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Month: June 2017

Return to Nantwich

Return to Nantwich

I’m not sure what this gargoyle is meant to represent. Perhaps it’s a dreadful warning of what happens if you have sex with sheep. We visited Nantwich last year, but did not have time to visit the church or museum, so we rectified that this time. At first glance the church of St Mary looks like a typical old village church… … but there are some lovely details in both the stone and wood carving, including this delightful study of…

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A Brief Guide To Kings Called Richard

A Brief Guide To Kings Called Richard

The English royal family doesn’t have that many names for kings and queens, and some of them they give up on. For instance, there has only ever been one King John, for as every A A Milne fan will tell you, King John was not a good man There is never likely to be a Queen Jane, because then the powers that be would have to deal with the tricky question of whether Lady Jane Grey was actually queen for…

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For The Rain It Raineth

For The Rain It Raineth

When that I was and a little tiny boy, With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, A foolish thing was but a toy, For the rain it raineth every day. The weather forecast hasn’t changed much since Shakespeare’s day. The rain looked set for the day, so we stayed in Chester this morning. Greg and Karen went to the Grovesner Museum, and Paula and I hit the thrift stores. By lunchtime it was down to the familiar soul destroying…

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Back to Chester

Back to Chester

This morning it rain, rain, rained, like wet stuff falling from the sky. We waited to elevenish when the rain was down to the soul-destroying drizzle that does so much to create the British sense of overwhelming pessimism, and set out back to Chester. The journey back though the weeds of the North Shropshire Union (which is of course in Cheshire, not Shropshire, if you are keeping track) was interrupted by another stop to remove weed from the prop, and…

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The Mighty Cornflake Barge

The Mighty Cornflake Barge

Imagine if you will a 20th century kernel of maize shipped from the Great Plains through the Great Lakes, down the St Lawrence Seaway, across the Atlantic, up the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal to the Manchester Docks. From there it must make its way to the heavily fortified Kellogg’s factory on the Bridgewater Canal to be transformed into cornflakes for the breakfast tables of England. For those last few miles it would have been transferred to the Bigmere….

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The Chester Rows

The Chester Rows

Downtown Chester follows the plan of the Roman camp that it was based on, so the streets are straight and in a rough grid system. However, the main shopping streets have another unique feature that is considerably more recent, dating back only to the 13th or 14th century, and that is the two story retail experience that is know as the Chester Rows. The second floor (or first floor if you are English) of all the buildings is set back…

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More Feathered Friends

More Feathered Friends

This is Paula with a gyrfalcon. Gyrs can sell for up to a quarter of a million dollars each in Saudi Arabia, so you could probably buy a house in Chester for the cost of this bird. On the other hand, who needs a house when you could have a pet that can travel at two hundred miles an hour? More feathered friends later, but first, the minstrels’ court. As usual, the Welsh were to blame. 1n 1204 they were…

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Some More Kings Called Henry

Some More Kings Called Henry

Here we are in Chester, where according to popular myth it is still legal to shoot a Welshman with a crossbow after midnight on Sunday if he is within the city walls. According to other versions of the myth you have to use a longbow and be standing on the city walls. This is of course nonsense. The legend stems from the rebellion of Owain Glynd┼Ár (pronounced WHO-CARES-HE’S-WELSH) and Sir Henry “Hotspur” Percy against King Henry VI Part 1, who…

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In Which A Swan Tries To Eat Our Dinner

In Which A Swan Tries To Eat Our Dinner

Battle swans can be quite aggressive about demanding food with menaces. This one stuck its head in the kitchen window and suggested that Paula cook dinner for it. We headed north on the Shropshire Union this morning. Soon we hit the Bunbury staircase locks, where I had to help two boats up before we could go down. That was complicated by the fact that the last people to go through it had not fully closed one of the bottom paddles,…

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The Middlewich Branch

The Middlewich Branch

Today we ended our brief flirtation with the Trent and Mersey and took the Middlewich Branch to the Shropshire Union. We had our first flight of narrow locks of the journey. These are only a few inches wider than the boat, so it’s quite hard to get into them without bumping and scraping. I’m happy to say Paula did a great job, though. If you’ve ever wondered why swans sometimes swim with one foot in the air… … they’re just…

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