Written April 22, 2023, at the Aston Marina, Stone, England.

As they say, all good things must come to an end. However, sometimes the end of one good thing is really the beginning of another. Such is the case for us this weekend.

Pat and Wendy.

We bid farewell to Pat and Wendy this morning. They have been marvelous cruising companions, enduring rain, cold, and the challenges of scores of locks.

They developed real expertise at the locks and Pat acquired skill at the tiller.

Tomorrow, we greet our Kansas City neighbors, Charlie and Mary, who will share this experience with us for the next six days.

All canal cruising is not just canal cruising.

Oftentimes these ancient lock gates do not all seal well. It can get a little damp at the rear of the boat.

Yesterday we took in a lengthy tour of the Wedgwood factory which was located a short walk from the canal.

Josiah Wedgwood founded his legendary pottery and porcelain facility in 1759. Since then the factory has been significantly modernized yet retains Josiah‘s secrets which are shared with only a few of the company’s employees.

Unfortunately, photographs were not allowed within the factory. I did capture one fun picture outside the entrance.

It was only the four of us on the tour which took over an hour and a half. We were each struck with the incredible skill of every worker. One gentleman is currently tasked with making four tea sets. Each set will take him a full month to complete. Each set will sell for over $12,500. Of course, he has other projects that he is concurrently working on.

Another gentleman we met is working on a large “Black Jasper“ vase that mirrors an ancient Roman original. It will sell for over $60,000.

This is a Wikipedia image of Josiah Wedgwood’s original that he created in 1790.

As the result of this experience we have developed a real appreciation for the work and talent behind each Wedgwood piece. I predict that each of us will be keeping eyes open at future flea markets, garage sales, and charity shops.

I received a message from a dear friend this morning, asking if I would share pictures of the interior of Fjord Empress. That wish is my command:

The forward sleeping compartment. The sofas make into a double berth or two single berths.
The forward compartment, looking aft.
Narrow boat, narrow hallway!
The bathroom.
The shower.
The center sleeping berth.
The kitchen area looking toward the stern. The interior is not quite 6 feet wide.
Dinette and kitchen area looking toward the bow.
Christine seated at the four person dinette which also makes into a bed.
This is Fjord Empress in our berth at the Aston Marina. The boat measures 62 feet long and it is a real challenge to navigate in tight spaces.

Christine and I solo cruised today, managing five locks on our way to a very nice marina where we are spending the night waiting for the Murphys. We also accomplished some much needed work today which included sweeping out the boat, filling the freshwater tank, emptying the “black water“ tank, buying groceries, doing laundry, and enjoying the luxury of real shore-side showers at the marina.

The Aston Marina.

The marina also features a top-notch gourmet restaurant and bar.

The Marina’s “No. 26” restaurant, named after the nearby number 26 lock.

Now, if only the weather will smile upon us and the Murphys over the course of the days to come.

Peace Everyone. Pete

6 thoughts on “Goodbye and Hello on the Canal

  1. Cool, Peter! It’s nice you get to share this experience with others. You may remember my former neighbor, Marcia Walsh. When she toured the Wedgewood factory, she brought my daughter a personalized 5” porcelain oval with her name and pretty blue flowers on it that she affixed to her bedroom door. I still treasure it.

  2. Amazing adventure! The Wedgewood artistry discussion was a call for anew trip on our part! Thanks for that!
    Here’s hoping the weather follows your wish


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