The farmers came to harvest the Maize crop with a fearsome machine sporting four sharp rotary cutters on the front. Everything was finely shredded and shot into the trailer towed by the tractor alongside, easy. Oakfield had been moored behind Mal Edwards MBE aboard his boat ‘Becky’. He had been sitting out on the towpath most days transforming rope into fenders which he sells from his boat, a very busy person indeed. We slipped our mooring early-ish saying our goodbyes and left Mal alone with his phone. I walked down to do the locks, then on to open the swing bridge for Oakfield to stop on the water point. Apparently there has been some miss-use of the bridge, so soon it will have to be kept locked shut, a shame, but this may have to happen everywhere eventually.
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Day one we toddled off down the locks to brunch at the popular cafe in the C&RT yard which was warm and welcoming. It seems that it must have become busier as four people are working there now. We also tried out the snacks available at the Kingfisher Cafe which is part of the nearby caravan site. Shadehouse (the big white building top right is for sale) and Canal & River Trust were in the process of tarmacking the road from here down to The Swan Inn.
The walk around the lake was enjoyable as there are a few interesting features, including a hide and Dragonfly sculpture seat. We contacted Graham and Jan to let them know we had arrived, so they took us in their car for a meal in the George and Dragon at Alrewas where we all had a good nonstop natter. Our table was near this fab old kitchen range which got us all reminiscing too. Next day we met them at The Mucky Duck (Swan) for a fantastic roast lunch carvery with all the fresh veg and trimmings. A tad expensive at £10 each we thought, but excellent value as it also included pudding and tea or coffee afterwards, perfick!
Monday, 20 October 2014
Quite a few boats moored around Rugeley when we left. After filling with water at Brereton someone turned on the rain and wind so we slotted into the first available space opposite. The fire has now been lit so it was hot showers and washing on then a cosy warm evening with a glass of wine. Next day I walked ahead to make sure the narrows were clear for the Cabin Boy to come through. The Old Farmhouse Restaurant was looking smug sitting in it’s neatly manicured garden. A little further on we saw the ‘must have’ shed right on the edge of the canal, luvly jubbly! Not quite as posh and spacious as Paul’s shed/workshop though we thought! Luckily we found a spot above Shadehouse Lock which is usually full up. This is the first time we have moored here, nice because it is within easy walking distance of the lake, post box, pub and two cafes.
Friday, 17 October 2014
On my autumnalamble I came across this boat and photographed all along the side of it. The owner popped out so I asked him if it was rapped, he then told me to feel it as it was all hand painted. He then said it was also painted the other side, but with different scenes, with four coats of varnish applied for protection. What an absolutely brilliant artist to achieve this fab effect. Of course he was rather wary of scraping it off on overhanging bushes as they hadn’t been cruising that long.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
We woke up to a very heavy mist and as we were untying to leave we could hear loud munching sounds from the culprit on the opposite bank. The grass is always greener if it is just out of reach I suppose. Off we went with our tunnel light on so oncoming boats would be able to see us. The mist was pretty thick as we gently made our way through it. Good job really as we met two oncoming boats despite them having their lights on we didn’t see them until close up! After finding a space just before Rugeley we walked into town for a roast lunch at Wetherspoon’s, then the mist made way for the sun to shine through, perfick. Next day we did a trolley run to Tesco to stock up the empty cupboards.
Down the wide long runway we went with the power station steaming away to the right. This store has been open for a year now and a free bus runs across here from the bus station t’other side of town. However access from the nearby canal towpath is still tricky and is in need of some improvement!