Spent Saturday morning sorting out various boxes of stuff taken off Minnow and putting into other boxes to take down to Darley. By 12.00 pm all was packed and I was off. Just over 10mins later see’s me unpacking the car boot into Darleys back cabin. Spent rest of afternoon tatting about cleaning brass fitting knobs and generally getting her ready for our first trip. At about 5.00pm I fired up her Petter and left her ticking over ready for Dawn’s arrival so we could get straight off. Dawn arrived at 6.00pm and we stowed the bits and pieces she had brought and were off by 6.15pm, with no pre-determined place to get to, but I knew we would get somewhere round Rugeley. The evening was quite pleasant as we dropped down the shallow Haywood lock after 100 yards the moored boats finished and we could ‘stretch Darley’s legs’ along the pound as it passes Shugborough Hall. As Dawn put it, “next time I’m bringing my water ski’s” Overall we had a lovely first trip out apart from after about 7.30 the sky’s began to darken with rain clouds and by the time we tied up at The Ash Tree pub at Armitage at about 8.30pm it had started to spot with rain. As the Ash Tree stops taking food orders at 9.00pm, we did not bother washing or changing, we just walked round as we were , walked in and ordered our meals, got a dring and sat down in the bar area. We then took it in turns to go to their toilets and have a good wash! It wasn’t long before we were tucking into out meals, two for the price of one. I had a Mega Gammon and Dawn had a Chicken Combo for £15.75. Mine was two very thick 8oz gammon steaks, two eggs, pineapple ring, chips and peas, while Dawns was A butterfly Cajun breast, a battered chicken breast, four chicken wings, chips and baked beans. Absolute value for money well worth a stop. By 11.30pm, and 4 pints later, it was absolutely chucking it down with rain when we came to leave and the gaffer said “do you want to borrow an umbrella” Dawn jumped at the offer and the gaffer said “keep it as it’s only one that has been left here and weve got loads!”. All night long I kept waking to the sound of rain thundering down onto the cabin top and then at about 7.00am it had stopped. As we were in no rush and we had hours to go nowhere, we decided on a lazy start so that by 9.00am the sun was already out when we pulled our pins, after Bruce had been off for a walk. He has took to boating like a duck to water except he is daunted by the drop into the Large Woolwich back cabin compared to that of a josher.
When once we were ready Dawn started up the Petter and we headed off to wind the boat at Kings Bromley Marina. As we approached the winding ‘ole at Handsacre we were greeted by a coupl of familiar faces and boats. Andrew & Andrea off Dove , but on this occasion they were on their cabin boat Achilles moored up with ex Steamer Marquis and new build More Jam Than as we passed Achilles pulled out behind us and proceeded to chase us down the pound.
As we approached the entrance to the marina I pulled Darley over and waved Andrew on. After he had passed we winded at the Marina entrance then we reversed back along the canal to our old moorings to see our neighbour Brian off ‘Our Di’ as we had not spoken to him since we left the mooring with Minnow last October. Spent the next hour catching up with Brian then we bid our farewells and headed off back to Great Haywood. Dawn cooked us some bacon butties and coffee and we enjoyed these in the spring sunshine as we skipped along towards the Armitage Shanks factory which always puts me in mind of that clip from the Harry H Corbett film ‘The Bargee’ where all the factory girls are hanging out the factory windows shouting’ hey Hornblower show us your tatoo’s’ and ‘Where’s Hemmel’ – ‘He’s havin his dinner’ By mid afternoon we were tied up back at Darleys mooring and unpacking boxes and bags from Darley to our cars. Soon we were ready for the off and after an excellent first trip we locked Darley up and headed home. After we had both had a shower at home and Indian take away was delivered as a perfect end to a perfect weekend. We will be going down to Darley later in the week as theres lots a jobs we want to get done, so till next time, as always
Don’t bang ‘em about.