Tixall Wide

We are on a long weekend at Tixall. Yesterday we travelled up to Stone (by rail as usual) and left Aston Marina for Weston. Before we left we got our provisions at the marina farm shop and had lunch in the bistro. The marina swans are growing quickly. The pen was feeding her three cygnets with grass from the bank.

Pen and cygnets at Aston Marina

We cruised south through Sandon in drizzle, moored up at Weston and explored the village. It was looking spick and span as they have entered the Best Kept Village competition. The village green is impressive.

Just before we went out for the evening we were visited by a pen and her cygnets. She had five cygnets in tow but it was difficult to tell exactly how many since some of the cygnets kept hitching a ride on her back.
Can I have a lift?

Best seat!

That night we ate at the Woolpack which is popular local. They were doing an offer on a free bottle of wine for every couple. Ours is now in Albert's fridge.

We awoke at around 4:30 to the dawn chorus, fell back to sleep and were rudely awakened at 6:00 by two Canada geese having an argument. Eventually they were driven off by the male swan. He also attacked Albert as we left. He had had a go at us earlier in the year and with young to protect he has lost none of his aggressive instincts. He continued chasing us for about half a mile.

Cob attacking Albert's stern fender

Maggie at Weston Lock, note the new can

We had an uneventful trip down to Great Haywood and turned onto the Staffs & Worcester. We found Tixall Wide relatively quite and chose a suitable spot to moor up.

 Growing strawberries on tables - not so back-breaking for hand picking
A CRT piling crew working near Great Haywood Junction

On the Friday afternoon we took a circular walk to Tixall Lock, Milford, into Shugbrough Estate for tea at the National Trust Team Room, and then back to Tixall via Great Heywood. The weather was dull, which was not as promised, but at least it wasn't raining.
NB Shakespeare at Tixall Lock

Tixall Lock Farm from Shugborough Estate.
(The crane near the lock can be seen; the River Sow is in the foreground)

Rhododendrons at Shugborough

Bee covered with pollen feeding on rhododendron

Tomorrow we shall spend another day at Tixall and will probably look around the mansion at Shugborough.