Sunday, 31 August 2014

To Rugeley, Weston & Stone

Tuesday 26th August 2014
7.75 miles, 4 locks

The decision to stay put yesterday was wise – it poured all day and was cold enough to light the fire.  Tuesday we set off in damp weather, so we booted and waterproofed just in case!  We came across this property at Shadehouse Lock – on sale for a cool £625,000! 

Although we saw a surprising number of boats defying the rain yesterday there were even more about today causing queues at the locks.  The worst we had was being number 3 in the queue, but at Wood End Lock the people coming up were in a queue of 8.

There were some nice properties as we went into Handsacres, but the owners of this one

Do not seem to feed their visitors very well

Going out of Handsacre there are some very run down warehouses that on first sight appear to be derelict, but they are working hard with some seriously big machinery inside.

Rugeley power station dominated for a long time

I love this pub name and I guess if you are called ‘The Plum Pudding’ you can rightfully have purple paintwork

As we approached the old tunnel at Armitage several boats came towards us.

I was sent ahead to check the coast was clear, which it was.  We went ahead closely followed by another boat

We got a really good view of this figure which Boatwif from nb Cleddau has suggested it might be ‘The ghost of Christmas Past’? 

There were a few of these boxes around, but the only one we looked in

The cupboard was bare

The Captain on nb Cleddau reckons there are two types of boater –‘those who have’ and ‘those who are waiting’.  Well today I joined the ranks of ‘those who have’!  I got off just after B65 in Rugeley with the intention of pulling the boat in and Chris was going to hold it there whilst I walked ahead to see if there was anything better further ahead.  The boat would not go in; ‘get back on’ was the instruction.  I tried, but missed!  Why is it that a boat comes round the corner just at the moment of my undoing!  It is not easy hauling oneself out of a canal, but I managed it.  Clothes were changed and a new mooring was found just after B66 – there is a great new Tesco one side of the bridge and Morrisons the other.  We were also able to walk into town to find an optician – my glasses got sat on a couple of days ago and needed to be straightened out.  The mission was successful.  Broken glasses and a dunking – I hope the third thing to happen is a little less traumatic.

 Wednesday 27th August 2014
To Weston
8 miles, 4 locks

As we left Rugeley there is a very large and very well-tended cemetery. 

The route took us over the River Trent – a little smaller than it was when we were last on it!

It was a glorious stretch looking out over Cannock Chase

Our first target for the day was the fuel barge at Taft Bridge – 79p a litre, but the story of our life – they are shut on Wednesdays between 09:00 to 15:00!

On past Shugborough Hall

To Great Haywood

Turn left into the Staffs & Worcs to get diesel at the Anglo Welsh boatyard – 89p a litre, but needs must.  I have to say the person who served us was really nice – very chatty and helpful.  The wind made it interesting getting out again and back on the T&M, but we made it.  There were no moorings, so Chris pulled over at the water point to get rid of rubbish whilst I made a very quick dirty dart to the farm shop to get some carrots and cheese.   The café will have to wait until we return this way in September.

We stopped for the night at Weston – a pretty little village.

Thursday 28th August – my birthday!!
To Stone bottom lock
6.25 miles, 2 locks

We had experienced some delays at locks yesterday, so decided to leave a little earlier today and it worked.  We were off in glorious sunshine 

At Sandon Lock there was a boat behind us and they all pushed together to finish the lock off for us 

The good weather continued

We passed this heron who unusually stayed put rather than flying off

There are definitely signs of autumn in the hedgerows

At Aston lock there were so many people (all coming up) that we did not have to do a thing! So that was it for today – a nice easy one.

The sun continued until we were mooring in Stone when the heavens opened!   You win some you lose some!  We had lunch in the Star – a famous pub with all floors being on a different level. 

Stone is a lovely town with this rather intriguing 'Welcome to Stone'

With lots of plaques done by different children and commemorating different groups and organisations in the town - the WI seemed to be absent!

There are also many wonderful floral displays

Now I really know how to spoil myself on my birthday – Chris and Monty went out for a long walk, the engine was on and I got the big hoover out and tackled the floor and then gave it a really good clean!  A quiet night in before the Stoke and Meaford locks tomorrow.

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