Weather: Cloudy and a bit of drizzle in the morning, then glorious sunshine
Miles: About 15 miles
We had a predictably cheerless breakfast at the motorway services. Is there anywhere with less atmosphere than a motorway service station? We opted for the soup and a sandwich deal though, which gave us a hearty bowl of leek and potato soup and a packed lunch for later. Canny, eh?
We found a much easier way through the fence than where we’d jumped into the ditch the day before. We’d have seen it the night before if there’d been more light… Then tiptoed through the cow field, but the cows weren’t in evidence, so that was all OK.
We followed what should have been a footpath back to the Trent, but in several places there were crops all across the field and we had to pick our way through nettles down the side. One field was covered in slurry, and crossing this it started to rain. We were really cursing the farmer at that point.
We mainly ended up on the canal towpath again, for lack of footpaths. But handily we’ve decided we like towpaths. Narrowboaters all seem so chilled and friendly. And the walking is easy.
Our event was at the Wolseley Centre, which is where the HQ of Staffs Wildlife is. We arrived there in absolutely blazing sunshine, felt excited to see our posters up on their wall, and were directed out to a lovely ‘star tent’ they’d put up for us on the far side of their lake.
Not many people had turned up specially to see us, but we stopped people as they walked past and asked if they wanted a story. We told stories to little groups and pairs of people and had a proper chat with them. It meant we could also pick stories to suit the audience and it worked really well.
Sitting there by the side of the lake in the sunshine, with birds singing and chatting to people with no pressure made for a really magical afternoon. I made a six year old hoot with laughter with my impression of an elephant, which was great.
But the highspot of the day was Jackie and Tim, a couple who stopped and chatted to us, and the story they told about blagging in to see Michele Obama speak. Ross recorded it and you can hear it below.
After that we made our way into Rugeley, which seemed like a lovely friendly town. After a slightly panicked search for accommodation, we ended up at the Cedar Tree Hotel, which was just perfect. They couldn’t have been nicer. After we missed dinner at the local pub, we ended up getting a takeaway, a bit worried they wouldn’t like us bringing it in. Quite the contrary, when the woman at the desk saw it, she just said, ‘Do you want me to get you some plates for that?’ And most importantly, in the morning, we got the best (read strongest, we were both born in Yorkshire) cup of tea we’ve had on this trip. We loved them!