Chester with a day trip to Scarborough
Over the last week we’ve been bimbling around Chester keeping ourselves occupied with bits and bobs.
Last Thursday we spent an enjoyable hour at an Organ recital at the Cathedral. Andrew Wyatt was the organist, a local chap who played five pieces which varied from Jehan Alain to Benjamin Britten and my preferred piece was by John Ireland. The recitals happen every Thursday at 1.10pm and last around an hour. The chap at the reception desk wouldn’t let Mick pay full price and then insisted that we both got in on a concessionary rate, I wasn’t going to argue. It was nice to hear a performance rather than just a practice on such a large organ.
We called into the Tourist Information centre to see if we were missing out on any good museums. Picking up a leaflet of things to do in and around Chester we seem to have ticked off most things that would interest us. Back in 2011 we spent a day at the zoo, so there is only Cheshire Oaks to visit which we may do this week.
Just outside was a stall for The Dogs Trust. We walked past not thinking much about it, but then I had to take a second look. Was that Dante? The dog I had once worked with? The last few times coming down the Trent and Mersey Canal we’ve spotted him, he’d fallen in with a bad crowd and lost his way (see previous post here). So seeing him today all clean, spick and span, yellow neckerchief tied proudly around his neck I was relieved. However he didn’t seem to want to acknowledge me, staring away into the distance, one ear constantly alert, mumbling ‘Must Trust in the Trust’. I so hope that he hasn’t found himself joining a cult of some sort!
Saturday we had a slow day. We sauntered up to Waitrose to do £10 worth of shopping to be able to get a free Saturday paper. We then finished our shopping at Tescos. Mick took the majority back to the boat whilst I went to pick up my glasses that had arrived. It didn’t take long to fit them and my bi-focals are proving just the thing for my crochet or knitting in front of the TV, I just have to remember that I don’t need to look over the top or below them any more.
Tilly spent the afternoon outside helping me to clean windows and give the well deck a thorough clean out now that the coal stocks were getting low. Meanwhile Mick walked to Maplins to buy a new aerial. Our TV signal has been intermittent and the thought was that it might be the aerial. He returned with a Moon Raker DTV1000. This is a small black box which comes with a suction mount. First it was plugged into the socket at the stern to check for signal. Immediately this was a vast improvement to our omnidirectional one that we got with Oleanna. Mick has since fixed it to the magnetic mount that came with the old one. So far the signal has stayed constant.
To celebrate we had pizzas and homemade gluten free dough balls. These I made up from a packet of white bread mix. The dough is so sticky though that it was hard to make small balls, so they became more like dough dollops! They tasted good with some garlic butter, so it didn’t matter in the end.
NB Halsall was due through, so we didn’t want to venture far from the boat. New crew, Lee and Roberta, have taken over the coal boat and this would be our first meeting. So we pottered around the day until they arrived in the afternoon. The strong wind was not helpful to them and not being able to identify the other boat they were meant to be delivering to also didn’t help. They filled up our diesel tank and replenished our coal stock giving us chance to have a chat with them. We’ll be seeing them again in the next month before we head out of their patch.
On Monday morning Mick walked to Enterprise to pick up a van for the day. As quite often is the case, certainly on half terms, hiring a small van is cheaper than their cheapest car. But when you go to pick it up they don’t have a spare van so you end up with a car for the same price. However occasionally this doesn’t happen and you end up with something a little bit bigger than you expected. Today the van we should have had was delayed due to the weather, more hail had fallen overnight, no cars were available so we ended up with a minibus! I did consider asking if anyone nearby fancied a day trip to Scarborough for a tenner.
Routine medical appointments were taking us back across the Pennines. The western side of the hills were very white, but as soon as the M62 started it’s descent down into Yorkshire the snow vanished. We had a very romantic lunch sat in the car park at Sainsburys before Mick dropped me off for my appointment in the hospital car park! I was squashed and scanned with great efficiency and sent on my way. Good job we’d not brought anyone else with us as they’d only have had a couple of hours before we set off back, no time to see the sea or have some proper fish and chips. We did however get to watch the sun setting in front of us as we crossed the Vale of Pickering.
Today we have had a visit from old friends of Mick’s, Jeremy and Sarah, who came over from New Brighton to see us. After a coffee on board and a guided tour we walked up into the city and visited Marmalade for lunch. Soups and Herby Lamb casserole all went down well followed by some rather tasty cakes (every one gluten free). Just a shame that the upstairs room was a touch chilly. We had a few hours of catching up with news before they headed off to catch the train home.
0 locks, 0 miles, 2 non OAPs, 2 Hammer House, 1 Battle of Britain, 1 brain washed dog, 1 free paper, 2 new pairs of glasses, 2 many TV channels, 12 dough dollops, 2 pizzas, 107 litres diesel, 8 bags coal, 2 new crew, 1 small van! 3rd month in a row, 2 squished boobs, 0 dirty macs, 2 car parks, 23 tonnes of glue, 2 soups, 2 casseroles, 16 weeks wait, 2 old friends, 7 logs left.