SHUGBOROUGH HALL GARDEN
DUCK FEET WOODEN SCULPTURE
BARB RELAXES IN HER WELLIES
Meanwhile.. IN THE SERVANT'S QUARTERS
ANOTHER FADED MANSION
Click on any photo to enlarge.
Thursday, July 22, was one of those near-perfect days that are randomly
forced upon us by circumstance. We left Stone and motored down a pretty
stretch of the Trent & Mersey, accompanied by the young River Trent
set in a lush green valley. The forecast was for foul weather and, sure
enough, as we left the lock at Great Haywood a huge black cloud loomed
over us and we moored up in terror. Half an hour later it bucketed down
and we were glad we did. During our forced captivity we read the guide
book and found that we were right next to Shugborough Hall, one of the
stately homes of England and now a National Trust property. So, after
the clouds lifted, we decided to explore.
the Trent collects a tributary, the River Sow,
and the ornamental waters of the Hall gardens. All can be seen merging
from the bridge.
The gardens of the Hall are exquisite, with areas of riparian splendour
mixed with formal gardens leading up to the Hall steps. Several follies
and monuments dot the grounds, including a miniature Pantheon and a
monument to an aristocratic cat (left).
The Hall contains a large number of paintings, furniture and art
objects and a startling number of clocks which were all keeping time.
We wandered around until our feet hurt and then we had scones, clotted
cream and a pot of tea for two in the tea shop.
We cruised on for a short time and found a pleasant mooring in the
country. I walked down the canal after dinner on the boat and found a
bench with a memorial and a pretty curve of the river to meditate by. A
perfect end to a perfect day...
Since Shugborough, we have been meandering along at a snail's pace. We
stopped to video Basil crossing Brindley's mighty aqueduct over the
River Trent and again in Rugeley, a depressing little town where all
the inhabitants seemed to be elderly, infirm, unemployed or all three.
On the way, we glimpsed through a hedge another great mansion (see
left), this one of faded grandeur and definitely not open to the
public. What stories lie behind its gray facade, I wonder? A good set
for a horror movie, though.
Now we are at
Fradley Junction again, about to enjoy dinner in The
Swan Inn, reputedly the most photographed pub in England, so I didn't
However, here's Basil outside the Swan, waiting for the lock at Fradley