Wednesday 27 September 2017


Cloudy and grey it was today, but at least it didn't rain until we were ready to tie up tonight. This was the first leg of our journey entirely on the Shroppie. I had a good idea of how far we could get today, and it worked out pretty well, taking into account the interruptions.

First was a stop in Brewood. Ostensibly for shopping for a few essentials but, on a morning like this, we didn't like to turn down the idea of coffee and cake at "the mess bistro". I thought I'd better put that in inverted commas, in case you thought I was getting careless with my capitals. We also remembered the bakers down Stafford Street, who do an extremely good ham salad baton. The person serving me (let's call her Annie) said she was the fastest sandwich-maker in the West (Midlands), and counted it a point of honour to get ours prepared before the snack being heated in the oven by a colleague was ready for another customer!

Back on Erin Mae we headed off for the only lock on the southern stretch of the Shroppie, at Wheaton Aston. It was the happiest of all sights as we approached – another boat emerging so we didn't have to work the top gates.

We had business here as well – filling up the water tank and then, just through the bridge which the sharp-eyed will spot in the photo, filling up the diesel tank at Turner's, who believe they sell the cheapest fuel of anywhere on the network. They're probably right.

After that there was not much to do on this leg, except watch the clouds getting cloudier and the greyness getting greyer, and the cars rushing somewhere as we crossed the aqueduct over the M5, Watling Street. Not many boats to avoid in the narrow bits or under the bridges. I did spot three Tolkien-named boats, but they were already on my list. And then I saw something to make up for having missed snapping the dahlias the other day.

My best beloved assures me they were marigolds, not dahlias, but I just thought they were a bright and cheerful interjection. Meanwhile she also asked me to capture (not literally, you understand) this goose who clearly had nearly given up.

One eye, pointing backwards but looking sideways, making sure I wasn't a threat. One body that looks as though it could have succeeded at the contortionist world championships. And all supported on one leg. Why do they do that?


  1. Er ... what about Autherley Stop Lock? And Watling Street there is the A5.

    1. Ah… Watling Street was "a slip of the M"! But as for the stop lock – you are technically correct, of course, but for blog post purposes I was thinking of it more in terms of being the gateway to the Shroppie, and of Wheaton Aston being the first "lock proper".