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February 11th - top of Audlem Flight

We had a brilliant time at the Folk Club on Monday night.  We were the first to arrive but it wasn't long before several people came in carrying instruments of various sorts and a short time later it kicked off.  Having been once before we knew the format and unlike the folk clubs we are used to this is more of an informal free for all!  There is no MC you basically just start playing or singing as soon as somebody else has finished, every now and again you would end up with two people doing something at the same time and the loudest one won!  Interestingly when we had been there before back in 2008 a fellow boater had turned up with a fiddle and he was absolutely brilliant!  Well he turned up again on Monday night and came and sat near us.  I had a word with him at one point and asked if he came regularly, the answer was no, only occasionally, so he was really surprised that we had both happened to be there the same night twice!  His name is Don and he is actually a professional musician with his own band, playing both trad folk music for ceilidh's etc but also jazz.  He does weddings and fund raising events and all sorts of other gigs.  He is actually a classically trained violinist rather than a fiddler and the difference is quite obvious but it was good to hear him play, he really is very good.  He was also joined by a friend who plays mandolin and they sounded really good together.  Interestingly the guitarist in his band actually lives down in March - which of course we know well!

Don and friend

The other interesting thing that happened was that a guy came in with a collie on a lead and went through into the other bar.  A few minutes later, whilst everyone was playing a rousing tune together, the dog walked back through on its own trailing its lead and went and sat under one  of the tables with its head on the knee of one of the other fiddlers!  Its owner came through to fetch it - he called it and patted his knee but the dog ignored him, so he got hold of its lead and pulled but the dog was having none of it and wouldn't budge!  In the end the owner came and sat at the bar in our room as the dog obviously wasn't going to go with him.  He finally managed to drag the dog over to the bar but a few minutes later it came back to sit with another musician who was playing.  It was really strange, it obviously liked the music.  The only time it actually left the room was when its owner went out for a smoke and that was too much for it, obviously thinking it was being abandoned! 

Four legged music lover!

All in all we had a great night and hopefully we will go again on our way back up the Shroppie in a few weeks time.

That wasn't the last time we went to the Shroppie Fly, we discovered that there was a weekly quiz held on a Tuesday night so we decided to go to that as well.  Again we had a good time but of course there were only two of us and all the other teams were at least four people so we were at a bit of a disadvantage.  However we didn't disgrace ourselves and got 72 points.  Actually I don't think we were the lowest scorers either!  We will also go to the quiz again when we get back this way if we can, if was fun.

Wednesday morning dawned bright and sunny and very cold!  We had decided to head off today but before setting off we needed to fill up with water and we also needed to do something about the freezer!    So Clive lifted the mattress up, removed the board and with the torch on almost turned upside down to see if he could spot what the problem was.  Bear in mind the freezer being under the bed is not easy to inspect, you almost have to be a contortionist.  EUREKA!  He spotted a loose wire - the Earth wire!  He quickly got it reconnected and that was that - freezer fixed!  Thank goodness it was something so simple!

Once that was sorted out we nipped up into the village of Audlem to do a bit of shopping at the local co-op, replenishing the chips and frozen peas for example!  Then it was back to the boat.  Whilst I unpacked the shopping Clive moved the boat a short way up the canal and moored up again next to the water point.  Once the tank was full we were ready of the off and there was a lock immediately ahead, number 13!  Just before we set off I commented that I hoped we didn't have a deja vu of the last time we were on this flight back in October 2008 - it started snowing!  Well half way up the flight, out of nowhere - I think there was one dark cloud in an otherwise cloudless blue sky - it started snowing, great big flakes!  It only lasted a short time though.  However it did it again a couple of times, just short, sharp snow showers.  Finally we arrived at lock number 4 and after that there was a long pound with plenty of mooring space.  By this time it was 3.30pm so we decided to call it a day and moored up. It was just in time too, it started snowing again!

Just as I was starting to get the dinner ready I glanced out of the window and the sun was setting, the colours were beautiful and the trees silhouettes were amazing.  Photographs don't really do it justice but I am sticking one in anyway!

Shroppie Sunset

When we woke up this morning it was beautifully sunny but it looked very frosty outside.   I woke up first and realised that the batteries were flat - a red light comes on to notify us!  I dived out of bed and threw my joggers on over my PJs and popped a jumper on too then I went up on deck to turn the engine on - it was freezing cold!   The problem with the batteries is that we can never be sure how much power is left in them when we shut everything down at bedtime.  Usually we don't have a problem and as the solar panels start charging as soon as the sun comes up we are usually ok.  However we have turned both the fridge and freezer up a bit and we also put the central heating on last thing before we went to bed - all this uses power and obviously there just wasn't enough charge left in the batteries this time.  Clive is quite determined that we need more battery power and wants to add a couple more batteries to our set up - I think he's right!

Well for a change Clive has had breakfast in bed this morning!  As I was up anyway I made the tea, refilled the stove and decided to do the blog.  I realised he hadn't stirred so as he usually brings me my crumpets and honey in the morning I took him his crumpets and cream cheese for a change!  Anybody thinking what I think you might be thinking - stop it at once!  I am referring to the things you put under the grill and toast!!!

When Clive finally gets up (he's now reading his book!) we will probably head off and get a bit nearer to Market Drayton.  I don't mind if we don't go till after lunch as it will give the day a bit of a chance to warm up!  Looking out of the window I can see patches of thin ice floating on the water.  I sincerely hope it doesn't get any colder than it was last night or else we are going to be icebound again!

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