Friday, 10 September 2010

The one handed bowline and other stories

Star has had its own artist in residence these past few days plus a frontiersman, mountain rescue specialist and wine guru. All in the form of our great friends from Canada, Gerry (the artist) and Gordon (the all those other things).I have to admit we were a bit worried about inviting people to stay somewhere where the bedroom ceiling is a foot above their heads, the toilet is in the engine room and you have to earn your keep by operating locks and heaving on rope.But they loved it. And so did we. They came well prepared - carrying a big bag of food, a small bag of kit and some clinking wine bottles. We took them on a gentle cruise from Streethay up to Tixall Wide at Great Haywood.
Tixall is, the guidebook says, "noted for its kingfishers" and Gerry desperately wanted to see one. Sadly she didn't – because we all know that wildlife have learned to stay well clear of anywhere that the guides say they're supposed to be.
While Gerry sketched Gordon entertained us with tales of canoeing adventures in northern Canada and demonstrated how to tie a one handed bowline. This is a vital skill. One day I may be stranded on a mountain ledge with a broken arm. My only chance of survival will be Arnie Schwarznegger hovering above in a helicopter and lowering a rope which I have to tie round myself. But I'll be ok - I can do it now. So long as I break my right arm. If I break my left one, I'm doomed - I can only do the knot left handed.
On the way up we had a pretty decent round of pub grub at the Fradley Swan and then at the Plough, Huddlestone just south of Streethay we celebrated our final night with a magnificent meal.
All we can say is roll on next autumn and a trip over to canoe country.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You were extremely lucky to get anything at all at the Swan. We have been there twice recently, as we are now locals so to speak, and it has been seriously crap. Warm, wet, barely washed glasses and rubbish looking food all served by very sulky people who looked as though they wanted to be somewhere else: and Viv Scragg and her crusty cohorts holding court (taking over the place?)