Thursday 12th June, 2014 back at Aston Marina.
Another early(ish) start on a glorious day, which was in truth a tad too warm for the nine locks that we had to do. At Meaford top lock, we were confronted by a swarm of Environment Agency chaps and a sad array of dead fish. It appears that the canal water had been contaminated, possibly by a local sewage plant, and the surface of the water was peppered with dead fish. The EA people had removed some of the fish and we were surprised by the size of some of them. We didn't realise that there were fish that big in the waters below MM.
At Stone top lock, we met a pleasant couple on their rather unusual boat, built in China. M asked how it had been transported to the UK. Apparently, at 40ft, it will fit into a standard shipping container. They had made an extension on the back to carry their motorbike!
Only two more locks to do before we arrived back at Aston. Stone is naturally a very popular town with boaters and just south of the town there were dozens of boats moored up, so we had been very lucky to find a free space right in the centre.
Finally Aston lock beckoned and there was Aston Marina. We were home. Hooray!
M did a few jobs on board while R went in to Stoke-on-Trent with the car to acquire a new printer as our old printer had stopped working. By the time he got back, the afternoon had begun to cool off a bit and he was able to wash MM's roof down. Amazing how much dust and dirt accumulates on one's travels.
Then it was time for dinner - in the Bistro, of course. Where else?
As we walked back to MM after dinner, our way was illuminated by the full moon rising over the marina.
Tomorrow we are going home to spend time with David and Justina, who are coming over from America for a visit. Our travels will resume in 10 days, when we will set out on our main summer cruise towards the south, aiming for Gloucester and Sharpness via Stratford-on-Avon and returning on the west side of Birmingham back to Aston in October.
Today: 5 miles, 9 locks and 3.5 hours
Trip: 100 miles, 56 locks and 62.0 hours.