Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Working up to Rode Heath

We had a very early night last night and so were awake in good time (i.e. before six) this morning. It had rained hard overnight and was still drizzling down as we were drinking our early tea. We were in two minds as to whether to set off at all (that is, one of us thought we should and the other thought we should stay put for the day) but eventually decided that we should just suit up and get on with it.

In the event, the rain did peter out and conditions became reasonably bearable. Sheila did the first six locks, up to above Malkins Bank golf club, which now seems very keen to attract non-members into the bar. We stopped for a bit to get the washing machine going and I took over locking for the next six locks, that is past Hassal Green, now a pale shadow of its former self without either café or the Romping Donkey, and up Pierpoint Locks.

Most of the locks on this stretch were duplicated in the 1830s, though not all the twin chambers are still functional, but not Pierpoint for some reason. Sheila worked the last two Thurlwood Locks and we found a mooring without difficulty here at Rode Heath. It was now just after eleven and we’d been boating for most of four hours and covered a bit over three miles. Oh, and 14 locks…

We made a quick expedition to the Post Office/general store and got some Staffordshire oatcakes for lunch. As may be imagined, it’s been a quiet afternoon. The sun has come out and the only excitement has been remooring a boat which had come completely adrift from where it had been left on pins on the unrestricted towpath through the bridge. It had been thoroughly tied on three good pins but it hadn't been enough.

Mind you, one of these fancy type Anglo-Welsh boats, the black and grey ones, has just come storming past, doing the Four Counties in a week, no doubt, and desperate to get through the tunnel this afternoon… Most of the ordinary Anglo-Welsh boats seem quite well behaved, but the fancy ones, much less so. I don't know whether they are a share boat scheme or just a premium class, but they do remind me of the put down I once had from Mick on Foxton Locks. I’d annoyed him whilst taking our OwnerShips boat Streamline through and he said, bitterly:

“You share boaters think you’re something special, but you’re just glorified hirers, really…”

Tomorrow, we’re going to stay put and clean the starboard side of the boat, the last chance we’ll get to do so before Poynton.

Location:Rode Heath

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