Monday 14th August; Tixall Wide to Shugborough
Well it rained overnight and kept it up during the morning. We weren't intending to go far today, so we drank tea, read and watched the boats go by – and there were rather a lot with crews all hunched up in their waterproofs. Though not in this picture.
Eventually it stopped so we set off, expecting to stop at Haywood Junction for water. Of course, we had forgotten that this is a junction on a popular cruising ring (the Four Counties) and there were three boats waiting for the tap. Luckily we weren't desperate! We didn’t add to the congestion, and trickled along past the moored boats to find, as expected, a queue at Haywood lock. Spotting a gap between the moored boats big enough for Chuffed, we slotted in and stopped. Plenty of time to carry the rubbish back to the junction and get some fresh stuff in the farm shop. The butcher there offered to vacuum-pack some meat for us, which we were very pleased about; we only have the small freezer compartment on a standard fridge, and vac-packing meat means it will last twice as long as in ordinary wrapping.
We had lunch too before deciding it was quiet enough to go down the lock. We didn’t go far, just to the far end of the visitor moorings below the lock. Then we went off for a lovely walk with Meg in the sunshine. First across the little river Trent on Essex Bridge (though I think I took this on our way back).
There were several families having fun splashing about in the river.
Before we reached the estate roads of Shugborough Hall, we cut off through the gate and the little woodland which leads to a path across the fields by the river. There are some lovely trees here. It’s possible this is a giant redwood, though as I failed to take note of the shape of the leaves I can’t check.
Beautiful soft thick red bark though. Eventually we found our way to the estate road that leads back to Essex bridge, then rather than go back to the boat we called in at the café by the lock for tea and cake. Very nice to sit in the sun and watch the action at the lock.
After that cake I found I had the energy to walk all the way back to last night’s mooring to retrieve a piling hook which had unaccountably got left behind this morning. That’s not the first time it’s happened but at least we weren’t far away when the loss was discovered. And I did find it, so that’s saved a few quid.
There wasn’t a lot of sun this evening and it was raining before dark.
1½ miles, 1 lock