08:00 Wednesday 24th November woke up to a hard frost
but a fabulous sunrise
the heron is all fluffed up to keep out the cold as he sits in the sunshine on our walk into Brewood and by the time we got back to RnR and prepared to up-sticks it was nearly noon
snow on the mountains in Shropshire - no, beautiful cloud formation in a brilliant sky!
We've turned north at Autherley Junction onto the Staffs and Worc Canal; this is Marsh Lane Bridge (67) a very pretty spot, there are always loads of ducks here obviously used to being fed from the bridge
and into the narrows ..
Forster Bridge (68) - Molly comfy and warm in her box on top of the back hatch seems to be asking if we really can get under this low bridge ...
I don't think so, she says, not without it taking off my ears!
but through we go without misshap - hope there's not a boat coming towards us
well at least there's a 'passing place' - for a small boat anyway.
We reached our destination point for today at about 14:45 alongside the Fox and Anchor at Cross Green near Coven. We'd planned to meet up with Moore2Life but had a phone call from Ann to say that due to the deterioration in the weather they had moored up at Gailey. We didn't realise until we checked the long-range forecast that the temperature at night was going to fall like the proverbial stone more each night for a week or more! I texted Ann to say that we'll see them at Gailey tomorrow!
We upped sticks from Cross Green at about noon after walking into Coven for a bit more fresh meat to tide us over a few more days.
not sure what these markers were - obviously new wooden stakes painted yellow at the top, they weren't an equal distance apart and were seen over about 200 yards.
about 12:30 approaching the Hatherton Branch junction there is floating ice on the water! We're glad we've moved on.
A wonderful view coming up to Calf Heath.
Arrived at Gailey at about 3pm and attempted to get a pump out at JD Boat Services - but even though we'd rung ahead to warn them and had asked them to try to ensure that the pipes were not frozen solid, they were when we arrived. They promised that they would take them inside to ensure they could be used in the morning .. so we went down the lock where Ann and Charles from Moore2Life were waiting. It was so good to see them again, the last time was stuck in the ice at Great Haywood in December 09!
I started to batten down the hatches whilst George went back to close the lock gates - he was ages and when he did arrive he said that the guy from the boatyard had looked at the pump-out pipes and that they were ok and could we go back up the lock as he couldn't guarantee that they wouldn't be frozen tomorrow! So down went the pram hood, out came the pins and we reversed up into the lock - George driving this time checking how the Axiom propeller coped - he said that it was excellent!
Took a while to get out from under this morning (the duvet, that is) I took these pictures at 08:30 ..
.. the brilliant sunshine reflecting off the ice covered canal - glad we're here now close to the services - with good friends too. The forecast doesn't appear to be any better for the next 2 weeks - so this it - the start of winter freeze - I wonder how long it's going to last - into January perhaps? We'll soon know!