We left Stone and made our way to Stoke-on-Trent which is our first "biggish" city we have been to. As you approach Stoke the first thing you see is The Britannia Stadium home of Stoke City FC, looks pretty similar to St Mary's home of my beloved Southampton FC (not keen on the new home shirts...where are the stripes)
|Stoke City's Britannia Stadium|
We moored up opposite a cemetery adjacent 2 restored bottle kilns, in it's heyday there were almost 4000 kilns and up to the 1950's still over 2000. Today there are only 47 still standing.....sad eh? We decided to wander in to the town and not to do the people of Stoke a disservice it is a bit run down though with more shops and pubs shut down than I have ever seen although I did see an Indian Restaurant close to where we were moored.....Hmmmm.......I really miss Indian food!!
|2 of the 47 remaining bottle kilns|
Suzie was quite happy for us to go in, I'd eat, she would watch and I'll do her some egg and chips back at the boat. We get in the Restaurant only to find that they would cook Suzie egg and chips......nice one!
2 mins later the waiter came back and asked if Suzie wanted the eggs in a sauce?.....No no just fried please says Suzie. The waiter returned again to ask if she wanted deep fried boiled eggs???? It took some explaining what Suzie wanted but they got it spot on! out came 2 fried eggs with chips, it did look lovely and we were very pleased. My curry........It was probably the worst Indian meal I have ever had.....we expected Suzie's eggs to be a bit of a disaster with the difficulty we had explaining what a fried egg was, but my curry!!!!hey ho, such is life.....I am still hankering after a nice Indian meal!
We get up the next morning and do a couple of locks and the turn right at Etruia and go down the Caldon Canal. Etruia is the home of the last steam powered potters mill in Britain and has been "steaming" since 1903.
|The last steam mill still working in Britain|
Down the Caldon we go and after we do a few locks we then come across our first (real) swing bridge. We pull over and I go and have a nosey.....phew! it is electronic. I jump aboard and Suzie goes up to barrier off the road and to press the buttons. Once through Suzie closes the bridge and then spends the next 5 mins swinging on the counter balance weight of the barriers trying to open them all to no avail!!!!.....it was like watching a comedy sketch as I could see it just wasn't going to happen! Thank you to the guys on their lunch break!
Under the swing bridge and round the corner and we meet a boat coming at us......tis Fred and Lisa...."We'll meet you at The Hollybush Inn in a couple of days" they both shout. "No problem, we'll find it" I say.......we moor up not long after and get out the laptop only to find that The Hollybush Inn is here in the village.....happy days. The next day we walk into the village of Stockton Brook and have a bit of a nosey round and to post a birthday card to Suzie's Brother-in-Law John (we did receive a text from John thanking us for his card although it's a month early, however, he went on to say that it was Suzie's sister Pat's birthday!!!.....we'll send her one next month!) In the village we find The Hollybush Inn has closed down and is now a fancy Italian Restaurant (surely Fred and Lisa don't mean this?) we carry on walking and come across a locals pub where not to be rude we pop in and have a few. Back to the boat and have a afternoon nap.....such a hard life we lead! We wake up about 4pm only to find NB Chyandour moored right behind us! So, 2 hours later we are back in the local pub till closing time. We discover from Fred and Lisa that the Hollybush pub he meant is 4-5mls away in the village of Denford....doh! The next day the sun was out so we all decided not to move on but to stay and have a BBQ which was delicious and move the following day.
Off the pair of us go for a few miles, over the Aqueduct, down 3 locks and moor up round the corner from The Hollybush Inn. we stayed here for 4-5 days it was a bit of a busy time......late night drinking and BBQ's with Fred and Lisa, but brilliant fun was had by all.
|Suzie and Fred trimming the hedge!|
|The BBQ king at work|
|Out and about on our daily walk!|
Fred and Lisa moved to Leek the next day to catch the market but we stayed as it was here that I caught up with an old mate from work who had the same attitude as us that life is more important than money. Terry also retired at 55, moved to Staffordshire and he and Jayne have their Narrowboat moored at the bottom of their garden. Was really nice to meet up and we'll meet up again in a few weeks. The next day we move back towards Stoke to spend the weekend at Etruria again with Fred and Lisa
We have to say a big thank you to Fred and Lisa (NB Chyandour) for wonderful hospitality and truly great company the plan was to meet for a drink as we were passing each other and it turned into a 10 day holiday!
|If you see Fred and Lisa......say hello!|
Since the last blog we've done 20 miles, 25 locks.
This gives a grand total of 192 miles 100 yards, 129 locks and 6 tunnels (tunnels over 1000yds only).