Waving goodbye to the ghosts of pussy-cats past, we set off to find some milk. Actually we needed a lot more than that, and were aiming for Rugeley, where there is not only a huge disused power station but a 24 hour Tesco and a large Morrisons both within a hundred yards of the visitor moorings. It’s not the most prepossessing of towns (to put it mildly) but the approach via Handsacre and Armitage Shanks’ factory, and the departure via the aqueduct over the River Trent are a lot more interesting than one might expect. The visitor moorings are justifiably popular with boaters with the two supermarkets, and town centre all within five minutes walk.
But first we needed some boaty things done somewhat urgently; Kings Bromley Marina is just a few minutes cruising from Wood End lock, but we’d never been in before. It seemed rather a nice marina, although turning and reversing Song & Dance onto the service pontoon was a bit of a challenge – glad there wasn’t any wind to speak of. Mind you, you don’t see another boat for hours, then approaching the entrance, there’s a boat emerging while giving confusing indications regarding his intentions, and one coming down the canal the other way seemingly unwilling to stand off while things got sorted out.
Unusually, it was a woman who appeared to give Song & Dance a much needed pump-out, fill her with diesel and sell us some bits from their chandlery: she seemed to be odd-job-woman and the overall manager of the marina too. Unlike some places, where passing boats wanting pump-outs aren’t always welcomed with open arms, the helpful and friendly welcome were much appreciated. Should we be looking for somewhere to over-winter Song & Dance further north than Cropredy, we reckon Kings Bromley would be high on the list.
Anyway, with everything sorted, we carried on and made Rugeley Visitor Moorings by lunchtime (we got the last convenient one). The quartermaster wanted lunch on board before a proper shopping expedition, so muggins nipped into Tesco for a loaf of bread and a pint of milk, even though we were going back after perusing the delights of Rugeley high street and market. Man plans, God laughs…
Walking across the car-park and service area heading into town, Fran was momentarily distracted, tripped over a sleeping policeman, and went down like a sack of bricks. It was quite a fall, with cuts and grazes on hands and knees, and what subsequently became a truly impressive bruise on the hip. Needing to clean her wounds and sit down to let the shock wear off, we made it to the nearest seat: a handy Costa coffee establishment.
Wounds de-gravelled and cleaned up a bit, with the adrenalin wearing off and the caffeine a poor substitute, we had a quick look round the “Market Hall”, which was pretty much moribund, abandoned the plan to explore the local emporia for groceries, did another quick whizz round Tesco and decided to unwind by cruising out of Rugeley into the countryside a bit.
The moral of this is probably that you shouldn’t kick a sleeping policeman…