Wednesday, July 28, 2010

10 out of 10

This week we have done … Goldstone Wharf, Market Drayton, Adderley and now moored at Audlem - all on the Shroppie

Weather report same as last week again ! - cloud, drizzle, rain and some sun

Stayed at Market Drayton a few days - its quite a sad place really. The town has loads of closed down shops but does have a big Morrisons and Wilkos. Also a Lidl and Netto. The indoor market comprises about 6 stalls and only open Wed and Saturday - there’s a couple of butchers, cheese, greengrocer, fishmonger and wool stall (only open Wednesday) and a fishing tackle stall. At least I could surprise Dai with some maggots!! The moorings are good and the canalside pub - The Talbot - had range of excellent real ale. They also do meals which looked good (and huge) although we didn’t sample any. We did walk into the town (about half a mile) but none of the pubs there looked very welcoming and appeared to be empty.

We also spent a couple of days at Adderley. Lovely moorings but nothing else there so we amused ourselves by surveying the cows whilst having a drink on the back deck as the last 2 evenings have been warm with amazing sunsets.

So, what’s 10 out of 10 for ? My homemade cornish pasties that’s what! For those of you who know Dai - this is praise indeed!! First time I ever got such a high score for cooking. To be fair though, Dai does all the cooking as he likes it and I don’t. I do like baking and am pretty good at cakes and pastry which Dai isn’t so it’s a case of Dai cooking and me baking. When I did the pasties yesterday also did a blind pastry case so we having quiche for dinner tonight and maybe a couple of pints at the Shoppie Fly as its only a few yards away!

Today we have bought some sausages, bacon and tray of freerange eggs and some runner beans from George who sells his wares at lock 15 (bottom lock Audlem flight).   He has started his business since we were up here last year and hopefully it'll be good as we always like to buy from anyone who is so enterprising for us canal folk - I'll let you know next week if it's any good.

Since last blog we have done … 9 miles and 23 locks
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 595 miles and 655 locks.

                                                  B42 draining the canal !

bet I'd qualify ..... if I wanted a job again !

going through Woodeaves Cutting

sunset on July 26 reflected in the canal

its tough having to do 13 locks in one day - all one after the other without a break

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Foxxie terrorised at Gnosall

Blog written on Wed 21 July but unfortunately (for first time ever) absolutely no internet connection at Goldstone Wharf on the Shroppie

This week we have done … Brewood, Wheaton Aston, Gnosall, Goldstone Wharf - all on the Shroppie.

Ha ha !! guess how many locks we’ve done this week?? (answer at bottom!) I’m missing them !

Weather pretty much same as last week - cloud, drizzle, rain and some sun ---- have I done a Sleeping Beauty and it’s now winter time again ??

Not much action here on the Shroppie - even villages in short supply! Wheaton Aston had one very small Spar - Gnosall was a bit more with a couple of very small supermarkets and a butcher with 3 pubs visited, none of which unfortunately were anything to write home about and we haven’t eaten out now since July 5 (I remember the date cos it was Dai’s birthday) so are now on the lookout for somewhere!

Dai’s breadmaking still going well - I think he’s just about cracked it and we can throw the electric breadmaker away. One of the great things about retirement is that we now have the time to do things like that !

We moored at The Anchor Pub Tues evening cos it’s (apparently) quite a famous pub on the Shroppie. It is literally in the middle of nowhere so how on earth it makes any money is anyone’s guess - they don’t even do food. Just two really small rooms and there were only 4 people in there - perhaps it started heaving after we left ? Dai loved the beer (Wadsworth 6x) and I normally do, but it just didn’t taste right to me so we ended up only having the one.

Foxxie was terrorised whilst we were moored at Gnosall by a white duck! ok, so she did have 3 little white ducklings but no mummy duck before has ever left the water before to come onto the bank to quack violently at Foxxie and put her into retreat ! And poor old Foxxie wouldn’t know what to do with a duckling other than gaze at it adoringly - she’s such a wuss !

Since last blog we have done … 16 miles and 1 lock
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 586 miles and 632 locks.

This is the most photographed bridge on the canals - so I am told.    It is on the Shroppie, Bridge 39 where the bridge is so high because the canal is in a cutting that the telegraph pole has to go in the middle of the stonework.   Oh, and by the way, it is called "High Bridge" !!

here is High Bridge from the other side where the tree cover didn't make it so dark and you can see the entire bridge

The famous Anchor pub at ---- wait for it ---- Anchor Bridge 42

Well, we think it was a buzzard but too far away to tell for sure

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

no more dashing here, dashing there

This week we have done …. Compton still on the Staffs and Worcs Canal to Autherley Junction where we turned onto the Shropshire Union Canal - the Shroppie up to Brewood where we are now moored.

Record broken this week is the least number of miles and locks in a week ! We spent 3 nights at Compton , cruised for 7 miles and did the Autherley Junction stop lock (which is about 6 inches deep!) and tonight is our 4th night here at Brewood. I think we are finally getting into the “slow down” mode of continuous cruising rather than the “dash here and dash there” way when we used to hire narrowboats!

Weather this week has been cloudy with some bits of rain (I think the longest bit was about 4 hours and the shortest about a sneeze length) ….. we even lit a fire last night cos it was so chilly (and my washing hadn’t dried all day).

Thanks Adam for your advice about cooking cous cous ….. we will try again soon and follow your advice!
(although I tend to think even then I will be on Alan’s side of “its horrible” !!)

We’ve always had an electric breadmaker on Jandai …. we used to make all our bread this way when we were house-dwellers. But Dai decided the other day to make some bread the old fashioned way - hey, it is good and does taste better than the machine-way ….. think we might be ditching the breadmaker (ummm, not Dai but the electric one! - I need him to point the boat and do all the messy boatie maintenance thingies.

Not much else to report this week - hope you are all enjoying the summer --- bring back the sunshine !

Since last blog we have done … 11 miles and 7 locks
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 570 miles and 631 locks

sorry, no pictures this week - internet access not strong enough

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

please ..... not b****y cous cous again

This week we have done …. Stourport-on-Severn, Kinver (again !) and tonight are moored just after the Bratch 3-lock staircase at Wombourne, still on the Staffs and Worcs Canal.

Two celebrations this week which, by pure co-incidence, were on the same day - Monday 5 July. It was Dai’s birthday and we have lived on the boat for 100 days !! To celebrate I baked a cake and we went out for a meal at The Vine in Kinver which was super ….. and the cake was pretty good too !
On Sunday Glyn and Linda came over and took us to Bridgnorth …… ohmigod ….. riding in a car !! Too fast, too fast !! We had a meander round the Low Town; High Town; steam train station; castle remains and rode the Bridgnorth Cliffside Railway see for photos and info about this Victorian treasure. Bridgnorth is a lovely town on the River Severn with a fantastic cheese shop another others (yes, had to succomb to their Shropshire Blue).

This week we have spent the longest time ever at one mooring - 5 days! We are still trying to get out of the “holiday hire boat” mentality - ie, we do not have a timetable to get from A to B. This actually has been quite difficult but we are trying - honest!

Tried out our new toy this week - the SatMap which is a GPS gadget specifically for walkers. It uses Ordance Survey maps (unlike other walkers’ GPS systems) and is really easy to use. So I programmed in a walk by marking waypoints on the map before we set off so you can see your route. As you walk, then your position is marked by a blue dot leaving behind a trail of little red dots. We went wrong twice but you can see that straightaway so just change your direction to get back onto the route. It also tells you how long you’ve been walking; how long you stop for; how far; average speed; how far up hill and down dale in feet (must have some fancy name for that !!) and that is also shown as a graph-type-thingy - it’s dead good ! Only prob is that I kept walking into nettles and other vegetation as I was looking at the screen rather than where I was going ! But, yes - excellent gadget for walking in unknown territory and means we don’t have to carry zillions of OS maps on the boat.

Dai done quite a bit of fishing this week as he managed to get some maggots in Stourport - and caught fish bigger than the usual perchling and baby other fish! More adult size perch and roach too - still nothing big enough to get me rushing out to the nearest chip shop mind !

Been warm this week with some sunny spells but lots of grey/black cloud but still no rain ! Some of the canals are now getting seriously low on water but hasn’t affected us yet.

Anyone got a good recipe for cooking couscous? Dai tried again to cook it this week and honestly, it was just horrid. He manfully ate his but I just couldn’t swallow one single mouthful - to me it was like soggy semolina, completely tasteless and that yucky texture. Even Foxxie wouldn’t clear it up so we started to throw it into the canal but it sank before even the quickest duck could wolf it down!

Should be on the Shroppie by the time I post the next blog …. unless we break our record and stay here for 6 days!!

Since last blog we have done … 21 miles and 24 locks (includes a 2 lock and a 3 lock staircase).
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 559 miles and 624 locks.

Birthday Boy

Stourport Basin with funfair in background

going up the Bratch 3 lock staircase

birthday treat