2nd Birthday 15th February

Tower Wharf to Caughall Bridge 134

We’d been hoping to meet up with some more friends today, but sadly work got in the way for them. One day we will manage to coincide with Ali somewhere. This however did mean that we would be able to head off out of Chester and give Tilly some much needed shore leave.

But first there were things to do. The engine was started up followed by the dishwasher as we had breakfast, soon followed by the washing machine full of bed linen. As the water tank filled Mick headed over to the boat yard to buy a new bottle of gas and I walked up the locks to dispose of rubbish.

All this activity looked promising, I didn’t get my hopes up too much though as they have been dashed several times recently, so I just snoozed away the morning, with one eye open. But when Tom put his fat trousers on I knew they would be changing the outside today! At Ducking Last!!!!

Pulling away in the sunshine

At 12.10am we were ready and the trip computer had the start button clicked, we were on our way. Goodbye Chester, well for a few days as we have to come back this way.

Mick standing at the stern me at the bowThe stern with markings for the swimTwo years ago today we headed over to Newcastle Under Lyme to Tim Tylers yard to stand on Oleanna’s base plate for the first time and see the first markings out of her stern. What an exciting day that was to see our dream starting to take shape. Today could be classed as her 2nd Birthday (or Baseplate Day).

So there was nothing for it but to go for a cruise to celebrate. The sun was out, bright blue skies, a chill in the air and at times some rather strong gusts of wind. But as there are so few boats moored along this pound we could keep the revs up to hold our course.

Taylor's BoatyardSuch a shame, all breeze blocked up

First we passed Taylor’s Boatyard. The original boatyard extended further along the canal than it does today, the next building being made in a similar style, higher and now with the sides filled in with breeze blocks.

What a beautiful day

Gradually the buildings receded and our surroundings became more and more rural. A large area of tall trees hugs the canal for quite a distance, but despite hearing Tilly counting them all from inside we carried on, we wanted a few more miles under Oleannas hull today.

Is he stuck?That'll only make it worseThe off side looked like it had recently been cut back and soon we caught up with a boat that looked like it might have been stuck on the off side. It was a work boat, depositing branches onto the bank before carrying on trimming back.

Serious polarding gone on there

At the first moorings we passed there was a Winter Mooring sign, nobody was moored here, not an ideal site with no services nearby, nor a place we’d want to leave our boat for the winter. On we carried turning east to have a following wind, I really wished I’d had my padded trousers on then, chilly legs!

Somewhere decent at last

Soon we reached our destination Bridge 134, the nearest to the Zoo. We pulled in ahead of NB Greenlaw at the far end of the moorings, furthest away from the road. Once our vital mooring statistics had been noted Tilly was given four and a half hours to do as she wanted on the towpath. Brilliant! She came for a walk with me up the towpath something about making sure that my legs still worked, then I was left to get on with being busy. However in amongst the sideways trees there was one of those cat sized meshes, these obviously never stop me from gaining access. But today this one had mouse sized mesh with it too, far too small for me even with my dainty size. So I spent much of the time just checking out the friendly cover and avoiding woofers and cyclists. So much better than that Chester place. We don’t have to ever go back there, do we?!

0 locks, 3.95 miles, 1 bottle gas, 1 full water tank, 1 set of clean bed linen, 13 days in one place, 0 Ali, 0 Michael, 1 straight on, 1 blue sky, 4.5 hours of bliss, 2 friends, 1 cat with tail high in the air, 4 hours is too long on the stove for cooking squash, 2 years, Happy Birthday Oleanna!