Green Grow The Rashes O

Last time I went shopping I wondered about getting more jam, but we still had a little. I remembered that we had had some good hauls at honesty boxes in August last year and wondered if that was just available in summer when there is a glut of soft fruit. We are currently enjoying, at breakfast, a particularly good jar from a farm shop in Great Haywood, that is very like home made jam. This morning, before leaving (but after the jammy breakfast) I went into town to get fresh bread for lunch. As I was approaching the small shop I saw the very thing I had been thinking about, not on a country lane or church, but on the Main Road. The contents was very varied. I chose  2 kinds of jam and two kinds of marmalade. Alrewas must be like “Ayr, which ne’er a own surpasses, for honest men and bonnie lasses”.


A wide range of home made preserves and an honesty jar collecting for charity.

I had noticed yesterday the saltire decoration and guessed it might be for Burns’ day. Up close I could see it was knitted Saltire and thistles bunting. Right beside it there was another blue decoration, not particularly Scottish, but certainly canal/water themed.

Swan sculpture called “Shoals”

We set off and as we approached the first lock and I prepared to jump off, we saw another boat already in it. I got out and helped and had a nice chat with the young woman who seemed relatively new to it all though it didn’t look like a hire boat. She told me it was her boyfriend’s boat. While the lock filled she went in to get something and came out rubbing her knee, having banged it. I commiserated and shared that there are always bruises when on a boat. I do still have some but there are far more earlier in the trip until you get the hang of all the narrow spots and common hazards. She wished us a good trip and told us the way ahead was pretty. So it was and the river section was smooth and gentle. There were conflicting signs , some saying “proceed with caution” and some saying, “conditions normal”. 

Shane worked the other locks of the day and at one had an extra danger warning to stop you pushing the end of the lock gate ( normally the most effective place to push) . To cross to the other gate he walked acros the roof and as I had slipped slightly yesterday I notice him take more care about moving round the planks and poles to get nearer the edge before stepping up. When I crossed I did not have to step up high like this, that is too big a step for me.

Shane pushing the gate arm part way along so as not to fall
Shane crossing over on the roof rather than walk right round
Stepping up to the edge

At this lock  I had also hopped off the boat briefly, as I was taken by another honesty box with jams and chutneys for sale. If I had not been well stocked already I would have been tempted. Good to know there are still regular opportunities on our route.

There are still regular bird watching opportunities and watching a cormorant catch his lunch while we were stopped for ours was a midday highlight. Shane had spotted a water park on the map and thought it might be a good mooring spot. The place we chose required spikes and we aren’t hugging the bank, but we did have a nice place for a walk.


Water park, late afternoon

We had a closer encounter with a different bird. We both took photos and kept hoping for it to come nearer.


Shane taking a photo of the robin utilising his new gloves.
Typical winter shot of robin, with ivy and red berry – a month late

As I was focussing on one I saw another arrive and get chased off. On the way back at about the same place we saw one again, and another one appeared briefly. It allowed us a little closer this time.


It stayed around as we crept closer and looked right at me but then flew repeatedly towards me. Perhaps it was a threat. I didn’t come by closer, but watched it hop around from branch to branch for a while. It was a ” rantin’ rovin’ Robin” to be sure.


Staring me out
Coming at me in fast flurries

I had taken the opportunity of purchasing haggis  back in Tamworth, and was quite surprised to see it. So I served up a large portion of the “great chieftain o the puddin race” with suitable accompanying veg which we both enjoyed. Shane had seconds but there is still more left over.





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