Sarah was right. The little bakery in Penkridge is a cracker and well worth the walk into the village. All kind of cakes, buns, scones baked fresh that morning and all looking magnificent. We of course weakened and bought several naughty items.
Across the road the butcher was just as good. A proper traditional butcher using locally sourced meat and making his own pies and dry curing his own bacon. We bought quite a lot of fresh meat, sausages, old spot bacon, and pies. Someone else had tipped us off that he will vacuum pack the fresh meat on request, so that it will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks. Ideal for the travelling boater. Not only did he round our bill down to the nearest pound, but he gave us an extra half a large pork pie for free. We have one of his steak pies in the oven as I write.
We managed to do all our locks before the rain set in today, the last being Gailey lock where we popped into the little round toll house, for many years a shop selling canal ware, books, pictures, gifts and all that stuff. The last time we were there was in 1991 but I don't think it has changed. Neither has the lady behind the till. Alright, like us she is 22 years older but it is the same lady.
Right now we are out in the sticks about three miles above Wolverhampton. Tomorrow we hope to get ourselves past the amazing Bratch locks and we are on course to get to Stourport by Sunday evening. We're watching the Internet reports on river levels on the Severn and the Avon. As long as we don't get a lot more rain, it's all systems go for our river adventure.