Sunday, 4 August 2013

4 weeks out and it just seems like yesterday...

Wednesday 24th July to Sunday 4th August 2013

almost ready for the stove to go in
We headed up from Burton towards Alrewas, but on the way we needed to see to the essentials – a pumpout and replacement gas cylinder being the order of the day – and we detoured into Burton Marina to get a closer look.

The pumpout was especially pleasing – only clear water coming through by the end of it.

The marina looks extremely inviting with the cafĂ©, pub and a significant range of shops available – on our way back up this way in a few weeks we will be in to take an even closer look.

The mooring(s) that we had wanted were gone but we did secure one just a bit further on – not as much shade but still very good indeed.

a queue - what queue - both boats were on the water point;
so we were ready to go for the lock

below Wychnor Lock - quite appealing

a particularly "evil" cow - ready to attack

A group of people carrying things and banging stakes into the ground were making their way around – seems that there was a festival on there on the weekend – this being Wednesday meant that we would be moving before then anyway – what was on the stakes? – reservations for mooring spaces – luckily they had sufficient for those that had booked – we had our 48 hour mooring where we were.

The weather continued to be very warm to hot; the shade was appreciated; the BBQ made its way out again; more work was completed on the boat – the back doors (outside) were sanded back again and primed – the first time of spot priming didn’t work well enough.

Thursday afternoon and a knocking at the back doors – well fancy me – if it wasn’t Lynn and Phil (nb Valentine) – what a great surprise – they were out on a circuit of the 4 counties ring with a detour to Alrewas and they came upon us.

We caught up with our respective travels over tea and the beginnings of a plan for the coming week seemed to be formulated.

Probably the only reason we decided to move on Friday rather than spending a night and checking out the festival was the fact that rain was being forecasted on Saturday and we would rather miss cruising in that, so whilst Valentine winded, we fetched Ferndale from further back and we cruised firstly to Fradley Junction where Valentine took on water and then a bit further up at Fradley Wood where we had a break for lunch.

We had been discussing the increasing disregard for others – e.g. a distinct lack of slowing down to pass moored boat; a lack of help from other boaters at locks – in fact the very last lock we traversed prior to lunch was Lock 19 (above the junction) – the boat behind (which happened to be a hire boat) did send a young lad (about 18 or 19) up to the lock – principally to set it for them – certainly not to help anyone else.

As we were about to leave, he stood on the bridge facing back to his boat waving the windlass as in triumph that we were finally going – he copped an earful about not bothering to ask if any help was required and as he made a step forward to help us he was told again.

Anyway the lunch break helped and after a leisurely time we were both off again – we made our way for Armitage and The Plum Pudding – we had each been there but not actually been inside; so we would today for dinner.

It is a pleasant pub with very good food as well as very good service.

We took advantage of the moorings for the pub and stayed the night – for us it was very quiet.

Next day we needed to be off – the moorings were nice but very open to the sun and as well as this Lynn and Phil needed to get to Great Haywood for the following day when they had friends visiting.

So a reasonably early start and we all stopped at Rugeley for a shopping break – the Aldi and Morrisons were both visited as well as a couple of things from the market.

We headed off for the aqueduct moorings – we wanted to try these since we last went through here just a few weeks ago – found a lovely spot – still open but quiet – not long after Valentine was passing and we waved them off – knowing that we would catch up in a day or so.

The sun shone and the clouds provided a bit of relief; we were close enough to Rugeley that Sunday would not be a day without the mandatory paper to read in bed for she who must be obeyed, but along the way I found a Marstons pub (The Stag’s Leap) for lunch – just 500 metres away.

An excellent lunch was had – and D especially enjoyed the unlimited potatoes available.

We didn’t move on Sunday afternoon because not long after we returned to the  boat the rains came and it was going to be an afternoon inside and not cruising; but Monday made up for it – coolish but a bit humid; plenty of boats on the move and we aimed for Great Haywood – through the lock and into the last mooring spot available.

Coincidentally, Lynn was on her was out to walk Freddie and spied us.

Off to the Clifford Arms that night for a drink after our respective dinners – dogs permitted here.

Then come Tuesday we headed further on – but not very far at all.

After taking on water and then Phil and I waiting for the pair of them to empty the Farm Shop, Valentine headed away.

We were very happy to see Annie and Chas (nb Moore 2 Life) whom we hadn’t seen for quite a while and without anyone needing the waterpoint we chatted for quite a while until they needed to catch their taxi for Stafford and we needed to head off as well.

This way of life is such that little treat’s like this come along with such regularity that you think that it cannot get better that this – so good to see both Annie and Chas again.

We didn’t cruise far at all – only to some moorings that we had be seeking to try out near Ingestre Hall – and luckily for us they were free.

nb Valentine - after a new paint job
There wasn’t too much effort involved in being able to spend two nights here – one of the days was a bit cooler than the other and with some rain.

Time was now approaching for all of us that signalled the end of our time out from home and we had one last fling with being out – ending the time with the short trip into Stone where we found moorings in the 14-day length; a trip to the Star Inn and one to The Royal Exchange – strictly for sampling reasons only.

We also needed to get Banjo to the vet – he has not been at all well for a few weeks now – something we had put down to the hot and humid weather, but one which appears to be based upon a throat infection which has developed into fluid in the lungs – poor dear that he is – he just wanted to lie down and do as little as possible – with some helpful pills he is now a lot better but still under doctors orders – eating again and peeing a lot.

We met up with Geoff (nb Sayella) and had a good chat with him about any number of things but mainly to do with his impending painting of the boat – the preparation looks to be spot on and we did see it from a distance after they had gone into the dry dock at Canal Cruising – Geoff, we are looking forward to the pictures.

You really do know when it is time to return to the marina – it happens to coincide with a full black tank – we have a few things to do whilst we are in – none more important than finalising the hearth for the stove – that is now in hand with a consultation from Phil (nb Evergreen) who resides at the end of our pontoon.

31 Miles, 20 Locks, 1 Tunnel

Totals: 1961 Miles, 1432 Locks, 62 Tunnels, 29 Lift Bridges, 141 Swing Bridge


  1. Is your dog a Cockapoo? We have one that looks very much like yours!

    NB Mary H

  2. In the UK, Banjo would be classified as cockapoo - in Australia he is a Spoodle - we think the Australian name is a bit more dignified