Friday, April 30, 2010

The Cows were right!

After checking the weather we decided to make a move early. We had broken sunshine and it was a lot cooler than of late. We went through some marshes and meadows and the canal was a bit straight but we really enjoyed it. It soon was disturbed by the noise of the M6 in the background and these cows knew something we didn't. It wasn't long before we got to our first lock of four today, which are quite deep, ten feet or more. We made our way through the villages of Acton Trussell and Wood Banks and then stopped for diesel. This is the first time we have not been able to use self declaration and we weren't happy about it, but needs must, and we needed to pick up some loo stuff from Midland Chandlers here....We got to Penkridge and got moored up and had some lunch before we had a quick walk into the village to suss things out.
The cows were right and it started to rain in the afternoon so we lit the fire and put on a DVD. After dinner (liver and bacon) we went for a walk to see if any of the pubs (all five of them) had any music on in the evening, but no, none of them did!!!!, so we walked back to The Boat Inn and had a couple of pints before the twenty foot walk back to Derwent6.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bargain Hunters

With a poor forecast in prospect we said goodbye to Tixal Wide in glorious sunshine. We passed some lovely bridges and gardens before we got to Tixal lock. The canal got a bit shallow as we began to follow the railway. We passed another Nicholsons guide water point which is no more, as we were going to top up with water. We have decided to top up when we can because it means we don't have to wait hours on end to fill up. We made our way onto Baswich which is the closest we can get to the town of Stafford. After mooring up, with some difficulty where it was so shallow, we got the bus into town. It was just a short walk to the bus stop as you can see in this picture, with Derwent6 in the background to the left. The buses run every ten minutes and it cost £1.20. We were surprised at all the shops and retail parks we passed on the way and we were dropped right in the middle of Stafford. It was nice to see how all the old buildings were mixed with the new and the BBC were filming in the market square. We had a cookie and a hot chocolate before going round the shopping centre. When we came out it started to rain but it was still warm so didn't bother us, so we thought we would walk back via the retail outlets. We went to PC World, Maplins, Hobbycraft, and Next......Yep Al managed to buy some more clothes and a pair of shoes...

It started to rain hard by the time we got back to Derwent6, so we quickly changed and went over to the pub nearby. They were doing an all you can eat carvery for £3.59 and it was also £1.95 a pint...touch! We came out of there with very full tummies and half cut, but also down the road there was a Bargain Booze at a garage, so we carried beers and wine (at really good prices) back to Derwent6. After coffee we crashed out. Blimey! what a day....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Game for a laugh

We decided not to move today because they were saying it would be a nice day.... We had breakfast and cleaned the pothole liners before we just chilled out in the cratch. Well we felt that the guy in the boat in front of us was on the comedy show.. he helped push a boat out in the wind and on doing so fell into the canal, and it's deep here.. For the best part of the morning we watched him cleaning himself up. When he finally emerged he put his chair up by the bank, sat on the chair, and then fell backwards down the bank and stung himself to bits..... Well we nearly died laughing (after checking he was alright of course) Yep this was our highlight of the day, but it was a good one!!!!

In the afternoon Del cleaned the other houdini hatch while Al cooked a new Jamie dish, a Texan chili corn bread. We had this view to eat it with. In the evening it started to get a bit colder so it was football and Desperate Housewives for us...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Relaxing in the sunshine

Another lovely day... We had mist on the water with blue skies first thing, so we got up early and had bacon and eggs out in the cratch. Del then did the mushrooms on the roof while Al run the hover through. In the afternoon Al started a new book while Del went out on his bike. Here are some of the pictures he took while out. He went over to Cannock Chase.......

Monday, April 26, 2010

Exploring Great Haywood

We left Wolseley Bridge at about 9.30 am and made our way up to Great Haywood junction. We passed some lovely scenery like Bishton Hall and Cannock Chase. We soon got to Colwich Lock at Little Haywood. And then we passed Shugborough Park and got to Haywood Lock. Making a turn at the Junction, we made our way to Tixal. We were lucky enough to get a nice mooring which is where the canal turns into a small lake and is called Tixal Wide. After some lunch we went for a walk to get rid of our rubbish and have a look around. We walked up to Great Haywood marina and had a look in the farm shop. We then went on up to the village with it's shop and post office. We also had a look at the church, but it was locked. From there we walked across Essex bridge to Shugborough Hall and it's gardens. We then followed a track to find the caves at Little Haywood and were a bit disappointed to find they had collapsed and the kids had messed about here, but it was still very interesting.
We walked back to Derwent6 and sat out in the cratch with dinner watching the sunset. This place is a bit special and the wildlife here is just spectacular to watch.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Armitage was toilet, Rugeley wasn't

Al went and got a paper from the Handsacre general stores and Del wiped down the roof before we headed off towards Rugeley. We went through Armitage which is the home of the toilet, Armitage Shanks. The canal runs right by the factory and we could hear them working away, even on a Sunday. We then got to Armitage tunnel which has been partly knocked down for a new road but it made it quite tight and tricky, and very cave like when we went through. Al had to get off Derwent6 to see if the way was clear and then call Del through. We then passed Spode house the home of the former pottery family, which is now a spa and golf course. We then stopped for water and coming up behind us was Les on n.b. Valerie (see link) We had tea and a chat for about a hour before heading on our ways. We then went through Rugeley with the closed down Power Station close at view all the time, and we've got to say we really liked it. We will stop here next time! We were soon back out in the countryside and with black clouds looming we moored up just before a downpour. We sat out in the cratch (in between showers) reading the papers Al had got earlier. In the evening we watched Countryfile on the Cotswold's and had dinner overlooking this nice scenery.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jim's Emergency services

Woke up to more sunshine this morning and opened the stern doors... big mistake, because as we opened them the top hinge broke. So we gave Jim Sparks from Alexander Boats a ring (our hull builder) and he gave some advice on what to do and said he would be over tomorrow with a new hinge pin.

Well Del drilled out the old one and with an old modelling knife and a tap washer managed to make one. Jim then rung to see how we were getting on and said he may be able to pop over this afternoon....Great stuff!
After lunch we pulled the pins and moved on to a little village called Handsacre so Jim could get to us.
Jim & Ann arrived with a new pin and some spares at about 4.00pm and after a few minutes the new one was fitted. With close inspection you could see the old one had seized with paint and we must make it quiet clear it was nothing to do with the hinge and pin arrangement fitted by Alexander Boats. Afterwards we sat with wine and flapjacks in the cratch, and walked down to The Crown Pub for a pint before they headed back. It's great to know you've got the aftersales service with Jim, and thanks Jim for everything you've done.

After they had gone we watched the second half of the Arsenal, Man City game in the pub and then went next door to the Fish and Chip shop where we had them open and sat on the bridge...Lovely!

We walked back to Derwent6 and watched telly late into the evening...