February 18th 2010 - Staffordshire/Shropshire Border
As it turned out we didn't go anywhere that day, it was just too damn cold, so we decided to stay put for another night. However the following day dawned reasonably well so we upped sticks and headed off for Market Drayton. There were three more locks in front of us, being part of the Audlem Flight and after the third one we crossed the border from Cheshire into Shropshire. A short cruise later we arrived at the next flight of locks, the Adderley Locks. Once we were through those it was plain sailing down to Market Drayton. Just on the final approach to Market Drayton is Victoria Wharf where we happened to know there is coal merchants, so we pulled up there and got another half dozen bags of smokeless fuel for the stove and stashed them on the roof.
We nally arrived in Market Drayton itself and with a little trepidation we moored up just beyond the World War II pill box. I say with trepidation because the last time we moored here back in October 2008 some little toe-rag cut the boat loose whilst we were out and when we returned at 1.00am Lady Arwen was not where we had left her! Fortunately she had only drifted across the canal and had butted up against another boat and we managed to climb on board and get her back to the mooring. However we had to improvise when tying her up as the stern rope had gone completely! Anyway, this time we were sincerely hoping that lightening wouldn't strike twice in the same place!
We have actually spent several days in Market Drayton. The moorings were really only 48 hour max but as nobody came and asked us to move we stayed put! We had intended leaving on Sunday except that I had a bit of a disaster! I was brushing my hair up on deck on Sunday morning, as I do every morning (unless it is pouring with rain). As I was brushing my hair I heard a click and saw something red fly off into the water and sink! At first I had no idea what had just happened then I realised it was the right side of my glasses which had been caught by the hairbrush, pinged off and shot into the canal! Wonderful! Anyway as it happens there are three opticians in Market Drayton. On Monday morning I phoned them all and one of them told me that if I got myglasses to them before 10.30 that morning they would send them with their courier to the lab and they would be back the following day - sothat's exactly what I did. I also asked if I could have an eye test asI had missed my annual check up back in July! Unfortunately they werefully booked all week! So I made an appointment for the followingTuesday as we were intending coming back to Market Drayton on Saturdayfor a few days. In the end they phoned me later that afternoon and said there had been a cancellation for the following day at 11.30 - brilliant! So I now have my glasses fixed and have also been told that my prescription has changed ever so slightly and its not really worth getting new glasses at this stage. Excellent!
There was another reason for staying in Market Drayton this long, we had been reliably informed that there was a good folk club at The Kings Arms every second Wednesday in the month - that just happened to be tonight! We got a taxi to pick us up at 7.45pm. When we walked into the pub at first we didn't see any musicians, then we spotted a lady with an accordion sitting by the window - aha we were in the right pub!
We had a really wonderful evening. There weren't many people there as it turned out but the majority of those that were there were also boaters! The lady with the accordion was Anne and she and her husband Alan, who isan excellent singer and musician, live aboard NB Taliesin, which we had crusied past a few days ago and commented on. There was also an American couple there, also boatees, whom we had met at The Shroppie Fly last Monday. They hail from Iowa but have evidently been narrowboating over here since 1997! All in all we had a great time and Alan and Anne very kindly drove us back to the boat when the evening was over.
We decided to head off this morning and cruise down to Norbury Junction where there is an excellent boatyard with good services. We really need a launderette. There is one in Market Drayton but it is miles away from the canal and no use to us at all. However at Norbury Junction they have a laundry service. If you get your washing to them before 3.00pm it will be back, washed, dried and folded the same day! So we left Market Drayton about 9.45am. We had the five Tyrley Locks to negotiate and then a long cruise to Norbury. However it started getting very, very cold and Clive was becoming extremely chilled so we decided to pull in and moor up for the night and continue on to Norbury in the morning. Once we got moored up Clive put the TV on to watch the news and then we saw the weather report - snow is forecast for tonight! No wonder Clive had felt cold! I forgot to mention that when we had finished doing the locks I had come inside to do a few chores so I was all warm and cosy!
We will be returning to Market Drayton on Saturday and all being well Clive's parents are coming down to see us for a few days. They won't stay on the boat with us however, preferring to book into a B&B - they like their creature comforts! The reason they are coming is to help us celebrate Clive's birthday, which is on Monday. On Tuesday, our son Gareth - my baby(!) - is going to be 30! Unfortunately we won't be there to celebrate with him but I am sure he will have much more fun with his mates than he would with his aged parents!