Hooray! We have untied from Great Haywood and are on our way again. Following a completely uneventful - indeed, enjoyable - train journey, we arrived in Stafford at five to two, and chickening out of taking the bus, got a taxi to Great Haywood. I lit the stove while Jim set about pumping out the hold, and then I walked into the village for milk and bread and cheese. Wot no buns, said Jim on my return, but miraculously, I found some biscuits in the biscuit tin which were nearly as good as new, so we had them with our tea.
By half past three the engine was running and we were ready to set off, so we did. There's no ice at all now, and we got safely through Tixall Lock - although you can see why it needs repairing, water is gushing out between the bottom gates in a torrent. That's scheduled to close on Monday, so we've got through that hoop. Not long after the light began to fade, but we kept going as long as we could see and have tied up just beyond Milford Bridge, so near to the railway line that we can't just hear the trains, we can feel them too. Boating - makes you so hungry you could eat a Fray Bentos pie, so we did, enjoying this peculiar traditional delicacy with beans this time, and the obligatory bottle of beer of course.
There were little lambkins cavorting in the fields, and... Jim caught the frog that's been living in the hold for months. Heaven knows what it's been eating, but hopefully it will be happier on the damp towpath. We passed Debdale tied up on Tixall Wide, and I guess they'll be catching us up tomorrow... but maybe not; the alarm's set for an early start so hopefully we'll be 'getting 'em ahead'. Meanwhile I'm looking out at the stars and the water, and just feeling glad to be back.