Monday, August 29, 2016

Pelsall Bound

Thursday started misty and mysterious. The canal was peaceful, and everything smelled damp and perfumed. We set off for Sneyd Junction with time to spare. We needed to use the services there, as well as meeting Ian.

The beauty of this canal is different from that of all the others we know. It's lined on both sides with reeds and rushes, and lilies yellow, white and pink. The countryside stretches are wooded with occasional parkland. On this misty morning, the colours are many subtle shades of green and brown with highlights of purple and yellow.

Ian arrived shortly after we'd pulled in at Sneyd Junction services. He identified the leaky fuel problem, and out it right fairly quickly. He told us some tales, too! Then off we went again, Pelsall-bound.
Old working boat and butty on their way to the festival
There is problem with all of the plant life, in that it makes the channel so very narrow. Fortunately, we only met one boat in the miles before Pelsall (and that was in bridge-hole!), but this canal is single file only, with passing places. And the reeds grow in clumps, and these break up with time and motion, sending islands of the stuff floating away across the water. Add to that the cast-offs of the locals – wood, tyres, shopping trolleys, carrier bags, a door, two windows and a toilet seat, then navigation becomes a slow slalom, made slower by the shallowness of the water. My full-time occupation is to keep an eye out for hazards on the starboard side while Grace watches to port, and there are frequent shouts of “Island ahead, skipper!”, or “Watch out for the crocodile!” (codeword for any Unidentified Floating Object). 

But frankly, the visual experience of the Wyrley is well worth the annoyance of the rubbish in the water, a huge tangle of which I had to remove from the propeller, and another mess of which got sucked into the bow-thruster. Fortunately, it got thrust out again later.

It had started to rain, and this became very heavy as we arrived at Pelsall Common. We moored at the first available space, and were soon attended by the “Harbour Master”, who directed us to our designated space right next to the main common area, breasted up outside NB Valiant No. 7, owned by a very friendly Sue and Trevor.

We were drenched. Lots of boaters were, but there was already a good festival feeling, a joviality that boaters have in the rain.

A week ago, we were afraid that we were going to have to miss the festival because of the time we lost, broken down in Audlem. But here we are now, a day early!

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