Monday, 15 February 2016


Two Sunday’s ago I walked to Go Outdoors in Hanley with the intention of buying Jan a second pair of walking shoes whilst they were on discount.  The store didn’t have any in stock so I paid for an inter-store transfer.  The shoes were to be sent by post from the Gloucester store and I was informed this would take two days.  A week later they still hadn’t arrived which resulted in another walk to Go Outdoors.  There had been a “mix-up” at the Gloucester store and the shoes would arrive in two days.  Two days later I phoned Go Outdoors to discover Gloucester still hadn’t sent them.  On Friday morning I again walked to the store only to be told the shoes hadn’t arrived.   This morning there was a voice message from the store informing me the shoes had finally arrived.  Son and I were going for a circular walk so we planned the route to include collecting the shoes.  We duly arrived at the store and were given the shoe box.  After all the problems I was pleased they had finally arrived.  Particularly as we were leaving today.  After all the problems I decided to open the box and check the shoes……… They were boots!  Gloucester had sent the wrong model.  Not happy!  Not Go Outdoors store fault!  Incompetent Gloucester store staff!  The staff gave me a refund and apologised for the inconvenience…… not that it was their responsibility.

The weather this morning was cold and clear.  We walked the towpath south to Stoke Railway Station seeing an old working boat on the move.


Contractors were felling trees beside Bedford St Staircase Locks.  Their felling method was very familiar.  All the branches are removed and then the central trunk is lopped from the top in small sections.


The cut logs were being stacked behind the base of the trees and it appeared the contractors were not going to remove them.  Any boater needing firewood and coming this way might be in luck.


I wanted to see if I could successfully capture the moment when a section of truck started to fall.  The chainsaw operator up the tree had the running saw attached to his belt by a rope.  He would lower the saw below the level of his feet each time he had finished cutting a section of the trunk.  I noted he was also wearing the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) earmuffs, eye protection, hi-viz shirt and safety boots.

After a late lunch we headed towards Harecastle Tunnel.  In our absence Jan had been speaking to the crew of a passing hire boat and discovered they had a booking for the tunnel tomorrow morning so we are going to attempt to sneak through with them.

Once more past Middleport Pottery.


The sole Anglo-Welsh hire boat was at the tunnel mouth when we arrived.  Our first task was to top up the water tank and then we reversed back to moor behind the hire boat.  Just as we finished that a 3rd boat appeared mooring behind us.  Then on dusk a 2nd hire boat arrived to moor opposite.


The odds on getting through the tunnel tomorrow morning look good!

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