Thursday, March 29, 2007


Making good use of some more nice weather, I took half a day off work again yesterday and went for a ride to Ironbridge and ate some pork pie.

Without boring you too much with a history lesson, Ironbridge Gorge is a World Heritage Site and is universally recognised for its unique role in the development of the Industrial Revolution that originated in Britain in the early years of the 18th century.

To keep things simple here, Ironbridge Gorge consists of a town called Ironbridge and also has, surprise surprise, an iron bridge. Mind you, it's no ordinary iron bridge. It was the first bridge in the world to be constructed of iron. It was designed by Shrewsbury architect Thomas Pritchard and cast at the coalbrookdale ironworks belonging to Abraham Darby III.

There's a lot of interesting museums in the area but probably the most notable is Blists Hill Victorian Town which is well worth a visit.

The town was quiet yesterday, but at weekends, especially during the summer months it can get packed solid. It's a popular destination for bikers, the meeting point being right at the end of the bridge in the centre of town.

You absolutely cannot go to Ironbridge without eating a pork pie from Eley's, apparently a world famous pork pie at that! They're definitely up there with the best of them.

Changing the subject a bit, a couple of years ago Loz, Gaz, Neil and myself entered the Ironbridge to Bridgnorth Raft Regatta. The annual event is to raise money for charities and it's organised by the Bridgnorth Lions. You can find some good photos here. Most people take a lot of time and trouble building elaborate rafts. Not us. We basically got four empty blue oil drums, cut holes into them, made four seats, bolted everything together with planks of wood and Bob's your uncle.

Needless to say, our contraption came under a fair bit of criticism and piss take. Jealous people? Me thinks so!

The day consisted of a large amount of swimming, an even larger amount of fights with water and flour bombs and an heroic act of piracy from Loz whereby he permanently borrowed some beer from another raft. Oh and I mustn't forget to mention a pit stop at a river side pub for a beer and a burger off the barbecue.

Right, I'll get to the point. Along the way down the river we were overtaking this raft of titanic proportion, except to my knowledge it didn't sink. There was a house on this raft! It had a foredeck where there was a barbecue on the go and a large aft deck with garden furniture! For some reason best known to the designers of the raft, the aft deck also doubled up as the toilet.

As we were half way through our overtaking manoeuvre, this guy on the aft deck who was taking a pee over the stern decided to have a dig at our humble raft.

"You call that a raft?" he pipes up.

Loz, not one for being outdone retaliates with the question...... "You call THAT a penis?"


Miss Understood said...

LMAO!!! What a great comeback!

We have a raft race in Exeter each summer, but what makes it more difficult is the fact that they have to stop off at all the waterside pubs for a pint on their journey, and get a card stamped. No stamp. No stamps, no win.
I think there must be about at least 10 pubs to visit, so you can imagine the state they all get in!

Funnily enough, we also have an iron bridge. And guess what? It's called The Iron Bridge.

See you at my party later, I hope. We had one at TME's last year (look in her achives.) And I COMPLETELY embarrassed myself!!

Mike said...

Elaine, I think the organisers of your local raft race should come and organise ours. Having said that, I think our local health and safety officers might want to put a dampener on things. Scuse the dreadful pun.

ellie said...

Excellent retort. I think I am getting to like Loz's sense of humour more and more, even if it did take me a minute to get that joke he posted in the Spam Basket recently!
Glad you had a nice ride Mike, Winnie looks a bit sad in the distnce shot though, she needs some mates.

Mike said...

Ellie, I know what you're saying. I nearly titled the photo "Winnie No Mates". It was nice to get out for a peaceful afternoon away from work though.

Peter said...

Looks like it was a nice day Mike, though maybe a little chilly.

Ironbridge is a great place to visit, especially when you are not on your own.

Me, I can't go out on my bike because my battery is still Knackered but I will sort it.

Is there a Blackpool in Black pool or a White HAven in Whitehaven?????.

Oh yeah thanks for calling me on my phone but I am sure I personally have made no calls to Kuala Lumpa or Sydney

Mike said...

Pete, damn I was hoping to be out the country by the time you found out about your phone bill.

LOZ said...

hi pete, i believe ireland is an island as i had to go on a boat. the isle of man had plenty of men, puzzlingly there were women too. how odd. isle of sky !
isle of wight ! wight what?

Mike said...

According to answers dot com.....

wight1 (wīt) pronunciation
n. Obsolete.

A living being; a creature.

[Middle English, from Old English wiht.]

wight2 (wīt) pronunciation
adj. Archaic.

Valorous; brave.

[Middle English, from Old Norse vīgt, neuter of vīgr, able to fight.]

Steve Williams said...

Your first sentence in the post is near and dear to my heart and hope to utter it often here:

"Making good use of some more nice weather, I took half a day off work again yesterday and went for a ride..."

Just can't get enough riding in I suppose until I can retire in a few years. Just hope the body holds out.

You have a great blog and the locations you have to ride in are great.

What a perfect retort. Poor guy will be questioning himself so much that he may end up on Viagra....

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Mike said...

Hi Steve, you have a great blog yourself. I'm seriously impressed with your photography too.

About the poor guy on the raft.... at least Viagra is cheap these days!

Mustang said...

heh heh.. that was a good one !!! but its really cool how you converted the 4 oil cans to move as a raft..

Happy trails.


Hippy at Heart said...

Ironbridge is home territory for me, my Dad was born there. Great to see some great photos of home.