Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A Stop in Nantwich for Provisions.

Tuesday 23rd August, 2016 at Calveley.
Our athletes have returned from the Olympics, rightly to a hero's welcome. M remarked that if lock-wheeling were ever elevated to Olympic sport status, she would win the Gold! But, in the end, she had to make do with a golden sunrise.
A pretty morning with a touch of mist still lingering over the water and a heavy dew.
One of R's "Smiley Breakfasts" was the order of the day with delicious middle-cut bacon from our "personal butcher", Nick Griffin at Stone.
We set off mid-morning and soon came to Cholmondeston Lock, the last of four locks on this stretch and as deep, at 11ft 3in, as its name is long.
No, M hadn't been drinking when she took this photograph - the steps are really that wonky! They tell the story of the many thousands of feet that have passed this way. Mind you, she said it made her feel tipsy just looking at them...
While R was helping the boat in front of us through the lock, M popped across to the small shop in the Venetian Marina to buy some milk.
Soon came Barbridge Junction, where we ultimately intend to go north towards Chester; however, fresh food supplies on MM were running low, so we turned left (south) and headed for nearby Nantwich so that M could aquire a "few bits".
Almost immediately, going south, we passed Hurleston Junction, where the Llangollen Canal branches off. Its four locks looked very enticing. We are very much looking forward to tackling them next month.
After we have been to Chester and Ellesmere Port, our intention is to go up the Llangollen (but after the school holidays end when it will, hopefully, be less crowded - it's an extremely popular waterway for hire boats).
We moored on the aqueduct, high above Nantwich and walked into town.
This charming town never fails to delight, with its half-timbered, crooked buildings, many built soon after the devastating fire of 1583. The First Elizabeth had donated £1,000 to help the reconstruction of the city, and it certainly seems to have been put to good use.
Our favourite building is the café/bookshop dating back to 1584. We spent a very happy couple of hours there having tea and browsing.
One book in particular caught R's eye - and no, he was not the author - although he might well have been!
M loved this imaginative tile in the Ladies' loo. R said that there was a similar set of tiles in the Gents', except that it was only half finished and was obviously being painted by hand.
The afternoon had turned very hot and it was over a mile from M&S back to MM. Luckily, M&S is next to the bus station and a visit to the Tourist Information Office there established that the number 84 bus would take us (and the "few bits") back to the aqueduct once an hour, on the hour. So, for once, R's arms and legs got a rest.
The bus duly dropped us off at the aqueduct, an elegant wrought iron structure designed by Thomas Telford. It just goes to prove that narrowboating is far superior to road transport!
Having unpacked the provisions, we set off north again and found a very pleasant mooring at Calveley. Daisy, the very sociable resident feline on the boat next to us, came to visit. She was very beautiful, being a mix of three different pedigrees.
It was the perfect evening for sitting in the setting sun with a gin and tonic, something that we have done all too infrequently.
Our reward was another lovely sunset.
Today: 12 miles, 1 lock and 5.1 hours. 1 kingfisher.
Trip: 261 miles, 194 locks and 196.5 hours.

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