Monday 13th to Friday 17th February 2012.

Tis a short blog because we’re entertaining over the weekend and my mind will be elsewhere.

Our cruise began on Monday at Market Drayton. We were badly let down by the ‘Boat Approach Detector’ (BAD) because the fudge boat beat us away from the moorings and we had to settle for second place in a bunch of three.

Lovely cruising through woods where the ice was almost non existent followed by a comfortable drive through the open fields, greatly helped by my heated waistcoat plugged into the boat electrics.

Adderley locks came and went and we hardly saw a soul until the approaches to Audlem locks.

Boaters will be pleased to know that Audlem flight is being dredged as we speak. Land & Water are working a 12 hour day and while I didn’t think we had 12 hours of daylight these guys are keen to finish so they can move to their next job, a new marina. Yes, another new marina.
land and water

You’d think after all these years I could be trusted with lock paddles. V went back to close the previous lock gates after giving me permission to let myself into the lower lock, close the gate behind me and start draining.

I should add that there was a mud digging workboat jacked up in the short pound behind me.

Feeling pleased with myself after dropping the ground paddles behind and opening the two front gate paddles I leapt aboard to enjoy a leisurely descent.

But shouts and waves from over my shoulder brought me back onto the turf as I realised there was a third paddle, on the back gate, which I had missed. That poor workboat was gradually rising from the water and looking like a northsea oil rig at low tide. I guess that’s me banned from paddling for another year.

This week will be remembered for its cold winds. I had to lean into the wind all the way up (up = north) the Shroppie and then lean to the right after our left turn into the Llangollen Canal.

However, V will remember the first locks of the Llangoth’ more than the journey up the Shroppie. She was attending to the paddles when a pesky little brown dog ran round behind her and bit her leg. Twas enough to draw blood and produce a nasty bruise within seconds. Oh yes there was an apology and the dog was put on a lead but what do you do, what can you do?

Would owners of biting dogs please tether them or cough up for the medical treatment.

Remembering my St John’s Ambulance training of 40+ years ago I told V to let me know as soon as she got lockjaw. That is something to do with dog bites and Tetanus isn’t it?

While V limped along I had fun at the last lock. A boater was waiting to come out of the one above as we rose to his level.
He came out, we came out and the side wind put us both firmly on the towpath nose to nose. Could we get off the side? It looked impossible without scraping paint but we managed after a bit of jiggling around. Is it going to be like this all the way to the end?

At least the locals are friendly, met a boater from the marina (Cassie 2?) though not strictly a local with that north of the border accent, with a smashing 5 month old dog still at the age when the fur is all soft and fluffy. And there’s the guy at the shop (Burland Stores), another boater, who made V welcome when she popped out for the necessities (sausage rolls).

Local boats seem friendly too, almost kissing us as they contend with the side wind and water flow in their line up for the bridge and the bend behind us.
Traffic-wise it’s been busier than we’d expected. Half term might partly explain the constant passage of craft but we’ll see if next week is quieter as we make our attack on the mountains.