Monday, 31 March 2014

Down the Shroppie and onto the Staff and Worster Canal

Hi There

Well about that time to put pen to paper or more like finger to keyboard I suppose and put another post together.

Before I get onto the travel bits I've got to mention our 'some friends' that I mentioned in my last post who we are meeting up for a boating holiday with in July. Seem to have upset 'some friends' by calling them 'some friends' so to clarify 'some friends' are actually Steve and Angela.

Now Steve is my second best mate as I upset him many years back by not asking him to be my best man at my wedding. But what goes around comes around, so when he got married he made a point of not asking his best mate (me) to be his best man to get me back, but soon came running back when 'The Chosen One' (bit of a Man Utd comparability here, but I won't dwell on it other than to explain that we're just in a period of transition) said he didn't want to be his best man so I got the job in the end anyway. So here's a photo of Steve and Ang with no doubt more to follow from our holiday with them in July/August.

Anyway, back onto life afloat.

The weather has been pretty good the last few weeks and I've always got Nicky to rely on for sunset photos.

We haven't really bothered much about markets for our shopping, but the few times we have gone to one our money does seem to go a long way for what you get. You also get the odd very good bargain as well and at Market Drayton it came in the shape of a box of mushrooms. You'll see by the picture, with a mug to put the box into some sort of size context, that it was a sizable beast. Oh and the box only cost £2 :-)

Needless to say that our menu was a bit mushroom based for the next ten days with the first being garlic mushrooms, Nicky found an excellent recipe for mushroom soup that we ended up doing twice and one we'd certainly recommend  a mushroom risotto as well as being a part of a few cooked breakfasts and added to in other recipes.

Came across this little chap in the cut south of Market Drayton. For non boaties a cut is simply where the canal has been cut into the landscape where I assume it was the easier option than around, through as in tunnel or locks to raise the canal up and over the obstacle in question. The following pictures show the cut better where you can see the height of the land on either side.

Locks usually have overflows from the pound above that enter the canal or next pound below, some of which are pretty strong that you can see by the above photo.

So from being nicely lined up for a lock,

It all goes horribly wrong,

And adjustments need to be made to rectify. For a change on this one I didn't actually do an imitation of a bowling ball with the side rails up, but managed to get it perfect for once. Have to be honest though and point out that whilst it was a single lock, if wasn't as tight a fit as some so had a few more inches to play with. (no dirty thoughts please)

A few more pictures to

show a bit more of the cut.

Even managed to pick up a few hitch hikers on the way that'll pay their way in the shape of fire wood next winter, although . . . . . .

Binks wants another one on the fire now. Note the Ecofan merrily doing its stuff and the never far from boiling kettle of water.

Travelling through Gnosall

and coming up to Cowley Tunnel that was originally intended to be 690 yards long, but only ended up being 81 yards as they came across faults in the rock and ended up . . .

opening it up into a cut instead.

We saw this road shown in our Nicholsons guide as being a 'Roman Road' so thought great, that'll be a good walk for The Boys, but someone before us obviously had others thoughts about what it could be used for! Actually, talking about a walk for the Boys, there is a disused railway that you can get onto from bridge 36 just north of Gnosall. Walked through the countryside for about four or five miles west and it didn't seem anywhere near coming to an end, but having in the back of the mind that what we walk west will have to be repeated east, we gave up and doubled back.

So that's just about us for now. Currently moored a few miles south of Penkridge where there is a market day on a Wednesday so we'll be there hunting out the bargains, although I hope they don't come in the shape of mushrooms again as I could do with a week without.

Oh, and remember the hitch hikers, well here they are now.

Although some of this that's coming up to having been seasoned for about eighteen months now will need to go into the cratch for burning to make some room.

And so in signing off,
Day 478 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 971 miles and 410 locks further on from when we started.

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