Welcome to the story of Hale and Hearty travelling the canals of Great Britian

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Curry and Cathedrals

The mronings are chilly and the days are noticable cooler, autumn is on its way.
We enjoyed Leek market, what a bustling little town it is, we notice that there seem to be fewer empty shops and more independent retailers in the towns we have visited recently than in Devon. We walked to a huge Victorian mental hospital, a community in its own right at its peak, now converted to prestigious housing, even the water tower making a family home. The return trip to Stoke was uneventful, stopping at Etruria to visit the museum and bone mill, once a very busy place grinding bone, flint and stone for the pottery industry, now a similar business is still functioning on the site and run by the same family but no longer using the canal for transport. Whilst going down the Stoke locks I was able to pop to the shops and return with curry, burfi and samosas for a special tea. This week all the locks have taken us down, away from the high land of the Peaks and on to the flatter land of the Midlands.
We cruised to Burslem, stopping to pay a brief visit to the Wedgwood factory – it is sad to hear that much of the china is now manufactured in the east (china from China?) with only some of the more prestigious and special items still produced on site as part of the tourist experience. The weather started to deteriorate and we found ourselves trying to ensure sheltered moorings and the canal surface agitated and rocking the boat – exciting stuff. We stopped overnight in Stone, again a bustling little town, attending Sunday service there before continuing. Steering the boat in these high winds is quite tiring so we travelled relatively short distances for a few days. At Great Haywood we almost crossed our own tracks and took another walk around the grounds of Shugborough and visited the museum of country life there, lots to see and enjoy. From there to Armitage was probably the hardest day weather-wise, the wind was very strong and we found it hard to moor due to the high wind. We spent the night overlooked by the Armitage Shanks factory!
So here we are at Whittington. We caught a bus into Lichfield, and found ourselves in a beautiful, historic town with a splendid cathedral, where we attended evening service, and lots of history, lovely architecture and civic pride – well worth a visit.

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