Well, what a first week it has turned out to be, so full of experiences. Seen off by Juliet and her friend Angela, we did 49 locks in the first three days, including the Hatton flight of 21. Big, heavy locks on the Grand Union, we were beginning to wonder what we had let ourselves in for. But we also managed to have a lovely walk into Leamington Spa, where we visited the gallery in the old Pump Rooms, which is really good, very friendly and with several Cornwall schools paintings, and a very good mix of other. On Monday it rained, a fine time to discover that the waxed hat is no longer waterproof, but we lit our little stove and were dry in no time. On Tuesday we visited Baddesley Clinton, a medieval National Trust house, with priests holes, about a mile from the junction with the Stratford canal. From there things began to feel more as we expected. The Stratford canal is a pure delight, rural, narrow, single gate locks and those lovely bridges that I remember from childhood with a gap in them for the rope to go through. Tested the little washing machine that we got at Maplins and topped up with water at Lowsenford. We met up with friends and sister at Wilmcote and then on into Stratford. (Via a loo pump out and a walk to the lovely old church at Wootton Wawen, where I was bought up, and over the aquaduct at Bearley - scarey). A big treat of lunch at Jimmy Spices international buffet and then, oh joy, the canal basin in Stratford. What a tourist attraction we turn out to be! But the excitement continued, with late tickets (restricted view so cheaper) for the Merchant of Venice, with Patrick Stewart. It was brilliant, set in modern Las Vegas, but still in the old language, funny, clever and very dramatic, it even had Elvis. For the first time we were up after 10pm!
So, a first week to remember, don't think we can keep this pace up!