Les Lobbs Diary
Fradley Junction, Trent & Mersey canal
Chilly or what!! I set off at six and after a few hundred
yards discovered the source of the music I had heard in
the night. There is a wooded area on the opposite side to
the towpath that the military use for firing exercises and
there had obviously been a rave/party, whatever the
current word is during the night; there were still a few
tents and "music" blaring out as I went past. Apart from
that it was a quiet trip, but the cold wind spoilt it a bit and
had got quite gusty by the time we reached Fradley
junction with the Trent and Mersey canal. We came up
two of the locks and tied up on the visitor moorings (just
along from the ice cream shop!).
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The wind kept up for most of the night and it was still a bit blowy when we started this morning. There was only one
lock and we met no boats until the outskirts of Rugeley, where we found a good mooring. Dawn's been restocking at
Morrisons and also treated me to a new hat because she thinks mine is starting to look scruffy; got me worried, I'd better
tidy myself up or she'll be looking to replace me next! Tomorrow should see us back at the marina, where the washing
machine is going to take a hammering before we set off again. We are thinking of doing the four counties anti
clockwise and then we have the choice of dropping down to Stourport, if time permits.
It was warmer this morning when we did the last hop from Rugeley to the marina; only 5 miles and two locks. Dawn is
now testing the capacity of the marina washing machine before we get stuck into the jobs we need to do on the boat.
13.00 - Batteries removed and the area where they stand has been cleaned and painted, ready for their return in new
battery boxes. We are thinking of fitting a solar panel next spring and have been trying to find a cable route from the
roof back to the "electrics" cupboard; we eventually did it in the ceiling void by removing vents and lights until we were
able to pull a cord through. Now we have a length of cord tucked up behind the vent covers ready to use as a pull
through. Another job is to fit an auto bilge pump that we have into the container below the stern gland; this container
catches the drips from the gland and I usually have to pump it out every few days, but if I don't catch it in time it spills
into the main bilge.
19.00 - Bugger, bugger, bugger the battery boxes won't fit in the space we've got. On the bright side we fitted the pump
and hose, now all we need is some more flex to wire it in.
Stone, below the locks
With the jobs done, there didn't seem much point in
hanging around the marina so we decided to move on.
Tony on nb Delilah returned from doing the 4 counties in 6
days, most people thought he had got lost on his way to
the pumpout. There was a thick mist when we left the
marina this morning, but the sun broke through by 09.00
and we tied up here just after ten.
18.00 - Management found a flex shop, so we should have
enough to wire the pump in when we get our next rainy
day (looks like Friday). The plums we found t'other day
were miraculously turned into a tart and served with
custard by chef this evening.
What was introduced into British Football on 2nd October 1976?
All the Stone and Meaford locks were in our favour so we
made good time and were tied up by 9.00 just south of
Trentham. A cruiser, Baloo, came into the marina for a
one night stop on Tuesday and we got chatting to Bill &
Irene who were heading in the same direction as us.
Because they start at a more civilised time than us, we
have been passing each other and this morning they told
us they were going to do the Caldon before carrying on
round the 4 counties ring, so we'll probably meet them
again further on. We were undecided whether to stop here
or carry on through Stoke, but as the traffic was building
up we plumped for here and who knows, we may get the
pump wired in later today.
18.00 - Pump wired in and working; perhaps a good thing
we did it today, because it's clouding over now and
looking a bit bleak. The weather will determine what we
05.00 - It's been raining on and off since the early hours; I'll wait until it's light enough to see the sky before deciding
whether to move on through Stoke.
09.30 - Still hissing down.
12.00 - Still at it and so, as it's getting near my bedtime, we'll try tomorrow.
13.00 - Chimney's on, stoves lit!
17.50 - Foraging again tomorrow; we've just had the last of the plums. Guess what, it's still raining, but forecast to stop
Stoke, Westport Lake
It was overcast when we started at six, but has kept dry all
the way here. The locks were mixed, for and against us,
but we made good time and filled and emptied at Etruria.
The canal at Stoke is certainly a lot tidier than the last
time we passed through with nowhere near as much
rubbish in the water.
I was able to collect blackberries between locks and we
exchanged a gas bottle at Bridge 117 - 6kg £17.64, (16p
dearer than a 13kg!).
If it's dry tomorrow we'll go through Harecastle tunnel (1.6
miles) and make a start on Heartbreak Hill, if we're not too
pogged on blackberry crumble/tart/pie.
We made our fastest passage through the tunnel -
30mins; we were first there and went on our own. After
a few locks we started to meet other boats, which
worked out well in places. I think we had both had
enough by the time we got here and they are good
moorings, so we stopped. Bill phoned to say they were
about an hour behind us and they tied up in front of us
when they arrived. A boat coming towards us told us
that they had just left our normal stopping place at
Hassall Green because the farmer was muck spreading,
so p'raps t'was a good decision.
Bill & Irene have carried on and I expect we'll meet up
A 06.30 start and 10 miles and twenty locks later we moored at Middlewich, at 12.40. The smell from the chippy was
tempting as we passed by, so we had cod, chips and peas for lunch. I collected some more damsons between the locks;
now we'll see what head of catering can do with them this time. I think the trolley will be visiting Tesco later and that
usually means a custard tart with our afternoon pot of tea.
We need to modify the pipework to the pump that we fitted a few days ago, but I'd rather do it out in the country as
there's not much towpath here to put the deck boards on; we should have enough "bits" to do the job.
This morning Dawn went shopping before we set off and we left at 10.00. It's only a 2.5 mile run with 1 lock to this
mooring which, I've most likely said before, is one of my favourites and we've got the place to ourselves. The forecast is
dry for today, so we're rubbing down and priming the scrapes we collected on our Nene trip and we'll have a go at the
pipework after a bit of lunch.
18.00 - The priming is done and we've pulled the pipework apart and decided we need a different drip tray. The
difficulty is getting a container that we can squeeze between the engine bearer and gearbox and it must be big enough
and deep enough for the pump; if we can't find a purpose made container, a 2ltr milk carton could be adapted. While in
her mucky gear, Dawn cleaned the oven and the floor; I'm wondering if she's got a mystery buyer lined up.
A quick hop this morning to beat the forecast rain; 6
miles, 2 locks and tied up by 08.30. The sky was beautiful
as the sun stuck his head up and the crew was snapping
away; photo's of sunsets and sunrises never seem to do
nb Alton, the fuel boat, came by yesterday afternoon
giving us a chance to top up with diesel; we've used 67ltrs
since leaving the Nene.
Head of catering is now rummaging in the cupboards,
looking for enough stuff to make some cakes. The stove is
alight and the covers are on, so that's us snugged down
for the day.
10.00 - The forecast was accurate, it's just started raining!
05.00 - It rained most of yesterday, so for once we
made the right decision and we ended up with a fruit
cake and a date & walnut cake. The pump/pipework
problem would be a lot easier to solve if the pipe came
off the pump at 90 degrees. I had this sudden memory
(anyone of a certain age will know what I mean) of
seeing a right angle pump fitting somewhere and, after
searching lots of boxes, voila; now of course we need
dry weather to lift the engine boards and see what we
can do with it.
Coole Lane picnic area
13.00 - A dry run up to Nantwich, where we filled and
emptied and then it started to drizzle. We stopped after
Bridge 89 and, when the rain cleared, we had a go at
the pump; with the right angle outlet it just fitted in the
tray and, with a few mods to the pipework, it works
brilliantly. The sun had come out by then so we did
Hack Green locks and tied up here just before one o
clock; it's about 2 miles before Audlem and it's 15 lock
I rang the doctor this morning and asked for an appt
with the surgeon who did my leg, cos I still can't
staighten it properly.
Bit of a false start today; we did 2 miles and in our second lock it started raining and a boat nipped into the next lock in
front of us, meaning extra work for the crew so we stopped on the visitor moorings here. There are grassed areas round
the locks which are slippery when it's raining, so safer to wait for it to dry out a bit.
12.00 - There are a few shops here, so head of purchasing went to get a loaf; she was drawn to the small charity shop
that had just received a load of new stock - guess who offered them £20 for a mountain of wool. "If it won't go in the
cupboards we can stuff it under the bed", good job I'm not allergic to the damn stuff, cos we must have a flock of
sheep's worth by now.
05.00 - It sounds dry outside, so we'll make a move as
soon as it's light enough, cos the forecast for
tomorrow is not very ansom. There's a farm shop next
to the cut at the top of the next flight, so something to
aim for; we got some lamb from them last time we
passed and it was gorgeous.
11.30 - 6 miles and 18 locks and we're nicely tied up
away from any trees; there's a strong wind forecast
for tomorrow. It was fairly mild when we set off just
after six but started getting cooler as we reached
Audlem top lock and now is overcast and cold
enough for us to have lit the stove. I've been playing
"chase me" with a kingfisher on the last stretch and
he let me get quite close before flying off in front of
me, just skimming the water. Dawn's gone
walkabouts with her trusty trolley and a promise of
bringing Chinese back with her; just hope there are
no wool or shoe bargains to be had!
Come all ye fair young maidens and harken unto me,
Never trust a cricketer, whoever he may be.
Randier than a sailor who's been six months at sea,
Never let a cricketer's hand an inch above your knee.
First let's take the pace man, pure speed from first to last!
My darlings do be careful; his balls are hard and fast.
Then there's the medium pacer, his balls swing either way;
He's really most persistent and can keep it up all day!
And watch for the off-spinner, girls, another awkward chap.
If you leave him half an opening, he will slip one through the gap!
Then there's the wily 'slow', pure cunning is his strength;
He'll tempt you, then he'll trap you with his very subtle length.
So ladies, do be careful, your mothers would agree.
Never trust a cricketer, whoever he may be.
And what about the opening bat, his struggles never cease!
He has only one ambition, to spend all day at the crease.
The number three is a dasher, he seldom prods and pokes.
When he goes into action, he has a fine array of strokes..
And do beware the slogger, not content with one or two;
When he arrives at the crease then only six will do.
Then there's the real stonewaller, girls, he knows what he's about;
And if you let him settle in, it's hard to get him out!
We come now to the last man, I hope this will not shock,
He doesn't mind if he's last man in, as long as he gets a knock.
So, darlings, do be careful, and be well warned by me:
Never trust a cricketer, whoever he may be.
And watch the wicket-keeper, girls, he's full of flair and dash;
And if you raise your heel, he'll whip them off in a flash.
If you take the field with the captain, you had better know the score;
Or he'll have you in positions that you never knew before!
The cricket commentator is a nasty sort of bloke,
He watches all the action and describes it stroke by stroke.
Even the kindly umpire, who looks friendly as a pup;
You'll quickly find you've had it, when he puts his finger up!
So, darlings, please remember and repeat it after me:
!!!!NEVER TRUST A CRICKETER, WHOEVER HE MAY BE!!!!!
"NEVER TRUST A CRICKETER"
The nasty weather has not shown itself yet, just a shower and a bit of a breeze, but we've tied everything down and got
the covers on, just in case. Our next section contains Woodseaves, which is a long, deep, wooded cutting renowned for
landslips and fallen trees so it seems prudent to stay here for the day. A kind person next to the cut here has BT Fon so,
with my aerial, I can do some updates etc., thanks J&S.
How many bones are there in a normal adult body?
Archimedes, the well known truth-seeker,
Jumping out of his bath, cried "Eureka!"
He ran half a mile,
Wearing only a smile,
And became the very first streaker.
All the locks (5) in our favour and we only met one boat in
Woodseaves cutting, so a good trip. Dawn has taken the aft cover
over to Tony at Bethsaida, to have some stitching redone and get
some bungee rubber for the tie downs. The wind is gusting quite
strongly, but no rain - so far.
Cover's all nicely stitched up and we've got loads of bungee rubber - that'll pass an hour away making new tie downs.
This morning we left at day break and it stayed dry until we got here at 10.30 and then started with the odd drop after
we'd moored up. Dawn gave the "lounge" a good clean out while we were travelling and emptied all the lockers so that
she could move them to clean behind; I feel guilty coming in wearing shoes!
05.00 - We had a stroke of luck yesterday, I suppose you
could call it a windfall; a ruddy great branch had split
off an apple tree and landed half in the water - our diet
has now changed from blackberry and apple crumble to
apple and blackberry crumble. Bill, off the cruiser
Baloo, phoned to say that they were on the Severn and
heading for Tewkesbury, where they plan to spend the
night. We haven't heard from Ami Bovard, so don't
know if we are on a collision course or if they've gone
up the T&M. I don't know how far we'll get today, take it
as it comes; we've got one lock here, after we've filled
and emptied, and then it's a clear run to Autherley and
the junction with the Staffs and Worcs.
Cross Green, Staffs & Worcs
15.00 - Another fine run; we got tied up here and it was
just after twelve when we'd had our showers. The pub
here does good grub, so it would have been daft not to
have lunch there; I had beef pie and Dawn the fish pie
and it was reet grand.
05.00 - A peaceful night and no sounds of rain, even though it's forecast. All being well we are heading for Penkridge
today but if the weather turns we can always stop at Gailey. There are some damsons on the opposite bank to us here
and I might pole us across there before starting the engine and setting off this morning; seems a shame to waste them.
16.00 - We gave the damsons a miss, because the tree was in someone's back garden. Seven miles and five locks today
and Dawn's done a bit of shopping here to top up the cupboards; we should be back at the marina in a couple of days.
An old man lay reclined across three seats in the movie theatre.
When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to the old man, "I'm sorry sir, but you're only allowed one
The old man mumbled something but didn't budge. The usher became more impatient.
"Sir, if you don't get up,, I'm going to have to call the manager."
This time, the old man just groaned. The usher marched briskly back up the aisle. In a moment, he returned with the
Together, the two of them tried a number of times to move the disheveled old man, but with no success. Finally, they
summoned the police.
The Police officer surveyed the situation briefly and asked, "All right then, sir, what's your name?"
"Fred," the old man moaned.
"Thank you, Fred. Now, where are you from?" asked the policeman.
With terrible pain in his voice, and without moving a muscle, Fred moaned, "The balcony..."
Theatre Seats For Seniors
Trent & Mersey, Gt Haywood
Dawn popped to the post office to post a letter to Mum,
before we left Penkridge this morning. It was mild with
no sign of rain, so we kept plodding on and got here just
after two - 11 miles and 7 locks. Housekeeping has
already dashed off with a load of washing for the
I think all the washing was done yesterday; I was busy
"playing" on my laptop. What management has got
planned for today I don't know, but I reckon we're
staying here over the weekend.
Everything that can be washed, has been washed, so we've come to the new moorings at Rugeley aqueduct. As soon as
we had tied up, the painting crew got a layer of blue gloss on the starboard gunwales; the bank is quite low here and
she was able to paint without kneeling down. The sun came onto the new paint about an hour after it was finished so
we couldn't have timed it better. Tomorrow, the idea is to moor in the town and do a bit of shopping and then we can
paint t'other side or come back here and do it.
We spoke to Trevor last night and are hoping to meet up with him and Glenda soon; they are over from France and
have a list of things to do and people to visit.
Regrettably I've overdone my dongle allowance and am writing this in anticipation of finding a Fon hotspot to shoot it
up. If it's all a bit late, I apologise.
All went as planned and we've got shiny gunwales and full cupboards again. If the weather looks fair, we're going to
have a trip to Stone tomorrow.
Twas a beautiful morning and lots of boaters had the same idea; we had to go through all the locks in Stone before we
could find a mooring, but we're here now.
I've just had a date for seeing the knee chap - Oct 10th, be good if he can come up with some way for me to straighten
my leg properly.
Yesterday we dropped down three locks and moored in the middle of Stone, to take the trolley for a walk; it actually
had two walks, because head of finance forgot her purse. After stowing all the goodies, we left Stone and tied up out in
the sticks above Bridge 84.
The wind got up overnight and we were rocked about a bit, but by 07.00, when we left the mooring, it had eased and
we had a good trip back here to the marina.
It's still gusting a bit but no rain as yet.
Last night was spent in the marina and, after filling and emptying, we had a potter down here this morning to see what
Aldi has to offer. I think we'll stay around Rugeley for the night and head back to the marina tomorrow.