The evening was just perfect for the BBQ and hats of to the men for doing such a good job on the cooking. Margaret then comes out with dessert, rhubarb windows and custard, how yummy was that.
Woke early this morning and happened to look outside the bathroom window. The mist was rising and all was still and apart from the odd bird song, nothing else could be heard. It's what we both call a 'canal morning'.
We thought we had left early enough to avoid yesterdays queues at the locks. Passing a lady attending to her garden she happened to say 14 boats had queued for Colwich lock last night, two of which were returning day boats. Think they may have been a bit late back. Hoped that wouldn't be in store for us today!
|Above Colwich lock and the queues already forming.|
We were lucky below this lock, only Icing, a Ginger hire boat (which had got in between by pulling out in front of FS) and us waiting.
Things were set to change though! The long length of moorings at Shugborough hall had yet to be reached and I was pretty convinced boats would have started leaving. I was not wrong and quite dismayed to see a long line of waiting boats. In fact when we arrived by 10.am we were then 9th in line!
|This was the queueing boats before the bridge.|
|and after the bridge looking toward the lock (apart from the first boat of course)|
I did feel sorry for this boater and I should have asked him where he got his diesel from. They were in the process of removing all the 'dirty' diesel from the tank and having it cleaned. Must have cost him a fortune!
1hour and 40 minutes later and it was finally our turn. Then it was turn left at the junction and down the Shroppie. Going past the Anglo Welsh yard at Haywood an engineer hailed me asking about the queues at the lock. It turns out an Anglo Welsh boat should have been back at base by 10 am (time was now about 11.40am). The boat in question was due out again in a couple of hours and the engineer was beginning to panic.
So onto Tixal wide and there, after all these years, I finally get to meet Jaq. Nearly sailed right past as Jaq was in the process of painting Valerie
so no boat name! It was only because I was being nosey and looked through the window that I realised who it was. That's it, we had to stop and it was just like greeting an old friend, one that I had never met but knew almost as if we had. So much admiration for this lady especially after everything she had been through with Les. We laughed together, stories were told of some of Les's exploits when he was a single hander and also when they were both together, the odd moist eyed moment from both of us and of some of the problems encountered since Les's death. We had tea and cake and the time flew by. Fully aware that somewhere ahead Dennis and Margaret had moored and was ready to continue the journey, we said our fond farewells and hope that it wont be another 5 years until we meet again.
|Jaq my hero.|
Now in the process of saying farewell to Jaq, a canoeist appeared acting a bit erratic. We set off and he slowly followed us. Got to the wide bit and he shot off like a bullet. Thought no more of it until suddenly he turned made for the far bank, turned again and like a second bullet came straight across our path. In fact, if I hadn't reversed VERY rapidly he and his canoe would have been hit side on. He then careered straight into a moored boat and bounced off. The lady of the boat had the cheek to say we should have been looking out for him. Blimey!!!We had no time for anything but reverse! The canoeist should have been looking where he was going and to be fair he did apologised to us and the lady, taking all the blame himself. I was still shaking when we reached Icing because the consequences of that could have been catastrophic.
No queues at Tixal lock, what a nice change! A suggestion was made to see if Stafford boat club had room for two boats for tonight. Ian phoned to be told they had the canal side mooring free. So this will do very nicely especially as we can partake in their very good ales in the club house tonight.
And seen on top of a travelling boat,
And in the skies above,