Well Reader it's been a while and we have been having no end of non boating fun, until last week that is.
The boat was due to be serviced so we had decided to chance our hand with the weather and with good luck take the boat out at the same time.
Well Reader, not only did we have one of the best journey's up from home, leaving the rain on the south coast. Not raining in Staffordshire, but not sunny.
The heating quickly went on.
When we took delivery of our pride and joy in the summer of 2012 the heating control panel had been set by the installer so that the heating at the press of button goes on for one round of a single hour. This remains the setting till this day as the owners cannot fathom the instruction booklet. But on this day we put it on several times. Added to which the reflex stove went on too. I was cross with myself for not cleaning the glass window before lighting the thing so the pleasing flame was invisible, the controls adjusted while looking at the flame it was a bit of heating roulette, one tweak to low and the thing goes out then you have to leave it until stone cold to light it again if not, the meths can give you a fright of a minor explosion (Yes I did that, just the once).
We went walking to my favourite bridge in the afternoon after unpacking, of course to Essex Bridge.
|This is the river Trent at Shrugborough Hall, it meanders around but joins together here at Essex Bridge, pretty high after all the monsoons we've had but not actually flooded today but it had been previously.
|The loveliest of C15th bridges that I know. I stood in ankle deep mud to bring you this Reader.
|Shrugborough Hall, I am very happy to report that it this part has been painted, about a year ago or possibly early this year we walked around here and the facade was in a very sorry state, mind you the steps look to have been missed.
|Not much in the way of autumn colour this year, we wondered if the recent gales had burnt the leaves as generally they were brown as opposed to oranges or golds.
|and baby although I thought he looked like an Ewok for any Star Wars fans.
So warm and snug we were that night although the bed can be a tad chilly, I wear big pink and fluffy bed socks for sure, thank you Amanda and I go all high tech with a hot water bottle too. Funny how husbands get all cuddly when the wife has the care and control of a hot water bottle....
The next day dawned sunny, beautifully sunny, not a cloud in the sky sunny. The engineer came, played about at the back of the boat, I don't know if there were any problems, I didn't ask but after he'd departed we started the engine and crept out of the marina.
For these weekend jaunts, we do mostly go north from the marina at Great Haywood. This is primarily because there are such great pubs, in fact last night we drove to Sandon and had a lovely supper. We drove there because I refused to walk from the canal the short distance on the busy road without pavements, in the dark with the cars driving at a little over 80mph.
There was no point in bringing food with us for these few days as we were going onward afterwards for more fun.
So on the boat we went towards Weston, two locks and a good snoop at the workings for HS2.
I couldn't be more thrilled about the northern section being cancelled, obviously I'm speaking from a personal point of view, I have always thought they should have started from the north and worked southwards thus helping the northern cities but we are where we are and now we won't be changing marinas as HS2 was going to clip the corner of the marina.
We already have the train line running past the marina, the noise does not worry us one bit only the dust coming all over the boats while they build.
I have not met a builder yet who does not create dust...
It was cold, we only were going to do a couple of hours to get to Weston, (if you aren't aware that is where the next eatery is, The Saracens Head) We didn't see much life going along, only a dog walker or two. It was rather lovely to do just the two locks in the sunshine, I felt it was April instead of November and that we had the whole summer ahead of us.
|It's not clear but I'm pretty sure David and WaL are down there in the trees. A couple of years ago the tree on the right of the photo was full of golden leaves but not this years, just brown burnt leaves.
|A sunny view over towards the HS2 workings, not a soul in sight.
|You can tell how calm the day was and how little boat movement there was by the reflection.
|Sunset before Weston (hash tag No Filters)
We moored up as twilight was descending, we took the last space and due to the slight curve in the armco I did what I loathe about Boaters in the summer months, but we left a
Git-Gap, 20 minutes later would you adam and eve it?
A boat came past looking to moor up it was dark by now, he had his head lamp on as they crept past and I felt terrible, but the next morning we saw them moored up just a couple of hundred yards along the way so no great damage.
We had an excellent supper at the pub but got back to WaL pretty early and lying in bed I listened to an owl or two.
The next day was a protracted discussion about the weather over the next few days and where we should turn. We could easily go on up to Stone and turn (wind) there, that would take most of the day and part of the following day in bad weather. For my part I told David that if it got cold I'd be inside so the decision was his, the alternative was to turn at Sandon. We were governed by bad weather rain and high winds coming in, again, plus the fact that we were leaving WaL to go to Buxton on the Monday so didn't have time in hand to ride the weather out.
Easy decision in the end, we did turn at Sandon and went back to Great Haywood. We actually did go back into the marina to fuel up not in the rain due the following day.
So a short trip but a gorgeous one.
|Winding at Sandon, how lovely is that?
|I was on stand-by to pull the stern if required, 70 ft's are best helped to wind by a tug on a rope. My god she's looking pink instead of red David!
|The best bit of colour.
|Sandon Lock heading back. (I've just realised that this was heading south again not north)
|Somewhere or other.
The last morning we packed up the small bags, emptied the water tank, remembered to turn off the gas and left for Buxton.