Heading north up the Shropshire Union

And the winner of the best narrow boat name so far goes to … Sally Slapcabbage! Take a bow Miss Slapcabbage! Apologies for lack of photographic proof of Sally’s existence: she’s the one that got away through Tyrley Locks.

shroppie1We do however have photographic evidence of the pub that time forgot: The Anchor near Norbury Junction. Pearson’s Canal Companion makes mention of it as a ‘famously unspoilt boatman’s pub’. Essentially it is what would be the front room of a brick built house, with the landlady’s domestic arrangements just visible to the rear whilst one stands at the bar. Dear landlady has been in residence forty four years (a lifetime friends!) and whether by cunning foresight into retro or by pure disinterest in decoration, interior design and all things shiny and new, has maintained both small bars marinated in the 1960s. Dogs being welcome we popped in for a lunchtime libation and sat out in the sun with fellow boaters and their hounds. We were hoping to return in the evening for more beer and added  chips but in true keeping with the time-warped tavern it was obvious that it was simply a nuts and crisps establishment. Undeterred we did return but rather peaked too early as the expression goes: Friday night opening was a relaxed 7pm. We had a saunter up the country lane and back and returned to sit in the beer garden with other potential customers and the local turn with his guitar awaiting the magical hour which in the event didn’t occur until 7.06pm. We should alter our watches to Take Your Time round these old boatmen’s haunts in future.

Ducks lifeShroppie cruising has been quite a delight despite thunderstorms and beating rain. The canal is unsurprisingly terracotta in shade and our few sunny outbursts have penetrated the water surface to show it thin and clear. Indeed warm rays follow dramatic rainfall and one doesn’t know what to wear so one simply wears it all. It’s a duck’s life.

The Adderley locks finished, we moored just before another dose of rain and Mark tended to the grease gun, a messy job specifically designed for boys.Mark with grease gun The application of grease to all moving parts remains a constant task (rather like getting the dinner). The cunning plan is to get up early tomorrow and conquer the Audlem fifteen locks and reward this good behaviour with sight seeing and those elusive chips.

We swiftly managed the fifteen and took in the attractive village of Audlem, beetling on to Nantwich in pursuit of a hairdressers. Not having a regular gal to do one’s locks (locks of the hair variety!) is one of the few downsides to constant traveling (in case you are feeling like this itinerant lifestyle). Food shops and general stores are replicated in every town but a decent and inexpensive hair chopper is not.  The women boat folk of old would not have shared my problem – they probably washed their hair as often as I get it cut. How we used to live..

Thanks to Continuous Cruisers Donna, Mark (and Inky) for writing and giving us permission to publish their cruising blog.

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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