Saturday 17 September 2016

Welcome to Cheshire

Adam noted in response to my last post that only about 10 miles of the Shropshire Union canal are actually in Shropshire. We spent the last two nights in that county, near Goldstone and then Adderley, where there was no mobile broadband signal, so no blog post last night. The journey between them took us through Woodseaves cutting.

It seemed to us that quite a lot of useful maintenance work had been done since we were last here, in terms of strong net fencework on the towpath side, and sandbag edging on the other.

A cutting is still a cutting, however, and when a tree falls down careful manoeuvring is involved.

The five Tyrley locks are easier in this direction, especially with the first one greeting you in its customary picturesque fashion.

Then it was on through Market Drayton and, eventually, down the five Adderley locks to the moorings just below them where the Shroppie shelf relaxes its grip for a moment. Doing those five last night meant we had five fewer today – just the first 13 of the Audlem flight. CRT volunteers were out in force – two of them helping a single boater in a Sea Otter boat the rudder of which had malfunctioned, and the rest a work party busy painting at least one set of lock gates.

Tea and much bonhomie were also in evidence, as well as the paint, and two of them helpfully worked the gates for us. On the way down this flight we crossed with a Tolkien-themed boat not yet on my list – the first new one I've seen in a long time. I'll append the updated list to this post.

So we came down to the Shroppie Fly and filled up with water.

One more lock, and tied up on the 48 hour visitor moorings for the weekend, while the sun shone as it has all day. So many electrons from that solar panel! And now we are definitely in Cheshire.

There has traditionally been a folk session at the Bridge Inn in Audlem on Monday evenings. We rang to check a few days ago, and found that it is now in the Shroppie Fly on Sunday evenings – at least, that's what they said. This is one of our favourite sessions, so we want to take part and I've been getting out the accordion to see whether I can get something up to scratch to play in public. While sitting out in the cratch at Goldstone two nights ago, practising, I was approached by a man who'd heard the music from across the cut in the Wharf Tavern's caravan park. He asked if he could take a video clip on his iPad. What price fame?, I thought, and agreed.

Turned out he runs GingerBreadMedia and for the last year has been making a video about the Shroppie. He thought that a clip of someone playing music on a boat would be a fitting addition. We shall see! Unfortunately the website makes no mention of his name, so he remains incognito unless he leaves a comment.

Finally (it's been a long post!), the updated list of Tolkien-themed boats:

Arwen Evenstar
Bilbo Baggins
Earls of Rohan
Frodo’s Dream
Lord of the Rings
Many Meetings
Riddles in the Dark
The Arkenstone
There and Back Again


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