Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year.

Having shaken the dust of Plymouth from our feet we made it back to the boat on Monday. Of course at Norbury Junction there is no signal so today is the first opportunity I've had to get t'internet.

This is the scene which greeted us when we arrived back. Armadillo was well and truly iced in. It didn't take long to get the stove blazing and warm her through but that made no impression on the inch of ice up the arm where we were moored.

Next morning things hadn't improved and it looked as though we were not going to make it to the New Year celebrations at The Anchor, but this morning they had to push a boat up into the dry dock and lo, they broke all the ice. It didn't take us long to take advantage and we were soon out onto the main line and heading up through Grubb Street cutting. We are now moored outside The Anchor and it looks like it is going to be party time. So I will wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year before the Wadworth's 6X kicks in.

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

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas.

This morning it looked like Santa had been on overtime. after a hurried breakfast (Several bars of chocolate from the Xmas Stocking in the case of Esme and Elliot) it was time to rip into the main business of the day.

Wrapping paper going in all directions and soon the pressies were emerging.

Meanwhile in the kitchen.

The turkey is looking grand and we've had the sprouts on for a week so they may be ready in time.

Aaargh!! Who gives a five year old boy a drum kit? But luckily,

How thoughtful.

So Happy Christmas to all and sundry and if you don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Yule or whatever is your choice of festival.

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

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The art of tree embellishment.

Last weekend was our last at The Anchor before Christmas.

Sunday lunchtime, a gathering of friends for good beer, good craic and the occasional pinch of snuff, for those who care for it. It is truly the last pub left on the cut.
Yesterday Jill and I piled our hire car with Christmas goodies and set off for the trek down to Plymouth. We arrived just in time to assist in that most important affair, hurling quantities of baubles etc. at a poor inoffensive fir tree.

 Here are some simple instructions in this esoteric art.
First of all the lights must be artistically draped upon the boughs.

Assistance may be required at this stage. A drop of decent malt usually helps.
The important part is to then go through the entire set of lights to discover why they aren't working. Next procure another set of lights as the first set will not be long enough. They won't match but to an artist this just represents a challenge.

Now is the time to call in the troops and give them free reign.

And then that great moment when the artists stand back to take the applause.

Which is when the sense of pride is shattered as the audience points out that you have forgotten the fairy on the top.

We remained undaunted. I am still combing needles out of the facial adornments.
So I will leave you with a moving old Christmas poem:

A fairies life is very hard
Up where the tree light flickers.
Sitting here all Christmas long
With a pine tree up your knickers.

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

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Quiet times.

We will be getting C&RT on our backs soon, the way we are going up and down.

We are back at The Anchor, again. On Wednesday we are due to pick up a hire car, three cheers for Enterprise, on Friday we park the boat up the arm at Norbury Junction and on Saturday we are off to Plymouth for the festivities.

Meanwhile I am enjoying Jill's pre-Christmas treats. We've got a dozen mince pies waiting to be consumed and with the pastry offcuts she has made cheese straws, two of which can be seen warming on top of the stove.

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

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Curry Inn is now open after a major refurb.

The Curry Inn is now up and running and twice the previous size.

This has been Sam's dream since he took it over seven years ago. We discovered the place when he had only just got it up and running and now we would no more go straight through Brewood without stopping than we would pass The Anchor without dropping in.

The proud proprietor behind the bar,

and two well satisfied customers. The surroundings may have changed but the food is as excellent as ever.

It was well after midnight by the time the celebrations wound down. It was a great evening.
If you are ever passing through Brewood give it a try. No, he's not sponsoring this post but I may try for a couple of free poppadums next time we drop in.

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

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Winter wanderings.

Very difficult to find anything much to tell. We are on our way back to Brewood for the grand re-opening of the Curry Inn tomorrow. We had a good weekend at The Anchor, as usual, and our eldest turned up with partner and offspring, had a really good meal in The Boat at Gnosall on Saturday and a super Sunday lunch at The Navigation, lucky they've got a car.
Yesterday we moved back up to Little Onn through the wind and rain,

Lowering skies over a Staffordshire farmhouse, they promised rain and they delivered.

Just another view of The Wrekin and as a grand finale,

Two views of this morning's sunrise.

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

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A hazy shade of winter with added kingfisher.

Our slow meandering up and down continues, from Little Onn down to Norbury yesterday, with a stop at Gnosall for shopping and water. Our B.S.C. had nearly expired and Simon had promised to put us in touch with the local examiner.

It was frosty when we set out but a clear winter sun soon saw it off.

 Over to the west the Wrekin was just visible through the haze. It brought to mind the wonderful Simon and Garfunkel song "A hazy shade of winter".

Mind you it wasn't quite so pleasant through the cuttings just before Cowley, I think dank is probably the word I am looking for.
But as we came across Shelmore embankment Jill finally realised one of her long held ambitions.

A kingfisher deigned to stay long enough for her to get a photo'.
After arranging for the B.S.C. examiner to turn up Friday morning he actually turned up this morning. Caught us right on the hop but no harm done, Armadillo passed with flying colours so that's that for another four years.
Tomorrow we're moving down as far as The Anchor for the weekend, now there's a surprise.

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

Sunday, 30 November 2014

So much for another canal ghost.

It's that time of the year, did you know that Armadillos hibernate in winter? So we are in semi-hibernation mode, i.e. we are not doing a lot. This seems to apply to the overall population of the Shroppie at the moment, if we see half a dozen boats on the move during the day we think it's busy.
We spent a couple of pleasant days loafing at bridge eight before moving down to Brewood to see our friend Sam, esteemed proprietor of  The Curry Inn, the finest curry house on the cut. He is just in the process of enlarging the restaurant and completely redecorating, should be even better once completed. Grand reopening Monday week!

Moored at Brewood, possibly the smallest usable narrowboat I've seen. Can't be more than fifteen foot by five.
We have now moved back to Little Onn for the weekend.

Lots a of good walks around the lanes here, yesterday we walked up the towpath to High Onn and then off up the lanes as far as High Onn House.

A splendid classical style farmhouse which sits on a quiet road junction, mind you the very large dog in the farmyard let us know he was there.
A fair way down the lane you come to the site of the wartime Weaton Aston airfield.

Although not on the actual airfield these have the definite look of W.D. buildings from the period, I would hazard a guess that they were a cook house and associated dining halls.
The airfield was opened in December 1941 and closed in July 1947, it was a navigation training airfield for the U.S.A.F. On 23rd May 1942 an Airspeed Oxford crashed here and on the 4th July 1944 a Republic P47 Thunderbolt crashed into the canal between bridges 21 and 22. It may be the pilot of this plane who is said to haunt the canal at this point. Unfortunately for a good story it appears that the pilot walked away unhurt.

Another busy road junction and then down past the local stables.

And so back to the boat.

It really is a pleasant spot.
For anyone still worrying about our portable pump out: I stripped it down to the last nut and bolt (Not the most pleasant job I have ever done) and replaced inlet and outlet valves and the diaphragm and it now pumps like a good 'un.
Nearly forgot to mention, the UK Snooker Championship is on the telly so don't expect a lot of sense from us for the next week.

Watch this space.......