Friday (22.06.12), straight back from work and a few necessary item’s were chucked in a bag and as soon as Dawn got home we were off. Taking both cars to Norbury and leaving mine there then Dawn took me up to Middlewich, arriving for about 7.00pm. Dropped down below the town bridge and winded before working up Middlewich three then the tight turn up onto the Wardle canal. Dawn had walked up from the top lock after drawing for me, to set Wardle lock then she came back down onto the mainline to let me know it was OK for me to make the turn and that the lock was ready. It was at this point that world war three nearly broke out as a boat, which had come down Kings lock tried to steal the lock Dawn had set for me, which of cause she very politely explained to them why the lock was set and the bottom gates open and that I was not just approaching the junction for fun! (Well in so many words!) The boat was persuaded to reverse back out and so I made the turn and up through Wardle lock where Dawn bade her farewells and set off back to the car and home. It was cold wet and grey as I set off along the Middlewich cut but I knew I just had to keep going. 11.15 saw me tying up above Minshull lock for the night. Cold wet and hungry I just dived into bed with crusty cheese and onion cobs and crips. Next morning I was off at 6.00am on a much brighter day with it being quite sunny and warm. By dinner time I was tying up outside the Shroppie Fly and spent the afternoon pumping all the rain water out the hold and polishing the outside brasses until dawn arrived at about 6.00pm. After a quick wash and change we were sat in the Shroppie Fly tucking into surf & turf and a mixed grill to be swilled down by several pints of Guinness and unexpectedly entertained by a cracking rock band called Spyder who got the pub jumping. Sunday saw us make a lazy start after breakfast as we only had about an 8 hour run to Norbury. All went well up the rest of the Audlem flight, and also the flights at Adderley and Tyrley we did not have any problems at all until we hit Shebdon when, in the distance, I spotted the unmistakeable silhouette of a line of happy smiling fishermen as far as the eye can see. Now before any one joins in to bash the fisherman let me clearly state that I was once an avid match fisherman and spent all my weekends match fishing on the west midlands canals so I can speak with authority from both camps. Not all fishermen are miserable – not all boaters are courteous and I know if I go through on tick over down the centre it does not disturb the fish on the far shelf. That said it doesn’t stop some fishermen being miserable faced as you pass, blaming their inability to catch fish on the passing boat! All the fish in the canal have always known boats going past from the day they were born. On the other hand as a fisherman I have known boats go through a match flat out, not slowing at all and their resultant wash pulling nets out and just creating bad feeling. What I do enjoy is when I see glum faces that I know from my days on the match circuit that won’t even look at the passing boat or steerer, and as I pass I shout hello ‘so and so’ is the look of surprise and a sense of bewilderment as to whether to reply. What I hadn’t realised though was that this was not just some club match but a summer League with about 200 competitors and it went on forever. We eventually tied up at Norbury on the afternoon and after packing everything away and having a chat with ex-boater Henry Hollinshead we headed off for home and a nice Chinese takeaway for our tea. Our next jaunt is up to Audlem for the transport weekend so till then
Don’t bang ‘em about.