David Cameron, Ed Miliband et al can stop their electioneering now - we've cast our votes. We had our postal ballots forwarded to Middlewich Post Office; they arrived this morning, so we voted straight away and posted the ballot papers back. It's the first time we've cast a postal vote - and the first time we've used poste restante. It lacked the excitement of going to the polling station, running the gauntlet of the party activists hanging around by the door, then marking your cross with a blunt pencil, but we're happy we have been able to take part in the democratic process.
On our way to collect our post we witnessed nature at work. A magpie had taken a young blackbird and was proceeding to peck it to death by the towpath. The magpie was being mobbed by adult blackbirds but it didn't seem too bothered. I watched until it picked up its prey in its beak and flew with it over the bridge parapet. I'd never before seen such a thing at such close quarters.
Above Kings Lock we passed fuel boat Alton.
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