So… We were away from Wolseley Bridge by 9 o’clock, through Colwich & Great Haywood locks. We planned to get water at Great Haywood but it was chock-a-block there so we turned onto the Staffs and Worcs canal and headed through Tixall Wide and on to Radford Bridge (Stafford) where we had a lunch appointment with Joy’s cousin Darrell who lives nearby.
The gatehouse of Tixall Hall is the top picture, that, and Tixall Farm Kennels are all that remain to see of the Tixall Estate from the canal.
The Hall itself was demolished in 1927, leaving only the Gatehouse standing, and the estate was broken up when sold off piecemeal in 1960. In 1968 the Landmark Trust bought the Gatehouse which, following restoration, is now available for holiday lets. According to Wikipedia
Acton Trussell Scarecrows
Acton Trussell Scarecrows
We all had carveries at The Radford Bank Inn which we enjoyed and half-price deserts to follow, marred only by a dodgy pint of St Austell Tribute which had a strange smell and taste, but they put things right with a complimentary bottle of Newcastle Brown.
After a two-hour lunch break, we said goodbye and set off for home. Six miles and six locks, but most locks were in our favour.
I was amused by the Illegal fishing signs which imply you mustn’t tuck fish under your arm, barbeque them and maybe fish mustn’t steal fishing rods or is it no spearfishing?
We arrived back at our mooring around 7:00pm, in time to meet our new neighbour, Parker who was born just a week ago and naturally his proud mum & dad too.
So, we’ve been away for just under three months, and I’m not going to even think about how many miles and locks!
A series of short hops today, from Handsacre to the Ash Tree Inn took just about an hour and we were able to tag along behind two other boats through The Armitage Tunnel saving Joy from walking ahead to make sure it was clear.
We had booked lunch at the Ash Tree to meet up with our friends Linda and Cookie, who moor their boat nearby, to celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary. We were able to moor right alongside the pub and had a decent enough meal with them and enjoyed hearing their news.
Emerging from the Armitage Tunnel
Moored right outside the pub
We bade them goodbye at 1:30, the sun came out and we travelled on to Rugeley and found a mooring which couldn’t be nearer the town centre. Joy settled down to her on-line art class while I trekked off to do some shopping.
We set off again just after 4:00 and found ourselves a nice mooring for the night at Wolseley Bridge with the River Trent just through the trees.
We had a great time with Peter last night with a Chinese takeaway and lots of chat with stories being swapped back and forth. This is a view, from our boat, towards Peter’s home.
This morning we were up and off before 9:00 am, by 10:00 am we were at Hopwas and there were moorings available by The Tame Otter & The Red Lion, too bad we didn’t want to stop yet.
The water beyond here was really shallow and it was like ploughing through mud, however things improved and we were soon at Huddleford Junction (home to the Lichfield Cruising Club) and The Plough Inn.
Past Kings Orchard Marina Entrance and Streethay Wharf. Half-past one and we were at Fradley and a few drops of rain started to fall, our original plan was to moor here, but everybody else had the same idea, so there was nothing for it but to turn left and ascend the locks. Fortunately, the volunteer lock-keepers were on duty and soon had us up the first two.
Joy retreated into the boat until the next lock then returned inside while I donned the Big Yellow Coat and with a waterproof picnic blanket over my knees travelled the next hour and a half thus!
No more photos for this afternoon, I wonder why?
Passing Kings Bromley Marina on the way we tied up at Handsacre, the stove is on, toasty warm and damp clothes drying out so I doubt we’ll be visiting The Crown tonight.
A quiet morning, doing housework, although not so quiet for anyone passing as we had our generator running to power the washing machine and vacuum cleaner!
We lit the fire (not for the first time this week) about lunchtime & put up a line to dry the washing on as we were invited out to lunch.
David came and picked us up by car and took us to their place where we were given lunch and spent an enjoyable afternoon with him & Pam. This is the first time we have been in a house since February!
Tuesday 1st September – Day 85
Goodness! September already and summer seems to have made an appearance again.
After a cooked breakfast we pushed over to the water-point to fill up again and retrieved a sack of coal from the locker on that side, hopefully, that will ensure we don’t need to light the fire again for a week or two!
We pootled off through Polesworth and at Pooley Hall Park where we saw Penny on her boat, we had a brief shouted conversation then Joy rang her to see if she & Ray could join us for a swift half at The Samuel Barlow, sadly they couldn’t so we pressed on into Ammington and moored at The Gate where we had a drink and a bowl of scrummy chips.
Somehow our GPS tracker got turned off here but assuredly we made it to Glascote where I popped into the Co-op before dropping down the two locks, helping a single-hander too.
We passed Tamworth Cruising Club and crossed the River Tame aqueduct, and then took a right at Fazeley Junction and just before 4pm we were mooring at Peel’s Wharf and chatting to our friend Peter who lives across the canal with his wife Chris.
We planned to meet them for a Chinese tonight but (his) Chris wasn’t feeling too good so it will be just Peter.