Approaching Gnosall, I was waved down by a towpath walker and told that a tree had come down at the next bridge, its roots loosened by the overnight rain. I joined the queue of four boats, noting at its head a boat that had come through Norbury at least an hour before I set off. I then realised that the boat ahead of me was Debdale and tried to get a photo for Adam and Adrian but my camera chose that moment to die on me (presumably from drowning). BW were already on the scene and the blockage was cleared, with customary efficiency, within the hour.
There was more excitement past High Onn, where I came across two BW staff effectively marooned on a mud hopper in mid-channel. With nowhere to tie up to on the towpath, they had been attempting to move it to the offside bank but had come to a halt halfway over. I was able to take one of them near enough to the side to jump ashore so that his mate could throw him a line.
The rain kept coming all the way to Wheaton Aston, where I was quite ready to tie up, light a fire, toast some crumpets and make a mug of cocoa. And this is June! The mooring was almost opposite the legendary Turner's Garage, which sells what must be the cheapest diesel on the
system, last weekend retailling at 48.9ppl (plus duty for the "propulsion" element, about which they are remarkably flexible). Unfortunately, as they close on Saturday afternoon and Sunday I was unable to avail myself of any.
Hil arrived from Shropshire about 18:00 and although the rain stopped for long enough in the evening for us to enjoy an evening stroll it was back with a vengeance on Sunday morning so we had an equally wet trip back to base. Hil offered to steer all the way, although I still couldn't bring myself to stay inside the cabin once I'd done those cleaning and tidying up jobs that usually follow a weekend's boating. The mud hopper at High Onn was safely tied to some trees and its crew nowhere in sight. Diesel at Norbury Wharf was only 1ppl more than Turner's so I took the opportunity to put in 80 litres for about £63 before tying up. Shortly afterwards, the rain stopped and the sun came out - which was very welcome as we now had to cycle back to Wheaton Aston to pick up the car - a journey which would have been very unpleasant at any other time over the weekend.