Sunday 22 March

Storm volunteered to work the 15 locks of the Audlum flight while I steered. After just six locks he was joined by three lock-keepers who assisted him and we’d cleared the flight within two hours.

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The CART had been busy cutting the vegetation back at the side of the locks and after foraging through the cut grass Max came limping back covered in burrs; his leg feathers and ears were just a solid mass. Normally he hates being brushed, but on this occasion he stood patiently while I teased them out of his coat.

By 11am the sun was shining again and we soaked up the warmth and enjoyed the scenery.

We swapped roles for the five Adderley locks. Here we passed a working boat and its unpowered butty which was being bow-hauled through the locks – this looked like hard work. The butty was a very snug fit in the lock, so much so that its crew had to keep a constant eye on its stern to make sure it didn’t catch on the cill as the water emptied.

At the farm shop at Adderley Wharf we bought some cured bacon, two small pork pies and a loaf of bread. We had lunch on the move and arrived into Market Drayton soon afterwards.

We went for a stroll into town and it was nice to see so many people sitting out enjoying their gardens and the weather.

The town comprises mostly independent traders and most of the shops were closed and the streets deserted, allowing us to stand and admire many of the beautiful historic buildings.

We did find one square occupied by ‘the multiples’, near the Town Hall, and they were open and the square there was busy.

We weren’t tempted to buy anything and returned to the boat to make the most of the daylight.

I drained all our moisture boxes and refilled them with crystals. They do a fantastic job at keeping condensation at bay.

 

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