Senior Blues visit to RHS Bridgewater

    A coach load of Senior Blues gathered at the Deva on Wednesday 12th June for the visit to RHS Bridgewater.

    Miraculously no one was late and neither was the coach so we were destined to leave on time, if not slightly ahead of schedule. Chairman Chris was encouraged by Secretary Margaret to say a few words of welcome and we were ready for off. However it transpired that Geoff had chosen a spectacularly bad day for the visit. Thanks to David and Helena Mullholland, who had travelled in from Frodsham, we soon learned that there was a major hold up on the M56 which had to be circumvented.

    Not to be outdone by Geoff, it quickly transpired that Margaret had spectacularly provided us with a coach driver who had an unfathomable self confessed aversion to sat nav. After thinking aloud, he settled on going to Manchester by the more scenic route, i.e. via the Wallasey tunnel, Liverpool and the M62. On the bright side, this afforded us a sight of spectacular landmarks such as Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the derelict shell of the Littlewoods buildings, the dark grey behemoth that is Home Bargains distribution centre, and the backside of IKEA.

    After a journey time of one and a half hours we arrived and sat patiently for our turn to be “processed” while other coaches unloaded other senior citizens. Eventually we were welcomed by a cheery Bolton Wanderers supporting RHS guy, whose idea of football “humour” needed to be quickly tempered by the mention of Oxford United. We eventually got our maps, entrance passes etc and finally left the bus over two hours after boarding. We reassembled inside the gardens, had another humorous discourse with Mr Wanderer, and found ourselves with a whole 15 mins to spare before our conducted tour kicked off. Allowing for essential toilet calls, this left little (i.e. no) time for coffee. The tour was very interesting and informative and fortunately, despite an unseasonably low temperature, Geoff picked the day of the week that it didn’t rain. Spectacularly, he also picked the day of the week on which there were at least four other coach parties and several group visits. Suffice it to say that getting lunch was challenging, although in fairness tables and chairs were in plentiful supply, if not somewhat uncomfortable.

    Work to develop Bridgewater as a northern RHS garden started only in 2017 and the opening was in May 2021. Despite its relatively short life, the garden is/will be (dare I say) spectacular and includes a massive walled garden, a Chinese themed section, meadows, woodlands, glasshouses, lakes, herbaceous borders, a garden centre and an obligatory gift shop, as well as the aforementioned cafe. Being newly laid out by modern designers, the paths were excellent, accessibility was no problem and additional paths were also being constructed. Time (and tiredness in some quarters) restricted exploration of the whole site.

    We returned home by the more traditional route cutting over 30 minutes from our outbound leg, only to find the height barrier to the Deva firmly in place causing us to disembark somewhat further from our cars than anticipated. By the time stadium security (Albert) arrived to let the bus in, and despite our ages, we were on our way to our cars, tired but very happy in the knowledge that it was indeed true that we had signed a striker.

    Thanks Geoff and Margaret. All in all, a spectacular day and well worth a second visit, M56 permitting.