Friday, 28 July 2017

Lovely guests and the Caldon Canal.

So on the Friday night the lovely guests arrived. So a wet and drizzly start to the weekend which began by filling up with water at the junction. Where this brilliant man presides.  

Very deep pair of staircase locks at the very start of the canal, I always read the instructions twice at staircase locks..... just in case.

This was the view as we left this bridge, as we entered it we were both panicky as the visibility was zero of oncoming boats this thick willow was spilling over the bridge both ends.  

A couple of swing bridges or rather lift bridges.

Pretties and WaL

 No idea what they are....

But a few locks along was this lovely art installation....

Reflecting the area's past industrial heritage.  

Fine Company, Bob and Kirsty

The edge of Stoke gives way to the countryside.

We moored up at the very first chance to get a southeast facing mooring open enough to receive TV signal and watch the Ladies Wimbledon Final.   

After the disappointing match for my hero Venus lost, we carried on in the afternoon to moor at the Holly Bush Pub at Dernford.  

The next morning the idea was to carry on and finding another spot to watch the mens finals. After a couple of hours the tennis lovers realised that with the deep valley and tall trees this was going to be impossible, so at midday we turned back and we moored at the Holly Bush again where TV reception was assured.  But we passed by the  Cheddleton Mill


David and I stopped for a visit another day where we learnt that a mill had been on the site since the mid 1200's but in the late 18th century it was converted to grind flints, these flints were collected from southern England where we still have a lot of them lying around and there are photos in the mill of French peasants collecting flints on the beaches of northern France.  These were shipped in by canal, ground down in the mill and then shipped out to the factories of Stoke for use in china. 
There is also a photo of the last miller taken in 1903, his daughter aged 90 plus still lives in the cottage with the red painted windows! Its all run by volunteers and donations.

Last miller's daughter still lives on the right hand cottage.

One of the two working wheels, today powered by the river.

The visit was fascinating, stop by.

Kirsty ran to our car, moved it nearer to the canal, then ran back to the boat, all three of them run, they don't get that from their mother.

This was the weather and view from the sink on WaL at The Holly Bush, great eh?

Very busy place.  David and I walked over the hill and far away....

I love these stone gaps.

So that is WaL outside the ex brewery cottages, the brewery now long gone owned the pub.

Saw these on the walk up the hill, anyone know what they are?

July is quite late for Foxgloves on this shady bank. 

This is the aqueduct taking the Leek Arm of the Caldon canal over this branch to Froghall.

In the evening, we set off to where the car was left very close to the main road and the Park Lane services, at 6am three elephants got up trying to be quiet, David drove them into Stoke city to catch the early train back to London and work.

Sorry to see you go both.

Catch up part 2

Yes sorry its been a while.  But frankly we were just having too much fun with two daughters visiting separately and all associated fun that entails.  

But I thought for my own memories I had better put the very best of the over two hundred photos I took over the trip, and do it at home to save the data haemorrhage too.  Don't be fearful, nothing like two hundred here.

So here they are of our run up to Stoke from Great Haywood.

OK not actually on the run up to Stoke, but this is my handsome godson Max at the wedding of his brother in July, bad shadow due to wonderful sunshine, rookie error by his father David Lewis.

Wow what great weather that afternoon

I love the olive greens and the golden golds at this time of year.

Winding and quiet, doesn't look like the busy canal it is at times.

Interesting shaped tree, is it a cross?

Weston Hall, 15th century manor house, now a wedding and corporate venue.  Food looks great as do the luxury rooms.... heavy hints have been dropped.

Super interesting bridge build with stone and bricks.

Sandon lock, I just love the brick work designs here and the centuries worn steps up to the lock.

More olive greens and golds.  Can you feel the warm sun on your skin?

Belted Galloway fairly interested in us.

Hanging on for dear life, I wasn't sure that she was enjoying herself that much.

Exactly halfway there.

Horse tunnel built at Stone Lock.  I love these.

Today a museum, but due to our having to leave in a hurry (More later) I didn't get to visit this time, but I have plans to return and spend time going to several museums.

I am sorry to say I can't remember if I took this on the run into Stone or Stoke, but about 14 years ago, we did a hire boat holiday from Festival Park for a week and as we entered and left Stoke these famous Bottle Kilns were seemingly everywhere.  Not so today.

I presume these two have a preservation order on them, or are "Graded" however just look at the state of these precious remnants of the industrial past of The Potteries. 

 If you open this link there is an image of how The Potteries looked.   HERE

So Reader I will endeavour to write more later on the trip this afternoon as it's pouring outside and I have my Aqua Aerobics class to go to, but for now.....

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Catch up part 1.

Greetings Reader.....

We have been back on the boat now for over a 
week now, however, we have been plagued by 
Firstly data problems and secondly laptop 
problems  resulting in the bloody thing 
constantly closing down Chrome each time I 
opened it and thirdly my camera ceased to 
function this week.
Not at all annoying.   

I have this year changed from an ancient 
Apple laptop, to a brand new shiny PC, which at 
times I would have happily thrown out of the 
window.  Lets say no more about it except that 
at the time of writing this we are still using 2G a 
day of data and EE and Curry's plus two 
son-in-laws and  Ken from NB Cleddau have 
failed to solve.  This is even with the laptop 
thing switched off and our phones on 4G.

Any suggestions welcome.

But going back to our recent trip.    
So ages ago it seems we picked up WaL from
Great Hayward after our trip home.  

We had had a fine old time, David played golf, 
winning some competition too which he was 
pleased about.  I didn't play golf but had a 
great time in the HOT HOT sun we all enjoyed 
in June, it even involved us swimming in the sea, 
something which does not occur each year.

The Boat Sharers (Amanda and David Lewis) 
had the boat in our absence, they did some 
huge ring in a week which would have taken 
David and I about a month, but they love that 
sort of thing.  A Reader did spot them, 
Hello sir if that was you.

We had a nice 24 hours with them, then work 
forced a departure and after a flit to the 
Farm Shop here to fill up on cheeses, we 
left and headed north.

Five years ago when WaL was launched, 
we went up to Bugsworth Basin, but we had 
no memory of the Trent and Mersey Canal, so 
this was to be a bit of a treat. 

Its totally beautiful just minutes out of 
Great Hayward, hardly any traffic and 
peaceful as a very peaceful place.

The first night we aimed for Sandon.  Last year 
we met John and Louise from
NB Plodding Along, we had nipped over in 
the car form The Shropshire Union canal and 
from The Anchor pub, you know the one, 
untouched since Victorian times.  Anyway we 
had really enjoyed the Dog and Doublet at 
Sandon and I would heartily recommend it.

The next day we stopped at Stone.  We took 
time and fannied about to get good TV reception 
as Andy Murray was playing in the quarter finals, 
ummmmm, afterwards we walked to Co-Op to 
find it closed as they had a power cut so walked 
onto Morrisions.

The next day we carried onto Stoke.  Calling 
ahead to the hire base at Festival Park for a 
pump out, on the phone they were not that 
enthusiastic but they did do one for us as it 
appears there are no boatyards on the 
Caldon Canal, where we are heading.

We stayed there the night, opposite their base, 
as Kirsty (daughter) was arriving with her 
partner Bob that night for the weekend.

They arrived without fuss from London by 
train and taxi for a supper of Chicken Caesar 
Salad (I forgot to add the shaved parmesan oops)

The next morning was dull, rain due at mid 
morning so The Insomniac (David) cast off very 
early before the visitors were actually awake 
and retraced our steps to the junction, just 
down the way.  We had to fill with water at the 
junction as you know what it's like with visitors, 
they use tonnes of water for hair washing.....

Kirsty got wind that there was the Emma 
Bridgewater Factory Shop along here
(Male Readers can pass this paragraph),  so her 
loving father stopped by it and the three of us 
went shopping.  I brought a fabulous jug 
(To add to my collection) and Kirsty brought a 
large platter for cakes, it was £50 retail down to 

We stopped later just past the five locks on a 
brilliantly south facing meadow just perfect 
for more tennis watching, the Ladies Final, 
I have always LOVED Venus and was 
disappointed that she lost, but my new favourite 
is the Spanish lady so I managed to be happy.

Later on in the day we set off again for the pub, 
The Hollybush at Dernford, we had a drink and 
then after not intending to and having supper 
all available on the boat, we had supper in the 
pub!!!  I had homemade lasagne salad and chips 
followed by a delightful sticky toffee pudding 
with custard, really it was the best sticky toffee 
I have had and I get through quite a few of those.

Photos to follow.....