Thursday, 2 October 2014

Etruria to Stone……. With help!

It rained during the night but the onset of dawn indicated a fine day. A photo our the side hatch at Etruria gives an indication of what we might expect.

After breakfast Jan attended to Waiouru’s internal needs whilst I looked after the outside.  Numerous leaves had landed on the cabin roof during the night.  More annoying was all the sap stains.  They all needed to be removed before creating a more significant problem.  The water tank was topped up whilst the roof was cleaned.  We didn’t even need to move off the 24 hour mooring to reach the water point.

CRT turned up as we were getting ready to depart and headed off down the Trent & Mersey ahead of us with a barge and tug.  At the second lock a male arrived on a bike complete with windlass and proceeded to help Jan work Waiouru down.  I thought he was wheel-locking from a boat further back but this wasn’t the case.  He introduced himself as “Rob the Lock” and told us he spends almost every day assisting boaters from Stoke to Stone or in the opposite direction down “Heartbreak Hill”.  He told us he’d gone as far afield as Manchester and Birmingham. 

Rob the Lock

Rob was up and down the towpath on his bike throughout our cruise to Stone.  I think he helped us at every lock.  He knew how many boats were ahead and behind.  Rob mentioned to Jan that he had been a CRT volunteer lock keeper but gave it up because he was bored being sent to one location.  A very friendly and helpful fellow!

I happened to notice a building not previously seen on our other three trips through Stoke on Trent.

It has a Victorian look?

There was a “Mexican standoff” (Jan said “Gunfight at the OK corral”) when we met an opposing boat on a straight that had a bridge hole.  I could see he wasn’t attempting to slow down and I had calculated we would arrive at the bridge first.  Feeling in a belligerent mood I maintained my speed and arrived at the bridge slightly before him.  He then refused to give way until I sat stationary in the bridge hole for a couple of minutes.  Eventually he moved to one side and we continued on.  I did thank him as we passed but didn’t receive a reply. Smile

There was a boat coming up Meaford Road Lock as I waited in the pound above.  Only one person was working the lock until Rob the Lock arrived to assist.  Jan was up at the top lock waiting to help the solo boater into the lock.  Then I noticed there was a lady in the front of the boat.  Could this be a case of “Ladies doing lunch?”  To my surprise the boat left the lock with the steerer walking the towpath to the top lock.  As the boat reached me I realized the lady in the bow was steering.  It was a replica inspection boat and has steering position at the bow and stern.

We were hoping to find a vacant mooring above Star Lock at Stone however Rob the Lock told us he had assisted two boats to Stone yesterday and all the moorings were full.  Preparing to be disappointed, we were pleasantly surprised to find three vacant moorings above the lock.

We were moored by 2.00pm and just in time to avoid the afternoon showers.  Dinner was at the Star pub beside the lock.  I had the steak & ale pie whilst Jan had the liver and onions.

On the move again tomorrow.

1 comment :

Marilyn McDonald said...

Rob the Lock is a neat guy, eh? We first met him at Stone, and then chatted with him recently at Stanton Low, below the Cosgrove lock of all places!
Lovely to see where you are - all very familiar to us from our travels this year.
Cheers, Marilyn and David