Category Archives: Boat cats

The Stuff Of Life. 26th March

Lockdown Mooring 1

My Dad, Fatso (as I used to call him), had a saying as he cut a slice of bread and passed it across the dining table speared on the end of the bread knife, The stuff of life at the point of death. Well we’ve not reached that point yet, but today I had a request to make some bread. Some full fat, glutenous bread. Luckily for Mick the baking drawer had a bag of flour for such emergencies, the use by date the end of the month.

So we might have stocked up on gf black pudding!

Whilst I was at it I woke my sour dough starter up and gave it a feed. My sorghum flour stash was nearly out, so I’m trying to ween it onto brown rice flour, with the hope that it will still be happy. A warm up, feed and it was left to start bubbling and expanding.

Rising

Micks loaf was mixed and kneaded then left to rise on the proving shelf, where it did it’s thing in an hour was knocked back put in a tin and left to rise again. Then into the oven, followed by five minutes out of it’s tin upside down.

My friend Graham sent through a quote to build the elements of the set for The Garden. This got me back looking at my budget and getting myself totally confused for a while. I’ll have another look in a few days once the model is finished.

The Stuff of Life

Mick hunted round for some boat insurance quotes, our premium seems to go up every year despite Oleanna no doubt loosing value. Specific questions regarding policies need to be answered before we commit to a company.

My attention turned to the little project I’d started yesterday. I now needed a cast for my little show. The last two years panto photographs were gone through and actors auditioned. Those selected were all made the same size, printed out and then cut round. Placards were updated and everyone fixed in position, so nobody could upstage the others.

Tilly bring her friends near

Now was the time to film some footage. But where? For it to work I built a little stage out of books on top of the thin cupboard between the galley and dinette. This meant I could raise and lower things. Camera position was next. My sewing box and the shoe box I keep model bits in were just about the right height.

All will be revealed tomorrow

Filming began. I hadn’t remembered my lines, I only had two!

The boat rocked as Mick stepped on and off the bow.

Tilly decided to come home and see what was happening.

The timer on the oven kept binging.

But in the end after numerous takes I got a couple that were good.

The evening was spent editing. I’d hoped I could crop the sides of the footage, but this simply wasn’t within my skill set so I would have to cope with lots of people seeing our mountain of washing up in the background, along with the oven fan and Tilly ringing her bell!

Christmas tree, ash can and bucket positioned to help with social distancing

Ten boats have come past today, two winding and returning. One pulled in nearer the bridge behind us. A few boats that have been moored here have moved off, presumably heading to do some shopping. We’ll need to move tomorrow for water and then shopping too. Hopefully we’ll find another mooring that is deemed good for Tilly, although I think a day inside catching up on her sleep is called for.

A third stamp of approval?

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 cooked breakfast, 65 C&RT notices regarding only essential movement being allowed, 10 boats, 2 kayaks, 1 loaf bread, 1 pizza dough fermenting, 1 fridge nearly bare, 22 takes, 1 edited, 1 whatsap’d for tomorrow, 3 Insurance quotes, 0 news on Jac, bakers dozen cast, 1 cat upstaging, 15 minutes at home, 1 plus friends consumed.

Drifting On By. 25th Marc

Lockdown Mooring 1

Lockdown Mooring 1

The mornings are filled with sunlight at the moment and sleeping past 7am is getting hard, this will help next week not to feel too lazy when the clocks have jumped forward. Our mooring is close ish to the railway but with the reduced time table we rarely hear them, instead the world is filled with bird song. That is until a boat comes past, I can hear them from quite a distance at the moment.

This morning we were expecting at least one boat, NB Briar Rose. Adam and Adrian had set off almost three weeks ago from their marina on the Grand Union and had headed for the North. Sadly most of the north is still closed due to storm damage. Now Corona-19 has stopped all but essential navigation of the network, they’d been feeling the lock down approaching in the water too, so had turned round a few days ago. NB Briar Rose is being left at a marina and they will be returning home, four weeks early.

Adrian and Adam

They were the first boat to come past this morning and we managed to have a chat with them as they drifted past at a safe distance. Tilly was a touch disappointed not to see Adam as last summer he visited us in Guildford and brought her lots of treats. But she was far too busy in the sideways trees to even pop her head out to acknowledge them. We wished them a safe journey home.

What’s that over there?

Tilly spent much of the day outside. Luckily there seems to be a lot to keep her occupied and today she managed to keep to the newest rule of using shore based facilities. She’s a touch exhausted so you may not hear from her for a while.

I continued painting my model and then in the afternoon moved onto a new project that needs to be done for Friday. My stocks of card are kept low on the boat due to lack of storage, but an old pad of tracing paper provided me with enough card for my model. Tomorrow I’ll finish it and be able to post some footage on line.

The basic bits cut out

Mick started on his list of jobs. Today to grease the hatch doors and locker lids. As the weather gets warmer a lot of our hinges (Oleanna’s not ours) start to creak and we always intend to give things a good grease. Well today the side hatch doors were take off and some stern gland grease applied. The two bow locker lids also had the same treatment.

It came off in my hand

These took a bit of removing so Mick dug the Hebble Spike out from a locker and used it to cushion the hammer blows to nudge the lids along their hinges. Sadly the locker lids are in need of some attention from me as they are not quite central to the opening. So as they get opened and closed any grit down the side has worked the paint off and now rust is working it’s way along. These have been on my list of jobs to do for a while.

Hebble spike coming in handy

A walk to the chandlers on the off chance of some milk. The café window was open but nobody was around to serve. The lady at the chandlers hadn’t been able to get any milk for the last few days and any bread she’d got had been snapped up first thing. Rumours were that the shops were chaos in Nantwich with long queues still.

The café serving hatch

Walking back the two chaps moored near the lock asked if we had everything we needed and were we alright for shopping? A better community spirit than on other stretches of the towpath around the country.

Watching the world go by

During the day we counted eighteen boats go past. The first being NB Briar Rose and the last NB Halsall in the dark.

I’ve had a wash time to go out again

0 locks, 0 miles, 9.5 hours, 18 boats, 1:55 ish model, A4 sea, 1lump hammer, 1 Hebble spike, 2 hatch doors, 2 locker lids, 1 gas locker hinge greased, 1 heel stitch dropped, 70% spent pouncing not sleeping, 2 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval.

Feline Freedom. 24th March

Lockdown Mooring 1. Cross Banks Farm Winding Hole

First off apologies to those of you who tend to read this blog in bed in the morning with a cuppa before getting up. If you follow us by email the latest post has normally dropped into your inbox at 8am, but not this morning. Due to posting twice yesterday my routine is all out of kilter and there wasn’t a post sat ready to publish this morning. We will see how the next few days pan out, but please don’t sit in bed waiting as your tea might get cold and unless you move around you may get bed sores.

Anyhow

Nine hours. Nine whole hours! Except She lied about that as they wanted an hour outside and one of us has to be on the boat at all times. I did however manage to make the most of the time.

P1230791sm

One

A new rule was added a few days ago to the list that She sprouts out each time I go off to explore. ‘Don’t let anyone stroke you!’ This goes without saying, strangers stroking me, YUCK! I have no idea why She felt She had to say it. But apparently since Tom Johnson started talking to us everyday I have to be even more careful of peoples hands.

P1230793sm

Two

 

 

They can’t harm me, but something might rub off them onto my coat. One chap did try today and I was cornered, but She sprouted steam from her ears and came to the hatch to sort him out. I think She may put a poster up.

 

The world is all mine!

Today there was yet another rule. I am now being encouraged to use shore based facilities. Apparently a company went bust a few months ago and the litter She mixes in with the wood stuff is no longer available and there may now be shortages of wood stuff too.

On Oleanna we all use the wood stuff, all three of us. Although I have to say Tom and She are far quieter than I am with it. I really don’t understand why they don’t want to prepare it like I do. Oh well it takes all sorts.

After worrying news that Jac my sister-in-law can’t get a flight back from Melbourne, Mick spent the morning seeing if he could find one for her.

He had a look at the route Ian and Irene from NB Free Spirit are booked on, admittedly from Sydney. Their route takes them via South Africa, this still looked like a possibility so Mick gave my brother a call and relayed the information. We wait to hear

Much of my day was spent with the model for The Garden. Painting garden fencing and base coating sideways trees and making autumnal covers, oh and a gingham picnic cloth. It took a while for me to get going, but once I did it was the best medicine for an anxious mind.

Model making to ease the mind

In the afternoon, when the second mate bothered to come home! we headed out to stretch our legs.

We’ve had quite a lot of people walking, running and cycling on the towpath today, very few of them keeping to 2ms away from Oleanna. Well the towpath is quite narrow here, but they could at least try.

We did our best to keep our distance. Towards the lock there were a couple of chaps chatting, one tinkering with things on his boat the other sat a good 3m away. As we approached the chap on the chair stood up and walked towards the hedge, plenty of room for us to pass through.

Our stroll took us across the lock and down to Venetian Marina. We wanted to see if the café might sell us some milk. But both the chandlers and café were closed, no bacon butty smell today.

They will be implementing new practices at the chandlers so that everyone can keep their distance and should you want to order a breakfast from the café they would rather you paid by Paypal.

New measures

During the day all the coal boats have been sending out messages on social media saying that they will still be trading. But please would everyone remain inside their boat at all times.

This lot are a hardy bunch, come rain, snow, ice and now Covid-19 they will top up your diesel tank and deliver coal

Seventeen boats have come past us today. This is the most in one day since possibly sometime last summer on the Thames. You may wonder why so many considering we are now in lock down.

We know of several boaters who are now heading home to their home mooring and some then onto their bricks and mortar. Other boaters are aiming for somewhere they feel will be best to be stuck, near services and shops. Hire boats are returning to base, peoples holidays cut short.

Hopefully after a day or two more the country will settle down into it’s new now. Boats will only move when necessary. In a couple of days we’ll have to fill with water and head to Nantwich to stock up on food for a week, then we’ll head off to find a wider towpath so that we can sit out should we want to, maybe even get the covers cleaned too.

Distant view

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 towpath saunter, 2 meters please, 4, 7.5 hours, 17 boats, 0 milk, 1 boater back to black tea, 0.5 of a model painted, 1 new project before the end of the week, 0 flights, 1 very tired cat, 1 pooh in the pooh box!

And STOP. 23rd March

This morning we could feel something in the water around us. A few boats were moving, most coming past us to wind and then head back towards Venetian Marina. We walked down the towpath to check out if there was space at the barbeque mooring as we’re wanting to clean our boat covers. One boat was pulling away leaving one, there would be space for us.

Celendine

Back at the boat I was receiving emails about my Dark Horse show, they were wanting my opinion on how the show might be realised with current restrictions. Obviously the play can only be performed once restrictions are lifted. I sent an honest reply back. Some elements won’t be affected much if on-line orders don’t get affected. Costumes, another matter. With social distancing I wouldn’t be able to do fittings with the actors, worst case scenario the actors would have to wear their own clothes, should the show go ahead. But my strong belief is that when restrictions are lifted, theatres and theatre companies will need to have a show up their sleeve, one that can be built and rehearsed quickly. So I can finish the design, we’ll have our meeting in a couple of weeks over the internet and then time and restrictions will guide us as to how much will be possible. My next payment will be on completion of the design, due in two weeks, this will go straight out to renew our boat licence.

The feeling we’d woken with was growing inside. If a lock down of the country was imminent then we wanted to be somewhere we’d be able to get water, shopping, diesel etc. We had lunch, headed to the winding hole in front of us, turned the boat and headed back to Cholmondeston Lock.

Back past our mooring

Here a boat was waiting below to go up, they were emptying the lock, we nudged in behind them. The chap opened up the gates and came to move his boat, I walked up and closed the gates for them and then operated the towpath side paddle whilst the chap did the off side.

We chatted from opposite sides of the lock. He was moving his freshly painted and spray foamed boat towards Birmingham. Tomorrow he’d pick up timber in Nantwich so that he could start to fit the boat out and then a friend was coming to help him up the rest of the way. When asked where we were going I explained that we felt movements would be restricted soon, so we wanted to be above the lock.

Venetian Marina

Once we’d ascended the lock ourselves, gloves were removed, hands washed, windlasses disinfected, we pootled along to the next winding hole. Here we winded again then reversed to some Armco. Hatch to the towpath. Here will do, it has a farmyard smell to it, we may get used to it.

Whilst we’d been moving we’d had emails from other boaters who’d been feeling the same vibe. An email from C&RT had come through asking boaters to limit themselves to an area. We would now be staying on this pound.

Approaching the lock

During the afternoon we turned the BBC on, the usual press conference at 5pm wasn’t going to happen, a COBRA meeting was taking place. All Brits who were abroad were being urged to return home as soon as possible. There would be a broadcast at 8:30pm.

Mr Johnson with fists clenched announced the new measures from No 10. We knew this was coming and to a certain extent it was a relief to finally hear it.

At 11:00 this email from C&RT dropped into Mick’s inbox.

Following the most recent announcement from the Prime Minister regarding the UK’s response to the coronavirus crisis, we are asking leisure boaters to stop all non-essential travel. As a result, and to help those who live-aboard (along with those who would need to travel to their boat in order to move it) we are suspending the requirement to move every 14 days. The suspension will be kept under review in line with revised government guidance, applying initially until 14 April.
 
We ask everyone to be considerate and make sure at least a minimal amount of essential movement is maintained to keep vital boater facilities and services accessible to those that need them. We will continue to maintain boater facilities and pump out cards are available from our online shop. (We will be urgently reviewing the implications for face-to-face sale of pump out cards and facilities keys from our public offices). 
  
Please click here for the latest updates to our Frequently Asked Questions and up to date advice on where to get support.
 
Colleagues whose roles are critical to the safe management of the waterways, for example those managing water levels, those carrying out statutory inspections of canal structures, ensuring essential facilities for boaters are available etc will continue their day to day work. 
 
We will be doing whatever we can to support our customers and protect the waterways so we can return to enjoying them fully when the crisis is over. We will keep the situation under active review and update you in line with changing circumstances and guidance.
 
Thank you for your patience and forbearance and please stay safe during these unprecedented times.
 
Richard Parry
Chief Executive
Canal & River Trust

So from now until further notice we will only move for water and shopping. We’ll try to combine the two. Tilly will have to adapt too, rationing of the outside may have to be brought in.

Tilly trying not to use this outside up

Stay safe, stay well, stay at home my friends.

1 lock, 0.83 miles, 2 winds, 1 determined theatre company, 2 unnerved boaters, 1 set of covers that can wait, 1 pound, 3 water points to choose from, 1 town for shops, 2 Dreamies not 4, 1 pongy mooring, 1 country on lock down.

It's Busy Out There. 22nd March

Calverley Bridge to not quite Cholmondeston Winding Hole

The sun shone into the boat this morning, a proper spring day. Tilly found a spot on the sofa to recharge her solar and benefit from the warmth from the stove at the same time whilst we had breakfast and made ready to set off, our current plan still to head northwards.

One warm cat

I stayed at the bow after pushing off and waved to Mick at the helm. Three fishermen had set up, naturally spaced out along the towpath, a good social distance apart. We all said hello and chatted away, they hoped we’d stir up the bottom which might encourage the fish. We said we’d be back in a short while so could do a touch more stirring up for them.

Oleanna’s still smiling despite everything

Two chaps walked the towpath dodging the muddy spots. We were jokingly accused of stock piling coal, six bags isn’t much, it’ll last us a couple of weeks maybe a little more if the weather warms up.

We winded above Bunbury and returned past the fishermen and pulled in at Calverley services. Here we topped up with water, emptied the yellow water, kept our distance from a family loading up their boat, disposed of rubbish, watered the plants. Mick had a glove on one hand, this was the only hand that touched anything on land. Gloves, we’ve decided, are there to help us remember not to touch our faces, the boat if possible and as soon as finished with, to wash our hands.

Bunbury

By now the canal was busy, the busiest we’ve seen it in months. A steady stream of boats came towards us as we headed to Barbridge Junction. As we approached the Branch I stood at the bow as advance lookout, nobody was coming so we turned in without incident.

Slowly past all the moored boats, back on very familiar water. The new, to us, water point above Cholmondeston Lock had a prime visitor mooring by it. If moored the right way round our hose would reach the tap without having to move. But we carried on to the lock, preferring to get further away from the railway and the pack of dogs barking at someone’s house.

A chap appeared at the lock, it was in our favour and he waved us on opening up the top gate for us. I left him to close the gate and I lifted the bottom paddles to empty the lock. They were out from the marina to enjoy the sunshine, I think a lot of others were too.

Venitian Marina

Venetian Marina café had a window open to serve take away bacon butties, the smell was enticing. We pootled along to find a space with a view planning to stop short of the picnic benches so our solar panels could be put to work.

I could see quite a distance, a zoom in with the camera showed there were at least two boats at the barbeque mooring and boats were moored at regular intervals along the towpath. It’s a popular mooring but we hadn’t expected it to be so busy.

Some folk on their boats chatted away, others kept their heads down so as to have no social contact, others coughed!

We pulled in leaving a boat length in front and behind us, this would do us for today.

Busy

Whilst Tilly explored the fields and trotted off down the towpath to find better trees we settled down inside. I suspect today would have been the first afternoon to get the chairs out on the towpath, but with quite a few walkers about we decided against it.

Busy
BUSY!!!

Instead Mrs Brown, the film, had our attention. A roast chicken was popped in the oven and we scanned the news and social media. We thought it was busy round here, but on the whole everyone was able to keep their distances.

Hi

However at the coast crowds filled the beaches, Scarborough was full and the A64 almost as busy as it would normally be on a bank holiday weekend by all accounts. Maybe people thought it’s a lovely day, lets have one last day together before we can’t for a while. I understand the sentiment, but REALLY!!!

Sunset

1 lock, 5.04 miles, 1 wind, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 3 gloves, 1 left, 3 fishermen, 12 boats, 1 family picnic, 4 hours, 1 extra hour taken! 1 cat too busy to come home, 1 roast chicken, 20 handwashes, 1 bottle of Milton, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval, 56748 enjoying the sun together!

Nice To See You. 21st March

Nantwich to Calverley Bridge 104

Late last night there was a lady on a facebook group having difficulty getting medication delivered to her boat somewhere in Nantwich. The pharmacy couldn’t deliver and local taxis wouldn’t due to insurance. We could easily help, so I left her a comment and message. This morning my phone was turned on early, but there was no reply. Still no reply as we had our cuppa in bed. Mick headed off on a bike into town for our Saturday newspaper and hopefully the few bits we’d not managed to get yesterday. There was still no reply by the time he’d finished. Hopefully she succeeded by other means.

A crow picking up Mick’s hair.

Mick had wizzed round the shops this morning and returned with a box of white and a box of red amongst other things, but still no rice to be had. We finished breakfast made cuppas and settled down at 10am infront of the laptop.

Duncan, Mick’s nephew had set up a video call for the family this morning. Gradually at 10am people joined the meeting, only one absentee today. Wiltshire, Lewisham, Sheffield, Eastbourne, Nantwich, Littleborough, Helensburgh and Dhaka, Bangladesh were all connected. Sadly Richard in Dhaka didn’t have enough bandwidth to have a picture, but he did manage to hear every seventh word people were saying and at one point we could hear the local call to prayer.

Curtesy of Duncan

It was lovely to see everyone and hear what people were up to in the confines of their homes, a good catch up and I suspect the first of many.

Padded trousers were needed for cruising, the air not quite warm enough without the sun today. We pushed off just before 11 passing two boats at the water point, our washing machine whizzing round, we’ll fill up tomorrow at Calveley.

Two years ago we got to know this stretch quite well. We knew where the Kingfishers used to hang out, but sadly they didn’t show us their wings today. We kept our eyes open for landmarks. The green double decker bus. The long line of high rise cars on the hill shortly before Hurleston Junction. But hang on! Where was the killer bunny? Psycho Peter Rabbit couldn’t be seen.

The bus

Just on the other side of the A51 is Snugburys a very good chilled medication establishment. In one of the farms fields they have straw sculptures the last one we’d seen was Peter Rabbit who towered above everything. But he is long since gone, I believe a bee is now in his place, sadly not visible from the canal.

Hurleston Bottom Lock

At Bridge 97 we arrived at Hurleston Junction the start of the Llangollen Canal. Barriers on the bridge stop you from walking up the flight at the moment as this is where the bottom lock has been rebuilt. We were a touch surprised to see that the lock was full of water, the bottom gates leaking and giving it away. The flight isn’t due to reopen for another week which is a shame as we’ll most probably be elsewhere by then.

Gordon and Dawn

All of a sudden a chap shouted out to us, recognising our boat name. We slowed to say hello. He soon told us that he also has a Finesse boat, NB Sonoma. Due to the battery delays on Oleanna our boats were being finished at similar times in Sheffield three years ago. We ended up having quite a long chat, all at a very safe distance. It was very nice to meet you Gordon and Dawn. I hope you get to do some cruising this summer and maybe our paths will cross again in more settled times.

Fairies
Extension finished

Onwards to Barbridge, the fairies still at the bottom of a garden and the new extension that was being built two years ago now completed. There were very few boats along the moorings here, the pub had lights on but was obviously empty. A new patch of gravel on the towpath by a sluice suggested where an emergency repair had happened a few weeks ago.

The recent repair

At the junction we were too busy looking at the new houses to beep our horn, so was a hire boat about to turn out from the Middlewich Branch. We spotted them first and Oleanna was brought to a halt, a near miss averted. There was then a bit of polite, you go first, no you go first. They went first and we held our position against the growing wind.

A near miss

On we pootled, more building sites cordoned off on the off side. The hire boat pulled in to scramble up the bank to the garage. We pulled in onto the 48hr moorings just past bridge 104. There was space for two boats, so we pulled up to the boat in front should anyone else arrive. We were now in the right place to meet up with NB Halsall.

The new houses at Barbridge Junction

Quite a few dog walkers and fishermen came past all with a cheery wave and nod of hello. We may all be keeping our distance but we can still say hello. I had a catch up with my brother and Josh in London. Jac is due to fly back from Australia in a weeks time and they are trying to decide how she should be quarantined. Should the whole house , all three of them be quarantined? Or should Jac be kept in the garden/tree room for 14 days keeping the back yard as a buffer between them all? Here’s hoping she can get home.

Mid afternoon Oleanna did a little bob, was Bunbury staircase being filled? About half an hour later the familiar blue and white bow of NB Halsall came into view slowing ready to pull alongside.

Here they are

Diesel tank topped up (83p), five bags of coal and as this morning we’d finished a gas bottle we replaced that too giving us three full bottles. So we just need to top up with water and we are good again. We arranged to pay by bank transfer as we still have their details from two years ago, this saves passing money around.

I always say hello to Buddy when we pass this boat

Lee was able to give us a bit of local knowledge regarding the Anderton Boat lift and the current situation on the Macclesfield Canal at Marple. Up there they are still waiting for results from a ground survey, but the thought is that unless something serious is found the navigation should be reopen in three to four weeks. We’ll put our thinking caps on and wait to see if it’s good news next week or not.

Tilly had to be reminded that Halsall wasn’t her boat as the bow came close enough to the towpath for a calculated leap. But it looked so interesting on there. Far more interesting than Olea-boring-anna!

Thank you Lee and Roberta

We waved Lee and Roberta goodbye, although we’ll be passing them tomorrow as they will be waiting for a delivery that has been slightly delayed. Then they are likely to pass us on their route eastwards.

0 locks, 5.23 miles, 3 straights, 2 boxes wine, 4 asked for, 1 newspaper, 0.5 of a tree gone (so Frank says!), 1 shared ring, 34 litres, 1 gas bottle, 100kg excel, 1 near stowaway, 12 turkey meatballs, No 6.

Fusilli. 20th March

Nantwich

A shopping list was drawn up over breakfast with what we’d like to get from the shops. A Brompton bike and bags at the ready we walked into Nantwich to see what we’d find.

The arms houses are so pretty on a sunny day

Up on the embankment people kept their distance from each other. With less traffic on the road than normal it wasn’t necessary to press buttons at crossings. It being the last day of school, teenagers stood outside Malbank High School puffing away on cigarettes, we kept a wide berth as they enjoyed their nicotine.

Cafes open today, but not tomorrow

Town wasn’t as quiet as we thought it would be, mostly older people doing their shopping. Each bench around the war memorial had only one person sat on them.

Butchers

We headed for Pepper Street. Here an older lady jokingly warned friends she had the lurgy and to keep away! Then proceeded to stand close and have a good natter, this Social Distancing is going to take some people a while to get the hang of!

Now which one?

H. Clewlow Butchers had their display of pies in the window as usual. Mick made his choice then went inside, returning with a pie, a chicken and some frozen gluten free sausages.

Bread shopping

Next it was Chatwins for a loaf of bread. All these items a touch more expensive than if we’d got them at Morrisons, but at least we were supporting local shops.

Now a self scan shop

Holland and Barrett next to see what gluten free flours they had. Sorghum flour is out of stock everywhere I look on the internet, I knew they wouldn’t have any but I did manage to get some brown rice flour which should keep my sourdough starter happy, that’s if it can cope with a change of food. Here I was invited by the shop assistant to scan my own items, he just had to press buttons on the till.

Then to Morrisons. Fruit and veg seemed fairly well stocked the potatoes a touch depleted, but round in the next isle was a different story. Booze, only sweet or expensive wine left. We’re fine for now.

Down every isle the shelves were being restocked, the sound of boxes and plastic wrapping being cut away. Anti-bac handwash was going out on the shelves so we picked one of them up, we use this normally. Shampoo, meat and mustard were the new isles to be empty.

I’m glad I was brought up cooking and able to look at what was left on shelves and know we’d be eating tasty things for the next few days. Most things on our list were covered now just a few exemptions, so whilst Mick sorted the bike out I headed to Aldi.

The view from bridge 92

A shop assistant was astounded at the amount of frozen ham and pineapple pizzas they were getting through. Then a chap asked why the booze isle was empty. The manager explained that until there are more drivers they are restricted to one delivery to the store a day and she was ordering nappies and pasta rather than booze. Next week things would be restocked, but for now Nantwich would be a sober place to be.

Heading back towards the boat we stopped at B&M where Tilly’s cat food filled the shelves. £2.99 each of 3 for £10! I got one, she now has supplies for a month. I have to say I never thought I’d be buying free range eggs at Home Bargains.

Strange place to hide your pasta stash

After lunch we walked over to the bins at the services. Mick spotted in the skip a new unopened bag of Fusilli pasta with a date on it. What was this doing here? The only pasta in Nantwich. If I wasn’t gluten free we’d have had it, but left it for someone else to find.

NB Halsall had been due in Nantwich over the next few days and Mick had sent in an order. However they have had to change their schedule due to deliveries to them being altered. We tried working out where we might meet them, considered getting a bag of coal from the chandlers here. In the end we checked if they would still have enough stock for us if we met them at Calverley tomorrow, rendez vous arranged.

As Mick had a towpath haircut Tilly tried her paw at catching squirrels at the bottom of the embankment. It really isn’t fare! They jump from tree to tree without doing any calculations, its as if Isaac Newton never existed!

 

Us

Then we sat down to watch todays press conference. Life is different and will stay this way for sometime. Our summer plans of catching up with people in Yorkshire will not happen, we’ll still venture north as C&RT say they have no plans on closing the navigation. Emails full of photos will be sent to those we’ll no longer be able to see. The camera and microphone are now working on the laptop and tomorrow there is a planned get together of Mick’s family on Zoom. I suspect we’ll end up seeing more of each other over the next few months than normal.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1st chiffchaffs, 4 shopping bags, 1 laden bike, 0 porridge, 0 wine, 1 coal boat rendez vous, 1 bag of pasta, 1 shaved head, 1 speedy squirrel.