Stone Bottom Lock Winding Hole to Sandy Lane Bridge 81
Time to move on, past time actually! As we made ready to push off an Anglo Welsh boat came past, NB Golden Finch, on board was Lorraine an Instagram acquaintance of mine who is out for 8 weeks. I waved from inside and got a cheery wave back from the chap at the helm. Lorraine only realised it was us when she saw Tilly. Spotting someone you half know isn’t that unusual, but a short time later we realised that NB Golden Finch was the last hire boat we had. Hired in December 2013 for five days from Wooten Wawen, we’d sold our shareboat and were waiting for our boat to be built, we needed a canal fix.
The day was going to be a wet one. We rolled back the covers, then took shelter whilst a storm cloud went past. After five minutes things looked good, we pushed off and headed to Aston Lock.
Eagerly awaiting us was a family, the son so excited that he’d get to see a boat in a lock he was bouncing up and down, higher and higher as we got closer. With two extra helpers, one who was almost jumping on board for a ride with us, it took no time to descend the lock.
A quick pause to take the obligatory photos, the mile post (which doesn’t mark the centre of the T&M but the central point between Shardlow and Preston Brook) and the potting shed with chimney.
Aston Marina looked inviting but other than stopping for a third roast in a row (this one would have been very much better than yesterdays and they have a gluten free menu too) we had no need to stop. As we pootled our way along rain showers came and went, nothing too wet thank goodness.
At Sandon Lock a boat was coming up so we manged to swap with them, very well timed. The amount of extra crew on hand suggested there was a queue below and as I hopped back on board the three boats started to nudge up closer to await their turn. One thing I noticed was that the lock cottage at last has a new low wall and fence, there has been a temporary fence there for years!
Mick was disappointed as always at there being no trains zooming past us on the parallel line, he always drops the revs in such places making the window of opportunity that bit longer.
There has been some work done to Salt Bridge. A new edge towpath side and arrows guiding you into the bridge hole as though on a steep bend in a car. Here”s hoping these measures enable the bridge to stand for many years to come.
The next bend brings with it permanent moorings. Here a new character was sat on the roof of a boat, bedraggled from the rain looking totally deflated. I won’t post the photo I took of Dante as he is still obviously in a bad way and has been mixing with the wrong crowd for far too long!
Now we wanted a mooring, it was lunch time and the sniffle Mick had started with yesterday was increasing to sneezes. As the railway moved away we pulled in on some armco. Within ten minutes the heavens opened and emptied itself, luckily we were indoors, Tilly was out and only returned when it got exceptionally heavy. After a quick bath she’d sit at the back door and wait quietly for one of us to open it for her, again.
We’ve lots of chicken to eat, so I decided to make some pancakes to stuff. Buckwheat pancake batter is best made ahead of time and left to rest. I’d checked the recipe and a while later weighed out the flour (must add Buckwheat flour to shopping list), cracked an egg into the bowl, a pinch of salt, but how much milk? I checked, 300ml. I measured it out added half of it to the bowl and mixed. Blimey this flour must have got drier or something! I was going to need an awful lot more milk to make the batter into a suitable consistency.
I checked the recipe, 300ml of milk was correct, but I’d remembered the quantity of flour wrong. 100 grams not 300! Should I start again, there’d be enough flour, but I also had enough milk and eggs so could make a lot of batter.
In the end I decided that this would be less wasteful and I could freeze the remainder. Yes I know I’d nearly emptied the freezer to defrost it, but we’ll try to consume the batter in the next week. I wonder if buckwheat pancake batter will make Yorkshire Puddings? The batter is more or less the same with normal flour.
Mick sat and worked his way through a box of tissues whilst watching The Battle of Britain. The heavens continually opened up all afternoon and evening. A perfect Bank Holiday Monday.
2 locks, 5.69 miles, 1 Insta friend, 2 damp boaters, 3 in a queue, 0 trains, 1 soggy moggy, 1 tasty starter, 1.3kg of pancake batter, 2 tuperwares in the freezer keeping half a tub of ice cream company, 1 classic film, 3 lemsips, 1 box tissues, 4 savoury pancakes, 4 sweet pancakes, 1 double rainbow, 2 ball experiment of none stripy stripy sock.