Whistling Away. 17th March

Audlem between locks 11 and 12 to Coole Pilate Visitor Moorings

A sliced loaf of bread was found at the Co-op whilst Tilly stretched her legs outside. I finished off making a ball of gluten free pasta which will get turned into Lasagna tomorrow and fed my sourdough starter to get it all bubbly and frothy ready to make bread. Then a load of washing was put on.

Homemade buckwheat pasta

There was a chap in the engine bay of the boat ahead, the one that had broken down yesterday. The oil Mick had given them had ended up in the bilges, an O ring needed replacing and with that done the engine was fixed.

This morning we conferred with other boaters about what we should do with coronavirus escalating. It was good to hear someone else’s measured opinion, we were in agreement to continue cruising. Out if interest Mick checked for any available slots for online shopping at places along the Shropie. No slots available in the next three weeks from all the supermarkets and Ocado we were 7889th in the queue! We’ll be walking to get shopping.

I sent an email to Dark Horse to see if any decisions had been made regarding the show I’m working on for them. Most of their actors are likely to be in the high risk category so rehearsals will be cancelled. Later in the day I got a reply, the actors would be finishing tomorrow, then on Thursday a plan would be formulated, the outcome of this would be relayed to me on Monday, totally understandable. The model can stay safe and sound in a cupboard until then.

Just below the lock

It was approaching midday when we pushed off. Just as I walked up to the next lock I could see a lady with a windlass in hand coming up to the lock which was empty. We opened the gates and chatted away. They were on a Chas Harden hire boat and doing the four counties ring in two weeks. The bywash below the lock was a touch of a surprise to the chap at the helm.

Enjoy your holiday

Once we were down I was left to close the lock whilst Mick pulled Oleanna onto a mooring on the offside. It’s so much easier to empty the yellow water tank moored up on the port side. Once the tank was empty we pushed over to the water point outside The Shropie Fly.

A few enjoying the sun and a drink at safe distance

It was good to see people sat drinking up the sun and pints, not many but a few were spaced out at the tables. Tilly kept them amused by sitting in a window and keeping an eye on them.

Only one high lighted pooh on the whole flight

We were just beaten to the lock by a shareboat and then waited for another boat to come up from the next lock down. We swapped with then and then swapped with another boat in the next pound. It’s always busy along here, but we are always the last boat through so there’s nobody around to help us.

What a lovely view

Once down the bottom lock we toyed with mooring with the great view but decided to carry on to Coole Pilate. The wind got up, it got chilly, but then despite it’s strength straight across the canal Oleanna resisted the push, so some engine had to be used to get us into the side.

The visitor mooring here is long, currently there are four boats all spaced out with plenty of room for others to join. Should we need to we’ll happily nudge up to the nosy neighbours in front.

Our nosy neighbours

Tilly headed off to explore after claiming several of the picnic benches as hers. I mixed up my loaf and set it to rise for six hours on the proving shelf, it wasn’t as sticky as last time.

Outside the wind picked up and for the first time our chimney started to whistle! Maybe the height of the flue and angle of the wind were just perfect for it. All evening it continued, only one note mind. Mick tried adjusting things, he even lowered the flue to the short length, this altered the note by a semitone. The only way to stop it was by opening the stove door! Needless to say we put up with the noise instead.

4 locks, 2.37 miles, 1 plastic loaf, 1 sourdough loaf, 1 batch cookies, 1 ball of pasta, 7889th, 3 uphill boats, 1 downhill, 1 empty wee tank, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 1 cat with crossed paws, 1 orange pooh, 1 windy blowy afternoon, 1 nosy woofer, 2 hours shore leave, 4 muddy paws, 1 whistling chimney, 1971 Mrs Didcock on Blue Peter, enjoy.