Sunday, 16 September 2012
Sunday 9th September Had a lie-in this morning and got up at 9am. We went for a walk with Molly and tried to find the Yankee Candle shop in Church Minshull which was advertised on the canal. We couldn't find it so came back and set off about 11am. It was a sunny day but a bit windy. For the first lock we had to wait in a queue for ages. There were lots of boats going about today. There was a boat coming the other way when we went through so they helped us with the lock. The lady from the boat said they lived aboard and were continuous cruisers and she could never go back to a house again. She had a young dog called Mitch who kept barking loudly at another dog on some nearby moorings. She said she thought the weather was on the turn - it had become very cloudy and windy. I said we were looking for somewhere to live and she said if anything happened to her husband she'd go and live on the Gloucester and Sharpness canal as there are no locks and she likes Gloucester. Anyway we finished the lock and waved goodbye then carried on to Barbridge junction. We turned right and we were on the Shroppie at last! (the Shropshire Union). We were celebrating as we had looked forward very much to travelling on this canal. We moored up and had a couple of drinks at a pub called the Old Barbridge Inn, which was full of boaters. The food there looked amazing but a bit expensive. We watched boats and people going back and forth along the canal for a while then went back to our boat. here
Saturday, 15 September 2012
Saturday 8th September It was a lovely day again as we travelled through an increasingly industrial landscape. We had several locks to go through. At one I met a man who has his own property company and goes out for weekends on his little cruiser with his wife. He was interested that we live on our boat. He said he'd offered to buy a boat in France so he and his wife could cruise off down the Midi but she was happy to stay in Cheshire with her friends and grandchildren. We carried on past a huge industrial building with no windows and we wondered what it could be. As we approached it became apparent that it was a salt factory with big piles of salt outside.
Friday 7th September We got up at 7am and I had some work to do so I started at 8.15am. I did as much as I could then we left at 11.15am. We had the second bit of Heartbreak Hill to do today - 14 locks. Luckily lots of boats were coming the other way which helped us. It was a beautiful day weatherwise and we went through some stunning countryside on the way. Molly was very good, she has now learned to walk in a wobbly fashion across a narrow lock gate. At Malkins Bank there was a row of cottages and one of them had a hand written sign in the window saying For Sale - 100k We finally got to Wheelock village which is a bit of a bleak little place. They do have a huge pet store there and they have everything you could ever want for your pet. We went into the Cheshire Cheese pub which was quite noisy and jolly, then went back and sat outside watching the sunset and talking about spiritualism.
Wednesday 5th September Early this morning at 7.30am we left Stone with some sadness and made our way through the 4 locks. We filled up with water and got some diesel at the boatyard. Then we emptied the toilets (well Dale did). There were another 4 locks at Meaford. At one of the locks I met a nice lady from Rugby and we had such a long chat that Dale was left stuck in the lock wondering when we were going to open the gate. Her fella works at the Euston Marks and Sparks. We carried on to Barlaston, which is a quiet village. We made use of the large Londis store there – we were both hungry so we bought pork pie and home made lemon drizzle cake. When we got back to the boat we had some lunch, then carried on. After another mile there was the last lock before Trentham and at that lock I didn't have to do anything as 4 finnish men on a hire boat were coming the other way and they did everything. I had a little chat with them, they said this was the first time they had been on a narrowboat holiday in England and they said it was very different. They don't have canals in Finland, except one going into Russia. The didn't speak a huge amount of English but we had a nice chat. We remarked on the weather being sunny and that they were lucky and they said "Oh, we know the English weather!" One of them had deliberately not bought a raincoat because he had faith that the weather would be good. Anyway, we carried on through Trentham which looked like a nice town and ended up mooring just before the beginning of the sprawl that is Stoke on Trent overlooking a large nature reserve with horses and foals. It was quite lovely, and a lovely day as well, albeit a bit windy.