Thursday, 6 July 2017

Hanbury Hall and Boris Johnson as Achilles?

Thursday 6th July 2017 at Stoke Prior.
It was a perfect day for cruising. Not too hot but with a nice breeze. It did, however, get very hot later! The white bloom on the surface of the early morning water is algae. There was a lot of that about today.
The first half of the day was on a stretch of the canal that we did two weeks ago, so once more we passed our dream house. We've since discovered that it is a former manor house wherein murder was committed. M is perhaps not so keen to live there now!
Again, we went through Dunhampstead Tunnel; except this time M stayed on board.
Tall reeds on both sides again; glad that we didn't meet another boat through here. In fact, we've seen very few boats indeed thus far.
Soon, we passed the turn off to Droitwich and so now we were on new territory. We passed nb "The Great Escape" and cheerily exchanged greetings. We last saw them two years ago in Leeds!
With this continued good weather, farmers are all trying to get as much hay in as they can. A joy to behold.
We decided to take the afternoon off and walk along footpaths across fields to Hanbury Hall, a nearby NT property built in 1701. Two of the fields that we walked through were waist high with rape, now gone to seed.
R briefly reclined in this magnificent 320 year old Cedar of Lebanon.
The formal garden to the side of the house is a picture. The gardens have been restored to their original glory by the NT and are magnificent.
The front entrance to the house is very grand and one can just imagine arriving in a coach and four, sweeping round the drive to be greeted by liveried footmen.
Round the back, by the shop and café, R found a charming little second hand bookshop with an honesty box where he acquired a copy of Nevil Shute's autobiography.
On our way out, we passed a modern "sculpture" made from wire. Next to it was an explanation of the story behind it, which had us in stitches.
It was based on "Brexit" and shows Boris Johnson as Achilles dragging a lifeless Hector (David Cameron) - and Michael Gove as Ajax, sent mad by Athena (Theresa May), causing him to slaughter the sheep destined to feed the nation. It's the first modern "sculpture" that we have seen for ages that really meant something. Brilliant (whatever one's thoughts on Brexit)!
Back at MM, we went up the Astwood flight of  six locks, passing a lovely garden next to one of the lock cottages.
We moored up near Stoke Prior and, taking advantage of the cool of the evening, had a G&T followed by supper, sitting in our picnic chairs on the towpath.
A beautiful sky at sunset highlighted the 700ft radio masts, which were the Voice of Freedom for occupied Europe in WWII. Its callsign was "Droitwich Calling" - 1500m medium wave.
Today: 6 miles, 6 locks and 3.0 hours.
Trip: 104 miles, 102 locks and 86.6 hours.

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