We finally untied and started our journey south - it's a bit of a strange thing to say since we have been heading this way for a week now, but it has become a fact of life for us and the rest of the gang, that you really are not on your way out for the summer cruising until you cut the ties to the "Mother-Ship" that is this lovely lot of ratbags and scallywags.
Diane went off early to empty the cassette and upon return virtually just picked up the windlass and was off to set the lock - we were away - but only through the lock and to the water point.
We were just about finished when Roly and Bev wandered along - the same intent on their mind as it was for Diane earlier on. A chance for some more last goodbyes.
|Until later in the year for you teo|
|When next we see Bev and Roly's boat Klara, it will be in|
a different livery
Down through Aston Lock - I took the chance for a couple of shots of the marina - passing by "poo"-hill there was some sudden movement and jumping out from behind a tree and there were the gang again for definitely the last goodbye.
|Look at this crazy lot - braving "poo"-hill|
|the marina always looks good bathed in sunshine...|
We have travelled this stretch of the canal so many times over the last 3 years and there was no need for the Nicholsons - it was as if we knew each bridge, tree, sheep and cow.
|...as does this one|
|half sitting, half standing so it is 50% chance of rain|
To Sandon Lock - it was looking good, someone around the lock - a boat coming up, so I stepped to the towpath to go down and help the boat through. Seems there was no boat - just two very silly people - Sue and Andy had driven down to lend a hand through this lock and surely the very very last goodbye - we really did appreciate this last bit of help.
|Crazy people at the lock - Sue and Andy|
There are a few more boats now moving and at Weston Lock we managed to just make in time with a boat that had come out and another coming up, before the lock was turned.
|Which side looks best? This one or....|
Just a mile or so further on and we moored up at the Ingestre moorings on our own for a quiet coldish night - it had been a quite nice day with plenty of sunshine - still not warm enough to get the chill off the air.
The following morning we headed off about mid-morning and had a brief stop at Great Haywood with a visit to the farmshop and new cafe - both very nice.
Our aim today was to moor up at the Rugeley Aqueduct and head up to The Stag's Leap (a Marston pub) for lunch - Diane especially likes the rotissiere chicken there.
We did arrive a bit after 1pm and came back ready to sit down and relax - but alas there was some work to get done and a little football to watch.
It is now 12 months since we have lost Banjo; whilst we have got used to him not being around us we do not forget about him and there are memories of where he used to be whilst we were cruising and his little ways.
Certainly it is sad without him.
|Banjo - 23/4/01 to 19/3/14|
13 miles, 7 locks
YTD: 135 Miles, 58 Locks, 2 Tunnels, 2
Totals: 3029 Miles, 2179 Locks, 100 Tunnels, 36