Tuesday was the first day that I saw no boats on the move since last winter which is a sure sign that winter is fast approaching.
Poor Karen rang me at seven in the morning; she had just got to the northern end of the M6 toll, on her way to Manchester for the day, and the overhead gantries were indicating that the M6 was closed around junction 19 – a common occurrence. Fortunately the office she was going to for the day was to the east of Manchester so we found a good cross country route that wasn’t full of diverted M6 drivers. As it was she arrived two hours later than she wanted. It transpired that a lorry containing cola concentrate had overturned creating a sticky situation.
Buddy and I went for a walk along the River Leam which was nice change to the towpaths we have been walking along lately.
We also found some woods where Buddy could tear around looking for squirrels
We then popped into Leamington itself to have a look around. Leamington started expanding in the 1700s because of the popularity of its spa waters. It started declining as an inland resort in the early nineteenth century but it was saved by the arrival of the canal in 1800. It was ideally placed for good transport (canal) links to Birmingham, London and the north. The railways arrived in the 1850s providing more and faster transport links. It seems to remain a prosperous town today with many independent cafes, shops and bars that always seem packed.
The high street and many surrounding streets and squares are fine, white, Regency style buildings whilst the original, Old Town sits to the south. The canal runs to the south through the old town and is consequently not really visited by the local people. A shame because some towns really make an asset out of their canals.
Map of Leamington showing the Regency town to the top and middle with the river and parks below. Below the parks runs the railway line and below that the canal is tucked away in Old Town.
Old Town is currently the focal point for the many Eastern Europeans in this area and the signage on the Polish shops always tickles me. One of them was first pointed out by my daughter Sophie. A poster contains a list of Polish speciality meats and cheeses but in the middle of the list between some sort of sausage and a cured meat is an entry, ‘Mobile top ups’ – so out of context but I still chuckle every time I pass it. It also reminds me of the lovely week Sophie and Yanos spent with us on the boat in one of the hot spells this summer.