Showing posts with label Stafford Boat Club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stafford Boat Club. Show all posts

Friday, 12 August 2011

Good bye GCD & A, hello again, Sally

We had a really good night last night, once the grandkids had settled down. After a meal and a drink together, three of us went up to the club bar, leaving Cathy babysitting (at her request, she had a book she wanted to finish.)

As we'd been told, the club members were very welcoming, and the Pedigree was in very good nick. We've applied to join as Associate Members.

This morning, our visitors packed up and left, so by nine we were getting some diesel and a cylinder of propane (both very reasonably priced) before setting off ourselves. We made it to Penkridge by one, a bit longer than we'd usually take, but we were having to queue for the locks after Deptmore.

Plenty of room on the towpath below Penkridge Lock, though, so we're comfortably ensconced for a couple of days.

Elanor brought Sally over mid afternoon, as she's off with wrg this weekend.

On Sunday, we'll probably move on up to Gailey, then on Monday we'll be cruising seriously again, up the Staffs and Worcs to Autherley, then down the Shroppie, just as we did earlier in the year. This time, though, we'll carry on past Nantwich, turning right at Barbridge, and so onto the T&M again at Middlewich.

There are 12 boats and 31 people booked to attend the Braidbar Owners' Weekend and Open Day this year, so it sounds like it's going to be another good one. If you want to see what Braidbars are all about, come along to the yard on Saturday 10 September.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A break in the routine

After a relaxed start yesterday, we set off at nine from Tixall in very mixed weather. A boat was just coming down Tixall Lock as we got there, so Sheila had an easy time of it with the only one of the day. Above the lock, we plodded on through occasional showers. It's not the most dramatically beautiful bit of the Staffs and Worcs, but pleasant enough, with the West Coast Mainline adding interest to one side, and pleasant if undeveloped countryside to the other.

It's just on two hours to Stafford Boat Club, where we tied on the mooring I'd been told to use when I phoned. A visit to the office sorted out power and water access, so we were soon happily established with all mod cons. Graeme doesn't believe in satnav (sees enough of that stuff in his job, I guess) so they had a little bit of bother finding us just from the address, but eventually made it.

After that, it was the usual merry chaos of having the four of them on board. SBC really is the ideal place for this sort of rendezvous, with plenty of safe running around area for the kids, all facilities to make looking after them on the boat as easy as possible and a very pleasant spot into the bargain. Daniel has been very taken with his life jacket, only with difficulty being persuaded he didn't need to wear it in bed. This morning, he was to be seen eating his breakfast with it on over his pyjamas.

This morning, they've all gone off to visit Shugborough Hall, leaving me to chill out on the boat and catch up with the blog. The weather continues very mixed, with sun, breeze and the odd heavy shower, but I'm not complaining.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

On our way again

29th & 30th August

Thursday night proved to be a good gig, but a bit of a classic wrg type session. As I said last time, we were having a fish and chip supper with the blue shirts and this guy Al Fresco, but he didn't turn up. Instead, Bungle did, with a diesel bowser half full of red diesel which he wanted to sell at cost price, i.e. 67 pence per litre.

The thing was, we'd over ordered fuel for the generators and site plant, and so had around 1000 litres left. The plant hire company wouldn't take the bowser back if it still contained fuel, because of the HazChem rules, so, sadly, all we boaters had to step into the breach.

We managed to shift a fair bit of it before and after eating the fish and chips, but Bungle was still trying to move the last of it the next morning, when I went to find Dave Chapman, the supplies manager, to pay for the final jerry can full I'd taken in the dark the night before.

In this context, let me pay tribute here to the hardest working of all the folk who make the Festival possible. Those must be Site 1 and Site 3, Dave Jones and Mike Sumner, wrg 1 and wrg 2, Dave Worthington, aka Daddy Cool, and Jenny Black, the aforementioned Supplies, and Admin 1, Sandy Jones.

Many, many others are involved in the delivery of the largest waterways event in Europe, and the largest volunteer run event in the UK, but those folks are right on the front line.

After paying our debts and having a goodbye natter to various people we might or might not see between now and next year, we finally set off around nine, boating again for the first time for three weeks. We went up the Shroppie to Wolverhampton Boat Club, winded in their winding hole, and came back to the towpath water point to top up the tank and start a washload. It did feel good to be boating again, it must be said.

One of the virtues of slogging it at the National is that it makes us appreciate the sheer pleasure of boating, and why we choose to be continuous cruisers. Here I should say that I've just been chatting to John and Nev Campbell, with whom we are having dinner tonight, and John commented how hard I made working at the National sound. This worries me a bit, as I don't want to put off anyone thinking of turning out as either a blue or red shirt next year.

Admittedly, I got very tired this year because I didn't pace myself properly over the three weeks. Lots of other folks come for, say, just the ten day wrg camp, and although they will be pretty well exercised at the end of it, there's no need for them to be exhausted - no one is asked to do more than they feel capable of doing, and the whole point is to enjoy yourself whilst engaged in a worthwhile activity.

Some of us just have this masochistic streak, and it's very kind of the IWA and wrg to enable us to indulge it.

Water tank and fuel tank full, it only remained to empty the toilet tank, so we next went round to Oxley Marine and had another very good pump out, with lots and lots of rinsing by a very conscientious operator. It took a bit longer than expected because his pump broke down twice, but he regaled us with tales of his life on the boats, being a boater born and bred, so it wasn't in the least tedious.

Having turned right at Autherley to get to the yard, we had to go on to Aldersley Junction to wind and finally set off in the direction we wanted to go. By dint of lunching en route, we got to Gailey at 2.30, and settled down to a leisurely afternoon, with a bit of housework in a rather hot boat, then just plain loafing, reading a couple of the books and magazines we'd acquired at the show.

During this time we exchanged emails with the aforesaid John Campbell, as a result of which we agreed to come on to where they were moored by Stafford Boat Club so as to eat dinner with them tonight.

This entailed an early-ish start this morning, 7.45 in fact, but even so we were third boat in the queue at Brick Kiln Lock, the one immediately below Gailey. It made for steady rather than rapid boating on a warm, cloudy day which has shown odd splashes of sunshine, but which has become increasingly muggy as the day wore on.

I was lock wheeling, and after pumping up the bike tyres, made reasonable work of the towpaths to Penkridge, where we stopped at ten for shopping and coffee. Acton Trussell came over the horizon at 12.45, so we paused for lunch. It was a fast internet connection there, surprisingly, and I used it to find the site of next year's National at Redhill on Google maps.

A short bit of boating on in the afternoon got us to our present location by Stafford Boat Club, and we've spent the rest of the time drinking tea and nattering to John and Nev, finally breaking off to let Sheila get a shower, me to do the blog, and to take a call from Elanor about her weekend so far and to let us know about all the exciting post that's arrived for us. (Not: the most interesting thing was my Inland Revenue Self Assessment statement, confirming that they owe me a tenner, and, just like every one else, they'll get round to paying it to me sometime soon. Hah!)

Tomorrow we'll amble on as far as Tixall Wide before heading North for Stone, Kidsgrove and Macclesfield.