water stories

After around five hours walking in the sun I knew my arms, neck and face were burned. The bigger discomfort was my hands. They were not burned. They were swollen, stiff, and when I touched them, unusually dry.

For an hour I'd known what to do. I walked down the bank to the Mersey and held my hands in the water. I splashed each one in turn. I washed them in the water, although I knew it wasn't clean. I ran them through the current.

The walk was seven hours. Fallowfield to Chorlton Water Park, along the Mersey to Stockport. Then back again.

Trafford Park
A shape in the water of the Bridgewater Canal. There are large fish in the canal. There are corpses of fish, dogs, cats and pigeons. There are plants. There is litter, from shopping trolleys and wheeled bins to crisp bags, condoms and waterlogged bread.

I looked down and saw a terrapin. It was swimming alongside me. Pushing the water with its front and rear legs. I slowed for a while to stay with it.

Northenden or Pomona Strand
There's a visual disjunct between the surface of water - black, grey, brown, or reflecting the sky darkly - and the lit greens of grass or other plants.

On this bank - or even wharf - where you stand and look down at the water you can't see where water and land join. Instead the grass forms the edge of what's solid. And immediately behind, centimetres or kilometres, the blank water surface. They are two different worlds and it's impossible to join them.

Brooks Bar
It started to rain a little after I left for work. The rain became heavy. First the seams and zipper, the neck, and then the whole of my coat let water through. I walked though a depth of water that couldn't clear off the pavements. I took off my glasses. My feet were soaked. My trousers were cold and heavy, stuck to my legs.

There was no point taking shelter. I couldn't get wetter. If I stopped walking and stood in a doorway I'd get colder more quickly and still have to walk somewhere - home or work.


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