28 June 2008

Day one

It’s not every day you do a three boat shuffle in a staircase...and it’s not every day you do it with Mr Canal Planner himself, Nick Atty. But on day one of the mini cruise, that’s exactly what happened at Bunbury and we lived to tell the tale. It was quite funny actually as I was steering and so well out of earshot and Nick approached Dumb and Dumber to tell them that he was coming into the bottom lock – at the same time as we entered the top lock. Of course, they looked at him as though he was a madman, slightly disbelieving of the whole notion, so they did the sensible thing and referred to me. Now a shuffle is something I’ve never done myself but I knew it was perfectly possible so I was eager to add another experience to my repertoire –and my fellow Stenson boat Jolene alongside was also willing to give it a go. I duly thanked Nick for giving me the chance and he was only too happy to oblige – on a very brief acquaintance he seemed a thoroughly decent sort who absolutely relished his boating.

That was really the highlight of a very pleasant day’s cruising and we pushed on past the Shady Oak pub, eventually mooring up in the middle of nowhere near bridge 111 to demolish some pizza and watch the footie. I’m interested as to why people don’t rave a bit more about the Shroppie above Barbridge? In the sunshine and with the wind ruffling the fields, it really did look quite stunning and that was before Beeston Castle hoved into view. There were plenty of hire boats around which initially I found quite surprising – given the wide locks and the proximity of the Llangollen – but having had a thoroughly enjoyable day myself, I think they’ve made a very sensible decision. Chester awaits..and Starbucks...and Costa...will I ever leave?

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