Another day of sunshine and showers; more of the latter than the former and most of them very heavy! The general mood on the cut is getting a bit more fed up now! People seem to be muttering more about 'property abroad' and 'jacking it in'! The on/off ritual of waterproofs and sunglasses is getting a tad irksome to say the least!
I often smile at the range of signs boaters post requesting, begging or demanding passing vessels to slow down. I tend to think that the more aggressive the notice, the least often the boat actually goes anywhere! This one made me laugh today.
What do they want - 2MPH or tickover: they are very different! If I passed them at 2MPH I would be a long way above tickover, especially on the shallow bit of canal that the moored boats were found. It really seems little more than a display of ignorance on the part of the continuous moorer but thanks for the chuckle anyway!
A little further along the Trent and Mersey and this was happening: I guessed it was a new marina and the sign displayed proved I was right:
I fear for new marinas being just started now. There are so many of them popping up everywhere. The canal bubble will definately burst and only the established ones or those that have something special to offer will survive. A couple of years of recession together with several years of total lack of summer weather and the numbers of boats will start to drop again until the respectable level of the 80's - what will happen to all these 'prestigious developments of marina complexes' then I wonder? They'll all be snapped up at rock bottom prices by aspiring property developers I guess - you wait and see!
Onwards through Stone with a quick stop to pick up diesel and fill in the most complicated system of declaration I have ever seen! I declared 60/40 but was asked if I have a diesel heating system on board. When I replied in the affirmative, I was told that 60/40 was totally unrealistic and that I should declare 20/80 - who am I to argue? Apparently they had an undercover customs man in the shop a week ago and a customer wanted to declare 100% heating/generating. At this point the customs official showed his card and questioned the boater. "Absolutely no problem sir," he told the boater, "however is one side of your boat dirtier than the other?" Puzzled the boater replied, "no I clean it." "Ah then you must have turned it round using the engine to clean the offside and therefore you can't claim 100%!" He allowed 10/90 instead! How petty and rediculous this whole system is and what a total free-for-all. As one boater in the shop remarked, "they used to carry pistols and wear masks - at least that gave us a fighting clue as to what they were up to!" Yet again, good 'ol England shall bow her head in meek obedience to the bundling beurocrats of Brussels and then make a complete disaster of picking up her pieces!
Ah well, here is my mooring spot tonight:
Looks pleasant doesn't it! Everone caming up was telling me there was absolutely no room in Barlaston whatsover and that they had been searching for hours. With this in mind, I broke all my morals and moored here - don't be fooled, the camera DOES lie! I have a sewage works one side, railway line the other and the position is actually here:
I have to put up with the scowling faces of passing boats - I know it's a stupid place but I spent the last hour crawling through trees and overgrown undergrowth and dragging the back end through every bit of mud I could find with no success so when the stories of 'no moorings this side of Stoke' started propogating the towpath and lockside, I was just glad to find any little bit of space I could get into!
Tomorrow, I have 9 miles and 6 locks to get to Westport Lake for the night - should be comfortable. At least here, I have a good HSDPA signal and an excellent satellite signal for the new series of Midsomer Murders!!