Category Archives: Boat cats

The Downward Trend. 16th March

Coxbank Moorings to Audlem between locks 11 and 12.

Mick had just put his dressing gown on this morning and walked through to put the kettle on when a chap stopped for a conversation. Were there any shops? Yes down in Audlem. Their boat had broken down, their gear box didn’t have any oil in it. Mick got dressed and went out to see if he could help, taking with him the bottle of left over oil from engine services. They topped up the gear box and they continued on their way. The boat is an old one, but new to them.

Morning!

Over breakfast another three boats headed down hill, no point rushing we’d be resetting the locks anyway.

Straight into the flight, the boat ahead of us was only one lock down with another boat in front of them. No point in walking on to set the next lock as it was already full with a boat sat in it.

Having a rest before helping at the lock

A local old fella walked up and had a chat. He walks the flight every morning, sits on the bench at the top for five minutes before returning back down the flight in time for the pub to open. We did our best to keep our distance, but he insisted on helping with the bottom gates. A lovely fellow.

The boat ahead lifted paddles for us on just about all the locks once they’d closed the bottom gates. A cheery wave back and forth for acknowledgment.

Waiting our turn above

Progress was slow, then even slower. The downhill pack had met an uphill boat, a hire boat. We joined the boat ahead of us in the next pound to wait and I loitered to help close the bottom gates with the lady from the hire boat coming up.

Joining the downward trend

Then we’d just manged to space ourselves out again when another boat was coming up. I zoomed in on my camera. Down the flight I could hear a ‘putput’ engine. As the boat rose in a lock the chap stepped off, climbed in the hold and reappeared with a bag of coal on his shoulder. A coal boat. But which one?

Working our way down

Not in need of diesel, a gas bottle still with a few days left and the sunny day making us wonder if we would be needing any more coal this year (I know I’ve tempted fate now) we decided to wait until we hopefully see NB Halsall and not in the middle of a flight of locks.

Good to see Mountbatten

The boat rose in another chamber and it was obvious that it was NB Mountbatten. We’d met Richard and Ruth whilst on the Llangollen a couple of winters ago. Soon afterwards NB Mountbatten had come down Hurleston Locks and so far has not been able to return. The bottom lock has for years been getting narrower and narrower, excluding older boats with a touch of spread. Richard has continued doing deliveries up the canal by van, but had to trade by boat along the Shropie main line.

Looking back up the flight

However this winter Hurleston Bottom Lock has been rebuilt by C&RT. A few days ago we saw on facebook that NB Mountbatten had been invited to give the newly built lock a go. They ascended the lock about half way and fitted. They are now looking forward to getting back onto the Llangollen to trade by boat again, still a little while before the Hurleston flight reopens, but I’m sure they will be the first up the locks.

Gradually getting closer

Back at Audlem we finished descending the main thick of the flight and pulled in in the sunshine. The side hatch was opened to let fresh air in, the back doors left open and Tilly came and went. The bank by the towpath is really quite good in this outside, I can be busy without too many woofers causing me concern. What a lovely spring day.

No Chilled Medication for cats though!

A walk to the bins, a look around the book shop and then up to the shops for a few bits. We managed to support the local butcher by buying a red pepper and the co-op provided us with milk, potatoes but no bread.

In the craft section of the book shop

Mick tuned in the TV and the afternoons news came on. Boris Johnson giving us the news regarding new measures concerning Coronavirus. Measures that will see our older friends stuck at home for their safety. Then ‘Social Distancing’, avoid going to pubs, theatres, large gatherings. All measures we understand to help contain the curve of the virus. But within an hour a large proportion of my friends in the theatre world were out of jobs, theatres closing across the country.

What a face

During the evening we have thought about our plans. We will continue to cruise so long as nothing stops us from doing so. If restrictions come in that stop us moving then we will find a section of canal where we have services and access to shops, Tilly will just have to cope with the same outside for some time. Various facebook groups are being set up along stretches of canals so that local communities of boaters can look out for each other. We’ll be looking for them as we travel and seeing if we can help.

9 locks, 0.84 miles, 1 boat rescued, 1 boat broken down again, 2 ahead, 2 passed, 4 hours! 2 friends, 1 pepper, 1 bag potatoes, 2 pints milk, 2 lego models, 1 step further, 1 loaf started, 1 batch of pasta started, wonder if my sourdough will produce toilet paper? 1 crazy world.

Hop, Skip And Slip. 15th March

Beeton Wood Bridge to Coxbank Visitor Moorings.

Turnover bridge Shropie style

A touch of shore leave for Tilly whilst we had our breakfast. Three boats came past, two heading towards the locks, oh well, we’d have to reset them for ourselves. As we made ready to push off the cows could be heard in the distance, at least they hadn’t been audible all night.

Top of the flight

The Adderley flight is an easy one. I’d expected all the locks to be empty, but the second one down was full due to a paddle that had been left halfway up, good job there’s plenty of water coming down!

How did someone miss this?

We passed boats coming up hill in the bottom two locks of the flight, one a familiar boat from a couple of years ago. They have a cat, Tilly had had a stand off over whose territory the benches were in at Nantwich.

One coming up

At Hawksmoor Bridge a boat we’d been following was just settling onto the visitors mooring. New stop planks all numbered up had been left by the bridge. There was a stoppage here until recently which caused a shortage of water down into Audlem. But today the levels are back to normal, just a shame that the canal under the bridge is very shallow. Oleanna made a big lean as we came through, it was like being back at Ryders Green!

Labelled stop planks

On to the top of the Audlem flight. There’s a handy mooring just two locks down which is where we planned to moor for the day.

It’s a bit lumpy through that bridge hole

Works at the top lock cottage are all completed now. The lower half of the very big extension is brick with the upper half timer clad that has had time to silver. Mick wasn’t too keen and I think it swamps the original cottage somewhat, the silvering timber will never make it fade into the background.

The lock cottage

No goodies for sale, here today. I didn’t bother checking in the fridges as I didn’t fancy a chilled medication.

I hitched a lift back on Oleanna to get round a muddy patch on the towpath on the way to the next lock. Down the lock and then we had a choice of where to stop as the moorings were empty.

Our first lamb this spring, certainly not a new born

We chose the first stretch just before a very very muddy length of towpath. It was just long enough for Oleanna and neither of us would have to wade through any mud. Just after we’d tied up it started to rain, perfectly timed.

Tilly came and went during the afternoon and I had a catch up phone call with my brother. Jac my sister-in-law had been planning to fly to Melbourne last Wednesday for the rest of the month to visit her Mum and family. I’d wondered if she’d gone, she had. My brother is quite calm about what is happening, he just hopes he gets his wife back sometime. It was good to have a catch up and hear news from London.

New tyre fitted

A few days ago Oleanna had caught a tyre whilst we were moored, so Mick set about replacing one on our wheels that has had a puncture for ages now. It fitted, we just need Oleanna to catch another one sometime and not around her prop!

As the tyre was pumped up a boat came past up the locks. I could hear Mick talking to a lady asking if she was alright. I bobbed out to see what was happening. The lady was walking between the locks windlass in hand and had come across the quagmire on the towpath. She’d tried to get round it, only a mountain goat or Tilly could do this up the steep bank, and had slipped onto her hand. Nothing broken thank goodness as her husband sailed away up to the next lock.

The ladies boat by the next lock

Only one thing for it, we’d give her a lift. Shoes back on, cratch rolled up, Tilly back onboard as their dog ran to find Mum on the towpath, we untied and got the bow just past the muddy section where the lady could hop on the bow with me. She was very apologetic about her muddy shoes, but really that didn’t matter, we’re muddy as anything at the moment! Mick reversed us back up and the lady could hop off and walk on up to the next lock. Her husband was closing the bottom gates at the lock about to start filling the chamber, wonder if he got an ear full?

It rose another inch before it went back in the fridge

My sourdough starter had come out of the fridge earlier with the aim of waking it up to make some pasta for a lasagne tomorrow. It warmed up and after a feed sat on the dinette table slowly growing all afternoon. Just a shame it ended up back in the fridge as we have sausages that will need eating tomorrow. Oh well it can come out and be woken up again tomorrow, I might make a loaf too.

As a joint of pork cooked away in the oven the sun set in the cloudless sky. What a wonderful sight.

Wonderful

7 locks, 2.82 miles, 3 uphill boats, 0 baked goods, 1 starter woken, 1 sister-in-law out of the country, 1 starter put to sleep, 1 new tyre, 4.5 hours shore leave, 1 muddy lady rescued, 1 joint pork, 3 year old balls of yarn, 1 bag of socks I really must update my etsy shop.

Woodseaves. 14th March

Goldstone Bridge to Beeton Wood Bridge 66, then a bit further on.

Time to see what has been blocking the way ahead for a while. I’ve started to get bored of photographing every tree that gave up it’s will to stand upright during the storms, but today going through Woodseaves Cutting the camera was out.

Two years ago it was so magical along this stretch, today it still is, it just shows the scars of the February storms.

Heading in

By Cheswardine Road Bridge clumps of snowdrops filled the banks, these have long been past their best in less sheltered sites, and daffodils covered the tops. We now entered the cutting. Vertical rock hugs the canal and towpath either side, cut through around 185 years ago. Just how did Thomas Telfords navies do this? How long would it take us now to do the same with our diggers and lorries?

As we cruised along patches of red earth showed where things had slipped and every now and then there would be a pile of logs and sawdust.

High Bridge

Two walkers with their dogs could be seen up ahead by High Bridge clambering over something on the towpath. The colour gave it away, this must have been where the main landslip had been.

Blimey

A short distance on from the bridge a large red scar came down from near the top of the cutting. Red earth and large red boulders covered the towpath all very straight edged as if they’d been precut. The boulders were large and we’re sure some must have fallen in the water, but we sailed on past at our sedate speed, no bumps from below.

More trees had come down and there was another large red scar with tree roots by Hollings Bridge. Thank goodness the wet and windy weather seems to have eased as I’m sure there is a lot more that could have come down in the cutting given half the chance.

Still magical

On reaching the top of Tyrley Locks we were slightly relieved, we’d made it through without incident.

More red roots

The house at the top of the locks is up for sale. Built by Thomas Telford in 1837 it really is a picture. Three bedrooms and a private mooring for £385,000. Exposed beams and a bathroom with a walk in shower that looks like Tilly stepped in a pot of blue paint before doing circuits.

A great looking house

A change of footwear was obviously needed with the amount of mud and standing water around the top gates of the top lock. Quite a lot of branches and twigs accompanied us down where the next lock sat waiting for us with it’s top gate open.

Glorious mud

From Lock 3, I could see there was a boat below the bottom lock, were they coming or going? We knew there was a boat ahead of us, but I could have sworn there had been one heading for the locks. The pound between the bottom two locks is where we got stuck two years ago. Signs, now very worn, warn you not to stop in the pound.

Tyrley Lock 1

I hesitated to go and set the next lock, but Mick and some walkers said that the boat was heading away from the bottom of the flight. I had another look and sure enough it was. So as Mick descended I walked down to fill the next chamber.

Hang on! There was someone at the next lock. Then I could see the roof of a boat rising, there had been a boat coming towards us as well as one going away. I closed paddles and lifted others to empty the lock so they could use it. Swung the gates open and waved them in, then headed back up to let Mick and Oleanna out of the lock above.

NB Bessie Surtees

Walking back down the lady recognised me. ‘Are you Pip?’ The boat was NB Bessie Surtees, our paths have crossed a few times over the last few years, but I’ve never met them before, sorry I don’t know your names. They come from Scarborough too, so it was very nice to finally meet them. Having said that we both kept our distance, something that will be common practice over the next few months.

Bye bye

As the boats swapped over we waved farewell and continued downwards. Normally Mick loiters in the throat of a lock and closes the offside gate for me, but not here, I wouldn’t let him. The bywash is a torrent and could easily have pushed Oleanna onto rocks on the offside, so it was much better for him to just gun it out of the lock and into the next one, leaving me with the gates.

Phew!

Phew, no getting stuck!

A family were walking up the locks so I enlisted their help to open the gate and close it again. We pulled up short of the first bridge into Market Drayton, pulled out the shopping bags and walked into town to stock up on fresh food. Our walk felt like we were walking into the lions den, Corovirus just waiting to pounce. Normally a busy supermarket is just that too busy, too many people, but today this had a different edge to it.

Only expensive pasta left, or an open bag

Luckily the things we wanted were on the shelves, fresh veg, milk and bread along with our Saturday newspaper. We don’t see the need to stock pile, also we don’t have the space. We did however check the loo roll isle, nothing. Pasta, only the really expensive stuff left, opposite the gluten free fusilli, we picked up a bag just in case! Long life milk, none.

A box of white wine was added to our trolley to make up for the missing one the other day. There were plenty of people about, only one face mask though. This was a home made version worn by an old chap. I’m not certain but it was either made from a white cotton vest or from a pair of new pristine white underpants.

Cheese Twist mountain

A quick call into Lidl where Mick was very pleased that there hadn’t been a run on cheese twists! We were done now and headed back to be away from the crowds again.

Betton Mill Wharf looks like it is now being used by C&RT for it’s work boats. A much better use than a few years ago! This is where we came to talk to Stillwater about the build of our narrowboat that wasn’t in October 2012. For those who don’t know the Crown Prosecution Service took the boat builders to court last year on two counts of fraud.

Now a C&RT yard

Since we went to the sentencing hearing last April, not much has happened. When we left court further hearings had been arranged to confiscate funds to be used as compensation to the victims, us being only one of several. Late last summer I contacted the lady who’d been looking after us to see who we should contact regarding what had happened. This is when she informed us that the hearings had been cancelled. She could give us no reason for this and was of a similar opinion to us about how ridiculous this was. We always knew we’d never get our full money back, but the court had suggested we’d get something. But it appears that you can fraudulently take money from people and get away with it if you keep your nose clean!

It appears nobody would have told us about this and we haven’t been told officially either. Maybe things were said in court for our benefit then not to be acted upon. What a joke our underfunded legal system is!

Blimey! That’s a big one

Anyhow back to today. Soon we came across the biggest tree that had been across the cut and to some extent still was! The jagged crack on it’s trunk suggested the force at which it had fallen.

Crack!

We pulled in about a mile further on where the towpath was relatively green and dry. A herd of cows watched our every move from half way across the field on the off side. They made comments and I’m sure would have given us marks out of ten if they had hands.

Moo
along with many more!

Tilly and I played stick for a while and then she was left to her own devises, climbing trees, pouncing, she doesn’t need me for such things.

Tree

Shortly before sunset, Tilly came home a touch hungry. The teenage bovines in the field across the way had managed to get to the canal and were running around kicking and mooing, goading us. Then they were joined by another gang of teenage boys in the field alongside the towpath. We were surrounded with mooing and noises that sounded like several were elephants in disguise.

We looked at each other, then at Tilly who no longer was looking longingly, watching the birdies, but was warily keeping an eye on lip licking cows through the hedge. ‘Lets move’ we said to each other. Tilly agreed.

As we moved along the cows followed us, even more amassing behind. They must have such a boring life. Will this be what human teenagers occupy themselves with should/when the schools close? I suspect we’ll find out.

5 locks, 5.61 miles, 4 landslips, 7 trees down, 1 big bird, 1 high bridge, 9 boulders, 2 Scarborough boats in 1 pound, 1st meeting, 1 box of wine, 1 packet gf pasta, 1 loaf bread, 2 cheese twists, 1 joint pork, 1 cabbage, 4 carrots, 4 parsnips, 0 toilet roll, 1 newspaper, 1 y front mask, 2 boaters wanting to wash our hands, 0 compensation, 326 teenagers, 472853245 moos, 2 moorings, 1 quiet evening at last.

Hitchhiker And 1000! 13th March

Norbury Junction to Goldstone Bridge 55

Tilly was allowed some shore leave as we had breakfast, thankfully she returned home before we’d finished so no mad cat woman required on the towpath. Mick made a call to his dentists in Scarborough, they were still seeing people. However where we are right now isn’t the easiest place to do a day trip from, so he has moved his appointment to May when we hopefully should be nearer.

Up at the junction a boat was already on the waterpoint, they nudged back and made room for us to pull in. Water topped up, yellow water emptied and rubbish disposed of we were ready for our days cruise.

Good job there is room at the junction as there isn’t by this bridge!

What has happened to the etiquette of not mooring close to bridge holes? Just through Norbury Bridge on the off side is a permanent mooring, on the towpath there is normally a short distance before the 48 hr mooring sign, leaving a space by the bridge. This seems to be happening more and more.

Scaffolding
The other side

On we pootled in a northernlyish direction. Our next bridge was High Bridge, the bridge with the double arch and telegraph pole right in the middle of it. Just how many photos have I taken of this bridge? But my photos today would be different as the south face was covered in scaffolding.

That one will have been in the way

Evidence of more trees that had come down in the storms. One huge trunk turned out to be just a limb that had peeled itself away from the main part of the tree.

A Green Fergie

On through Grub Street cutting. The boats are still here along with the beautiful blue Daimler half under wraps.

Get that roof mended please!

I think the roof of the shelter will need some attention very soon!

Well worth a stop if you’ve never been, of even if you have

The chap on the fender boat stuck his head out to ask if Tyrley was open again. Past The Anchor, too early in the day to stop for a pint of 6X.

Boats, boats and more boats

Lines of moored boats slowed our progress, not quite as bad as at Goldennook up towards Chester. Sheep grazed in fields above and below the canal, some chomping away on crops laid in lines where they had grown.

Still no bedoingy lambs

We passed an immaculate NB Percy, Nev had been on board a few days ago but there was no sign of life today, we waved anyway.

Please would you come and give Oleanna a polish?

This morning we’d pin pointed two possible moorings, depending on when the rain arrived would determine how far we got. Black Flat Bridge arrived and we only had a touch of drizzle in the air, so we continued.

Looking out for fish

A couple of churps. A Kingfisher. We both looked up as a blue flash passed us at the stern. Normally a Kingfisher would carry on skimming the surface of the canal to quite a distance up ahead to find a perch. Not this one though!

Oleanna trying to keep quiet behind the bags of coal

He swooped up onto our cratch cover and caught a ride with us for a few minutes.

Thankfully there was enough time to get my camera out and take a few photos.

Look at those markings

Being only about 50 ft away I managed to get some good photos showing off his plumage. Wow! What a treat! We felt like we’d been chosen. So beautiful.

Just Wow!

Then he took off and headed back to where he’d come from. Thank you for spending a few minutes with us.

The rain was now trying harder, so we had a go at pulling into possible moorings on the embankment, with great views. But the Shropie shelf thwarted that idea.

Great views along this stretch

Soon we reached the next visitor mooring with rings at Goldstone Bridge. No view but a suitable place for Tilly to keep amused and us to stay dry for the remainder of the afternoon.

I browned off a pack of pork mince, then split it in two. One for the freezer, the other for a bolognese sauce which will last us a couple of meals. This sat on the stove top gently bubbling away the afternoon as we watched the news regarding the virus.

Okay

It doesn’t seem like it will be long now before numerous events will be cancelled and everyone’s life will be contained to some degree. What a strange time lies ahead for us all. Stay safe and well my friends.

0 locks, 7.74 miles, 1 straight, 5 trees, 1 bridge, 2 kingfishers, 1 hitching a ride, 2 outsides, 1 damp day, 70% rent, 500 grams when cooked equals 360 grams, 1000th Oleanna blog post.

The Lilly Marge Flotilla Reunion. 12th March

Norbury Junction

A few days ago we’d contacted our friends Alison and Laura, who used to own NB Large Marge, to see if we could meet up as we were roughly in their area. Today they were free and so were we.

Oleanna had a tidy and a sweep through and as Mick returned from a trip to the bins I could hear loud voices, they’d arrived.

Laura, Alison, Mick and Me. A Lilly Marge flotilla reunion.

It’s almost two years since we last saw them, they came out to meet us here then, but a faulty boiler in their (new to them) house, meant they were too late for lunch at the pub. Cuppas and some of my chocolate chip cookies and plenty of chat later we walked up to the junction and pub.

Norbury Junction

The sun was out but blimey it was blowing a hoolie! We were glad to get inside to the shelter of the pub. The specials menu looked attractive but in the end we all chose a burger. My gluten free one came with a bun and I ordered extras of cheese and bacon, well just because I don’t want the gluten doesn’t mean I don’t want the tasty extras! They were all very tasty.

See I did manage to get you all in as well as the burgers!

We retired back to the boat for another cuppa and more chat of Jaffa (their parrot), chickens and keeping tortoises in the fridge. It was very lovely to see them both and we did try to persuade them to join us on the Leeds Liverpool later this year, NB Large Marge was a touch too long to fit the locks up there.

Where was Jaffa?!

What no tasty friend?! Jaffa always looked lipsmackingly friendly through the window, but they’d not brought him. It was a shame as I’d liked to have caught up with him and met his chicken friends. She wouldn’t let me follow them home though!

The C&RT notice we’d been waiting for came through at lunchtime today, meaning the Shropie is now open ahead of us. So we shall continue northwards and see what happens with the Marple embankment.

This evening we couldn’t resist sampling the fresh eggs the Margees had brought, very creamy yolks. Thank you ladies and your lady chickens.

Fresh from Wenlock Edge

Coronavirus will affect us, nowhere near as much as others as we live a fairly solitary life on the canals. But I wait to hear decisions that will almost certainly be made regarding my show in July. Should Mick keep his dentist appointment next week? Will the government bring in stricter measures to protect the population? Avoiding going on a cruise if you are 70 doesn’t seem ample to us and the need to build up ‘community resilience’?! What exactly does that mean? Anyhow, we will continue pootling along until something stops us.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 Margees, 5 eggs, 8 cookies, 5 hours of constant chat, 4 burgers, 2 pints, 2 glasses wine, 4 elbow bumps, 1 cat wanting to jump ship, 1 route ahead open, Yay!

Magnet Fishing. 11th March

Shushions Bridge to High Meadow Aqueduct, Norbury Junction

Look what Mick caught this morning!

He’s caught something!

Our ash pan. Last night when he was emptying it into our ash can it slipped off the handle thingy and dived into the depths of the Shropshire Union. It apparently made a very good noise as it hit the water, instantly cooling down in a sizzle. Luckily our Sea Magnet did the job of retrieving it from the not too deep depths.

Careful
Yay! Our ash pan

A sea magnet is a very useful thing, when we were at Sandford Lock on the Thames, a shareboat moored nearby somehow dropped a side hatch door into the cut. Our magnet managed to hold it’s weight for it to be pulled out. You hope never to use it, but when the time comes they are very handy.

Tilly was allowed shore leave before we set off, she found her own breakfast and then returned for a snooze.

Stocking up for next winter

Whilst still in bed the first boat went past, then as we had breakfast several more. Has the boating season just suddenly started? We’ve seen more moving boats today than in the last few months! Just as we were pushing off one appeared through the bridge hole behind us, Mick pulled us back in quickly to let them go first.

Our route took us through more wooded cuttings, one boat had stopped to fill his hold with large chunks of tree, suspect he’ll keep warm for quite some time.

Magical yet scary

Looking back the arch made by the trees and ivy were a fairytale, sadly waiting for the next windy day to topple a few more of them.

A day boat came towards us, pulled too far over to the side and got stuck. Mick suggested going into reverse to help pull the stern away from the bank, they were soon free again.

Caution whilst cruising the Shropie

The approach to Cowley Tunnel, all 80 yards of it was a haze of branches just starting to turn green at their tips. Through the tunnel cut from stone with trees clinging on for dear life above.

A magical twiggy haze

We considered stopping here, but first checked out the two canalside pubs menus. With plans on meeting friends tomorrow I wanted to see if I could have anything other than steak or gammon. Sadly neither The Boat or Navigation menus on line gave many options, so we stuck to our original plan and continued.

Cowley Tunnel
Clinging on

Just through the bridge a dog ran back and forth, checking either end of it’s boat. We knew who this was, the plant boat. A couple of years ago we bought a Thyme plant from them which is still going strong, we told the chap, he was happy but it did mean no sale. I’m considering trying to grow strawberries this year, wonder when I should plant them? Have to look that up.

Mandarin Spring Roll Duck

Now on embankments we got views, views stretching to the Wrekin.

The Wrekin

Then we could see the end of moored boats, we pulled in behind one leaving no git gap. But then looked around. The wind was strong and we were under a large tree, at least we knew the size of gap to leave for a 58ft boat, we pulled back to avoid trees should they fall.

From one tree to the next

Tilly spent the afternoon up the trees. One route up, across three tops to a suitable route down again. Mick climbed into the engine bay again to finish off the engine service, this time the smelly fuel filters.

The Garden drawings finished

I got the drawing board out and spent the afternoon measuring and drawing up my design for The Garden. Three sheets of drawings, 1 for a carpenter, 2 for me. The whole show drawn up in a couple of hours.

I’ve not been in here before

0 locks, 6.06 miles, 80 yards of tunnel, 0 mysterons, 1 tasty friend, 1 mandarin spring roll, 1 very fit dog, 2 noninclusive menus, 1 changed fuel filter, 1 cleaned fuel filter, 2 outsides, 1 ground plan, 3 sheets working drawings, 2 much sewing to do, I’d best buy some fabric soon and start.

That Shelf. 10th March

Wheaton Aston to Shushions Bridge 21

This morning I received a phone call from York District Hospital. At my eye test the other week in Birmingham the optician wanted to refer me for a routine examination at a hospital. Where would I like to be referred to was todays question. The lady on the phone had spotted that I had two address in my notes, one Scarborough and the other Hackney, London.

So many Primroses

I was very grateful for the phone call as I don’t fit into the norm when it comes to appointments. The lady added to my notes that both addresses were valid and that I lived somewhere in between them. She could offer me appointments in York, Malton or refer me to Scarborough or further afield if I wanted. The first dates she had for York fitted in quite nicely with where we hope to be in June and would be the easiest to get to from West Yorkshire so I’m booked in. A letter with further information has to be sent, so that is heading to my brothers. I made sure I thanked the lady for her assistance and understanding.

Our shopping arrived on time, a few things substituted or in smaller quantities than we’d wanted. One thing that had been substituted was the third box of white wine! Instead of Pinot Grigio they had sent Chardonnay, not my favourite. Maybe Pinot Grigio is being rationed to two boxes per customer! I’m not partial to Chardonnay so it was sent back.

Turners for a top up

With all the supplies stowed we forced ourselves away from the bank, a reverse Andy was required to push the bow out. Luckily on the other side of the bridge it was sheltered and we pulled in at Turners Garage to top up with diesel. 64.9p today along with a new bottle of gas at £32.

Bang on

We pushed off again with the hope that we’d find a cat suitable mooring not too much further on. Blimey that wind! At least it was pushing us towards the towpath. After a small bend we were on a long straight of an embankment. We remembered trying to moor here on Lillian and the Shropie shelf being a problem but we now have tyre fenders.

Our first Pirate encounter

The first place we tried we discovered that our tyre fenders are a couple of inches too small for the shelf. We so should have picked up some car tyres in Birmingham, we’d seen at least four in our last few days. A touch further on, no. Still further on and we skidded over something not getting anywhere near to the bank. Our maps had a M further on between two bridges so we just hoped that the trees would be short.

That bloomin shelf!

The M lived up to itself, there was armco and we could get into the side. Nappy pins were needed, we nudged up to find a position with shorter trees on the offside. By now our second mate was in the window. Every window had a view of trees! If she didn’t like it here we’d be trading her in!

Look there are TREESSSS!!!!

Rules were read and off she went. A few trunks were inspected before finally she launched herself up into the twiggy canopy. One happy cat.

There’s this tree

There used to be an airfield on the offside just by our mooring, one used in WW2. Mick wanted to see if we could see much of it so we climbed over a style onto the bridge, but were soon confronted with barbed wire. Could we see anything from the other bridge ahead of us? Most probably, but the mud that lay between us and the bridge sent us back inside to look on Google instead.

And this tree

Used as a training airfield with three runways RAF Wheaton Aston was second only to RAF Lichfield in terms of aircraft movements. In May 1944 the airfield recorded a flying time of 8,773 hours during daylight and 2,605 at night, the equivalent of 15 aircraft permanently in the air for 30 days. After the war it was used as a Polish Resettlement camp until the 1960’s.

It’s straight round here

Early evening we sat down to work our way through Mick’s tax return. Because of rental income and a lump sum pension payment he now has to fill one in, not that he is anywhere near to paying tax. We could copy things straight over from my tax return with regards to the house, but there were new sections to fill in. We got there in the end. Sadly despite telling HMRC about rental income for the last few years they now say he is late with another two returns! A phone call is needed.

Mud mud mud

0 locks, 1.53 miles, 66 litres, 5 boxes wine, 1st pirates of 2020, 1 gas bottle, 4th time lucky, 1 very happy cat, 37 trees! 1 appointment, £1 owed to Mick, 1st Mrs Tilly stamp of approval for 2020, 2 glasses raised to Rodney my other Dad.

RIP Rodney so glad we bumped into you at Blenheim Palace.