Our regular readers may remember our visit last year to Wightwick (pronunced WIT-ik) Manor, which houses a large collection of terminally boring Pre-Raphaelite paintings. I’m not going to inflict that on you again, so here’s a picture of the great hall there, which had hardly any Pre-Raphaelites visible if you look at it from here.
The gardens are nice too, and there is next to no chance of being bored to tears by Pre-Raphaelites there.
But oh, dear, since we were last there, the outbuildings have been taken over by as tedious a collection of Pre-Raphaelites as you are likely to come across if you take a wrong turning in the National Gallery.
This, I kid you not, is The Little Mermaid, before Disney recruited her up and made her sign a no-nudity clause.
Of course, Disney got her off the opiates and onto ecstasy. (What? You think people fall in love at first sight without the aid of drugs? Let alone wear a bra made out of seashells… There’s good bra material like cloth, leather, or even chainmail, that is flexible with round edges. Then there is bad bra material like sandpaper, plate glass, or sea shells, which is inflexible with sharp edges. Seriously, nobody who wasn’t tripping would want a bra where you face the risk of major lacerations if things get a bit bouncy.)
The new paintings are all by Evelyn De Morgan, who for a Victorian lady seems to have spent a lot of time painting naked women. Her husband spent all of his money and most of hers trying to get a perfect metallic gaze on pottery. Here’s a plate he did in which the rigging on the sailboat is almost but not quite right.
After Witick (spelled Wightwick) we headed on down the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. (We said goodbye to the Shropshire Union this morning.) This is another of Brindley’s canals, but unlike the Bridgewater, he started using locks on this one. They are fairly easy to use with bridges at the lower end, but our last locks for the day were decidedly weird. The Bratch Locks are a flight of three lock with almost no distance between them, so there is a complicated color coded sequence of moves to get a boat through.
Luckily the lock keeper, who was just quitting for the day, stayed around for long enough to get us started. While Paula took the boat into the locks, I was sent off to open all the blue paddles.