We are safely moored near the Great Haywood Junction of the Trent and Mersey Canal with the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. A perfect position in this uncertain English weather as it is close to all required services (diesel, water, and waste disposal) in addition to a brilliant farm shop and village amenities. It looks as if we will stay in this general area for a while as there are a few things happening and it is a safe place to be.
Our great family news just continued to roll in with Bob’s eldest daughter Kathryn and her partner Kym announcing their engagement on 2nd January. We are so happy for them and are currently in rigorous negotiations to have them plan their wedding for sometime during our return to Australia early in 2016. We can do 2 weddings then! Or more if the others want to take advantage of our visit!!!!!
We had a subdued New Years Eve (although that is quite the norm for us anyway!) sharing a meal and a few drinks aboard Sylph before returning to Celtic Maid and a reasonably early night. We had relocated both boats around the junction and above the locks (which will be closed for the next 5 weeks for repairs) during that day finally mooring in the dark. Chris and Jim left on New Years Day to visit their family in Devon and Cornwall so we stayed for a couple of days and then made our way towards Great Haywood.
We were now on the Trent and Mersey Canal having turned at Fradley Junction. We moved through very picturesque rural landscape enjoying cold, calm and very misty days. Interesting to see how many people are still out along the towpath despite the conditions but they are probably well used to it! Bron made full use of the cratch cover enjoying the cruising in the relative warmth!!!!
After navigating a very narrow section just before Rugeley where the Armitage tunnel had been removed allowing only room for one boat, we found the water point and after refilling, moored for a couple of days nearby. A ginger and white cat seemed to adopt us here, following us everywhere we went and happily walking along the gunwales and sleeping on the stern deck. I think it belonged to itself but one of the permanent moorers in this section probably lays claim. We half expected it to follow us along the towpath when we left!!!!
The market town of Rugeley was the next stop alongside the prominent stacks of the power station. There are plenty of opportunities to shop for groceries in addition to a brilliant little hardware store and numerous cheap variety stores. We also took a walk to the train station to print off our tickets for our upcoming trip to London for the Boat Show.
By Thursday 8th January we were ready for the last leg of this part of our journey making it to Great Haywood in a very short time and finding an average mooring to wait out the coming storm. After a quick walk around to get our bearings and locate all requires services we hunkered down against some rather fierce winds. What sounded like branches landing on our roof were nothing more than twigs and no harm done. We also found that there was absolutely no TV reception so on Saturday we moved up to get water and reversed back a shorter distance to a very good mooring with no overhead trees and excellent TV reception – happy days!!!!
We were also delighted to welcome Julia and Malcolm (from NB Figment) aboard for lunch on Sunday. They have stopped trying (unsuccessfully) to surprise us with visits and now check before dropping by. This time they arrived with beautiful Christmas gifts of traditional English produce. What a treat the whole day was. We are hoping to travel with them at some stage over the summer – they are such great company and truly treasured friends.
On Sunday afternoon NB Sylph also arrived here at Great Haywood and after a very quick catch up with Jim last night we will join them for dinner tonight. Meanwhile Bob and Jim went off today to collect the reliable Volvo from Fradley Junction ready for the next escapades. Its been a bit busy here today with workboats and workmen and trucks and cranes all busily doing something near the junction. I guess all will be revealed in the fullness of time.
Happy, productive and rewarding 2015 everyone, and as you can see our only New Years resolution is to keep on enjoying our fabulous life.