With everyone suitably repatriated onto the boat, we commenced a revisiting of our first year’s journey in Song & Dance, although with shortening and cooling days and largely indifferent weather, there was much less to write home about.
Tuesday night saw us mooring opposite the World of Wedgewood factory and visitor complex: the quartermaster’s first job was to tour the establishment stocking up on Christmas and Birthday presents of the bone china variety. As well as travelling this way on Song & Dance’s first proper cruise, we had been on this stretch of the Trent & Mersey canal many times before; Wednesday saw us tying up in Sir’s favourite spot just below the Star Inn at Stone bottom lock, and by Friday evening we’d reached Fradley Junction without any problems with the Captain disappearing. This success was celebrated by dinner in the well known pub The Swan (aka The Mucky Duck), which was surprisingly quiet.
Turning onto the Coventry Canal at Fradley on the Saturday morning, we stopped at Streethay Wharf for fuel: an interesting little spot with a novel approach to mooring boats: they’re randomly scattered over the cut up to three deep, and if there’s a queue for diesel…
Just beyond Streethay we moored up for lunch, then realised we were in the overun area of an airstrip we’d never noticed before, and kept our fingers crossed.
Staying on the Coventry Canal at Fazeley Junction, we stopped just short of Tamworth, and on Sunday morning stumbled on the Tamworth 10K Charity Run, which kept the towpath busy! They seemed to have a novel approach to stewarding.
Just a bit further down, we wondered what this builder chap was doing filling his containers with canal water, when there was a perfectly good tap a few yards away at the lock.
The weather was by now so pleasant that we stopped for an al fresco Sunday lunch at the Samuel Barlow…
… where Sir posed in the best place to ensure that everyone knew the boat needed a wash and polish, then demanded pudding. Fran and Biggles had stayed here for a couple of days on the first cruise, due to a funeral your scribe had to attend. Pub seems to have changed hands since then. Eventually, a post-prandial cruise saw us mooring up on the outskirts of Atherstone after a busy week.