Sunday 5 July

Max and I set off on foot this morning towards Kingswood Junction leaving Storm to follow with the boat. We met up again at Bridge 66, about a mile north of the junction and filled up with water here as the pressure is excellent.

There is a tap at Kingswood Junction too but pressure there is variable and depends on whether anyone is showering in the neighbouring sanitary block.

We turned onto the Stratford Canal and immediately encountered more boats than we’ve seen for a while, but then this canal is particularly pretty with its barrel vaulted cottages, and rural setting.

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We followed a hire boat through the first seven locks and it was obvious that the crew were not happy. Four mature adults of retirement age were chuntering about each other and I think this holiday may test their friendship. They have another twelve days on board together and after today I can’t see them reconciling their differences!

They pulled in for lunch and we continued onto Lawsonford before we pulled in. We timed it just right as it began to rain as we finished putting up our hood.

The afternoon was a mixture of sunshine and showers and during a gap in the showers we went for a stroll in the village and took in the sights. There were some unexpected sights…

Cow & zebra grazing in a garden

Cow & zebra grazing in a garden

A piece of Brunel's top hat section railway

A piece of Brunel’s top hat section railway

This innocent piece of steelwork, now probably being used as a mile marker, is actually a piece of Brunel’s wide gauge railway from 1892 when the UK Government decided that the standard gauge  be adopted.  All the wide gauge railways were ripped up in a single weekend and replaced with the narrower standard gauge.

A sculpture by Antony Gormley sits beside the lock ahead of us (No 31).   We knew it was somewhere on this canal but hadn’t realised quite where it was.   This is one of five sculptures created by Gormley to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Landmark Trust.

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Gormley personally chose the position for this particular sculpture and designed and created it to suit the site. The cottage beside the lock is one of the Landmark Trust’s properties that can be hired for holidays.

Also for my ex Northern Foods colleagues, here is a name  of nostaliga!  The pies were once cooked in the pub here in Lowsonford before they were mass produced, at one time by Northern Foods’ subsidiary Fleur de Lys Pies Ltd.

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