A damp start to the day…
Cannock Chase in the murk
Young lambs wondering what they’ve let themselves in for.
You don’t know the half of it, kids!
We were off bright and early, we had a fair way to go, and also wanted to avoid the inevitable queue at Colwich Lock. This is the first encountered after leaving Great Haywood, and there’s usually a tail-back of boats as they all arrive together. Not today though; we were first away, first to arrive at the lock and able to take advantage of a full lock with the top gate already open. Result!
Colwich Lock, invitingly open.
It was below this lock last December that Mags made an unconventional debarkation…
The rain turned to drizzle as we approached Rugeley, the power station just visible through the gloom.
I hopped off to check for oncoming boats at Armitage “tunnel”, all clear, and we toddled on through Armitage and Handsacre.
I resisted the urge to take a picture of toilets stacked up at the Shanks sanitary ware factory, instead recording for posterity my lunch-on-the-go.
Tiggy’s pork pie and stilton with apricots. Courtesy of the farm shop at Great Haywood. Top hole nosh! General verdict – Yum, Yum. (Anybody else remember The Fall and Rise…?)
Carol, I didn't go back for the steak and kidney pies, just too much indulgence!
By the time we reached King’s Bromley Wharf the sun was trying to make an appearance through thinning cloud and it was getting warmer.
The trip through Ravenshaw Wood was a delight, with the shafts of sunlight beaming through the fresh leaves.
Woodend Lock is, as you would expect, at the end of the woods…
I reckon it’s the prettiest on the T&M. It should stay this way too. The second phase of the HS2 was intended to pass within a hundred yards of the cottage, but an alternative route has now been proposed and accepted.
Around the corner the Fradley Locks starts with Shadehouse.
We’d caught up with boats at Woodend, but with a steady stream of boats coming up passage was swift down to the moorings opposite the service wharf. Volunteers on Middle and Junction Locks helped a little, too.
So we got tied up after a long day (for us) at about a quarter past two.
Mags had to hold off while I shooed a mallard family out of the way…
The satellite dish set-up has been bugging me since I could only get German channels the other day. With a clear line-of-sight to the dot in the sky I set the dish up to see if I could sort it out. I did! Not using it very much these days I’d forgotten that you have to allow for an offset to the east if you’re west of the Meridian. Doh.
It was just flukey that at 28.2º east of south, at our current longitude, is Astra 1, the satellite that transmits mostly to Europe. A 9º shift anticlockwise from the normal compass bearing picked up Astra 2 and all the UK offering. I had a bit of sorting out to do to tune in all the more obscure channels, ‘cause I’d reset the box to factory defaults while trying to sort it out. But we’re there now. Not using it tonight, the DTV signal is fine here, all the way from Sutton Coldfield.
Mainly dry tomorrow, it seems. Good. We’ve more locks and less miles to do. I don’t mind travelling in the rain so much, but locking in the rain is a bit miserable, for both of us.
Hi to the crews of Rosemary (I think) out of Stone, and the Canal Cruising Club boat today, both of whom read my efforts! Thanks guys, it's nice to be appreciated!
Locks 5, miles 13½