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  • clivenmel

Sept 18th

Well, what a super day we had.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous from the minute we got up.  We had a leisurely breakfast and then, as we had picked our mooring very carefully, between a marina and a 70' turning circle, we turned Lady Arwen around and went back to the marina, which was on the opposite side to the towpath, to fill up with water and also to buy some new fenders and a small lifejacket for our granddaughter, Indeia, who is coming to visit us this weekend with her daddy and Auntie Vicki. We then used the marina as another turning circle, turned the boat around and tootled back to our mooring from the night before.  Oh we are getting so good at this!! By this time it was nearly lunchtime so we had a sandwich and a cuppa soup and then set off across the fields, through the cows, to visit Little Moreton Hall.  Clive couldn't resist having a little chat with the locals as we crossed the field - they were a bit timid but one was brave enough to have a sniff at his hand!  We continued across the fields, climbing over stiles, dodging cow pats etc and ended up in a farmyard, which was a bit strange!  We had been following the Cheshire County signs on the stiles and fences and all of a sudden we ended up lost!  We went through a cowshed and then saw a lane leading off to the right, which we took and this brought us back to the footpath - we had taken a wrong turn at the last stile!  We walked around the corner and there ahead of us was this incredible site - Little Moreton Hall - absolutely magnificent!  It is Britain's finest surviving timber-framed moated manor house.  The earliest parts of the hall date from 1504!  While the whole house has hardly changed since 1610 and yet was lived in and used as a farmhouse until 1938!  Inside the hall, which unfortunately we weren't allowed to photograph, are examples of the skill of the Tudor craftworkers, intricate decoration and original furniture left by the Moreton family.                                                                                                                             The hall is now owned by the National Trust - of which we are members!  Wandering through its rooms and galleries it was easy to imagine the Elizabethan ladies in their colourful gowns parading up and down.  There was even a surviving garde-robe - a sort of walk-in closet next to the loo - the idea being that the loo was very smelly and they thought that this pong would keep away the moths and lice etc from their gowns!  There are still fold away poles set into the panelling which would have let down to hang their robes on - amazing!  The gardens were amazing too, besides the Knot Garden, which you can see above, there were vegetable plots growing all sorts of very old vegetables, like Cardoons and unusual herbs.  In the orchard were Quince and Medlar trees, again very old fruits.  Medlars in particular were once only eaten by the gentry - I dona't know of anyone who eats them today, you don't see them on the shelves in Tesco's thats for sure! (photo in the gallery). We rounded off our trip to Little Moreton Hall by a visit to the restaurant and couldn't resist a cream tea - yummy!  Then it was off back to Lady Arwen and a simple tea of beans on toast as we were full of scones, jam and clotted cream!!  Clive managed to finally tune the TV in and we watched Who Do You Think You Are and then had another early night!  We are going to head off towards Congleton next ready to meet Vicki, Gareth and Indy who are coming to visit us for the weekend.

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