England 2015....

On April 20 we flew from Houston to London Heathrow.

We stayed at the airport hotel for two days in order to allow an excursion into the city to try to find a distant relative that Gail had just learned about.

We found the condo in an exclusive area of London, but the caretaker told us that he had been there 10 years and never heard of her.

The next day we drove to Stoke-On-Trent and stayed a couple days.

I had previously contacted two owners of 1937 Packards and wanted to meet them and see their cars. I had no trouble finding Stephen, who had his car on his father's old dairy farm. Richard met us there.

 

After a tour of the Packard parts and Stephen's Daimler, we all drove to Richard's place about 10 miles away. There Richard gave us a tour of his Packard and garage .

Richard insisted that we also vist his friend who was 90 and still driving his 1938 Buick as daily transportation.

Much to my chagrin, I discovered that I had forgotten the camcorder at home, and certainly wanted video of our forthcoming canal adventure....soooooo...a quick trip to the Manchester Costco was squeezed into the schedule. Now, everyone knows that Costco and Sam's are known as 'warehouse/box' stores. Well, we were surprised to find Costco was nestled in the middle of a large industrial complex . Fortunately, they had only ONE camcorder in stock,so we bought it, and were pleasantly surprised to find that it has a 90x zoom. We also took the opportunity to stock up on groceries for the two weeks.

The picture on the left shows a tower in the distance. Picture on the right zooms in on a finial on the tower.

Needless to say, we are pleased with the camera.

Next stop was to get the canal boat in Middlewich. It is a family operation that builds their own boats. The boat we had contracted for two weeks was the Fjord Duchess.... a 58' x 7' beautiful craft. This is a glimpse of the inside.....

Traveling through the countryside is very relaxing...

 

We passed many fields of rapeseed....the yellow flowers....used to make vegetable oil.

We had the shocking discovery that the English do not use much ice or ice packs. I searched through three pharmacies and grocery stores for ice packs with no luck...'Necessity is the mother of invention'.....so I bought a large bag of peas . Gail used it very effectively..

We spent a few days in the charming village of Lymm .

 

One day we had fun taking our boat going up and down on the Anderton Lift. It raises/lowers two boats at a time, 50' to the river below. An amazing mechanical structure that was built in 1875.

 

 

Our travel up the canal took us through 3 tunnels. The first was 1272', the second 1717' and the last one 3717'. Keep in mind that the boat is 7' wide and the tunnels are about 10' with maybe 6-12" above your head. Lots of exciting fun!!!!....and then we had all the fun coming back through them.

 

Another narrow challenge we encountered was the aquaduct over a little creek. It was like threading a needle

All boats have names. Our boat was the Fjord Duchess,

but the private boats have the most creative names..

 

 

 

 

This is the Stanley Arms Pub that we enjoyed on the Trent & Mersey canal.

As we progressed up the canal, we came two gents sitting on a bench solving the problems of the Kingdom. Certainly reminded us of the trio in Last of the Summer wine.

 

The last night we had dinner at the Big Lock pub...

 

...but the favorite picture of our trip is,,,,,,

But the story behind it adds a bit.

We were about to go through a tunnel, but had to wait a few minutes. Southbound traffic can enter from the hour to twenty minutes after. Northbound can enter from the half hour to 10 minutes to the hour.
As we waited our turn, a famly of swan....the Cod, the Pen and 5 cygnets approached, looking for a handout. Gail fed them some crumbs from the special loaf we were given at the Crowne Plaza.
Much to our astonishment, the family paddled right after us into the 1/2 mile tunnel. Another boat was forced to follow the family...at cygnet speed...
When we were moored at the pub for the night, the family approaced us for morebread.

It is the TOTALLY unexpected episodes that make the most memorable; memoriesl

 

Thanks for getting all the way down to this point of our adventure...

We hope that it entices you to do a canal trip in the future...