Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Early birthday presents as we head through Rugeley

With our Boat Safety examination concluded successfully yesterday, we were free to get a good start this morning. Even though we weren’t so tardy, there was a steady stream of boats heading past before we got going. The plan was to arrive in Rugeley and get moored after the overnighters had left, and before the lunchtime and early finishers arrived.

Away from the pig farm Taft Wharf moorings at twenty past nine.SAM_0084

A bit cooler this morning, the sky well overcast, so it was on with a jumper first thing. That was soon discarded though as the day steadily brightened with the sun making fleeting appearances.

Around the bend at Brindley Bank and into RugeleySAM_0085

As we approached the first of the moorings suitable for shopping, I spotted a familiar face and pulled in for a chat. It was last autumn we last saw Tony and Jacqui (NB Timewarp), since then they’ve been south on the Grand Union. Unfortunately Jacqui was in town, but we caught up with the news from Tony. They’ve taken to selling brass tiller pins, and thinking of Mags’ fondness for tigers, I asked Tony if he’d got one.

Tony and his tiller pin selectionSAM_0086
He doesn’t like having his photo taken… can you tell?

He had a tiger, and Mags is now the proud owner of a new tiller pin!
That’s September’s birthday sorted then!Fingers crossed

We left Tony to it, hoping to moor near Bridge 66 to be handier for Tesco, and were lucky enough to drop into a slot just beside the bridge.
First trip for me was up to Argos, where they’re having a sale. My old Samsung camera is starting to get a little flaky. The lens cover doesn’t always open, requiring a tap on the side of the housing to sort, the lens itself is scratched, and the pictures don’t seem to be as crisp as they were, or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, Mags offered to buy me a new one for my birthday, and with Argos doing a Canon digital at a considerable reduction it seemed a good time to take advantage of the suggestion.

New Canon SX170
First impressions are mixed. I’ve not road tested it yet, the battery needs a good charge, but I took a couple of shots to make sure it worked. The battery has to be removed for charging, there’s no other way, and, as it comes, you also have to take the (required) memory card out to download the pics. With the Samsung I just plugged it in to a USB socket, it downloaded the day’s offerings and charged through the same lead. There’s a cable socket on the unit, so I shall have to investigate a little further.
The manual looked to be quite comprehensive, well, thick, anyway. Till I found that it’s in twenty different languages! There’s only four or five pages in English. The full instructions are available as a PDF from Canon’s website.
We’ll see how we get on.

Anyway, a few grocery bits from Morrisons (I was passing the door) completed the shopping excursion, and we pushed on through the town and out to fill with water beyond the Ash Tree pub.

Under the railway bridgeSAM_0088

Tank filled, it was a few hundred yards before Meg and I jumped off to check for oncoming traffic through Armitage “Tunnel”.

All clear so we proceed through the narrows where the tunnel used to be.SAM_0097
The top was removed in 1971 as headroom was getting lower due to subsidence. It’s been part covered over again following construction of a new bridge since.

Around Armitage there are a few restrictions to easy navigation. Apart from the tunnel there’s a tree-hung section ending in a sharp right turn below the church,SAM_0099

and another narrow bit nearer Handsacre.

Aahh, Armitage. Toilets come to mind…SAM_0102

Some sort of beetle hitching a ride…SAM_0101

…and an acrobatic moorhen chick
I’m sure he’ll grow into those legs and feet…

We pulled over at Bridge 55, not far from Kings Bromley Marina, and were promptly accosted by the local family of beggars.

Looks like Dad’s had a close encounter with fishing line in the past.SAM_0110
It didn’t stop him having a go at me through the side hatch, though! Ungrateful git!

The weather’s improved considerably as the day’s worn on, bright warm sunshine now.

Thanks for the comment,  Sue. Yes it’s a relief to get that out of the way for another four years. Hope things get moving soon with the engine swap.

Locks 0, miles 7

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