Thursday, 5 May 2016

Weston Hall and the Saracen's Head

Thursday 5th May, 2016 at Great Haywood.
A glorious morning.
Bridgett and Peter had kindly invited us to join them for morning coffee and we joined them briefly in their summer house before driving the short distance to nearby Weston Hall.
We had often admired the Hall from a distance when on the canal but this was our first visit. Close up it was very grand!
M rarely drinks coffee and so asked for a hot chocolate - it was quite unlike any other hot chocolate! The chocolate came as a small solid cube on a stick, a bit like a lollipop, along with a glass mug of very hot milk. Stirring the cube of chocolate into the hot milk produced a delicious creamy mixture.
Weston Hall has recently acquired the Saracen's Head, the pub over the road from Bridgett and Peter's house. The management is in the process of refurbishing it with a planned re-opening at the end of May.
Coincidentally, Bridgett was born and brought up in the Saracen's Head, which was run by her parents and grand-parents before them since 1901. She was keen to visit it again after 56 years, having left in 1960 to get married. Not only were the new owners happy for her to see all around the premises, they were also fascinated to hear stories of her childhood there and the way in which the rooms and outbuildings had been laid out when she lived there. She told us that she used to cadge lifts off passing narrowboats on the canal and showed us her room and the window that, as a teenager, she climbed in and out of in order to go out with boys while her parents were serving in the bar below!
We said cheerio to B & P around lunchtime and promised to call in again on our way back in June.
We have seen several swans sitting dutifully on their nests beside the canal.
In this case, the cob decided that we were a threat and followed us for a considerable distance chewing on the stern fender until he no longer considered us a danger.
Despite the warm sunshine, there was still a bite to the wind and M was very pleased to sport her new "Dr. Seuss" boating socks.
R was a happy man on the tiller.
The locks on this stretch are now familiar friends; we passed Great Haywood Junction and found our first lock queue of the year at Haywood Lock but, as usual, everyone was good humoured and helped each other through.
Shortly after the lock, we moored up for the day, with a lovely view across the River Trent to the grounds of Shugborough Hall.
It was such a beautiful afternoon that we set up our picnic chairs and enjoyed a G&T in a small wooded area between MM and the river.
R was very relaxed!
Another wonderful day.
Today: 4 miles, 2 locks and 3.0 hours.
Trip: 8 miles,3 locks and 5.0 hours.

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