Friday 1st July
Today we stopped at Tixall. We had a bit of a lay in then a leisurely breakfast and a shower (yay!) before embarking on the useful duties of the day.
Ken checked the batteries, filled the greaser and tightened the stern tube. I touched up the red and the blacking on the port side. Ken also re-tackled his fishing rods which became un-tackled at Lower Lode.
After this we went in to Great Haywood for a well earned pint of their most excellent Broadside. Just as we got to the pub it started raining, surprise, surprise!
We managed to get back to the boat during a brief break in the rain which then continued more on than off for the rest of the evening. I did get a dry spot at half time in the football, well done Wales by the way, to replace the front fender,
The boat in front of us, an Anglo Welsh hire, were having a barbeque but instead of doing it on the bank, as most normal people, do they had it in the cratch. The wind had got up rather a lot by this time and was really blustery. The smoke from the barbeque was amazing!
They had to close their front doors to avoid becoming kippered indoors. Fortunately we had our door shut although the smoke was coming in our windows. After they had cooked their food they must have put the remnants of the charcoal on the fire because their chimney was puffing out black smoke for ages afterwards.
Saturday 2nd July
We were up and about early again this morning and set off from Tixall at 7-45am to travel 13 miles and 3 locks to Fradley. It was rather cool today and Ken had his winter cruising attire on. It was downright cold at times when the sun went in and it also rained on and off but not too much which was a bonus.
We found Great Haywood lock set for us and were quickly down it and cruising past Shugborough Hall. It was along here that Ken spotted a woman who looked just like Barbara. Oh, it was Barbara so we drifted about for a bit to chat. They had been moored overnight at Little Haywood and she was walking Kizzy down to the river at Great Haywood so she could play in the water while they waited for Barry to catch them up in the boat.
After she left we discovered that we had drifted on to the far bank and were actually grounded! A bit of revving and reversing was required to get underway again. Then we met Barry coming towards us and stopped again for a brief chat with him.
There were a lot of moored boats to creep past on our trip today and there were lots on the move as well. At Colwich lock there was a bit of a queue but fortunately it was coming up not going down and we were soon down the lock. We carried on to Rugeley where as luck would have it the most convenient mooring for shopping was free so we stopped and went to Tesco’s.
Our next stop was the water point at Brereton. While we were there 5 boats came past one after the other and we were thinking it was a good job we stopped for water when we did otherwise we would have had to have waited for them all to come through the Armitage tunnel. As it happened there was no one coming at the tunnel and we went straight through.
And so we continued on to Fradley where we were surprised to find the moorings at the top of the locks were nearly all empty. It was mid afternoon by this time so we moored up and went to the Black Swan for a nice pint of Everard’s. We met a really lovely couple from Cheshire and had a nice chat.
Tomorrow we are going to Branston another marathon trip.