Sunday 7th July, 2013 at Aldersley Junction.
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning and by 7:30am there was a steady stream of fishermen passing by, all making their way to the best angling spots. One of them, when M wished him "Good morning", replied "Aye, it's a right bosty morning". "Bosty" is apparently a local word meaning "good" or "great". The fishermen tell us that they catch carp, roach, chubb and perch, all of which they are now legally bound to put back into the water, although looking at the colour of the water we are not sure we would like to eat anything that lived in it!
The hedgerows that border the canal are a delight at present; they are a joyful tangle of wild roses, honeysuckle and elderflower with damselflies chasing each other over the water.
We cruised up to the village of Wightwick (pronounced "Wittick") and went to visit Wightwick Manor, built by the Mander family and now owned by the National Trust and renowned for its Arts and Crafts design, its William Morris furnishings and pre-Raphaelite paintings.
Luckily for them, the lock was nearly full, so we opened the paddles gently until we could open the top gate and re-unite the family. M thought she distinctly heard the duck equivalent of a "ticking off" as a relieved Mum took her brood well away from the lock. All that remained to do was to empty the lock again so that we could get MM through.
As we continued on, we were surprised to see a narrowboat apparently being steered by a meerkat. Guy the Gorilla was quite jealous and said that he wanted to have a go - until we explained that it was really being steered by a man at the front with a remote control.
After we moored up, we walked up to see the damaged lock. The pound below the lock was empty, which gave us a chance to see what the canal bottom looks like. An empty pound is a sorry sight indeed.
Today: 5 miles, 3 locks and 4.4 hours.
Trip: 196 miles, 177 locks and 161.6 hours.