Blue and white remembered hills

Apology alert. In the recent fossils match report misinformation led me to attribute 71 years to Brian Griffiths I can categorically state that is fake news he is only a mere  69 years 6 months old and this has been verified by carbon dating.That match led me to muse on the fossils outing of a couple of years ago  after our Thursday work party labours . It was around Brunty,s birthday and eschewing the usual cake a canal trip from Eccles to Astley was undertaken with visits to watering holes en route.With captain Cooke on tiller we  wended of a fashion towards Crommies old stomping ground  where he was in his element pointing out all the long gone features and life down  pit .Whenever rugby players whatever age gather conversation always turns to past deeds (and misdeeds ) the fossils  being not exceptions were  soon in full flow leading Jeff as was his want to bring out his repertoire of old songs and ditties. Astley was eventually reached the turn round point so another break was in order for refreshment in the sunshine .Suitably revived we embarked for the return trip with helmsman Dave Nich supervising cast off however Jeff pint in hand being a bit tardy was coming aboard as the barge swung away from the canal bank a yawning gap appeared between his legs .Willing hands pulled him aboard but Jeff seemed less put out about the imminent prospect of a dunking in the  Bridgewater than at losing half his pint.The now mellowed jolly gang enjoyed a sunny evening cruise back as the swifts appeared sweeping and darting above the water as if to remind us of the days when we too flitted across  pitches far and wide .There was still evidence in that fossils match that not all the flittedness had been lost   a bit more waddle maybe  (.rose coloured glasses you  may say I say beware my white stick).The Boat House was safely reached but worryingly a police car was on the quay question who had done what ? answer nothing a mere co incidence which is not always the case on rugby trips .A few nightcaps rounded off a most enjoyable day .The industrial landscape passed on the trip may be hidden under the cloak of nature but it is still there and so are memories not visible but always there under the surface to be revisted