Ellesmere to Marbury
18 miles - 9 locks - 8 hours
Oh those Gall Stones - they had me up again from 4.00am - two nights in a row and I am starting to worry before I go to sleep.
I usually tough these things out but today I was in no fit state to steer so Jeff assumed command whilst I went back to bed and a couple of hours sleep. There was one incident early on when we were driven hard aground and the dog walkers were subjected to the sight of me in my pajamas poling the stern off.
Apart from that I slept to the drone of the engine emerging as we approached Prees. Jeff is always amazed at my near photographic memory of canals - one look around me at Bettisfield Moss and I was able to say - Prees Junction in 15 mins. Scary!
Wixall lift bridge
Sleet set in as we approached Witchurch, but fortunately two of the lift bridges were opened for us by other boaters and we soon arrived at Grindley Brook where a familiar lock keeper waved us down. We paused beyond the railway bridge and returned to investigate two second hand bookshops beside the canal. We shouldn't have bothered, the one right by the canal is the size of a phone box and we had to enter one at a time. The other, in garden shed, had a bit more scope but little of interest. I did pick up a handful of Waterway's Worlds from the early 1980's which took me back to my boating days with my parents - all those long gone hire companies.
A snatched shot through the stop plank hole...
With Jeff unwell and Belle busy I tended the boat myself, slipping into the solo routine I often use for isolated locks when its just the two of us. Its a bit slower but so what? I'm in no hurry.
We moored just above Marbury lock on rings installed by the Shropshire Union Canal Society, a lovely sheltered spot with views over the fields and well away from the honking goose. I put in a call to BW about the Maesbury pump put machine and its desire to swallow cards without offering a service in return. The BW lock keeper, who we had met at Grindley Brook and Welsh Frankton, was great, pledging to get a replacement card to me, either on the boat or at Wrenbury.
I am now avoiding fat - lets hope for a better night.