We've had a relaxing couple of days out and about and are now heading back towards Kings Bromley. The weather has gradually improved and this afternoon has been just perfect.
Yesterday morning we fell foul of some torrential showers (or at least John did) as we headed through Rugeley. It was a slow journey up to Great Haywood as the boat two ahead of us travelled at no more than tick over. We don't have a problem with that at all, but when boats are clearly travelling quicker and queueing up behind, why not just pull over and let them by. In fact, the boat infront of us got so tired of the pace, he actually forced his way past without being beckoned through. At least it meant that the expected queue at Colwich Lock was non existent when we finally arrived there.
Unfortunately we were not so lucky at Hoo Mill Lock as we arrived at #7 in the queue. Oh we'll it's a Bank Holiday after all, so we should expect it I guess. Having got through the lock we moored up mid afternoon at Ingestre and watched the world go by from the comfort of the cratch. We went for a walk to Ingestre village in the evening....a real jewel in Staffordshires crown. Some fabulous properties and tucked so far out of the way. We encountered some unusual sheep in a field that turned out to be Balwen welsh mountain sheep - what an easy life they have by the River Trent.
Today we had a run up as far as Aston Marina. We had intended to wind above Sandon Lock, but the queue to come down would have left us #7 in the queue again - there's a pattern forming here !! So we decided to keep moving rather than stand holding a rope and had a really pleasant run. By the time we arrived back at Sandon there were just two boats ahead of us and we were soon through. We have seen plenty of ducklings, goslings and a pair of swans with eight cygnets which was a lovely sight.
Back at Hoo Mill Lock we witnessed a severe breach of Health & Safety. Why would you enter a lock with young children standing on the roof of the boat and allow them to try and grab the footbridge over the lock and an overhanging willow tree. They remained there as the boat came up in the lock. A surge of water could have thrown the boat onto the top gate and them into the lock. Of course life jackets were not worn. I just don't understand the mentality of the parents. At the end of the day the kids don't know any better, but it could be a hard lesson to learn.
We found a mooring above Haywood Lock and had another terrific meal at the Clifford Arms. For a quality value for money meal it's hard to beat with a cracking selection of ales too. The area was busy with folks this evening. As we walked to the pub there were folks having a barbecue by the river. On our way back we wandered down to the river with the dogs. It is a lovely spot. The 'Essex Bridge' over the river is an ancient packhorse bridge built in 1550, is grade one listed and is the longest remaining packhorse bridge in England. Why then would you choose to go there and having had your enjoyment in lovely surroundings, leave all your litter strewn all over the place. Bottles, cans, plastic bags and even raw sausages left lying around the place. We did our good deed for the day and tidied it all up and placed it in a nearby bin....Maffi would be proud of us !!