Rain Stops Play. 3rd June

Lockdown Mooring 4A, just

We may not have talked to some of our neighbours much, but we’ve got to know their boating habits quite well. One such boat is the Pooh Boat, they never stay anywhere for very long, preferring to move on every couple of days. Yesterday after we’d turned up and tied to the end ring, they nudged back towards the C&RT work boat to leave enough space for another boat between us, nobody made use of the space though. So this morning when we heard their Beagle woofing we knew they were getting ready to push off, despite the rain. Their beagle announces their arrival and departure as he feels he has to give a running commentary.

Once the barking had faded into the distance we donned our waterproofs ready to wind Oleanna so that the starboard side would be ready for painting should their be a window in the rain long enough. Multiforte dries quickly, you can apply a second coat after a couple of hours.

Almost on our ‘Home’ mooring

Mick reversed us to the the junction, where we winded and then reversed back, taking up half of our usual mooring here, the other half being filled with work boat. The rings just that bit too far apart for our 58ft 6″ even with a chain added to our ropes, so a spike was needed. All ready for a break in the rain.

Is it dingding time yet?

Yesterdays outside had been a touch too sunny. The other side of it today was wet and cold. What a rubbish outside! I even tried the trick of going out the front in case it was different at that end of the boat, but it wasn’t, it rarely is. Tom left the doors open for me, but all that did was make the inside chilly. In the end I decided not to use shore based facilities and reverted to my pooh box. I made a lot of hints during the day which fell on deaf Tom ears, but by mid afternoon he decided that he’d light the stove. Good idea!! About time!!! He wouldn’t feed me early though!

It is !!!

A damp morning required a good breakfast. The last two rashers of bacon (those in the fridge, there’s another 32 still in the freezer!) needed eating and I’d defrosted some oxford sausages. The last few old potatoes were grated up with a bit of onion for hash browns, the last tomato sliced in half and the last two mushrooms from the veg box sliced and cooked. A breakfast suitable for the day.

Hmm yum!

Tilly gave up checking on the weather for a while so we decided it was dry enough for the egg walk. The leak at the bottom of the locks looked drier, if you can tell such things when it’s been raining all morning. But on closer inspection the gate recess still has a garden of it’s own in need of re-pointing. The level of water in the lock was down by a couple of feet, so not high enough to leek through to the towpath.

Edges neatened off

All the way up the flight the towpath is looking neat and tidy, top soil added to the edges and the gravel path now compacted. New concrete slabs sit alongside the path, one with a bench. At the top of the locks the compound from the works was being cleared. The wooden supports that sat under a temporary flooring being lifted and piled up ready to be removed from site. I reckon by the end of the week all will be gone.

A boat was topping up with water as we walked past, the crew eager to get down the locks. In the back of the van at the egg farm there were still no duck eggs, but we filled our well walked egg box with half a dozen of his finest hens eggs. The farmer walked up to check if we’d got enough, he was just about to do the third collection of the day.

Clearing the compound

The long line of boats that has sat beyond the bridges above the locks has depleted somewhat, still a few which I suspect will move by Saturday. The top gate was open ready and waiting for the boat to go down, so we walked round to the bottom gate to cross the bridge and walk round the reservoir.

Blimey it was chilly up there. The view not as good as it’s been. Along the footpath there are now splodges of blue spray paint marking the positions of bolts. More metal stakes have been added to the bank of the reservoir. Soon you’ll be able to let a ball go down the hill and watch which route it takes, bouncing off the stakes.

Someone enjoying the wet weather

As we walked down the flight I felt the urge to work some locks again. Everyone has their own way of working locks, but I find it hard to watch when people make their lives so much harder. Here one lock was being worked at a time, no thought to fill the next chamber in the flight with the water from above. Yes the water does top up the locks as you go down, but so much also flows round the bywashes avoiding being reused. Of course on the Llangollen this isn’t such a problem as there is a constant flow down the canal, but else where wasting so much water during dry periods such as this….. The lady walked round the lock rather than cross the bottom gates to lift the paddles, then back round another couple of times to open and close the gates whilst the boat sat waiting for the next chamber to be opened up ahead, the wind in the mean time pinning the boat against the bank.

When we reached the bottom lock we swung the top gate open to save more energy being expended then was needed. Next week we’ll start to move again, slowly away from our comfort zone around Nantwich. Have to say I’m looking forward to doing the Trent and Mersey hurdles again, the Cheshire Locks will be a treat.

National Theatre at Home This House poster with treated photo of members of the company

This evening we watched the latest offering from the National Theatre, This House by James Graham. Set in 1974 in the world of the Whips of the House of Commons. It charts the farcical lengths they took in trying to keep a majority whilst the government hung by a thread. Labour all northern apart from one Cockney and the Torys all sporting immaculately tied ties. We enjoyed it but felt it was a touch over long.

0 locks, 750ft all in reverse, 1 wind, 1 grey wet day, 1 disillusioned cat, 1 breakfast, 4 muddy paws, 0 gunnel painting, 6 eggs, 1 circumference, 4 times round a lock, 0 impetus to do much, 1 stove, 1 play, 1 cat curled up on a knee.

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