(The Count of Monte Cristo was really handy as one of last Saturday's GK crossword clues was his personal name (6,6). It's Edmond Dantès, of course.)
A notice explained that this was so that you had something to read whilst waiting for your food to be cooked to order and that reading glasses were available from the bar in case you'd forgotten yours. The menu was quite short but more than adequate, real boater's food that reminded us of the Boar's Head in Poynton. We were feeling sharp set so ordered a starter and main course each. This was a bit of a mistake as the portions were huge and we couldn't finish any of them. And all that for less than £25 plus drinks which came in at under a fiver for a pint and a half.
After we'd eaten as much as we could and were preparing to waddle home, the landlord took a bit of trouble to chat to us about our boating and our cruising plans in a non-intrusive way, just making us feel at home. Definitely a pub to go back to, though probably either for just a main course or maybe starter, chips and dessert. The desserts were things like rice pudding or blackcurrant cheese cake...
Despite our gluttony, we both slept well and managed a prompt start this morning. It was an excellent cruise along what must be a contender for the most picturesque length of canal in the country. You can keep the Caldon and the Llangollen if I can have the southern Staffs and Worcs. Sheila was locking and was soon working off all that steak and chips, not to mention the large portions of "rabbit food" that came with everything. (Well, ok, maybe not the rice pudding.)
Every lock was against us and had to be turned and for most of the morning we didn't see another boat on the move. Down and down we went until we reached Stewponey, the place that always reminds me of the Reverend Spooner reciting The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna:
Like I say, scary food!
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his horse to the rampart we curried
Anyway, on we went and got to Kinver just after eleven. There was plenty of room on the visitor moorings, though they've comprehensively filled up now. We've had a trip up into the village, bought pre-war sausages from the butcher and some other bits and bobs from the Co-op. It's turned out really fine and warm again, so most of the rest of the afternoon has been spent sitting on the bow, reading and smiling cheerfully to the passers-by. I must say, the locals make very good use of their canal towpath for walking, cycling, dog exercising, you name it.
An easier day tomorrow, just on to Wolverley before the final run through Kidderminster to Stourport.