Monday, 11 April 2016

Piglets and sculpture

Tuesday 5th April

We were expecting the sculpture, but the piglets were a bonus.

After trundling along to the Grand Union to turn round, then squeezing through the impossibly narrow-looking cut to the Stratford canal,

2 little snicket to stratford canal

taking on water, emptying a cassette and disposing of rubbish it was nearly 11 before we started descending the rest of Lapworth locks towards Stratford.  The wind was cold again but the sunshine meant there was no need for long johns or gloves today.  One of the first locks had larch trees growing nearby.  I have never noticed their flowers (or are they catkins?) before – aren’t they striking?

3 larch flowers

As the locks are fairly close together we shared the work as usual, and I lock-wheeled with the bike.  As we passed under the busy M40 we relished (a little smugly, I confess) the fact that we were retired and out in the open air …..

4 lock 27 ha ha

Meg zoomed back and forth all morning, with the occasional stop for a cuddle.

5 cuddle that dog

We stopped for lunch at Lowsonford.  It being Tuesday, the Finwood farm shop was open so I walked up to see what they had.  They sell their own meat and eggs, and I got some Dexter beef and some pork.  The pigs are Gloucester Old Spots, and there were two litters running around, with the sows calmly rooting about as pigs do.

8 gloucester old spot piglets

After lunch we came to the highlight of the day.  At lock 31, where the barrel-roofed cottage is now a holiday cottage owned by the Landmark Trust, is a wonderful sculpture by Antony Gormley, who designed the Angel of the North.  I really like his work, which is based on his own body.  I know not everyone likes this figure but I love it.  From a distance it just seems to be some chap looking into the lock.

9 gormley 1

It’s better when there’s a boat in the lock – he really does seem to be taking an interest.

10 gormley 212 gormley 4 dave

Nosy bugg*r.  Didn’t take any notice of me though.

14 gormley and me 6 dave

Back on my bike again and we carried on in the sunshine.  Across the weeny little Yarningale aqueduct;

20 yarningale aqueduct

and through the pretty Bucket and Preston Bagot top locks, towards the extravagantly extended cottage with the mirrored windows.  I’ve not taken a selfie before – does this count?

22 selfie at trago mills

We moored on a new-looking length of piling before bridge 50.  Astonishingly Meg still had enough energy for a game of ball before teatime.

24 mooring nr bridge 50

When Dave took Meg out at bedtime it was a clear night and he spotted Jupiter. He could see two of its moons through the binoculars.  I couldn’t keep the binos steady enough for that, though I did think I saw a meteorite flash briefly across.

4 and a half miles, 17 locks, 1 work of art

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