|Sunday morning: Winter|
The last thing you want to happen on a boat on a cold, wet, windy and thoroughly miserable morning is to find that you can't get your fire to light. Mine wouldn't draw properly on Sunday morning and on Starcross this means only one thing: I had to put on waterproofs, hat and gloves and go outside to give the flue a thorough brushing.
Worse was to follow because the next job is to clear the dislodged soot from the baffle plate at the top of the grate so that it doesn't block the end of the flue pipe. I have a variety of tools to do this but in reality I always have to resort to scrabbling with my fingers with the predicable result that my hands and forearms look as if they've just done a shift down a pit (I'm from south Wales - I know).
It was definitely a day for going nowhere, but I'd arranged to meet Jim and Sarah from Chertsey in the Swan at Brewood so when the rain looked to be dying down after lunch I untied and set off. I soon realised how sheltered the mooring at Gnosall was; once out on the embankments the wind was so fierce that it blew my hat off - even though it was one of those you tie on under your chin! I was passing two moored boats at the time with another coming up behind and a blind bridge ahead so there wasn't much scope for manoeuvring even without the wind. Once through the bridge there was no piling and stopping would have involved the use of mooring pins, by which time the hat would be long gone so I abandoned it to its' fate!
It was all worth it for a splendid evening with Jim and Sarah and also to meet "Hairy Neil" who isn't hairy at all, but used to be apparently!
|Monday morning: Spring again|
Today was completely different: a lovely spring morning although that did mean I had no excuse for not polishing the brasses before setting off. I've had a lovely run down to Autherley Junction, where I am writing this after the usual kerfuffle of arriving at the stop lock at exactly the same time as another boat turned in under the bridge. It was his lock really, but neither I nor his lockwheeler could tell, so small is the rise, and I ended up going through first.