Thursday, 29 December 2011

A spread of subjects, including a treatise on Man 'Flu.

It has been ages since I managed a post, mostly because we have been loafing around the High Offley/Norbury Junction area, I think they must still use smoke signals around here because there is no mobile 'phone signal. Even by hoisting my dongle up on a pole until it was six foot above the boat produced nothing. So here's a quick resume of our doings.

After shopping at M.D. it was off up the Tyrley flight on a fine sunny morning, as we arrived at the top lock fellow blogger Jandai was just coming out and I must apologise because I didn't realise who it was until Jill brought the boat into the lock and told me.
Then into Woodseaves cutting, a far different place to the green dingle alive with birdsong that it is in summer.

The only thing that doesn't change

is the depth of mud on the towpath.
We stopped at The Anchor for the weekend and then meandered down to Norbury Junction where we had arranged a hire car for a couple of days so we could get to a supermarket for our final stock up for Christmas.
We also took the opportunity to nip into Newport, the nearest town, which we had never visited.

Newport church, Butter Cross and almond tree in bloom. Not a lot else except a Waitrose. Being cheapskates we did our shopping at Tescos in Stafford.
We also nipped off to have a look at a church we have passed several times by road, near the M54.

It's in a village called Tong and is amazing, not like your average village church at all.

It had several highly carved tombs,

a side chapel with this chap presiding, just look at that ceiling!

The Choir Stalls are wonderful, carving at it's best, I don't have a date for them but

Simon Wood seems to have carved his name into the wood in 165? This makes it the oldest bit of graffiti we've yet found. A bored choir boy?, it appears to be surrounded by a bishops mitre, a bored bishop? who knows.

On the back of one of the nobs tombs, R.D. seems to have been a prolific graffitieer in 1752.

He wasn't alone. I love these old scratchings, they bring you closer to the people than a thousand preserved castles.
Well, having stocked the food cupboard, returned the car and been ready to settle down for the holiday the oven chose that moment to go belly up. After frantic 'phone calls, much searching of t'internet and one or two turns of purple language Simon, of Norbury Wharf, located a suitable replacement. Needless to say the one we had was no longer in production. It was delivered on the Thursday and Mick fitted it on Friday morning, hows that for service? Chrissie dinner was rescued.
Back to The Anchor, we settled in and Friday night had an evening down the pub. Christmas Eve I started coughing, Christmas Day I was in the grips of a savage attack of man 'flu. Boxing Day the same and it is only now that I am returning to my normal happy go lucky self.
Here is my cough cure:
Take a half pint glass, put in it the juice of one lemon, two teaspoons of honey, two teaspoons of glycerin,(Make sure it is medicinal glycerin, it it has the word nitro on the pack reject it, it has a totally different effect),
and some rum. Top up with boiling water, add more rum to taste. Drink it good and hot. Trust me, it works.
 There are many misconceptions about man 'flu, the ladies, bless them, use it as a derogatory term, they do not realise the medical facts about it. When a woman contracts a rhino-virus or an influenza virus it is bathed in a gentle wash of oestrogen and is inclined to sit around chatting about handbags and The X-Factor and occasionally feeling duty bound to gently tickle a nearby mucus membrane. However, when us chaps are attacked by these organisms they are immediately immersed in testosterone and become huge monsters with shaven heads and Doc Martin's, covered in tattoos, wandering around in gangs shouting "Here's a mucus membrane, let's give it a right kicking" and so, alas, we males suffer so much more. However in our usual stoical way we accept this and carry on with ne'er a moan.
We are in Gnosall at the moment, our daughter Cairstine came up for the day with her other half and their offspring. They brought up our pressies, I got a bottle of 1919 Angostura rum, perfect nectar, it will not be going in the cough cure. We had lunch in The Navigation and caught up on the news. A lovely day.
Tomorrow it's back to The Anchor for New Year, now there's a surprise. This does mean that we will be incommunicado again for a while, I hope you don't miss us too much.


Watch this space..............

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Can't think of a title.

The weather did just about permit, on Sunday we came up the Audlem flight in a mixture of pouring rain and light rain. It was not the most pleasant transit but we stopped at Adderley, stoked up the stove and watched the UK snooker final, won by Jud Trump, and a good final it was.
Yesterday we came up the Adderley flight and were surprised to find, in the second pound,

a dredger busily at work, chatting to the lads I found they are working all the way down to the Shroppie Fly, so you see, dredging does happen. Needless to say we stopped at the farm shop at the top of the flight, you should see the size of the Barnsley Chops we bought, and then on to Market Drayton.
Today Jill finished off the Christmas cards.

After finishing the cross stitching they were washed, here are some of them drying, and then attached to the cards. Bless her, she then wrote and addressed them all, what a star.
We want to be up at The Anchor for Sunday but the weather forecast does not look good.

Watch this space.................

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Water pumps, ice and junctions.

Having survived the gale we set off yesterday along the Middlewich Arm, it's a lovely stretch going through perfect English farmland but is not that photogenic,

somehow views of fields just don't come off that well so we took photo's of the only two outstanding structures,

the old stables, now a des. res. and

the house with the Dutch Gables, just what everyone takes photo's of.
Having moored overnight above Cholmondeston (Does anyone know how that is pronounced?) lock, this morning I bounded out of bed with a merry cry to greet the day as is my wont and then discovered that the water pump had gone belly up and we were getting nothing through the taps, that put the dampers on it. It is lucky that I am a belt and braces man, out came the spare water pump and on it went. As I removed the old one a mixture of water and grease ran out of the body, I think that could have something to do with its demise. Jill then gave me egg and bacon as a reward for not sulking, only swearing a little and actually getting the new pump working.

As we headed to Barbridge Junction we found the first ice of the winter, only a bit of cat ice but, oh well, this time last year we had been iced in for three weeks.

Barbridge junction under a winter sky and then

Hurleston, B.W. have removed the " Canal Closed" sign on the bottom gates so I assume the Llangollen is now open after the stoppages.
At Nantwich we passed Go For It, another blogger, just time for a quick "Hi" and on we went. I think it's a first for us, through Nantwich without stopping.

Hack Green Locks, I know I always take the mick out of the secret bunker but they also have some old stables and

a large chunk of masonry that was obviously part of the lock gate fittings.
Coole Pilate tonight, on through Audlem tomorrow, weather permitting.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Blow blow thou winter wind.

Well that was close, yesterday we set off from Middlewich and as we came up the bottom lock there was a B.W. workboat coming down the middle lock, they were on their way to shut big lock as the blocked top paddle needed more work doing on it than had previously been thought and they were draining the cut as far as Croxton aqueduct. Apparently they feel the need to inspect the bed of the canal, for what they did not divulge.
Thanks for the warning Alf but we have slipped through in time.
"Blow blow thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as mans ingratitude," well that was Shakespeare's opinion,

Jill might not have agreed as we worked through Stanthorne lock in a howling gale with hailstones coming in horizontal.
Today we are sitting in the lee of a hedge whilst the promised weather batters us, there is no way we are moving. Snooker on the red button from 1230 so that will be us settled, unless the wind blows the satellite dish off the roof.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Mostly weather, not much excitement.

Well winter seems to have arrived at last, we're still in the Middlewich area but intend heading back to the Shroppie on Thursday.

Last Friday we headed out on the T&M, Croxton Flash seemed to be home base for a number of Canada geese, I wonder what they taste like? The number of them that are infesting the canals they surely wouldn't miss a few.
We moored above the valley of the River Dane,

It winds through the fields

and here there seems to be the remains of a weir, can't see any reason for it at this point on the river but there is definitely a masonry lip between the far bank and the little islet. One more little mystery that probably has a totally mundane explanation, if only I knew what it was.
Today it was back to Middlewich, as we watered below Big Lock the weather decided to add a little entertainment to the day,

up came the clouds and down came the sleet, it made life just a little more interesting.

Top up the victualling cupboard tomorrow and then off.
Struggling for anything of interest today but at least there is snooker on the telly this week.