Sunday, 23 April 2017

Heigh ho for Hanbury Hall

Our choice of mooring has proved to be very good indeed. Although the railway line is not far away, the train noise didn't penetrate our sleep at all. Boat traffic has been sporadic – it was much busier yesterday, which is probably to do with the ebb and flow of hire fleets. As so often, the hirers have been well-behaved as regards passing speed; it's the privateers that tend to zoom by, especially one advertising the Droitwich Festival on behalf of the Worcester, Birmingham and Droitwich Canal Society. Although we've moored Sanity Again in our usual thorough manner with bow, stern and spring lines, we fairly banged against the piling as they went by :(.

We spent the morning doing a bit of internal boat cleaning and tidying. It was cool enough first thing to need the Squirrel lit, but it's fairly warmed up now.

This afternoon, we made an expedition to Hanbury Hall, about 15 minutes walk away across the fields. This was indeed a bit of an expedition. The route is easy enough, a couple of obvious field paths then a track from the boundary of the National Trust property to the house. There are, however, a number of substantial stiles and two of the fields are currently occupied by six foot high oil-seed rape plants. I was irresistibly reminded of the verse in that scurrilous song "The Wild West Show" about the three foot high pygmies and the nine foot high elephant grass, but this being a family blog, I won't repeat it here.

Once at the house, we wandered round looking for somewhere to show our NTS membership cards, but eventually just presented ourselves at the front door where the stewards checked us in without further formality. The car park and reception hut are over on the other side of the grounds from where you arrive from the canal if you want to go and get a map of the place.

It's an interesting house and well stewarded. The Vernon family were politically active in the stirring times of the late 17th and early 18th centuries (that is, the Glorious Revolution, Queen Anne and then the accession of George I) and the house was re-modelled internally a couple of times with the changing tastes of the period. It's presently been dressed as an example of Baroque style.

In addition, the grounds are of great interest, including a very formal parterre garden.

Back at the boat and feeling well exercised, we've been sitting out on the bow drinking Alpro coconut milk and watching the world go by. Tomorrow, we'll work up the Astwood flight and tie at the foot of the Stoke Locks.


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