Did the Swan die?? No, the swan did survive. It kept pecking until 9.00pm and then did not start the next morning until 8.30am – it is one very lucky bird.
Another bird that we were lucky to see is the UK Kingfisher. They are very difficult birds to catch a glimpse of but once you have been able to identify one of them it seems much easier to spot them after that. Today we saw five, which is amazing. We actually saw two together. Kingfishers are small unmistakable bright blue and orange birds of slow moving or still water. They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the water’s surface. They are vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses. Kingfishers are amber listed because of their unfavourable conservation status in Europe.
Most Australians would not identify our picture of the UK Kingfisher as a member of the Kingfisher family. The Aussie Kookaburra belongs to the Kingfisher family and when you compare the two you can see the many similarities. The UK one though is considerably smaller.
Enough bird talk.
Our intention was to go to the Trentham Gardens in Stoke but when we awoke to miserable weather it was decided that as we had been to the gardens before, we would give them a miss. If you were going to get wet and become miserable, it is better doing that on the back of a boat where at least you could have a hot cuppa to warm yourself up. So we set off with the brollies up and after chugging along for 15 minutes the sun came out and basically stayed out most of the day.
This mile post is significant as it is exactly halfway along the Trent and Mersey Canal. Not significant to our readers but to us it is worth noting. Just an aside. During WWII, all mile posts and directional posts were buried along the canals, as should the Germans invade Britain, they didn’t want them to be able to find their way.
It was then into our old stomping ground.
First of note is this old factory. It is the famous Joule’s Brewery which has been in existence since the 1600’s and was initially brewed by monks. It is also noted for being one of the beers on tap on the Titanic – not sure if that is something to really mention.
Then onto the Canal Cruising Company where as we have mentioned, we hired our first long term hire boat nb Lucy Ginger in 2016 for four months. Their boats are very distinctive with their Kermit green livery.
We stopped into the marina to purchase some much needed diesel and have a catch up with the owners Karen and Peter. Peter was out on an errand, but Karen caught us up on the local news. Our girl Lucy had been sold last year which gutted us as we didn’t get to see her. It was surprising for us to see so many of their boats in the marina as being end of June, they should be out on hire. We noticed the same with the Black Prince hire marina we saw yesterday. Karen seemed to think it was because of the price of diesel and because Brits had been stuck home for the last two years. All they wanted to do was to get away to the sun. From what we have seen, it appears are lot of them haven’t managed to get any further than the airports. It is absolute chaos at all the major airports in the UK and is going to get worse as many ground crew are going on strike in July and August. And guess what, school holidays start in two weeks. Karen did say that their July and August bookings are full though.
It is by far not the most salubrious of marinas, but it does come with bragging rights of being the oldest hire boat company on the canals. It certainly has the oldest fleet, but it also has the lowest prices including diesel. We were very thankful for this as to fill up with 152 litres it cost us 211 pounds.
We did get quite the distance today and are now a little ahead of schedule. We moored up at Weston-on-Trent where after a shower and dinner we headed out to one of the local pubs for a dram or two, oh and have an Eton mess. Hmm, not a dessert we would recommend as 90% of it is just cream.