Rainy skies, good friends

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July 28th 2017
Published: July 28th 2017
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The King Lock Inn, Middlewich
On Tuesday night we walked with Steve and Sue round the corner to the local pub, the Rose and Crown. It was Quiz night and as we had met through the quiz on the ship we had to get the team partly back together. We had dinner there and then managed to come equal last. The questions were pretty UK based but what did it for us was that there were only 20 general knowledge questions and then 20 identify photos and then a music round and a TV round. Not our strong points!! After the quiz there was a card game where Ace was high and you had to get through all the cards on the board by calling higher or lower. Our ticket was pulled out to go first and the card turned around was a King so Fletcher naturally said lower. Of course, it was revaled as an Ace!! How unlucky was that. The man who went next got through the lot and won 200 pounds!! However, we had a fun time!!

Wednesday saw Fletcher and I drive two hours north to a town called Middlewich to meet Chris and Cath Heaton, Norm Harrison's sister and her

The smallest canal in England
husband. They came down from Preston.Steve had picked out a pub called The King's Lock which overlooked a canal and a major lock there. It was a very rainy day and the drive there was not pleasant. We got onto a toll road which cost us 4 pounds and the spray from the huge trucks made it difficult to see. However, the GPS kept us on track. We arrived about 30 minutes early so walked along the canal. There was a Chandler's shop and a small boatyard and then entering the larger lock was a small canal coming in at right angles. This was the shortest canal in Britain.

Cath and Chris arrived promptly and it was great to see them again. The pub was cosy inside and the waitress very friendly and helpful. The menu was better than the standard pub offerings so we anticipated a great meal. It started well. Fletch and Cath had garlic prawns which they said were very tasty and crisp, while I had tomato soup which was delicious. In true Lancashire style Chris tucked into some black pudding. We all ordered the duck for main course and while it was presented well it was overcooked and rather dry. The conversation and camaraderie made up for it though and we spent a pleasant three hours chatting away..

The drive back was less rainy but we got into peak hour time so there were some slow patches . I refigured the GPS to avoid toll roads and that worked,but it was after 5-30 when we got back. Steve had to go to his Rugby Club meeting so he dropped Sue and us off at a local Indian restaurant, Shahi. This had some very tasty food and we enjoyed the meal there. Steve picked us up and over a bottle or two of red we chin wagged late into the night. It is so nice to be at someone's house where you feel most welcomed and at home.

Thursday morning we farewelled the Hindson's and headed south. We had loosely planned a route that took us to Arundel where I had booked two nights at a Comfot Inn. Again it was overcast but sunny when we left and this time I programmed the GPS to minimise motorways as we wanted to see the countyside.However, we ran into a massive traffic jam at

High Street in Tewkesbury
the turn off to our first planned stop, Tewkesbury, as the Motorway ahead was jam packed after an accident and everyone was trying to get off. We crawled into the town. We had seen Tewkesbury Abbey on the Antiques Roadshow and knew the town was very old and historic. We parked next to the Abbey but explored the centre of town first. There were many historic buildings, especially some Tudor houses and the streets had colourful banners of heraldic shields flying from many of the shops. We learnt that these were the arms of those who had fought in the Battle of Tewksebury in 1471, a decisive battle in the War of the Roses. The local historical society maintained them. We stopped at a couple of bookstores and Fletcher found the Vitamin B tablets he needed at a local health shop. Returning to the Abbey we went inside. This church had been founded in 1087 and was consecrated in 1121. When Henry VIII abolished the monasteries in 1540 it was purchased by the townspeople to be their parish church and as such it has remained to this day. It is a wondrous piece of architecture with many side chapels and

Town Hall in Tewkesbury
elaborate carvings. Memorial plaques cover the floor, spanning the nearly 900 years of history of the church. We spent about forty minutes here wandering through. There are some beautiful modern stained glass windows which were installed in 2002 to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the arrival of the Cistercian monks.

From there we drove in the direction of Gloucester but the traffic was still horrendous so we went on towards Cirencester. This was originally a Roman town called Corinium and as it was lunchtime we decided to stop for something to eat and a quick look. Finding a park in the Forum car park we walked to the main street and went into The Bear for lunch. We had a nice meal there though the service was very slow. Fletcher opted for the chicken, ham and leek pie while I settled for Haddock and chips. After that we walked into the high street and enjoyed the atmosphere and the well-kept facade of the town.The small streets and the many old buildings were interesting and we also went into the Church of St John th Baptist. This was the former Cirencester Abbey built originally in the 12th century with many

Banners of Heraldic Shields
additions during the 15th and 16th. Again it was beautiful with wonderful stained glass windows and memorials to those long gone. Not as large as Tewkesbury but it had its own character.

By this time it was 3-15pm and we still had a long way to go. We headed towrds Winchester to see the Kinks' Winchester Cathedral. Fletcher was doing all the driving and he made it tthough rain and sunshine. About two hours later we were coming into Winchester but the way the GPS took us we could not see the Cathedral and we ended up driving round in circles before giving up and going on towards Arundel.. Now we were in peak hour traffic so it was a slower drive. At one point the Sat Nav lady went beserk and kept sending us round in a loop!. We worked out where we should be and reprogrammed her!! At Arundel we had trouble finding the Motel and had to ask twice before discovering it off the road in a Services area with a McDonald's and a BP petrol station. Weary after a long day we were glad to get into the room which was perfectly fine with free WiFi. Later we walked along the road to a local pub where we had a very good meal. Although this was a Beefeater chain hotel we selected the less obvious dishes and they were great. Again Fletcher had garlic prawns while I settled for some very tasty duck pate. Then we both had the Arrabiata Linguine with meatballs. Delicious. Tomorrow we will explore the southern coast.

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16



Tewkesbury Abbey

Soaring architecture

Ceiling above the altar

The Denny windows 2002. Tewkesbury Abbey

High Street Chester

Church of St John Baptist, Chester

Side street in Chester

Inside St John Baptist Church

Stained glass windows

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