Monday, 13 August 2012

Good start....slow finish!

We had a very sedate start to the day and did not leave until nearly 8.30.

The first bridge is not a very welcoming one to greet you to Stone
But just beyond it gets much prettier.....if a little jungle like
We knew we wanted Fuel at Stone Chandlery below the second lock so did not think they would be open until 9..   Very few boats on the move and we went through the first two and onto the vacant water point just at the bottom of the second lock.  Having finished there onto the empty fuel place, made a few necessary purchases (one of the purchases was a new small kettle to replace our silent whistling one!)and set off to complete the final two locks.   The first was OK but couldn't believe our eyes when we reached the last one.....where had all the boats come from?  We were about 4th in the queue so decided to moor on the offside where there are a couple of handy places to moor to go shopping.  I nipped up to Morrisons and when I arrived back we were still 3rd in the queue as even more boats had appeared.  It was by now a bit breezy and I had a bit of a battle getting to the other side of the canal to join the queue.
Still we got through eventually and continued on our merry way.
We passed what had to be a Cornish Boat

and a garden with some interesting animals.....

Just under a mile brought us to Aston Lock and even more boats had appeared........we were 8th in the queue......this is the first time this year we have had to do any serious queuing...

The skipper is very laid back by the wait......
.....but Barney appears fed up with the wait
When we had moved up to about 3rd place we saw some workmen who had been grass cutting putting a notice on one of the top paddles which we initially thought meant one paddles was out of action... was a notice saying they were closing the lock as they had to cut the grass and boats could not go through as it was a Health and Safety issue........unbelieveable!!  The first boat ignored them and went through anyway and by the time our turn came they had finished.
It took about an hour and a half for our turn to come.   Once we were through we had visions of the same thing happening at Sandon Lock just over 2 miles ahead, so after about a mile when we saw a beautiful open spot we decided to stop.  Cows with their calves opposite us and this evening a nearby church is having bell-ringing practice.  Very English!!!   The only thing marring the afternoon peace was those dratted grass cutters again although I must say the man with the strimmer ceased his cutting as he went past our boat.
It means an earlier start tomorrow as we need to reach Penkridge for Wednesday for me to go down to London for a couple of days.  But by starting really early we are hoping no one else will be up.........
4.44miles, 4 locks, 5hrs 29min

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