It's extremely difficult to judge what time it is in the mornings when you have no timetables to follow and the curtains are dark green velvet and almost 'blackout' any light. Barry, bless him, mistakenly got up just after 0500hrs on Friday morning - he'd thought it was later but by the time he realised he was already wide awake, so off he went to look for photo opportunities (what else would you do at that time of day?). Having been a shift worker for much of my nursing and midwifery career, interspersed with more civilised 9-5 posts, I relish any chance to stay in bed if I get it, so just rolled over and dragged myself from my slumber at a decidedly more decent time of around 0830hrs.
The light and peaceful mirrored waters at 5:30am, were just perfect for photography
Even had a touch of mist - Sandra still sound asleep on the right ...
The Old Salt Warehouse next to the canal - now a tearoom
Stunning wild poppies
You have to look in all the unlikely places on a photo shoot ...
as often the less obvious make great shots
An abundance of public houses adjacent to the canal
A variety of architecture
Barry wanted to chat to the very helpful young man who works at the Marine Engineers at Shardlow (we'd purchased a back hatch cover from him last year that he'd customised for us at a very reasonable cost) to ask his advice about the rusty parts in the storage seats in the bow. Reassuringly and much to my relief, he stated that it wasn't half as bad as feared, and suggested Barry uses his grinder to take off the surface rust and put a few coats of 'Danboline' paint on. So at some stage on our journeys there's going to be some serious work going on.
As we now didn't have to stay for any length of time at Shardlow, we left and moved up to Sawley so I could use their launderette. So far managing the washing without a machine on board hasn't been too much of a hassle! We devoured a tasty fish 'n chips lunch in their cafe, then, on returning to the boat, poor Barry had a rare afternoon nap - he was worn out after his early start!
An imposing sight - Ratcliffe Power Station dominates the skyline
So it was around 1800hrs when we negotiated the electronically operated Sawley Locks and emerged onto the Trent, heading for the meeting with the river Soar and then the sharp left turn into Trent Lock, to enter the infrequently navigated Erewash canal. We thought just being on the canals was like going back to a time when life was taken at a much slower pace, but within half an hour of commencing our experience of this waterway were captivated by the atmosphere of bygone days.
and a closer shot of their smouldering magnificence
There were boats moored most of the way for the first mile so our short journey took longer than usual at about 1 mile an hour! Not only narrowboats, but all shapes and sizes of extraordinary houseboats too ...
Some interesting and colourful old canal boats
Incredible house boats not far from Trent Lock
Moored boats as far as the eye can see
Even boats moored on a little side arm
The 11 3/4 mile long Erewash canal was completed in less than a year in 1779 to carry coal from the pits in Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire to the towns of the East Midlands. Even though it's just a short canal, there's 15 locks to negotiate from one end to the other, taking the traveller up 109 feet to Langley Mill!
We moored just after 1900hrs at a pub called The Royal Oak at Long Eaton, ate some tea and caught the last minutes of the first half and second half of the England/Algeria match which just reiterated what I've previously said about football - so blooming frustrating, a nil/nil draw, give us rugby union any day!