Sunday, 16 April 2017

Working down to Wolverley

The Kinver moorings did indeed get well filled by the end of the afternoon. As always, we enjoyed our pre-war sos, this time with new potatoes and some steamed Savoy cabbage. For those who haven't come across these excellent bangers, only so far as I know obtainable in Kinver, I should explain that they are not mummified remains from before 1939 but are made to that traditional standard.

During World War II, breadcrumbs were no longer used as the binding in sausages, but were replaced with the rusk which continues to be used to this day. The product available in Kinver is made in the old way with prime shoulder of pork, traditional spices and bound with breadcrumbs. The casings are traditional too. The end result is a sausage that cooks as it should, popping or splitting sometimes but never falling apart and the skin ends up a dark brown shading to black. We usually grill them, being a bit faddy health conscious, but I have fried them in the past with equally good results.

We had a bit of a lazy start this morning, intending to set off at half eight, but the day was so bright and enticing that we were on our way by quarter past. There weren't many locks for me to do, just Whittington and Debdale, but I walked a good chunk of the way too, repaying the service Sheila did me yesterday along today's even bendier section. This paid off at Austcliffe, where I was able to warn Sheila of a privateer heading her way before she'd committed to the bend.

I then walked through Cookley, including the short tunnel, and saw her down Debdale Lock. Debdale is the most tedious lock on this stretch as there's no easy way from one side of the bottom end to the other. The choice is a trek across a bridge, through the side of a field, over a stile and back up some steps or else to go round the top end via a footboard which is presently inclined at around 20ยบ to the horizontal.

I had to hop back on board afterwards but still provided a lookout round the sharp bend which follows soon after.

We got to Wolverley by half ten and found plenty of room above the lock, though it's filled up quite a bit now. The cut is rather narrow here and a couple of boats have clonked us trying to manoeuvre past onto the lock landing. The local hire company is Starline of Stourport and their hirers mostly seem to be novices. It's a bit like the old CanalTime boats used to be, not necessarily a matter of inadequate handover procedures but quite possibly just too much for total novices to grasp.

In the last few days we've had to point out to one boat crew that you should drop paddles and close gates behind you and to another that the lock landing is not the best place to tie up for lunch and go shopping. In both cases the response was "Sorry, we didn't know." It's important to remember that almost all of us were novice hirers once and to be patient, but we do wonder if there's something about Starline that makes them attractive to the first timer.

Tomorrow, through Kidder, stopping to shop, and on to Stourport.



heather said...

it's good that you're patient with the hirers. I've been one and you're bound to make mistakes. Some hire fleets are happy to take on groups of lads or girls, a recipe for trouble, but mostly it's families isn't it? Any plans to cruise north this year?

heather said...

2) silly me, I've just read yr Cruising Plan, so not what I would call 'north'.