This is Steve & Viv Carter's log of the trips and travails on the narrowboat Adagio – liveaboards from October 2015. Then back to the shore, in Trefin, Wales from November 2019. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." (Mark Twain)” email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
It was forecast and lo it did get Scorchio indeed. Records broken . . .34.7°C and nearly that inside the boat too! Bedroom was a sauna. All the boats around us stayed put. Wednesday night Steve went to the Anchor with Simon & Charlie – food OK, usual 40 minute wait for a burger & chips! Thursday was the hottest – and our 38th anniversary, so we stayed put and cooked a chicken madras curry with a diy trifle to follow and lots of gin & fresh limes (run out of tonic! Gasp!!). Our closest neighbour Matt joined us a drink (his boat is Contrazoom, interesting . . ). Not much sleep that night.
Good grief – temperatures nudging 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 C) are forecast – so we stayed put or rather, moved on round the corner under the trees – still gets a bit of sun (solar for 5 hrs). Our old mate, Simon on Empress plus son, Charlie turned up – so nice to see them again. On moving the boat, Viv found a hole to misplace her foot in & did a double act of wrenching a knee and twisting an ankle – “Bloody Boat!” Poor Viv. Maybe stay put for a bit longer?
We stayed put for a few days, then moved up, just two locks, inbetween locks 9 & 10. Just for a change of view and to be 2/11 locks done. Last time we were here, at Easter, the pound kept dropping as the lock gates were leaky. This time it seemed OK – the next lock up was leaking, so that’s alright then. We think the whole network is getting worse – it’s creaking and what will become of it when the government money finally dries up?
Saturday was a grim day. Viv set off for the town, to do some shopping on her own. Steve was to join her an hour or so later for luncheon in the Red Lion Hotel – they allow dogs in the courtyard, do good food and stock Goat’s Milk beer! Grim? Well, on walking past lock 8, there were police gathered round as a lady boater had fallen in . . . and hadn’t come out. They couldn’t lower the ground paddle . . . so that’s probably where she was – very sad. Lots of fire engines, ambulances and even the air ambulance arrived. I walked on. None of the CRT volunteers had be told, so I wandered up and told them the grim news.
Stephen & Lucia moved off early-ish, we waved them goodbye but would catch them up later at Fradley bridge. In fact we leapfrogged them at Rugeley when they stopped to visit Tesco. Just one lock, Wood End today plus the excitement of two very narrow stretches near Rugeley and Armitage.
Our glorious chums, Stephen & Lucia, known by all as those Sicilians! Are back. And they’re out on their boat, Two’s Company, doing the Leicester Ring. We hope to coincide . . . somewhere and that somewhere is Wolseley Bridge (No 70) on the Trent & Mersey for the sole aim of dining together at the Shimla Indian restaurant. So we slip our moorings at 0845 and bimble a few hours to just beyond bridge 78 and adjacent to a rare nature reserve – an inland salt marsh.
Perhaps, just perhaps, our favourite stop is the town of Stone. Decent, quiet and all so convenient moorings. Convenient for shops, water, refuse, pubs, shops, pubs . . . Chance for a good stop. A few days of rest and recuperation and beer. And a new shop – a mirage perhaps? No, it’s a real M&S foodhall, right by the canal. Yes, we’ll stop here for a bit of R&R.
Sunday and time to move on. Six more locks – through Etruria, Stoke, Hem Heath and then Barlaston. The sun was now out.
Steve has put his back out – must be all those 32 locks – so a day off tomorrow. And why the title? Well, some bits of our travels have been a bit stressful, hard work, wet etc. So today was, yes, almost enjoyable. 😉
We met a nice single-handed chap, called David, on Snowgoose. He was out of Venetian marina and was heading for the Harecastle tunnel. We’d helped him up through some of the locks – just setting paddles and opening gates etc. I suggested we repeat the same today, only we’d planned just to do the next six locks only, just around 2 and a bit hours away. So we all set off – up the Lawton locks, Hall’s Locks and Church Locks – it was quite warm!
Saturday, 6th July. It was so quiet – boat movement wise – that we thought we’d move – it did rain and it was still spitting . . just the 6 remaining locks and the Harecastle tunnel to do. So we went. And it did rain. Quite a few locks were out of action plus we got stuck in No42! The gate wouldn’t fully open. So a bit of argy-bargy and we did get the boat in. No pix here, cos it was too wet. The canal was turning more orange as the water from the tunnel contains iron minerals. We got to the top and met up with Snowgoose again. And luckily, saw 4 boats ready to go in the tunnel – here you have to wait. The tunnel master allows six boats in at a time, then shuts the door. It’s a 40-45 minute transit – 2.7km or 1.5 miles!!! Anyway, in we went . . at least it wasn’t raining!