Joules StoneNo idea what we were up to when we started out, but Stone to Barlaston used to be an emoored at Barlastonpic journey and really isn’t so far at all. Perhaps it was because travelling beyond Stone was heading into the unknown.

Barlaston turned into a couple of days as the Wedgewood estate and Trentham Gardens are top Meaford Locksnarrowboat entertainment. Trentham Gardens effectively got closer to the canal as we found a footpath across the golf course, it took a bit of ball swerving but did the job.

Meaford locks were busy. Arriving at the top of Stone a guy hung about, glasses on, glasses off, intentMeaford Locksly inspecting the paddle gear.

‘Are you the lock keeper?’

‘No, they don’t really have individual lock keepers anymore.towpath tunnel Stone

‘Well, what does this mechanism do?’

He stood waitinggoodbye tiller handle for an answer, so I explained the difference between gate and ground paddles, after which he frowned at me disapprovinly,

‘You need to get some oil and squirt it down there, dreadful state you’ve let these get in.’

And off he went, tutting all the way over the bridge.Stone

What with him and the normal looking dog walker yelling all she wanted was ‘A quiet walk!’ we began to wonder what’s going down in Stone. Sue and Kev, are you out there? Are you okay?!

This afternoon was used for picking up some shopping then cutting off the tiller after it fell victim to a bit of a bad glue job. Taking a hacksaw to it felt so wrong and lobbing it in the Morso afterwards even more so, but there’s no sentimental space for clutter like old tiller handles in 60ft living…no matter how many miles you’ve clung to it for.