Monday, 23 January 2012

Wrenbury, Grindley Brook and the dogs lead.

We moved up to Wrenbury last Wednesday, just by Baddiley Locks you look across the fields to Baddiley Hall and it's attendant church. The classical lines of this Georgian house are just sublime, shame modern housing can't look this good.

At Baddiley bottom lock we were greeted by a cheerful song,

we pointed out that he was too late to audition for Christmas cards and would need to wait 'til next Christmas. They look cute but actually they are nasty bits of work, quite happy to kill another robin that intrudes on their territory, but they are our national bird, perhaps a comment on the English?

At Wrenbury you meet the first Llangollen lift bridge, form and function equals elegance.
That night we decided that, as we hadn't had a meal out for a while, we would grace the portals of The Dusty Miller,

it turned out to be a wise decision. Scallops and black pudding for a starter followed by pan fried duck breast and it was cooked to perfection. Jill's smoked salmon followed by a steak was just as good and we rounded it off with the cheese board. The Robinson's bitter was really well looked after and the service impeccable. Being mid week in winter it was really quiet, how good it would all be on a busy weekend at the height of the season I can't say but if you are feeling flush and fancy a really good nosh up, give it a shot.
Next day we wandered up to the village shop for milk, needless to say we had to go and have a look at the church,

a close examination disclosed no ancient graffiti but it did have a couple of interesting features,

a three storey pulpit and

the ends of the pews were decorated with the coats of arms of the local bigwigs, apparently it was to stop arguments about who could sit where, but my favourite was right at the back of the church, just by the door,

it's the dog whippers pew, the dog whipper's job was to keep the local dogs out of the church and to make sure none of the congregation dozed off during the vicars sermons, those were the days.
We stayed at Wrenbury until this morning because of the rotten weather, can't be doing with cruising in a force eight gale, but at 0900 we were off. At Marbury on the lock side,

our first snowdrops, just about three weeks early.
Then on to Grindley Brook and it's locks.

This is the bottom of the three normal locks which you climb and then you arrive at the three staircase locks. We had to wait at the bottom of the staircase as there was a boat coming down and I thought, "I will put the coolie hat back on top of the chimney," the wind on Saturday had blown it off. So I went to retrieve it from under the cratch where we had stowed it, as I lifted it out I managed to catch the dogs lead with it, the lead immediately headed downwards towards the water so I dropped the coolie hat and made a wild grab for the lead, which I missed. A second later and the only trace of the lead was a circle of ripples on the surface of the canal, the coolie hat was looking decidedly battered where it had hit the concrete and Jill was yelling that the other boat was coming out of the lock and to get moving. It was enough to make a strong man quail, not being a strong man I merely panicked.
By now Jill had got Dai, from Jandai, helping her on the locks so there was nothing to do but but abandon the dog lead and make my miserable way into the locks.

Like all the best stories this one had a happy ending, having parked Armadillo on the water point at the top of the locks I left Jill stuffing the dirty laundry into the washing machine and, armed with my trusty seasearcher magnet, I went back to the scene of the disaster and after a few casts up came the dogs lead, it's a chain one so the magnet had no trouble retrieving it. I rushed back and showed my trophy to Jill who merely sighed and raised her eyes heavenward, oh well.

Watch this space.............

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