Thursday, 6 October 2011

Great Haywood

If I was disciplined enough to update this blog every few days I wouldn't then have to rack my brains to remember what we've been up to although I do keep a dairy of sorts but it's mainly  basic cruising notes & to log the engine running  hours so we know when a service is due. 

After leaving the outskirts of Tamworth we moored for the weekend at Tamhorn Park just passed Hopwas,  the diary entry notes it was a good mooring for Sid because he could safely go out & that it rained on the Sunday. Nothing too exciting then...

On the Tuesday we moved a couple of miles up to Whittington & after mooring up caught a bus into Lichfield. We enjoyed a potter round the town in the warm sunshine, had a pub lunch in Weatherspoons then walked up to tescos for some supplies, we were back on the boat by 2.30 so decided to press on & enjoy cruising in the sunshine. We  intended to stop before Fradley Junction but no moorings appealed so we carried on through Fradley turning left onto the Trent & Mersey, as we came through Woodend Lock  we spied a likely spot, it was 6.30pm & it was good to get moored up, it had been a long but very pleasant day.   

Woodend was okay for a overnight stop but not really Sid friendly so we pressed on in search of a good spot to spend a few days. Mooring spots seemed few & far between, the bank was either thick with reeds or overshadowed by trees. We didn't need to stop in Rugeley for shopping as we'd stocked up in Tamworth so we went straight through, round the sharp bend at Brindley Bank, over the River Trent Aqueduct, under the new A51 bridge, under bridge 68 & success ! a Poppy sized space in the reeds with no trees & a wide towpath. Okay, some noise from the Virgin trains whizzing past but the view was compensation enough.

Sid enjoying exploring
whilst Soona plays safe

We spent Thursday & Friday enjoying the warm weather & I took  the opportunity to remove the sliding hatch as the paint had become scratched & chipped so I sat on the towpath in the sunshine sanding & undercoating - not too much of a chore.
The larder was in need on stocking on Saturday so we reversed the few yards to the winding hole & headed back to Rugeley, winding again & mooring up near bridge 66, very handy for Morrisons & the town centre. Once restocked we set off again & as we passed our mooring of the last few days it was already occupied, not that we minded as we were heading for Tixall Wide for the weekend.

Poppy entering Colwich Lock 
Approaching Great Haywood Junction on a very busy Saturday
We went past the junction to get on to the service point, the Anglo Welsh hire base is just round the corner so very handy to nip in for an ice cream whilst the water tank was filling, then a nifty reverse back past the turning & turn left onto the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal, by 3pm we had found a suitable spot &  got the chairs out on the towpath.

Hot air balloon over Great Haywood
The sun sets over Tixall Wide on the hottest October day on record

Our Boat Safety Scheme certificate ( MOT for boats) is due to be renewed this month & I had already spoken to Dave Freeman, the nearest examiner to us & he had said he just wanted a couple of days notice so I rang him & arranged the test for Tuesday morning.
 On Monday we moved back through the junction to Taft Bridge, Dave's boat is moored on his smallholding on the offside. He has pigs,chickens, a couple of cows with a calf, a couple of llamas & a mad border collie. Sid wasn't keen on the pigs, hiding behind the sofa when they squealed at feeding time.
Dave was prompt at 9am & took a couple of hours to do the test. All was okay, apart from 2 minor things, a bit more lagging needed on the exhaust & a grommet on the gas pipe where it passes through the bulkhead neither of which were a fail so we are now 'certified' for the next 4 years & at £110 not a bad price as I expected it to be nearer £150. Mark has sorted the grommet & we shall pick up some lagging in Stone.

Once done we went up to Bridge 68 to wind & saw that the mooring spot from last week was empty so made a quick decision to moor there again, Sid was very happy! It was such a nice day so I  walked into Rugeley, had a potter round the town & managed to get my hair cut.

Yesterday we both walked to Morrisons, it's only about a mile but with full rucksacks it seemed a lot longer on the way back! We could have taken the boat down but the exercise seemed like a good idea....at the time.

This morning we have moved back up towards Great Haywood & are moored overlooking Shugborough Park & gosh what a difference in the weather !! Hats & gloves have been dug out of storage & the fire has been lit. We shall be staying in this area for a few days as I am awaiting  a prescription. It was a bit of a challenge finding a post office that's still open, Weston Upon Trent has closed, Stone was closed very suddenly in July & I couldn't find out if it had reopened but Great Haywood is still there & what a little gem, I usually ask if it's okay to have mail delivered 'Poste Restante' at the smaller village post offices & usually it is (twice I have been refused) the chap in Great Haywood being very helpful. 

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