After an evening of rain, and possibly rain over night, we woke to a very over cast morning. Birdsong and traffic noise woke me and so at 7 am I slid out of my nice warm bed to make a cuppa. Marmite had not bothered to come and wake us. Marmite was way to busy watching for prey through the port hole. Of course she would never have the chance to catch it, because as a boat cat she does not go off the boat on her own. I am not entirely sure she would know what to do with the prey once she had caught it, or maybe instinct would kick in, anyway she and I will never know.
Having got the back cabin stove going, I turned my attention to doing some hand washing, whilst Keith went off to Tesco to buy some toothpaste with a voucher he had. Tesco were offering £1.15 off of the toothpaste which we use, so it was well worth the walk back down the towpath and it gave me the chance to get the boat jobs done. I washed Keith’s corduroy trousers, shirt and pullover, which were all to heavy for our compact washing machine. Washing hung in the bathroom to drip dry, I turned my attention to getting the boat ready for the off.
We left our over night mooring and headed off towards Great Haywood. I do so love the countryside on the run to Shugborough, it is set out in the huge Shugborough estate and lovingly looked after. At Colwich Lock we met another boat coming down, which was great. The towpath was so incredibly muddy up and around the lock, thus making it all a bit slippery. It is made all the worse by the cattle which are in the field right on the bridge and where they have been trudging across the bridge the mud was particularly bad. Lock done, we headed off to moor at Shugborough. With a great deal of surprise there were only four boats moored up and so we decided to moor on the visit moorings below the lock. After a quick cuppa, we walked across the river bridge and into Shugborough Hall grounds we were hoping to see the walled garden.
We first saw the walled garden when they had just dismantled the green houses and the gardens were all over grown, so it was work in progress. We visited it a few years later and all the beds were in place and full of vegetables and flowers, they also had a Blacksmith making garden furniture and other items there. The greenhouses were still not repaired, but it was an ongoing project. So the point of this visit was to see if they had done any further work. Much to our disappointment we discovered that it is closed on a Tuesday. The place is only open Wednesday to Monday 11 am to 5 pm, darn and double darn we were going to miss it this trip. There was nothing else for it but to head back to the boat and for me to do us a stir fry for lunch, using up the cooked chicken we bought yesterday.
After lunch I suggested we go for a walk up the canal to see who was about above the lock. There were only a couple of boats moored up and neither of them we knew, although one of them was a trading boat who did clocks and barometers, which we had not met before. We walked up past the water point and on to the road. We crossed over to the Canalside Farm Shop, where you pick your own Strawberries. As of two years ago they have built a Café canalside and a fabulous shop which sells all local produce. It had amply parking and really well set out, so well worth a visit. Having left the Farm Shop we turned left and walked into the village and then back to the boat.
I wanted to go and try and take some photographs of the bird life, so headed off out again with my camera, only to be spotted by our good friends Dawne and Stuart on NB Teazel, who were moored the other side of the bridge from us. We were invited for a cuppa, which turned into two cuppas and of course we put the world and his wife to right and yes the topic of toilets was spoken about as is always by boaters. Dawne and Stuart are so lovely. We always look forward to spending time with them. Dawne makes the most wonderful things she is making bags at the moment. Stuart does beautiful painted items. I did a book swap with Dawne and came away with a lovely knitted bag as well, which was a gift. The time today has really flown by so fast. Looking forward to our cruising again tomorrow.