Saturday, 7 April 2012

Great Haywood to Penkridge via Katyn

Thursday, 29th March
A BW maintenance crew was in evidence at Tixall lock this morning. Actually they were on their tea-break and came running from the van as we entered. They wanted to tell us that that the lock furniture was being painted ("only the black bits") but were just too late as the "black bits" included the gate handle, which Hilary had already discovered the hard way!  They were most apologetic and helped us through the lock whilst Hilary, who is a former BW employee herself, joined them in a moan about the constant re-organisations that organisation imposes on its workforce another of which is in the process of being implemented in the last few months of its life.
Later we tied up at Bridge 94, just short of Acton Trussell as it appears that a path leads from here to the village. Well, maybe it does - but as you can't actually get off the towpath at the bridge it's rather irrelevant.
Still, we got he bikes out - Hil's tourer and my Dahon folder and set off for another visit to the Chase. We followed the road up through the village and at the top of the hill found a tea-room (lovely setting - expensive tea!). 
This area of Cannock Chase has a number of mementos of the second World War. There is a German military cemetery where German soldiers, sailors and airmen killed in and around the UK are buried and also a memorial to Commonwealth war dead.
This area apparently has a sizable Polish community - and not just from recent immigration - and a third memorial has recently been placed on the Chase, this time to the 25,000 Polish officers and intellectuals murdered by the Russians in 1940 at Katyn (although for 50 years they blamed it on the Germans!)

It seems a shame that all three memorials are sited in what was once a peaceful forest setting but which is now blighted by constant noise from the busy roads that cut through the Chase.
Later that afternoon we took Starcross onto Penkridge, topped up the water tank, emptied the cassette and went out to check the local hostelries for somewhere for Hil's birthday meal tomorrow night.

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