We were awake at 5am again this morning, the alarm clock on the wall did not go off, but my phone did phew. This is the last early start this week as we do not move at weekends. Having eaten breakfast, Paddy got walked and I stood on the towpath and listened to the silence, which was fantastic. Nothing was moving, not even the bushes, because there was no wind at all. A Cockerel then announced that it was dawn and we should all be out of our beds, I had beaten him to the draw. The start to the morning was dry, but a little cool, so I put my dungarees back on, the shorts would come out later.
I know I have said about this before I am sure either Keith or I has stood in something, because yet again all the locks were in our favour, apart from one which had about a foot of water in it, overnight leakage. Our first lock of the day was Awbridge Lock, near John Jacksons coal yard. Having the locks ready for us has made an amazing difference to our journey times, we have achieved 3.96 lockmiles/hour (10.2 miles 7 locks in 4hrs 20mins), so this has meant we have moved further than anticipated.
At Dimmingsdale Lock these two smiley faces greeted us both. If you ever do the Staffs and Worcs you will notice all the way along smiley faces on fence posts and tree stumps. They really do make you smile. I have no idea who has been putting them up though. We had thought of stopping at Compton, but having arrived there by 8:30am we decided to carry on, which was just as well, because there were no moorings to be had.
We passed by Aldersley Junction and headed for Autherley. We have also decided to head north up the Shroppie, and return by the Middlewich branch and T&M. At Autherley Junction, Keith let me off at Oxley Moor Bridge, so I could walk up to the junction to see if any boat was coming out of it. As I approached the bridge an Anglo Welsh boats were just coming out of the lock wanting to tuen on to the Staffs and Worcs to head for Great Haywood. After they had completed the turn, Keith bought the boat into the stop lock.
The Napton hire boats were moored up and were being turned around ready for a new intake of holiday makers, so we got through there just right. We carried on up past the Wolverhampton Boat club and onward to the 48hr moorings between Hunting Bridge No.7 and Park Bridge No.8, a very popular mooring spot especially at the weekends, so we are lucky to have got a mooring here, but we timed it right, just as we were approaching 2 boats set off, leaving us a space to slide into.
We had no sooner moored up, when a couple of ladies walking past with dogs said hello. I turned around to see Eileen and Caroline with their dogs. They were moored just down from us and invited us to go and have a coffee with them and the other halves. So having moored up and closed the boat up, Keith and I joined Caroline and John off NB Vanyar and Eileen and Derek on NB Jolly Lamb for coffee and a chat, I also took along some small cakes, which went down well. it was absolutely wonderful to see them all again. The last time we got together was during the Winter when we delivered their coal. We spent a couple of hours talking about all sorts, before we we left them to enjoy the afternoon sun. Lunch was a couple of hours late, but it did not really bother us, we will just have a smaller dinner tonight. Paddy is sleeping in the saloon and Marmite is lounging outside in the sunshine.
I am hoping the weather is going to be good over the weekend, because it may mean I get some painting done, if not then we will watch the world go by and enjoy a beer or two.
Have a lovely weekend xx