Park Lane to Harecastle South Portal
We made two stops today, firstly we visited the Potteries Museum and Art gallery (accessed from bridge 8) followed by calling into the Bridgewater Pottery and tearooms on our way back to the boat, then we stopped at the Toby Carvery, Festival Park for our dinner.
Last night we were able to sit out and chat with very lovely people on the towpath – it’s been a while since we last had that pleasure. It was only spoiled by an inconsiderate dog owner. The beautifuly behaved German Shepherd pup with the people we were chatting with took a fancy to graham, the owners of the boat moored in front of Jannock left their dog in their boat whilst they went up the pub. It barked loudly for all the hours whilst they were out except when someone walked past the boat – then it remained quiet. On their return, Graham asked if they knew that their dog barked all the time they were away from the boat, it was obviously distressed. Yes, they knew and seemed not to mind; poor doggie.
We said farewell to the Caldon canal today after pausing for a couple of hours at bridge 8 visitor moorings whilst visiting the museum and pottery. The Bridgewater Pottery tearooms were excellent, the crockery was a delight and nothing matched, the mugs and teapot were a proper size and we could not drink all the tea. And there was cake; it looked home made and was far cheaper that back home! Canalside- almost, and a good lunch stop.
Amongst the many interesting and lovely pieces of pottery at the museum I saw a plate that was decorated in a similar fashion to traditional narrowboat art ‘castles’ pictures. A dead ringer; thing is it was made in 1520 and was Italian, a commission for a wealthy family. There are many theories about the origins of Roses and castles canal art but I’ve never heard 16th Century Italy mentioned.
Then onto Planet lock. The Samosa’s that Graham bought from the shop near here were so good that I had to visit it myself. If you like Indian sweets and snacks, do treat yourself. On the same side as the NHS surgery, look up to the Pharmacy and see the shop on the corner of the road, to the left. That I just pointed and asked for “some of those” did not faze the lady, she told me what things were called – unpronounceable let alone remembered, but tasty.
Down to Bedford St staircase lock where we were caught up, and helped by the Norwegian hirers we’d first met at Consall Forge. It’s their seventh British canal holiday and they are out for 5 weeks. I made the turn round the lint museum all by myself, feeling proud.
Back onto the Trent and Mersey canal to Festival Park marina where we collected Jannock from almost seventeen years ago. We had our evening meal at the Toby Carvery and then moved onto the southern end of Harecastle tunnel where we filled with water and G washed both sides of the boat (with the help of a bit of tricky winding.
Retail Therapy – we met three canal traders, leaving the pub at Milton, on their way to Hanley park for the Carnival celebrations. They were selling Oatcakes – fair enough – hippie accoutrements and fairy paraphenalia and pirate equipment – really? Later we passed a boat selling toasted sandwiches moored alongside Westport lake. Chambers of Commerce, eat your hearts out.