Garlic Enthused. 21st April

Longacre Wood (1 mile to Preston Brook) to site of bridge 194 (6 mile to Preston Brook)

Tilly was allowed some shore leave whilst we had breakfast and joined the Geraghty zoom. Todays subjects, Tweedy Lady protests, digital signatures, Alan Rickman and grit for boggy bits.

Thankfully Tilly popped in to say hello so the doors were closed quickly before she could wander off for a few hours. There was time for a wave and a quick hello to passing boaters, some timing their arrival well for the tunnel behind us.

We pushed off and I set to with some baking, hoping to have timed things well for lunch. I mixed up flour, rosemary, yeast, water and garlic infused rapeseed oil. Popped it into a cake tin, bunged a plastic bag over the top and stuck it onto the top shelf, the proving shelf. There it stayed for an hour as we made our way along the reeealllly long pound at the northern end of the T&M.

Almost finished

The knitting came out the back again and pair 16 were finished all but the casting off, I didn’t want to do that bit in a tunnel.

We’d timed our arrival badly at Saltersford Tunnel, we had to wait for at least half an hour. Perfectly timed however to prod holes in the top of my baking and drizzle the top with more garlic rapeseed oil and then pop it into the oven. Add to this the aroma whenever the fridge was opened, I’d forgotten to cover the remainder of the wild garlic butter from yesterday, the boat was starting to be a touch pongy!

Saltersford Tunnel

A horn could be heard from the far end of the tunnel and about ten minutes later a hire boat came through. They most probably entered the far end just in the nick of time. We pushed off as they passed and headed on through the tunnel. At the far end I bobbed down below my baking baked, now it just needed to cool in the tin for a while before being consumed.

Coming back into the light of Barnton Tunnel

I was back in the welldeck in time to peer into the dark of Barnton Tunnel, this one doesn’t have timed entry as you can see through it, but only when you have just about entered it. Thumbs up to Mick and in we went. Once round the 90 degree bend under the road bridge that follows, we started to look for somewhere to stop for lunch.

Perfectly timed my rosemary and garlic focaccia was still warm and perfect to eat. In days before Mick was in my life, after a busy week at work I used to treat myself to a partly baked focaccia from Tescos with some Boursin cheese. The loaf still warm from the oven was an indulgent treat. Since going gluten free this is a lunch I have missed. Sarah Howell provided me with the recipe, Yorkshire rapeseed oil infused it with garlic and we did a very good job of devour it. I’ve enough flour left for a few more too.

I love this house

Around Anderton was busy, a few trading boats we’ve not seen before. £1.50 for chilled medication, maybe we should stop. But it looked like it would only be of the Walls variety, I seem to be getting a touch picky on the flavour front as I get older. I wondered if the crepes were glutenous or not, but we kept on going past, we’d after all just eaten a whole loaf of bread!

Boat lift, think we’ll be seeing you later in the year

The water point was empty, a second load of pants and socks went in the washing machine as the water tank filled up. It was now far later than we’d thought it would be, so plans to get past Tata chemical works were replaced with finding a mooring sooner.

All the woodland either side of the canal today has been filled with either bluebells or wild garlic. The smell thankfully upstaging that coming from our fridge! Moving past the blue haze of flowers isn’t the best way to take their photo as it just turns into a vague blurr, so I didn’t bother.

Hmmm, should we stop?

Round a bend we pulled in, trees and friendly cover for Tilly, a large puddle pretending to be a new flash on the offside of the canal. Time to use up the wild garlic butter. I popped it under the skin of the chicken for our roast tonight. The aroma of wild garlic is stronger than it’s taste, but still it added a subtle flavour.

When recording our journey today and popping it into canalplan to compare the distance to that provided by Nebo, I chose to use the mileposts as our start and finish positions, these being the closest landmarks I could use. We started at the milepost which said 1 mile from Preston Brook and finished at milepost 6 miles from Preston Brook. So how come we cruised 6 miles 6.75 furlongs?

0 locks, 7 miles or 6 miles 6.75 furlongs, 2 loads washing, 1 focaccia, 2 tunnels, 1 Pippa’s Song, 0 chilled medication, 2 outsides, 1 pungent day, 1 passing moron.