By CoffeePotter

Sloe, sloe, quick, quick, sloe.

Today we took both cars out, left one parked in Stratford, then drove to Edstone Aqueduct and parked the other there. We then climbed the steps to the aqueduct and walked along the canal tow path back to Stratford, where we then collected the first car, and returned back to the aqueduct and the second car, using the car that we had left in Stratford. Easy.

It was a really pleasant walk (of about 6 miles in total) which involved many stops and chats to walkers and boaters along the way. At one stage we thought we could hear a steam train. We reached a gateway on our left, and in the distance we could see a small crowd of people waiting, seemingly in the middle of the countryside, but they were actually next to a railway track – we could see the “Stop. Look. Listen. Beware of trains” sign ahead of us. We climbed the fence and followed the path towards the people to see what was going on, and then along came a steam train. “Just like that” as Tommy Cooper would say. The train was “The Shakespeare Express – and it wasn’t hanging about either! For any train spotters out there, the engine was no. 5043 and was called Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.

We re-joined the towpath and on with our adventures. Eventually we arrived in Stratford where the plan was for me to go and buy a couple of sandwiches at Marks. Lucky we needed only a couple – there was one beef roll and one prawn sandwich remaining on their shelves, so I bought those and we ate them just in front of the theatre. We were joined on the bench by an English couple who had been living in America for 30 years. We got chatting, and before we knew it we had been talking for almost an hour!

This photo is of one narrow boat overtaking another. The one on the right (which looks as though it is about to sink) was stopping at every sloe tree, (which wasn’t as easy as it sounds as every time they had to reverse the narrow boat back alongside the bank) and the occupants would pick sloes, then off they would go to the next sloe tree. That’s probably why their boat is listing – it’s the cargo of sloes! I expect they’ll be listing too if they make it all into sloe gin.

Here's Nikonabike's photo of the "sloe" boat on the right taken from a totally different angle. You wouldn't recognise it as being the same one!

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