Tuesday 11th to Sunday 16th May 2010

Rugeley came and went, as did Great Hayward and then came our left turn onto the Staffs & Worcs canal.
Hailed by a boater on nb.Mallard, who mentioned the blog, I acknowledged the call and almost overshot the turn into the S&W, nearly taking a broadside from a boat coming down the T&M.
He missed and I got the revs down to tickover before attracting the attention of the hire boat company immediately after the turn.
Sorry I didn’t get your name but there’s always another time.

The Staffs and Worcs treated us to a quiet night in the woods after Tixall Wide and we were cheered by the sight of Richard and Tricia the next morning rounding a bend on nb.Ursula. R&T are familiar faces on the Leicester Line but we do seem to bump into them every year in the most unlikely places.

Everyone tries to be cheery don’t they but the temperatures are so low that it’s been the topic of conversation all week. “Frost again tonight”, “too cold for snow”, “did you enjoy the summer?” were just some of the greetings.
Hanging a right onto the Shroppie we pulled over at Autherley boat yard for coal. A little too early for summer prices I’m told.

If you have ever encountered spitters on bridges then Stretton Aqueduct is the place to be, you get a chance to spit back on everyone driving up the A5. Not that I would of course.
Stretton Aqueduct

When Lapley Wood came along I was transported back 12 months to the Kennet & Avon. It’s so pretty at this time of year, daffs and primroses still in bloom, blackbirds singing for all they’re worth and the greens are so bright and fresh. You can keep your autumn colours, this is my time of year.
lapley wood

And this is my idea of taking the dogs for a walk.

canine carrying

Norbury Junction was its usual busy self with locals dashing back and forth and a queue for the pumps. Mike on Sarah-Kate had given us the low-down on Shroppie prices so we grabbed diesel at the not unreasonable price of 61.9p (self declare). The chandlery has plenty of bright colours to attract me but the pressure to move the boat and let others get at the pumps put me off spending.

Just up the road this unusual double arched bridge demands a photograph or three. It’s down in the book as ‘High Bridge’.
high bridge

The other Highbridge in my life is in Somerset, the place with the aerials controlled by Portishead Radio, well it was when we sent and received messages from ships.
Ahhh, those were the days, dit-dah dit-dah-dit, diddly-dah dit-dah.

No particular reason for this picture, but I doubt many people take photos of stop-lock gates.

Someone’s making a statement at Tyrley Wharf and I would support their protest if I thought there was a chance we’d be taken seriously. Pity there wasn’t a ‘No to EU’ box on the last voting paper. Am I allowed to say that?

Chickens on the loose at Adderley Locks remind me that last week’s mention of egg markings received a comment so take a look if you want an update.
The tray of eggs at the top lock with its price list and honesty box is an attraction you rarely see these days. Giant eggs with feathers stuck to them deserve the title Free Range Eggs and they would have suited us if we hadn’t just stocked up.

And finally to Audlem. We’ve taken up a position in the sunshine, what’s left of it, two locks down from the top.
We have an offer of crew on Monday so it would be daft to do all the work ourselves wouldn’t it.

Mike and Jo on Sarah-Kate have been in the area for a while and have offered to take us exploring. I’m all excited about seeing Ellesmere Port and Stanlow refineries after 30 years away from the sea. The very thought of the sights and smells of pipes and tanks and ships is giving me the ‘channels’.