However, joining the Trent & Mersey heading for Stoke in warm sunshine I was revisiting (softening) my earlier tough opinions of it. The services at Etruria were immaculate again and the Harecastle tunnel "keeper" as helpful as ever, especially when Lynne fell off the side of Tardis up to her knees and he helped me haul her aboard again and offered to call an ambulance (declined).
The tunnel adventure went well and coming into Stoke from that direction offers a positive impression of the place, but unfortunately it's all downhill from there. The decrepid old, unused and unloved mills and warehouses unavoidably loom into view, as do acres of brown field sites. Both offer the obvious solution to Britain's current housing crisis without sacrificing good agricultural land or ruining landscapes.
Trying to find a mooring place proved almost impossible as no rings or metalwork seem to exist and pins only enter the grass banks about 3 inches before hitting something solid.