Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wootton Wawen to Wilmcote to Stratford

I am clearly losing my memory - we haven't moved far over the last week or so, but as I didn't make any notes, I have lost details of our stop at Wootton Wawen - I do remember it is a very beautiful village with a great shop and a church of some historic significance.
A lovely waterfall/weir on the walk into Wootton Wawen

Now commercial premises, I think, still beautiful.

The historically significant church with several different ages in the building
The shop makes best use of space and has a great range of products - excellent pesto and wine...

John waiting for us and reading his paper

Julia has just reminded me that we were in Wootton Wawen (said whoa-wen) on election night and we had a dinner party: lasagne, salad from the boat roof allotment and garlic bread made with part of my second loaf of ciabatta. All very yummy.

Wilmcote was lovely - lovely village shop, really pretty houses and friendly people.

We really liked these roses as a 'fence' - Rob, I'd even sacrifice the agapanthas to have these outside the front fence ...

These roses were in white, mid pink, and
deep pink - beautiful!

And the station is an archetypal English country station. We know what the station looks like as we went up to meet Dana off her train - she was an hour and a quarter later arriving than planned due to a couple of incidents:
  • the uber driver she had booked to get her to the station in Manchester with plenty of time to spare could not find her place and so abandoned the job, and in spite of his best efforts, the next driver could not get her there on time
  • when she was about to board the train from Birmingham to Wilmcote, a man got down on to the tracks and stood there waiting for a train to come and run him down. People called to him to get off the tracks, others apparently signalled and shouted to the approaching train driver to stop, and a couple of people manhandled him off the tracks on to the platform. 
However, all was not lost - when she finally arrived on the boat it was decently wine o'clock and I poured her an NZ pinot noir to make up for all the hassles. And there was home made ciabatta bread, olive oil and balsamic (the latter purchased from the Wilmcote shop)...

We had an early night and were all in bed when we heard someone clomping on the counter at the back, David thought it was Dana gone up for a ciggie (bad girl), but no, it was son Tim on his way back from an agricultural show in Cornwall. Aha!! Another body to be put to work in the morning - excellent.

We were up early and on our way by 7.30am - not bad for a Sunday. I had a welcome break from steering and did locks with David and Dana. Some of them were pretty heavy - Julia described them as 'bastard'. At one point, when Dana had got back on the boat, Tim had to drop her off to help me close the bottom gate ... And a few of them had been left with bottom gates open and paddles up which was a bug*er for David who was working ahead.

It was lovely** to be doing locks and getting the walking in. However my big toe joint on my right foot was playing up and was very sore. I did think back to how my mum had SLE (lupus) and suffered with extreme arthritic pain in all her joints. I was feeling sorry for myself with one sore toe and decided to pull myself together ...

Not sure if Tim is grimacing because of sun in his eyes - however I know he was very happy to be on the boat.

Passing by a newly re-done towpath

Seven to go, Tim

I'm back on the boat, and Dana is working. Tim is not ...

Father son bonding - neat to see...

** I am overusing that word! OK, no more loveliness in this post, promise.

The countryside was very pretty and green with some beautiful gardens and homes along the way and the approach to Stratford was rather pleasant.

David phoned ahead to talk with Mick in Stratford to check out the mooring situation, and I was given my instructions - on the finger moorings next to Mick and Julia or next to John.

Under the very low bridge and into the basin we went - there were pedestrians walking through with us and David decided to sound the horn in case any boat was on a collision course with us - our horn sounds like a Mack truck airhorn. I think a few people wet themselves with the sound in such a confined space ...

We moored next to Mick and Julia - easy choice as Mick was there to take our front rope and John wasn't.
The convoy together in Stratford's Bancroft Basin - great moorings!

Dana demonstrating her jacket - scary hood
First job was to make brekkie - I'd made a bit of fruit salad, yoghurt and cereal before we left Wilmcote, but we were all HUNGRY! So a full English, minus sausages and black pudding, but plus breakfast potatoes (tiny roasties with garlic) was produced.

Then just as it was about to be plated up, back came Tim and Dana with a pair of Skechers she had bought for me - such a kind young woman! And the Skechers are great: soft, comfortable and supportive. I am going to have to buy more, I can tell!

Stratford is a beautiful town, very attractive to tourists and boaters alike. I would have liked to have gone to a play, but not to be. Clearly, we will have to come back - and by boat of course, as it is such a lovely trip, bast*rd locks included!

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