Boatwif Blog

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Blustery breezes – and gentle observations

Monday, 6th September: Hack Green to Hurleston Junction (still on the Shropshire Union): 5 miles, 2 locks       Somehow we’d been expecting rain; there’d been rain overnight but today has been a day of high “blust”. If you incline to a weekly pattern of domestic work – and if Monday is a designated washday – then this has been your sort of day. The second load of washing (from the little washing machine) is almost dry: how satisfying to...

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World wide communication

Sunday 5th September: Audlem to Hack Green: 3 miles, 4 locks       Last night a Skype call: California calling. “Where are you?” asks the son. “Audlem Locks – but really Haydn Locks,” and I explain how in March, while he and newest son and mother were still making first acquaintance in Downtown San Diego, we had with friends walked this towpath, viewed these locks, lunched at the Shroppie Fly.       The oldest son appears on screen, a Second Grader...

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From Perches to Purchases

Saturday 4th September: Market Drayton (Shropshire) to Audlem (Cheshire): 6 miles, 16 locks       The Captain had walked into Market Drayton to buy milk and a paper this morning; he came back with the same impression as mine yesterday. “What a sad looking town.” Meanwhile I had read e-mails and taken a shower.  But after the Captain’s return, without a word of information (let alone negotiation), the engine was urged into life. When eventually I queried this unilateral decision he...

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Celebration – and occasional consternation

Friday 3rd September: Gnosall to Market Drayton, 13 miles, 5 locks       If you had wondered whether the Captain and the Boatwif fled the celebratory meal early last night – or stayed, well, they stayed until about 2230, wobbled their way back along a very dark towpath, espied the Plough and Venus and somehow got themselves back onto their boat (despite a near trip over a fender by the Captain).       The food was better than average pub grub, but...

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Salutes and Salutations

Thursday 2nd September: Brewood to Gnosall (still South Staffordshire): 8 miles, 1 lock   [Before reading further here are some pronunciation notes: Brewood is known as Brood; Gnosall is known as Knows All.]       As a birthday treat (!) the alarm was delayed until 8 am, then tea and birthday cards presented to this Boatwif. Though not high excitement there soon was a little drama: the boat moored in front of us was not secured well and at one point yesterday...

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Sunhats in September

Wednesday 1st September: Penkridge (Staffs & Worcs) to Brewood (Shropshire Union): 15.5 miles, 8 locks       Yesterday one of our additional crew, the Recent Bride, had asked about the purpose of the low wooden structures with roofs on, often sited at locks. We explained that they were to hold stop planks which are used to temporarily block the canal channel by retaining water (or debarring it) within a set stretch during repair or renovation work. On the Staffs and...

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Boat Carries Extra Lock Keepers

Tuesday 31st August: Tixall Wide to Penkridge, 9 miles 5 locks       Had things gone according to plan today’s title may have been something like Pirates Board Boat At Dawn or Intruders Arrived by Kayak , but things didn’t go entirely to plan – although they worked out very nicely in the end.       We were comfortably tied up on Tixall Wide and some of the Cheshire Clan had announced plans for a boarding party. They would leave...

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Dog Days of Summer

Monday 30th August: Rugeley (Trent and Mersey) to Tixall Wide (Staffs and Worcs): 6 miles, 2 locks (much queuing)       I never quite understood that line in a poem “the last dog days of summer”, but I took it to indicate lolling about, lazy, quiet, warm. An internet trawl would probably put me right but this seems a suitable title for this sort of day.  True, there was early(ish) activity when the Captain (in his role of Catering Officer) raided...

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Good sport at Fradley Junction

Sunday, 29th August: Just south of Hopwas to Rugeley, Staffs:  16  miles, 3 locks       There were musings yesterday on the forms of greeting on and near canals. There have been some more”You alright” remarks from time to time, but also “Hi-ya” and twice, to me, “Hello, me duck”. It was pleasing to see, however, as we cruised past Hopwas Primary School a clear notice upon the entrance gate: “Good Morning Children” it read. I will keep my ears (and eyes)...

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“You alright then?”

Saturday 28th August:  2 miles south of Atherstone, Warks to 1 mile south of Hopwas, Staffs: 14.8 miles, 13 locks       Greetings from one back deck to another is common on the canals. The Captain here tends to address a  brisk “Good morning” to oncoming walkers and boaters and usually it is returned with similar reply, even if delivered in a milder manner. But now we are in the country where such words might be too, dare I say it, posh, by...