My dad had his 60th birthday this year, and to celebrate he wanted the family to go on a boat trip on the canals.
He chose the Four Counties Ring which took a week and it was bloody hard work (for the boys anyway). For me, I had to get used to being thrown across the boat every time we crashed (which was often).
My dreams of full relaxation, champagne breakfasts and trips to the pub for a swift pint between locks were quickly dashed. I was stressed which made me irritable as I realised that this relaxing canal boat holiday was actually a journey from A to B with not much fun in between.
It didn’t help that the boat was dirty, our bed kept breaking, there were only two accessible plugs and the ‘sofa’ was as hard as nails.
Here are some of the sights we saw along the way.
Going through the locks (one of MANY).
Cows (again, there were LOTS)
We did manage to have one pub lunch. It was at the Red Bull pub in Kidsgrove. It wasn’t bad – a nice and friendly pub but the menu was a bit too ambitious for them! I had swordfish which was overcooked and dry. Others had fish and chips which were fine. The husband had surf and turf. The surf was fine, the turf was pretty rank and went un-eaten. We did get a refund on that though and overall I would still recommend this place for a simple bite to eat and a pint. The staff are friendly, the pub was clean and welcoming and it was nicely located on the canal.
We also managed to squeeze in a tea at Talbot Inn in Market Drayton. I loved this place and everything about it; the old man pub style to the front room, the homely comfortable style to the back, the two meals for £9 offer (the food was average pub grub so fine), the chatty staff (esp the chef who gave the husband free ice cream to try), the cheap plonk, the pub quiz, the pretty beer garden and the fact that I got absolutely hammered. Yep, I was finally on holiday.
Check out the sign on the side of the pub – amusing yeah?!
On getting to Nantwich before 5 (a miracle for us as on past nights we had been mooring up as late as 9pm) we decided to take a trip into town. It’s a pretty little place; lots of old buildings and beautiful houses. We found The Crown Hotel. and stopped off for a pint, then decided to eat there too.
The food is served in the restaurant side – in the casa brasserie. It wasn’t cheap as they charged restaurant rather than pub prices. However, it was the best food I’d had all week, so I wasn’t complaining.
I had salmon with wild mushroom risotto, soft poached egg and mustard sauces. My salmon was perfectly cooked. The skin was good and crispy, the salmon was moist and delicious. Risotto was good with lots of wild mushrooms in there and the poached egg was as described, so the yolk oozed out onto the plate when I stabbed it with my knife.
Gav had Calves liver with bacon, onions and mash. The liver was pink, tender and tasty. He was happy.
My brother had pan roasted seabass with shrimps, spinach and new potatoes. It looked good and he wolfed it down, so I assume it was.
My mum had wild mushroom risotto and my dad had pizza. Again no complaints, although Gav reckoned that my mum’s risotto was a bit too al dente.
So. There you go. A week on a narrowboat. Would I do it again? No.
I’m off to Rome.