Monday, 8 February 2010

Back on the move

Although I've managed to get up to Norbury Junction fairly regularly over the winter, it was actually as long ago as 15th November last year since I'd been able to actually go anywhere. Last weekend's little jaunt, albeit only to High Onn and back, had therefore been keenly anticipated.
First job was to fill up with diesel. Norbury Wharf now advertises itself as having the "cheapest diesel on the canals - at a boatyard". The qualifier is necessary because Turner's Garage at Wheaton Aston, which has a canalside pump, is usually a penny or two cheaper, but at 56p a litre (plus duty) no one's complaining at that.
Actually getting the diesel was a little trickier. The boatyard is better than most at making sure there is room for visiting boats to tie up if they want to stop and buy something, but at this time of year, with all the hire boats and shared-ownership boats (including Debdale) at home, there wasn't a lot of space. Earlier, I'd noticed another boat executing a rather neat turning manoeuvre and reversing to come alongside the end of a line of boats moored stern-in along the wharf. I wasn't sure I could do that, but at the last minute I realised the gap between the end of the line and one of Norbury Wharf's day boats wasn't quite big enough for Starcross so I "bit the bullet" and went for a stern-in approach! All went surprisingly well - I didn't hit anything - and I stepped ashore to tie up, looking round for the admiring glances of the onlookers - of whom there were, of course, precisely none, as is always the case when things go right!
I had to content myself with the thrill of being able to help myself at the pump - a privilege granted to regular customers only.
Then it was across the basin to the sanitary station for cassette emptying duties, followed by lunch and, finally, setting off along the Shroppie.
Due to the lateness of the hour I only got as far as Gnosall, where I had to stop as I needed to sure I could get to the Horns Inn in Gnosall itself (what is known as "Gnosall" on the cut is actually "Gnosall Heath") to see Wales get beaten 30 - 17 by England (although they were "only just" beaten 30-17).
Starcross at Gnosall, 6th February
I completed the journey to High Onn and back on Sunday morning. A largely uneventful trip but just when you are beginning to think you've seen everything on the cut something comes along to surprise you, and in this case it was a fisherman - happily* fishing away - in the middle of Cowley Tunnel!
* a relative term for fishermen, of course!

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