After hiding from the rain most of yesterday, I was keen to get moving this morning. I apologised to the Birthday Girl for the lack of gifts – delivery is tricky when you are moored on a soggy bit of towpath somewhere between two locks.
The only lock today was 300 yards from where we were moored, so I cast off the ropes for Clare and walked on to get the lock ready. I arrived just too late to help the folk in the boat in front, but early enough to have a short chat. We were both heading for the shops in Rugeley.
This bit of canal is very rural. Oncoming boats and encroaching vegetation were the main excitements.
When we got to Rugeley, we went looking for lunch. The centre of town has been pedestrianised since 1973 and was very pleasant. We had lunch in the excellent Roses Cafe near the market. In the Market Square after lunch, Clare was ambushed by Nye and David bearing birthday greetings and gifts.
Walking in the town later, we were approached by a woman who asked if we were locals. I reminded her that we had met at the lock earlier on. It turned out she was looking for a wool shop – I had seen one from the cafe window, but it was shut. She later met us again and said she had found the other wool shop – open!
On our way back to the boat we had a look at the Old Chancel and tried to guess its original shape. The board at the entrance confirmed most of our theories.