The Lady In Grey. 12th January


2.24m up 24cm from yesterday

Hunting round for some envelopes I bought before Christmas I ventured into one of the front cupboards this morning. Here we store Christmas, the white sheets from the summer, spare covid tests and extra wine glasses. I noticed that a corner of the wine glass box was wet. This was on the bottom shelf.

Had the damp trap in the cupboard filled up and over flowed? I’d refilled it with crystals not very long ago and today it was still empty. As I removed things from the cupboard I found a small puddle that had been sucked under a plastic bag on the middle shelf. At the rear of the cupboard it looked like moisture had been getting in at the corner, the holes for the shelf brackets showed signs of damp too.

Getting a good airing

Everything was removed, including the shelves. Dampness mopped up and then we set the heat wave fan blowing at it to help dry it out. Just where was it coming from, or was it condensation collecting in a far corner from the stove? With the recent downpours it could be rain water that had been driven in by the wind. Mick ventured outside to have a look.

Yes I know the roof needs a good wash!

First possible was the starboard nav light, although this was a touch low on the cabin side. It was however half full of water. Mick emptied it, dried it off then reattached it adding a new layer of black tack to the outer edge to help seal it. After he’d tightened the screws he popped a drop or two of Captain Tully’s Creeping Crack on them. The port side nav light was also emptied of water.

Could it be coming from the poppers from the cratch? Some of these are on the overhang, so unlikely to be them. Another couple are quite high up on the cabin side. They also got a drop of the creeping crack. The cupboard was left airing with the fan on or the rest of the day until we needed the space to go back to bed. The contents were edited and then returned to the cupboard, hopefully there will be more air in there this time.

The Lady in Grey

This afternoon I headed out for a walk down to Derwent Mouth Lock to see what the levels looked like today. I took the route by road to start with and walked past The Lady in Grey.

Back in it’s day

The house was built in the 1770’s for the Soresby family who moved to Shardlow when the canal was proposed. Their land spanned the cut giving them two areas for wharfs and warehouses for their canal carrying business (More info on the Soresby family can be found here on the Shardlow Heritage site, which is filled with information on the area).

When it was the hotel and restaurant

The Lodge was transformed into a Hotel The Lady in Grey with it’s restaurant it was highly regarded. The name came from the ghost of a headless young lady said to be hunting for her mothers lost jewels that her wicked sisters had hidden. Then it was a Thai restaurant which closed in 2008, this sadly was when the decline of the building is thought to have started. In 1967 it was awarded Grade 2 listing. In 2012 it is said that planning was sought for the buildings demolition and the site to be used to build three houses, this was refused. 2015 it received listed buildings consent for change of use back to a single dwelling with 5 bedrooms, things were looking up. However permission was refused to build eight dwellings in the grounds alongside the canal. Most probably the proceeds from these new dwellings would have afforded the restoration of The Lady in Grey.

The building is now in a poor state, the council seeking action from the owners, a s215 notice has been served on them requiring them to deal with the poor quality of the building. Such a shame. Most of the windows are smashed, wooden boards cover many of them. Photos from the local facebook page show the interior in such a dilapidated state. Here’s hoping that this once handsome house can be saved before it falls down.

Photos on the left are from yesterday, right today.

The towpath to Derwent Lock is now very muddy, slippy slidy muddy. The lock remains empty, well empty to the level of the river. I guessed about 14 inches lower than the canal today. The lock landing is now under water the edge of the river only noticeable by the tops of the ladders. The red level markers, one now is no longer visible, the other only a few inches away from being submerged.

Flooded fields

The parallel path that runs a little bit lower than the towpath is now submerged for lengths. I walked along it for a while relieved to be off the muddy towpath, only to find another length submerged and having to back track to the towpath. Two new boats sit above the lock awaiting levels to drop and there is one space available in front of the pubs.

Overnight the levels are forecast to rise more. Will the car park by our mooring get flooded? Will the EA flood gates be closed on the canal, if this happens we’ve been told that Shardlow Lock will be padlocked and it’s bywash blocked off too to protect the properties in between.

One day it will stop raining.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 more leak or is it condensation? 2 drowning nav lights, 1 house with great potential, 1 more lodger booked, 1 hour of numbers for next year, 11 Dreamies, 9 inches, 14 to go, 1 vat of bolognaise.