It’s been a while since we moored up near Lichfield. We spent so many months hovering around the area whilst doing Calendar Club in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. It’s a most pleasant area on the Inland Waterways, but at this time of year, it’s rather a busy route.
Before we left Penkridge, Barry took the shot below of me taking a photo of a marvellous mural on the wall of The Star pub there. He emailed it to me after I’d written Wednesday’s post, but I think it’s worth sharing. Great work from The Star team:
In Wednesday’s post we were expecting Helen and Andy, and I said I’d let you know how it went? Well as expected we had a splendid time; it was so special to spend time with them again. The fish and chips were delicious if I say so myself! The best batter I’ve made to date …
When we were trading, we spent many happy weekends together. We all sorely miss that camaraderie. They’ll be out on Wand’ring Bark and The Jam Butty over the coming weeks. But stopping intermittently around the Birmingham area selling their delicious jams and chutneys. Do stop them to buy some if you spot them!
Last year we spent a few days at Shugborough while our eldest grandson was on board. It’s such a magnificent place. On Thursday the three of us had a wander over the Essex Bridge, and around the outskirts of Shugurough estate. We no longer have National Trust membership, so we didn’t go in. Kim and I also had work and study commitments, so there was sparse time. But even a short stroll was a joy.
Lying 250 metres northeast of Shugborough Hall, the Essex Bridge is a Grade I listed packhorse bridge over the River Trent. It was built in 1550 by the then Earl of Essex for Queen Elizabeth I. It’s been a listed ‘Scheduled Monument’ since 1934. When the Queen visited the estate, having the bridge meant she could go hunting in the woodland nearby. It’s now the longest remaining packhorse bridge in England, with 14 of its original 40 span arches left. Kim decided we looked as though we were on two points of the same star for our photo, which I thought was an awesome analogy.
In a field of their own (enter at your own risk, there’s a bull in there!), are some incredibly handsome ‘Longhorn Cattle‘. Their horns almost meet in the middle! There were quite a few calves too, who were rather intrigued by us. Though that’s unlikely, to be honest, humans wander past every day.
“Despite their horns, they have an incredibly docile nature. They are excellent mothers and tend to have no trouble calving independently. The longhorn has good longevity and they are able to keep breeding past usual cattle age. They also have a thriftiness and hardiness that, together with their level lactation, means they do not put themselves through any undue stress.”https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shugborough-estate/features/longhorn-cattle
Painful Decisions In Handsacre
We made it to Handsacre by Thursday evening and were able to re-connect in person with my older sister Kath. As it’s now less than three weeks until our scheduled flight to New Zealand, I made the painful decision to give her all the plants I’ve been nurturing on board. They are like my babies! The cherry tomato plant has another six tomatoes growing, one of which was JUST turning colour from green to a tinge of red. One of the ‘mystery’ plants has recently begun budding, so it won’t be too long before we’ll discover what it is. The forlorn sunflower is starting to burst into life again, and the mint and parsley are both looking healthy and happy.
I’d forgotten how challenging these transition periods between the two hemispheres can become. Saying farewell to the plants was a struggle, saying farewell for now to family will be painful …
COVID-19 Symptom Study
Have I already said that the number of people reporting is now over 4 million? I recall the team saying that 5 million would be amazing, as it will make their data more accurate. They’re almost there …
I’ve been wearing a face mask a few times now when visiting shops since Friday. It’s pretty surreal I must say, but also rather reassuring. What I really don’t understand is why it’s taken so long? Why now? Why not during lockdown? I realise the reasons, don’t get me wrong, it just feels like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted …
To make sure we have enough masks, I’ve started making some from the pattern that Helen shared with me previously. It’s this one if you’re interested: http://eatpraycreate.com/2020/03/diy-face-mask-tutorial-and-pattern.html
It’s a very simple pattern and the masks fit snugly. Helen sent me a purple one that I’ve been wearing. However, I’ve recently purchased a hand sewing machine and I managed to only make one on Saturday evening. I am going to need some practice to perfect it! I’m making paua and sunflower (the theme of our NZ wedding) masks …