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  • clivenmel

Nov 22nd

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}  Due to non-existent signal strength these last 48 hours, this is now an update for Wednesday 19th, through to Saturday 22nd.  The time has finally come to make a real move again after our great time here at Market Drayton. It has been a real pleasure catching up with long-lost cousins and re-visiting places of long-cherished childhood memories. As Arnie often says ? ?I?ll be back!? (But probably not until the summer of next year)   As mentioned, we attended a folk evening at The Junction Inn at Norbury Junction on Tuesday evening ? Thelma took this photograph ? what would you call it: A Bristle of Beards!! Anyway, on Wednesday 19th, we paid all our dues and said goodbye to the Marina, stopped for a top up of fresh water 200yds down the way and then set off again, re-tracing our steps from the previous week to the Tyrley Locks. Again, it was a great day with fine weather but have you noticed how the days are drawing in? We?ve made it a sort of unwritten rule that we aren?t moving when it?s about to get dark! So, right now that means by 3.00pm, we should be finding a place to moor up for the night. Having negotiated this stretch before, we knew we could easily reach the Tyrley Top Lock on time and so it proved.   Thursday 20th was another fine day. We set off quite late, knowing that we should easily get to Norbury Junction in the afternoon and so we pootled along again through the cuttings and over the embankments that we have now become familiar with, enjoying the peace and sunshine with the other odd hardy soul coming in the other direction. It has to be said, that after about an hour, it started to become quite a bit colder with a sharp northerly wind driving us on. By the time we were within striking distance of Norbury, I for one was ready for a cuppa!   We had commented that on our travels so far we had seen very little in the way of mammal wildlife, like fox or rabbit; plenty of bird life which has been a real pleasure but very little of anything else. Well, our luck changed today with our first sighting of two wild Fallow Deer not 50 yds away, in a little wooded area to our left just past the Grub Street Cutting. They weren?t hanging about and certainly weren?t staying for a photo-shoot but to see wild deer (both females) like that, out of the blue was just great.   Finally we moored up for the night at Norbury Junction (this place is getting eerily familiar)   The Junction Inn, where we had been to the Folk Club was open and so with Mel glued to a book, I took it upon myself to say hello again to the locals. The guy who ran the Folk evening, Mal, was back in and we had a good chat for an hour or so until it was time to call it a night and I wandered back to the boat.   Friday 21st started early! By 4.30 this morning it was blowing a gale! I know this ?cos I had to go for a pee and realised all sorts of things were making a noise around the boat due to the chaos outside. Having said that, the boat shrugged it all off with its usual aplomb. I have to say that Thelma?s famous curtain wind-blocker is working a treat (big hugs for Thelma!) and the cold northern wind has been firmly shut out (sorry, sounds like a folk song title!)   Only 100 yds away, we pulled into the Wharf, replenished some supplies, had a pump-out, topped up the water, bought more kindling, firelighters etc.. and felt ready for anything. So about 1.00pm we finally set out on a new stretch? Almost straight away, we were cruising along the huge Shelmore Embankment. This mighty earthwork (again by Telford who was in poor health by now) took 6 years to make with a vast army of navvies carrying spoil from the cuttings they had made to build up this embankment, sometimes over 50ft high, towering over the fields and farmsteads below. The visibility is impressive from this raised platform, with the famous hill, The Wrekin, 15 miles away to the Southwest. This 1335ft hill is a major Shropshire landmark, appearing to tower over the essentially flat farmland around it. The poet A.E Houseman celebrated it in A Shropshire Lad and old Salopians still raise a glass to toast ?All friends around the Wrekin.? There?s supposed to be a rewarding walk to it?s summit but that will have to wait for another day.   I had to laugh ? a little further on, Mel spotted a fender floating along all by itself and very close by a rather attractive log! Off she jumps and plods back to find them armed with a great bit of kit donated by brother Nick ? a 5ft ash pole with a wicked looking hook on the end that is a real-life antique! Meanwhile, I?m hovering under a bridge, waiting for her return. As she comes back into view it just reminded me of ?The Borrowers? ? you know the little people who go about ?collecting? interesting things? As I said, I had to laugh..   Just a half mile further on we came to our planned mooring at Gnosall Heath (pron. No-Zull!) This ?appendage? of the village of Gnosall grew up with the coming of the canal. Two pubs (The Boat and The Navigation) sit not 150 yds away from each other at two different bridges to slake the thirst of passing boaters; there was a steam-powered flour mill to take advantage of this new transport and a non-conformist chapel to keep a sense of proportion! Nowadays, the pubs cater for the leisure boaters, like us, the flour mill has become a private residence and the chapel is a hardware store! C?est la Vie? It all looks quite lovely though, even on a cold November afternoon. It seems that The Boat sells Marstons Ales (a particular favourite) so may see a quick visit after dinner (Spag Bog ? yummy!)   Saturday 22nd??????.Alas Clive didn?t get to sample the local ales yesterday, we ended up staying put, once we got settled in and warm we didn?t fancy going out again, so we got cosy in front of the stove and watched a movie on the laptop???.!  Vicki downloads all sorts of stuff from the internet onto her PC ? it?s a throwback to when she worked nights and couldn?t watch all her favourite stuff when everyone else did because she was never at home in the evenings ? she now very rarely watches TV ? just the PC!  Well as it happens she had transferred lots of her downloads onto an external hard drive, which she kindly brought over to us last time she visited, but we couldn?t get our laptop to view the stuff, certainly not in English, though we did manage to watch it in Chinese!!!  However we have now managed to download a really good programme and at last we can view all the stuff that she brought us.   Last night we watched a lovely film called The Waterhorse ? right up my street that was, lovely.  We can actually link the laptop to the TV and watch the programmes on that, but then it means using two lots of electricity and as the laptop screen isn?t all that much smaller than our 19?  TV doesn?t make a great deal of difference.   We left our mooring in Gnosall late this morning and pootled on out into the countryside in search of a signal (its amazing the things you get excited about on a narrowboat!).  We hadn?t been travelling long when we arrived at High Onn ? we passed Lord Talbot?s Wharf and many boats on permanent moorings, then immediately after the old warehouse there was another building which used to be the Old Cadbury Wharf ? however this has been renovated and is now a most spectacular house, it really is something to see and this photograph doesn?t really do it justice.   We continued for a short while ? checking the mobiles every few minutes and eventually we reached a point where the signal kicked in ? we both had four blips!  We quickly pulled in and got moored up.  Clive decided to saw up some of the logs we have gathered along the way ? including the one I ?borrowed? yesterday.   That one took quite a while to saw through so he decided it would be better to saw a bit off that one each day ? well I don?t want him overtaxing himself!  By the time we had got inside and changed into our ?leisure at home wear? the signal had waned to virtually nothing ? it was OK out on the towpath but not too good inside the boat, unless you hung it out the window!  Still we managed to get a signal on the dongle - albeit dangling out of the window, but it is a bit tenuous and keeps cutting out ? getting this posted will be touch and go!  The good news is we have a great TV signal and Clive is now happily watching the rugby!   The weather forecast is for cold winds with snow on Sunday so we plan to stay here, batten down the hatches, stoke up the stove, have a quiet day and see what Monday brings.

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