Now! Where wuz I now? (Older Archers aficionados will understand)
Wednesday 26th August
Wednesday morning was spent at the launderette at the Canal Centre so it was just a short journey as far as The Shroppie Fly at Audlem, with just the first three Audlem locks before mooring up. We bought Steve Heywood’s new book at the canal side shop, and some burgers at the Co-op as the mince we were going to make chilli with turned out to be still in the freezer! (doh!) Oh and the Co-op’s British runner beans were so stringy we couldn’t eat them.
Thursday 27th August
We had 17 locks to look forward to today so while I filled the water tank, Joy visited the Co-op again for bread and to complain about the beans. The serving lad’s only reply was that he didn’t like runner beans?? Whilst waiting I chatted to a lady on a little boat called Kitty who told me she had been boating all her life as her parents had been boatpeople working out of Gloucester on Severners Oak & Ash during the years of WW2.
These locks have quite lively by-washes (overflows or wires [weirs] as Kitty’s captain called them) which make entering the locks interesting as the flow pushes the boat out of line.
At the first lock there is a stall at the garden gate of the adjacent house and yes there were fresh runner beans for sale, another lock and another stall procured us a bag of plums for 50p.
Apart from by-washes, Audlem locks are quite easy and apart from meeting one crew who closed lock gates on us as we were approaching (Oh, we didn’t know which way you were going, but we left the previous set open… What? ) we made good time.
After a lunch stop at the top of the flight just another 5 locks and a Farm Shop with home produced black pudding and a trampoline for the sheep!
I even spotted a kingfisher today, but the attempt to photograph it is just a bright blue blur.
So it was cottage pie, fresh runner beans and mash for tea at Market Drayton.
Friday 28th August
We departed Market Drayton in sunshine before 9 as there was rain forecast for this afternoon and in less than half an hour were were at Tyrley Locks.
The first two were empty ready for us and I felt a bit sorry for the hire boat who arrived shortly after us as they would have to re-fill each one, by the third lock we met another boat so that was good for us and the hire boat, at the fourth a volunteer lock keeper walked past, down the flight, without offering assistance (not that we needed it) then at the fifth and last lock another boat was waiting to come in with an older crew who could have done with some help. Hey Ho, now we can look forward to 17 lock free miles.
For today, however, it was through the leafy Woodseaves Cutting, High Bridge (wonder why they called it that?) and past the old Cadbury’s Factory at Knighton (now Premier Foods)
From the last lock it was just two hours cruising to our target for the day, the quaint Anchor Inn which we mentioned here on our journey north. I started cooking lunch while Joy popped into the gift shop at the pub returning not only with gifts but beer to go with our bacon, eggs, the black pudding bought yesterday and fried leftover mashed potato. Bliss.. unhealthy.. but very nice!
Catty was pleased she could go out here although not for too long as she doesn’t like rain, meanwhile after we had a good hoover through and tidy up.
Joy did the painting her art teacher had set her from this week’s class, now to settle in to watch TV maybe if we can get a signal, or it might have to be down the pub again after tea.