Thursday 19 October 2017

Second breakfast

The unseen, submerged part of a fallen tree had a nibble at Erin Mae yesterday as we meandered to Leek.

We escaped intact and I was looking out for it making another attempt as we retraced our steps today. It was cool, a day for wrapping up warm at the tiller. And it was a route with regular hazards apart from toppled trees. In particular it has a number of bridges at awkward angles on corners, usually with boats moored up too close for comfort.

One of these corner-bridges is about the worst we've encountered anywhere, though the setting is delightful.

The first time we came through here, both directions, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to get Erin Mae pointed in the right direction while avoiding collisions. Today, with experience, it was less problematic, but we still used up just about all the allotted space in this very shallow basin. So shortly afterwards we decided on a short pause.

In Lord of the Rings, Pippin says: "What about second breakfast?" Aragorn pays no attention and Merry memorably replies: "I don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip." Well, by now we were certainly up for second breakfast, what with the ends of both a seeded and a fruit loaf just begging to be toasted. Then it was through the bridge and round the corner to the junction.

I love the optimistic mention of Uttoxeter 20½ miles. The canal currently extends in that direction for one short pound beyond Froghall, and I doubt even the best efforts of the restoration society will see it in water all the way to Uttoxeter while we're still boating. But the branch towards Froghall was to be our immediate route.

The turn is too tight for Erin Mae to negotiate under power without churning up most of the bottom, so I got off the front with the bow-line, and pulled her round into the approach to the three locks.

The expected rain had arrived and we were glad to tie up soon on the moorings just short of the Hollybush Inn. Whether for main meals, puddings, musical evenings or more second breakfasts, I fancy we're going to be seeing quite a lot of the Hollybush over the next few days if this weather persists.


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