About Me

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After thirty years of hiring, I finally bought my own 50ft boat in 2005, which was built in 2001 by Andicraft at Debdale Wharf. I mostly cruise single handed and have no problem with that, although it does take a little longer than with a crew. My mooring is on the Wey Navigation, so I have a choice of routes on the Wey or the Thames.

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Grand Canal Tour 2014. On to Rugeley.

Note. this page should be before Alvecote working weekend, but I cannot seem to place it in the right order. Can anyone advise me how to do this?

My first lock of the day was Wood End where I goofed up big time. Going up in all the BCN locks had been done the same way, by stepping off the boat at the bottom gate and allowing it to drift slowly in, out of gear. I would then walk up to the top gate and draw half a ground paddle, which would stop the boat just short of the top gate and hold it there while I closed the bottom gates. Not this time though! To my amazement the boat accelerated towards the top gate and gave it an almighty clout, much to my embarrassment, because a waiting boater had meanwhile closed one of the bottom gates and saw it all. Why is there always someone watching when you make a mistake and no one sees all the skilful things one does? The number of gongoozlers is usually in direct proportion to the size of your goof up, although not this time!

Eventually I reached Rugeley and found a 48hr mooring close to the shops. There has been a Morrisons here for ages, but now Tesco have opened a new store on the other side of the cut, which seems a little ridiculous to have two superstores so close to each other. There is also an Aldi a little further away, so plenty of competition.
Aquarius passes by with a cargo of loose coal...................
closely followed by butty Ilford, both bound for Moira on the Ashby Canal.

It is extremely busy on the Trent and Mersey here, with boats passing every few minutes and some of them not slow enough! I think this sign in the window might be a good idea:-

 “Some souls are considerate and slow down when passing, but there are souls who don’t!”

I watched a boat pass yesterday and said to the lady on the bow " What does F.U.B.B. stand for?" which was the name of their boat. "You had better ask my husband," she said. So I did. "My wife was a teacher and I was a civil servant, so the boat is called Fucked Up Beyond Belief, but that was too long to be sign written!

Two pubs were worth a visit here; The Vine and The Red Lion. I visited both and although the folks in The Vine were very friendly, the choice of beers was limited to Bass or Bass. On the other hand, The Red Lion was smaller, older and more intimate and there was a good choice of beers on tap, even though I drank Bank’s Mild, just for a change.

That was after my fight with a washing machine in the launderette! I read the operating instructions, which said to put the powder/liquid in compartments 1 and 2, so I closed the lid thinking they were behind it. There were no compartments at all and the liquid should have gone into the drum, but the lid was now locked and although there was a button which unlocked the lid, it didn’t! So I started the machine, but the button still did not release the lid, so my last resort was to pour the liquid down the recess for lifting the lid. The washing came out clean, so it must have worked – time for a pint, me thinks!

The forecast for the following day was rain all day, so I moved onto a 7 day mooring a little further along, intending to stay until the day after, when the weather is going to be much better. I think I may have become a fair weather boater! My neighbour was a local man and told me of a boat moored at a farm where diesel could be had for cash at 79p/litre and a 13kg gas was £22 – definitely worth a visit and only a couple of miles away just above the winding hole at bridge 68. In fact it was called Taft Farm Wharf and just below bridge 69. The working boat was called ‘Dexta’.

My schedule has now changed. There is a NBT working weekend coming up at Alvecote, so Barry put the word out for anyone passing in a car to give me lift there on Saturday. John Mills came up with an offer, so I will stay on the 7 day moorings at Rugeley until Tuesday of next week.

I must have been getting low on water by now, so I had to go north to wind the boat, then come south to a water point, before going further south to wind again and return towards Rugeley. On the way back, I intend stopping at The Plum Pudding for a pint, though I will have to change out of my rags, as it looks quite an upmarket pub. In fact, it was a rather tired pub inside, as I later discovered, but the beer was fine.

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