Tuesday, 24 June 2014

We're Off - Farewell to Aston Marina until the Autumn.

Tuesday 24th June, 2014 at Weston.
Yesterday, we came back up to Stone by train and had a late lunch in the Bistro with our friends Ray and Audrey who moor their narrowboat "Livein-G" here at the marina. Audrey is a superb cook; she makes, and sells for charity, her own lemon curd - a jar of which she gave to M - delicious!
This morning started bright but soon clouded over. The Bistro doesn't serve breakfast on Tuesday (boo!) so we had boiled eggs on board and then walked up to the Bistro for a proper coffee.
We washed down MM's roof and the pontoon side, then took her out to the service bay and filled her with diesel. When we brought her back to her mooring we put her in the other way round so we could wash the other side and fill her with water. Her tubs and troughs of red geraniums are looking splendid!
Finally, we treated ourselves to a last lunch in the Bistro, M bought a "few bits" in the farm shop and we said cheerio to all our friends there. We stopped to watch a swallow's nest in the eaves with five hopeful little heads peeking out.
We have booked MM into Aston Marina again for next winter so in theory, it will be October before we are there again - but it's more than likely that we may drop in by car before then as it is exactly half way to the Lake District, and what better place to stop for lunch?
We could delay no longer. It was an exciting, sad, bittersweet moment - we were off. We pulled away from bay A22, which had been MM's home for the last eight months, and headed for the marina exit.
At the exit, we turned south down the Trent and Mersey Canal.
The first bridge was not only very low but also sagging alarmingly in the middle.

Soon after, R spotted a flock of lapwings in a field; it's quite rare to see them nowadays as they are sadly in decline due, they say, to modern farming practices. At Sandon Lock we passed the little lime kiln that we had visited last autumn when it was open for just one day and we happened to be passing by. It was now covered in dense undergrowth and, if we hadn't known it was there, we would have missed it.
Sandon Lock was the first lock of our Summer Cruise this year - it won't be the last! This was MM's (and M's) 895th lock.  "Cor!" said M!
We moored up for the evening at Weston-on-Trent. In April 2010, on our first ever hire boat "Emma", we moored here and Annie and Paddy had travelled over from Gnosall and joined us for the day, bringing breakfast with them. They arrived that morning bearing not just breakfast but a veritable banquet, and we looked out to be greeted by what looked like two large crates on legs walking towards us down the towpath!
Sadly they have since moved down to the Forest of Dean so there were no "crates on legs" to greet us today.  Boo!
Today: 5 miles, 1 lock and 1.9 hours.

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