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Just a stone’s throw to Stone

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2019 by netmanianick

Friday 22nd March 2019

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With some fabulous weather in the forecast we decided on a last minute weekend away to Stone. Immediately after work on Friday we piled things into the car, and set off to Tesco’s to fill the larder for our journey.

Once at the marina we had to fill with water and diesel, and empty the toilet tank but with all the services taken care of we were eventually on our way. There wasn’t much time left this evening so we rose through Hoo Mill Lock and tied up at Ingestre, at our favourite mooring. There was one thing we forgot though. Anne’s supply of duck food had run out, so we had to revert to bread instead. The great duck food myth has, I think, been well debunked now. The suggestion that bread wasn’t good for ducks and swans came from a suspicious study whose commissioners would benefit from the sale of pellets. Indeed, at least one bird charity complained that since the bad bread headlines, some swans were seriously under weight and in great danger as the public hadn’t been feeding them over the winter with the scraps of bread.

I guess the geese that Anne loves to feed at Ingestre are rather picky though. They saw the boat coming, and with squawks of delight waddled into the canal and swam over expecting their customary feed. You could see the disappointment on their faces when they didn’t get their normal fare! Nevertheless they ate their way through three loaves.

The next morning we continued on to Stone, with the trip being delightful. The weather was kind, and the views across the valley were stunning. Salt bridge had only just reopened following winter renovations, but on the approach I did wonder if we would actually be able to get through. There was a floating work platform in front of the bridge, and on the approach it looked as though it blocked the entire way through. Once we got closer it became clear that it was tied up before the bridge, but it was still a tight squeeze to get around it and into the bridge hole. Here we could see that work is still going on. The towpath under the bridge is closed while they finish rebuilding it, but rather alarmingly some vicious looking bolts are protruding into the navigation. I am sure they would do some serious damage if a boat were to inadvertently come too close.

At Stone we managed to secure one of two adjacent moorings that were vacant, and settled down for a reviving cup of coffee. I asked Anne if I should phone Rob and Linsday to see if they would like to join us for fish and chips that evening, and was surprised when she said “don’t bother”. I look up and she pointed out through the hatch. I turned to see Lakeland Belle coming into view. They grabbed the last remaining mooring, and supper was sourced from the excellent chippy in town.

For Sunday lunch we decided on a casserole, which Lindsay prepared and then placed in our oven. Beth joined us for the trip back, and we set off back to the marina with the enticing smell of lunch wafting out through the hatch. It was torture! At Aston lock we attracted the attention of a dog who was also tempted by the smells, and its owners suggested that they might like to stop for lunch as well!

By the time we returned to Ingestre the lunch was ready so we pulled over to at last sample the delights that had been teasing us all morning. With the weather closing in, we decided to make an early return to our berths, which was just as well, as it was quite a struggle to get lined up to reverse in as the wind was getting up.

On the third attempt we managed to swing round enough to reverse onto the pontoon, and we then tied up and prepared to go home.