Sunday, 9 April 2017

We're up to Penkridge

The forecast good weather did indeed materialise this morning – it was almost a pity that we didn't have a very long day's boating in prospect. No matter, we set off a bit after eight as usual with three locks between us and Penkridge. Acton Trussell is one of those villages that sounds more romantic that it is in reality. The guides describe how James Brindley is believed to have used the moat of the local manor house as part of the canal and I well recall how excited I felt the first time we approached the place.

Trouble is, what was the manor house is now a hotel and restaurant of smart but unexceptionable appearance, so that the most exciting thing about Acton Trussell nowadays is that it rhymes with Darcey Bussell. (Strange the odd thoughts that pop into your mind whilst steering.) The standout feature of the place today was the long line of largely pleasant anglers on the towpath opposite.

A little further on and it was time to drop Sheila to work Shutt Hill lock, which was a) against us and b) had its top gate standing open. Still, it didn't slow us down, much, and another boat turned up below as we worked up. The lockwheeler kindly closed the gate for us, so that Sheila could hop aboard as we left the lock. It's always good to meet with fellow boaters who observe the minor courtesies.

By Park Gate we'd caught up with the working pair that were ahead of us and who'd passed us on our mooring yesterday afternoon. Presumably they are on their way to Ellesmere Port for the Easter Gathering of working boats, but they'll have to get a wiggle on to do it in time. I'm sure it can be done but they'll have to do the length of the Shroppie in about three days flat.

Sheila has at times walked from Park Gate to Longford, the last lock before Penkridge, but chose to ride this time, remembering that we needed to walk into the village to buy some supplies before lunch. There was loads of room when we got here just before half ten and we've tied in our usual spot opposite the park home site.

It's a pleasant stroll down into the village on a sunny morning. We found most of what we wanted in a nearly deserted Co-op, then remembered that there's now a Sainsbury's Local store further down. It has an ATM and the supplies of cash were getting a bit low so we carried on down there. I nipped into the store for a nice multiseed loaf for today and some peppers that the Co-op didn't have.

Back at the boat there was just time for stowage and a brief sit down before eating lunch. The afternoon has mostly been spent sitting in the well deck reading, doing puzzles and knitting. Sheila tells me that my Guernsey has advanced by a further eight rows as a result (Guernseys grow only slowly, being knitted on fine needles with an equally fine yarn).

Sadly, this hot spell is due to finish today and we will be heading on to Gailey tomorrow in much cooler and cloudier conditions.


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