Moss Hall Aqueduct to above Audlem Lock 14
Jaq from NB Valerie had mentioned the Wednesday market at Market Drayton, we always like a good market. To reach there by boat wasn’t going to happen due to us taking it slowly, we also want to have a better look around Audlem before we move on. So we looked at buses. First off we found that it would actually take us between 2 hours 40 and 3 hours 30 to get there! But Market Drayton was only a 7 miles walk which could be done quicker. Then Mick spied in our Pearson’s guide that on Wednesdays there is a one off bus that runs from Nantwich to Market Drayton via Audlem in the morning and then returns early afternoon. We could go to the market!
Where we’d moored yesterday we were on pins in quite soft ground and Mick was a little concerned about leaving Oleanna there. So we decided to move her to where there would be some rings, this meant starting the flight. But luckily for us between the first five locks there are plenty of visitor moorings. Not knowing if there would be space for us we decided to set off at 8am, giving us time to find somewhere and have breakfast before the bus.
The view out over the fields this morning was even better than it had been yesterday, it was a shame to be moving away from it. Up lock 15 and there was plenty of space, but also tree cover. I walked up to have a look at the next pound. Here there were quite a few boats but enough space for us to tag on the end and still be on rings, so we carried on up the second lock and pulled in.
Once breakfast was done we walked to the bus stop outside the church and joined the regulars awaiting the 75 D&G bus. Sadly this buses days are numbered. With cuts from councils and the fact that this bus crosses into Shropshire from Cheshire it will stop running next month. It was quite full, almost all bus pass holders. We paid our £5 return fare each and sat down. Everyone knew everyone apart from us, it’s obviously a regular trip for many.
Dropped off at the bus station next to Lidl, large banners guided us across the road to the market. The Wednesday market takes over the streets and I suspect in the summer it is really quite large, getting on for 114 stalls. It has been running for the last 750 years, so is well established. A small indoor market opens on Saturdays as well. Most of the stalls are cheap tools and accessories, pet food , clothing and couple of veg stalls. The indoor market has fish, meat, cheese and plenty of eggs.
Every stall had people looking at the wares apart from one, The Meat King. Here the butcher stood in his open sided van, microphone attached to his head, doing his best to loudly lure punters to purchase his bargains. ‘All these sausages, bacon and horseshoe gammon for £10!’ His meat looked like it had come from a toy food stall, pale non descript sausages, identical packs of bacon, chops that must have been clones of one another or made from Play Doh. Nothing took our fancy. Every now and again a punter would approach only to have a conversation with the butcher where his side was broadcast to the whole of Market Drayton. These punters seemed to us as though they were plants. They would come for a bit of banter, hearing about his Uncle Joe, make a purchase and then leave. We speculated that they would return to the back of his van a short while later depositing the meat, then after half an hour they would return to buy it all again! I’m most probably doing the chap a disservice and his meat may well be tasty.
We had plenty of time to wonder around the town, checking out other shops, we even found the barbers where Mick once had his hair cut years ago. The Deli did best out of us and provided us with some lunch which we sat and ate on a bench surrounded by mobility scooters. A quick look round Lidl before we headed back to the bus stop, their free range chicken looked cheap, we’ll be back for one of those.
The town had been buzzing, everywhere full of people. I suspect on other days of the week it is very different. How many people come by bus? How many won’t be able to next month?
Our return journey was as swift as it had been out and we walked back to the canal with a friendly lady who moors in the same pound. The boat in front had left so we moved up and got a better view across to the hills again. Tilly spent the afternoon exploring and came to help when Mick had a hair cut sat in the sun on the bench next to Oleanna. Is spring almost here?
2 locks, 0.42 miles all before breakfast, 75 bus, 3 more before it is extinct, 7 fat balls, 6 sanding blocks, 1 savoy, 1 bag pizza dough, 1 jar hoi sin sauce, 2 cheese twists, grade 3 trim, 1 imposter, 1 better nose and 6 whiskers required.