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Warning! Excuses & Techy Alert

Another big catch up I’m afraid as I’ve been busy installing Linux Mint on my laptop after deciding I’ve had enough of Windows with it’s constant automatic updates which caused me some considerable data loss a few months ago.  It’s been a steep learning curve but I’m fairly happy with it now, I now have a ‘Dual Boot’ system which means I can still use Windows for the one program for which  there isn’t a Linux version, my favourite genealogy program, My Family Tree!

Our journey this episode

Saturday 4th August

Today we met up with our fellow boater friends, Jane & Gordon and walked down  to Penkridge Market where we spent an hour or so then stopped at The Star Inn on the way back for a very reasonably priced lunch.

Sunday 5th August

Having spent our allotted 2 days on the Visitor Moorings we moved up through Filance Lock & tied up near The Cross Keys, a friendly ‘locals’ pub which although it doesn’t serve cask ales does a decent pint of Banks’ Mild and serves proper home cooked food.
We enjoyed a Sunday Roast which included a pudding for £9 each. Take note that it’s cash only as they don’t take this new fangled card payment.

Monday 6th August

We had a bit of a ‘rest day’ today as Joy’s sciatica was giving her gyp,  I ventured out and found Rana’s Convenience Store nearby in Filance Road, which was well stocked.

Tuesday 7th August

We pottered on up to Otherton Boat Haven today and moored opposite Jane & Gordon’ boat Moon & Sixpence.

Wednesday 8th August

We got a pump out and water at the Otherton Marina today and enquired about a visitor mooring overnight but they only do a minimum of a week (quite reasonable at £45) but kindly said we could moor without charge next to Jane & Gordon for the afternoon so we could see the work Gordon is doing on the boat.

Thursday 9th August

We moved back down to The Cross Keys today as they had a quiz night on which we entered, it was fiendishly difficult and of course we came last, but it was an enjoyable evening with much banter between the teams and the quiz-master.

Friday 10th August

Time to move again, and we intended to go back to Radford Bank (Stafford) but when we reached Park Gate lock the heavens opened and got soaked to the skin so tied up and lit the fire to dry out our clothes. We decided that we would stay here overnight.

Saturday 11th August

Joy’s sciatica was bad again today, but she valiantly decided we would move on buoyed up  by a stiff lemonade (well OK it may have had some ouzo in it!). The result was by the time we reached Deptmore Lock she had fallen asleep but fortunately a boat was coming up and helped us through. We reached Radford Bank by 11am and she had the rest of the day to recover.

Sunday 13th August

We ventured over the road to Aldi for some provisions, whilst Mr Google says it’s only 2 minutes away he doesn’t factor in the traffic on the A34 as it must have taken 15 minutes to get back across the road.

Monday 13th August

We caught a bus into Stafford this morning and explored the town, meeting a kind lady at the bus stop who made sure we knew where to catch the bus back.

Stafford is a nice town with a mix of old and new architecture, although suffering from quite a few closed shops.

We found the Mad Hatters Tea Emporium for a drink and a teacake, they do a good selection of Vegan/Dairy free options which we have filed away for future reference.


Darrell and Joy

This evening we had a visitor, Joy had traced her second cousin, Darrell, who she hadn’t seen for nearly 60 years through Facebook and they spent a great evening together, catching up with what’s been happening in their lives in the intervening period.

Time flew by, we had a meal at the pub and before we knew it, it was 9 pm and we had to say our good-byes.

Tuesday 14th August

Essex Bridge & Haywood Lock

It was onward & upwards today as we were getting low on water and it was back through Tixall Wide to Great Haywood Junction where we filled up.



The dry summer and various canal closures have put paid to our plans to visit The Macclesfield & Caldon Canals so we decided to head back to our marina and do some maintenance, so we moored below Haywood Lock for lunch and decided we may as well stay there for the night.

Wednesday 15th August

Today’s journey had only one lock ( Colwich Lock) and after a shopping stop and lunch at Rugeley we pressed on back to King’s Bromley a little anxious about the stiffening breeze as I thought it might make reversing onto our mooring difficult but in the end it was OK as the wind was coming from behind us.




Penkridge Bound

Thursday 2nd August

After a peaceful night at Wolseley Bridge we breakfasted on Staffordshire Oatcakes (courtesy of Morrisons at Rugeley) filled with chopped bacon, mushroom & scrambled egg before setting off at 10:30 am.

We paused before Great Haywood lock to post a package at the post office and saw Jason from our old mooring go past, we had a chat at the lock, then  after lunch we followed him through Great Haywood Junction and onto the Staffordshire & Worcester canal and through Tixall Wide (header photo). After Tixall lock we pressed on as far as Stafford and moored at Radley Bank.

Later we visited Radley Bank Inn and had a drink while tea was in the oven and brought back a takeaway portion of chips to have with our pies. Later we tried sweet oatcakes filled with foraged blackberries & apple, topped with cream!

Friday 3rd August

We were up and off just before 9:00 am this morning and twenty minutes later we were passing Stafford Boat Club and shortly afterwards we were at Deptmore Lock  which is a 10′ 3″ rise not quite rivalling Somerton Deep lock at 12′ and far easier to operate.

Next we passed through the neatly manicured village of Acton Trussell and were pleased to see nb Lady Wren looking far smarter than when we passed in 2010 when she was overgrown with brambles.

Four more locks today in the next 4 miles, passing Midland Chandlers at Park Gate Lock it was good to see Bourne Boatbuilders looking busy at Teddesley Basin.

We moored at the Visitor Moorings above Penkridge Lock just before noon and called it a day.

… and they’re off!

There’s a Wrens-Nest shaped space at King’s Bromley Marina as we are off on our travels again. Our plans to head north to the Macclesfield Canal have been scuppered due to lack of water leading to lock closures, so we are headed kind-of-north towards Great Haywood to start with.

We started off in a leisurely manner just before 10 and in about an hour we were passing The Plum Pudding, an Italian restaurant/pub.

Joy had to hop off here and scout out ahead to see if the Armitage Tunnel was clear, a phone call from her told me it was so off I went and picked her up again at the other end [how did we manage before mobile phones?].  When we  reached Rugeley a boat was just moving off the visitor moorings so we smartly took their place and visited the nearby Tesco’s for a few last minute items then we had lunch before getting under way again at 2 pm.

A short 45 minute cruise took us to Taft Wharf where we took on 100 litres of fuel from the fuel boat Dexta. Just past the bridge I spotted this Showman’s Living Van languishing in a field.

Just another few minutes and we were moored for an early finish at Wolseley Bridge near this horse in amongst a fine crop of nettles.

Joy has made a mousaka for tea and we seem to have internet, phone & TV signal… Result!