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  • clivenmel

Nov 26th

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;} Once again, sorry for the silence � we had a very poor signal for the last few days � it doesn�t help when you are moored in a cutting, our little dongle just can�t reach the signal!   Monday dawned bright and beautiful if a little chilly!  We left our moorings at Little Onn and headed off down the cut.  We passed through some really pretty countryside and also leafy cuttings shrill with birds calling � or �all of a twitter�!  We were rapidly approaching a place called Wheaton Aston, which is not a very picturesque place, basically just sprawling modern housing really.  However at Wheaton Aston, out in the middle of nowhere is a single lock � yes just one, all on its own!  Anyway we wandered past the permanently moored boats, slowly of course!  We could see the lock up ahead and I noticed men in yellow jackets and some sort of fencing � oh oh!  I better go and find out what�s going on said I, fearing the worst!!!  I trotted along the tow path and arrived at the lock and sure enough to BW guys were there, one on a little BW tugboat and the other erecting metal fencing around the lock.  Good morning says I, what�s happening! d I It�s a two-week stoppage duck � says one of the guys!  You are joking � it was not on the stoppage list I told him, (trying to keep the panic out of my voice!) � it�s been planned for six weeks, he said.  Anyway, he asked where we were going antold him South.  He sat there and thought for a minute or two and then he said � we haven�t really got started yet, we�ll let you through but you must stay on the boat, we�ll do the lock.  So I thanked him profusely and rushed off to tell Clive � phew what a relief!    Once through the Wheaton Aston lock it was plain sailing through very pretty countryside and it really was a glorious day, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise.  We passed along a really lovely cutting through Lapley Wood, again it was full of bird song, we even caught sight of another jay, but couldn�t get a photograph unfortunately.   What we did see a lot of though was wood!  In the end we just had to pull in to see if we could retrieve some for the stove.  The problem was we couldn�t get right into the side, there was a shelf and we were still a yard off the bank!  Clive bravely leapt off the boat with the centre rope and pulled her in as far as she would go, but it still wasn�t close enough for me to get off (I�m not as brave as Clive!) � so he just dashed off into the wood and came back with several dead branches.  By this time the boat had drifted out again and he had to haul her back in then pass the wood to me to put on the roof, then dashed off to get some more.  After three trips into the wood he called it a day and with a mighty leap was back on the boat � phew!   We continued on for a little while longer and managed to stock up on coal as well at a nearby wharf, then on to Brewood (pron. Brood).  We moored up in a really lovely spot with swans and moorhens for neighbours. Then we went off to explore.  Brewood is a really lovely village, all centred round the market square.  It has an oldy worldy feeling about it, as if you have stepped back in time.  We found an excellent village shop which had absolutely everything we needed, apart from a butchery department, however the lovely lady who served us told us where to find the butcher�s shop, which she highly recommended, so off we went to complete our shopping.  She was right, it was a fantastic butchers shop and besides the usual provender also dealt in the likes of kangaroo, ostrich and � believe it or not � CROCODILE!  We decided to give that a miss and bought some good old stewing steak!    Enhancing one corner of the square in Brewood is Speedwell Castle, a Gothic fantasy erected in the 18th century on the winnings of a racehorse named Speedwell!  It really is a pretty building as you can see from the photograph.    We stayed in Brewood for a couple of nights, it was very peaceful and pleasant, we even heard an owl hooting last night, very close to the boat.  We decided to press on this morning though so Clive went up into the village again for some more fresh bread, milk etc whilst I was drying my hair, then we were off on the last stretch of the Shropshire Union, heading for Autherley Junction and the Staffs and Worcs Canal.  We moored up just before the Junction in order to fill up with water and decided to have some lunch before going on through the lock.  So there we were enjoying a cup-o-soup and a ham salad sandwich when I felt something in my sandwich that shouldn�t be there � on checking I found a rather large gold filling!!!  Oh no � disaster!  That will teach me to eat lettuce!!! We phoned NHS Direct and a very pleasant young lady took all my details and then kindly provided me with the address and telephone number of an emergency dentist in Wolverhampton.  I finally got through to the practice and they have given me an appointment for tomorrow � I have to be at the surgery for 09.00am in the morning!  When I explained my predicament to the receptionist at the dental surgery she also kindly provided me with the name and telephone number of a local taxi firm � they are picking us up at a bridge around the corner from our mooring at 08.20 tomorrow morning � wish me luck!   So we are still on the Shroppie but hopefully, if we get back from the dentist in reasonable time tomorrow we will go through to the junction and turn onto the Staffs and Worcs to continue our journey South.

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