Our plan for Wednesday was to cruise six miles and eight locks down to Alrewas before the rain came in the afternoon.  As it was it turned out a nice day and no rain came.  It was fun retracing our steps back down the Trent & Mersey, recognising places, remembering what we were doing and seeing things we missed.  These four cygnets and their parents came to see me whilst I was having my morning coffee and read – so tame, so young – doesn’t feel right.  We often think of a sight we saw at Hemel Hempstead where the swans were so tame they were getting on the tow path and frightening toddlers and babies in pushchairs.

As usual, Karen and Buddy walked a lot of the way and Karen managed to get a picture of a Speckled Wood.  She was very fortunate as they hardly ever settle long enough to get a decent picture.

The five locks at Fradley junction had lock keepers helping out.

The junction is where the Coventry canal joins the Trent & Mersey and it gets very busy in the summer.  We were very lucky and only had to wait a little while at the top lock.  That was fine by me as we breasted up against a guy who was moored up there.  He turned out to be a banjo player and moves around from festival to festival.  Here we are in the middle of the picture coming out of the second lock and straight into the next.  On the right hand side is a queue of six boats alongside the moored boats – they are queueing for the lock I just came out of.

Since joining the Tent & Mersey canal at Manchester we have generally been heading South East; from Fradley junction the canal turns and heads North East towards Nottingham.

As I said earlier the rain never came and the skies were clear by the time we arrived in Alrewas.  It was was a lot busier than when we were frozen in here in January; however, we still managed to find a mooring in the village.

We went for a walk through the village and along the Trent.  Here are some budding water lilies we saw…

… and a heron fishing in the weir.

We were sad to hear the news in the evening as the Wolverhampton flight of locks had been attacked by vandals overnight and all 21 locks in the two mile flight had been drained.  All the locks have anti-vandal devices so they must have gone to the effort of buying anti-vandal keys as well as windlasses to carry out such a senseless act.  Fortunately we hadn’t run into any problems when we went up there in February this year.  This picture was lifted from the website of the local paper.

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