This Month's Totals and Average
95.19 miles 36 locks 46.46 hrs 2.82 lmph

  July 2020

Friday 31st July ~ Stone (en route to Middlewich)

Still nothing from the surgery by 11:00 so Pat walked back up again. The script was just waiting to be signed, she was to call back at 15:00 when it would be ready.

The afternoon visit gave us the information that the surgery has been trying to contact the hospital for confirmation, phoning 3 times a day to the ward, but getting the reply of "We'll call you back", but they never do. The Medical Secretary eventually went to the senior practice GP, who said the situation was ridiculous, and signed it himself. Script was collected, passed to Boots (next door), and the meds were aboard before dinner - a big thank you to Doctor Griffiths and staff at Cumberland House Surgery for their help, and a big vote of no confidence to Stafford County Hospital for their failure.

A very hot day today, outside temp reaching 32°C. A few clouds had started to build by dinnertime. On the move again tomorrow, but with a forecast of light rain most of the day.

Thursday 30th July ~ Stone (en route to Middlewich)

A check on the parcel over breakfast showed it had finally reached the Stoke Depot and was out for delivery by 09:00. It arrived at Stone Post Office at 11:00, from where I collected it (a 24hr service had taken 3 days!).

Surgery eventually rang after lunch, but still didn't action any meds, just wanted more information. Nothing further by closing time

An email with the required "3-month's notice" was sent to Kings Bromley.

Generally a bright sunny day, with little wind.

Wednesday 29th July ~ Stone (en route to Middlewich)

Another day 'parked'. Pat went up to the local doctor as arranged yesterday, then on for the shopping. Doctor to ring us back. Overnight, parcel had arrived at "Medway" depot(!?)

Doctor hadn't rung by dinnertime. By bedtime, the parcel was on its way back to the Hub.

Day started out bright but cloudy. By dinnertime, a steady dribble had set in, lasting the rest of the evening.

Tuesday 28th July ~ Pasturefields to Stone (en route to Middlewich)

Nice sunny morning, but with a cool fresh wind. Pat feeling less stiff once on the move. Let go and continued northwards through the rolling farm- and meadow-land. The canal here runs paralleling the railway and the A51. An easy run today up through the three locks to Stone - all were set for us, and we got help from other boaters at two of them. Lunch on the move, then moored up in Stone on the 5-day section by the old Scout Hut. The parcel had not, at that stage, reached the Parcelforce Hub.

Pat reported that the gas pressure was down again. I checked and found that both bottles were empty. Now have the problem that I only know of one supplier of gas since the chandlery at Stone Boatbuilding is now shut. They only had one bottle, and none coming in till the weekend! Took the one they had and fitted it - pressure seemed OK. In case there is a leak on hoses etc, I'll be turning the bottles off when the cooker is not in use.

Pat got the fax number of Boots to enable our doctor to send a line for more meds. Our doctor had not yet received the letter from the hospital! She's going up to a local doctor tomorrow to get him to authorise.

The sunny day promised turned into a dull finish with spits of rain. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

8.10 miles 3 locks 3.46 hrs 3.21 lmph

Monday 27th July ~ Pasturefields (en route to Middlewich)

The forecast heavy rain arrived before breakfast. Confirmed we would not be going anywhere! Another quiet day aboard, but the passing traffic was quite heavy, with few bothering to slow down past moored boats - seems the courtesies of the Cut are ebbing away . Confirmation received that our parcel had been dispatched.

The alternating heavy showers, drizzle and sunshine continued until dinnertime. The rain dying out quickly, it was a lovely sunny evening.

Sunday 26th July ~ Great Haywood to Pasturefields (en route to Middlewich)

Beautifully sunny morning, but slowly patchy cloud built by lunchtime. Very busy indeed in both directions. Moved off after lunch, stopping briefly for services, continuing northwards. Ascended Hoo Mill Lock, and moved round to Pasturefields Bridge 77, mooring just above. Occasional light showers during the afternoon, but nothing really wetting. Although Pat has improved, she said she wouldn't want to sit or stand for long due to the bruising. With the forecast for tomorrow being heavy rain, she will get another day's rest. A parcel is on its way from home, expected Tuesday in Stone, so no rush anyway.

1.41 miles 1 locks 1.01 hrs 2.38 lmph

Saturday 25th July ~ Great Haywood (en route to Middlewich)

Pat felt another day resting would be good, so contacted CRT for permission to stay over - local duty manager quite happy for us to stay until tomorrow. A second quiet day, not doing much.

Weather very changeable, from warm sunshine to heavy rain showers. Just at dinnertime, we had a tremendous thunderstorm, with thunder, lightning and icy golfballs. Lasted around 2 hours.

Friday 24th July ~ Great Haywood (en route to Middlewich)

Heavy rain overnight had cleared by breakfast, and the sun was peeping through. Quick walk to the pharmacy for extra medications for Pat. We decided that we would stay an extra day to allow Pat a rest before we moved - quiet day all round. The sun came out properly and it remained a lovely day throughout.

Thursday 23rd July ~ Great Haywood (en route to Middlewich)

After a good night's sleep, Pat saw the doctor first thing, and was set to be discharged later in day. The pharmacy took a bit of time to get the meds sorted but eventually an ambulance brought her back to the boat mid-afternoon.

The sunny morning turned to showers mid-afternoon, and we decided to stay put for a second night.

Wednesday 22nd July ~ Wolseley Bridge to Great Haywood (en route to Middlewich)

Much duller start to today, after overnight rain. Took our time getting going, with another chat to Miles & Donna, then moved up through Colwich Lock, large queue waiting to ascend. Once on the go again, continued to Haywood Lock, mooring just below the lock. Took a walk to the Canalside Farmshop . Moved up again, through Haywood Lock to the services berth at the Junction for loo and water. That's where things went pear-shaped!

While Pat was taking out the rubbish, she fell out the cratch, hitting her head on the cobblestones of the quay. There was no blood and no apparent breakage of bones, but we called an ambulance just to be on the safe side. Fantastic help from all passers-by, and from Miles & Donna. Ambulance team attended very quickly and couldn't see anything I'd missed, but felt a check-up in hospital would be wise, so took her to Stafford. Unfortunately, due to the Covid situation, I was not allowed to accompany them. Moved the boat to a mooring and sat awaiting information.

22:00 update - CT scan, x-rays and bloods came back clear. Sitting up in bed, pain reducing without drugs. Being kept in overnight for observation.

2.67 miles 2 locks 1.86 hrs 2.51 lmph

Tuesday 21st July ~ Rugeley to Wolseley Bridge (en route to Middlewich)

Up promptly and got the essential shopping (including a few items for Julie), then moved off through the town. Moored at the foot of the garden at "The Taft" for morning coffee with Peter & Julie - great 2 hours catching up with them again as we always seem to be "in a hurry" as we pass.

Left just before lunch and moved round to Wolseley Bridge where we stopped again, this time for lunch, but ended up not moving again. Had a chat with Miles & Donna aboard "Bonny Boat". Christian boaters, they had only just taken delivery of their boat just before lockdown, and are now getting out for the first time. Lovely sunny day all day.

2.85 miles 0 locks 1.41 hrs 2.02 lmph

Monday 20th July ~ Kings Bromley to Rugeley (en route to Middlewich)

Nice sunny morning greeted us, so quick preparations and on the go by mid-morning. Turned north again to start this year's belated 'summer' cruise. Headed through Handsacre and Armitage and into Rugeley. Hoping to meet up with Peter & Julie tomorrow, we stopped for lunch (and the day) at the Leathermill Lane mooring and had a quiet afternoon.

5.40 miles 0 locks 2.36 hrs 2.29 lmph

18th-19th July ~ Kings Bromley Marina

Heavy rain overnight into Saturday. Pat did the 'ironing' (whatever that is ) while I did a run to Sainsbury for own-brand stocks. Spent the afternoon looking at plans for the remainder of the summer. The early morning rain turned to occasional drizzle during the day, then back to heavy showers in the evening.

Saturday's rain cleared overnight, and Sunday dawned sunny and warm. Dropped in to the "Live Stream Faith" service  from All Saints in Doncaster, as we have all lockdown. After lunch drove round to Market Bosworth for our appointment at Bosworth Marina. Very impressed! Have booked a berth, to be taken up at our convenience (probably September).

Friday 17th July ~ Wolseley Bridge to Kings Bromley (holiday trip with Fhi)

Last day, and we get beautiful sunshine! Got away early and continued south towards base. Arrived back just before lunch. Fhi had packed on the trip down so just had to load the car and get away. She should be home around dinner time.

Totals and Average with Fhi
74.67 miles 30 locks 36.36 hrs 2.88 lmph

After lunch, Pat headed off to restock the galley, while I got down to catching up on the data. Finally back up to date, with maps done as well, by late afternoon.

Phone call to Bosworth Marina, and appointment made to visit on Sunday afternoon. Hope it goes well, as more poor service received during the afternoon at Kings Bromley. Fhi reported herself home just at dinner time.

Weather remained good the whole day (shades of things to come?)

8.17 miles 0 locks 3.41 hrs 2.39 lmph

Thursday 16th July ~ Gailey to Wolseley Bridge (holiday trip with Fhi)

After sleeping on the loss of their piggy, Fhi felt that she ought to get home as quickly as feasible, so a long day was planned and a walk into Penkridge was cancelled. On the move quickly, moved along to the wharf for water and loo, then started the descent down towards Stafford. A heavy day on the locks (total 14 but got on well), with Fhi taking the day off, Pat working the locks and me steering. At Great Haywood, Fhi nipped ashore for a trip to the Canalside Farm Shop while Pat & I continued round the Junction and down Haywood Lock. Fhi rejoined us as we finished the lock. We had made good time, and we decided to continue down Colwich Lock and on as far as Wolseley Bridge. Another evening playing board games.

Dull most of the day, frequently looking as though rain was coming (but it never did), interspersed with sunny intervals.

15.67 miles 14 locks 8.83 hrs 3.36 lmph

Wednesday 15th July ~ Brewood Park to Brewood village, then return to Gailey (holiday trip with Fhi)

Another dull start to the day, but got on the move promptly. Fhi's bites were far better this morning (but still a long way to go). Moved from the mooring into Brewood village where Pat and Fhi hopped off for a walk (hobble) into town. I continued to the winding hole at Brewood Wharf and came back, finding a mooring next to the main bridge. Finally got started on the missing data.

When the team arrived back (with Fhi having spent more than intended), set off again returning southwards with the intention of making Gailey. Fhi was going to take it easy to allow her feet time to recover, so I was back driving with Pat locking. Passed "Ichthus" and said 'cheerio' to John & Jane. Continued south to Autherley, saying 'cheerio' to Tim & Tracey.

Turned left at the junction (no queue today), onto the Staff & Worcs, and headed northwards again through Slade Heath, Calf Heath, and through the chemical works. After some very light showers just before lunch, the day brightened up again. Approaching Gailey, we moored at the start of the straight before the wharf.

Fhi received news that one of their Guinea Pigs had passed away during the day, aged 3½.

The evening was spent playing board games.

16.07 miles 1 locks 6.33 hrs 2.69 lmph

Tuesday 14th July ~ Gailey to Brewood Park (holiday trip with Fhi)

Another dull start, but on the move promptly. Fhi's bites causing increasing irritation so decided to go to the pharmacy at Autherley. Ascended Brick Kiln and Gailey Locks, then stopped at the services berth for loo and water. Just moving off, when it was noticed that one of the casual relief crew had left their windlass in the grass - just can't get the staff these days ! Hopped off to collect, then continued southwards.

Wandered ourselves southwards on the Staffs & Worcs through Four Ashes and past the chemical works, then on past the end of what used to be the Churchbridge Branch serving the coalfields of the Chase (now being restored as part of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canal Trust  project). On again past Slade Heath and Coven Heath, then through the narrows at Fordhouses on the outskirts of Wolverhampton. Arrived at Autherley Junction to find we were 5th in a queue to go up the stop-lock! The day become brighter and warmer, but the clouds still remained.

Once finally through (about 30 mins wait), we joined the Shropshire Union Canal (this section used to be the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal before the merger into the SUC), and moved up to Bridge 2 where we found Tim & Tracey ("Sola Gratia") and John & Jane ("Ichthus"), and moored up. Fhi went up to the pharmacy, who directed her to NHS-111, who organised prescription medication. Had a good chat with the teams on both boats, and Tim had a look at the modem. We agreed the next thing was to try a factory-reset and reconfigure. Worked like a dream so now connected back to the outside world (just the catching up of data etc to do).

Once Fhi had got her medication, we decided to have dinner then continue to Brewood Park (SUCS) moorings - only 50 minutes. Arriving there, we were assisted in mooring by John & Jane who had also moved up. With the late finish, just spent the remainder of the evening chatting. Fhi reported that even with only a single dose of medication, the bites were starting to ease.

11.53 miles 3 locks 5.52 hrs 2.63 lmph

Monday 13th July ~ Great Haywood to Gailey (holiday trip with Fhi)

A good night for everyone, but woke to a dull morning. Fhi found she had been bitten by 'something' overnight, and the areas were very itchy and swollen - hopefully antihistamines and cream will sort it. The fuel boat "Auriga" conveniently happened past just as we were having breakfast, so topped up from him rather than at Anglo-Welsh at the junction. He said he has had a profitable lockdown with marinas being closed.

On the move, although without the tracker running (lack of data signal). Ascended Haywood Lock and continued to the junction, turning left onto the Staffs & Worcs Canal (new territory for Fhi aboard "Paws"). Now with a phone signal, got the tracker running - hopefully I'll be able to stitch the data together later. Continued through Tixall Wide (a 'flash' renowned for its wildfowl) before ascending through Tixall Lock. Occasional sputters of light rain started, and continued the rest of the day. The canal now follows the northern outskirts of Stafford and down its western side. The canal then rises up onto Cannock Chase to Gailey. Still very busy with traffic. Also pleased to see the hire boats out; they would have had little income at the start of the season.

For some reason, lost the modem connection (usually have a signal here), but unable to sort it tonight. Will attempt to get a resolution tomorrow. Spent the evening playing cribbage. The showers become quite heavy over the evening.

13.35 miles 11 locks 7.71 hrs 3.16 lmph

Sunday 12th July ~ Kings Bromley to Great Haywood (holiday trip with Fhi)

Fhi left home around 06:30 to drive down. Further problems with gas! Eventually narrowed it down to the non-return valves on the "pigtails" to the bottles; but where to get replacements on a Sunday!? Checked Mid-Chan but found them closed (usually open on Sunday), then thought of Streethay Wharf. Great! They were not only open, but had the parts!

Meanwhile, Pat was on final prep for departure. Fhi arrived around midday, and they had finished lunch by the time I got back. I had a hurried lunch, then fitted the parts - they worked!

Let go from our berth just before 14:00, and headed northwards on the Trent & Mersey, in lovely sunshine. Freedom at last!

Continued north through Handsacre and Armitage. Very busy with traffic also newly freed from lockdown. Onwards through Rugeley, taking a short break to chat with, and purchase fudge from, Tony & Jacqui on "Timewarp". No sign of Peter & Julie at The Taft, but didn't have time to stop. Eventually arrived at Colwich Lock and ascended, then moored for the night along the stretch at Shugborough Hall. Day had clouded over.

After dinner (yes, the oven worked), spent the evening playing Scrabble. No phone signal (as usual here) so stats not done, and no upload.

9.97 miles 1 locks 4.56 hrs 2.41 lmph

8th-11th July ~ Kings Bromley Marina

Had hoped to get away Wednesday as the forecast was for the drizzle to clear shortly after breakfast. Unfortunately it didn't. Very quiet day for our anniversary. Phoned Bosworth Marina and had a chat - agreed to get an appointment to be shown round after Fhi's holiday. Fhi has decided she would like to come down a day earlier, making the holiday 12th-17th, so adjustments made to plans. Rain returned just before dinnertime.

Drizzle greeted us again on Thursday. Odd jobs around the boat.

Friday dawned lovely and sunny, but Pat decided we didn't have time to go down to Fazeley. She started doing a round of spring cleaning.

Pat out Saturday for fresh provisions ready for Sunday. More general cleaning. Another sunny day - lets hope it stays that way for Fhi.

Tuesday 7th July ~ Kings Bromley Marina

Lovely sunny start to the day again, but again it quickly deteriorated. Showers for the rest of the day, some quite heavy. Wind reducing and showers dying into drizzle by the evening.

Morning spent doing shopping ready for departure. Took a trip by car to Bosworth Marina in the afternoon to enquire about berths, but found they were still closed to non-berth holders (will have to ring them later).

Monday 6th July ~ Kings Bromley Marina

Another beautiful (but windy) start to the day, but it clouded over and turned to showers early afternoon.

I did a run out to Sainsbury for own-brand items, then stopped off at Fazeley Marina to check they were trading again (yes), and at Fradley Junction to see if the elsan point was fixed (yes, I had obviously missed the closure notice being rescinded).

Pat left the house before 7am, arriving at "Paws" about 15:30 after a frustrating run south with numerous delays. Unpacked and got things stowed away.

The showers didn't last long, and the day ended warm and sunny.

Sunday 5th July ~ Kings Bromley Marina

After heavy rain overnight, Sunday dawned sunny and clear but with a brisk wind. After breakfast, looked further into the gas problem, checking the bottles and connections - was only getting a very low pressure despite having a full bottle). Must have been an airlock as it eventually cleared without any obvious reason. Joined the "Live Stream Faith" service  from All Saints in Doncaster (they have been producing a live service each week during lockdown - the vicar is also a member of BCF). If you're reading, Stephen, thank you from Pat and myself for your efforts over the period - they have brought a breath of fresh air to the difficult times.

Maintenance checks on engine, auxilliaries and electronics in preparation for movement. All appears OK.

With word from CRT that there is a problem at Atherstone Lock 10, Fhi has decided to revise her route - she now wants to go to Brewood via Great Haywood, Penkridge and Autherley.

Saturday 4th July ~ Travel South

Finally allowed to return to "Paws" as the lockdown is slowly relieved. Got away from the house promptly and headed south on a lovely morning. Unfortunately mist, drizzle and rain set in, lasting most of the drive down. Arrived mid-afternoon, unpacked, checked "Paws" over and did necessary shopping. Had a problem getting gas through - eventually gave up at 20:00 and had a cold dinner (will look at it tomorrow )


1st-3rd July ~ Laid up at Kings Bromley Marina

Final days under lockdown - Scotland released the restriction on travel on 2nd, and England releases leisure accommodation on 4th.

Preparations made for me to return to "Paws" on Saturday. Pat intends to return on Monday.

We are hoping to have Fhi down for a week's holiday from next weekend, and plan to do a trip to Atherstone via Alrewas (her choice).

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