This was definitely one of those occasions where the journey is more important than the destination. For those readers not local to this part of the world, Festival Park is a large Retail Park with Entertainment Venues where you could, if you were so inclined, see the latest blockbuster movie, have identical burgers from at least five different outlets, go bowling, (Yes in England), buy rubbish toys with large amounts of packaging, go skiing, eat more burgers, and go to Waterworld. In short, it’s Stoke’s little piece of America..
So how could my journey there make me think of poems by Hopkins? And this in particular:
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
Festival Park is worlds away from wildness and wet, except for Waterworld which I suppose could be called tameness and wet. But alongside the canal on the way there is a strip of the nearest one can get to wilderness in this part of the world. There were certainly plenty of weeds:
All of these were taken on or just off the towpath. Whether they are technically weeds I have no idea.
There is also a bit of industrial wilderness along the way:
And for those who like me have wondered how they get canal boats out of the water to paint and repair them, I found the answer:
This picture has five modes of transport in it!
Finally on the way home I saw one of the structures for which Stoke on Trent is famous:
If you don’t know what this is, well, its not an oast house.