On Sunday we were treated to a day out on a narrowboat! Not just any old narrowboat though - Captain Ahab's Wand'ring Bark. We moved just a couple of miles up the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal to Calf's Heath Marina, where they plucked us off Northern Pride.
We journeyed through six locks to Penkridge, with the two captains chattering away about canals and photography at the stern and Belle and I gossiping and giggling about midwifery and women's 'stuff' at the bow (that's the flat end and the pointy end Belle!!). Poor Jeff had to try and amuse himself between the two sets of jabbering, bless him.
There's a very quaint 'roundhouse' at Gailey lock, which was once the toll keeper's house, built around the 1800's, the last inhabitable 'roundhouse' on the canal ...
The round house has a fabulous book shop on the first floor - containing the largest collection of canal related literature, for all ages and tastes, I've seen to date. There's also a gift shop on the ground floor, all 'manned' by an elderly lady who apparently has lived on or around the canals all of her life - we'll try and get some more information on our next visit. We made two trips to the shop, on the way up and down, and will be visiting again today! I think we may be a little obsessed :-) though we've yet to part with any cash!!
Above is the Cross Keys pub, on the outskirts of Penkridge, where some random bloke tried to chat Sandra up! Belle and Sandra got a 'pint-to-go' from here - you take in a plastic pint glass, get it filled then take it back to the boat and continue your journey - what a novel idea!!
Captain Ahab looking completely chillaxed at the tiller
Sandra and Belle putting the world to right at 'the pointy end'
Belle, the Captain and the two boats almost kissing!!!
What a great day. It's always reassuring to find other like-minded folks who enjoy the waterways of Britain and relish the simplicity of life afloat.
In the evening we had a visit from another friend and her partner - Adele and Andy - and we had a couple of drinks at 'Misty's' bar across the canal. Unfortunately they weren't serving food and we'd almost run out of food and beverages on the boat so weren't the best of hosts, but we did find a smidgen of boat-brewed Kahlua from last year's trip that we had as a night cap.
Andy, Adele and Sandra
Today's exciting plan is to fill up with water and gas and find the 'Co-op' in Penkridge and get stocked up.