Wednesday, 6 July 2016
For the last week or so these are the sorts of views I have had from my loo. That is because the Shropshire Union Canal becomes increasingly remotely rural the further up you travel. That suits my craving for natural beauty and peace and quiet, but there is a downside. Since I left Market Drayton I have had little or no phone or tablet reception. I managed to make the odd phone call when I needed to so I didn't really miss having regular reception, but my tablet was a different matter.
I had not realised how much I rely on access to the internet and how many times a day I turn to it. I start each day with a look at the Met Office forecast. After our morning walk I check my emails and Facebook. I may also use my brain training app. After I have cruised or done my chores for the day, I'm back on Facebook and this blog. Being alone except for my dog 24 hours a day isn't a problem for me, but since I have had no access to social media, I realise that it is my substitute for company. How healthy this is I'm not sure, but it has probably been good for me to be off it for a while.
Since I left Chillington I have been mooching slowly north. I have been really enjoying my much slower pace. I might have stopped even more often than I have but mooring can sometimes be tricky due to silt and the infamous 'Shroppie Shelf'. This is a ledge that sticks out several inches under the waterline along most of the canal and means that flying leaps are sometimes required to get on and off the boat when moored.
I tackled the Adderley and Audlem locks, 20 in all and had my first injury since starting this cruise at the beginning of April, so that's not bad. I was walking the gunwales after having climbed up to close the lock gates (11 locks in a row were all against me and not one boat coming the other way -hard work). I must have lost concentration for a second and walked straight into my little brass step, used for climbing onto the roof. It hit right on my shin where there is no padding!
Never mind, I'll survive!
Today I went into Overwater Marina in order to pump my poo tank out and I decided to take a visitors mooring for one night in order to use their laundry and access their Wi-Fi and it was just as well I did! The pump out was a self service type and the staff member who sold me the required token reassured me saying "Anyone who can take on the Audlem locks single-handed will have no problem operating our pump out machine." How wrong he was. I won't go into the technical details but basically you fit a large nozzle into a hole in your gunwales, turn a handle and turn the machine on and it sucks everything out of your tank - in my case nearly a months worth of wee and poo. Unfortunately I didn't know which way to turn the handle and when I realised nothing was being sucked, I turned the handle the other way and that caused the nozzle to pop out violently and sprayed me from top to toe with raw sewage.
I cannot describe how badly I stunk, even Bonny wouldn't come anywhere near me! I went straight into my shower and disrobed under a stream of water. Then everything went straight into the laundry. I have just about boiled my hands but I can still smell them! Still, their laundry facilities are excellent and at least I can fill up with water again!
This is the facilities block. Very nice, for one night!