Travelled 12 miles, worked 8 locks in a time of 6 hours 20 minutes.
I had the best ever sleep last night and neither the other half or I woke up until 5am. whilst having enjoyed a cuppa, I relit the back cabin stove, because it was decidedly chilly, so chilly that Marmite had slept on our bed all night. Having enjoyed our cup of tea, I was up dressed and off the boat walking Paddy. A rolling mist was coming to greet us on the cut as the sun was coming up. It was a beautiful start to the 1st March Pinch and a Punch and all that. As we walked along the towpath, the ducks were in fine voice, with one very vocal Mallard, having a good old moan about something, she probably did not like the mist or the chilly start, or maybe just the company which was following her around. The Drakes are all showing interest in the females as Spring marches in.
Back on the boat I made Keith and I Porridge to give us a nice warming meal to get the day started. I then added some more Potatoes and vegetables to yesterdays Lamb Stew, so it will do us another meal. That was put back in the back cabin stove to carry on cooking.
We set off from our over night mooring at 8.55am, so a later start for us as we did not want to wake to many people up with the noise of our engine. This included Viv and Simon on Monarch and Grimsby, as we knew Viv had been poorly. It was onward to the first of the 8 locks Filance Lock which was in our favour, it was the only lock that was all day.
I spotted this beautiful cat sitting in the morning sunshine eyeing up the ducks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The sun had burnt off the mist and it was getting warmer by the minute. We approached Shutt Hill Lock and were being waved into an open lock, when we got closer I realised it was Viv and Simon off of Monarch and Grimsby, they had come to say hello having missed at our over night mooring. Simon very kindly worked the lock for us, whilst I nattered to Viv, who has been poorly. We spent over half an hour chatting to the pair of them before wishing them well as we went on our way towards Tixel Wide in the sunshine. Lunch was eaten on the run before we reached Tixel Lock.
Tixel Wide looked amazing in the Spring sunshine.
We arrived at Great Haywood Junction, where a gentleman on the bridge waved us through.
At 2.10pm we turned back on the Trent and Mersey, and saw Darley was moored up on her home mooring.
Not sure if we will see Blossom and Dawn this year, with us heading north.
We got to Hoo Mill Lock and there was a boat already coming down, so I walked up to see if I could help, but when I got there I found out it was Karen and Chris on NB Alice, who we know very well as they moor Alice at Roger Fuller's yard. It was lovely to see them again, they are off out on the boat for a few days, so we may not see them again whilst we are in Stone. We left Hoo Mill Lock and headed along the Trent and Mersey Canal towards Ingestre where Keith suggested we moor up for the night on a small ringed mooring.
All moored up, I got into the hold to get out some new oil and a couple of empty containers, because Keith wanted to change the engine oil as she was due for a change. It is always easier to change the oil when it is hot or warm. Whilst Keith did that, I stacked the wood we have collected properly in the hold, because I had just been slinging the wood into the hold as we found it. Once the wood has dried out a bit we will chop it up ready for this coming winter. The next thing for me to do was to clean the rest of the boats brass, that I did not get round to finishing the other day. After cleaning the brass, I made some dumplings for the Lamb Stew and put it back in the oven to finish cooking. Keith then got on with cleaning the tiller and pin, whilst I washed the roof of the boat down.
Whilst Keith and I were being very industrious, Paddy and Marmite were out on the bank enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. Marmite was quick to find some dirt to roll in, whilst Paddy was more interested in finding a stone to play with, despite the fact he knows he is not allowed.
It has been another fantastic day for us with meeting up with old friends. I am looking forward to getting to Stone tomorrow to see more old and dear friends.
Yesterday whilst we were cruising along the Shroppie towards Autherley Junction we saw a large plume of smoke coming from the direction of Wolverhampton and wondered what it was.
Today we found out. There was a huge blaze at a building suppliers. The fire has closed the Wolverhampton flight of locks as well due to a worry over pollution from the fire.
Birmingham Canal Old Main Line: Wolverhampton Lock Flight
UPDATE (01 March 2012): Upon further investigation, there is still a risk of pollution following the fire. The fire service still has concerns over the property in question, therefore unfortunately the lock flight remains closed. The situation will be reviewed tomorrow.
STOPPAGE (Wednesday 29 February 2012 until further notice) Due to a major fire in units next to the lock flight there is a possibility of pollution entering the canal. After seeking advice from the Environment Agency we have decided to close the flight until pollution levels can be accurately assessed. A further update will follow in due course.
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