Well yesterday was a bit different - Mary-Ann was interviewed by Sally Pepper for Radio Derby as part of their 'Staycation' series. It was broadcast this morning when Sally was LIVE at Mercia Marina.
If you missed the show you can listen to it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07ggvyc
#staycation #ukholiday #canalholiday #narrowboatholiday #visitderbyshire #visitengland #visitbritain #slowtravel #greentourism #sustainabletravel #conscioustravel #ruralbusiness #thisisrural #ruraltourism #bbcradioderby
#slowtravel #sustainabletravel #conscioustravel #ecofriendly #narrowboatholiday #VisitBritain #UKHoliday
As our route brought us towards the Trent and Mersey Canal, we were thrilled to see a Heron in flight. It briefly perched in a tree, before setting off on its way again, a treat to see.
We followed the canal under a handful of bridges meeting cyclists and dog-walkers along the way, until we reached Swarkestone lock. There we met a couple of narrowboaters about to enter the lock, and offered a helping hand. This was gratefully accepted and we helped with opening and closing the gates before waving them off on their journey.
If, you turn right out of Mercia Marina, you'll be on your way to Fradley Junction. From here you can head up the T&M through Great Haywood to Stone, the Staffordshire market town 7 miles south of Stoke on Trent.
The two Princes were converted to Christianity by St. Chad. One version of the story tells of how one day, while out hunting, they followed a white hart which led them to the saint, who was living as a hermit. St. Chad preached to the Princes and later baptised them. One of the King’s noblemen, Werebode, informed the King that two Princes had defied him and become Christians. The King was so angry at their defiance that he swore he would kill his sons. The two Princes managed to flee but the King rode after them and killed Rufin at Burston and Wulfad at Stone.
The Queen had their bodies buried together on the spot where Wulfad had fallen, and in accordance with Saxon custom, a large cairn of stones was placed over the grave. Wulfhere was overcome with remorse and eventually visited St. Chad to seek absolution, and in about 670 AD allowed the Queen to build a small priory on the site of the Princes grave. A small village began to grow around the priory, and was known as Stanes (Anglo-Saxon for stones) after the cairn of stones. Over the centuries the name became Stone.
Rufin and Wulfad are depicted in two of the windows in St Michael and St Wulfad’s Church. There is an altar dedicated to the Stone Martyrs in the Roman Catholic Church.
In fact we will have to return in Silver Ann 2 for a longer stay as there is so much to do in Stone: a river walk, Crown Meadow Nature Reserve, a comedy club, a spa, gin bar, restaurant with jazz nights and you are spoilt for choice on places to eat, from traditional British 'Farm to Table' restaurant to Thai, Italian, or American cuisine.
If you want to read about other places to visit or eat you can read more here
We are participating in English Tourism Week which is running from 30th March 2019 - 7th April 2019.
We will give a 10% discount off any holiday booked with us during English Tourism Week 2019. Offer ends midnight 7th April 2019.
#EnglishTourismWeek19 #VisitEngland #VisitBritain
More treats right on our doorstep in Willington can be found at Bevington’s Tea Room and I visited earlier this week as an early Mother's Day treat with my mum. This quaint white cottage in the village centre is the next-door neighbour of the Dragon, and may well be the cause of some agonising among the hungry over which of the two to visit. Bevington’s has everything you’d hope for in a traditional tea shop: rose-patterned wallpaper; vintage china, both on display and on the table; tea in proper teapots; fancy cups; sugar lumps with tongs; excellent tea and coffee; and a wide range of sweet and savoury delights.
You’re also assured of a friendly welcome, especially when you use your Silver Ann 2 discount card. If you’re lucky you might also be party to some of Mark’s banter with his regulars. They were discussing the next day’s lunch menu when we arrived; Mark was jokingly pondering adding Thai curry to the menu but the old boy didn’t fancy the prospect much. He was similarly wary of Coq au Vin, but much keener on Chicken in Red Wine!
As you can see, you won’t be disappointed if you plan to lunch at Bevington’s, and hearty breakfasts are also a speciality. But we were determined to take tea, and our three-tier, tea-for-two stand was piled high with goodies. White and granary sandwiches with beef & horseradish, home-cooked ham, chicken salad and cheese & tomato. Well-risen scones with a choice of strawberry and raspberry jams and clotted cream. And best of all, two thick slabs of sponge cake, which we took home for later. That evening, our verdict was that the salted caramel cake trumped the coffee and walnut. But it was very close.
You can read more about Bevingtons and other places to visit on our 'Things to Do' page here
Bevingtons Tea Room and Gifts, 5, The Green, Willington, DE65 6BP
After leaving the church we walked through Repton village to the ancient Cross. This was the centre of the medieval village, with its Wednesday market and two annual fairs. We admired the historic buildings scattered throughout the village; a 'Repton Trail' leaflet produced by Repton Village History Group provides interesting information on some of these buildings. You can find a copy on board the Silver Ann 2, along with some 'Repton Rambles' leaflets giving routes of some circular walks around the village.
Next we followed our noses to the 'Greedy Pig Butchers' where the delicious aroma of baking pies was wafting out of the doorway. Inside we found an array of tasty goodies: game pie; pheasant orange and port pie; pork pie topped with mango chutney; black pudding pate with beer all particularly caught my eye. There is a traditional meat counter, shelves of chutneys, sauces, baked goods and outside some fresh fruit and vegetables. A real gem of a find for those on a self-catering holiday. We snapped up one of the pies for our tea and can confirm it was as delicious as it smelt!
Book your self-catering holiday aboard the Silver Ann 2 today
Having got to Trent Lock too early ourselves for lunch we ate hearty sausage and mozzarella paninis and home-made cakes at the nature reserve, sat on the decking in the sunshine while grebes and tufted ducks dived for their own grub beneath us. We then made sure the army of wildfowl didn't go hungry either with some healthier bird seeds. Canada Geese and Whooper Swans ate (fairly) gently from the kids' hands. Best of all was a pair of Egyptian geese, with 9 adorable fluffy, days-old black and grey goslings.
Today I visited the charming Derbyshire village of Shardlow, whose rich canal heritage can be seen everywhere you look.
The bright and breezy early spring weather was perfect for a wander along the towpath. With the hawthorn in flower, daffodils in bloom, blossom in the trees and fluffy pussy willow branches it was a picture book scene.
Dan and I were not born and raised in Derbyshire, we hail originally from Sussex, another stunning part of England's wonderful landscape. We relocated about 6 years ago swapping the seaside for some spectacular scenery, and while I may occasionally daydream of the days the beach was a mere 100 yards from my doorstep I have fallen in love with our new surroundings and shall never tire of the amazing countryside of Derbyshire.
Intrigued by the shoe tree I have done a bit of 'googling' once home and cannot find what the significance of it is. There is some reference to a tradition of throwing the shoes of the recently deceased onto tree branches so that their spirit can walk closer to heaven. Other articles refer to "Shoefiti" and say the goal is to create a living, evolving art project, or possibly it begins with one impulsive gesture that catches on with others soon following suit. I have found that the tree has it's own Facebook Page with 59 followers, but there is no useful information there, only two random posts from 2014, and I have found that the tree pre-dates this by at least 10 years. If anyone can enlighten me as to how long the shoe tree has been there and what it's significance is I'd love to know. Does it have pagan roots? Is the tree at the end of a walking route and this started as an impulsive gesture by a walker discarding his old boots??? Who knows?!
In the UK alone, 11.7 million working days are lost annually due to stress, depression or anxiety. The average person spends 65.2 hours a week on the internet, while research shows that social media can negatively impact your mental health. So switch off, take a break, and surround yourself with nature to increase your happiness and better prepare yourself for day-to-day stresses.
Part of the joy of a holiday on the British waterways is the wildlife surrounding you. Waking up to the sound of chirruping coots; watching ducks land on the water and seeing swans gliding past your window are just a few of the delightful moments you can experience.
The nearby Attenborough Nature Reserve offers a great opportunity to spot native wildlife. It attracts large numbers of wintering wildfowl, as well as a variety of waders during spring and autumn migration. These include the little ringed plover and greenshank, as well as rarer visitors such as Temminck's stint and the curlew sandpiper. Other migrant birds that regularly pass through the reserve include whinchat, wheatear, osprey, black tern and little gull.
You can read more about waterways wildlife on our Wildlife page here
This week is National Farmhouse Breakfast week, so what better time to introduce our hearty Derbyshire breakfast offer. For only £7.50pp, we'll supply you with everything you need to kick off your holiday in the traditional way.
Local butchers sausages, back bacon, free-range eggs, black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes and -this is what makes this unique to our corner of the East Midlands - Derbyshire oatcakes, which are delicious, yeasted Katy pancakes. You probably won't even need to stop for lunch!
You can view our optional extras here: bit.ly/GNBExtras
#Shakeupyourwakeup #sustainabletourism #greentourism #ecotourism #narrowboat #holiday #dogfriendly #ecofriendly #visitderbyshire #visitbritain #britishholidays #ukholidays #selfcateringaccommodation #derbyshire #nottingham #derby #staffordshire #canalholiday #trentandmerseycanal
With this month being renamed 'Veganuary' by some it seems an appropriate time to be adding our vegan hamper to the website. This is an optional extra we offer in addition to the welcome hamper, which is included as standard.
As ever, we have tried to source as much as possible from local independent suppliers, but we have been a little surprised at how difficult this has proved, so we have had to rely on bigger name brands too.
You can find more information about the contents of this hamper and others we offer here:
We think Responsible Travel's 'Trip for a Trip' project is a wonderful idea, so we have been in touch with them and have committed to supporting the scheme.
For every holiday booked with us, we will fund a great day out for a disadvantaged child or youth.
You can read more about their project here
We are very pleased to announce that we have a loyalty scheme which local businesses are getting 'on board' with. Our customers will have a discount card to use for the duration of their holiday which enables them to receive discounts at local eateries and attractions.
Standing at the helm of the Silver Ann 2 you’ll certainly look the part on the Trent & Mersey. But will you sound the part as well? Here are some interesting and amusing terms you might want to add to your boating vocabulary, taken from ‘A Glossary of Canal Boating' at:
An interesting read for canal enthusiasts; the editor of the website welcomes contributions of any words you find he has missed. All of the following were commonly used by boatmen on England's canals. Most are still in widespread use but some are beginning to die out now that, sadly, the last of the working boatmen are no longer with us. Try and keep this bit of canal heritage going by using as many as you can!
If you'd like to stop gongoozling and get on board, you can book your holiday here
bobby dazzler A tiny light fitted to rear of cabin-top or stern of motor, shown at night or in a tunnel for benefit of butty steerer.
bread and larders Boatmen working between Napton and Oxford on the Oxford Canal.
Buckby/Buckby Can Common nickname nowadays for decorated water can (q.v.). The village of Buckby (on the 'Junction') was only one of a number of places where these were produced but name now seems to be all embracing.
cabbages Derogatory term for poorly painted roses on a decorated narrowboat.
canalcoholic (1) A hopelessly passionate canal enthusiast! (2) Same as (1) but who also is an over-zealous supporter of the canal-side pubs!
clough (pronounced clow or clew) A northern waterways word for a lock paddle or sluice
dolly An upright cylindrical metal deck fitting, with either concave sides or a button head, on a motor's counter to which ropes may be secured for tying up or towing. See also T-Stud.
ellum Traditional term for the steering apparatus of a narrowboat (mispronunciation of helm) .
engine hole (pronounced "engine'ole") (1) Narrowboat's engine room (2) Boatman's euphemism for w.c. (as in e.g. "I'm off to the engine'ole" - meaning going to the toilet) as this is where the toilet bucket woluld normally be kept in a commercial narrowboat.
fettle Tidy up a boat, making minor repairs and touching up paint.
fore-and-aft Both at the bow and the stern – often used to describe how a boat should be tied up.
gongoozler A term of unknown origin for someone who idly stands and stares, particularly at boats and especially at locks.
gonguzzler Another term of unknown origin for someone who not only idly stands and stares but also copiously drinks extra-strong lager, and its like, until they have to sit or lie down before they fall down; frequently to be seen alongside urban canals.
greasy ocker Boatmen's name for those working for the carriers Fellows Morton and Clayton, perhaps due to that company's Birmingham tallow trade or to a reported practice of protectively greasing their horses' hocks when towing paths were particularly muddy.
guillotine gate A lock gate raised and lowered vertically from overhead framework, common as a bottom gate on the Nene navigation.
gunnel Alternative (phonetic) spelling of gunwale.
gunwale The wale, or upper edge, of a boat's hull sides next to the bulwarks, if any. (So called because in fighting ships the upper guns were pointed from it). Pronounced 'gunnel'.
haling way Fenlands name for a towpath.
hand signals Much preferred on the canals to sound signals and usually far more effective. Boaters can devise their own provided they are clear and unambiguous. Commonly used ones include: -
-"I'm about to wind" = Arm straight up in air, describing wide circles.
-"There's a boat approaching" = Arm + pointing finger straight up in air.
-"There's a wide beam approaching" = Arm & finger up in air followed by arms held out wide to the sides.
-"I want you to pass me on the starboard (i.e. the "wrong") side" - 1) Wave right arm from side to side above
your head (to attract steerer's attention), 2) point right arm to boat ahead (meaning "you") then swing
arm round to point to your right, then 3) with left arm, point down to and touch your head (meaning
"me") then point to your left. (IMPORTANT - if the other steerer does not acknowledge his
agreement then you must pass him on the "default" side i.e. port to port).
- "No" or "I don't agree" = Crossed arms held up high.
helm The steering apparatus. Properly, the wheel of a ship but loosely, if incorrectly, used to refer to the combination of tiller and rudder (see 'ellum)
legger Historically, one of a group of poor, otherwise unemployed, workers who would wait at the entrance to a tunnel with no tow path, in hope of being selected by passing horse-drawn boatman to help leg boat through for just a few pence for, in the longer tunnels, up to 2 – 3 hours' hard labour. Frequently would have own board (or wing) sometimes roughly shaped to better suit his body to lessen the pain and physical injury from this arduous, back-breaking work.
legging Method used to propel unpowered boats through tunnels with no towing path. Involved the boatman lying on his back and using his feet to walk along the side or top of arch.
noddy boat Derogatory term for a very small boat or cruiser.
Rodney boatman Derogatory term for a boatman who did not keep his boat smart.
roses and castles Traditional and highly stylized manner, along with simple geometric shapes and playing card suit symbols, of decorating a narrowboat's cabin exterior and interior, doors, deck equipment etc. Close up the roses seem almost diagrammatic and each should comprise of no more than four? colours. The castle is the main element of what is called the 'landscape'
sound signals Many warning sounds that are required or recommended under IRPCSand by various navigation authorities seem to be widely misunderstood on the canals where hand signals are much preferred. However, every boatman should know at least the following:-
-1 long blast (c.5 secs) - " I'm here" - used on canals when approaching hazards e.g. a
blind bend or to warn a boat you think has not seen you..
-1 short blast - "I'm turning to starboard" - unecessary and rarely heard on canals as boats
always meet head on and by default pass 'port to port'
-2 short blasts- "I'm turning to port"
-3 short blasts- "My engine is going astern" (often usefully employed as 'I'm
giving way to you')
-4 short blasts- "Your intentions are unclear"
-1 long & 1 short blast - "Give way to me, I am not in proper control of my boat"
Starvationers Nickname for boats, approx. 50' by 4', that brought coal out of Duke of Bridgewater's mines and on to Bridgewater Canal.
On the return journey the marina looked great in the gathering dusk. We strolled around the boardwalk, enjoying all the boats adorned with their fairy lights, and the new 'bird of happiness' sculpture outside the art gallery. Isabelle and James wanted to sleep on the Silver Ann 2. Another time...
If you would like to stay on the Silver Ann 2 you can book your stay here
If you have any questions you would like answered before booking your stay, then get in touch for a chat here
Delighted to report the safe arrival of the Silver Ann 2 at Mercia Marina. Our new friend Paul Johnson set off in sunshine on Friday 14th December, but soon encountered freezing rain and ice on his 3 day cruise down the Shroppie.
Icy ascent at Tyrley locks.
Onto the Staffs and Worcester on 17th and more wintry weather - it took some Christmas cheer to keep Paul's spirit up overnight.
Weather picked up on the 19th as you can see from the picturesque Tixall Wide, near Great Haywood Junction where the Silver Ann 2 joined the Trent and Mersey. Two more days of decent sunshine saw Paul arrive on schedule on Friday 21st.
Despite the cold, Paul enjoyed himself on the Silver Ann 2 - "she's a cracking little boat!"
The lovely staff at Mercia Marina welcomed us with a bottle of wine, and the Silver Ann 2 is now in situ at her new mooring in Willington.
You can read more about the beautiful surrounding areas here, all within easy cruising distance on the Silver Ann 2. Interested? Then why not book your journey here?!
We are Dan & Mary-Ann Griffin. Husband and Wife. Parents to Isabelle & James.