Day 13

Having a run of bad luck with the internet connection so here’s last night’s (posted on 14 June)…

I’m stopped near Shugborough Hall on the Trent & Mersey Canal and there’s no phone signal. I walked along the towpath to find enough signal to call Linda but there’s no chance of getting on t’internet.

Left Hopwas bright and early. Cold again but with less of a cool breeze than previous few days. By lunchtime it was downright hot. Hopwas is on a section of the Coventry Canal that had already been built as the Birmingham and Fazeley and was incorporated into the Coventry’s route, which makes the maps, signs and bridge numbering a bit odd. In fact the B&F bridges aren’t numbered, they’re named. At Whittington it reverts to being the Coventry Canal.

This is a long lock-free section until the Coventry makes a T junction with the Trent & Mersey at Fradley Junction. There are four locks at Fradley two going down if you turn right and two going up to the left, my way, towards the North West via the Potteries. After Fradley I passed isolated locks at Woodend and Colwich.

Once again everyone at the locks was friendly and helpful. One cost me a lock windlass though. At Woodend I motored in, cut the engine, picked up the windlass and mooring rope and drfited towrad the ladder. As usual when I’m alone I reached up and put the windlass on the lockside next to the ladder and prepared to climb. Then one of the women who’d opened the gates and were waiting to go down the lock on their boat called across to tell me to stay in the boat and they’d do it. Being a bit of an old-fashioned bloke I demurred but the other woman insisted they could manage so I retreated to the cockpit. Leaving the windlass on the lockside.

I didn’t notice until I got to Colwich an hour or more later. The only other one I have with me is a big Middle Level which fits some ‘slackers’ on the Ouse and probably some large GU paddles, but not the smaller type at Colwich. After a minute or two wondered what I had to ‘sleeve’ the inside of the windlass an narrowboat arrived behind me. The couple on board insisted I have a spare one of theirs, they claim they found it and it’s certainly a bit old and corroded but very useful. At the next boatyard I’ll buy a spare.

I’m still finding Marinas odd. After yesterday’s being shut at the weekend today I went into King’s Bromley Wharf Marina looking to empty the Elsan. One the panel at the marina entrance it lists all manner of services but when I found someone to ask where the Elsan disposal was he said, ‘It’s broken’. How do you break an Elsan? It’s a hole connected to a sewer, usually with a tap and hose to swill it down. How do you break it? First stop tomorrow will be the Anglo-Welsh yard at Great Haywood.

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