Sunday, 25 September 2011

Magnet to the rescue.

Leaving Nantwich on Wednesday morning we went up the two locks at Hack Green. Near the locks is the Secret Nuclear Bunker With all the signs pointing to it, it is not a very well kept secret. It is of course a museum, we took Stephens boys there in 2009. On Wednesday we carried on and moored for the night between bridges 83 & 84. The following morning we cruised down to Audlum Locks. After the first two we moored and walked into the village before completing the other thirteen locks. We had a good day with most of the locks set ready for us. We moored for the night just before bridge 62, it was not a good mooring as a shelf stopped us getting right into the bank. Next morning we discovered that if we had gone past bridge 62 there was a proper mooring. Starting out on Friday morning our first task were the five locks at Adderley. With these behind us we moored two mile before Market Drayton, as is our habit we went for a walk. On our return I dropped the keys in the canal. We were locked out, our only hope was to try and fish them out with our magnet on a length of rope. It took some time but we were finally rewarded when our keys came up on the magnet. Lesson learned we now have a cork float on the key ring. Just a short run saw us in Market Drayton on Saturday morning where we filled up with diesel at the Talbot Wharf. As we arrived at Market Drayton we met an old work mate of mine(Dave Woodward)who we had last seen in Nantwich in 2009. Today we are still in Market Drayton, walking and relaxing. Tomorrow we tackle the five Tyrley locks a rise of 33ft.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Hire boaters?or Regular boaters?

As planned we spent the weekend at Wheelock. On Sunday we went for a walk along a dissused railway track. On Monday morning fully rested we Moved on to Middlewich it was a warm sunny day but still windy. We did the six mile and five locks, arriving at the left turn onto the Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch at two pm. After completing the turn and rising up Wardle lock we moored and had a late lunch. Staying at Middlewich till Wednesday we then carried on to the mooring at Church Minshull. At this point I discovered that my Vodaphone signal was none existent, which is why this post is my first since the tenth. Right where was I, yes we stayed at Church Minshull until Thursday evening, when after a walk through the village and back over the fields to rejoin the canal at bridge eleven then back to the boat at bridge fourteen we moved the short distance to moor near Aquaduct Marina. Leaving the mooring we came to the first of two locks that day. As we approached the lock gates opened for a boat to leave the lock, as we were very close we expected them to stay open for us to enter. We then witnessed the people closing the gates, I blew the horn but they ran to the other end and proceeded to refill the lock. It was quite clear that they had seen us but had no intension of waiting. When I challenged them about it they mumbled an unconvincing excuse. At the second lock that day the very opposite happened. Although the view from the lock was obstructed by a bridge the people checked before refilling the lock and waited for us to enter the lock. That is I suppose the difference between hire boaters and regular boaters. The first group were just on a booze cruise. At Barbridge Junction we turned right heading for Chester, however we were only going to the service point then turning round just above the Bunbury locks. This done we moored at Calveley. As I needed to buy my lottery ticket for the weekend I walked the mile into Bunbury village while Marlene did some baking. Bunbury village is in two parts and I had to ask where the shop was as it was in the far side of the village. We spent the weekend at Calveley and on Saturday we both walked into Bunbury for a drink and a sandwich at the Dysart Inn. Yesterday morning we went back through Barbridge Junction, mooring for lunch at Hurleston Junction( where the Llangollen Canal goes off)and took a walk round Hurls-ton Reservoir. Later in the afternoon we moved on to Nantwich where we are now moored for the night. This morning we walked into Nantwich in the rain for some shopping. We have decided to stay another night before moving on.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Damson Jam

First thing Tuesday morning we reversed Doublefracture to the corner where Marlene turned the boat in text book fashion. Heading back down the Macclesfield canal to the Trent and Mersey where we turned left and went down the three locks to the service point so we could water up and get rid of our rubbish.A further three locks and we arrived at Church Lawton where we stopped for the night. Our next mooring on Wednesday was at Rode Heath after another six locks. At one of the locks we met a lady selling jams and cheese scones for St Orman Street Hospital, we bought some scones. There was some nice walks round Rode Heath. On our Wednesday walk we found a damson tree. So on Thursday we went back and picked about 7lb of Damsons. On Friday we made jam, nine jars in all. This morning we left Rode Heath heading for Wheelock where we plan to spend the weekend. The weather took a turn for the better as we set off. After three days of cloud, wind and the odd shower, the sun finally came out. We arrived at lunch time after dropping down fourteen locks. Although the sun stayed out the wind caused Marlene some problems at the locks, but she coped.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

As planned we were moored back at Etruria around lunch time on Thursday. After lunch we went into the Etruria Industrial Museum for a look round. This was Jesse Shirley's Etruscan Bone and Flint Mill, grinding bone and Flint for the pottery industry. Bone for bone china and Flint for earthen ware. The flint first had to be roasted (or calcined)to make it easier to grind. It was an interesting afternoon the highlight being the 1820 beam engine that powered the machinery. That afternoon they were running it for a test so we saw it working, normally it only runs on a weekend and bank holidays.
Come Friday morning we move on to Westport Lake, the morning was bright with a little cloud around midday. In the afternoon we walked into Tunstall the nearest town so Marlene could have her cut. Saturday we stayed at the lake walking and generally relaxing. This morning we took the short trip to the Harecastle Tunnel, after about half an hour it was our turn to go through there were four boats going through we were third in line. We have done the tunnel twice before but this morning it seemed to take forever, in reality it took 40 minutes. Now we are moored at the start of the Macclesfield Canal, a mooring we like, having moored here twice before. It is interesting as the Macclesfield Canal goes over the Trent and Mersey at this point. We aim to stay here a couple of nights and do some walking, before dropping back down to the Trent and Mersey and on to Middlewich.