Pleasant pootling

It would have been rude not to

So the end of day two of our relocation mission to the South West and what have I got to report? Well, if truth be told, not a lot. If I tell you that the highlights so far were the snatching and scoffing of tiffin and banana cake at the top of Audlem, to be followed by the abduction of a large homemade pork pie at the top of Adderley, then you may twig it’s been a quiet couple of days. Yes, quiet, not often a word used about the Shroppie, the middle reach or home straight of those drag racers of the cut, the Four Counties ring-ers. I did just have to doublecheck that I hadn’t got my Bank Holidays in a twist as boating volume is certainly not concomitant with a three day weekend. No matter.

Well, actually it does matter because our sedate, relaxed, good-humoured pootling along, while very nice at the time and not to be sniffed at, does mean that I have flap all to talk about in this blog! It comes to something when you’re resting all your blogging reputation on getting a laugh out of a pork product.

Tyrley is ridiculously pretty – I can even forgive today’s storming by-washes

The Shroppie is one of those canals that I don’t have a fixed opinion about –  it is vacillatory, based largely on the last time I travelled along it and what the weather was like. My first time down country via the SUC was with dad and it was one of those days – limpid in its blue brilliance, T-shirt hot, not irradiate-your-face hot, cake for breakfast, Stilton and pickle doorsteps for lunch, more cake for tea, although I think dad eschewed Tetley for the Tempranillo. In those sort of conditions, there is no more perfect canal than the Shroppie – rolling vistas from the embankments, welcome sunshades in the cuttings, painfully pretty lock flights, all three of them, and on and on and on it goes. Which is great, as why would you want heaven to end? I’ve had a couple of sun-blessed trips subsequently, a couple of so-sos, and a couple of complete bumholes of a journey where you curse Telford for his cleverness and swear allegiance to the Trent & Mersey for ever more.

Today was a so-so, wind being the main offender. Thankfully, Henry is so heavy and sits so low in the water that wind doesn’t affect him so much, but it sure gets on my tits (good for the windburn tan though). With so many linear moorings, plus the two lock flights, it meant that we were either in neutral or tick over for a fair bit; while the Gardner runs clean as a whistle with a bit of a load on, she’s not happy idling and puffs out her displeasure, and of course the wind just took her toxic gifts straight back and up my nose and down my throat. Probably not the healthiest day I’ve ever had…

Diddy or what!

But at least it’s been harmonious. The first mate and I are working well, and I think that’s in no small part down to the fact that it is so quiet and that we can adopt our usual cruising and locking style. I like to think of it as calm and measured, predicated on efficiency rather than simply speed; others might see it as plain old fart dawdling. My friend Chertsey Sarah considers a nine-hour day, which we’ve had today, a bit more than a short day, a bit less than a normal day. Well, we consider it two days really, and that’s certainly what my feet are telling me, so to have reached today’s target destination (targets always chosen more in hope than expectation) is gratifying. We’re at Gnosall, pronounced ‘nose-all’ with suitable Bragg-esque adenoidal inflection. Tomorrow, we’ll head onto the Staffs & Worcester aiming for the pylon we moored at last time we were that way. Andy asked me where that was…no idea, but I’ll know it when I see it.

Hopefully there may be more to report next time. Archie has just been sick on my shoes so things are looking up…

Sadly in the wrong boat for a Northwich cosy up

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1 Response to Pleasant pootling

  1. Sarah says:

    You are still boating! I am envious!


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