Sunday, 23 July 2017

Pics of Penkridge and Coven and Great Haywood (out of sequence of course ...)

I haven't loaded photos in the last couple of posts - not sure why, but maybe I have been posting in a hurry or on my way to do something else. This post was started while waiting for the water tank to fill at Autherley Junction. See, parallel processing ... Habits die hard.

These teens were from London and were at at outdoor centre for a few days. We had seen them walking the towpath past us at Tixall the day before and they were out again on the day we aimed for water and I had a meltdown - not in front of them though as we hadn't discovered no water was avail;able anywhere by that stage.

A typical Penkridge home - not! But cute, eh? I think it's called 'the Old Cottage' or something extremely original.

It's the end of the school year and some of the leaving kids had tied their ties to the little footbridge over the horse tunnel at the lock.
Starters at Flames in Penkridge. Lovely restaurant. Go there. It is BYO wine and is very reasonably priced. I think we paid £23 for two courses each plus poppadoms

The mains - I had two more starters - samosas and onion bhajis. David had lamb biryani. (I must learn to make biryanis.) We wisely opted for no naan bread this time ... so are unable to report if they are as big as at Castle Balti in Warwick. Food was just as good though.
One of the young waiters is an engineering student - I gave him the benefit of my wisdom and told him to hold on to this experience of waitering - the ability to do several things in parallel is a skill he should look to make use of as an engineer, instead of only doing one thing at a time, serial thinking - even if it means they have to go back and re-do stuff later because they haven't taken all things into account as they go! (I am speaking from experience here of working with engineers - they can make the simplest job complicated and have it take three times as long as it needs to. But I am not bitter ... And they argue the toss, constantly! But I'm not bitter, truly.)
At the time we saw these old stocks (outside the Penkridge Gaol) David had drunk 3/4 of a bottle of wine and was being silly (Julia says he's much more fun drunk ...). I was fantasising about putting him in the stocks and leaving him there overnight.
I was quite keen to stay on in Penkridge and go to the market and back to Jaspers the Bakers. However we decided to fast again on Saturday so a trip to Jaspers was definitely a no no, unless it was a cream cake and crunchy bread roll fast. And I'm not sure that counts somehow. (Reason for additional fasting day is that we are probably having a visit from Tim and the boys one day this week - food required, and we have Mike and Helen coming to stay from Thursday to Saturday and that means food and alcohol for sure!)

So we moved on to Slade Heath, moored up and went for a walk into Coven (pronounced to rhyme with woven, rather than oven, unfortunately). It was a cross country walk, plus across an A road before getting into a very pleasant village. We found another pathway out of the village which was extremely cross country!
  • The farmer appeared to have obliterated the actual public walkway and left spaces of a sort around the fields' edges (two fields - don't worry, the apostrophe is in the right place). The crop had been rapeseed, I think, and the remaining stalks were sharp!
  • the exit from yet another field (uncultivated) was out through a high thicket of brambles (blackberry to NZers) and nettle. I was glad I was wearing jeans and a long sleeved top!
On the return leg of our cross country walk. The weeds were rather high in places! The exit on to the road is in the corner of the field (see, only one).
  This morning we moved on from Slade Heath and found the traveller encampment that John had warned about - it was at Coven Heath, a mile or so down the cut from Slade Heath. There were a couple of caravans left and much rubbish, plus a whimpering puppy. There was a big fence between the site and the towpath, so no opportunity to find out if it needed rescuing - shortly I will phone the RSPCA to let them know.

The weather was a bit pants this morning - light showers. The fishermen attending a competition all had their umbrellas up. They didn't look terribly happy but it was just after 8am on Sunday, so maybe they were missing a sleep in and brekkie in bed ... However they all spoke to me when I greeted them - and they were polite too!
This is about a third of the fishermen.

 Catching up on last week's photos from Great Haywood
The following photos are from David's camera and phone - he downloaded them so I thought it behoved (is that a word?) me to include them. I am very slack and don't ask him to download them when I am blogging - as is usual, I don't have the patience to wait. My bad!

I think this was taken on the walk back to Tixall Wide a few days ago after the decidedly below average meal in Great Haywood. I am wearing one of my new T-shirts from the Edinburgh Wool shop. I bought several back in Tewkesbury ...

At the Tixall Wide mooring - it is so lovely and peaceful there. There is a road off in the distance but traffic can barely be heard.

When we were moored at Great Haywood, we heard the sound of a hot air balloon being pumped up - what is that process called? filling perhaps?

Anyway, we watched over the hedge. The third photo shows what to me is a bit spooky - there is a flap of the balloon which comes down almost to the basket and the flames shoot up past it into the belly of the balloon. I wouldn't go up in a balloon anyway, but if I did get that brave and then saw that flap, I'd be out of the basket like a shot. A balloon on fire does not fly well.

So here we are today - quite boring boating down from Slade Heath to Autherley Junction and then up to the aqueduct over the A5 - and that's me up to date.

The mooring is a bit noisy, but it is quintessential English countryside: fields and trees and livestock. Lots of nostalgia for books read as a child, movies seen, and other narrowboat holidays.

The weather is changeable (see, even that fits the nostalgia) - the washing is hanging up outside and enjoying a couple of extra rinses. However when the sun comes out it is very warm, so I think it'll dry. It's all David's stuff so no worries ...

Ooh, forgot - the rest of the convoy is now at Hawkesbury Junction. I did ask them to have a bowl of chips for us but they have refused - what kind of friends are they!?

OK, I will have to get out the nibbles to make up for that affront.

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