The Ashby canal continues very prettily along and we saw a kestrel and some buzzards in the morning. There are two warnings about the Ashby, in the canal descriptions and raptor attack is not one of them. Mooring places are a bit restricted due to how it was built, so there are only certain places it will be possible to stop and get close to the side to moor, and the other thing to be aware of is that the rural idyll doesn’t provide many big shopping opportunities. I thought I was okay for making evening meals but we had not managed fresh bread yesterday and the milk we had didn’t seen very fresh tasting. We were then very pleased to see a sign to a farm shop. That would do very nicely indeed. Shane was hoping it was possible to pull in to moor up and it was proving a little tricky. I went to the front to jump off – I didn’t get that far as there was a further notice saying the farm shop was not open.
Often Shane bakes bread, but he has left the yeast in Edinburgh, having taken it away when the fridge was being switched off. I improvised by making some wholemeal (we had run out of white flour) “girdle” scones in the frying pan, to have with cheese for lunch. Scones were a good use of souring milk.
We had found a good mooring that was on the non towpath side for lunch and it was near a village so while Shane was on a video call with past colleagues, I was going to see what the village had to offer. Shane had suggested I could cross the field as there was a stile and the cows had gone, but when we looked they were back. They might have some very fresh milk but I wasn’t going to try that.
I was taking the long way round but was glad it was uphill as the return with shopping would be downhill, an improvement on yesterday when the return trips from the Prince’s Street convenience store in Nuneaton, with shopping and very lovely Indian lunch, were uphill. Stoke Golding is small but had a claim to fame. It seems King Henry VII was crowned here and it is only 3 days from the anniversary.
There was only one convenience store but I had a short look around the village too and came across a little honesty box stall with the eclectic mix of apples, tomatoes and hay for sale (at other times eggs, strawberries or pears might be available according to the signs). Unfortunately I only had 60p in cash and everything was bagged up at £1 or more a bag. The tomatoes looked really good and were described as fresh, sweet and juicy, very tempting.
The shop had plenty of milk and I collected some other items and paid (with a card) then after I left I thought of something else I hadn’t looked for. It was not there but I noticed a pack of part-baked baguette which are a handy fallback and keep well. I took them to the counter but encountered the same problem, the shop didn’t take a card for items under £1. This was more easily resolved than the honesty stall. I could buy some other items until it was over £3 and that made the shopkeeper happy.
The cows were still in the field so I avoided the shortcut again. I made a start at sorting out wool since I thought I had all my colours until Shane was finished his call. He was keen to get going again to not fall behind so he wasn’t up for popping into the village for tomatoes. Once we had gone beyond the boat hiring base, the going was likely to be slower and hurrying would not be an option. One boat had just been shouted at for going too fast past the moored boats, by someone in a moored boat.
We did not meet many going the other way but when we did it was usually at a narrow point and it was clearly shallow away from the middle, and we were touching the bottom when we moved to the side. Shane met someone travelling backwards through a bridge and was manoeuvring to a mooring spot he had overshot. He did well but was slow going. We were feeling we had time for a short stop ourselves since there was an ice cream boat. Shane gave his order and I went over while he stayed with the boat. We were in for another shopping disappointment. No one was to be seen manning the stall. I had to cheer Shane up by making Pimm’s in stead.
We had better luck with our timing for the end of the day when we managed to slot in at the end of a set of moorings just beside the water point and a marina. We want to explore staying there for a night when we are on our way back. An evening stroll took us through the marina to check it out, just as it was getting dark. We saw a few bats, much smaller than the ones we saw the other night (in Bat Signal); a sign that claims we are half way but it is deceiving since the canal does not go that far; and a sunset over the marina.