If I were to draw a map of our village, it might contain features not found on other maps. This isn’t due to my imagination overlapping into reality, it’s more ordinary than that.

We live on the west side of the country which is much wetter than the east side; being on the west side of the Pennines Manchester and surrounding towns had more than enough rain, which is why the cotton-spinning industry grew up and flourished in the damp atmosphere. We’re in the southwest, right by the sea, and we get a good amount of rain – because we are sheltered by a hill sometimes the clouds skirt round us so we can see it raining down the coast, and inland, while we have our washing flapping and drying on the line.

We do get might amounts of rain even so, and there are places where the water just can’t drain away quickly enough – sometimes because the drains get blocked up with sand blown off the beach. That used to happen outside my parents’ house and a pool would spread across the road… we called it Elsdenmere.. Eventually workmen came and put in new pipes or altered the flow or did something because now Elsdenmere is just a memory.

There is another part of the village, on an island (traffic island) where several roads coming into and going out of the village meets. Blocked drains, too much rain, run-off from the hill, create Islandmere or Grangemere – the name varies because it’s by the traffic island but it’s also near the old Grange and at the bottom of Grange Road. Once the fire brigade had to come and pump the water away…

However the largest and deepest and most often apparent is Wharfmere where the road from the boatyard joins the road leading to the beach, just by the bridge over the rhyne (drainage channel). This is near where the wharf used to be when Uphill had one, and near Wharf Farm – no longer a farm but a private residence… and in fact never a farm, it was apparently a coal yard! Water comes down from the boatyard and old quarry, and drains off the hill; because the area is all paved there is nowhere for it to drain to and it collects in a huge pool. There are road drains, but again, they must get so blocked with sand and dust.

The other day as I cautiously drove through Wharfmere, wondering whether it was actually a good idea, I noticed the man from the Wharf Tearoom. He’s a very hearty chap and always wears shorts, whatever the weather. He had a ladder which he was drawing up from the rhyne and I guessed maybe he had been checking the drain outflow (if there is one) to see if it was blocked. I guess his community minded act failed as the mere was still there later…

If you look on a real map, you won’t find Elsdenmere, Grangemere or Wharfmere… it’s just what we call them!

My featured image is of a small boat at the entrance to the boatyard which has been filled with flowers and shrubs!



  1. Andrew Petcher

    There is plenty of rain here in the east at the moment!
    I live in a village where there is a natural spring in appropriately named Wells Road. In earlier times the water was said to have medicinal qualities. The village is called Healing.


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