Friday, 26 February 2016

Fradley Junction (three days until I’m a boat husband)

Another frosty start on Thursday but at least it meant the sun was shining as we set off for Fradley Junction.

Near Little Haywood
At Little Haywood we went down Colwich lock which is one of my favourites; I just love that the lock bridge is the entrance to a farm and always looks like the cows have just come in for milking.

Colwich lock, Little Haywood
Coming out of the lock feels like you are on a river rather than a canal.

St Mary's Abbey, Little Haywood - rumoured to have tunnels 10 miles long to Lichfield cathedral and another a mile long to Shugborough Hall
Just before coming into Rugeley this bridge fascinated me as it showed so many different types of bricks as it has been repaired over the years.

Bridge 68 - Trent & Mersey canal
We stopped at Rugeley for a food shop to last us until the end of next week.  It’s going to be quite a change for us as Karen will be off to work each day and I’ll be getting dinner ready each evening.  Going to an office five days a week for Karen will also be strange because before she went on her career break 16 months ago she worked from home for many years and only visited offices once or twice a week if at all.

The Crown by bridge 58 at Handsacre
The canal at Rugeley also passes over the River Trent.

Aqueduct over River Trent at Rugeley
One advantage of canals in towns is that the towpaths tend to be made up rather than grass.  As much as we like walking on the towpaths in the countryside, the amount of rain this winter has made them really muddy and tricky to walk along.

The second lock of the day was Wood End lock and I chatted to a guy on a residential mooring whilst Karen was setting the lock.  I said he was lucky to live there as the moorings seemed really tranquil and a long way from traffic noise.  He pointed out that the route for HS2 was about 50 yards away.  I don’t normally discuss political topics but I think that the HS2 is such a waste of resources; the train journey times from London to the northern cities seem more than respectable as they are.

Wood End lock
Soon after Rugeley we went through Armitage which always reminds us of Aileen as she is the queen of all things toilets as far as boating is concerned.  We can’t match her pictures of toilets the last time she and Mike went through here as the storage yard was practically empty apart from a few shrink wrapped together waiting for shipment…

Sanitary ware factory at Armitage
…but what we did see was a pile of broken toilets (your eagle eyes will spot them Aileen) – we assumed it was where the rejects are thrown.

Pile of discarded porcelain
After travelling 12 miles we finally reached the first locks at Fradley Junction…

…and were soon turning right off the Trent & Mersey onto the Coventry canal continuing our trek south. 

Fradley junction and apparently the most photographed canal pub (it does get packed here in the summer)
The white building in the picture above is the Swan at Fradley and after mooring up for the day we popped in for a couple of drinks and got chatting to some fellow boaters (and their dogs) although this picture makes it look like they are totally ignoring us.

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