Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We've Arrived In Ellesmere

We did the last part of our speedy journey in seven and a half hours- not that we could travel at any speed just long days at slow speeds. We left our mooring below Grindley Brook and joined the procession of boats going up the six locks until we were amongst the four boats in the pound below the staircase waiting to go up. It was a slow process as it works on a three up and three down basis. Leaving the top lock was tricky as a boat was moored too close to the lock and we had to stop and push out the bow of our boat. Did they offer to move- NO!

Ben and I walked along a familiar towpath to Whitchurch while Eric cruised in the sunshine. At Whitchurch the lift bridge was up but the person who opened it leaped back on her boat expecting me to swim to the other side. Eric stopped on the off side and managed to let it down. The Llangollen Canal is very busy and we had three more lift bridges to do and there was some cooperation with a boat travelling behind as we took it in turns to do the lift bridges. We finally arrived at Ellesmere and moored near the Dry Dock ready for the morning. We are so not used to all this travelling - we need a holiday!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Back On The Llangollen- Hurleston Junction To Grindley Brook

Changing Places at Hurleston Locks

Going Up!

Not an early start this morning so almost all the moored boats by us had left before we surfaced. We turned the corner to go up Hurleston Junction and found a boat waiting so NB Bendigedig had to wait to go to the side as we needed to lift the offside fenders. The bottom lock at Hurleston is too narrow if your fenders are down and we didn't want to start the day by getting stuck in the lock. Even though it was busy there were boats going up and down so we could pass in the pounds. At the top of the flight we stopped to use the services- we needed to top up the water tank as I'd done a load of washing.

Ben enjoyed this stop as he met Benjy- a lurcher/ staffie/ labrador cross and they had a great time playing on the wide towpath. The water took an age to fill the tank it was so slow but we spent the time having a chat. We'd planned to get to the bottom of Grindley Brook so we had thirteen locks and some swing bridges to work through. Ben and I enjoyed lots of little walks between the locks today and it's been lovely because we're back to grassy towpaths and we've not met any bikes on this stretch of the Llangollen Canal. We passed Willymoor pub by the lock of the same name but it was closed and then we did Poveys Lock to moor up below Grindley Brook Locks ready for more locks in the morning. Eric's happy as we're on his favourite canal although the bywashes on the locks take some getting used to. The gunnels have taken a pasting so we'll be painting in the dry dock as well as sorting out the propellor.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Audlem To Hurleston Junction (Flags Flying)

We began our descent into Audlem at 8.30am as we wanted to be moored up ready for England versus Germany on the TV. Today was our lucky day as at every lock we changed places in the pounds as boats climbed the flight as we descended. So those locks weren't so tiring after all. A quick stop at the Co-op in Audlem for a Sunday paper and we were on our way with just three more of the flight to negotiate. No more locks until we reached the pair at Hack Green and we were quickly through those as we helped the boat going down so they prepared the next lock down for us. It's so nice when people help each other instead of standing back and watching.We cruised past Nantwich and who should we see, Les on NB Valerie ! A quick hello as he responded to the shouts 'Les' - sorry nowhere to stop near you today. We're now moored below Hurleston Junction just in time to see the end of the Grand Prix and then the England versus Germany match. Tomorrow the Llangollen Canal!

As you can see from the photo the England Flags are flying on the roof but I hasten to add the Welsh Dragon is still in charge of the tiller. It surprises some people that we support England in the football but in rugby it's a completely different ball game in more ways than one.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Another Busy Day Norbury To Coxbank

Going Down Towards Audlem

We were woken up at eight o'clock by a boat reversing noisily backwards to the waterpoint at Norbury Junction, so we decided to make an early start. By nine it was hot already as I walked with Ben as far as the start of Grub Street Cutting. I couldn't walk any further along this stretch of canal unless I had wellies- the towpath has duckweed. We cruised through cuttings and embankments until we reached Tyrley Wharf. I stayed on the boat because I knew Ben would get the chance to have a walk on the two flights of locks we planned to work down.

Tyrley Locks had paired bottom gates which leaked so badly they were empty even though a boat had just come up the flight of five locks. There is an array of ferns and mosses which flourish in the sandstone cutting at the bottom of Tyrley Locks. theses locks carry the canal down to Market Drayton.We didn't stop at Market Drayton, we just crawled past the enless stream of moored boats.

Finally we reached the top of the five Adderley Locks and Ben and I got off the boat again- me to do the paddles and Ben to explore and find a shady place to lie down as it was so hot. I bought a lovely sponge cake from the canal side stall at the Top Lock- there cup cakes, sponges and loads of free range eggs. So free range that one of the hens was on the lock side.

We had a cuppa and sampled the cake before we cruised a little further and worked down the first two locks of the Audlem flight of fifteen locks to reach Coxbank. Here we moored up on the visitor moorings after seven and a half hours cruising. A busy day for us and it's been so hot, but we're well on our way to reach Ellesmere in time! Tomorrow we've the rest of the Audlem flight to do.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Back On The Shroppie

6NB Bendigedig at Bridge 22

Shady Cuttings near Bridge 22

We're heading north so we travelled to the visitor moorings just south of Brewood for an overnight stop. Here the towpath is wide and grassy and it was nice not to be next to a very dusty towpath with bikes and runners rushing by as we found on the southern Staffs & Worcs Canal.

We always enjoy the Shroppie also known as the Shropshire Union Canal (S.U.C) with its cool, shady cuttings and high embankments especially on a very hot sunny day. Ben and I walked to Brewood while Eric steered the boat and then we moored up for bread and milk stop in the Co-op. We then cruised as far as Wheaton Aston stopping after the lock to use the services- it was five days since we last filled up with water and I had loads of washing to do.

Our overnight stop was planned as Norbury Junction and we arrived after five and a half hours cruising- a much longer day than usual for us. Loads of room to moor here even on a Friday afternoon. There's also a book swap here so I'm off to change my books.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Prop Ding! BW To The Rescue!

My daughter Clare with her niece Gwenllian

Clare came to visit us at Bratch a little earlier than planned and Mark the lock keeper was kind enough to lock her motorbike in the rubbish compound for the night. He teased us that the bin men came at 7.30 am and nearly took it away- but they read the note attached to the seat of the bike. It was great to see her- we haven't had any visitors for ages.

On Thursday we were on the move again leaving Bratch behind and heading all the way to Autherley Junction calling in at Oxley Marina to ask about our propellor problem. We dinged it and bent two blades near Wombourne and we were hoping they could use their slipway and sort it out. But basically they told us they couldn't do it- we'd need a dry dock so we were wondering what to do as we hovered at Autherley Junction. Which way should we go?

I rang BW to ask about dry dock vacancies and we were in luck there was a cancellation at Ellesmere Dry Dock for 1-07-10 so now we're on a mission! We've a week to get there but I know we can do it as we know how far we need to go each day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Swindon To Bratch Locks

A View of Bratch Locks

Tuesday morning came and we were away by ten o'clock- I've told you before we don't do early mornings! We had arranged with our daughter Clare to be at Bratch Locks on Wednesday morning so we needed to move today (Tuesday) as there were eight locks to get us above Bratch on the visitor moorings. We were in luck as most of the locks were set for us. There was some delay at Botterham Staircase as we needed to fill the top chamber although the bottom chamber was already empty.

After Botterham we had a short cruise to Wombourne Bridge [43] where I needed to do a shop at the new Sainsbury's very conveniently next to the canal. Just Bumble lock left and we were at the bottom of Bratch. I walked up the flight to ask the lock keeper if we could come up and he said yes. I opened the bottom gates for Eric and then the fun began- I put my hands behind my back and caught my bracelet on one of my rings on my other hand- so I was handcuffed by my jewellery behind my back. Lock keeper to the rescue- he untangled me and said he'd better not tell his wife! We did have a good laugh as we worked through the three Bratch Locks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Red Sky At Night In Swindon

Red Sky At Swindon

My nose is telling me the pollen count is very high- moored by lots of long grass doesn't help but we decided to stay at Swindon. So on Monday (with a pocket full of tissues) I decided to follow a footpath shown in the Pearson's Guide and do a circular walk between Swindon and Greensforge Lock. I took a photo of the map to take with me to make sure I didn't get lost. Ben and I followed a track through a wood and eventually there were some little yellow arrows to identify the footpath. There was a wide track left across a field - one side was crops and the other side was just grass. We followed a rough track down through woods- you could see the caravans of the static caravan park so we knew where we were. Across a field and we were at Greensforge Lock for the return journey along the towpath. Ben really enjoyed his walk and went to sleep when we got back to the boat. Monday was incredibly hot with very little breeze to cool us down and in the evening the red sky was beautiful

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Whittington To Swindon- A Return Trip In The Sunshine

Gothersley Lock and Bridge

Well Eric watched England play football Friday evening and I'm saying not more- it's all been said! The boat stayed put on Saturday but we went for a circular walk to Kinver and back to the boat - it only took an hour. We had a lazy day other than that although we still played ball with Ben. I watched some normal Saturday night TV and Eric caught up with the football when they showed the highlights.

On Sunday we left Whittington and worked through loads of locks to reach Swindon. I walked a lot of the way but it wasn't much fun with so many bikes- it was a case of ding ding get out of the way. We were delayed at Greensforge Lock and provided the entertainment for the drinkers in the garden at 'The Navigation'. It was a duckling rescue mission as Eric came into the lock four tiny ducklings and mum were there already so it was a reverse out and luckily they went out with the boat too. He then put the boat back in the lock. We didn't want to squash the tiny ducklings who wouldn't have been able to get out of the way.

Another lock later(Hinksford Lock) and we were moored at Swindon. This lock had a paddle stuck open but because it had three paddles we got through OK. The gate paddle on the top gate never goes down until the gate is shut but we knew about that. So we're moored in the same place as we moored on the way down- not so much gardening to do then- amongst the long grass. Let's hope the hay fever tablets give me a sneeze free night!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Return Trip Stourport to Whittington

York Street Visitor Moorings (Stourport on Severn)

I had a really good sleep although I did resort to ear plugs as I'm more used to country noises. A town has a different smell too and I was aware of the traffic fumes. In the evening the fishermen arrived above the lock. As planned this morning we went down the lock and turned around. Eric filled the water tank while Ben and I had a quick stroll to see the river- the water tap is very slow!

Off we went back through York Street Lock and heading north once again. Next to Falling Sands Bridge the Severn Valley Railway crosses high above on a viaduct. On the way down to Stouport a steam train was going over the viaduct as Eric took the boat under Falling Sands Bridge- it happened too quickly for a photo. I was walking with Ben and I waved at the steam train and the driver waved back and tooted his whistle just like in the Railway Children.

We stopped for a loaf of bread in Tesco's Kidderminster and then on through the underpass to the picturesque Kidderminster Lock next to the cathedral. The underpass has a really good mural painted on the walls- a pleasant change from the usual graffiti. Today we had a change I worked the boat through the first few locks and then we changed over and I steered the boat through the final three locks in the rain. I did crash a bit on the first one which had a bridge built into the lock but soon got the hang of getting the boat in the hole without crashing. A bit further on we found a spot to moor near Whittington Lock and it then stopped raining.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's Hot Hot Hot In Stourport

Stourport Basin

Today we cruised to Stourport on Severn and it's baking. We were in luck as there was a space at the mooring nearest York Street Lock and Eric managed to get a satellite signal for the football tonight. Eric and I took Ben for a walk down by the river and Ben enjoyed a paddle to cool off and a drink of course. We had a walk under the trees in the park and it was lovely and cool. It's a pleasant place to stop and a change to be in civilisation with shops, traffic and people. The chip shop provided a lovely fish and chip lunch- it's too hot for cooking!

This evening Eric washed one side of the boat as well as the front and back as the boat was covered in dust from the cycle track towpath. Lots of boats going down the lock to the basin but there's no room to moor there. We'll be going down in the morning to use the services and turn around as we're not going on the River Severn this time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just Past Kidderminster

NB Bendigedig at Wolverley Lock

Today has been a lovely sunny day and we've been cruising along the winding Staffs and Worcester Canal towards Stourport. Ben and I passed the mooring on the canal where we cross into Worcestershire and Eric cruised through Cookley Tunnel while we continued our walk along the towpath. At Debdale Lock there's a man made cave next to the lock- I can't remember what it was used for.

Next came Wolverley Lock where there's a cafe selling amongst other things bacon butties- you could smell them but we didn't stop today. Just one more lock at Wolverley Court and then we were on the outskirts of Kidderminster with canal side housing.

We stopped by Sainsbury's as Maplin's is on the same site- Eric wanted some satellite cable and connectors. He needed to make a new section to connect the satellite finder as the short section supplied with it was suffering from overuse. He also had a new chamois from Halfords as his old one was rather holey.

We moved on through Kidderminster Lock to stop for food shopping at Tesco and then find a mooring a few locks further down out in the country where we could pick up the dot in the sky. Ben's having a sleep now after a busy day and Eric is enjoying the football!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Very Short Cruise To Whittington Visitor Moorings

We had to leave Kinver as it's one of those places where you can only stay 24 hours and not return in 28 days so we'll have to stay somewhere else on this there and back trip. At least we're now on 48 hour moorings so we can stay put if we want to. Today Eric wanted to service the engine so as soon as we moored up he took off the boards to let the engine cool down. I'd done a load of washing as we travelled so the rotary line came out to dry it all. We managed to get a satellite signal to watch TV later. Two other boats moored up here too when they saw the satellite dish. So the washing is blowing and Eric's in the engine bay and I'm giving the boat a good clean inside.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Short Cruise To Kinver

Kinver Waterpoint

Stewpony Lock

We had to leave Stewpony Wharf as the moorings were 24 hours only so we only moved a little further on. In fact two locks away is Kinver and we managed to find a space and we were lucky enough to get a satellite signal. Ben and I walked but he had to stay on a long lead as there were just too many bikers that he would have chased given the chance. We stopped at the waterpoint to top up and got rid of the rubbish as well.

We walked into Kinver to get bread and milk in the Co-op. A lot of the shops were closed for the afternoon- we have an uncanny knack of visiting places when it's early closing day. It was very noisy in Kinver - they're in the process of widening pavements for traffic calming. At least the canal is away from the noise- all you can hear are birds.
As you can see the photographs are in the wrong order but they took so long to upload I've not done them in the correct order.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Swindon To Stewponey Wharf

On Sunday I popped to the shop in Swindon and got the papers before we moved away from the greenery engulfing the boat giving me dreadful hayfever. Being a Sunday there were bikes , dogs and wakers everywhere. Ben had to stay on a lead as I didn't want him chasing bikes and barking at them- he still thinks if it moves chase it. He usually ignores kids and women on bikes, but he loves the speedy men in all their gear. We met a few grumpy men as even though he was on a lead he still barked and they didn't like it! Eric's a bit grumpy too as he dinged the propellor on some underwater debris.

The locks have been hard going today as all the traffic is going south and we have to fill the locks up before we can use them. Also most of the time I can't use my long throw windlass as it's too long. It's difficult to find anywhere to moor to get the satellite TV as the canal is surrounded by trees and there's also a lot of uncut vegetation making mooring difficult. We moored at Stewponey Visitor Moorings just before the rain came pouring down. The grass had been cut so my hayfever symptoms should ease off- the tablets can't cope when I'm surrounded my long seeding grasses and other plants. Eric managed to find a satellite signal so he could watch some football and the Grand Prix while I read the Sunday papers. There's some very soggy people going past the boat.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bratch To Swindon in Staffordshire

A View of Bratch

On Saturday we moved on from a lovely quiet spot above Bratch Locks. There were no other boats about at Bratch Locks so we were quickly through- the lock keeper said it's been quiet for the time of year. Ben waited on his lead until I'd finished working the locks and then we left Bratch behind and continued walking while Eric steered the boat. We worked another lock and then spotted Sainsbury's at Wombourne Bridge No 43 so decided to stop and shop. There's lots of long grass about now so I am starting to get hay fever but a tablet seems to relieve the symtoms although I still sneeze a bit.

Next was Botterham Staircase where you have to make sure the bottom lock is empty to recieve the water from the top lock as you descend. We had to wait for a boat to go down so I helped them through. Two more locks and we wanted to more up at Swindon- the visitor moorings only have room for a few boats and were full so we are moored alongside window high grass and nettles. We had to do a bit of gardening so that we could get off the boat without being stung.

Eric got a good satellite signal as as you all know the World Cup has started. There's even an England Flag showing in one of the boat's windows but the Welsh Flag is still fluttering on the tiller.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Moved A Little Bit- To Bratch Visitor Moorings

Looking Up Bratch Locks

Today we only cruised an hour , working through three locks to get as far as Bratch Locks Visitor Moorings. Ben and I walked passing a few fishermen and disturbing their peace- they weren't any grumpy ones today. We moored up and a few boats pulled in behind us but left shortly afterwards merely stopping for lunch. In the afternoon we went to have a look at the Bratch Locks and took a few photos. The three locks will take us down about 30 feet when we go down tomorrow with the help of the lock keepers. They look like a staircase but are three locks telescoped together with blue and red paddles- if I remember it's blue before red but I'll check tomorrow. ( Yes I corrected this I had the wrong colours.) You can see the octagonally shaped office of the lock keeper at the top of the locks flying the English flag!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Brewood to Dimmingsdale

Autherley Lock

On Wednesday morning Alan and Eiddwen said their goodbyes as NB Shush went sailing by. They were heading towards Great Haywood. We left later and headed to Autherley Junction and then turned right towards Stourport. No doubt we'll meet up again on our travels.Ben and I walked the three miles to Autherley in an hour alongside the boat. At Autherley Lock there's only about a foot difference in level between the Shroppie and the Staffs and Worcs canals, so we went quickly through.

The Staffs and Worcs is quite different to the Shroppie- much shallower and narrower but a pretty rural canal. Our first stop after a lock at Compton was Limekiln Chandlers to get a few bits and pieces. We also needed diesel and it was easy peasy to get 30/70 as he already had a chart with the cost per litre fo the various splits. What a change from usual fuss made by some outlets.

We left Compton and worked through a few more locks to the Visitor Moorings at Dimmingsdale. It took quite a while to get satellite TV and we ended up having to move the boat forward because a tree was in the way. Another boat came and were disappointed as they always moor where we've moored. Anyway they moored in front of us. It's a busy towpath here with walkers, runners and bikes whizzing by.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A Short Trip To Brewood

After taking Ben out for a walk dressed for the weather the rain stopped and we had a nice walk towards Brewood. Back on the boat we decided to top up the water tank and move on to Brewood- pronounced 'Brood' by the locals. Some of the previously posh bridges look decidedly shabby on this stretch of the canal and the offside of the canal is quite overgrown in places. We stopped for shopping at Brewood as I needed some fruit and vegetables and a trip to Coopers was planned. Back on the boat we moved on to visitor moorings between Bridge 7 and 8. As we approached the moorings a lady of a moored boat informed us the canal was closed as an electricity cable had come down across the canal and caught fire. The firemen had put out the fire and the canal could not be reopened until the electricity company had removed the offending cable.

We planned to stop any way so it made little difference to us. Alan and Eiddwen on NB Shush were already moored up so Alan came out to catch the rope. They'd stayed to do some jobs on their boat. We had a good catch up chat since we hadn't seen them since out stay at Coxbank near Audlem. Of course Ben got his ball as Alan always throws it for him.

A couple of hours later the boat traffic was once again coming past as the canal had been reopened. We knew it wouldn't be a long stoppage as the cable was part of the supply to a nearby village. It made us think of the fun we had last year when we got caught up with the Shebdon Embankment stoppage which closed the Shroppie as a through route for months.

Norbury To Wheaton Aston

Monday came and we needed to move on again. We weren't sure where we'd end up as the weather forecast was for a wet afternoon. We were awake early so decided to get water at the junction and move before the rain came. I popped to the shop at Norbury Junction for bread, sugar, a paper and milk - very overpriced and when I got back to the boat I realised I'd been overcharged so I went back and complained. They put right their mistake the £1.19 milk had cost me £1.99! When I shop there next I'll tot it up in my head first. Eric was pleased as they had July 'Waterways World' for him to read.

With the water full, we set off as usual Ben and I walked for an hour or so before going back aboard. Jonathan's comment yesterday on the lovely greenery made me realise I should appreciate the beautiful countryside around me but sometimes I'm not in the mood for walking and Ben needs exercise. I know some people just let the dog run alongside the boat which is great but Ben would chase bikes or runners if left to his own devices.

Back aboard I took a turn at steering which I enjoy on the Shroppie with its straightness along embankments and cuttings, rather than the winding route of a contour canal. There is short tunnel at Cowley which is cut out of rock so it's more like a cave and the cutting it opens into is impressive. The spoil from the cuttings was used to make the embankments when the canals were built. Only a few boats passed us- some didn't want to move over from the middle but I'd moved over so any further I would have been in the trees. We moored up opposite the pub at Wheaton Aston in the last available space and it was only midday. There were spaces in the cutting but we knew we couldn't get satellite TV there. The rain arrived as forecasted and we spent the afternoon listening to the radio and reading.

On Tuesday morning the rain was very heavy so we stayed put. A few boats passed us - hireboaters will no choice other than to keep to their schedule. This retirement lark is one long holiday if you live on a boat. It's great to please yourself with no schedules to stick to. We sometimes miss having a land based home but we'd need to win the lottery to do anything about it!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Telegraph Pole Bridge

I tried to upload this photo of this spectacular bridge spanning Grub Street Cutting but failed yesterday, so here it is. We're currently having a lazy day at Norbury Junction. Ben and I went for a walk this morning along Shelmore Embankment. I know it was a major feat of engineering to build such an embankment but it was a bit of a boring walk for me but Ben enjoyed all the smells as well as finding sticks to carry in his mouth. We'll be moving on tomorrow so I'll be walking with the boat towards Gnosal Heath along the same route but at least I'll have Eric to talk to.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Market Drayton To Norbury Junction

One of the high bridges

Woodseave Towpath- wellies needed!

On Saturday we left Market Drayton behind and headed on down the Shroppie. I walked with the boat to give Ben some exercise. We were in luck at the five Tyrley Locks as boats going in both directions meant gates left open for us and us leaving gates open so it was quicker and easier than usual. There's still no water at Tyrley it's still had a notice about problems with filtration so unfit for drinking but we were able to use the sanitary station and get rid off our rubbish once we moored up above the top lock.

Ben and I got back onboard as Woodseaves Cutting is rather wet! It's so wet and muddy that duckweed grows in the puddles and the towpath looks more like a muddy stream. I love the pair of high bridges spanning the canal, one at each end of the cutting and there's an amazing flora of ferns and mosses which thrive in the dampness. We were lucky that we only had to pass one boat as it very narrow.

No room to stop at Goldstone Wharf as all the boats had big gaps between them and no room at Shebdon Visitor Moorings either so we continued on our way. We stopped briefly at'The Anchor' where there was room for us but we couldn't get satellite TV and I wanted to see Dr Who. So we moved on again cruising through another cutting called Grub Street which was considerably drier than Woodseaves Cutting. At the end of this cuttting is the most photographed bridge on the Shroppie where a double arched bridge spans the canal. The bridge has a tiny telegraph pole under the top arch. A little further and we were luck there was a space in Norbury Visitor Moorings so our cruise finally came to an end after five hours. All I needed now was an icecream from the shop at Norbury Wharf.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Adderley Locks And Market Drayton

Leaving Audlem Behind

Escapees At Adderley Locks

Changing Places At Adderley Locks

Thurday came and we left Audlem behind working through the last two locks of the flight. Ben and I walked for a while before getting back aboard as it was very hot walking. At Adderley we worked through the five locks easily with boats coming in both directions and changing places in the pounds. At one lock we had a surprise with lambs escaped from a field enjoying the shade by the lock. Ben had to have his lead on in case he decided to investigate. At the top lock there were free range eggs and cakes for sale- we gave the cakes a miss this time just buying some eggs. We had a pleasant cruise to Market Drayton stopping at the waterpoint to top up before finding a space to moor near the aqueduct. I walked into Market Drayton to get some shopping leaving Eric and Ben to relax.

A Visit To Audlem

The Locks At Audlem

The Church At Audlem

We left Coole Pilate Leisure Area behind on Tuesday and I walked to Audlem while Eric steered the boat. As always Ben enjoyed it despite the rain. I found out by one pair of walking boots weren't waterproof any more as the sole had parted company with the upper at one point leaving a hole. We arrived at the bottom of the 15 Audlem locks following NB Shush who stopped after two locks at the first waterpoint while we carried on to the next one above the next lock. We had to wait in the lock until a boat finished watering up - luckily no one wanted to go down! Eric used the services while I did a quick dash to the Co-op for some fresh fruit, bread and milk. There'd been a festival at Audlem over the Bank Holiday weekend so there was very little fruit or salad stuff in the shop until the delivery came. I got back before the water filled up of course. We then continued up ten more locks to moor at Cox Bank- a nice peaceful spot. NB Shush arrived a few hours later.

On Wednesday NB Shush carried on to Market Drayton they needed a supermarket shop while Eric and I walked down the locks to Audlem with Ben the dog. It was very hot so it was hard going walking back up the locks and we were glad to be back in the boat with a cold drink. It was much cooler inside with all the doors open to let the breeze through.