Sunday, 10 August 2014

Your travels have brought you to

As it has been previously noted, the Captain and Crew are not exemplary travelers.  Yes, we go many new places, but we tend to miss most of the "must see" tourist destinations and have been known to stay inside all day if it looks like rain.  The Captain likes tea in the morning and beer in the evening, no matter what the locals drink, and the Crew likes exotic desintations only if they have good internet.

However, we do have one sightseeing guideline - when not sailing, do and see things that you can't do on a boat.  (This once led to a horseback riding excursion, to the Captain's regret.)

These last two weeks have been "round two" of the UK part of the Abandon Ship Tour. Alongside the meals and drinks shared with people we love, we've tried to do "things you can't do on a boat."

Adventure #1: Walk the Grand Union Canal

We did walk a bit of the canal earlier in our trip, but this time we walked from Stockton to Leamington Spa, a distance of about 14 km.  It took us three and a half hours, and there isn't actually that much to report, other than the fact that you can't do that on a boat. (Well, if you had a narrow boat, you could travel the same route, but we discovered that because of all the locks, it is faster to walk along the towpath than to motor at 4 knots per hour.

Snacks along the way. (This photo is for my Dad.)
We made it - yay!
Ok, these lovely ladies didn't come with us on our walk, but they were happy to see us when we got back.  Lace is sitting up, Pumpkin is lying down. They live at the Captain's sister Barbara's house.

Adventure #2: Astle Park Traction Engine Rally

"Oh, a traction engine rally," you say, "What is that?"

Exactly what I said.

Turns out, Wikipedia has some things to say about traction engines, and also about the rally, also known as a steam fair. The short version is that it is like a country fair, with a lot of old machinery of various types (cars, motorcycles, tanks, straw balers, organs) on display. Fortunately, you can buy ice cream and other good things to eat if your attention should sway (just for a moment) from the marvels of historic engineering.

The Captain and Crew next to the real deal - a traction engine.

The engines burn coal to heat the steam boilers, so it can get a bit smokey.

There was a parade of the traction engines.  I'm pretty sure these gentlemen are as old as the  machinery they are driving.  The best part of the parade was when they all let loose on their steam horns!
The weather was glorious, which was good, because the second day (today as I write this post) is pouring down with rain and I'm sure the whole field is a soggy muddy mess.

Surprisingly, I only saw adults on this carousel, no kids.
World's greatest thrill - are you sure about that?

Very short video of a fair organ - also an early twentieth century "thing."

We wandered through the entire grounds of the fair.  I'm sorry if you were interested, but I didn't get any pictures of the classic cars, old military ambulances, or of the kiosk selling "magic extendable hoses." I did get some pictures of these brightly coloured beauties:

"Oh look, a baby one."
Well, the sign says it was designed for Scottish crofters who presumably didn't want a big one.
Many thanks to the Captain's sister Julia and her husband Adrian who provided this marvelous "off boat" adventure.  The end of the day saw us all relaxing with a beer alongside the parade arena, although not as relaxed as the man sitting across from me.

We have another week of British-flavoured adventures and then we're on the move again. If you are in the T-dot, give me a shout, because we will be in your neighbourhood next.

An English country sunset, a variation on our regularly featured tropical ones.