Farewell 2021, part five. Tis the season to be Jolly

December decisions. We do love living on a boat, but sometimes it’s management is hard work. We wanted to travel south, but events were conspiring around us so we set off north on the Staffs and Worcester. December became an exercise in time management, getting us from A to B on the right day. Thankfully non of our days were long cruises and although we were conscious of various deadlines we still found a lot to enjoy, even misty mornings have a certain beauty.

Coven Heath

Our first stay was in Penkridge with a convenient train station so I took the opportunity to visit Mum in the Lakes. Whist Eric got on with some work…..

I love being back in the Lakes

And when I got back we set off in the snow to reach Stafford,

Snowy Penkridge

Thankfully the snow didn’t last too long, and the canal didn’t freeze, although it was bitterly cold. The sun shone and we got our rainbow as we slipped and skidded our way up to the vaccination centre for our boosters

Radford Bank, Stafford

Our next stop was to reach Great Haywood Marina on the Trent and Mersey. Because that was the only marina we could find that had a week’s temporary mooring for Firecrest whilst we both returned home.

Great Haywood Marina

But en route we had a windy night on the Tixall wides.

Tixall Wides

It was lovely to be home for “First Christmas”, knowing if we had left it another week or two, there was a possibility we wouldn’t have been allowed to get together, and this was the first time Tim and Heather had been together since January 2020.

The pizza is a jigsaw, not tea for all of us

Once we were back on board Firecrest, we set about retracing our steps back onto the Staffs and Worcester, a brief stop in Stafford for the very convenient Aldi, and a peaceful plot in Penkridge, where we got our flu vaccine. Ironically our quiet mooring in Penkridge runs parallel to the M6, it would be noisy in summer with windows open but we had battoned down the hatches so not disturbed.

That’s the M6 motorway across the field

We got to be good Samaritan’s the week before Christmas when we were flagged down by another boater, they had sprung a hull leak and their overworked bilge pump had drained the batteries. They were in serious risk of sinking cause they were already paddling in water. Thankfully Eric had a spare pump and enough battery power, to stop it getting any worse whilst they waited for professional help to arrive. The boat was new to them and even though they’d had it out of the water for a survey, the problem hadn’t shown up. They hadn’t heard the boaters acronym “Bring On Another Thousand”
Our maintenance was relatively painless this time, as Eric did the generator service and oil change.

Sitting down on the job…

I consider it to be a fair exchange of labour, cause I happily cooked a big roast duck for our Christmas dinner, from Russell’s, the first class butchers… not the canal

A happy Christmas on board Firecrest

We continued cruising south to see out the year, and had and amazing day with our friends Helen and James on new years eve.

Setting James to work doing the locks

What a finale, we’re back on track, heading south and looking forward to an exciting adventure in 2022