I’m posting this a week late as I got waylaid last week travelling to mum’s to sort out a few things – I’m there again now after a fabulous weekend at Mercia Marina. More on that to come, hopefully before the next event on Saturday!

Doing our best in Burton

Splendid scenery surrounded us all weekend at the Burton Floating Market in Shobnall Fields on 13th and 14th May. Sadly the crowds stayed away – the challenge with this location is its seclusion it seems!

Hidden amongst a mass of urbanisation, we’d tried as The Roving Canal Traders Association to promote the event locally as much as possible. Local papers and radio for some reason didn’t engage with us as they have magnificently in other areas recently.

The people who did hear about us and came to check us out seemed to love us. There was a huge variety of traders. Probably one of the largest RCTA organised this year at 15 trade boats – and of course Funtastic Facepainting.

We had a number of fairly new traders amongst the group too which was fabulous – and a last night BBQ get-together was enjoyed by everyone. There’s something very special about gathering under the stars and chatting collegially about how things went.

Who sold what …

Which dogs tried to pee up whose ropes …

How marvellous that Mark got the local council to bring us rubbish bins (there’s no CRT facilities nearby, and a local walking by on Monday remarked how incredibly tidy it was, as normally there’s rubbish strewn all over the area from a few undesirables who amalgamate there).

Admittedly I ate too late that evening, had one or two glasses of red wine too much, and omitted to remove my contact lens before heading to bed rather late. I put another one on top in the morning, without realising, and wondered why I couldn’t see much. Barry asked facetiously if I’d got two in, not imagining for one minute I had! Long days, late nights, drinking on an empty stomach – not conducive to making sensible decisions …

Special visitors

On Saturday evening we had a special visitor, our friend Tony who lives nearby. Both his daughters and their families live in New Zealand which is how we know him.

Then on Sunday afternoon, Andrew Denny, Waterways World Deputy Editor, magically appeared through the undergrowth at the side of my gazebo.

Both men are very dear to us – and we got to see them both again at Mercia last weekend!

I was thrilled that a few folk posted photos on my Facebook page – check them out on my facepainting blog.

We had our seven-year-old grandson for a sleep-over while in Birmingham last weekend. I’d taken the train to Shrewsbury on Saturday to meet him and Lisa and bring him back – and the opposite on the Sunday.

We walked to the ThinkTank Science Museum in the afternoon and had tremendous fun in their Science Garden – and it’s free from 3pm to 5pm daily. They even had a model canal lock to play with.

Barry displayed his cards on Saturday, but sadly had no takers – so we had a rest day on Sunday and moved to Sherborne Wharf. Moored near the Cube and Mailbox was rather noisier than normal.

Birmingham to Burton

If you’re driving from Birmingham to Burton-on-Trent, you’d be looking at around 45 minutes.

Hop on a train and it’ll speed you along in 30.

The Home Brew Boat

About to descend Farmers Bridge Locks

By narrowboat however (especially as the Aston Lock Flight was closed for repairs, adding a short time on), we left on Monday afternoon and arrived Thursday morning! The time to travel by canal is about 21 hours – and 50 locks!

Actually that’s a slight fib … Read More

My initial reaction to the speeding fine letter sent to mum’s in March, shortly after returning from the family gathering at Northmoor House in February, was probably to be expected.

Annoyance mostly.

At myself for driving at 35mph in a 30mph limit. Admittedly though, it was directed more at the serious looking copper I remembered pointing his speed gun menacingly at me as I drove past him with mum and Barry in the car.

Many conversations since with people have centred around the ‘injustice’ of it. For goodness sake it was ‘only’ 5 mph above the speed limit! On a country road just outside a small village. Why don’t they pick on the crazy drivers who flash past me gently meandering down the motorway at 60mph, while they’re going like the clappers at what looks astonishingly like 90mph? Surely that’s far more dangerous?!

I bet a few of you reading have had similar experiences? Read More

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