Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Hot Potatoes

Morning All

I'm sure you'll all remember the ditty which starts ' I know an old lady who swallowed a fly' – well, I didn't actually swallow a fly this time, although I do often seem to hoover them up as I walk along the tow-path, which isn't nice for me or the fly! This one was lurking in the bottom of a 4 pint carton of milk and splashed into my early morning cup of coffee – it's lucky I was awake enough to hear the 'plop' or I might well have swallowed it. Now, some of you hardy souls might have rescued the fly and carried on with your coffee as usual. I fished the fly out with that in mind but once I saw the poor thing floating in the teaspoon, I changed my mind and settled for an early morning glass of filtered water. This had the added benefit of preventing me from dunking my daily fix of rich tea biscuits which is the bad habit I adopted when I gave up smoking. I'm finding it harder to give up the biscuits than I did the Benson & Hedges - there are no patches or gum available for this addiction! I dropped Lidl's an e-mail to let them know they'd had a lapse in their normally high standards and I'm now involved in a game of e-mail ping pong as they try and shift the blame from their Teflon shoulders. I'm expecting an apology from Blossom the cow any day now!

When I wrote to you last week we were waiting in Kinver to get the cratch mended. We've had a very neat patch stitched into the cratch cover by the lovely ladies at Wilson's Canopies- that should keep us water-tight for another year. For those of you who were confused last week, I'll remind you that the cratch cover is a kind of tent over the front doors. It's made of black vinyl material, a bit like an old-fashioned pram hood - it makes a useful storage area for wood and coal in the winter and stops the worst of the gale force wind and rain from blowing into the cabin. I sometimes sit up front in the summer if I fancy a change of scenery - it's an ideal place to go for a sulk when I'm feeling out of sorts.

This week we left the Staffs and Worcester and turned once more onto the Shropshire Union, calling at Wheaton Aston and Brewood on the way and arriving at Norbury Junction yesterday afternoon. The canals are very busy with holiday makers and there was a queue at Wheaton Aston when we arrived. I wandered down to the lock with my windlass and chatted to the crews as we worked the boats through the locks – it's a great way to pass the time and you meet some interesting people that way.

Brewood Hardware Shop
If you're ever in Brewood I can highly recommend 'Powells Tea Room' – the entrance is through the Hardware Shop next door, which is quite unusual and I found it quite by chance. I'd been to the chemist a few doors along, and had a bit of a wait to get served. In front of me were a pair of frisky pensioners who were flirting madly over the surgical stockings. Not wanting to spoil their fun, I thought I'd leave them to it and elected to collect my prescription later and that's how we came to be wandering aimlessly about looking in shop windows. The Tea-room is an intimate little place with a kitchen area down one side and only three tables for customers. The cakes were home-made by our waitress, Karen and were displayed temptingly on a little trolley. Some lovely pieces of china were arranged on shelves trimmed with lace and our tea was presented in delicate bone china cups. I remember when we were buying Lady Aberlour, we had a test run with the owners Bill and Ruth, one lovely sunny afternoon. Carl and Bill were on the back, talking boats and engines and Ruth was entertaining Mum and I to afternoon tea in the bows. Ruth was a charming hostess and served us tea and home-made scones using a beautiful Crown Derby tea set - No tea-bag in a mug here. We chugged along like ladies taking tea at the Ritz and I fell completely in love with the boat. I try to live up to Ruth's high standards when we have guests but I don't trust myself with Crown Derby!

On the subject of eating out, Brewood was a great experience but it's not always the case when we go off exploring. We caught the bus from Swindon to Merry Hill last week - it was a gloomy day when we moored up and Carl decided he wouldn't risk doing any painting so we went off to see what was happening in the big city. Carl made a bee-line for Maplins as soon as we got there and I followed him in, trying to avoid the young men who sneak up behind you and ask in a really loud voice 'Can I help you with anything today?' I'd really like to respond by saying 'No thanks – I'm just killing time while my husband looks at all the incredibly boring stuff you sell in here' but of course, I don't – I'm far too polite! It went downhill from there really – the Food Court was like school dinners without a teacher on duty, very noisy and crowded with teenagers taking selfies of themselves pouting. I'm glad I'm too old for this selfie thing - I don't have the lips for pouting! Merry Hill has been forever rechristened Merry Hell which is a better name for it don't you think.

I'll close this week with a little gem that's made me giggle. I was talking to Mum about her shopping and asked her if she wanted any potatoes. 'Oh no, thanks - I've still got a 2 kilowatt bag left from last week'. They must have been hot potatoes! Sorry Mum, I couldn't resist sharing that one.

That's all from me for another week – have a good week everyone.

Love as always
The Floating Chandlers