Leicester Ring 2011
Rugby to Polesworth
23 April 2011
25 miles - 12 locks - 11 hours
Two words describe today, sociable and scorching.
We like to meet up with friends on our travels and today's visitors will be using Wand'ring Bark later in the season. The day was therefore to spend some time with them and also to familiarise them with the boat.
We planned Polesworth as a destination so they left one car there and drove back to meet us. We knew we had a lot of miles to cover so I was up and off by 7.00am, breaking he back of the first 10 miles before meeting then at Ansty. It was one of those perfectly timed meetings when we came in to land beside the bridge just as they drove over it!
The trouble with sociable days is that I tend to forget all about photography and suddenly I find myself at journeys end and few frames on the memory card.
Patriotism at Sutton Stop
The day blossomed into another scorcher - the hottest of the year so far. The sun blasted down and we struggled to find any shade under the leafless trees. In fact, the deck got so hot that it was impossible to stand on it with bare feet. It was all so incongruous - the only footwear I had was a pair of steel toe'd workboots whereas flip flops or sandals should have been the order of the day.
This take out beer concept is becoming habit forming. With the temperature in the mid 20's we stopped at the Grayhound at Sutton Stop, four pints in new take out glasses - nectar. Its good to replenish the supply of take out glasses, after I trod on one at Stenson wasting nearly a third of a pint. I am not sure which troubled me more, the beer or the loss of a perfectly serviceable receptical.
I saw the above graffiti on a bridge near Rugby. I had an image of a bunch of anarchic octogenarians hanging off the parapet by their Zimmer Frames, spray painting a message of defiance to all who care to read it. The reality is probably less prosaic!
All this heat at Easter is confusing. We passed the endless allotments of Nuneaton but the strange thing was that the plots were bare, seed potatoes planted beneath heaped tilth, tiny seedlings struggling to get a root hold and runner bean canes standing stark and bare with only the smallest plants brushing against their bases. I don't know about the plants, but all this early season has got me all confused.
We feasted on goodies brought by our guests - pickled onions from their allotments, cakes and coleslaw. A veritable feast for a hungry crew.
We needed water but the area didn't oblige. The Ansty tap had no fitting, Hartshill was occupied by a boater washing his boat down, both taps at the top of the Atherstone flight were out of action but we finally found the tap half way down to be working, which gave the boat we were following a chance to pull ahead.
Our descent was slow and we emerged from the bottom lock at 7.00pm passing a group from the Lichfield Cruising Club having a bar-b-que on the towpath, and drew into Polesworth an hour or so later. We moored behind a contingent from Boaters Christian Fellowship, but they were all out an about elsewhere. I have much in common with BCF but have never joined. I think the trouble is that whilst I love friends and sociability, it tends to be one on one and I avoid organised groups of all types.