Glad We Didn’t Come By Car. 22nd September

Otherton Marina to Roseford Bridge 94

Setting up for the match

We’re getting slower at getting up in the mornings. Today fishermen were coming past with their kit as we had our cuppa in bed. A match was being set up around us, comments from a passing boater to one of them suggested that they’d be starting at 10:15am. With this in mind we made ready, pushed away and had passed the last chap shortly before the call went along the line to start.

The canal had been busyish and at Filance Lock we met our first uphill boat, a single hander who’d managed to gain assistance from a dog walker. Filance isn’t friendly to single handers, there’s nowhere to tie up to below so this chap was grateful for the assistance. Oleanna however quite fancied being in the lock before he left, no matter what Mick did she wasn’t having any of it. Oleanna gave NB Arden Tilly a little kiss as she went by.


Penkridge Lock had a boat coming up, they’d been hoping to be able to wind and use the lock for their return. However we were there waiting to make use of the water. The locks are far deeper than the Wolverhampton 21, between 8 to 10ft deep compared to around 6ft 4″. The water certainly rushes out of them at speed.

Below the lock we pulled in and moored up. A few bits of shopping needed and we’d heard that Wednesday was market day in Penkridge. We’ve not stopped here for ages, the walk into town felt a touch like that of Market Drayton, only shorter. Some lovely houses.

Queuing to get into the market

Market Square was just a car park, the market must be elsewhere. We carried on walking through town, all the cars heading in one direction. Just off Stafford Road near the River Penk the traffic was backed up, they were all going to the market.

The market has it’s own site and car park, we were glad we’d walked and wouldn’t have to sit in a jam in a car to find a space. The market is big with a one way system, a little like Ikea, we were trapped until we’d walked all the way round. There was the usual fare of tat, but also good stalls that caught our eye.

Hardware, pies, crafts, plants, fish (smelly), socks (not so smelly), veg, dog trests (none for cats!), towels, cat statues one of which had the same expression Tilly has when she visits her pooh box! A pretty good market, but very busy. Have to say we did walk past the Covid test and jab centre quite quickly, I really hope no-one with symptoms comes for a test in such a crowded place.

With a black pudding pork pie and a spare hose attachment we left the market behind and headed to the Co-op for other bits of shopping.

Longford Lock

After lunch we set off again, still some distance to cover to keep up with the schedule. At Longford Lock we pulled in behind a boat that had sped past us a while earlier.

With only one top paddle working the lock took forever to fill. Extra weight was needed on the gate beam to get it open whilst comments were made about the state of the locks. I walked round to go and lower the working paddle whilst the chap brought their boat into the lock and the lady waited to close the gate behind. He then hopped off and proceeded to drop the one working paddle, which hit the bottom with a metal thud! Then he ran to get back on his near full length boat that was still very much in gear. He didn’t make it in time as the bare bow hit the bottom gates not once, but twice!

Lock thankfully still intact

After all his complaints about the locks, he most certainly wasn’t doing anything to help. The general rush the two of them seemed to be in wouldn’t help them any, in fact they were likely to end up braking something that may slow them down quite considerably!

The bottom gates opened as the chap at the tiller opened another can of Carlsberg.

More fishing

Under the M6 bridge another fishing match sat. I wonder how much fishing they actually get done with so many boats about. But they all seemed quite happy and most returned a hello.

At Park Gate Lock we’d caught the speeding boat up, doubt they slowed for the fishermen, well they’ve the Four Counties ring to do in a week, they were hoping to reach Stone by the end of the day!

New chandlers

The basin here is now full of boats, Bourne Boats now builds their boats here. The old Midland Chandlers closed last year, but in the last three months a new chandlers has opened, Park Gate Leisure. The chap said they were gradually getting on their feet. A peer inside the door and I could see all the basics, plus life jackets. They also sell 13kg gas bottles. Sadly we didn’t want anything today.

Below Park Gate Lock

Running around the locks and biffing gates certainly wasn’t making the boat ahead go any faster as we caught them up again. Comments here as to there only being two working paddles, one at each end, were made as their boat entered the lock in their usual style. I have to say I did take note of their number.

Little house

Now it was time to find a mooring hopefully away from the motorway noise. At lunchtime I’d received a message from the panto production manager saying that the company who were going to print up the cloths hadn’t received the artwork, had I sent it? Well yes and it had been signed for on delivery a month ago. My heart sank, yes I have scanned copies but nowhere near the quality needed to enlarge them to 25 times the model! Just before we moored I got confirmation from my agent, who happens to also work for the printing company, saying that my art work was safe and sound. Thank goodness!! Finally now it looks like the cloths will be ordered!

A tray of golden yumness

Tilly had a fun few hours outside whilst I made some apple crumble flapjack and then got on with hunting down neon tops for #unit21 again. After an hour and a half I’d had enough of looking at young ladies in scanty tops on vinted, here’s hoping some of them offer to drop their prices and nothing else!

5 locks (thankfully still in one piece), 4.46 miles, 1 vast market, 1 hose connector, 1 small pork pie, 2 boaters in a quandary, 1 shop, 1 contract copied (house or boat?), 1 trip on Winding Down, but which 1? 0 help from blog! 35 fishermen, 1 big rush, 1 number taken, 1 tray too big, 2 much flapjack, 0 well what a shame!

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