Jolly useful day
Moored in Market Drayton
“Can I give you a lift into Market Drayton this morning?” called the boater from the next pontoon. “Save you a long walk on a warm day.” So a first trip by car today – driver comments and advice came thick and fast: “Town’s a bit run down, mostly charity shops, great breakfasts at Morrisons…”
First stop was the library, where jolly and efficient staff plied the Cleddaucrew with leaflets, explained the county boundaries and its impact on postal districts, council services and bus provision.
Next stop was the Tourist Information Office where the two ladies were hugely excited at sorting out potential bus routes to a launderette.
Third stop: St Mary’s Church, high on a sandstone ridge and set in a pretty churchyard.
Three coffee-drinking parish members were intrigued and excited at tales of the boat’s adventures, every conversational topic being met with huge enthusiasm.
Back in the shopping area the young man in WH Smith was the embodiment of friendliness and courtesy: twice the Captain was addressed as Sir and directions were readily given as to where to buy a replacement computer mouse.
To Morrison’s. There it was, right opposite the corn and flour mill, transformed into
apartments now at a guess. “Walk out to it,” someone had suggested “and get Dawn’s taxi back.” What a great idea: for £3 heavy and bulky items were transported back to within about three metres of Cleddau! A novelty in the store was a lockable trolley park where an entire shopping trolley of purchases can be locked up while a shopper goes to the cafe to have a Morrison’s breakfast (or in Cleddau’s case, lunch).
Back at the boat there was a surprise Monkton Moment*: A boat was passing the pontoons.
“Been on the Cleddau then?” hailed the helmsman on nb Grafton of Evesham.
“No,” responded the Captain “but we’re from Pembrokeshire.”
“I know,” came back a roar: ”I’m from TENBY!”
As Martin the gas engineer arrived Boatwif was getting into her second taxi of the day, destination the newly refurbished launderette. Out on the Shrewsbury side of town (once called “Little Drayton” according to taxi driver number 2) an energetic lady at D’s Busy Laundry Service is determined to make a success of a personalised laundry and ironing service. She will pick up laundry from the canal side and return it 24 hours later. She is eight weeks into the business, working hard and was kind enough to offer Boatwif a lift back to the boat. Taxi driver number 3 arrived, however, with “I’ve driven you before today!” Why the pilgrimage to a launderette? The dear little Zanussi Aquacycle 1300 does an excellent job, but to wash bedding would have taken two or three loads and drying a duvet cover without a decent line space is nigh impossible. So, industrial sized washing machines washed
and driers dried the bedding while Martin the gas engineer investigated the fridge. For those who want to know, the fridge, installed in 2002,
needed a new burner, new ignition burner jet, a new igniter, new water trap, new ignition jet, a new mini-magnet to the gas valve and a new ignition lead. Now it is alive, well and running again on gas!
In summary then, despite its shabby appearance Market Drayton appears to be inhabited by a whole host of helpful (and jolly) folk!
Tomorrow: heading south towards Norbury Junction.