To start with last night. We went to the beer tent, but the music was indeed too loud, a right couple of belters and it was generally agreed not at all the sort of thing for this audience (I was later told that Friday night's duo were meant to top the bill on Saturday but were double booked). But things certainly turned out for the best, as we were taken to a pub, the Old Swan in Netherton, otherwise known as Ma Pardoe's, and my god, what a pub. The brewery tap for the Old Swan brewery, and the beer started at £1.80 a pint. But that wasn't the best bit. Nor was the fantastic layout, the organ, the enormous range, the amazing landlord, or the man who does the brewery tours and came and told us all about it. No, the best bit as far as I was concerned, the bit I couldn't take my eyes off, was the ceiling in the public bar. It was made of panels of vitreous enamel, patterned and featuring a central panel with the pub's name and picture of a swan, and looking as clean and new as when they were installed in the 1860s (I think). Absolutely marvellous. If I were a hisrorian I think I wouold write a paper on the innovative use of vitreous enamel in the Black Country. If you haven't been there, you just must. (I took some photos on my phone but the attempt to transfer them to the computer was unsuccessful, sorry)
The beer must have been very wholesome (although to be honest I didn'y have a great deal) as I slept the sleep of the righteous and awoke refreshed at nine, to a sunny morning aand lots of interested - and interesting - passers by. The day flew by and it was soon three o'clock and people were starting to leave, so we followed Dove and Minnow through the tunnel and back up factory locks, but decided to give Wolverhampton a miss, and our nerves (and heads and stomachs) a bit of a rest and have instead stopped for tonight at the Black Country Museum. A long day tomorrow should get us safely past Autherly and ready for a final push back to Kings Bromley on Tuesday.
It was a really enjoyable weekend, and we've met some more new people and had a wonderful time. Oh, and I've hung up my plate... Well, it was getting in the way.