Okay... this is a continuation of yesterday's blogpost. I couldn't title that one "Long Eaton" because of my one word rule so yesterday's post was "Long" and this one is titled "Eaton". Nothing to do with the posh school for posh boys near Windsor (Eton) and nothing to do with "eating" either.
After four or five miles I decided to halt for refreshment. I had reached Cranfleet Lock on the short Cranfleet Canal and there ahead of me, above the lock was an unoccupied picnic bench calling my name.
What a pleasant place for a rest. I took off my rucksack and pulled out my water flask along with the sandwich I had prepared before leaving home - containing slices of spicy German sausage and cucumber. It was a peaceful spot and a silver-haired couple were in the process of maneuvering their wine-coloured narrowboat back into The River Trent. The short Cranfleet Canal was built in the mid-nineteenth century to bypass a weir on the river.
Yes. There I was enjoying a leisurely if frugal lunch when I heard a motorbike behind me. The rider brought his shiny Japanese machine on to the concrete platform where my bench was situated. He took off his helmet, untied a black plastic bag containing his lunch and came over to my bench.
He didn't even ask if he could join me. He just sat down and began talking in a broad Nottinghamshire accent. I had the feeling that the fellow must have struck up many such conversations with complete strangers in past times. His name was Dave and he was seventy five.
Bristly grey hairs emerged from Dave's nostrils and lug holes. His slightly milky eyes were blue and he had unusually high cheek bones. It wasn't all one way traffic but God could that fellow ramble from one subject to the next. His recent visit to Melbourne House in the Derbyshire village of Melbourne. Catching a train to Sheffield with his friend when they were both barely eleven years old. His nephew's ongoing holiday in America. They are currently in San Francisco. "I wouldn't want to see Alcatraz!" said Dave. His motorbikes. Quarrying stone and gravel. His sister. I will say this for Dave, he was energised by life and experience. I couldn't ever imagine him being bored.
I have always been a good listener and many is the time that people like Dave have latched on to me simply because I listen and do not have the heart to tell them to bugger off.
Three times I told Dave.that I needed to continue with my walk or I would never get back to Long Eaton in time for my train home. In the end I had to stand up, put my rucksack back on and simply go with Dave still rabbiting on as I continued along the riverside path.