Saturday 4th July 2009
Simon, having stayed on the boat overnight, took Jannock up to Stone and winded to return to the mooring in Aston. We arrived at 12:30 after a late start from home, loaded our things aboard and then set off down the Trent and Mersey retracing last Sunday's route to Gt. Haywood junction. I refilled the water tank whilst Brenda and Simon paid yet another visit to the farm shop opposite, this time in search of strawberries. We then turned under the bridge onto the Staffs and Worcester canal and started exploring a section of the system we have never travelled on before. It was hoped we could moor in Tixall wide but as it was after 2pm there was not a spare 60ft mooring available. We passed nb Waterways Routes as we continued on to the next lock and Paul hailed us and asked if we were "the blogging Jannocks"? How rude! Nice to finally meet up if only briefly due to the impending storm.
We had decided to moor for the night just past Tixall bridge. Just before the bridge the heavens opened. We continued on passing two walkers sheltering from the heavy rain under the bridge. I noticed the train tracks veering towards the canal after Tixall bridge and so went into reverse to moor back where the nice piling was just prior. We passed the two walkers again, backs bent to the curve of the bridge arch slowly developing goose pimples as the temperature plummeted, so we felt that the only decent thing to do was to invite them aboard for a cup of tea lest dowagers hump and frostbite set in. The heavy storm lasted as long as it takes to brew and drink a cup of tea whilst setting the world to rights. They departed once the rain stopped and so we then had dinner followed by the wonderful strawberries that Brenda had purchased from the farm shop. They were the best tasting ones we have had, including those from our own garden, for years. After dinner we decided to continue on and moor opposite Stafford Boat Club as it was a long way from the railway.
At about 8:50 pm we passed a fisherman who gave us a "look" and pointedly looked at his watch. He got no reaction from us so he started tapping it. We looked puzzled so he explained that it was after 8 o'clock. We said we knew that so he explained that we were not allowed to be boating after 8 o'clock. We pointed out that the sun was still out, visibility was 100% and our licence says nothing about day shifts only. He remained un-convinced so if you wish to boat after 8pm - get a late licence.