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Greek Piggy Banks

We didn’t sleep well, bounded on three sides by the West Coast Main Line, the A5 and Holly lane which carries scores of trucks in and out of the ALDI distribution centre, our mooring provided us with enough intermittent noise to disturb us all night. We got up at 6.30, had a cup of tea and got underway by seven o’clock, entering lock six a few minutes later as the chamber was full and in our favour. It has been long written that the Atherstone locks are like piggy banks, slow to fill and fast to empty but the gates and some of the paddles are leaking so badly that we encountered three full locks (German Piggy Banks) and three empty with bone dry walls (Greek Piggy Banks).

We were clear of the bottom lock by 8.20 and took turns at having breakfast on the way towards Tamworth. After Goldilocks Sue had finished her porridge she went in for her shower and no sooner had she done so than the excitement started. A strange and regular tinkling sound started emanating from under the deck as we approached Polesworth so I slowed and pulled into the side to investigate. No sooner had I pulled over than a lady with purple hair and sleeve tattoos ran up and advised me not to moor in that spot because there was a wasp’s nest somewhere in the bank. I thanked her and explained that it was just just a short stop while I looked at the engine. The noise had stopped by this time and as suspected I found that one of the drive belts had shredded itself, fortunately the one that drives the Travelpower unit so just a minor inconvenience; well for Sue at least! Moving away again, I was unable to avoid nudging the boat tied in front slightly thanks to the oncoming narrowboat deciding at the last minute to move back into the middle of the canal. It wasn’t much but I did apologise to the owner as I passed by. As soon as the action was over, Sue appeared wondering what the various noises had been.

We plodded on in the morning sunshine to Alvecote where we stopped to see if the boatyard had a replacement belt but unfortunately they didn’t have the right size so we untied and motored on again. A bit of traffic at Glascote helped us negotiate the two locks there, the first boat up was a bit of a scruffy affair, crewed single handed by a well spoken young man who told me that he was taking it to London where he was going to refit it and refurbish it; no doubt someone else thinking that this will give him cheap accommodation in the capital.

Peel wharf at Fazeley was occupied so we didn’t bother stopping for the services and instead carried on through Hopwas to Whittington where we have moored for the evening. The weather has been excellent again, if a little windy, although we suffered a short sharp shower for five minutes in the last half hour of our cruise. We later took a walk up into the village and checked out the Bell Inn and the Co-op, the former was a nice clean village pub with decently priced drinks and advertising a Sunday carvery for £6.95. The latter was, well just another Co-op really.

We returned to the boat where Sue prepared dinner and I tried desperately to get an internet connection, finally using my laptop outside connected to a BT wifi somewhere.

16 miles and 8 locks today.