Saturday, 27 November 2010

Coven Heath

We moved on Thursday to a nice rural spot beyond Chillington Bridge. 

                                 Mark set to sawing & chopping the wood we've collected

 As the weather has turned decidedly wintry, this morning it was time to move on whilst canal was still clear of ice to top up the water etc.
We'd had a hard frost & a dusting of snow overnight but the canal still ice free as we left at 9am.
  The water tap at Autherley was frozen but a bowlful of hot water soon sorted it & the tank was filled plus a 5 gallon container I had bought at Norbury in readiness for this weather.

Lock cottage at Autherley 

 Autherley Stop Lock

On the Staffs & Worcester looking back to Autherley Junction & the start of the Shropshire Union

We moored up just after the junction & walked to Morrison's to top up the cupboards, it was bitterly cold & Morrison's was very busy so it was a relief to get back on board. 
Mark got us underway whilst I stowed the shopping & made coffee & sandwiches, we had hoped to get as far as Gailey but the plan was scuppered as we passed under Coven Heath Bridge to be met by a mini ice floe & a chap on the bridge telling us that it got worse further along. He wasn't wrong, the ice ahead looked fairly solid so we called it a day. Not long after we had stopped a boat passed us & ploughed on through the ice, maybe they had to be somewhere. It was only the 2nd boat we've seen on the move today.

We're now snug & warm by the fire, we  have enough supplies to see us through the next week or so but if there is a bit of a thaw we shall probably move on as I'm planning (weather permitting!) to head up to Scarborough for the weekend on Thursday & the nearer I am to Penkridge the easier my journey will be. 
Tomorrow we are going to get some exercise by walking  along a bit of the Monarch's Way to Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve, if we're not snowed in.....

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Wheaton Aston

So I went to the Doctors this morning & initially it went well despite the rather dour receptionist as they had a cancellation at 9.30am & I was seen fairly promptly. The diagnosis however didn't go down well, arthritis... according to GP only to be expected after an injury, live with it & here's a big box of painkillers. 
 I'm not convinced & feel I was fobbed off but will wait & see how it goes.

After that I needed some fresh air so we went for a walk around the village & on a bit of the Staffordshire Way, it was very pleasant despite being a bit muddy in parts.

Still plenty of colour on the trees

Tomorrow  it's on to pastures new...

Monday, 22 November 2010

Gnosall to Wheaton Aston

Just a short, but gosh it was cold, 2 hour cruise on Saturday to our current mooring in Wheaton Aston followed by a lazy weekend, mostly settled by the fire with just a couple of forays to the local shops for papers & treats.

The Tesco delivery went according to plan, it was booked for 11am-1pm & arrived at 11.30am, straight through the hatch into the kitchen & all put away in minutes. We probably won't do it every week as I don't usually mind doing our own shop if there is somewhere handy but it's quite rural here with just the village shops which are fine for bits & bobs but work out a bit pricey when a big shop is needed.          

Back in April I managed to hurt my wrist by tripping up over a mooring ring & at  A & E at Doncaster Hospital, a scaphoid fracture was suspected but after 2 xrays 10 days apart they decided that there was no fracture, just a sprain. 
Within a few weeks it seemed fine & I thought that was that, just keep an eye out for pesky mooring rings in future, but over the last few weeks the wrist has become painful again, resulting in restricted movement & broken sleep so tomorrow I shall present myself at the local GP's surgery to see if anything can be done. Depending on the outcome of that visit we will decide on our next move....

Wheaton Aston moorings, we are just before the bridge ( spot the new hood!)

Sid's favourite cruising position

Friday, 19 November 2010

Hack Green to Gnosall

Last Tuesday dawned cold & frosty & we were off at 8am to tackle the Audlem locks. It was a very pleasant day, the sun shone & we worked the locks like a well oiled machine ;-) stopping an hour for lunch & a half hour or so to pick up some windfall wood,  we eventually moored up in Market Drayton at 3.30pm.

Free range hens at Adderley Locks, their eggs are for sale, money in an honesty box. 
Very nice they were too...

 Whilst in Market Drayton Keith from Wilson's came to fit our back cover, we had thought we'd get a phone call to cancel as the weather on the day was wild, wet & windy but he managed to do it & we are very pleased with it.

Tyrley Locks

A frosty morning

Woodeaves Cutting

Monday morning & time to move on, another longish  (for us) cruising day, setting off at 8.30am & mooring up on the visitor moorings opposite the wharf in Norbury at 3.30pm. The mooring was handy for the services, which must be the smartest we have yet used & spotlessly clean.
 We only intended to stay overnight which was just as well as we were 'on the shelf' which Poppy banged against every time we moved about the boat, luckily there wasn't  much passing traffic so it wasn't too bad.

We moved across onto the wharf on Tuesday morning  to fill up with diesel ( 61.9p domestic) & stock up on coal so with everything filled or emptied accordingly we set off on another cold, frosty morning the short cruise to our current mooring in Gnosall. 

 There is a couple of convenience stores here but we need to do a good stock up of the food cupboards so I have done a Tesco online shop to be delivered on Monday in Wheaton Aston. Hopefully it will go according to plan, I know some of my fellow bloggers do it on a regular basis & it'll be nice to save all that carrying.

  Yesterday was chores day, with me doing the washing & Mark sawing the wood we'd collected so today it's take it easy with a game of scrabble & catch up with the blog between goes. Just the job on a cold & foggy day.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Ellesmere to Hack Green

 The canals have gone quiet, Eric is back at school, the hire boaters have gone home. 

There is just a few hardy souls like us mooching about, this is our first winter as continuous cruisers & as usual we have no real plan except that we've decided not to opt for a winter mooring  (for this year anyway)  Hopefully a decision we won't come to regret!

We had thought that, once back on the Shroppie we would head back up to Chester & then maybe down & across to Middlewich. That was until we checked the stoppages & spotted that Bunbury is on the list, not wanting to be stuck between there & Chester we decided to 'head south' instead, that required us to get through Hack Green locks as the gates are also on the list for renewal so we came through on Sunday ahead of the work starting yesterday & are currently moored up  just south of the locks. 

The weather was wet & windy but work still got under way with us snug by the fire watching some very soggy BW staff trudge up & down the towpath.

 I'm going to save myself a bit of typing & post a few pics from the last couple of weeks, with apologies to those on slow connections....

 Eric checking out some fungi on a walk round Colemere

 Bracket fungus, evidently....

Jelly Ear Fungus

A frosty morning  at St Martins Moor - taken by Eric

another of Eric's frosty photos

 Sid trying out a spot of camouflage

  Cafe at Grindley Brook shut down for the winter, no coffee & toasted teacake till spring :(

 Descending Hurleston Locks on a beautiful autumn day

 After putting up a bit of a fight the offending mount has been removed & the new shiny one (£62!!) awaits  installation. A much happier engine now & Mark's leg muscles are recovering.....

 New lock gates ready to be installed at Hack Green.

Just having a coffee while I finish this then we're off down (up?) to Audlem, 3 miles & 3 locks.
The forecast for tomorrow looks good for a longish cruising day so it will be another 17 locks before  hopefully finding a good mooring spot in Market Drayton where on Thursday Wilson's are due to fit the back cover, just in time methinks as the weather is turning wintry.