I only went to Barrow to get the bus out, but the combination of train times from Lancaster and infrequent bus times on the coast road to Ulverston meant I had an enforced hour to spend in the town.
Like much of the north-west, and indeed the country as a whole, Barrow has seen better days and I did wonder whether sixty whole minutes might be too long, especially first thing on a Monday morning, when nowhere is at its best.
But I was pleasantly surprised. Most towns have a statue or two to commemorate some local bigwig - usually a military man or an industrialist who made his money on the backs of the local workforce. To be fair, Barrow has at least one of these, but the statue right in the town centre is rather different:
They may be anonymous, but at least you can be sure they worked for a living.
Then there was this chap:
These mannequins turn up outside butchers' shops all over the country in a variety of different coloured aprons, with or without hats and sometimes with cleavers or other implements of the butchery trade. Regular readers of this blog might not be surprised to learn that I have a growing collection of photographs of them. In Barrow I bagged two - "Big Baz" above on the High Street and his smaller cousin in the market hall.
On another stall in the market I was able to buy some of my favourite sweets direct from Wigan. . .
. . .served as they should be - from a glass (well, plastic) jar into a paper bag.
"and finally" (as befits a news-related item) Barrow is one of the last places where the (locally-owned) "evening" newspaper (on sale in the mornings these days) is still sold through on-street newsvendors
Even though he wasn't shouting out "Evenin' Maaaaaail" or some such, I couldn't resist buying a copy of the paper from which I learnt the astonishing news that Barrow's rugby league team had just played an away match in Toronto, Canada, following the admission of the Toronto Wolfpack to the third tier of the English Rugby League!
So, after an hour in the town I could hardly tear myself away to get the bus!