The Bolton Stoat
The curious tale of when Paul Windsor experienced a nasty mishap in Bolton in 1939 whilst taking part in the 'Uphill Challenge'
"I was doing fine until I ran over a stoat whilst negotiating Rose Hill (not a euphemism I might add). Next thing I knew I was careering down Bradshawgate (going downhill during an uphill challenge usually calls for a disqualification) and swung right into Boils Yard narrowly avoiding the 33A tram to Thynne Street. This was where I came into contact with the plate glass window belonging to discerning photographers Staveley & Makepiece. It was here, as I rode through their award winning window display, that my progress was expertly caught on camera.
And my cap never blew off!"
"One can only thank Steveley & Makepiece (grandparents of Will Lunn I might add) for capturing this momentous occasion with some degree of calm - considering the damage to their window.
Fueled by the 12 pints of Tetleys he'd consumed in The Swan earlier that day, Mr Windsor cut a figure throughout this gruelling challenge, encouraged by shouts from equally fuelled locals, many of which had been in the 1938 uphill challenge and sensibly not contemplated a second attempt.
"Windsor! Windsor!" - the crowds were ecstatic as he put caution to the wind and lurched forward at a 45 degree angle, putting every ounce of stength into his pedalling technique.
Had it not been for the stoat, he would clearly have won this prestigious event but sadly he was robbed of the title by Albert Watkins (butcher of this parish) who put in a particularly good time that year."
"Well the crowd may have been shouting "Windsor! Windsor!" from your location, but due to the noise of my solid tyres on't cobbles and the clashing together of 2 tins of Blubberhouses finest mushy peas under my cap (well, you know how you get the munchies after 12 pints) I thought they were shouting "winds-up! winds-up!". So, fearing that a force 8 had sprung up on the mean (cobbled) streets of Bolton, I peddled even harder, thus not noticing any wayward wildlife out a-wandering in the town centre."
"And as for that 'so called' butcher Albert Watkins, he of the sawdust sausages and see through bacon. I don't wish to infer there may have been bad blood between us, but not long after the event described above I was uncerimonusly thrown out of his shop and told never to darken his bacon slicer again. And all because I enquired if he had a sheeps head? A not unreasonable request in a butchers shop I think. He claimed it was the way he parted his hair, and then had me thrown out by the errand lad. No sense of humour these butcher types."