Lockdown ‘Home’ to Calverley Services to 11ft 5 inches lower, Middlewich Branch
The Traders were ready to jump in our spot as soon as we moved, well that’s what it felt like as we’d been asked several times when we’d be leaving. Here’s hoping it’s a profitable mooring for them, although the weather the next few days won’t help.
Waterproofs were dug out from the cupboard, donned and we were ready to push off. Today we were most definitely going to be on our way, nothing to keep us anymore.
Straight on at Hurleston Junction, most boats have been heading that way to make the most of the canal before Hire boats come back out in their masses, but not us. This morning was to be a bit of a final farewell tour of the northern end of the pound we chose to sit out Lockdown in.
The fairys at the bottom of the garden are visible now their patch of grass has had a trim. Too early for the gardening boaters to say goodbye, but we waved anyway, the field behind their mooring looks like it will be maize as it is shooting up.
The pretty garden before Barbridge has a great display of blue Geraniums (that’s what our garden used to look like before a tenant thought they were weeds!).
Where the bins have been removed at Barbridge Junction, someone has decided to leave their bag of rubbish for someone else to clear up! It really makes me seethe seeing things like this, just because there used to be bins there!
Straight on at the junction. Past the services and on to the winding hole. No washing hanging out today, well it would only get another rinse if it was.
We waved to the people who live in the woods, Eeee’d with Yorkshire accents at the signs, waved to Dave and Brock from the Flag Bubble and wondered just how much longer NB Malvern would be sitting on the 48hr moorings.
At the services we came in carefully so as not to mark the new paint work, but it looks like Halsall left its mark the other day. Oh well that’s what rubbing strakes are for! The water tank filled up, our toilet refreshed, both solids and liquid. Plants watered and rubbish disposed of in an actual bin. The bin store was locked up with a C&RT padlock, presumably to stop house hold rubble from being deposited in the skips. We pulled along and moored up on the shopping mooring at the back of the Cheese Mill for lunch.
Diesel tank full, check.
Water tank full, check.
2.5 plus gas bottles, check.
Clean pooh bucket, check.
Clean pooh box, check.
Empty yellow water tank, check.
Freezer full, check.
Fridge full, check.
Fruit bowl straining under the weight, check.
Half a dozen eggs, check.
Rubbish disposed of, check.
2.5 bags coal, check.
Wine cellar extended, check.
Toilet rolls, check.
Second Mate, check.
But not enough porridge oats!
Mick soon sorted this out buying a 3kg bag from the mill shop. Now we were ready.
Back to Barbridge Junction, I stood as look out at the bow. A boat came out from the branch, no effort to move the tiller, just slowing down before they hit the far bank. Which way were they going? Straight on was not an option for them, but it appeared the chap at the stern really wanted to go that way! Back and forth, back and forth, I considered having a nap, but eventually they got round and headed southwards. Our way ahead was now clear.
Our time on this pound was nearly up. On the morning of the 23rd March we knew lockdown was imminent so we winded and headed up Cholmondeston Lock to a pound where we thought we’d manage better. Here we were 80 days later about to descend the lock.
New gloves and old faithful windlass at the ready I hopped off and walked up to the lock which sat empty. A refill required. Paddles checked on the bottom gates, paddles raised at the top.
The lady on her swing has had her garden trimmed the grass the last time we were here had grown over her head!
With the lock filled I opened the gate and Mick brought Oleanna in. The gate was stubborn and wouldn’t come out of it’s recess no matter how I tried, Mick came to help. Paddles raised at the far end and the water rushed out of the chamber, Mick and Oleanna descending into the full 11ft 5inch deep lock.
Oleanna has left Nantwich!
I got to do the hurdles as I opened the bottom gates, closed the paddles then had a request to leave the gates open as a boat was coming up. More hurdles and down the steps.
There were quite a few moored boats, so we pootled on to a reasonable gap where we could tell another boat had been, the long grass trodden at both stern and bow. Nappy pins were required and just normal fenders, no Shropie shelf to contend with here.
Ahead I could see that our nearest neighbour was NB Myrtle, hopefully the distance would be fine for two boat cats. Rules were read and Tilly was off exploring a new long grassy world.
As we sat listening to our leader on the BBC I saw Tilly charge past the boat. What the? Peering out the hatch I could see there was a towpath stand off going on. Tilly and Myrtle were stood a foot apart, backs arched and those strange noises just starting to happen before the sloooooooow manoeuvres. These two have had a stand off before in Nantwich. I decided to intervene, avoiding any possible vet bill. As I walked forward Tilly retreated. Retreated?! I had back up now!! Hardly retreating!!!! She wouldn’t be the queen of the towpath today.
1 lock, 2 straights, 1 wind, 2nd left, 8.54 miles, 3kg porridge, 1 boat ready to cruise, 3 crew members ready, 11ft 5 inches, 80 days, 1 new pound, 1 towpath stand off, 3 boaters on their way, 1 mystery left behind, 2 smiling boaters.