Take your chances…again.

“It might look like scrap to you, but it’s art to me sunshine”

This post got a touch of Facebook ‘fog’ when it was sent there a couple of days ago. Just seeing if this one works…

It was forecast to be a brilliantly sunny day, all day. That’s a bit rare around these parts so I planned ahead. Walking and taking photos on a sunny day, but where to? Sharpness is on the end of the Gloucester canal alongside the River Severn. It did not take much persuasion to get Mike, my good friend, to take us both out there. We had a grand afternoon out, Mike armed with Judie’s home made biscuits, these a triumph of shortbread lime and lemon, and me armed with the flask of tea, Yorkshire gold if you must know, but as two Lancashire people Mike and I don’t generally talk about Yorkshire. And tea is not grown in Yorkshire, it’s just marketing hype. They do have an underground rhubarb mine though, but they don’t go on about that.

The tide was way out on the Severn and the mud flats gleamed a treat. We walked across to the industrial area, with its massive scrapyard where you can bring almost any sort of scrap metal. A bloke came out of the office to check me out when I took a photograph of the place and asked me what I was doing. I replied that I was just taking a photo and he asked what for: “For art” I responded. Reassured, he disappeared back to his office, knowing that no one would see that then.

Old rail lines surround the docks here and there’s a perfectly preserved docks warehouse, seemingly unused and just like the ones in Gloucester Docks which have been converted into ‘stylish dockland apartments’. Unlikely to happen here with its view over a cement silo, a pile of coal ( what on earth do they need that for? ) and the scrapyard.

There’s also a huge parking area for crane bits. Twice the size it was when I last went down to that area, so there must be a boom in cranes, perhaps that’s a better description of what we could see: crane booms. These booms are the bits that might make a tall crane on a building site, lengths of metal sections, stacked high by another crane. It’s like a big selection of monster lego. There’s also a very old crane ( ready made type ) down by the docks. There were two others like this some years ago, but they may well have wandered into the scrap yard and never come out again.

That’s the old warehouse in the background to the only surviving old crane down by the docks, they should put a preservation order on this beautiful beast.

Over a small hill by the end of the docks and down into the Marina, full of pleasure boats and the odd person here and there doing a bit of maintenance, a permanent occupation if you have a boat. A sit down in the sunshine to admire the look of the place and to wonder at Judy’s biscuit making skills. Then a wander down to the remaining huge towers that were this end of the old railway bridge, and to imagine what it must have been like when two ships rammed the bridge and each other, one carrying oil, and the massive explosion of flame that followed on a foggy night in the 60s. The ships had simply missed the entrance to the docks in the thick fog. The bridge was then no more.

Looking toward the Mouth of the Severn, where the ships missed their way. This picture taken from the canal footpath with a rusting hulk in the foreground, nothing to do with the ships that broke the bridge. Probably put there to shore up the shoreline.
Out into the mouth of the Severn.

So we’d taken our chance of a good afternoon out, and it was better than good.

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