We started the day trying to pre-book tickets to visit Shugborough on Sunday. The saving was attractive however you have to collect booked tickets from Stafford theatre and the box office doesn't open on a Sunday. Useless then if you are unable to get into Stafford, no deal if you can only make Sunday, canal visitors forget it, you'll have to pay full price.
This morning we 'caused' blackberry rage! Having spotted an abundance of the blighters on the off-side we pulled over, only to find we were being followed by two other boats. There was plenty of room so we waved them by whilst hanging onto a substantial tree. As they passed us another boat arrived heading the other way. I signaled that he should stop for the overtakers. As they passed us they asked if we were OK, could they help? We explained we were harvesting blackberries and then reversed a bit after they had passed to allow the other boat a bit more room. As he came past his comments were frankly unprintable, suggesting we make up our effing minds and why let effing boats overtake there (on a wide straight stretch?) Our explanation that when we pulled over we didn't realise there were boats behind us caused more expletives. He passed us with plenty of room and more profanities. We can only hope he has the good fortune to meet inexperienced boaters in excessively long boats on tight and shallow bends during his trip on the Caldon ;^)
If the owner of the rather smart jacket that I had to clear off our prop after passing through Ivy House lift bridge would like to contact us I'll tell him which skip it resides in at Etruria.
On arrival at Planet lock we discovered that Cap'n expletive had caused some nasty paintwork damage to the first of the overtaking boats when they passed each other. We also had difficulty working all three boats through due to an obstruction behind the towpath lower gate and so I notified the lengths man at Etruria when we stopped for water. We saw that the Bywater hotel boats had winded at Etruria and we pointed back up the Caldon so there is hope for a spectacular meeting with Cap'n expletive as well as the boat they damaged yesterday.
We stopped for the evening at Oldroad bridge near the Wedgewood factory. I managed to polish the whole of Jannock's starboard side and Brenda made four pounds of blackberry jam before the rain set in.