Tonight we reached the end (the southern end that is) of The Shropshire Union. We are tied up close to the stop lock which connects it to the Staffs and Worcester, and has, according to my Pearson's guide book, a drop of six inches.
The journey on the Shroppy has been good. Since we got into the narrow locks, there has been a Goldilocks number of boats about. Not too few - which gives us all the work to do, and not too many - which leads to queues and frustration. Just a perfect number so that in many locks we only had half of the work to do.
We are very close to Wolverhampton. We am familiar with the Black Country vernacular and thought it safe to engage a row of fishermen in some Wolvo banter. Not so. What ever they said was impenetrable. This led us to that most awful of fall back positions - grinning like idiot children. Even their gestures were ambiguous - were they waving us on or asking us to stop?
After a diplomatic exchange, it turns out they were asking us to cruise nearer the tow path so that we would avoid disturbing their catch on the far side of the canal. This might be us being thick but why don't they get a shorter rod and sit on the other bank?
One of the other mysteries is that we are tied up in a leafy spot which conceals a massive sewerage plant. This really smells but not in a way you'd expect. Why does it perfume the air with the scent of of clean laundry?