Monday, 13 July 2015

Tixall Wide to Stafford

Wed 8th July

Tixall Wide

With rain on and off most of the day, we decided not to move.  It was also very windy.

We caught up with the blog, sent emails to Stafford Boat Club, where we would like to moor for two nights. We also emailed Wilsons Covers in Kinver, where we hope to have our canopy repaired. It has developed a tear, and one of the straps is coming apart.

Silly conversation over a crossword puzzle:
H: “European bear – five letters?”
J: “What about Black, or Brown?”
H: “The third letter is a G and the last letter is R”
J: “That’s no good, then”
H: “Badger is too long, and I don’t think it’s a bear anyway”
J: “I thought I was good at wildlife, but I can’t think of this one.” 
H: “How many types of bear do they have in Europe?”
J: “I don’t know. I give up. You’ll have to look it up”
H: “And the answer is – lager. I didn’t know there was a bear called lager”
J: “Perhaps that’s why there used to be a German brand of beer whose slogan was Follow the Bear
H: “I think that was Hofmeister”
J: “Just read the clue again carefully please”
H: “Oh! European beer! It’s not a bear at all!”
J: “Should have gone to Specsavers!”
They say that laughter is good for you.

Later James went for a two mile walk past Tixall Lock, and he saw the chap on Awesome Wonder, and met BCF member Marian, on Brimble.

Tixall Lock

No boating today

Thu 9th July

Tixall Wide to Stafford

Tixal Wide and the Gatehouse

Beautiful weather today.  Lovely sunshine and a pleasant breeze.

Several boats had already left, including Awesome Winder, but Brimble had arrived by the time we left.

Tixall Lock was the only one of the day, with one boat ahead of us going up, and another coming down before it was our turn.

Entering Tixall Lock

A very pleasant cruise through countryside, at one point crossing the Sow on an aqueduct, and passing under a lovely turnover bridge.  We also saw the place where a lock used to take boats onto the Sow to make the journey into Stafford.  There are plans to restore this link.

Milford turnover bridge

Junction with the proposed Stafford Riverway Link

We moored just after the Radford Bank and caught a bus into Stafford.  James had his haircut, and then had his glasses adjusted. They always seem to slant to one side. We think it because one ear is higher than the other!

We pottered round the market, bought some items at Boots, and finished off at Sainsbury’s, where we found some Shropshire Red cheese, which is lovely.

We took another bus back to the boat, and moved on a few boats lengths to get away from traffic and have a view of the water meadows, with some lovely rosebay willowherb on the bank opposite.

Rosebay willowherb

We got chairs onto the bank and downed some wine and dips as the sun was setting. Hugo was rushing around, pouncing out on us as we walked past him.

1 lock, 4 miles

Fri 10th July

Stafford to Stafford Boat Club

We started the day with a huge eat-what-you-like breakfast at the Radford Bank.  Very good value but you had to time it well to get fresh eggs rather than well baked ones.

Radford Bank

We had a long chat with Ian and Dawn from Moonshadow. Then we had a chat with a photographer who had set up his tripod on the towpath by our boat.

Moonshadow went past before we set off, slowly, for the mile journey to Stafford Boat Club.  We checked in and found our mooring OK.  We took our visitors form to the office where we found Joe Lockwood, a friend of ours who used to be treasurer of Byfleet Boat Club. It was good to see him after several years.  We found out that Graham and Brenda Thick, who we were also hoping to see, had sold their house and were living on their boat, Rosewood.

Returning to the boat, we decided to turn it round as, that way, it was closer to the electric and water points.  It was very warm, and we watched Andy Murray being defeated by Roger Federer.

Moored at Stafford Boat Club

Having skipped lunch after the mega breakfast, we had a light salad, using up the expensive ham we had bought at the farmers market in Lichfield.

James opened up the engine hatch and put new grease in the stern greaser and tightened up the stern gland.  He also put up the hood in anticipation of forecast rain.

Hugo surveys the new surroundings

We went to the clubhouse later and met Peter and Aud from Sam Hardy, whom we met last year at Ellesmere and Trevor on the Llangollen.  We also met a couple who just bought Beez Neez – Graham and Sue.

0 locks, 1 mile.

Sat 11th July

Stafford Boat Club

We had a very pleasant and relaxing day at Stafford Boat Club, chatting to a few people and watching boats going past.  We walked up the road and a path through a housing estate and found the school where tomorrow’s church meet, and we went to the Co-op for some supplies.

We went to the bar again in the evening for the usual chats about batteries and toilets.  A friendly crowd of boaters.

No boating today

Tomorrow: Wildwood Church, then off to Penkridge. Later in the week: further south to Wombourne, with a possible visit to a folk club in Ashwood Marina on Friday.

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