Heavenly walk along the canals. Flat. I had morning tea at an out-of-it's-element eco-cafe in Maesbury-- divine coffee, sublime carrot cake with the best cream cheese icing, high-tech bathrooms. There were unfortunately already people sitting in the little rail carriages spread out around the garden so I sat and got drizzled pleasantly on and patted the dog, who, like every other dog in the universe was only in it for the food.
The hostess was the spitting image of a boss I had at a restaurant that I worked in in the late eighties. Look, manner, everything. It was spooky. She made the mistake of liking my dress verbally-- called it retro. I sprouted forth about the blog and the theme and the beaver. I could see regret in her clouded-over eyes.
Lunch was eaten with feet dangling over the edge of the canal. It was changeover day for all the house boat rentals and new captains were directing their boats down the canals with fervour. Waves (of the hand) and shouted hellos were the day's fair. Canals are fascinating places. The machinery for the locks is so interesting. A family was even doing the trip in a couple of kayaks. The kids were young, the parents were stressed and they seemed to have to get the kayaks out and carry them between levels of the locks. They didn't look like they were having an overly fun time of it. Kids: why are we having to do this? Adults: why did we bother?
I was sitting around having another break a little out of Ellesmere and got talking to a couple of men and their dogs that overran me on the ground. They recommended the Red Lion to stay in in town. I took their word and went straight there. It looked lovely from the downstairs. The proprietor had too rooms. An ensuite for fifty pounds or a shared bathroom room for thirty. I couldn't justify twenty pounds for a bathroom. He called me a backpacker. It sounded like an insult. Does he know how far unlike a backpacker I actually am?
Dinner downstairs. It was okay but the waitresses seemed to be going out of their way to avoid the strange lady eating on her own and I had to basically trip them over to get service. I was tired and went straight to bed. Sleep was not easy though. First the bells rang at the church next door for one and a half hours--solid! Then the drunks went outside to smoke and be very vocal. Then the police helicopters started. There better have been something serious happening--I'm expecting cordoned off roads, crime scene tape and chalk outlines to justify this malarkey.
Goodnight to Ellesmere (if you ever get to bed), goodnight to you.