Fradley Junction to Great Haywood

24th and 25th September 2016

Apologies to our devoted blog followers for not posting last night. We cruised for five hours yesterday and by the time we moored up and organised ourselves, we felt a little tired to blog. So, let’s go back to yesterday and recount our happenings.

This would be our last long day of cruising as we needed to put in five hours to get us up to Great Haywood Junction. Great Haywood Junction is where the Trent and Mersey meet the Birmingham/Worcester Canal and was a very major junction. Even today it remains very busy with a lot of leisure craft going through this area.

We came this way about eight years ago when we did the Four Counties Ring so a little of it is looking familiar. In fact, Di remembers going into the marina at Great Haywood junction and doing a load of washing there – what is it about Di and washing??!!!

Getting a little ahead of ourselves here as need to go back to where we left off from Fradley Junction. A lot of the cruising was through countryside and some towns. Went passed the very famous Armitage factory that most of us know as bathroom porcelain makers – in other words, toilet and hand basin manufacturers. We were not quick enough to get a photo of the pallet loads of dunny’s stacked up on high.

It was then on to Hansacre where there was this graceful cast iron span which was made at Coalbrookdale in 1830. Many of you would say, so what. Well, Coalbrookdale was the town where the original foundries of cast iron were located which went into the first iron bridge which was the one we saw at Iron Bridge with Doreen, Lynne and John.

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A small, perfectly satisfactory abode near the canal.

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Now, this place is very well known to those of you who are interested in eathernware. This is Spode House. The buildings now house a day spa whilst the grounds have been converted into a golf course. Guess you call that progress?

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Another significant item on the canal was crossing over the Trent and Mersey River. Alas, this photo is a total washout, but the bridge we were going over was built by James Brindley and if you have been paying attention, you will know how significant this gentleman was to the building of the canals.

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Hope we haven’t lost too many of our readers so far………

So that was our excitement for the day. We moored up at Great Haywood quite late and by the time we did the usual domestic duties it was time for bed. During the night the heavens absolutely opened up. It’s still lovely to hear the sound of rain on the roof but not so much the twigs falling from the branches on to the roof of the boat. One hopes they are not going to be followed by branches.

The ground was sodden this morning when we woke up and after taking two monsters for a walk it was back to the boat for a bath for them. On our walk we went passed a huge hot house arrangement where they were growing strawberries on elevated platforms so that they were easy to pick. They are just about finished for the season.

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We also stopped by this canal boat that was set up as a café and had our latte and capuccino for the morning. They also had home made cup cakes but we were very good and only purchased one and shared it. These guys travel the canals and follow all the festivals of which there are a lot during the summer.

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Once the pooches were settle we headed out again without them to go to Shugborough Hall which was the stately home of the Anson clan. For many of you who do not know, Patrick Anson was the 5th Earl of Lichfield who was the first cousin to the Queen on her mother’s side. He is mostly known as a photographer and took the photos at the Chuck and Di wedding that went so horribly wrong.

It was a short walk to the hall and we were required to cross this 1830’s bridge that was crossing over the Trent and Mersey which was flowing extremely fast due to the rain last night.

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So here is the front of the hall. Last night there was a wedding in the grounds which must have been some one of signifcance or else a lot of money as they had quite the substantial fireworks display last night.

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Now for a bunch of photos from the inside her is small residence. One of the good things about this place was you were able to go into his private apartments. He died suddenly in 2005 and they have left the place exactly as it was. There were some fantastic photos of his work as he tended not to take the usual stilted royal family type of shots but much more casual, natural photos. He use to have a contract with with Vogue and Burberry some many of you would have seen his work without knowing that he was the photographer.

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How about a view like this from your formal study.

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When Princess Victoria knew she was in line for the throne her mother thought it a good idea to take her on a visit of all the stately homes and meet all her coussie bros. This is the bed where the princess slept for two night and here is the kicker – apparently ma ma slept with her right up until she became the Queen at the age of 18 years. This royal lot are quite weird. There is some interesting reading about Victoria on Wikipedia if you are interested. There is a BBC period drama on at present in England about Victoria which alas we will not be able to follow after our return.

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Just a few photos of the other rooms in the hall.

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The latest in transport for the day and the kitchen.

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Di found the laundry!!

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Poked around in the garden.

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So after our nearly three hours we ran out of time. Should have got an earlier start. Returned to get the pooches and take them to the local pub for a drink before dinner and meet up with the locals. There was a dog sitting on a high chair at the bar waiting for the bar maid to give him a treat. He was called Taz and was 16 years old and is known to all. That’s what is so great about touring with a dog in England, you can take them just about anywhere and it makes travelling so much easier.

We got chatting to a local couple who had just bought the vicarage in the town. They had just put there Sunday dinner on in the AGA stove for a slow cooking and popped down the pub for a quick one. Pubs really are the heart of the community in a lot of England and in the pub tonight there were the wide collection of pooches, children, locals and tourists. It is very easy to strike up a conversation. We will miss this.

So we are now back on nb Lucy getting ready to watch our Queen Victoria show and get ready tomorrow for our last day of cruising which will take us back to our home base of Stone.

 

 


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