Today we were due to meet up with Sarah’s boss (and good friend) Donald, his wife Beth, and their dog Eira, who we’ll be dog-sitting for over the next two weeks. We set off from the top of the Audlem flight with plenty of time to go through the 5 locks at Adderley and on into Market Drayton for 12pm to meet up with them.
The sun was shining, and the Shroppie was full of lovely produce, from nature’s finest crab apples, to local stalls with lots of goodies to choose from.
All that greenery comes at a price though – a fallen tree was across the canal, barring all progress. Another boat had come across it earlier at about 9am, and then reversed all the way back to the nearest accessible bridge so the CRT guys could catch a lift with all their kit once they arrived, so we waited back with them in case they needed more cargo space.
The cavalry arrived with their chainsaws a couple of hours later and we followed after them into battle against the tree.
Luckily there were lots of boaters to lend a hand. After a couple of hours all the branches were cleared away, but the main trunk was too deep underwater to reach all the way with the chainsaw. It was most of the way through though, and after a couple of attempts ramming the lead boat onto it, and a bit more pulling all together on a rope, it finally parted in two and we could pull it out and chop it up bit by bit.
Needless to say, by this time we were well past 12pm time to meet up in Market Drayton with Donald and Beth, so instead they walked up the canal with Eira to meet us for a late lunch on board. Sarah then walked back with them to the car whilst I stayed to help clear the tree.
By about 3pm there was enough space for boats to safely pass; the sunken part was marked with a rope and some bags and left for tomorrow when they can bring a workboat up to lift it out fully. I then cast off to get to Market Drayton and meet up with Sarah again.
Soon after passing the tree, I passed the boat ‘Dogtannian’. Sarah and I both loved the cartoon series as kids, and their motto of “All for one and one for all” seemed particularly fitting for today’s joint effort clearing the tree.
Someone said we needed to do more music/video embeds, so for anyone left in the dark about Dogtanian, perhaps the below will enlighten you a little!
Speaking of dogs, Eira is settling in nicely, though still seems a bit unsure of what’s going on!
I took Eira out for a walk this evening, and was delighted to find Fred and Lisa on nb Chyandour (who we’d met at Liverpool), moored up just a little further up the cut from us. We had a lovely chat and caught up on news, and when I got back to the boat and told Sarah, she went walked down to say hello to them too. The narrowboating community really is fantastic.