Saturday 5 August 2023

Mrs Leah Tolley

Greetings Reader, we are back ready willing and eager as my old grandad used to say.

We were home for best part of a fortnight but it flew past and I only finished washing the bedding on about day eleven.

During that time we very much enjoyed family time and to illustrate here is one of our beloved Grandsons at the Butterfly Centre, Luca loves all things animals, drinks up facts and is always telling me new things, I mean what do you know about Honey Badgers? 
Its good to be still learning at my age.

Identifying the different butterflies.

He gave me courage to hold a tarantula.

One of the downsides of boating is being away from them.  

On a hire boat years ago with The Boat Sharers, a liveaboard said to us, sell the house, invest the money, put the kids in care and buy a boat.  He also said that if they'd have realised how much fun grandchildren are they'd of had them first.
Well it took a few years but here we are. 

The boat started first time, always a bonus, without any rows we were reversing out of the pontoon, after a self pump out (They only do self pump outs here) at £20 we were off.

The wind in our hair and rendering mine in need of another wash and set, we arrived at our destination,  Audlem.  

It was well gone 4pm when we made the decision to go up two locks at Audlem tonight.  

I'd driven a chunk of the way and did not want to get snookered into no mooring slots available then having to go up the full 15 locks.  Its a bit like roulette here, there's no going back but moorings in the open after two locks, possibility of moorings outside the Pub the Shroppie Fly after three, but then you are in trees....
We were in the first lock when there was a break though for England in the last day of the last Ashes Test at the Oval,

We'd been there on the Saturday, I took raincoats and jumpers but ended up getting sunburnt.

suddenly it was an emergency to get moored up and watch the last of it...

We squeezed in between what looked like two unoccupied boats, put the tonneau cover on as we all know this summer (Pah call this a summer?) this summer has been rain rain rain interspersed with gales. 
I got the highlights on the computer going and well what delight, Mr Broad got two wickets at the end and had previously got a six when batting his last before retirement.
The owners of WaL were very happy.  We'd been intending to go to the pub for a drink but in the event, early baths and early bed.

Supper was cheese and biscuits.

On the way to a pump out and then we're off.... but not so far.

A grebe on the marina.

Tricky to capture, you just focus and they're under water coming up far away from where you have the camera poised.

We went off the next morning not particularly early, I walked to the lock and it was half full, so no one had come down, chances are they were all full.  No lucky break this trip unlike last year here when two days running we happen to pull out in front of another boat when all the locks were empty and so in our favour.


The Shroppie Fly pub, here is the landlord sweeping fag ends and crisp packets out of the gaps in tables, people can be horrid can't they?

Now back in June when we popped up to the Anderton Boat Lift 
HERE  when I was in the shop I brought a book on Horse Boating, in that cheap as chips book was a photo of here that I have endeavoured to re-create for your amusement Reader.

Here is WaL passing by...


"This boat passing Audlum Mill in the 1940's on the Shropshire Union Canal is the butty to a motor boat Mrs Leah Tolley who is driving the horse,  has hired one of two animals kept here by the lock keeper for just this job, working unpowered boats through the flight of fifteen locks"

HERE  I have just put Mrs Leah Tolley into Google and this came up from Flicka, I hope you can open it but if not google her yourself.  Fascinating.

A fascinating book, it cost £2.50 originally and in June was reduced.

Back in 1040's Audlem not such a blind bend here, I said to David I'll come back and tell you if another boat is coming..... Fat chance I thought but yes!  
So the nice crew had opened the gates for us and I inwardly cheered expecting all the other twelve to be empty but sadly not.  They had only just set off.

Hardly any boats in Audlem last night, no boats here on David's left as he passed me by.

Well this flight is really not too much bother, the locks are well behaved and the scenery wonderful.  We made it up to the top meeting a few but only a few boats coming down.

One boat only moored here now, I've only ever seen it full.

I know I've taken this shot before but it is the most dramatic of the flight.

The only way is up... is that a boat in the distance coming down?  No only a dog walker.

I'm no expert but I would guess that some work is needed on this gate and another too in the coming winter, the board you walk across on is pretty loose too.

We moored up before the Tyrley Locks.  David had passed by there this morning on his bike and not many boats, but when we got there not late we squashed ourselves on the end.  

Later that night we drove down to The Shroppie Fly pub to meet friends David and Sarah.  This might be our last time to meet them afloat as they have plans to leave the waterways.  I'm cross with myself for not taking a photo of them again.  But this is them from June I think it was.

The pair of them are great laughs and we'll miss them from Boating.

Well I'm so pleased to report that the newly taken over Shroppie Fly was great.  Redecorated, the inappropriate bright pink wall paper has gone.  Nice beers evidently and good food.  So Boaters do go and support them, use it or lose it.

Supper was fish pie and sticky toffee pudding.


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