Where was I now? (Didn’t Tom Forrest used to say that when introducing the omnibus edition of The Archers?) Oh yes, we had just left Langley Mill with shiny new blacking and moored at Potters Lock. During the evening the local kids seemed to regard the lock as their own private swimming pool, but were not a nuisance.
Wednesday 4th July
Today was a day of two halves, we left Potters Lock at 8:30 am and covered the 6½ miles & 6 locks as far as Sandiacre where we arrived twenty to twelve. We moored in the shade of a tree, had lunch and rested for the afternoon, then got some provisions from Lidl.
Our plan was to gently do the three locks down to Long Eaton in the cool of the evening.
All was well until Dockholme Lock where another large group of kids were swimming, although they opened the gates for us and were polite a few of them had no concept of the dangers of jumping into the lock with a 20 ton narrowboat and we had to suspend operations until they were out.
Joy was quite unnerved by this and called the police as we were concerned for their safety, especially in view of the lad who was drowned earlier that day at Colwick Country Park. The call handler had no idea where Dockholme Lock was and although they promised someone would call us back no-one did! We arrived at Long Eaton just after seven and spent the night beside the main road again.
Thursday 5th July
A later start today, at 10 am and we made our way down to Trent Lock past a long line of moored boats through a section infested with blanket weed which wound itself round our propeller impeding our progress. Eventually we were there after watering up shared the lock with another narrowboat before joining the River Trent,
through Sawley Lock, past Sawley Marina and back onto the Trent & Mersey canal at Derwent Mouth lock.
By 12:30 we were moored in the shade at Shardlow and spent the afternoon and evening not doing very much at all.
Friday 6th July
Back to an early start today, leaving at 8:10 am hoping to do the last five broad locks before it got too hot. Aston lock was leaking very badly meaning the water level was very low all the way to Weston Lock (We reported this to C&RT but once again our call was not returned).
We cleared Stenson Lock by 13:00 with the help of two cheerful volunteer lock-keepers and planned on mooring at Willington for the afternoon but so had everybody else, despite trying a couple of likely gaps neither was big enough, one guy moved his boat to try and squeeze us in, but to no avail, so we pressed on for another hour and a half and stopped at Horninglow visitor moorings, on the outskirts of Burton on Trent which were completely empty.
Saturday 7th July
We decided to have a day off from boating today after the exertions of the last few days, I went off on a little adventure catching the train from Burton back to Long Eaton to retrieve the car with a bus ride either end. The train fare was £9.50 for a 30 minute journey but the carriage was quiet and air-conditioned, it took me via Derby and strangely I was facing forwards going there and facing backward to Long Eaton. It was an easy journey back by car which I parked in the C&RT car park at Horninglow.
In the afternoon we travelled back to Derby to visit Dunelm to buy a breakfast bar stool, but the one we chose was out of stock but they had one at their Burton store so it was back there to make the purchase and it was £6 cheaper there, than it was priced at Derby!
Sunday 8th July
This morning I took the opportunity of varnishing a couple of pieces of plywood, which I had bought whilst at Langley Mill to make a gang-plank, more of which anon.
We took a trip down the town this afternoon and were surprised (and Joy was delighted) to find several charity shops open.
We had arranged with our son, Jeremy, to shuffle our car to King’s Bromley Marina this evening and had arranged to meet him there at half past five. So we drove down and waited, and waited, finally there was a phone call from him, “Aren’t you there yet?”, “Yes we’ve been here ages” He thought we were coming down by boat and was waiting at the marina entrance while we were waiting at the car park entrance!
He drove us back to Burton where we re-visited The Manzil Indian restaurant where we enjoyed another fine meal with him and his girlfriend Louise before returning us to the boat for tea and chat, oh and Jer solved an updating problem with Joy’s tablet and it runs much faster now.
Monday 9th July
Back to boating today with six narrow locks down to Alrewas
[Ol-ree-wos] following a guy in a cruiser which he had bought only 3 days earlier, he had a lady with him whom he had also only known 3 days.
She told Joy her ‘life-story’ at one of the locks and it transpired that she had been very ill and given only a few years to live, but her health had improved after following a vegan diet and was determined to live life to the full while she could!
Tuesday 10th July
This morning we left at 8:20 and before 10 and four locks later we were at Fradley filling up with water from the slowest tap we’ve ever used before mooring opposite.
The lock-keeper at Keepers Lock recommended The Laughing Duck Cafe which is adjacent to the water-point so we arranged to meet our friends Carol & Ted there for lunch, it was a good choice with good food, good service and reasonable prices, in fact Ted said it was the best Ploughman’s Lunch he’d had in years. The café is apparently under new management so well done to the new owners.
Carol & Ted joined us for the rest of today’s journey arriving at our new mooring at King’s Bromley Marina just after 3pm.