Monday, 4 May 2015

Old friends, new friends and excellent ale in Stone

We stayed put in Stone today, as predicted. I did a few jobs around the boat, including locating and repairing two punctures and making a boat hook.

I made the boat hook from a broken cabin shaft - the end had rotted and fallen off earlier in the trip - and a hook which my magnet had dragged up some years ago.

I whittled the end of the shaft down and jammed the hook on, securing it (I hope!) with screws through the three holes. The shaft, without the hook, was used yesterday to recover Jan's hat which had blown off into the cut at Meaford.

We knew Harnser was likely to be passing today, so it was no surprise when I got a message from Jan (out on a stroll while I was doing bike maintenance) to say that Harnser was approaching Star Lock. I went down to help them through; Brian and Diana then came for a cup of tea. Good, as always, to see you both.

I came across Fizzical Attraction's blog yesterday and read Yvonne's review of the Borehole, a new pub in Stone with lots of locally brewed ales. Having read her clear directions of how to get to the pub, and with Jan wanting to go for a walk, we set off along the towpath.

I was a bit surprised to see Fizzical Attraction itself just up the towpath, so I said hello and told Roger that were going there.

Well! What a find! If you like real ale you'll love the Borehole. Many of the ales are brewed a stone's throw away (sorry!) in an industrial estate on the edge of Stone. The pub is a former National Rivers Authority building at the entrance to the industrial estate and has been open for just six weeks; the brewery is Lymestone Brewery. The pub has no music and no games; there's a "no swearing" policy. For a rather inconspicuous building with just a small board outside it was amazing. The first thing that struck me was just how many people were there at about 4pm, sitting outside and in, where a log burner was blazing away.

We sat down with our drinks sharing a large round table with four other people who were already there. We soon got chatting to locals Dave, Linda, Monique and Andrew and had a great time. It would have been so easy to drink and talk the night away ... but we hadn't eaten and so we left to find sustenance.

Here we made a mistake. We ate at The Star, taking advantage of their 2 for 1 Monday night deal on steaks. My rump steak was tasteless; the chips were not much better. A good job it cost only £10.45 for the two of us. (Sorry Dave, we know you recommended the Crown of India for a curry - we should have listened!)

We'll leave Stone in the morning and head for Great Haywood where we have a meal lined up courtesy of Martin and Margaret on Erin Mae.

(Thanks to Jan for both of the photos)

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