From black and white to black and white

Ramsdell Hall Railings to Bosley Locks:  6.5 miles.

Might as well delay the Bosley Locks until the winds have dropped and the temperature improved. Such was the thinking behind this morning’s decision not to cruise on immediately but to walk across the fields to Little Moreton Hall. According to the notice it is about a mile.
 That’s a mile there, a mile back – easy. 
About half way there, just past the partly frozen pond,
the Captain quizzed Boatwif: “You have got your National Trust card with you, haven’t you?”
“Er, no………”
Half a mile back to the boat to collect NT card;
half a mile back to the (slightly less) frozen pond  – and on to the destination.  So, unusually, there was about a three mile walk at the start of the day.
            At reception Boatwif gamely produced her membership card: “Oh, no need for that,” gushed the National Trust lady on the till, “his (ie the Captain’s) is a Family Card so we don’t need to see yours.” Hmm – still it is great to tramp the fields in far less muddy conditions than on a previous visit last year.
At the entry bridge over the moat visitors are greeted warmly,
 tickets checked and advice given: join a free tour or wander at will. The ice-cream cart is still in winter clothing
 and the garden showing little as yet in the way of Spring colour. Inside the courtyard a guide detailed the Moreton family history and explained how in 250 years the only “mod con” added had been one single cold water tap. The stunning black and white colouration of the wattle and daub and timber external walls had been applied apparently in Victorian times.
 The timber structures were prefabricated and then pinned together by oak pegs.
        In Elizabethan times the wealthy Moretons would entertain lavishly – and neighbouring families invited to watch the touring theatre players perform in the courtyard. For many their small world went no further than an annual visit to Congleton or Sandbach so watching a play performed previously in York or London was hugely exciting. The Long Gallery is a must-see place: climb the wooden stairs, quell any seasickness sensation induced by the undulating floor, gaze out over the countryside and admire the decorated gables…
         En route along the canal later a blue boat was approaching: nb Halcyon Dawn moors on the next pontoon at Higher Poynton. “Where’ve you been?” was the skipper’s cheery call.
      Into Congleton, over the little aqueduct with its black and white railings and a first glimpse of The Cloud.
 During the cruise towards Bosley there were flashes of colour: the snow seen on Monday by  Bridge 67 has melted away and daffodils are bravely beginning to show their colours.
 Calf’s Foot crouch beside the towpath
 and next to nb Blanche the pretty cow still rests, eyeing  the real life young beef cattle in the neighbouring field…
Onward: snowy heights in view. Cleddau arrived late afternoon at tonight’s destination, the peaceful moorings below Bosley Locks.
 The black and while gates of lock 12 are about a hundred yards ahead.
           You can guess what the Cleddau crew will be doing on Saturday morning…  
 
(Tomorrow: probably Gurnett Aqueduct at Sutton…)
 
Re. the mail being sent from Rode’s Heath on Wednesday: Senior Sis says Postman Pat has delivered a letter to mid-Wales…

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