Parcels. 17th October


The wind had died down enough last night for us to be able to sleep well, maybe our sleep was also assisted by the extra glass of wine! But this morning it was still quite blustery, so we were glad we had no plans to move on.

We both hopped onto the No 18 bus which took us back to Hanley. The countryside round here is ever so hilly, as soon as the bus levelled out it then had to go up or down again. This did make for very good views as we travelled along the A53. I jumped off shortly before Hanley and left Mick to carry on to the bus station.

My mission was to see if my wool order had arrived at Norwood Post Office. I’d had an email saying that it had been dispatched yesterday morning, so I was hopeful. It turned out to be the easiest Post Restante delivery ever, 3 minutes walk from the bus stop, the lady turned round and handed me my parcel. Brilliant!

P1150672smI then walked up another hill to then go down the other side and into Hanley on the hunt for some small moisture traps and some more crystals for the ones we’ve already got. For those who don’t live on a boat, they are prone to condensation. When the temperature drops again we are likely to wake up to condensation on the windows each morning just from us breathing over night. LPG gas gives off moisture as you cook adding to the damp air. So closed cupboards tend to be prone to damp, especially those a distance away from the warming stove. I’ve already deployed a couple of moisture traps in cupboards at the bow, but wanted some that I can put in our clothes cupboards and under the bed. Under our mattress the bed base has circular holes cut for ventilation. Between our large drawers in this space is a gap which can only be reached by putting your hand through one of the holes. Our long damp traps wouldn’t work in this space as turning them to remove them would empty the water back in there, defeating having them in the first place.

A search round all the likely shops came up with nothing, but in Poundland you could buy two for £1! I got four as they may not be reusable, although if I can find more crystals we should be able to refill them.

Mick in the meantime had changed buses at Hanley, the No 4 which would take him to Tim Tylers yard for our second parcel. This second bus took an eternity due to road works , but in the end he got there and picked up the awaiting new water pump. Three narrowboats were in various stages of construction in the workshop, no photos sorry. He then caught the next bus back to Hanley only pausing to get a bite to eat on the way.

P1150691smP1150692smI decided to stay on my returning bus and have a bit of a look around Leek. Originally a market town, holding a cattle market for hundreds of years. After the Industrial Revolution the town turned to the textile industry, much like Macclesfield with silk. Some of the mills still stand and the obvious wealth that silk brought is seen with large half timbered buildings. Down some of the side streets I spied the familiar windows at the tops of the houses where garret rooms would be filled with a weaving looms making the most of the natural light. One for sale has an attractive basement with curved ceilings. Whoever wrote the blurb thinks they might win the next Booker prize!

P1150679smP1150685smThe town is now filled with charity shops and numerous enticing pubs. A large market square still has weekly stalls and the Butter Market has stands several times a week. Wilko came up trumps with a couple of mats for me to cut down for our steps into the boat. Now loaded up and one more hill to descend I headed back to Oleanna a further visit into Leek may be on the cards.

P1150697smP1150700smMick arrived back soon after Tilly had headed off into the sideways trees, she wouldn’t get blown into the canal today. The new pump is a Jabsco which luckily fitted where the original Sureflo had been. After they were swapped over some blue roll was left underneath so that we could check for leaks. The original pump will stay with us until we know what Finesse want to do with it.

Shortly before Tillys allotted time outside had expired she returned meowing at the back door. A quick check for friends and she was allowed in, only to discover that she was very wet! I was stood watching the Canadians swim by and then there was this sudden gust of wind right up my bum! It made me jump! For the next hour whilst she washed herself dry she insisted on sitting anywhere where there wasn’t a towel.

0 locks, 0 miles, 5 buses, 2 parcels, 7 balls of wool, 1 wedgwood blue a lilac colour, 1 water pump, 4 damp traps, 1 exciting hardware shop, 2 mats, 1 chicken, 20p of root ginger, 1 wet tail, 3 muddy soaked legs, 1 very tired cat, 1 calmer cooler day.