Friday, 7 July 2017

Avoncroft Museum of Buildings.

Friday 7th July 2017 at Stoke Pound.
We started early today, partly to avoid the heat and partly to get to the bottom of the Tardebigge lock flight at a time when we hope there will not be other boats around as the number of moorings there is limited. Either way, it was a beautiful morning.
As we approached Stoke Bottom Lock, we were surprised to see that the gates were open. It turned out that there was a C&RT volunteer there, who had seen us coming and opened the gates.
 The volunteer's name was Lester and he helped us all the way through the six Stoke locks.
We moored up opposite the Queen's Head pub and restaurant just below Tardebigge bottom lock. Tomorrow we intend to tackle the flight of locks, 30 locks in two and a quarter miles - and no stopping between locks.
We were quite surprised to find that there were no other boats moored here and no one else arrived until early evening when two other boats arrived.
We had read in the guide books about Avoncroft Museum, which is a collection of old buildings that have been restored and rebuilt on site. It sounded well worth a visit and so we set off walking a mile or so along narrow lanes with no footpath.
The museum was fascinating and M was delighted to find that one of its exhibits was the National Phone Kiosk Collection, with examples of every type of phone kiosk. M hankers after one with the old Button A and Button B to put in our back garden.
All the kiosks are connected to an old telephone exchange and it is possible to phone one kiosk from another, so M was surprised to receive a call in her box from R (who had to put in 20p rather than 4 old pence) in the next kiosk. M forgot to press Button A at first, so she could hear R but he couldn't hear her! It brought back lots of memories for M in particular, as her parents never had a telephone at home and she had to walk 400 yards to the nearest box to phone her friends - rather different from today!
Next to the kiosks was an old olive green GPO van. Back in the 1960s, M had a friend called Lynda who, when red vans replaced the green ones, was able to buy one for "ten bob" (50p today) and it served them all well, taking four of them to Greece and Spain (and back).
We had seen this beautifully restored post windmill from the canal and it is still fully operational and is run to make flour about once a month.
Looking at it now, it is difficult to believe the condition in which it was found in the early 1960s before it was moved to Avoncroft.
We loved the weather vane on the top of the windmill. Is that cheese beside the mouse?
Being volunteers at Mary Arden's, we were naturally drawn to the Merchants House c.1450 and spent a long time chatting to Sally Anne, the costumed volunteer, exchanging experiences and comparing notes.
The tearoom was originally the "String of Horses" public house before it became a Co-operative and was eventually moved to the Museum.
These afternoon tea delicacies are all knitted!
From the Museum, we walked along to Morrisons for a "few bits" and then tried, unsuccessfully, to find a footpath back to the canal. So, we ended up back on the narrow lanes without a footpath.
The pub opposite our mooring has a large restaurant and a huge garden complete with Indian wigwam. It is clearly very popular and a somewhat noisy 28th birthday party was taking place in the wigwam.
We went to bed early in the hopes that the noise wouldn't disturb us too much (which thankfully it didn't) as we intend to make a very early start tomorrow morning to get through the 30 locks of the Tardebigge flight before it gets too hot.
Today: 2 miles, 6 locks and 1.7 hours.
Trip: 106 miles, 108 locks and 88.3 hours.

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