The Great Trent Thrash (interrupted) Day 8
Stenson to Fradley
It was colder today, and wet, so I lit the stove. Oh what joy. Regular cups of tea, soup for lunch and a Frey Bentos pie and tinned potatoes for dinner! And throughout the afternoon as the kettle came to the boil, I emptied it into my little 1-gallon water can, and wrapped in up in my fleecy shirt and my crocheted
blanket, and there was lashings of hot water for washing up. Just as well, as I hadn't done any for three days. There even would have been some over for washing ourselves (ditto) but it wasn't needed, because we made it to Fradley, and showers!
All clean again, and full of hot food, we decided to stroll down to the Swan for a post prandial pint. This could be such a brilliant pub, with a great atmosphere - and it's certainly popular. But once again the quality of the beer let it down, and while there are many things that should be hot and wet, beer glasses are not among them. Only slightly daunted, we stayed for a while making mutually incomprehensible conversation with a couple from the Black Country over the sound of the evening's entertainment, a man whose guitar playing was better than his singing, and whose jokes were far worse than either.
Finally, here is a cautionary tale, which I shall tell because it vindicates a position I hold very strongly (that position being standing on the step inside the hatches). Approaching Alrewas lock from below, there's quite a strong current, and to try to get into position, I was reversing, when quite unexpectedly, the rudder hit something. The tiller was forced right round with such force that I had to let go of it. If I had been standing on the counter to the side of the tiller, as so many people do (or sitting on a 'safety' rail, or one of those ridiculous tractor seats), I would without a doubt have been knocked into the water and disappeared underneath the reversing boat. But because I was standing safely out of the way I suffered no ill effects other than a moment's worry that the rudder might have been damaged (it wasn't).
For a long time I have been much exercised by how correctly to pronounce Alrewas. Today we finally settled on Old Walrus.