Day 5 Barlaston – Burston

Hours cruised – 5

Interesting people – 1

Idiots – none – wey  hey an idiot free day!

classic album (s) – 2 today . – Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms/ Love over Gold

Short trip today. Just 6 miles and 9 locks through Stone, so late start kicked off with that narrowboating classic breakfast – the bacon and egg sandwich – with excellent dry cured bacon from (yes you guessed it) Mettricks. It seems I lied about having come to the bottom of our Mettricks stash, but this was definitely the last. 

Little of note between our mooring and the top of the stone flight. Arrived at the lock just as a boat was leaving – perfect timing – only to have to wait at the next lock as a guy with engine trouble dragged his boat through the lock – rather him than me. He did have a working engine, but thermostat trouble meant the engine was overheating, so he was saving it for the trips between the locks.

It was also at lock 32 that today’s interesting person entered, traveling at speed on 2 wheels. Dumping his bike at the lock, he proceeded to close gates & wind paddles like a man possessed. He was obviously wanting us to get through the lock as quickly & efficiently as possible. “Rob the lock”, as we later discovered was the name he went by, was working with the single handed boater behind us, assisting her through the locks. Based in Stoke, this is apparently what he does, offering his services to boaters coming down through Stoke & Stone, supplying a laundry service as a sideline. Sadly he doesn’t have a website, or I would have been sure to give him a plug! It’s guys like him that make Britain’s canals unique.

On through the locks, we moored in the centre of Stone for lunch and a little shopping. There were 2 things of note by the mooring spot:

  1. A statue commemorating Christina Collins – more about her in a couple of days
  2. A “peace pole” – erected by the town council and local Quakers, the pole is one of 250,000 around the world  promoting the idea that we should live together in peace – amen to that.

I remember stone as a nice little market town with an interesting high street. Sadly it did not live up to my memory, but we did manage to find the requisite butcher, baker and greengrocer. Though it has to be said, that the butcher was a little tricky to find. “Does Stone have butcher?” I asked in the greengrocer. At this he beckoned me outside, pointed down the street. “There’s an alley between that shop to let and the sweet shop, head down there, 3rd door on the left, knock  3 times and ask for Gordon (OK I may have made the last bit up, but this guy has to be good, as he will get NO passing trade!)

I will let you know how good when we try his wares later in the week.

Having stocked up, it was back on the boat and off down the last stone lock.

1 mile further on, at Aston Lock we come to a significant point on our trip. The mile post stating Shardlow 46 miles -Preston Brook 46 miles – the midpoint of the Trent and Mersey.

  
 How understated! If this was the US there would be a  big sign, a cafe and a gift shop at the very least. This I know for a fact as, having  been lucky enough to travel Route 66 in the US a couple of years back, I have a commemorative mug bought at the said gift shop. 

  

If only I could get the matching one for the T&M. Come on Stone, where’s your enterprising spirit!

Moored up for the evening in Burston – just in time to avoid the rain – first of the trip.

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