Friday 4 November
I’m sitting here at the keyboard, looking out of the window at the perfectly formed crescent moon and thinking, ‘Open the dratted side hatch someone’. Rosie and I have been growing our winter coats over the last few weeks and boy does it get hot in this N.B. Thankfully, the temperature in the boat is dropping now, but after my mid-afternoon snooze I noticed that it was eighty-five degrees. It’s down to about seventy something now.
I think it’s a bitofaskill getting the ‘justright’ temperature in the living quarters of a boat. My humans like a cold bedroom, but a toasty living area, so Tom keeps the stove stacked up with coal – which I appreciate during the evenings, and ohsocold nights, now that it is late Autumn. The effect of a constantly burning stove is:
Tom seems to enjoy it – even wearing a fleecy jacket most of the time!
Leigh strips off, puts her clothes back on, takes her jumper off, puts it back on and generally drives me mad.
Rosie lays in her bed dozing and dreaming – with the odd ‘woof’ escaping from her vocal chords, as she chases rabbits.
I lay on the step by the stove, get far too hot, fall off, plod into the galley for a drink, moan about the heat, get back on my step, pant and so on…
Mind you, Tom did open the side hatch this afternoon and these cheeky visitors appeared. Leigh bravely fed them a couple of crackers.
Anyway we are moored up on the cut in Wheaton Aston this evening. Leigh, Rosie and I went out for a walk on arrival (whilst Tom was tying-up, putting the canopy up at the stern of the NB and generally does whatever he does when we moor). It made Leigh smile when she saw the sign announcing the name of this village; she worked for many years for a company based in Chicago, Illinios and this village is twinned with Wheaton, Illinois. On that note, Leigh recommends Chicago for a holiday having visited the Windy City many times on business and on leisure. Maybe I’ll get there one day…
This week seems to have been spent travelling small distances, eating out at some fabulous pubs and (for Leigh) working and studying. She usually works just Wednesday’s and Thursday’s, but because she needed to attend and record a couple of webinars she appears to have worked part of everyday. Hey ho – I won’t moan too much even though it means my ‘keyboard-time’ gets stolen! What ‘gets Leigh’s goat’ is that when she is working inside whilst we are cruising, Tom gets to enjoy the amazing scenery and has spotted several kingfishers. She resents every second of being cooped up! When we discussing life on the canal we both agreed that it’s akin to living in a Turner or Constable painting.
Leigh enjoyed being pampered on Wednesday. We were moored on the Shropshire Union canal in a village called Gnosall Heath. Because we were only around thirty-five minutes away from Telford (by car) Emily (who has a salon and is the partner of Tom’s son, Ian) collected Leigh, took her to the salon, cut and coloured her hair, took her to a supermarket and then back to the boat. It was heaven for Leigh – a real treat and very much appreciated.
To celebrate her new hair-do we all went out to a pub called ‘The Boat Inn’ for dinner. The pub has a large collection of Toby Jugs, does fabulous food and the locals and staff were all super-friendly.
Rosie and I were complimented on our behaviour and our humans took the compliments well; usually they say, ‘Yes they are good when we eat out, but they can be little monsters…’, and then go on to explain that we are not the perfect pair that many observers believe us to be. I do love it when my humans warn other dog-walkers who are approaching us, saying, ‘I’ll apologise now, as these two are not dog-friendly and will bark’, then Rosie and I don’t bark at all. It’s great fun!
Sunday 30 October
We had visitors today! Ian and Emily drove over and all humans spent a few hours chatting about allsortsofstuff. At lunchtime we strolled the few yards to a pub called ‘The Anchor’ in High Offley. This teeny pub is well-known to boaters and well-loved. Scrumpy cider and real ales are on offer, along with ghosts, ghouls and graves; the latter were Halloween decorations! Seriously, this little pub is included in the CAMRA guide to Historic Pubs and it really is like going back to the fifties/sixties – a must-visit pub if you are in the area. Word of warning though – the pub is not always open but Sunday lunchtime is a good bet. Leigh and Tom popped back on Sunday evening but the pub was closed and they were quite disappointed!
Saturday 29 October
We moored at Knighton today on a ‘planned visit’, which is unusual for us as you will have gathered if you have read much of my travels. The main reason for our visit was that Tom had read about a pub (Surprised? Surely not!) called The Haberdashers Arms. This quaint little pub has a charming collection of Oil Filled Lamps…and jars of allthingspickled (for sale).
Once a month they turn off the electric so the only light is that which is provided by the Oil Lamps – this must be quite magical. The next one is on the twelf of November but sadly we will be long gone. Leigh has added this to her list of ‘Places to visit in the future’. If I were you, I would google the Haberdashers Arms and see if you can plan a visit on one of the Oil Lamp evenings. You could easily spend a few days visiting the surrounding area but make you visit when the evenings are dark – late Autumn/Winter to get the best, mostcosiest effect!! Leigh and Tom bought a jar of pickled onions and were chatting to one of the locals who – after hearing that we are living on a boat – told Leigh, ‘You can camp here, or bring a caravan. There are shower blocks too that you can use’. Leigh was left wondering why he told her this – perhaps he thought:
1. She would get so drunk during the evening that she wouldn’t make the ten minute walk back to the boat so could simply roll out of the pub into a tent
2. She smelt and needed a shower
Friday 28 October
Today saw us floating down the Shropshire Union canal ending up outside a pub – I am sure this is planned by my humans – called The Wharf. Located in the small hamlet of Cheswardine – which consists of a very few houses – this pub has enough custom to warrant booking ahead, to be sure to get a table. One reason that it’s so busy is that there are a good number of permanently moored boats and two small caravan sites adjacent to the pub.
My humans enjoyed a well-portioned dinner in the Wharf, which was very filling, yet…both ordered puddings. (I feel a snort coming on!) Tom had bread and butter pudding and Leigh ordered an Ice Cream Sundae. Because they wanted to be back at the boat for nine-o-clock (for the last episode of a gripping T.V. series called ‘The Fall’) Leigh brought her pudding back to the boat. She did take the sundae dish and spoon back the next morning; after washing and drying them, of course! I’m not sure if this is normal behaviour but the manager was quite happy to let Leigh do so!
Note: Leigh wanted me to emphasise that, although there are many pubs mentioned in this particular post, none of us are (yet) alchoholics. We just enjoy visiting pubs and chatting to locals…not sure I beleive that. M!