Thursday, 21 August 2014

A sense of deja vu?

(Boat Chalice - posted by Alan & Cath jointly)
Post for Thursday 21st August. 

"Ling" (which has since just gone through Huddlesford in the dark just after ten).
There has been a feeling of going over old ground today. We have been through Great Heywood Junction three times over the last 5 or so weeks. Once, on the way up to Audlem with both boats, a second time with Sickle taking it back to Alvecote, and finally, today, taking Chalice through on our way to Alvecote. It is exactly three weeks to the day since we brought Sickle down the detached portion of the Coventry canal, and we are now doing the same with Chalice. We have covered a huge amount of ground in the last three weeks.

The big event to come is the Boat and Beer festival at Alvecote, but we have a strong sense of being towards the end of our holiday, although it will actually be a while before we can get both boats back to their moorings. We are starting to plan for the things that need to happen once we get back home.

Wood End lock - one of the scenic ones.
The locks are dotted around, apart from a couple at Fradley they are mostly some distance apart – certainly none of the flights that have been a feature of the last few days.  None-the-less our recent experience is that there is often a queue of boats even for the single locks.  We were lucky at Great Heywood, waiting very little, but there was a stack of boats queued to come the other way.  However, exactly as on our last trip, at Colwick lock the queue was mostly the way we were going.  People were not terribly efficient in trying to work quickly, but the entertainment started with a very smoky boat two ahead of ours, where (presumably) husband and wife were not doing very well, and increasingly being openly abusive to each other.  This came to a head at the foot of the locks where "Mrs Smoky Boat's" attempts with thrashing the engine with tiller pointed the wrong way meant "Mr Smoky Boat" couldn't get back on, and she set off without him, as they continued to swear at each other.  Come on the canals, and enjoy a truly relaxing holiday! We were glad we were planning to make a shopping stop in Rugeley, and might not have to witness them at further locks!

Even dogs have to be patient at locks!
Cath took a long look at the state of our clothing and decided that if she could get a big wash done today, then we would probably be OK until we get home – so it became a major washday, despite the fact that the weather over the next couple of days will not be particularly good for drying. We certainly don't want to be doing washing over the Alvecote festival weekend. We've now got washing pegged up and on racks all over the boat. Hopefully this will be mostly dry by the time that our son Michael comes to stay over the bank holiday weekend.

A further similarity to our last passage was that we eventually arrived at Fradley, (a very obvious over-nighting point), much earlier than we really needed to stop.  Last time, with Sickle, we had pressed forward to Huddlesford, and enjoyed a visit to "The Plough Inn" which had been very welcoming.  We now regarded this as a good stopping point, so did the same today.  As a result this post has been jointly written by us both, but as their free wi-fi seems no better than Alan's non-functioning Smart Phone, it may not get actually posted for a while.  

Correction:  Pub wi-fi finally gave a log in - we may have success after all!

Weston on Trent (Trent & Mersey) to Huddlesford Junction (Coventry canal)
Miles:  20.6 (Chalice), 0 (Sickle), Locks: 7

Total Miles: 689.7, Locks: 475

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