Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Unexpected meetings on the way to Taft Bridge

Another fine, dry day after a cool night and foggy morning. But it has been a little colder today. Alternating between fleece pullover on and off, in time with the appearance and disappearance of the sun!

Even though we were following a couple of other boats, we saw no sign of them, only the locks left empty as they moved on. It was no chore having to refill them as we arrived, in this superb countryside there’s absolutely no need to rush.
At Sandon Lock a BW chap was finishing off a gate repaint, and very smart the lock looked too.

Sandon Lock

It was here in September 2006 that we had an enforced overnight stop, waiting for the boatbuilder to come and sort out a seized propshaft.

We plodded on towards Weston, just spotting the top of Pitt’s Column over the trees in the grounds of Sandon House. 70-odd feet high, it was erected in memorial of William Pitt, after his death in 1806. We don’t seem to do stuff like that for modern PMs, do we. I wonder why…

Pitt’s Column

Through the village of Weston and past the boatyard at Weston Wharf (where there always sees to be something interesting going on – today they were dropping an engine into a hull),

Weston Wharf
Nearer the village Wimpy Homes (how come they’re always “homes”, not houses) is building a new development. Imaginatively called Canalside Wharf. Although it seems unlikely that there’ll be any wharf there for passing boats to moor on…

Canalside Wharf?
And we arrived at what I consider to be one of the most attractively set locks on the T&M.

Weston Lock
Hoole Mill was the last lock before we passed the recently opened Great Haywood Marina, a line of moored boats on the canal and arrived at Great Haywood. We pulled onto the water point to do the essentials.

I’d just put the spare cassette away and was getting ready to set off when a voice on the bank said “You must be Geoff”.
I popped my head up and stood there were Derek and Dot from NB Gypsy Rover, along with Eric and Patsy, a couple who are having a boat surveyed at the marina with a view to buying. Gypsy Rover is in there as well, having a few bits and pieces done.

Surprise! Eric and Patsy on left, Derek and Dot on right, me and Meg in the middle.
We must have spent nearly an hour, just chatting, before we went our separate ways.

We went through Haywood Lock and along the straight beside the parkland of Shugborough Hall. An awful lot of felling has been done along here, on both sides of the canal.

We picked up some wood along here earlier in the year. The contractors said they were going to be felling all but the oaks, on the orders of Staffs County Council, who are responsible for Shugborough Estate. They’ve certainly done that.

We pushed on through Colwich lock, always a bottleneck on summer mornings with boats leaving Great Haywood, and pulled over just past Taft Bridge. We were surprised at how busy this bit of bank is, there were probably 4 or 5 boats moored when we arrived.
We moored in front of Malcolm and Barbara on NB Pilgrim, who we’d seen up on the top end of the Shroppie, near Chester Zoo, about 3 weeks ago.
We invited them for a drink and spent a very enjoyable couple of hours swapping canal stories.

I see the government has decided it needs to borrow £175 billion to balance it’s books for next year. That’s a lot of zeros. If you’re American, it might only be £175,000,000,000. But by the traditional British method, it would be £175,000,000,000,000. Which is 1000 times more. I wonder which notation Mr Darling is using… Either way, it makes your average mortgage pale into significance, don’t it.

Still I suppose it’ll help pay £2000 to everyone who scraps their (probably perfectly roadworthy) 10 year old car. Just so they can buy a brand new (stood in a car lot in all weathers since built 18 months ago) one. That cost more in resources to build than the old one will consume in the next 20 years. Or maybe I’m just being cynical…

Locks 5, miles 8


Anonymous said...

Hi Geoff and Mags,

Nice to meet you yesterday in company with Derek and Dot. We have been following your blog, along with their's and many others', for the past couple of years.
Don't forget that if you ever want to part company with Meg there's very willing foster parents just waiting. She's an absolute delight.
Two newbies wish you continued safe and happy travels.

Best wishes, Eric & Patsy

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Both
Glad to hear you'll be joining us on the cut. Will look out for you.
I think you'll have to join the queue to foster Meg, though!
Seriously, she's a little belter, I don't know what we'd do without her.
Happy cruising, keep your feet dry...