Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Blob Thing Meets Guardian Geese On The River Irwell In Manchester

Blob Thing speaks:

I have been looking through old photos of my adventures and I have been reliving some happy memories of my life.  I am nearly eleven months old now and am looking forward to celebrating my first birthday and looking back on a year that I could never have predicted when I was a newborn soft toy.  I got called Blob Thing because that's what I appeared to be.  A blob of pink wearing a dress and a smile.  It was never expected that I would turn out to be so clever or to have so many adventures or to be a good friend and companion for my person.  I have been a very fortunate toy.  And then in the summer my sister was born too and that's the best thing that's happened in my life.  She is incredibly wonderful.

Today I want to talk about an old adventure, or at least part of it.  It happened a very long time ago.  Four days before my half-year birthday.  My person was staying with my creator and on that particular Sunday afternoon my person had to look after herself with no help or company from my creator.  I asked her what we should do because I didn't fancy staying in the house all afternoon and evening just watching a television.  I wanted to go out somewhere.

My person suggested that we should go for a walk.  She has quite a lot of walks she wants to undertake, or at least start, in the Manchester area.  It's a big place and it's not all noisy city streets and crowds and all the other things my person finds difficult.  She decided that we should get the bus into the city centre, where it is all noisy city streets and crowds.  And then we should start walking and see how far we would get.  It wasn't a random direction though.  No it wasn't.  She said we would get the bus to Victoria Station, find the River Irwell which passes nearby and follow it upstream for a while.  Just a short walk probably until we got out of the city centre and then we would go home and rest.  In that way we would have started a long walk.  She wants to walk up and down all of the local rivers - and the ones in Stockport too - and the canals as well.  She wants to walk lots.

I thought that sounded like a good idea.  We would go.  And we would hope to stay dry.  It wasn't going to rain was it?  My person isn't always good at weather prediction.  On a recent visit to Manchester she was asked by my creator whether we needed to take our coats with us on a short trip to a liquorice shop in Atherton.  My person assured my creator that of course we wouldn't need our coats because it was a very warm and sunny day and to take a coat on such a day would be silly.  My person was wrong.  We got stuck out in almost the worst rain that Manchester has ever seen.  Without even a coat.  Winefride and I were able to take shelter in a waterproof bag but my person and my creator got very, very wet.  Fortunately they laughed lots about it.  And then they listened to the thunder for hours when they got back to the home.

It was the same on the River Irwell day.  My person thought it wasn't going to rain.  It did.  But she didn't mind that much because it was quite warm and the rain wasn't like the rain in that storm.

We set off after lunch and caught the bus to Victoria.  And then we started walking.  My silly person immediately took us the wrong way.  She just wasn't thinking straight.  She knew that the Irwell is down the hill from the station.  She passes the bridge on the bus every time she rides on that bus route.  She knows where it is.  So which way did she walk, confidently striding out from the bus stop?  That's right.  She walked up.  In the opposite direction to the river.  Instead of a short walk down a short road between a music college and a place where my person once went to a big Christian event we walked all the way round the outside of the station, crossed a main road the wrong way, backtracked, and eventually got to where we were meant to be.  My person felt a bit embarrassed by the whole thing.

Once we had reached the bridge we had to get down to the river.  My person knew exactly how to do that.  There was a footpath.  She had found it on the map.  And there was a sign to the footpath too.  She wasn't imagining it.  We walked along a little road to the path.  And that's where our walk went wrong again.  For the second time.  But this time it wasn't my silly person's fault.  We reached a fence and a big locked gate and a sign saying "Footpath Closed."  Oh dear.  Our walk really wasn't going very well and my person wasn't feeling too good and she wanted to give up and go home and drink lots of tea.

But I told her that we should persevere and try to find the river and that once we had found it our walk route should be more obvious.  I told her that we might find excitement along the river and mysteries and unexpected sights and that she would regret it if we didn't continue.  After a while she agreed and as it turned out our detour wasn't one that went on for miles.  Five minutes later we reached the side of the river.

It didn't take long at all and it felt that we had escaped the noisy city streets and left them a long way behind, perhaps in another country.  We happily looked one way.  Up the river.  In the direction we were heading.

And we looked down the river back towards the city centre.  We had only been walking along the river a few minutes and this is how far away the busy shopping areas and football museum were.  They had vanished.  You can't see it in the picture but there was a heron down there somewhere.

My person had to agree with me that it had been worthwhile not giving up.  That's one of our rules that is.  "No giving up."  She quite often wants to give up.  But the rules are the rules.  And thanks to my encouragement she didn't give up that day.  She stood by a river.  The sky was pretty.  It was warm.  The light reflected beautifully on the water.  And she started to feel a lot more calm.  So did I.  It's far more calming to be walking by a river than to walk in a shopping centre.  I don't understand why people don't do it.  We walked for miles that afternoon and hardly saw anyone but if we had gone to a shopping centre we would have seen thousands of people.

We carried on walking.  The route was pretty easy to follow because all we had to do was stay close to the river.  Easy.  We did have to leave the riverside later because a footpath that used to exist got closed off by the university which decided that closing off a riverside footpath would be the best policy.  We had to take a big detour then along a very noisy street and then some quieter streets before we found our way back to the river.  But we managed it and the rest of the walk was worth persevering for.

We hadn't really left the city and passed alongside an estate that didn't look to be filled with rich people.  There were lots of little houses, closed up shops, and no massive gardens or mansions.  That's okay.  The value of people isn't measured by how rich they are or whether they live in a mansion.  All people are valuable.

We were still passing by this estate when, up ahead of us, we saw another problem.  There in the distance our way was blocked by creatures guarding the path.  Creatures the like of which a six month old soft toy had never seen before.  They looked quite frightening and they were blocking the path.  What were we going to do?  Would we have to turn back, give up, and admit that walking along the River Irwell was impossible?  Would we be defeated so easily?  We hadn't been defeated by my person's silliness in going the wrong way.  We hadn't been thwarted by the right way being closed.  Was this the end?  It was scary and I didn't know whether we should approach these terrifying guards too closely.

But my person told me to be brave.  She might just have been saying that to convince herself to be brave.  I don't know.  She told me that she was determined.  She wasn't going to accept that we had come all this way and overcome such difficulties just to turn back now before even reaching the next road bridge across the Irwell.

Slowly we approached the creatures.  As we did I could see that they all looked similar.  With big long necks for reaching out in attack.  With massive beaks for biting and maiming and destroying and feet that looked dangerous too.  They weren't smiling.  I was very scared and there were lots and lots of them and I started to shake.

My person told me not to worry so much and said that it would all be okay.  She told me that now we were closer she could see exactly what manner of guardians these beasts were.

They were geese.  Geese.  That's what she said.  And she probably said it in the way she says words like that.  She said that we were going to be okay and that she had a plan to allow us to pass the geese.  She said the geese were birds and they weren't going to kill us and would probably let us through anyway without any difficulty but just in case she was going to make a sacrifice to them.

A food sacrifice.

I relaxed with this news and allowed my person to take a picture of me in front of the geese as we approached them.  I managed to keep smiling throughout the whole experience.

Here I am again.  This is me.  You can clearly see my lovely Autistic badge, the one that got stolen by the dragon in the Literary and Philosophical Society Library.  I'm possibly the best looking small pink soft toy called Blob Thing in the whole world.  I'm also possibly the only small pink soft toy called Blob Thing in the whole world so I haven't got a lot of competition.  But I dare to say I'm the only one with such a pretty dress and a wonderful badge and I'm almost certainly the only one who talks so much when blogging about his adventures.  My person says I should hurry up with my story.

There really isn't much more to tell today.  My person made her food sacrifice.  She couldn't make a big sacrifice because all she was carrying was a packet of peppermints which she knew the geese wouldn't like.  And two packets of a snack made out of peas.  She offered the contents of a packet to the geese.  They thanked her because it turned out they were very polite geese.  But then it turned out that they didn't like the pea snacks.  My person didn't really like them either and I didn't even want to try them because the looked and smelled and felt so awful.

Here's one of the geese asking my person why she has sacrificed something so rubbish to it.  It looks a bit confused by the situation.

I was a bit worried that the geese would look at our rubbish sacrifice and react badly and then we would be doomed to a painful destruction at the beaks of the birds.  But the goose said that it was okay.  We had tried and that was the main thing.  Trying is more important than succeeding.

The words of the goose made me very happy indeed.  Everything was going to be okay and we would be able to continue our walk along the River Irwell and we might find ourselves lots of adventures along the riverbank.

I will close with a couple more pictures of the geese.  It turned out that they were very friendly birds and I hadn't needed to worry at all.  They were unknown.  But I had turned the unknown into something very scary and I hadn't needed to do that.  I had catastrophised.   I had seen disaster when there was no disaster waiting for us.  I must learn not to do that.  I don't want to ignore danger.  But I don't want to be catastrophising every single day because that's a path to constant panic and not being able to live.  Sometimes it's very hard for me though to not catastrophise.  My head gets into a chain of thought and I get completely stuck there.

These are some of the friendly geese.  There's a hopeful pigeon there too.

And lastly here's a very friendly goose.  I think it was only being quite so friendly because it was the only one out of all the geese who actually liked eating the strange pea snacks we carried.

We left the geese behind.  We were safe.  And so were they.  Other adventures awaited me that day.  It was going to be a wonderful walk.  A wet walk.  With miles of walking in the rain.  But a wonderful walk.

[2304 words]

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