Sunday, 21 August 2016

A queue or two - or maybe more!

Sunday 21st August 2016
Penkridge to Tixall Wide
9.5 miles, 6 locks

We were about 15 minutes too late setting off this morning and found ourselves third in the queue to go down the first lock (Penkridge), so we decided to pull across to the sanitation station and top up the water tank as we had both had showers last night.  We also emptied and filled as necessary and I popped round the corner to get the Sunday Times - good job I was not much later as there were only 2 left on the shelf.  We timed it to perfection and were ready to pull across to the lock landing as the boat ahead of us went into the lock.

I had assumed that the queue would have dissipated by the time we reached the next lock, but from the distance we could see two boats waiting.  They were, however, different boats, so it was a new queue.  Once again the boat immediately ahead of us was nb Escargot - we are not sure who is stalking who.


This was the lock when the fun really started.  There was a similar queue at the bottom waiting to come up, but two of them were an hotel boat with it's butty.  The hotel boat came up, Escargot went down whilst the hotel boat positioned itself in the lock jaws ready to attach a rope to the butty to help haul it into the lock.

 Meanwhile behind us another boat had appeared, dropped off the crew member and then got into all sorts of difficulty and ended up diagonally across the cut.

He managed to straighten himself up, but was still on the far side of the cut when the hotel boat and butty went past.

The M6 was our constant very noisy companion for quite a while today
 
 Just over a mile outside of Penkridge it does cross over the canal and moves a little bit further away from the canal.  However this rather lovely house is right by the bridge

The Motorway is on top of this wall which forms one boundary of the garden.  I am sure double or triple glazing hide most of the noise inside the house, but it must be hard to enjoy the garden.  I dread to think what building the M6 did to the value of the property.

But for us peace and tranquility were restored.  There were inquisitive cattle to admire

Wide open vistas

And peaceful stretches of canal to enjoy


I was a bit late taking this photo as the dog was so still I thought it was a statue, but no he/she was eyeing up the very large stick in the water.  We will never know if he/she fell in or managed to get his/her reward for their patience.

Now who would not want to play in this whatever their age!

What a super clock and it even tells the right time.

From the distance we did wonder what this crane convention was about

It would appear that whatever they are building has something to do with very large drains.

Does anyone know what breed of cattle these are?

Of the six locks we did today five had queues both top and bottom, but despite that we made fairly good time -  it helps a lot as it means there are extra hands to open gates and you can leave the gates open as you leave.  It is always a good chance to chat and pass the time of day with fellow boaters. Our target was Tixall Wide.  One of our favourite places.  As the name suggests the canal is very wide here and there was surprisingly a choice of moorings.

 

The canal is wide enough for us to turn round so we get the view from the side hatch - we were aiming for the patch of sun behind the yellow boat.

Safely tied up with a blue sky and a little sunshine.  Sadly it did not last long enough to get the chairs out.


The gate house of what was Tixall Manor is the view of choice

That was taken and for us it is obscured by the trees.  It is, however still a great view from the side hatch and one to be enjoyed.  It is very windy and as the wind is blowing across the canal and pushing us into the side we hope it drops a bit before the morning or we could have fun trying to get off and turn round to continue on our way.

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