Sunday, July 7, 2013

Good weather arrives as we return home - typical !!

Well hasn't the weather been great this last few days. Summer seems to have finally arrived as we return to the marina at Kings Bromley and, even worse, we 'look forward' to work tomorrow morning. Having said that, the heat today has been really stifling and we're not sure we would be all that comfortable aboard. 

Our latest trip finished off with three days of lovely sunshine. Thursday morning we decided to stay put and do some washing and cleaning through the boat before we departed just before midday towards Autherley Junction. We had a really steady cruise following a trip boat from Coven to Hatherton Junction, and then enjoyed an ice cream at Gailey. We moored for the night just above Boggs Lock and enjoyed watching some of Wimbledon and drowning a few maggots. 
Left turn.

We decided to leave quite early on Friday morning and try to avoid the powerful sun later in the day. It was a cracking day to cruise with just a little breeze and the locks seemed to be in our favour all day. It was nice to see the renovations of the lock cottage at Deptmore Lock which were in full swing last time we passed two years ago.

Deptmore Lock
Tixall Wide was very tempting, although filling up with boats by 1pm in readiness for the weekend no doubt, but we decided to head for one of our favoured spots below Haywood Lock which we thought would offer some shade. We managed to squeeze between two boats and were moored up before 2pm.

We decided to go and find a bit of shade by the river and took some drinks and chairs with us and watched the world go by and the dogs had a great time in the water cooling off. 
Nice afternoon spot by the River Trent.
When we returned to Blue Moon we met the owner of nb Kingfisher moored in front of us. We got talking as you do and introduced ourselves etc. It turned out in conversation that he was a single handed liveaboard from Marsworth on the GU. 'Marsworth' we thought. We met a bloke from there last year - a right character who kept us entertained in The Navigation at Bugsworth for hours. It turned out that Dale and Dave were drinking partners in that part of the world. What a small world it is. We had a lovely couple of hours sitting outside the boats chatting (and drinking) and Jasper had great fun playing with Dale's eleven week old puppy called 'Nellie', 'a thoroughbred runt crossed with a collie' as Dale described her. We finished the lovely afternoon with a meal in the Clifford Arms and watched some of the tennis semi final involving Andy Murray until there was a brief power cut !!

We were in no rush to get back to the marina on Saturday - we never are. We said goodbye to Dale and Nellie on Saturday morning as they left about 9am. We took the dogs down to the river for a swim and even had a good paddle ourselves. After applying plenty of suncream, we set off about 10am.
Dale & Nellie - nb Kingfisher
Bad timing as we found ourselves waiting for a day boat as it emerged from Haywood Lock and then pulled out behind it. Entertainment at it's best - it's just a shame I wasn't in a position to photograph the carnage it caused. The steerer panicked as a boat appeared towards him and was clearly put off by the long line of moored boats to his offside, although there was ample room to get through. He made the mistake of putting the boat into neutral, thinking it would steer. As we know it won't, but then when he put it back in gear he pushed the tiller the wrong way and headed for the oncoming boat. PANIC - hits neutral again - no response. Points the tiller the other way - no response. PANIC - puts in gear - points tiller the other way (wrong way) PANIC - hits full throttle as a last resort and swings the stern of the boat round almost 90 degrees to collide with the first moored boat on the offside with a resounding thump. The owner of the moored boat quickly appeared and managed to remain relatively calm. A smile and raised eyebrows were exchanged between us and I took the opportunity to make a quick exit down the nearside !!

We were back tied up at Kings Bromley by mid afternoon and the sun was very strong. We wished we could just have carried on past. We have had a great trip and are totally relaxed and refreshed. The Weaver is certainly a place we will return to and it was nice to see the Shroppie and Staffs & Worcs again after a couple of years.

It was also nice to see our pet fish again in the marina (click on link) - next time there will be a hook attached !!

Let's hope that the good weather continues for a good time yet, although not the best for us hayfever sufferers. Roll on September and our next good trip to look forward to.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

All quiet on the beautiful Shroppie.

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, but there are a few reasons for this. Firstly, and most importantly it was Louise's birthday on Monday (21 again + VAT) and we met up with friends. Secondly we seem to have moored in the worst places to try and get any signal and lastly I'm getting fed up with 'Blogger' particularly when it comes to adding photos. 

Anyway, moans over and we are now down at the southern end of the 'Shroppie' near to Bridge 8 at Chillington. A lovely still and sunny evening sat in the cratch with a glass of wine...perfect. 

Since our last post which should have been there for all to see and wasn't on Sunday, we have covered some miles on the lovely Shroppie. We really enjoy it on here for the spectacular views and the secluded cuttings. It can be a bit monotonous with the long straights at times, but if we could alter one thing it is the vast number of online moorings which stretch for as far as the eye can see at times.

Monday evening saw us head to Overwater Marina where we met up with our friends Christine & Alan who moor there. Like us, they used to have shares in Inglewood, but have since bought their own boat too. We decided to stay in the marina as it made socialising and boat viewing much easier. We had a lovely catch up with them and had a top meal at The Lord Combemere in Audlem before heading back to Blue Moon for coffee.
Some may recognise this boat passed near Overwater. 
We made an early escape on Tuesday morning to tackle the Audlem flight. If you had to pick a flight of locks to work through this would be at the top of most lists we reckon. The lock gear is easy and the scenery is hard to beat. The only problem can be the strength of the bypass weirs and the one entering Lock 10 was in a particularly foul mood this morning. A little touching up required!!!
Looking up the Audlem Flight
We made it up the flight in a little over 2 hours, helped by some boats descending. At the top we passed our other ex shared boat Marbury (again) but this time with different owners, so we stopped for a brief word.

The locks were not finished for the day yet as we ascended Adderley and then Tyrley Locks before entering Woodseaves Cutting. It was noticeable how many landslips and fallen trees have occurred recently, but also the number of trees that had been cut back. It did appear wider than we last remembered it. We moored at Goldstone Wharf and had a lovely meal at The Wharf of our favourites, and it was certainly very busy for a Tuesday night. 

Folks were up and about early this morning. One boat decided that they would moor on the water point beyond us at 7.15am and leave their engine running whilst they filled for over half an hour !! We left about 9.00am and headed south. There were quite a lot of boats heading the other way and I would think the locks towards Audlem would be a long drag today (he says with a wry grin). 
View of 'The Wrekin' from Shebdon 
The former Cadburys Wharf at Knighton.

We stopped off at Norbury Wharf to fill with diesel. 175 litres with a base price of 76.9p saw the tank full to the brim. We always try to use Norbury (or Turners Garage) if we are out this way as it makes a decent saving on the cost of filling up. After an ice cream, we continued south in some decent weather and decided to keep going through Gnosall, Wheaton Aston and Brewood even though we could have easily moored at all three. Even the staff at Norbury Wharf were saying how quiet it has been and Countrywide Cruisers at Brewood had 12 boats moored up, some of which look as though they haven't been used at all this 'summer'. If these boats aren't out, they aren't earning money and people aren't putting money into the economy and subsequently people are going to lose jobs and firms are going to go under which is the last thing the waterways needs at this time. I hope I'm wrong, but all the hire bases we have passed on this trip seem to have more boats in than out.