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  • clivenmel

Sept 13th

The alarm went off at 7.00 this morning as we needed to be up and off to Great Haywood Marina to get our oil change done.  Whilst we were having breakfast we saw three hot air balloons drifting along and guess what - IT WASN'T RAINING!!! We set off and the sky got bluer and bluer and the sun was actually getting quite hot - yippee, summer's here at last!  We finally arrived at Great Haywood Marina and filled up with diesel, water and also bought a spare gas canister - I have the horrors about being out in the middle of nowhere and the gas running out whilst I am cooking dinner!  After that two very nice gentleman opened up the engine compartment and proceeded to do an oil change, put in a new oil filter, topped up the stern glad grease(!) and the gearbox oil and made sure that everything was ship-shape and Bristol fashion, so we now don't have to worry about anything for another 250 engine hours then it has to have another service. We made lunch whilst we were in the marina and got some great photographs of a buzzard in flight, then set off on our merry way once more.  It was such a beautiful day, we had a really lovely afternoon meandering through the countryside.  There were only three locks to negotiate and there were other boaters using them too so it halved the effort.  Besides seeing the buzzard we also saw some coromorants, which seemed strange as we are so far from the sea!  I took photos of them too but unfortunately we have an extremely poor signal where we are moored and they just can't download so I will have to put them in the album tomorrow if we have a better signal. The part of the country that we are passing through at the moment was famous for its salt manufacturing in days gone by.  We actually passed through a village called Salt and also another village called Shirleywich - the suffix "wych" or more commonly "wich" denotes a place where salt is produced by evaporation, eg Nantwich in Cheshire.  It was mined then purified and in this area, was often used for salting beef to be shipped by canal to the ports and then on to His Majesty's naval warships to feed the sailors, particularly in the 19th Century. Clive has finally fixed up the TV aerial, but guess what - there's no TV signal here at all!  We managed to watch Wire in the Blood last night with it just lying on top of the boat but its having none of it today!  We need a taller pole!  So I guess we will just have to see if we can find a local hostelry - as it happens there is one quite nearby called the Dog and Doublet(!) which we may visit after dinner!  We are moored just beyond the Sandon Lock at the village of Sandon, about 15 miles (road miles!) south of Stoke on Trent.  I took a lovely photo of the lock but again can't share this with you today, more tomorrow!

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