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.
I’m afraid that boat name reduced my inner nine-year-old to a chortling jelly. (For overseas readers, chortling jelly is a Lincolnshire delicacy served with fishpaste and goat scratchings, and to slowly go no. 2 is what you do after it.)
As our regular readers may have noticed, I try to give pronunciations for some of the weirder English and Welsh place names. However, this one is tricky.
Several written sources say is it pronounced Chum-ston, but one recorded source sounds like CHURM-stun. There’s only a hundred and fifty people who live there, but what if they don’t all agree? Maybe the Smiths at number five think they live in Chol-stone, the Browns at number seven think it’s Chipshop, and the Jones at number eleven aren’t speaking to anyone.