Wednesday 8 May 2019

Easter Break to Market Drayton - Finale

Sunday was our last day of the trip.  None of us were keen to get underway as we knew we did not have far to go.  With the sun shining we did eventually get underway.

All ready to get underway but waiting for a passing boat

Yet another,  seems this bank holiday was very popular with boaters

Finally underway and approaching Bunbury Locks

At Bunbury we waited in the queue though only two boats were ahead of us.  As usual Chris went on ahead to see what was happening.

It wasn't long when she reported back that there were two boats coming up.  I prepared Marie to go in and expect to do the famous Shuffle.  Before she could untie  Chris reported that the owners of the two boats were refusing to do the shuffle and had already started to fill the bottom lock.  

Hoping they could hear I replied to Chris I thought they were being selfish and not conserving water.  She came back that boats were newly painted and that they did not want their paintwork scratched.  I wish I'd thought of it at the time but I should have replied did they think my helmsmanship was no good but then its too late now.  No choice we waited it out until they were through.

Eventually we could proceed and had learnt one boat was coming up.  The shuffle was duly executed, with no boat touching any other.  Smiles and cheery chat all round was had as we passed by.

Marie and I descend the top lok

The Shuffle Starts, I move forward, then Marie moves across making room for the other boat

The other boat moves forward then I move across to make room for Marie

Finally the middle gates are closed and we descend the bottom lock.  Simples :-)

The next locks were uneventful so we quickly got through Tilstone and Beeston Stone Locks.  As usual there was a queue at Iron lock but no one wanted to go through in pairs which is most wise as the lock walls bow near the bottom.  I did do it once next to a very experience boater but would not recommend it nor will I do so again.

On our arrival at Wharton Lock visitor moorings there was just space for three boats to squeeze in, so Steve & Steph, Marie and Graham pulled in.  We had no choice but to go down the lock.  At the Shady Oak every available mooring space had been taken on the way to the pub and through the bridge 'ole.  We had no choice but to breast up alongside our good friend Paul's boat, nb Jasmine, for the night.  It was now 5:30pm

We had booked a table for the carvery but had been texted earlier by Yvonne, the landlady, that she was fast selling out and would we like our meals plated up or we'd loose out completely.  We readily agreed and were grateful to sit down for a well earned meal.

That evening local guitarist Chris Fletcher entertained us and a great night was had.  This was a fab finish to a wonderful week cruise in great company.

Chris sings a power ballad whilst a happy landlady, Yvonne, looks on.

Fab friends and great company for the night to end the cruise.

Next day we took it easy and in the afternoon chilled in the garden making the most of the bank holiday sun.  The pub was busy with customers all day keeping Pete, Yvonne and staff very busy.  Its so good to see the pub busy like it used to be.

Afternoon Bar-b-q underway

Even young Smudge was chilled out,  most unusual for him

Steve (nb Merlin) is a member of a Beatles tribute band, he plays John Lennon apparently and also performs as a solo artist.  I could not resist the opportunity so talked him into having a bit of a jam with the guitars in the evening.  The pub was quieter then so we could play to our hearts content, even those who were visiting the pub enjoyed our little set.

The two Steves

So that's the end of our Easter cruise.  We're back into normal life out on the cut for the summer staying fairly local so Chris can commute to work.  Chris is back to work now and I am starting to tackle some of the jobs I've been putting off, but that's for another post.

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