Staffs & Worcester Canal                                                                                          17 Locks

Well we arrived yesterday afternoon, after a pleasant journey down in bright clear weather. Until we were a few miles from our exit junction on the M6- the rain was torrential, so we exited early and took the back roads, which very quickly resembled a river, as the drains were struggling to cope with the deluge. Needless to say, once we arrived the rain had eased off, but not stopped; so we unloaded in the rain. James was very excited and we just seemed to be constantly telling him not to run everywhere- Slippery When Wet!!

Filled the water tank up and got on our way, with much anticipation of a lovely, stress free holiday ahead….Hahahahahahaha! Water not getting hot. Drat. 45 minutes along the canal and we are stopped again and Marcus has resumed normal position with his head in the engine, trying to sort out the problem. It would be an easy job, if only one nut would undo, but it’s stuck solid and to break it would mean that the engine could not be run until the pump was replaced with a new one………..Heath Robinson lives in this boat. After what seemed like a complete fix, we all 3 scooted off the the pub (Prices gone up, value for money gone down…..£10.40 for hunters chicken with barely any bacon or cheese; the 2 items that make it expensive!!)

Of course, the water issue was NOT resolved and we all went to bed smelly & unwashed.

Tuesday dawned bright and sunny and with it a re-energised boy who was keen to get started. He had to wait whilst his Daddy donned overalls and made like a grease monkey again, so we snuggled in bed for a little longer; well I snuggled, he wriggled. It is 8.50 am as I write this and we are now underway, still unwashed and me still in my PJ’s. Going to test the water soon- literally- and hopefully get my shower.

Tuesday evening:

Major, major, major success with the water and the scrummiest of showers  I’ve had in a long time. I joined the boys about 10am, by which time we were not far from our first lock at Compton. James was was very enthusiastic and quickly learnt the art of winding locks, however his lack of strength got the better of him and some paddles he was just unable to wind. We sailed on through lock after lock, having an easy, sunny time at Bratch and stopped at the new Sainsbury’s store in Wombourne. We had some “lunch”  and came back from shopping at about 3.45.

We got underway and cruised steadily through all the next locks and pretty much had the locks to ourselves. once we were through Greensforge lock, I decided that I’d had enough lock winding for the day and steered the boat. I let Marcus & James off the boat round the corner from Rocky lock and  was greeted with the sight of a working boat & butty coming up the lock- Oh goodness me!! I knew that such a deep drafted boat would pull me about as we passed, even before Marcus reminded me, so the next few minutes were taken up with getting the timing right, so that I was moving with power as we passed. So passed the next few minutes with a grim look on my face and wondering if the working boat was actually on fire, such was the amount of smoke coming from its chimney. God help the lungs of the steerer  on *that* boat. By the time we got through Gothersley lock, we’d had enough and moored up.It’s now 7.45 and James in in bed and we won’t be far behind- Night night. xx

Written by Sarah

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