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Lancs & Cornwall 06
Day 3 - Tropica, Bolton By Boland, Sabden and the Thursden Valley

Sunday, 17 Sep. 2006 - Sunday morning dawned bright and clear. Even after asking people for some ideas on what to do for the day we didn't have any solid plans.  We considered going to the Bird of Prey Centre but thought it wouldn't be a good idea on a Sunday the road it is on was always filled with bikers speeding along and we didn't think it would be very safe.  So after a little more discussion, we decided to go to Tropica in Knaresborough to find some plants for Andy's tank and to get me used to using Andy's sat-nav system. 

Andy programmed the general location of Tropica into the sat-nav system and then we were on our way.  At first it was a little difficult to get used to the sat-nav directing me, especially when we were on round-a-bouts because I wasn't always certain which exit it wanted me to take.  During the trip I only made one mistake and didn't turn in time, but this was easily remedied at the next round-a-bout.  The scenery was really nice along the way but unfortunately we didn't stop to take any photos.  We soon approached Harrogate which had Andy a little concerned because thought that I would get flustered with the heavy traffic he was used to seeing through the area.  However I either didn't notice that the traffic was any worse then normal or didn't realize that I was suppose to be a little flustered because I went through town fairly easily and didn't think the traffic was all that bad really. 

Shortly after we entered Knaresborough the sat-nav system announced that we would reach our destination in 200 yards.  It was at about this point that Andy announced that he didn't know the exact address for Tropica and he was relying on his memory of the place to guide us the last part of the journey.  Unfortunately for us. the sat-nav system had brought us into Knaresborough the opposite way Andy was used to going and he didn't recognize the building until we passed it and he looked backwards.  This of course didn't really help me out because I had absolutely no intention of doing a u-turn in the middle of the narrow UK roads, nor was I keen on the idea of taking many back roads that were barely big enough to walk through let alone drive in!  Eventually we ended up turning around and made our way back to the Tropica building and wandered in.

I don't know exactly what I was expecting to see, but I was definitely expecting the shop to be a lot bigger then it was.  However when I started looking at the display tanks closer I realized that while they didn't have a large quantity of plants, they had a huge selection of very nice plants on display.  Andy and I took our time looking at the plants closely and enjoyed seeing the different varieties that we wouldn't see in a normal shop.  Andy finally decided to get a Madagascar Lace-leafed plant. which he had wanted as a centre-piece plant for a long time and a Echinodoras sp. for his Angelfish to hide in.  We each also got a book on the Dennerle system.

Afterwards, we were heading back towards Burnley when we both started getting hungry.  Andy remembered one of his favourite stops was along the way; some place called a "Belly Buster Van." Again he didn't know exactly where it was, but assured me he would recognize it when we got near to the place.  Unfortunately, this occurred after we had already passed it.  So, once again we turned around and started heading back toward Knaresborough to find the Belly Buster Van so we could have our lunch.  This time Andy's memory was a lot more reliable and we found it fairly easily.  Now, I had been warned that their signature Belly Buster sandwich was extremely huge and even a starving man wouldn't be able to eat a full one on his own so I personally had no intention of attempting to eat one on my own.  I guess Andy wasn't quite that hungry since he didn't order one neither, much to my disappointment because I would have liked to see one.  I ordered what I thought would have been a safe meal when I got a type of burger.  However when I got it, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting since it came on a foot long bun similar in shape to a hotdog bun and the hamburger meat was actually thinly sliced strips of meat. However it tasted really good and was really filling.  I couldn't even finish the burger I had, thank goodness I didn't order the signature "Belly Buster" sandwich.  While we were eating our lunch Andy programmed the location of the Belly Buster Van into the sat-nav so it would be quick and easy to find the next time he found himself travelling along that road.

After lunch we decided not to use the sat-nav to guide us back to Andy's but took the scenic route instead.  Our first detour was through Bolton by Boland, a picturesque well manicured little village. After stopping in there and taking a couple photos, we backtracked to the highway to head back in the general direction of Burnley.  Our next detour was to travel all around the Pendle Hill area.  We stopped around Sabden to get out and stretch my legs for a bit, then continued driving around Pendle Hill.  One of the things that stood out to me was the differences in the colours between the bright green fenced off pasturelands and the rich browns of the unused moor tops.  I also enjoyed seeing the old stone walls all around the area. It's amazing how well built they are and how long they have stood the test of time. 

From there we made our way back to Andy's to get his new plants in the tank and to have our supper.   After our supper we decided to got for another ride out on the moors. We went over the Thursden Valley and stopped off at Andy's "Put the world to rights" wall.  While there I went and had a closer look at the Heather flowers because I've never seen them in real life before and found their colours amazing.  As we continued driving over the tops it started getting dark and I noticed it was a lot easier to drive because you could see headlights coming from due to the reflection off the stone walls. 

After our drive over the moors we decided to stop in and see if a prize winning chippy was open.  It wasn't open when we got there so we decided to sit and wait to see if the shop was going to open. We waited for about 30 minutes before deciding that the chippy probably wasn't going to open so we decided to try something different.  Andy recommended that we have a biryani instead.  Since I hadn't had one before I was a little hesitant but agreed to at least try one. We got the shrimp biryani and headed back to Andy's to eat it.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was delighted to find that it was very tasty.

Click here to see more of today's photos.

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