We set off at about 0900, and were soon on the river section below Alrewas. This was benign - we've had no rain for what seems like ages! At Wychnor the canal runs alongside the busy A38 for two noisy miles: at one point we smugly overtook stationary vehicles in a traffic jam.
This was another day of battling against a cold wind, this time with little sun until late afternoon. There were even a few specks of snow; and we passed some patches of snow still in the fields.
The smell of hops told us we were near Burton-upon-Trent, but we didn't stop until we reached Willington. By this stage I was very hungry, having eaten only a couple of dry crackers since breakfast (and that was a bowl of muesli). Jan went to the Co-op for supplies while I tied up. As I was adjusting the ropes a familiar face appeared: it was Nev with wife Rachel and dog Leia. (Wasn't there a dog called Leia which the Russians sent into space?) They couldn't stop as Nev was already stretching a lunch break, so they declined my offer of a cup of tea. The last time we met was when I proudly showed Nev round our newly bought Jubilee; this time we were in Shadow (and were at almost exactly the same spot on the canal). There was little point showing them round Shadow as they had been part-owners of sister boat Sylph back in OwnerShips days.
Nev mentioned that Midland Chandlers were discounting everything by 20% on their "Freaky Friday" promotion, so we pulled in to the customer mooring just inside Mercia Marina. We didn't do as well as James and Amy of MB Willow (who bought a fridge and a set of batteries) - all we came away with was a length of stove rope (for our woodburner at home!) and some stove rope glue. I would have bought some LED lights for Jubilee but I wasn't sure enough of the fitting (is it GU4? And is that the same as MR11?) At least I was able to use the stove rope glue to repair Shadow's stove.
Our next stop was at Ragley Farm on their very nice pontoon mooring (with electric hook-ups if required). There was a delicious aroma of cooking steak coming from the pub/restaurant which we checked out. Unfortunately I suppose I was still rather full from the fry-up which Jan had prepared as soon as we left Willington, so I didn't fancy any of the (chain) meals on offer (despite reasonable prices).
It made sense, anyway, to continue to our scheduled stop at Weston-on-Trent, especially as the wind had dropped slightly and the sun was shining. We watered up immediately above Weston Lock; and then reversed past a couple of boats to tie up against the piling. Jan went to investigate the food on offer in the village and came back with a menu from Weston Hall. This was an upmarket carvery which sounded good, but was pricey. Jan was on the verge of making a meal with the lamb we had left over from last Saturday when I said I'd look for the Old Plough pub which our copy of Nicholson's suggested was in the village.
It wasn't. It is now a development of new houses.
We had lambwiches on the boat.
Tomorrow we will venture onto a waterway we haven't done before: the Erewash Canal. I'm looking forward to it.
Oh - I nearly forgot. Today I put the "Three" sim card in the MiFi router thingy which Ben has lent us. And it worked straight away, I'm pleased to say. All I had to do on the laptop was to enter the new password which the MiFi screen displayed, and it connected immediately. Hooray! And thanks, Ben! And thanks to all who said it would be simple.
Cooler on to Polesworth - We were expecting some rain last night and all the fly screens had to be taken out and the glass fitted in. It was so hot we couldn't sleep very well so at...
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