Crew: Mat - Cap’n Garibaldi, Robin- Custard Cream. Ben - pirate Bourbon Benji,
Jonny - Fleet Commander Fox's and newly pressed Varney- pirate Nice.
Saturday 31st July
Here you will find the tales...nay the chronicles of the Biscuit Pirates. My crew travelled hard and far to meet at the good ol' tub Jannock. (Thanks Dad) With an 'argh' and a 'hoorah' we set off just as the cruel Mistress Drizzle backed off. Me crew looked like an untrustworthy bunch of landlubbers, and they are, but they took to the seas extraordinarily. Five locks later we came to shore after already having stopped for a flaggon earlier. (could have been worse, could have been a floggin'. ed.)We were enticed by the mystical arse tree (pics to follow). Drinks and joviality were to be had late into the night, with a few falling over mishaps (Ben).
Biscuits consumed: fig rolls, custard creams, Fox's crunch, malted milk, cookies.
Sunday 1st August
We set out for our first real voyage, a whole day of cruising, yargh! A flight of 20 locks lay ahead. After some hours of cruising and near enough 20 locks we sighted land and set ashore for a carvery and a beer at the pirate friendly Bridge Inn. With full bellies and an eye full of norks we boarded our vessel for the last locks and started looking for a place to weigh anchor. Pirate Nice (pronounced niece, it's a biscuit see? ed.)was initiated to the helm and once he'd learned left from left (right) he was as scurvy as the scurviest of sea/cut dawgs. We went ashore certain of an evening of rum and liars' dice. Yargh!!!
Biscuits consumed: Hobnobs, Bourbons, Pink wafers, cookies.
Monday 2nd August
We started the day off with 2 locks and bacon and brie sandwiches made by Fleet Commander Fox's. After that we cruised for a few hours to find many deep locks, none of which the Cap'n couldn't handle. We travelled through a very gray town and by about 7 we decided to moor up after we saved a girl from a silty, watery grave. Yargh! Pirate Nice cooked up a BBQ on the bank, 24 burgers and 8 sausages. We then sat and watched the sun set with a few beers until retiring for some gambling and more beers. It was a good day yargh.
Biscuits disposed of: 1 pack Jaffa cakes, 2 of Bourbons, custard creams and cookies.
Tuesday 3rd August
Today began with the usual cheer of 'Yargh!' from all of the crew before setting sail for Heartbreak Hill. many a double lock was encountered along the way, but each was made light work by the skilled crew. We stopped to pillage the wares possessed by the folks at Lock 57 and had ourselves some drinks and merriment at the nearby pub. Though we were tempted to loot and plunder the establishment for failing to provide food for our bellies we decided to try our remaining meat and eggs. Chef Jonny (Fox's)was displaying his fine cooking skills again. Later that evening pirate Bourbon Benji cooked up a mean lasagne to quench our thirst for meat and cheese. The evening ended with cards, beer and more cheer. (wot, no biscuits? ed.)
Wed 4th August
Me crew were up 'n at 'em early on a flea-bitten, extremely wet day. Leaving port at about 10.00 hrs the locks started immediately and clad in ship's waterproofs even these were made light work of. Captain Garibaldi piloted Harecastle Tunnel, claiming to be the responsible adult, ya-har-hargh! Landlubbers be easily fooled. Bourbon Benji left a souvenir, in the form of the magic light-box that requires neither gas nor candle. (That'll be Jannock's emergency zillion candle-power tunnel torch then ed.) A quick resupply of water after the tunnel was followed by a well deserved lunch of leftover lasagne with extra pasta mixed in. Lots of cruising and locks led us to turn into the Caldon Canal. It's extremely windy and quite nasty to start with but don't let that put you off. It's quite Birminghamesque but soon turns picturesque and nice and lovely. We stopped on a precarious mooring in order to be as close to the pub as possible. Good thing too as yet again we left with bellies full o' grub and eyes full of norks.
Thurs 5th Aug.
Our day began with the usual stirring of bodies at half 9ish. We set of fairly promptly after a walk to the local Co-op for more biscuity supplies. We pressed on down the Caldon at a good pace. The scenery kept on getting better throughout the day. A short lift given to some kids who really wanted to go on a real canal boat was granted after having spoken to a parent on the phone to make sure it was OK. As we passed more and more scenes of nice traditional buildings to do with the flint and limestone industries of the past, including a waterwheel, we were oblivious to the haven around the corner. The most amazing pub, 'The Black Lion' was the centre for our amusement, surrounded by lush, dense forest the pub is set back from a railway as well as the cut. Chickens roam the garden as well as crazy regulars. The cider selection was AMAZING. Both the rum and whiskey casked scrumpies were favourite @ 7.5% with the strongest being Ruby Soozie @ 10.5%. Black Hole, a local bitter/stout also comes highly recommended. We met a nice couple from the elder generation, called Andy and Liz who live aboard their boat. An extremely comical pair that we all got on extremely well with. So after Bourbon Benji had finished destroying the train station - you can't take him anywhere - we returned to the boat and ended up drinking the night away chatting rubbish with Andy and Liz, and offering Varney up for adoption.
Friday 6th Aug
The day began with a hefty hangover shared by all after much cloudy cider. We gave our last goodbyes to Liz and Andy and set off back down the Caldon. We made it all the way to civilization only to get a huge chunk of carpet around the prop. After pulling it out we made our way down the Trent and Mersey. We pushed as hard as we could to catch up on lost time, testament to this was catching up with a boat that had left half a day before us. A way down the Trent and Mersey we came to a section of canal with high concrete walls where we opened up the full power of the mighty Jannock. We finally moored up, had a few drinks, some card games and some more biscuties (sic) followed by bed.
Saturday 7th Aug.
With the holiday approaching the end we made haste to reach our destination before dark. Again the temporary crew of Jannock sprung into life to ensure we got there in plenty of time. Once again we encountered our Anglo-Irish friends whom we had overtaken and been overtaken by many times throughout the course of the week. Clearly we had the locking down to fine art! Once again Jonny organised a lovely pizza lunch which was consumed on the move to save time. After another few hours of steady cruising, and overtaking, dinner followed courtesy of Robin, a very cheesy affair. Soon we found ourselves at our destination, The Stafford Boat Club. We met with the folk at the club, all very friendly and hospitable, had some drinks at an extremely reduced price and talked about the events of the past week. An immensely enjoyable week had by all.