Wednesday, August 26, 2009

East, West, where is home best?

Day 25, Tatenhill Lock to Rugeley

The housing market may still be in the doldrums, but the big Woolwich market seems to have been picking up recently. Two that have been on the market for a long time have both recently sold - Bristol, which I was looking at for a long time myself, and, today I discovered, Hawkesbury, which was priced somewhat out of my league. Saw the latter this afternoon at Fradley Junction (what joy it is to be travelling in the opposite direction from the masses for a change) and had a chat with the steerer. Well, that was the high spot of the day really. It's been a pleasant day, apart from the rain; nice travelling.

We stopped off at Kings Bromley for a pumpout and some gas, and about ten minutes after we left, I went to pump some more diesel up into the day tank, only to find that it ran out when it was about three quarters full. So we pulled in and dipped the main tank, and sure enough, only about three inches - which is basically all sludge clearance, it's not actually usable. We've got so used to not using any diesel, we were still thinking, oh well, we only got some a couple of weeks ago, but when I got the log book out and checked, it transpired that we'd done 99 hours since last filling up with 118 litres. I make that about 1.2 litres an hour, which given that we've been beasting up and down the Trent, is actually more economical than we expected. What we've got in the day tank should be plenty to get us to Great Haywood where we can get some more, it's just so funny that we didn't actually think of it while we were at Kings Bromley this afternoon. At least with the day tank you get a bit of grace.

Tonight we have stopped at Rugeley. I had to go to Morrisons to get a birthday card for my mum, and I couldn't pay for it at the kiosk, oh no, I had to queue up for ten minutes at a till with it. Then we wondered around for a bit looking for a post box, and savoured the delights of the town. Well, I have to say it is one of the grimmest places I have ever been to; a sort of antithesis of Newark. The meanest, nastiest sixties and later buildings; bleak pedestrianisation; loads of sort of half finished projects, like planters made of artfully arranged bits of wood, but then left to be colonised by weeds or even in one case left empty as a litter bin. The few surviving nice buildings just throw this all into sharper relief. There was however a shop selling nuts and bolts and rivets, which I may have to drag Jim away from in the morning - he was muttering something about a Whitworth socket set - but I have to say that it didn't look like it was planning to open any time soon, although when it does I am sure there will be a man in a brown overall behind the counter, with a stubby pencil behind his ear. There was also a charity shop for a local children's hospice called 'Acorns'. Surely I can't be the only person to spot what a crassly insensitive name this is for such an institution?

There was a thing in the paper today about how the majority of people in the west - and east - Midlands would rather live somewhere else - a higher proportion than anywhere else in the country (it was something like 83%) and I thought surely not... but that was before I had been into Rugeley. Perhaps they only asked people here, and didn't ask anyone in Newark.

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