Day 39 – Aston Marina

Last night I stopped just before the flight of four locks north of Stone, so this morning I made short work of them then cruised toward the town centre. At the next set of four there was a queue but for the first time the boat in front was short enough (35′) for us to lock through together. We did a couple of locks then he pulled in to the CRT service station.

Next to the services was a boatyard and it seemed like a good time to fill up with diesel. It took 21.6l, last time I filled up was a week ago at Trevor so that’s about 3l per day. I asked at the yard where would be a good place to moor to walk into the town centre for cash point and shopping. They generously let me stop in one of their berths.

Stone has an old-fashioned and apparently prosperous town centre with a decent market and independent shops. There was some kind of event getting set up, people tuning up guitars and the mayor wandering around in costume and chain, but I went back to Seren and carried on through the last two of the set.

Then stopped for lunch. Pork pie from Stone, sourdough bread, cherry toms and piccalilli. And a nap. The sky was overcast and I’ve been caught out too often this trip so before lunch I closed the cockpit roof.

It didn’t rain and was a lot brighter in the afternoon (and is a glorious evening now). I yanked the roof open then doubled up with stomach pain. I have a few funny pains with my various abdominal problems so I started the engine, cast off and sat at the helm. Sitting I felt fine and it was a mile or more to the next lock. A boat was leaving it so I went straight in, then realised how much my stomach hurt when I got off to close the gate.

A woman from a boat behind me opened one of the paddles while I did the other, then she said I should get back on Seren and she’d do the gates. I accepted gratefully.

I’d pretty much decided to find a mooring before the next lock when I came upon Aston Marina. It’s not cheap but it is luxurious. After a lot of sitting down and another nap I’m feeling a lot better. I’ve even done some laundry in the enormous commercial washing machines they have here. Loo and water tomorrow then off again. It’ll be a slow start though, the office doesn’t open until 10.00 on Sundays and I want my deposit back.

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