The cafe at Trent Lock was charcterful to say the least! It had a large list of specials in addition to the standard menu including rabbit stew, and duck stew, definitely not available in most cafes. I had faggots, mash and mushy peas since I like to have something I don’t cook at home. The inside was a bit like a museum and each table had unusual cruet sets. I was struck immediately I went in by the horse head on the wall, wearing crocheted and betasseled ear covers.

Adorned horse in cafe by Trent Lock

We sat in the other room next to the model canal boat. Shane spotted that you could open a side door by pulling a string and the tiny ornaments were in display. My last blog included a picture of a boat stove, for cooking as well as heating and this has a tiny stove inside too. The painted stool is about the size of my fingernail.

I feel I need to go again to have a cake some day. As well as a host of cakes there was gooseberry tart available. My drink came in a glass with a sugar frosted rim, but also a straw giving me little opportunity to try the sugar.

Elderflower cordial nicely presented

We were doing a return journey, diverted to Shardlow for fuel polishing. There were pretty flowers around, but also a huge pile of furniture beside a boat that looked abandoned. It had seemed at first like someone had emptied the boat to work on it and had it under a bridge so it wasn’t affected by wet weather, but we had now seen it over a prolonged time with no sign of any owner there or the pile shifting. Sometimes things like that are reported and cleared, but it still looks a bit like a work in progress.

We had recently seen some people magnet fishing but with their magnet stuck. They often find metal things in the canal like bikes, mooring spikes and windlasses. These people were not managing to get their haul and the magnet was sticking tight and we fear they would have to cut their line, increasing the rubbish in the water rather than clearing it.

Just outside Nottingham we had noticed an obstruction in the middle. We are used to seeing odd bits of rubbish: plastic bottles, carrier bags, footballs, bits of wood, but this had taken dumping their rubbish in the canal to a whole new crazy level. It was still there the next time we came though.

We were heading back to Nottingham and Shane read that it had been reported as an obstruction. It will be dealt with.

We were still not hurrying and found time to go to a nature park. We did get a good display of martins there and grebes on the pond while we sat at the cafe were a highlight. The hides however revealed very little. There were some swans and martins nest holes, but no martins going in and out of the nest. There was also a bird’s nest in the hide itself but w didn’t see any occupants. The main sightings were on the board in the hide. Plus the one small fish in the tern’s mouth and the magpie cracking some hard nut at the cafe. They were both amusing.

It was a nice walk anyway. We headed on to Nottingham. We had three main aims there. We walked to the Post office to collect Shane’s bike bolt 🔩  and ticked that off our list. I got a a good view of the Trip to Jerusalem built into the rock below the castle. It is amazing that with hand tools it occurred to them to dig rooms out of the rock. A passage runs down inside the rock between the two levels. Several buildings in Nottingham have underground rooms hewn from the rock. Pity there is a bin in front.

Pub built into the rock below and palace above with hidden passage dug out between

We did need to get some shopping in too and it was near our mooring. On my first supermarket visit I was hungry and made crazy impulse purchases on the way to the bread counter which was the main target. I grabbed a pineapple and some bananas. I hardly ever buy pineapple but have managed to incorporate  it into three completely different meals.

I went back to the supermarket the next day. It wasn’t just for provisions. It was also to dispose of soft plastic. The bag in our bin seemed full but the nature of these squishy plastics meant they easily packed into a much smaller bag so I was able to move them into less than half the apparent volume and drop them off.

Our other aim was a pumpout. We were moored right beside the marina that was advertised as open every day. They have a very awkward shaped entrance but Shane made an expert job of the snaking turn and then turned to reverse in to the service mooring. I went to the office. The door was locked. There was a closed sign on the window and no reply to the phone. So much for that. We went back to our mooring and waited overnight, when Shane  tried walking in to see, but again the marina was unstaffed. The temperamental tank gauge is flashing red.

Newark has two possible pump out facilities, so we are on our way there. En route we saw the bin has been partially removed. It isn’t as great a navigation hazard but it won’t get emptied by the council here.

Bin now secured to the bank but still underwater

It was a dull start to the day today but we wanted to make headway. I worked a lock one of the CRT workers (on gardening not locking duty) said he hoped the day improved for us. There were a lot of staff there last time. They had warned us about wet paint on the bollards and we had intended to get water but left it till later when we saw they were painting the water point.

No water for us that day: woman painting the water point

We hope we reach Newark tomorrow and the day did brighten up, then it rained torrentially after we had moored up. We are hoping for better weather tomorrow too but got the awesome sight at the end of the day, before I made my veggie Hawaiian pizza. Sometimes a bad episode ends spectacularly.

Reflected double rainbow