Saturday, 30 May 2015

Burton-upon-Trent - Alrewas - Rugeley

We were all made to feel very welcome by the people of Burton-upon-Trent at the recent floating market. There were ten boats trading at Shobnall Fields, and I think it’s fair to say we all had a successful weekend. The weather was kind to us with only a little drizzle on the Sunday. On Saturday evening we had a boaters get together around a few BBQs over on the field side of our trading area, it also happened to be our 23rd wedding anniversary. It was great to meet up with some familiar faces again and also meet a few new people and hope to see more of them in our travels.

The floating market, we're on the first on the right

Open and ready to start selling

James at work
Not everyone had arrived when I took this
Dudley seemed to really enjoy himself and was chief ‘Meeter and Greeter’. We were the end boat on the towpath side so he was kept very busy. He was even recognised when I took him out for an evening walk to Horninglow, as I was passing someone walking with their dog he asked him if my dog was Dudley, the guy had seen us up at the market the previous day.

One lady who bought a pen was so pleased with it she came back the next day with a couple of lovely souvenirs of Burton for us.

Our last trading day was Bank Holiday Monday but I think we all stayed around recovering on the Tuesday. We had sold quite a bit of our stock so James will now be busy getting prepared for the Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival which we are booked into for the middle of June. We will slowly be making our way up there, let’s hope we get some nice weather.

We left Burton-upon-Trent on Wednesday and made our way to Alrewas, our plan was to top up with water and moor a little further on near the cemetery. We went through the river section and James dropped me off at the lock landing of Alrewas lock, I got the lock ready and James set off to enter, he seemed to be having a little difficulty and when eventually entered the lock said something was round the prop and he was hardly moving. So we went up the lock, off the river, where luckily enough there was a free mooring just after the lock landing. It was my turn down the weed hatch where I retrieved some thick brightly coloured rope, along with a couple of plastic bags and a bit of weed. It was a nice spot and as we weren't desperate for water so stayed put.

On the Rover Trent

Heron fishing in the weir
On Thursday the weather was quite nice so James was busy with his lathe whilst I did a bit of Spring cleaning and went for a stroll along the river with Dudley.

Yesterday once the worst of the rain had passed we set off through Alrewas and onto Fradley where there were three volunteers helping at the locks, which was much appreciated. It was then on through Armitage where James told me we had enough pictures of the loos so I didn’t take one this time. At the old tunnel I got off with Dudley to check the way was clear to see a boat coming through in the opposite direction just sounding his horn as he came through, I can totally understand if he was on his own, but there were three people sat on the front deck. There are signs both sides which say to send a crew member to check if its clear, I wonder if anyone else actually does this.

We arrived at Rugeley where the visitor moorings looked quite busy so tagged on the end as a visit to Tesco was needed.

Moored at Rugeley
18 miles and 15 locks
Total 210 miles and 188 locks

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Catch Up

It’s been quite a while sine the last blog so time for a catch up.

Going back to when we were in Fazeley a few weeks ago, we met up with Bob and June nb Autumn Myst and had an enjoyable evening catching up over a bottle of wine and then again the following morning over coffee. Dudley had his first experience of another dog, Bob and June’s latest Guide Dog puppy Ecco who is a nine month old black lab (well 10 months old now!!). Ecco was very patient and put up with Dudley springing around her trying to play. Bob took some lovely photos of them together, here’s a link to them here.

Bob and June

Ecco and Dudley
On the Monday Dudley had his second vaccination jab and micro chip, his was very brave and didn’t make a fuss at all, even though there was quite a bit of blood from the micro chip. On Tuesday we made our way to Alvecote, we had a space booked for the floating market at Alvecote Marina with the bonus of electric hook up, so I managed to get quite a few wash loads done.

The market started on the Friday and as it was a ‘normal’ day it was fairly quite, Saturday rain stopped play early and Sunday was very windy, still not bad sales wise. Bank Holiday Monday the weather was better and people were out in force, it was a very successful day for us so well worth going. In the evening we headed over to the Samuel Barlow pub where we met up with a couple of the other traders and kept poor Matthew there until after midnight.

Alvecote Floating Market

The Samuel Barlow
We left in a few days before leaving as the weather was horrid, wet and really windy, when we finally left on Wednesday we only went back to Fazeley for a couple of days. We got a takeaway from Kudos, the Indian restaurant we have often been to when passing through, but with Dudley now and as he’s not been on his own we had  take away instead, which was excellent and James even got a free bottle of beer.

After Fazeley it was onto Fradley and right turn onto the Trent and Mersey Canal. We had intended stopping at the visitor moorings between the locks, but unfortunately they were full as it was quite late in the day by the time we arrived. We carried on down through Hunt Lock and then Common Lock stopping on a nice straight grassy section which Dudley loved as he could run around off the lead.

On Friday we left Fradley behind and dropped down through Alrewas onto the river section, there was hardly any flow and the level just reached the green section on the board so all was well. We continued on past the really noisy stretch which runs adjacent to the busy A38 and stopped at Branston Water Park. Just a little way down the canal there is a house that was selling rhubarb at its back gate which backs onto the canal, so we had a few sticks and made crumble. We had a very short stroll through the water park, but hopefully will stop here again on the way back.

Saturday we headed through Burton-upon-Trent to Willington, we managed to squeeze onto a mooring just after the pub. Sunday we set up shop to and made a few sales so it was certainly worth doing. On Monday we headed off back to Burton-upon-Trent ready for the Roving Canal Traders Floating Market over the Whitsun Bank Holiday Weekend.

30 Miles and 16 locks
Total 192 Miles and 173 Locks