Monday, 19 October 2015

“They will talk to me!”

Jan was determined that each fisherman would make eye contact and exchange a few words.  Even if it means taking their attention away from the competition.  And she succeeded!


It was a noisy night moored at the top of the Wolverhampton 21.  Most of the noise was brake squeal from the passing rolling stock.  After that any thought of staying longer had disappeared by morning.  It took us 4½ hours to descend the 21 locks.  We passed one boat coming up  and most of the locks were in our favour.

At Lock 5 we were reminded of the subterranean access pointed out by Paul Balmer (nb Waterway Routes) during our ascent last year.

IMG_8450The four black posts with the white tops in the centre/left of the above photo form a three sided guard rail around a set of steps down to the canal by the bottom gates of the lock.  This next photo shows the exit beside the gates.


The majority of the flight is a linear park.

Halfway down the flight we came upon three youths (1 male, 2 female) under a brick arched bridge huddled under an open umbrella.  One female stuck her head out from under the umbrella to say “Sorry Darling” as I attempted to squeeze past.  She had ginger hair, blotched complexion, a throaty voice and was a scrawny as an Indonesian village chicken.  Small plastic bags were being exchanged and they were smoking something that wasn’t tobacco.

As one ascends or descends a flight of locks you can wistfully look at the railway and ask yourself “Oh, wouldn’t it have been nice if the canal company had the money to build an aqueduct.


At the bottom lock we decided to remove the various urban jellyfish from the propeller.  They have been there for the last two days and I hate the feel of the tiller when it’s fouled.  I managed to cut the remains of five thick plastic bags away using the bread knife.  The serrated edge makes short work of them.  Another benefit is the tang it subsequently gives to the bread.  Open-mouthed smile

Waiouru then positively bounded along to the stop lock at Autherley Junction.


According to the History Website the Canal House is very typical of those found on the Shroppie.


Whilst researching the Canal House I discovered that at one point the Birmingham and Liverpool Canal Company (ie, the Shroppie) and the BCN considered building a aqueduct directly from one canal to the other eliminating the need to use the Staffs & Worcs Canal.  They did this because the Staffs & Worcs Co lost much of their revenue from Addersley Junction at the base of the Wolverhampton 21 to Great Haywood as boats were going to turn off at Autherley Junction.  In anticipation of the lost revenue the Staffs & Worcs Co then raised their rates astronomically. So the BCN and B&L companies considered cutting them out.  Once the Staffs & Worcs realised the other two companies were serious they lowered their rates and accepted the loss of revenue.

P1010960I never cease to find Avenue Bridge attractive.  However there was not time to stop for another walk of the area.

Obviously the summer cruising season is over.  Usually vacant moorings at Brewood are as scarce as rocking horse droppings.  Today there was only one boat!


We then passed Richard on nb Pendle Warter moored opposite Countrywide Cruisers hire base.  No sign of Sadie (his dog).  Probably sensibly inside in the warm!  We first met Richard at the Black Country Museum in June last year.


Shortly thereafter we crossed Stretton Aqueduct where you can watch everyone below doing more than 4 miles per hour.


We pushed on finally reaching Wheaton Ashton at 4.30pm where we topped up the water tank and found ourselves a good mooring with both the ‘dot’ and DTV signals.  Dinner was light because we were both rather bushed!  However I did manage to splice a snapped fender line and check the weed hatch.

Looks like the rugby semi-finals will be a southern hemisphere affair.  Although I do feel sorry for Scotland who might have some justification in feeling they were cheated of a place.  The All Blacks got carried away playing France and displayed their real potential.


Judith Emery said...

Hi Tom, I do love your posts they make me laugh. We're on the Shroppie at nantwich waiting to have the gennie fixed tomorrow. We'll then stop for a few days at Audlem wharf. Will keep an eye out for you if you're heading north.
nb Serena

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Judith,
we will probably be in Market Drayton tomorrow afternoon.