Friday, 31 July 2009

Caldon Canal

We hung a right off the Trent & Mersey & ventured onto the new pastures of the Caldon Canal. At this point we lost all contact with the world's technology; ie internet, telephone, shops and non-polluting public transport (let me out of this Tardis - or perhaps not; it's worth it!).

Still travelling with Lesley & Joe on NB Caxton & they, ocassionally, managed to pull enough signal to get a few words up so, if you fancy it, you can hang these photos around Lesley's words.

All these photos are from the train that runs along the Churnet Valley from Cheddleton to Froghall -lovely.

But, before we reached anywhere near this far, we met our first obstacle; a very, very, low bridge - off came everything from the roof, the top box contents strewn all over the tow path, top box carried through by Joe & G like a couple of stretcher bearers and reloaded on the far side. Lesley quietly enquired why we'd stored mouldy pillows? I tried to explain that they'd been fine when we'd stored the hillbillies having a garage (or towpath) sale.

Anyway, this is all now history & goodness knows when I'll have a signal again, because we're at the end of the Leek arm and planning to leave for the Trent & Mersey tomorrow.

It has rained & rained & rained.

Aboveare pictures of Cheddleton flint mill.

The Hollybush, Denford, with it's own personal claim to torrential rain when we passed it both times.

The Stockton Locks - tiles/bricks dedicated to the potteries.

Friday, 17 July 2009


Having moored at Barlston on Tuesday, Lesley & I gave the dogs (and our feet) a rest & caught the bus into Hanley (which we think of as Stoke-on-Trent; but it isn't - all very confusing). It has everything you need without being wildly exciting. We're definitely "up North" now. The people are much more helpful & pleasant. Prices are cheaper & the choice of fish at the fishmongers is starting to change (Silver hake - gorgeous - appears, but skate wings disappear, "no call for it"). After we'd done our best to re-inflate their economy (very efficiently in my case) we returned to walk the dogs.

Walked them all round Wedgewood Country - this is Mr Wedgewood's house, sited with amazing views across the valleys.

The inevitable estate church....

.... and estate fishing.

Thursday the fellers went into Hanley/Stoke, whilst we took 20 legs off onto Barlaston downs.

Stunning countryside & some good excercise for us up & down hills, that's the trouble with pounding the tow path, the only "hills" are the lock rises. Some of the hills on the downs required me to stop and 'admire the views' halfway up, they sort out the lungs nicely.

There were lovely clear streams for the dogs to drink from & cool off in.

From up here, we could actually see the Welsh mountains.

Graham came back from town with a new bread maker; we reckon it can make our bread whilst we're cruising & then go under the dinette now himself has finally parted with 2 tons of photo and water/boating mags.
By the time we returned from the 'Highlands' he was already trying out his new gadget. Floyd followed the enticing smells & popped in to see if there was any to spare - Daisy will give him such a belt one of these days. I know Lesley doesn't like him doing this, but he's so gorgeous & cuddly that you can't possibly get cross with him.

Focaccia with supper tonight..yummy!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Meeting of the planning committee

On the banks of the Trent & Mersey canal, just outside Sandon, there was a meeting of t'planning committee. Very few decisions were made, but alcohol was consumed, Muttley had a cuddle and a nice family on a hire boat were rescued from the consequences of trying to wind a 70ft boat with the blunt end where the pointy bit should have been. Altogether a reasonable outcome by our PC meeting standards - however, the unusual thing about it was that Joe attended instead of his apologies (bribed with the promise of alcohol I suspect)!

As always, Daisy put in her 4 penn'orth & was the only one that made any sense - she suggested that we stop in Stone for a quick look round & then moor in the countryside above the town.
En route to Stone, Floyd rolled (& rolled & rolled) in a disgustingly stinky fish. The battle to keep our distance from (& definitely upwind of) him resulted in unseemly scrabbling - see how Baxter & Muttley are trying to disown him and Fletcher has that, "why me?" expression & not a human in sight.
We tried losing him but, in the end, Lesley hosed him down with shampoo.

Stone was so lovely that we stayed overnight (Daisy was over ruled & shut in-that went down well; not). The town really encourages visitors & embraces it's canal heritage. There was a lovely plaque saying how the celebrations were so great when the first canal boats reached the town that, "there were muchly firings of cannons" and that 2 locks and a bridge were so badly damaged that the boats were unable to leave - sounds like my kind of a party.

The old boatyards and brewery buildings as you leave the town to the North.

We tried to give little Muttley to these guys, but we think they were deaf or something.

Anyway, time to start walking back from Barlaston towards Stone to find NB Caxton. We couldn't get the lazy b's out of bed this a.m., so we left without them - I expect Lesley will come up with some excuse.
I really lost my rag with people at locks this morning - lock manners are disappearing (& I was hungry!).

Monday, 13 July 2009

Leaving Fradley to Weston Upon Trent & Sandon

Left Fradley at the ridiculous hour of 8.00 am Saturday, it doesn't make sense to travel weekends at this time of the year, but we'd spent three nights in a 'honey spot' area and needed to get back into the country with a tv signal for Grand Prix stuff Sat & Sunday. All grotty and drizzly, but not cold.

We stopped at Weston on Trent (Saracen's Head) for a meal to celebrate Lesley's birthday - it was OK (the meal that is - Lesley was in fine fettle well, not bad for her age).

So; Sunday am sees us moored above Sandon lock and Lesley & I walked up the single track lane to the church-not realising that there would be a veritable rush of onward Christian soldiers making a dirty dash for 11.00am bells; pinning us to the hedgerows as they passed.

River Walk

Still trying to play catch up here-so long without a signal & so much going on every day. The Labs are giving Muttley much needed confidence in the water which is lovely to see.

Big wuss!
What's she doing to my dad?

Baxter continues to do his own thing whilst F & F continue to drown each other.

More pictures from Cannock Chase

This area is quite amazing - it's rather like the Peak District but without all the people.

From a distance, it looks like a single ridge, but you never quite get to the top, there is always another dale and another hill. Suprisingly easy to get into trouble - especially if the weather comes down & Lesley's GPS battery is flat.

Quite stunning & all in the middle of Staffordshire.

This little lot would see both boats through the winter!