On we go

(With apologies to Dinah Washington) What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours…but the difference wasn’t you…or Andy..or Rosie and Buzz, which leaves me I guess. Definitely a brighter demeanour after a good night’s sleep and return of perspective that told me (as it does every time) that my mooring worries of the previous evening were just a tad over the top. Lo, tonight we had a repeat performance and I didn’t even blow my stack at Andy’s remark (always uttered on these occasions and remarkably unhelpful) that maybe I’d like to get a boat that would actually fit somewhere. Is it my fault that the water seems to have gone missing, as it’s not just me saying it, we’re all mithering about it?!

A more rounded view of the world this morning

Besides, tonight’s tarradiddle gave us another example of why boaty folk are so often the best…even though I was reversing Enc down the side of their very smart trad in an attempt to get back to a place where I could do a bit of spot dredging against some armco, out the owners popped, all smiles, lamenting the state of the cut and wanting to help. So in order, I think we had Mrs on the back rope, Mr on the front with Andy, me dredging and then Rosie decided she had had enough of staying inside with all the horrible noises and did a standing jump out of our small Northwich proportioned hold. Pretty good going for nine years old! Anyway, she ran to the nearest human for fuss, which happened to be Mrs, who promptly fell in love, while Mr was asking Andy if we wanted to borrow his plank. As we’d got tied in the interim in no worse a state than last night, we thought we’d be okay, so we bade them a good evening with hearty thanks on the side as they repaired to the pub.

The last thing I expected to see as I trudged around the corner

So my good spirits remained intact, result. The reason for said good spirits? Twofold I think. First, the rest of the North Stratford wasn’t half as bad as I was expecting. It’s been a few years since we last came through and a lot of decades since my seminal dead dog passage, and today the cut seems a lot cleaner with just a few hot grot spots. It’s also benefitted greatly, to my eyes, from some redevelopment and new housing which has lifted the tone of the environs; and also, the existing houses now seem to present a far friendlier face, appreciating the water, connecting rather than contemning. It still does go on a bit longer than I’d like – its passage is a tad too shrouded and closed in for my liking – but better, definitely better.

Have BW key, will travel

Secondly, I’m happy because we have the thing we did need – a new BW key – and no longer have the thing we didn’t – oil leaks. Paul came over at lunchtime to relieve Mafeking on both fronts, for which we are truly grateful; plus we’ve also arranged for a bit of investigatory poking about after the Braunston show to tackle the mucky exhaust issue.

Because we have a concert to go to on Wednesday we didn’t want to head into the city today and spend two days and three nights tied up in Brum central. So we turned left at King’s Norton and beetled down to Hopwood for the night. We usually like to give it a bit of welly through tunnels, as you do, but the HR2 is so thunkingly loud and painfully percussive that my brain started to hurt, so we took it steadily through Wast Hill with a few bursts of extra speed now and again. The Napton Narrowboats boat behind was doing a good job of playing catch but a very loud clang as bow struck wall ended his pursuit, and even though he resumed his charge once outside, he was foiled by my unexpected (to me, I didn’t have a map!) winding pirouette, which proceeded the aforementioned tarradiddle.

I can’t wait to find out what tomorrow is like!

PS. I realise now that while I thought I was being very clever in turning this evening when I suddenly espied the opportunity, the joke is on me rather. If we’d carried on just a smidge further, we’d have found the formal VMs with rings (I shall never go mapless again) and while levels are such that we might still have struggled to lie straight alongside, I reckon my consequent tarradiddle might have been downgraded to a tarradoddle.

Another little spirit lifter

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