Bruce is still experiencing a cold, so we decided to make this another day off the bike. Having dined on the second best B & B breakfast in Staffordshire (at the New Hayes Farm) and with great directions from Jayne, the owner of New Hayes, we headed back towards Stoke-on-Trent (oh no-o-o-o-o!) but with insider information (from Jayne) for taking a back route to the Wedgewood Museum and Factory near Trentham where we spent several, fascinated hours. Josiah Wedgewood, it seems, was a remarkable liberal, intelligent man with an enquiring mind who was centuries ahead of his time. In the 1700s he made a point of treating his factory workers well, he was in the vanguard of the anti-slavery movement, he and his partner were instrumental in getting the chain of canals that criss-cross Britain under way to move commercial goods more rapidly and, in his case, without so many breakages and, oh yes, of course, he developed all the necessaries for making beautiful Wedgewood china. We toured the factory and saw workers in action creating the beautiful pieces that we see in the stores. Employees still seem to be treated very well at Wedgewood and we talked to people who had worked there for more than 40 years. It takes years and years to get the skill (and a steady hand) that is needed for each part of the process. We saw pieces in progress that had been commissioned by private buyers (there’s clearly still a lot of money out there!), and an urn that is made each year for the winner of a major golf tournament (there’s a photo of Tiger Woods kissing his urn) but can’t remember which tournament. We saw pieces being made that cost as much as £40,000 each (and yes, we managed to leave their beautiful store without buying any souvenirs!) The museum alone would take at least half a day to tour but we did it fairly quickly because by then we’d already been at Wedgewood for several hours.
After our visit to Wedgewood, we turned on our GPS and pushed on to Market Drayton where we had a very frustrating afternoon trying to find somewhere to stay. We started at the iCentre but, unlike in Canada and the USA, they do not offer to phone around to places that they know have availabilities. They give you a list and it’s up to you. They gave us directions to find a couple of places – we couldn’t. We asked people on the street who firmly showed us on our map places that were not there. We drove around in circles, asking people whenever we could. We’ve found that people are not very good at giving directions on maps. I read somewhere not long back that if you took away all the GPS’s in Britain, no-one would know how to get anywhere. It IS addictive though, especially with all the twists and turns you have to take to get anywhere here, to use a GPS.) We got into Market Drayton around 2:30pm thinking we’d have the afternoon to look around. However, by 4:30 pm we were still driving around in ever-expanding circles until, finally, I spotted an ad in a local brochure (one of many such brochures) and called the Four Alls Inn just outside of town. We were in – so to speak – in a row of nice little rooms behind the pub that may, for all I know, once have been stables. In the garden is the biggest lawn umbrella I’ve ever seen in captivity. I’d like to see them put it up – it would be interesting. The restaurant is no slouch either, with a menu boasting such items as duck breast with orange, lamb shanks with minted red wine sauce and chicken tikka masala.
‘The Four Alls’ is an unusual name for a pub (in a country full of unusual pub names!) but it’s based on a Medieval concept regarding the division of society”
The King: “I rule all”
The Priest: “I pray for all”
The Knight: “I fight for all”
The Peasant: “I pay for all”