After we had said goodbye to Neill and Neil, and after I had been to the marina shop to buy slices of cake and magnums, we headed away from Norbury. We moored up for the day at Wheaton Aston - just before Dirty Lane Bridge: such strange names!
I was a bit anxious about our mooring because the huge tree nearest us had the remains of a large branch that had broken off. And the weather was a bit windy, so I didn't want to be having another branch dropping on us! No worries though. We had carefully moved up so we were away from the shonky tree and close to the boat ahead of us. All in vain, because when I got up from my nana nap later, the boat in front had moved off and another boat had moored in its place and left a git gap ... I couldn't be bothered remedying that for some reason!
We have a couple of memories of Wheaton Aston - we moored there with Mick and Julia some years ago, and we also looked after a guy who collapsed on the towpath near his boat - called the ambulance and sat with him, getting him cushions etc while we waited. IIRC, we also had a discussion with a woman from another boat who was suffering from plantar fasciitis which David had just recovered from. So we handed over a golf ball and recommended curcumin capsules, both of which cleared in plantar fasciitis for David in a matter of days rather than no improvement for several weeks with 800mg of ibuprofen! The golf ball was a suggestion of a tennis coach friend of Barry and Pauline's at Teddington, the curcumin was Jaq Biggs' suggestion. We have passed on both tips several times since!
We headed away early in the morning (about 6.30am I think), first for water and then for the lock. A couple on a boat came up behind us while we were just finishing up taking on water, but very kindly waited for us instead of heading into the lock first.
|I am not sure where this is or why I took the photo. It is a boat club or marina with inline moorings. Maybe one of the boats was familiar?
|I think this was as we approached another large road. Can't have been too late in the day because David is eating breakfast.
|Some wonderful graffiti under this bridge!
|And somewhere nearby there was this!
|Back in 2015, I think it was, we met the people who owned this boat on the Thames. Their son knows Hamish Dean - I think they play(ed) together in the same services band here in the UK. Two degrees of separation!
We were pleased to reach Autherley Junction and turn on to the Trent and
Mersey Canal. For some reason, probably an increasing inability to read
maps accurately and to perform addition equations competently, we had
thought we would get to Penkridge that day - HAH! It was much further
than we thought. And we checked that out on Nicholson's, Memory Map and
the RCR waterways map. We don't trust just one source, and when I say
we, I mean ACP ...
So we moored up near Bridge 74 out in the countryside. It was lovely.
Interestingly, when we were a few years younger, we would have pushed on the Penkridge. But now we don't do such foolhardy things. I am now known for 'hitting the wall' and becoming unreasoningly aggranoyed and mean-mouthed when I am boating past my competency hh:mm:ss timescale. And that is now measured in very small increments once 4 hours have passed...
The following morning, we trundled on and went past Calf Heath - now doesn't that sound lovely, bucolic and rural? Yes, it does; but is it? Nope, not at all. It is the site of a chemical works which has much signage forbidding mooring, even if you hear an alarm. Spooky. It does smell very chemically robust around there so not stopping is not a struggle. Stopping would be tough though - the towpath side has lots of stones and shale and blocks and silt, so mooring up or even pausing would be really difficult!
|Another large road - not sure which one.
|And David as we made our way through a shady glen.
|I bet the kids who live here love their Thomas the Tank Engine!
There were six locks that morning - all spaced well apart (I hesitate to say spaced out because I am not privy to their hallucinogenic habits and I don't think they would be partaking so early in the day, surely?) They were far enough apart that David didn't walk between all of them, but he did walk about 13,000 steps that day. I on the other hand hardly walk at all but I do get sore feet and sore legs from pretty much standing still for ages on the stern.
|I think this is a lock near Penkridge
|And in we go.
By the time we got to Penkridge, I was really ready to call a halt. So instead of going through the second lock, I insisted we moor up after the first one. Lovely mooring, next to houses, peaceful. The guys on the boat behind us were smoking a LOT of dope, so I am sure some of the peacefulness was an association high! 👼😁
It wasn't quite lunchtime and I was on a mission to get to Jaspers Bakery for some of their yummy treats. That place is definitely the go-to lunch place. Such lovely fresh rolls and cakes and pastries... Both times I have been there I have bought more than we needed - EBBs my parents called it: Eyes Bigger than Belly. Accurate, if not kind 😋
We were there on Market Day but seriously I couldn't think of anything we actually needed as opposed to likely impulse buys. So MD was skipped. However late that afternoon, early evening, we went to Flames, a wonderful Indian restaurant there - we had been there last time we were in Penkridge and the food is still remarkable. Last time we were not vegetarian. However they were still very happy to accommodate us. I had a veg dupiaza and David had a veg korma (spelled kurma there). Of course I couldn't finish mine - the poppadoms and chutneys and the garlic naan didn't help ... So the leftovers came back to the boat.
If we had to move to the UK, Penkridge is a place we would be happy to live in, as is Nantwich. They are both lovely towns.
We had planned to stay in Penkridge for a rest day. BUT we had discovered late in the piece (at the last lock of the day) that the connection to the alternator had come off and the leisure batteries had not been charging - doh!! DOUBLE DOH!!! So to make sure they got up to 100% while travelling, we decided to move on the next morning. My aims of buying food at Jaspers and having dinner at Flames had both been achieved - moving wasn't a hardship.
So in the morning, we trundled on. We fetched up at Tixall Wide. David had been anxious that I would hit the wall sooner, but I was fine to keep going. And we had promised each other we would have a rest day the following day...
Tixall Wide is lovely, CRT has been laying a new towpath which is commendable - except that they are planting the one foot gap between the path and the armco - and they are planting it with plants that grow tall and wide, and they are including reeds in that mix. DUMB DUMB DUMB.
If those reeds are not weeded out, in the next 2 or 3 years they will have propagated into the canal and will be taking over the channel. Already the offside is filling up with reeds. In 3 years' time, there will be a renaming ceremony - Tixall Wide will be Tixall Narrow.
In the morning, we walked to the farmshop at Great Haywood. Lovely brekkie, although we had to move inside as the wasps were a bit persistent. I managed to kill one, but couldn't be arsed wielding my hefty purse between mouthfuls!
|Sitting outside, before we declared the wasps had won.
The fruit and veg in the shop were very good quality. Last time we were there I bought some yummy cheese called Black Bomber or something. However now it is a horrendous price so the woman serving recommended a cheese that was also really tangy but half the price. We have a lump of it but I am yet to try it.
Once again, having planned a rest day, we decided to move along:
- we needed diesel and Saturday would be a difficult day for AngloWelsh to be serving given it is turnaround day for hirers
- there was a thunderstorm forecast and we thought it would be good to move on before it hit.
Well, the storm didn't eventuate, but we had got diesel (and Magnums) at AngloWelsh and then found a mooring in the same spot we had stopped for cake with Irene and Ian (2IJ) a few weeks ago.
I headed to the pharmacy (which shuts between 1.30 and 2.30pm - I know because that is when I went the first time ...) to ask advice about my ears - I have had eczema in my ears for years. It makes them very itchy and I have to confess that I have a very gross habit of scratching them with the arm of my glasses or my finger. My nails are never particularly clean when we are boating...TMI, TMI AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
So I had managed to infect the outer ear bits on both sides and they were hurting.
Once again, I was thwarted by the pharmacist's inability to undertake any triage, let alone any effective assessment, and then his inability/reluctance/refusal to offer any advice about what products they sell that could be helpful. Chocolate teapot, tits on a bull... AAARRRGGGHHH!!! So I came back the boat and I've been swabbing the ears with diluted dettol on cotton buds. It's worked but who knows whether it's a remedy that has long term ill-effects.
While the storm didn't eventuate, afternoon nana naps did and I woke feeling refreshed and less grumpy with every UK pharmacist ...
And before we headed off the next morning, we had a lovely conversation with Kirsty. She is such a hoot and an interesting mix of her parents ...
|Her profile picture on WhatsApp - I did have to ask what was on her mouth, but now I have enlarged the photo I can see that it's ice-cream - not a piercing, as I was a bit worried about ...
She sent me a WhatsApp message that read: You'll appreciate this. I'm 'supposed' to be tidying and cleaning my flat. Instead I've emptied this basket and cleaned out my medicine bag and tool box. Remind you of anyone?
|Beautifully empty and clean and tidy basket.
|Contents of medicine bag and some random other stuff - a top hat!? She does like to dress up... And the cat who seems supremely uninterested.
|By the time, Kirsty had got to this stage, she was over it. I suggested she just move it all on to the floor on the side of the bed next to the window. She could deal with it another day...
Here is a photo from one of my posts in May this year, as an illustration of inherited characteristics 💗💗💗
I sent her a text later explaining Neil and Neill's 'squirrelling' concept. There is a very clear positive about this characteristic in David though - it means that he does a whole heap of tasks that weren't on his to do list. The downsides though are:
- he starts on the tasks when he says he's coming to bed and I am falling asleep - some squirrel tasks are not silent and require much opening and closing of cupboards and walking up and down the boat.
- he wants to involve me ...
The going off task or undertaking distraction activities is a strong likeness between Kirsty and her dad. But to be fair, my mum had it in spades too. I remember once when she was staying with us shortly after Kirsty was born. She went outside in her dressing gown for an early cigarette, and two hours later she had finished weeding around the water tank. 💕😁😂
It was a day for fabulous young women in our lives - Marta sent us these photos:
|The second one, in bud. They have a most beautiful perfume.
|Words we need to live by, especially in these times.