|That's a nice tug – oh it's attached to something big|
From Rugeley we headed down to Fradley Junction and turned right onto the Coventry Canal by the famous 'Mucky Duck' –'The Swan' to non-boaters. Few boats were moving through the Fradley locks – they were all moored up, leaving no space for us so we had to press on.
|We just cant seem to keep away from this place|
|It's been here so long, nature is reclaiming it|
We went for a meal with Tina and Terry down to The Plough, canalside at nearby Huddlesford. It was a pub which opened up and shut down with depressing regularity in our day but is currently thriving. And, judging by the Range Rover Evoques and flash Audis in carpark (as well as the price of the beer) it's not thanks to us parsimonious pensioner boaters either.
Goodbyes said at Streethay (I'm sure not for too long – we can't keep away) we retraced our route back up the sludgy canal to Fradley and then up the Trent & Mersey once more.
|Fendermaker's boat with a see-me-at-work interior|
At Great Haywood we left the T&M, swinging left under the narrow bridge that takes us on to the Staffs & Worcs Canal. But we didn't go far - stopping to walk back and take a browse along the trading boats grouped at the canalside. Among them were more old chums, Jo and Keith Lodge of Nb Hadar. They were selling Jo's delightful canal and wildlife cards and Keith's colourful rag rugs – more traditional canal crafts than the next door Pirate Boat's plastic swords and skull and crossbones flags.
|Shall I buy a plastic sword or a pirate bandana for Seadog Brian?|
Then, to end a weekend of catching up, who should hove into sight from the opposite direction but Sue and Paul on Nb tug Chug. We'd met them for the first time back in June at the classic transport rally in Lymm, gone our different ways and spiralled serendipitously back together here four months later.
And and as Mrs B had just cooked a family sized chicken and ham pie and Sue and Paul had some wine that just had to be drunk, we all squeezed round Harry's table and caught up with a summer's worth of news and gossip while reducing a fine pie to crumbs and some bottles to recylables.
And that catches up our catching up.