Acton Trussell to Moat House Bridge
Mick was keen to try and make up for not having reached Penkridge yesterday so with everything ready I was handed my breakfast and a mug of tea before he pushed off at about 8.30 am. It being that bit warmer today I stayed in bed for a while before getting up. The condensation in the cratch was wiped down so that I could see out. Three portholes and the front doors does give a better view, if only I was on board NB Oleanna I’d have a big window in front of the bed and a very good view.
Outside the sun had shown it’s face and the sky was blue. Some of the locks on the Staffs and Worcester are easier for the single hander than others. These you can step off as your boat enters the lock and then walk up steps to the top with a rope in hand to operate the lock. Others have a bridge which means that there is no point in taking a rope as a lot of brickwork would be in the way of it being of any use. Tilly and I could hear which locks these were as Mick tried to pick the centre line up from the roof with the boat hook. At one lock today we seemed to be drifting backwards out of the lock as Mick had difficulty in getting the rope, but we didn’t end up back where we’d started so that was okay.
Once up Penkridge Lock he pulled Lillian over to top up with water and make a brew. Whenever Tilly heard the engine tone change and Lillian being tied up she was at the back doors shouting to be let out. Got to make the most of a nice day!
At Filance Lock there was a distinct lack of bollards to tie to below the lock, so Mick had to pull Lillian back to some armco. By the time he tied up NB Sandpiper was coming down the lock. Another lock landing and the area had been cordened off with the usual orange plastic fencing as there were large holes around the bollards. Mick managed to find one that looked like it might survive Lillian being tied to it so that he could go and set the lock.
For 3/4 mile the canal sits side by side with the M6. Mick waved but no waves came back from the lorries, most probably because they were a little bit too high to see him, or they’d rather wave at me than him! A lunch break was needed so he pulled up at the end of the lock landing and came below. I’m looking forward to being able to stand and balance long enough to make him a sandwich or a cuppa, but at the moment the only things that can be in my hands are crutches.
At Robaston Lock NB Valkyrie was just approaching from above but it was in our favour, so the lady kindly worked the paddles for Mick. The last lock of the day was Gailey with it’s round turret that appears in so many photos of the canals. I managed to balance between the sofa and the cabin side to be able to take a photo of it today.
Then it was a squeeze through the Viking Afloat base with all their yellow and red boats two abreast with other boats on the towpath side. It was now 4.15 pm, still another hour of daylight left so Mick carried on through the works where they don’t want you to moor, around a few more bends and past Calf Heath Marina. It was time to stop when the first stretch of armco came into view. Not quite as far as Mick wanted, but not a bad days single handing.
Yesterdays film was ‘Rear Window’ 1954. After breaking his leg a professional photographer (James Stewart), is confined to a wheelchair in his apartment. His rear window overlooks a courtyard and several other apartments. He becomes convinced that one of his neighbours has committed a crime. Grace Kelly plays his girlfriend and has a splendid frock when she first visits him. The film is considered to be one of HItchcock’s best and it is one of my favourites.
10 locks, 8.33 miles, 1 sunny day, 1 front window cleared,12 false moorings, 0 exploring today, 1 big meanie Mick! 2 share boats, 2 cheats, M6 companion, 2nd film, 1 hour in Berlin with Rick, 2 huge ham knuckles, 4 canoeists.