It was not actually raining when we set out this morning, but after an hour or so it was coming down heavily enough that we moored the boat to sit it out. About five hours later it was still raining, but the sky was brightening up, and it was down to a light drizzle so we set off again, through the only lock in twenty five miles of canal. We stopped at a watering point to fill the tank with fresh water, and the skies opened. It rained heavier than it had all day. So we sat there for another forty minutes waiting for the final band of rain to pass over.
Ah, rain! You do so much for the character of English summers, and indeed the English themselves. They set off in the morning full of hope but carrying an umbrella just in case. By lunchtime they are drenched and the umbrella has been turned inside out by the wind, but they squelch on through the mud, wellies leaking, not because it is in any way pleasurable or beneficial, but simply out of a sense of duty. Having started out, you can’t turn back just because of a drop of rain. By tea time they manage to convince themselves that the rain will stop soon. By the time the pubs open in the evening, they feel they have earned a drink, and by the second or third pint they have convinced themselves they had a wonderful day.
Finally we moved on again to Gnosall (pronounced No-sull if you are trying to sound posh or Nozzle if you want to piss off the residents). Historic Gnosall is trying desperately to hang on to remnants of rural quaintness in the face of encroaching down market commuter housing estates. Here’s the one remaining thatched building in the main street.
It has a few bricks missing, but with the cost of thatched roofs these days you can’t expect them to maintain the walls as well.
Gnosall is taking the “Best Kept Village” competition very seriously. There are posters on all the lampposts telling people that this is a dog poo free zone. Someone should tell the dogs that, I nearly stepped in some.
Here’s Paula outside the Micro Pub.
There are also at least four full sized pubs, but apparently that wasn’t enough, so they squeezed in another. In the traditional legend, Saint George was supposed to kill the dragon, not go out to the boozer with it, but he hasn’t been the same since 1969 when the Catholic Church downgraded St. George’s Day to an optional feast day. As for the dragon, he’s probably drowning his sorrows like everyone else after the Iceland game.