Monday's run up to Market Drayton contained a few surprises. The visitor moorings at the Anchor pub at High Offley were almost completely deserted for one - including what I thought had become the permanent fixture of the tug "Sol III / Raggerty" (it carries both names) which, loaded down with rooftop "junk" and together with its unmamed "butty" has been moored in exactly the same spot since I first came this way in 2006. (I came across them later at Soudley were they have set up what looks likely to become an equally long-lived home.
The second surprise was the house at Tyrley wharf which for as long as I can remember has sported a Union Flag, a St George's Cross and a large "NO to the EU" on it's balcony overlooking the lock, where it welcomes the large number of German, Dutch etc tourists taking hire boat holidays.
Not only does this mean I can now bring myself to post a picture of the impressive buildings themselves but I no longer feel compelled to whistle "Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles" or the "Marseillaise" as I lock through.
After this, the third surprise of the day was a disappointment. The town centre of Market Drayton, already struggling in the face of strangulation by a surrounding posse of out-of-town supermarkets has been dealt a further blow by the closure of the town's branch of T.O.Williams of Wem
It may not look much, but it was the town's last remaining independent food retailler - and what town can afford to lose a Bread, Patisserie and Cheese specialist! Apart from the Wednesday market (which I hope still thrives) there now appears, sadly, very little point in stopping at Market Drayton for shopping.