Friday 20 November

Yesterday morning we woke to a clam and sunny morning and we headed off quite early down through the five Tyrley Locks with Storm working the locks, ably assisted by Max.  It started to rain, but it wasn’t heavy so we carried on.   We reached Market Drayton and pulled in for a couple of hours.

During that time I headed off to Morrisons to buy some fruit and vegetables, passing Bowyers Palethorpes Bakery en-route.  This was once a site owned by Northern Foods and seeing the name brought back fond memories from when I worked at their Head Office in Hull.
Storm stayed on board to try to make a repair.  We’ve had a damp patch on the floor near our water pump which is located under our front steps in our shoe locker.  Storm didn’t want risk carrying out repairs without their being a chandlers near by just in case he needed any spare parts.    It turned out that one of the fibre washers had perished causing one of the joints to leak and so once this was replaced all was well again.
We left Market Drayton after lunch and headed toward the five Adderley Locks.   A boat that had been moored at the top of the flight pulled out after us and followed us down the flight.  They had a crew of three and one of the guys came to help Storm with the double bottom gates as they started to catch us up.
By 3pm we were at the top of the Audlum Flight of 15 locks and we decided that we could get through the first eleven of them to the moorings above lock 12 before it got dark.  It rained  on and off during the afternoon.
All the locks ahead of us were empty and so the guy from the boat behind us, walked ahead to open the top paddle so that they could start filling and be ready for us by the time we got to them and then as he walked back to his boat he opened the top paddle on the locks we’d just passed through so they could start filling ready for his descent.
Working in this way we cleared the eleven locks in just over an hour and moored up as planned.
Later on we headed out to The Shroppie Fly beside the canal in Audlum.  This pub is unusual in that the bar has been built in the shape of a narrowboat complete with cratch.
The pub was almost deserted but there were a couple of guys, very tired and emotional, one of whom asked our opinion about the decor.  We assume that the pub has had a bit of a make-over recently as the bench seating around the edge has been recovered in a pale pea green fabric  which didn’t appear to be to his liking or at least that’s what we gathered from the barrage of non-repeatable adjectives!
He struggled to speak but he did keep saying he wished others would support the pub like him.  This presumably means he wants everyone to arrive at opening time and drink a few pints before staggering home at closing time.
The landlady eventually came to our rescue and steered him away.  We left well before closing time.

Shhhh …. don’t tell anyone

This morning we woke to blue skies and sunshine and after filling up with water we finished the Audlum flight, this time with me working the locks, and then through the two Hack Green locks (near the not so Secret Bunker), through Nantwich and on to Barbridge.   We arrived at 2.30pm just as the weather changed, and it started to rain and the wind got up.
[15 miles and 27 locks since Wednesday night].

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