.

Hay and I were of the opinion that the locale could be transformed by the simple expedient of planting a few municipal trees along the roads, changing them into leafy boulevards. The problem probably lies in the fact that these places are above the natural tree line – or indeed the beauty line.

The streets all have grim names from either the Crimean War or the First and Second Fuzzy-Wuzzy Wars of the 1800s. Names like Inkerman St, Alma St, Omerod St, Mafeking St, Omdurman St, etc – battles where the local manhood would be pointlessly sent as cannon fodder for Queen and Empire.

I simply don’t know what possessed the mill owners of yore to set up their cotton mills in these God forsaken places in the first instance. The raw materials came in from the ports of Manchester and Liverpool, and the only indigenous inhabitants of the area were a few hill farmers eking out a pitiful subsistence and living in hovels on the moors. Why not set up your mill near the source of material and close to the seat of consumption, rather than miles away in the middle of an inaccessible and bleak moor?

Before we went out to dinner with my daughter and her boyfriend we called in at a local pub – and it was like a scene from Deliverance. Ghastly, but they served excellent beer.

Here’s my advice to Gordon Brown from a strategic perspective; do not concede defeat, thus forcing the Lib-Dems into a coalition with the Tories.

Once the coalition fails, as it undoubtedly will when the Lib-Dems realise they have been shafted, the Tories will be hated by everyone for having imposed draconian (yet necessary) tax increases and the Lib-Dems would lose supporters in their droves as punishment for them joining the Tories.

Gordon – or his replacement – would then pick up disaffected Lib-Dems and disaffected Tories and usher in a new Labour term.


  1. You see, just one short visit north, a few pints of decent beer and you become a political sage of some distinction.

  2. CB, mills needed water power from fast flowing streams and most importantly to be in a damp environment, or the cotton dust blew the place to smithereens every few months. Lives must have been bleak, I guess they needed to believe things would be better in the next life, their real ones were pretty hard by all accounts.

    Agree about the beer; something in the water.

  3. Dont' know what you're on about. I'd move there in a minute. At least they haven't got a view of the A316!

    Bloody good B&B. Got yourself a bargain there xxxx

  4. Alan: There were several beers of distinction.

    Steve: That makes sense, but still expensive considering you have to build a town.

    Jenny: Must be ghastly where you live.