As it happened I didn't start entirely alone as my mate Stan helped me up the lock flight. But I managed to climb on my roof and up the lock ladder - something that was beyond me just a few weeks ago. Then at the top of the Fradley Flight I waved a fond farewell and cruised off with just Bonny for crew. I couldn't stop grinning! The weather was grey and chilly with just the odd bit of sunlight, but I didn't care - I forgot the sheer joy of pointing your boat ahead and just going. Last night I stopped near Handsacre on mooring pins. I really need to work on my arm muscles now as I found hammering in the pins hard going. My leg hurt a bit, but I am used to that and it didn't stop me taking Bon for a long walk as a reward for her patience on the roof.
(The observant among you will have spotted this wasn't taken yesterday - trees in leaf - but you get the idea!)
Today we cruised through Handsacre, Armitage and Rugeley in such thick fog that I couldn't even see the smoke stacks of Rugeley Power Station despite passing within a quarter of a mile of them! We tied up at lunchtime at one of my favourite moorings at Taft Bridge looking across to Cannock Chase. It's a safe place for Bonny to be off the lead so she has been very happily hunting mice in the reeds. Oh and the sun came out just as we moored - lovely.
Tomorrow we will mooch up to Great Haywood and stay for a couple of days before returning home. The temptation is just to keep going but my leg will only take so much before it hurts enough to spoil the day. I am so grateful though to be able to do even a few days. I really did wonder, whilst lying in a hospital bed, whether I would ever be able to manage the boat again.