Monday, 24 April 2017

Working up to Stoke Works

We'd planned a short run today, up the Astwood locks and on to Stoke Works, not likely to take more than 90 minutes or so. Sheila needed to run a wash load to keep on top of the laundry, so we started the engine just after eight and left it running whilst we had breakfast, including coffee. This meant that by a quarter to nine or so, the batteries had well finished the bulk charging stage and no longer presented a load to the alternator and the calorifier was well heated.

Sheila got the washing machine running and we set off. It was a good road, all the locks with us, and we made good time. The weather was cool and cloudy and forecast to turn wet by lunchtime, so we were glad to get ahead. The schools having gone back after the Easter break, there's much less traffic about now, mostly older boaters. The water point at Stoke Works is before the bridge, across from the Boat and Railway pub. Since the tank was now only half full, we stopped there to fill it and drink another coffee.

Once filled up, gratefully so since the water point tap made a high pitched squealing noise most of the time it was running, we popped through the bridge onto the visitor moorings (rings and a hard brick edge) where we've sat out the wet.

It's due to turn frosty tonight, so we've dropped the cratch cover, lit the Squirrel and put a rack full of washing in there to to dry with the bow doors open. We'll lift the troughs containing the petunias into the cratch overnight to save them from the frost.

It's quite urban here now – we've finished with the rural idyll for the time being. This is the site of a major salt works in the old days, though that's all gone, replaced by smaller industrial units.

We've got a similar day planned for tomorrow. There's still washing to be done, it being Monday, so we'll repeat this morning's performance before working up the Stoke locks and tying below Tardebigge bottom. Wednesday will see the long haul up Tardebigge, our last uphill locks for a while. We will have climbed up onto the West Midlands plateau, only to work down off it again via Lapworth and Hatton.

Location:Stoke Works

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