Category Archives: Chesterfield Canal

2023 A Sociable Year

A long post, it’s the annual round up.

January, we sat waiting. Waiting for a new alternator to arrive, for the River Trent to come out of flood and then for the canal to defrost sufficiently for us move. This meant Pip doing work on the boat instead of in the house, this made for smelly days and a very cold workshop under the pram cover.

After almost three weeks we were on the move again having to navigate through thick fog, navigational aids helping us not to bump into the banks! Ahead of us in Yorkshire was a troublesome swing bridge, closed to boat traffic. Our plans had to change, we arranged to moor up in Newark and head back to Scarborough by van. Chin rubs nearly made the longer journey better, but I really don’t like the outside moving SO fast!

Four days later we were back on board, the bridge ahead was now open. Tides were checked, locks booked, cupboards stocked for a few days cruising. Winter cruising can be so so pretty, yet so so chilly. A display by the Red Arrows as we left Torksey kept us amused and a defrost was very welcome when we arrived at Keadby. After four days cruising we were moored up in Goole and walking to catch the train back to Scarborough.

#unit21 in Huddersfield kept Pip occupied for much of February. Then it was time to give the house some TLC in between lodgers. A back bedroom got a makeover just in time. Mick had trips to see Oleanna, a jobs list left with Alastair and the covers headed off for some much needed mending. Tilly was kept busy checking out the neighbours, they stay inside so I get free reign of their outside!

April arrived along with two lodgers, it was not possible to do more work on the house, Pip chose to knit socks instead. Dementia UK her chosen charity this year. Donations of yarn came from dyers and Pip’s needles started to click away, keeping up with requests. 15 pairs knitted and her target met.

May, visits were made to Oleanna preparing her for cruising, these were interspersed with visits from family, delivering socks, getting the house ready and starting work on the design for panto. On the 9th of May we loaded a van and returned to life afloat. Tilly the happiest cat once she was back onboard! A day later we set off heading west. Leeds for a few days for Pip to head to Matlock for work and then a wonderful visit to see 93 year old Betty in Harrogate.

Working our way up the Leeds Liverpool Canal, locks and the new stupid swing bridge much lighter work with two boats. Our favourite canal with wonders of the waterways, friends on route, Mick’s birthday and a trip to Bowness to see the latest Ayckbourn play. We managed a night on our favourite mooring on the network sadly it was too windy to enjoy the view with a barbecue.

Up over the top, we teamed up with NB That’s It, thankfully descending the Wigan flight in a window between vandalism and blown cills that have hampered the flight this year. Then along the Bridgewater Canal, panto designing whilst on the flat. Through Preston Brook Tunnel and onto the Trent and Mersey turning right onto the Middlewich Branch.

Back on lockdown ‘Home’ waters we cruised the Nantwich pound, 5 hours 13 minutes including a lunch and shopping stop, back in 2020 we’d spent 80 days here. We cruised southwards on the Shropie joined for a day by Carol and George from WB Still Rockin’. Laura and Alison from NB Large Marge joined us for the ascent up the Wolverhampton 21.

Through Bumingham and on to Lapworth and then Hatton where we had an extra pair of hands from Jane, who hopefully now has her own narrowboat. A well deserved burger at the Cape of Good Hope with Emma and David, then a lovely evening with Lizzie (NB Panda) at The Folly, it was turning out to be quite a sociable June.

Oleanna wiggled her way across the summit of the South Oxford, very familiar water to us. Despite the sunny weather and us cruising most days our batteries were not happy, turning themselves off overnight! Diagnosis was required, we pulled into Cropredy Marina to plug in and run tests. One of our three batteries was dead, bad enough but thankfully nothing more. Once a panto meeting had been attended we could move on, except there was an emergency closure at Banbury Lock. C&RT worked hard to get the canal open as quickly as they could, thankfully our hold up wasn’t too long.

We met up with the crews of NB Azzura (Liz and Mark) and NB Perseus (Julie and Simon) both Finesse boats, had a visit to London for Andrew’s birthday. Then had a rendez vous with Paul and Christine and enjoyed a good catch up onboard NB Waterway Routes.

Down to the River Thames where we turned upstream onto waters we’ve only cruised once before. Such a lovely stretch of river, sadly with fewer moorings now. We sped up to Lechlade where we took up residence for a week so that we could attend a get together at Pip’s cousins which coincided with the Royal International Air Tatoo in Fairford. It was great to be with family on a jolly occasion.

Work took over for Pip as we made our way back down stream to Oxford, Cinderella had to go to the ball and the model needed to be finished. Then we sauntered our way back northwards. One day had us meet up with Frankie NB Discovery, NB Dusty the local coal boat and Graeme on NB Misty Blue, it was good to catch up with Graeme and hear of his adventures since we’d seen him last year.

A trip for us both back to Scarborough to do a turn around of lodgers, see a show and pick up post. Mick would have to return the following weekend to swap bedlinen over again, this time by train from Rugby. Stand still budgets and inflation required Pip to do more work on panto so her days were kept busy reducing Cinderella’s carriage from £2000 to £400.

Stoppages around the network meant we had only one real route we could take to head back north. We winded and climbed our way up to the Leicester Section. Here we met up with Ken and Sue NB Cleddau at Houdini’s Field sitting out till way after dark. Then a small detour to Welford to meet up with NB Panda and Lizzie for an evening before we continued our way north.

Another detour to Market Harborough before Leicester where North Lock had a badly leaking cill which required a crew of C&RT chaps to force the bottom gates open, booked passage was required, this meant we got a few days to enjoy the city whilst we awaited our turn.

Sadly by now the lack of water on the Chesterfield Canal meant the top end of the canal was closed, no point in rushing up the River Trent for a return visit. In Nottingham Pip’s little toe had a kerfuffle with a cupboard necessitating a visit to the drop in centre for her little pinkie to be realigned. This meant Pip had to hand the windlass and key of power over to Mick for the last locks of the year.

Downstream on the River Trent, stopping at all our favourite moorings. Pip’s knitting needles came out again to knit more socks for Dementia UK. We had a trip into Lincoln along the Fossdyke Canal, we actually managed to finally visit the Cathedral this time!

Tides were not helpful for the rest of our trip north so a couple of days at West Stockwith was needed, but that did mean we’d be sharing the tidal waters back to Yorkshire with NB That’s It whom we’d met earlier in the year.

There was time for a catch up with David as we passed through Bramwith, a jaunt up to Doncaster and then finally along the New Junction and onto Goole where a space had been found for us in the marina. A train ride to Scarborough to pick up a van and see the latest show before packing up the boat again for the second time this year.

Planned works at the house then went very smoothly. Scaffolding arriving the day after we arrived, new windows later in the day with four carpenters and two days later the decorator who was to give the house a much needed new coat of paint outside.

Mid October Pip moved to Chipping Norton for a month to work on panto, Mick and Tilly left to welcome a new lodger for the Christmas show in Scarborough. Panto was as much work as normal with the addition of Pip getting covid after the first week of rehearsals. The show opened to toe tapping audiences and many many bananas, getting great reviews. Mick had a days trip to London to support boaters who had gathered outside the Houses of Parliament for a Fund Britain’s Waterways rally.

Back in Scarborough Christmas came early with a visit from the London Leckenbys at the beginning of December, they hadn’t been to Scarborough for ten years. A few more house jobs have been done but a list has been compiled for the new year along with those on Oleanna. We’ve had a lovely Christmas, catching up with Scarborough friends, Tilly has slept lots, we’re lucky to see her before 2pm most days! I’m just resting for when the outsides start changing again.

Don’t worry Tilly the count down has started.

This year our plans changed all because of an invite from Pip’s cousins. We travelled our favourite canal, cruised many familiar waters , visited ‘Home’, climbed trees and pounced, caught up with many boating friends and made many new ones along the way. One very sociable year.

So our vital statistics for 2023 according to Canalplan are

Total distance of 805miles, 2.25furlongs and 436 locks.

There were 121 moveable bridges, of which 33 are usually left open; 151 small aqueducts or underbridges and 16 tunnels – a total of 6 miles, 5 furlongs under ground and 7 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 244 miles, 1.25 furlongs of narrow canals; 251 miles, 5.5 furlongs of broad canals; 69 miles, 1.5 furlongs of commercial waterways; 95 miles, 4.75 furlongs of small rivers; 57 miles, 3.75 furlongs of large rivers; 87 miles, 1.5 furlongs of tidal rivers; 185 narrow locks; 223 broad locks; 28 large locks.

Although according to Nebo we did

815.09 miles and 431 locks! Hmm maybe my maths isn’t so good. But then we only started using Nebolink in August, tracking our every move rather than just on our phones.

470 engine hours, 789.8 litres diesel! Ouch, having to run the engine to top the batteries up on an evening didn’t help with this, 150amp hours down to 100, 3 gas bottles, 120kg coal, 19.5 litres oil, 2 oil filters, 2 fuel filters, 1 shower mixer, 1 domestic alternator, 1 set new engine mounts, 1 overnight guest, 3 packs Dreamies, 1.5 packs Bonkers, 39 friends, 6 brought in, 34 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 34 pairs of socks, £1132 for Dementia UK, 2 shows, 9 lodgers, 10 supermarket deliveries, 33 boxes wine, 1 toe, 6 months cruising, 3 boat mover sightings, 209 posts, 184 likes, 9,503 visitors, 31,309 views!

Thank you for following our journey during 2023. We have a plan for 2024, but there are several invites and a rendez vous with some New Zealanders. Will we stick to our plan? Have to alter course to fit everything in? Wait and see, we’re already counting down the weeks to being afloat again.

Dense Cover. 25th September

Basin Bridge, Chesterfield Canal

In our original plan, when we’d decided to head back up to Yorkshire via the Trent, we’d thought of cruising the length of the Chesterfield Canal. This was put into our schedule and we’d have had sufficient time to reach the top. However a few weeks ago due to low water levels the magical flight of locks above Shireoaks was closed. This meant there was little point in heading along the canal if we couldn’t do it all. Our mooring plans for the PS Waverley were changed from the Retford and Worksop Boat Club at Clayworth to Lincoln and the rest is now history. At least Oleanna has dabbled her bow onto the Chesterfield, but sadly this time we’ll be going no further.

Do I have to eat that? Oh dear, what a shame!

The tides to head further north to Keadby were not suitable, too early in the day for Lock Keepers to be on duty, so we had a day of staying put, well almost.

Tilly was given 9 hours shore leave and then proceeded to have her morning kip. The sun came out and we had a cooked breakfast. I then got various things together for a panto Production Meeting. Just over an hour of logistics, what’s happening with this that and the other. Two new faces on the zoom Mariana and Anna, the Assistant Director and Deputy Stage Manager. Next time we all meet it will be read through day!

As Tilly explored the very dense friendly cover outside I had a go at creating the songsheet for Panto on Paintshop. Some things worked very well, others went a touch array. I’ll be doing the basic artwork the old fashioned way and then scanning to add the words ready for printing.

Are these the right settings?

At around 3:30 we’d kind of run out of things to occupy us, time to see if we could curtail Tilly’s shore leave. Mick sat out the back waiting to see if he could attract her attention. No cat to be seen. I headed out the back and called.

Hello! I’m here! Where? Here! I couldn’t see her anywhere, but thankfully when she’s not being busy, she will quite happily chat to me as she makes her way back. Her bell also helps in locating her.

We chatted away for an age, Meow! minow Meow!! I could just make out the route she was taking to get back to the towpath with the cover moving about, but no sign of a black and white cat until she finally appeared from the dense mass!

Reversing back to the basin

With all three of us onboard it was time to reverse all of the 0.1 miles back to West Stockwith Basin to moor for the night. Our departure from the lock would be early tomorrow and we didn’t want to wake the neighbours. Back we went and pulled in on the two day mooring. Earlier on Mick had been to chat to the Lockie, he’d be there to penn us down at 7am. It was now time to check in with our Trent buddies.

That’s the way we’ll be going tomorrow

Jo was sat out on the back of NB That’s It, we shared Johnsons Hillocks and Wigan flights with them earlier in the year. They’ve been thwarted this way and that over the summer, stuck behind the Burscough breach on the Leeds Liverpool this meant they missed their passage through Standedge Tunnel. Then when more than half way up the Wigan flight a cill blew at a lock ahead of them meaning they had to retrace their steps, 10 hours hard labour to get back to where they’d started! The Trent was the only option left. It was good to chat with Jo, Brian was off doing a car shuffle.

Bottle lanterns

Then Les and Clive from NB Christopher B walked past, the third of the boats heading to Keadby tomorrow. It had been decided that as we don’t mind being out on our own that we’d lead the flotilla and lock down on our own at 7:00 to be followed by NB That’s It and NB Christopher B in the second lock at 7:15. That way if any of us had a problem help would either be close by or following. Phone numbers were exchanged between all three boats.

Mick did the checks and shortly before bedtime we emptied the welldeck ready for an early start in the morning.

0 locks, 0.1 miles in reverse, 1 empty wee tank, 1/3 of a water tank, 9 zooming, 1 attempt at the songsheet, 1 better idea using paint and card, 1 hidden Tilly, 1 jungle in the shower, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of Approval.

Clean Siblings. 24th September

Basin Bridge, West Stockwith

We knew today would be windy, it lived up to expectations and a touch more. However it hardly rained, so that was a bonus. We’d still not be going anywhere today.

Topics this morning on the Geraghty zoom included 20mph woke plots, brake drum percussion, Maudlin and Utah.

New elastic, but broken fishing rod!

Once the blog was written for yesterday I settled down to concentrate on Photoshop. There is a very big black panel that constantly gets in the way as you are given instructions, quite annoying as you have to keep moving it about. Names for things mean just about nothing to me, so that takes a bit of googling. I found suitable tools, loaded an old photo of me and my brother, which is a favourite of mine.

This was taken 54 years ago in Sanna, Scotland. When we cleared the family house I took charge of Dad’s old slides and spent days/weeks scanning them. This photo and others had been affected by dust and damp. I remember taking it to a photography shop to see if they could clear the slide and give me a nice new print, but they just printed it how it was quite a disappointment really. I spent an age cloning and touching the image up in Photoshop and then printed out copies for Andrew and myself. So today for a practice I used the same image and the Spot Healing Tool to see how I got on.

Not bad really, just the top of the sky that wouldn’t play ball, so I trimmed it a touch. Still a few blemishes, but I was happy with the process.

I then loaded one of my scans to see if I could create a songsheet for Panto, a job still to be done. I decided to use and adapt some of my rainforest artwork. I trimmed it, cut bits out, couldn’t change the background colour, it got a touch frustrating and then my laptop decided to loose it all and close Photoshop down! Argh!! Good job it was just a try out.


Tilly came and went for much of the day. Mick got a touch nervous with the strength of the wind, would Tilly get lost, losing her scent. It tends to be windy days when we don’t see her for ages, so to a certain extent he was right to close the door and keep her in for a while. But the protestations started after an afternoon kip and we relented.

A paddleboarder came past with a Jack Russell having a very noisy ride! An hour or so later the paddleboarder returned , the dog now on the towpath along with someone in a mobility scooter. Our back doors were open and Tilly was out and about somewhere. The dog came on board, most probably trying to get to its owner on the paddleboard. For obvious reasons we don’t like dogs on Oleanna, encroaching Tilly’s safe space!


Mick was quick to get outside and asked the person to keep their dog off our boat, and where was our cat?! ‘It’s over there’ came the response as they pointed to a tortoiseshell on the opposite bank. ‘That’s not our cat’ ‘It’s over there!’ ‘Our cat is NOT over there! That is not our cat!’. Soon they were gone. Tilly returned a while later wondering what all the fuss was.

I loaded up the file I’d been sent from Prompt Side, suggested it should be the size it would be printed at 7m by 4.2m. I zoomed in and started to work my way methodically removing hairs. Blimey there were masses of them! I could also remove a few things that I wasn’t happy with, fingerprint left in some glue, where the point of a compass had left holes etc. This would take time, but I was impressed with how it worked. Saving it however was a different matter. This took ages, not knowing what settings would be required didn’t help matters either! In the end it stated that the file was over 4GB and would not save, the tool now became ever so slow to use.

Some of it I understand

I started again, the original kept to the size of the model. Zooming in I got a lot less detail than before, but could see most of the imperfections. I could save it, but would it be good enough? I need to check with Prompt Side as to settings for setting it up and saving. By the end of the day I felt a touch more confident that I’d be able to touch up the images. I however need to give my laptop screen a good clean first!

Yesterday Mick had popped into the butchers in Misterton. I’d requested he bought a couple of lamb steaks. When we were here before I came up with a recipe for Misterton Lamb, so we had to have it. I did however make a mistake, I did too many vegetables and therefore they didn’t crisp up as they should. It was still very tasty and the lamb was very good!

Mended in time for bedtime playtime

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 VERY blowy day, 2 clean siblings, 1 improved fishing rod, 1 broken fishing rod, 1 mended fishing rod, 1 trespassing woofer, 1 mistaken identity! 2 goes, 2 steaks, 1 boaters meeting, 1 moving boat after dark.

07:30 The Time To Go … Somewhere. 22nd September

Torksey Bottom Side to West Stockwith, Chesterfield Canal

The first boat to go past us this morning was at 6am, most probably a small boat being used by a couple of fishermen that we would see several times today. The next boat to head off was the chap with no idea (NB NI), this was just before 7:30, maybe he’d been in touch with the Lock Keepers further downstream, maybe not. Ten minutes later two more boats pulled away to head up stream, they’d be pushing the tide for quite some way. The first boat pulled out at the junction and you could see the push from the tide immediately as the boat skidded round, pushed sideways, the small fishing boat almost certainly not helping matters. The following boat reversed all the way to the junction, picked up the revs and winded. They were off. 7:30 certainly a popular time to set off today.

8:10 a widebeam then pulled off, heading up stream, less of the out going tide to push through. We waited a while longer, just us and the boat with the missing cat left, hope it had returned and they were just waiting for the flood to come before leaving.


Breakfasted, well deck cleared, weed hatch checked, life jackets, anchor checked, chart. We were ready fifteen minutes before we’d planned to push off at 09:30. Mick’s plan was for us to arrive at West Stockwith at slack water which would make our turn into the lock easier than having to turn into the current and then work our way back into the tide. He’d checked with two Lock Keepers that there would be enough water to get us over the cill, it being a neap tide we’d be fine. We set off ahead of schedule.

Two power stations in one photo

Back in January we did this trip and onwards to Keadby, we had a display by the Red Arrows and a wonderful if chilly day. Today there was no frost on the pontoon at Torksey, but we did have jumpers and coats on, maybe a pair of gloves will be on hand for the next section of the tidal Trent.

Torksey Castle

The river is now quite familiar. Torksey Castle and Viaduct.

One post to line up with

Trent Port where white posts need lining up to stay in the channel. Littleborough where a Roman causeway crosses the river, used in 1066 en route from Stamford Bridge to Hastings.

The Folly or Chateau

Reaching the Folly we’d caught up with the fishing boat. They lifted their lines and sped off into the distance. Maybe when we’ve retired from boating we’ll treat ourselves to a few days stay at the Folly and watch boats cruising with the tides.

We passed the fishing boat near Knaith Rack. Bob the wandering buoy has made his way to near the 83km post, in January it was in Gainsborough. Past West Burton Power Station all with the tide aiding our journey.

Boating Association charts with Waterway Routes

Wet mud along the banks showed how far the tide had fallen, the red line was to be followed to keep us in the channel. Some km markers are missing so we not only use the charts (version 18 now) but also Waterway Routes to show us where we are on the river, quite handy.

Turn Post Corner, a sharp bend in the river with a sand bank protruding out from the inner of the bend. Mick slowed us right down here, the water to both sides of Oleanna bubbling away indicating shallow water, then a cross over to the west bank to miss the next submerged bank.

Checking timings on our progress Mick decided that we should slow down, the revs knocked back.

Just where are they?!

Gainsborough Railway Viaduct, time to give West Stockwith a call. The Lockie said we’d be about an hour he was there waiting for us. Had we seen NB NI? We told him that they had left Torksey at 7:30 this morning, maybe they were planning on stopping at Gainsborough pontoon. Apparently yesterday the Cromwell Lockie had tried to explain to the chap about the tidal Trent and booking locks and going with the tide etc. Then Mick and another boater had done the same at Torksey, giving him the phone numbers of locks. So far NB NI had not been seen!

Onwards now at a slower pace past Kerry Mill, no-one looking out of windows to wave at. The now overgrown building shortly before Gainsborough Road Bridge and various old wharf buildings really need some TLC, the riverfront not that inviting. Mick kept us at a steady pace not wanting to beat the tide to West Stockwith, the current as always running fast through the aches of Gainsborough Road Bridge.

Gainsborough Road Bridge, the current runs through here so fast

NB NI was not on the pontoon. Where were they? Mick tried calling the Lockie at West Stockwith, NB NI had just zoomed past heading for Keadby! They must have either been dawdling on the river or had a break in Gainsborough as we’d gained at least an hour on them. The Lock was sat waiting for our arrival, jolly good.

Cranking the engine up

As we carried on at our leisurely pace the current appeared to have stopped, had the tide turned earlier than expected? Our pace slowed, Mick cranked Oleanna up a notch, then some more. Were we now facing the flood?

The red line ends here

After the big bend with new flats and concrete footing the red line on the chart runs out just by a big sluice. I could now sit down and leave Mick to judge where he should be positioned on the river. He cranked the engine up some more, the last 2 miles done at speed, maybe we’d not needed to slow earlier.

West Stockwith Lock

The Lockie called just before the lock came into view, how were we doing? Mick slowed us brought us along level with the lock. Thinking the tide had turned he’d positioned Oleanna in such a way hoping the current would help us turn in, but the lock was at a more acute angle to the river than he’d remembered and the current wasn’t there. We had arrived at slack water ‘perfect timing’ the Lockie said as Oleanna’s front button nudged the entrance to the lock. Not a clean entrance, but not scary either. Thankfully most people up top were chatting so didn’t notice.

Time to hold a rope at the bow. I remembered this from eight years ago. The Lockie passed ropes down to us to hold onto. Back then we shared the lock with another boat, today we didn’t, today the water coming into the lock pushed us right over to the far side of the lock no matter how hard we clung on to the rope. It wasn’t that the water gushed in, it was just what the lock does, at least we could stop Oleanna from biffing into the side. Slowly we rose.

Just about up on the Chesterfield Canal

We asked the Lockie if there was any news on NB NI? Not yet. Two boats had just come past from Keadby heading up stream, they’d most probably seen them fighting against the flood. We strongly suspect with the Lock Keepers aware of the boat on the river someone stayed at Keadby looking out for them even if they weren’t booked in. But would the boat be looking out for the lock? We think the map the chap had was Open Canal Map, which doesn’t mention anything about tides, phone numbers, channel. The blue line continues down to Trent Falls, up the Ouse and out onto the Humber.

We really hope they turned in at Keadby and are safe. We’re also quite relieved that we hadn’t come across them stuck on a sandbank needing rescuing. Preparation for tidal waters is important, they are not like the tranquil canals of the midlands!

Land hooray!

Now where? We carried on a short distance along the Chesterfield Canal and pulled in on the first stretch of armco. Here would be good for Tilly and us. Five hours and the rules read. Tilly returned on her own three time during the afternoon and didn’t have to mubble at us once!

Russian Naval locks leak too

Mick walked to Misterton Co-op and butchers whilst I sat and watched Kursk (2018) based on the true story of the Russian submarine disaster in 2000. Were the Russians so unfeeling towards the families waiting for news? Was their rescue equipment so badly maintained and were they far more interested in keeping their secrets than saving the crews lives? I think tomorrow I’ll have to find a comedy to watch.

Sunset over the basin

During our cruise today I’d came across the Fish and Chip Appreciation page on Facebook. Crisp golden batter had made me hungry. A look at the local pubs menus was needed. The Waterfront Inn is just in the process of changing hands (reopening 3rd October). Then The White Hart just on the other side of the River Idle. Their menu just so happened to mention gluten free fish and chips! Bingo result!!!

Fish and chips!

They were busy and it took quite a while before we could order, the staff did keep us informed and apologized for our wait. Mick had a very good beef, mushroom and ale pie and I had a very crunchy fish and chips. All very nice. We decided to refrain from a pudding and have a second glass of wine back on Oleanna.

Now if you read the blog, you obviously have an interest in the waterways and our life on them. For a few weeks now there has been a link on the right hand side of the blog which will take you to the petition ‘Fund Britain’s Waterways’ which is urging the Prime Minister to safeguard Britain’s Canals and Rivers now and for future generations. This isn’t a petition just for boaters, but for everyone that enjoys being by the water, wildlife, watching youtube vloggers or reading about the canals and rivers. If everyone who reads this blog signs the petition that would be brilliant. Thank you.

1 lock, 14.9 miles, 3 hours, 1 new waterway for Oleanna, 1 boat without a clue, 1 of each, 1 pie and chips, 1 portion of peas please, Louise! 2 glasses wine, 2 lamb steaks, 1 Saturday paper, 1 happy cat.

Cadburys Take Em… 21st August

Ellis’s Bridge 86 to Gees Lock 36

A boat! NB Golden Eagle passed us heading towards Leicester, would they be stopping at Kilby Bridge services or carrying on? It’s a rare thing to see a moving boat round here at the moment, I suspect that will change tomorrow. We moved up to the services ourselves and topped up with water, disposed of rubbish and Tilly got a fresh pooh box, no sign of NB Golden Eagle.

Eye eye!

Up to Kilby Lock, set against us as we knew it would be. As we made our way to the next lock a C&RT chap was walking the towpath with a keb (a rake with bent ends used to clear bywashes and remove reeds from the canal. He shouted across to us that there were paddles up at the next lock, he was running water down to a low pound. Once he was out of view we then asked ourselves should we leave the paddles up, or leave them down at the next lock. A touch of a moral dilemma for a boater, it feels wrong to leave a pound emptying itself with no-one watching. But once Oleanna was down I went back and lifted a top paddle, we’d possibly be grateful for the extra water further ahead.

Below Ervin’s Lock a group of lads were noisily fishing, they weren’t doing so well. I remembered that I hadn’t locked the front door, a thing we do when in built up areas and going through locks, you just never know. Below the lock was the low pound, the bywash gushing forth into it from above. Blimey it was slow going! We remembered this from four years ago, the really shallow pound, at least it gives you time to appreciate peoples back gardens.

£220,000 Click photo for details

A house for sale, no end of garden mooring, wonder if you could persuade your two neighbours (and C&RT) to let you moor across their gardens? A slightly disturbing giant gnome, nowhere near as good as Monty (Neighbourhood Watch by Alan Ayckbourn). This gnome looked as if someone had been wrapped in fibreglass to create it.

I think it was Whetstone Lock that was finally in our favour, a boat moored above a short distance must have recently come up, it made a change from having to close gates and fill it. At the bottom gates I found myself standing in a squirrels left overs, a carpet of cracked hazelnut shells covering the ground, not many nuts left in the canopy.

As we turned the big bend at Glen Parva we hoped for a space to pull in. NB Ragamuffin sat at one end of the mooring, a fisherman the other. Maybe we’d have been able to squeeze in but it would have been really quite cosy. We decided to carry on a few more options available ahead.

Gees Lock, empty with a bottom gate open. I walked down to close it and start filling the lock. Mick followed but didn’t lift a paddle as I expected. He was suggesting to moor up on the lock landing, it was a long one and we could tuck ourselves at the far end, after all there’s hardly any traffic about if any. This we did knowing we’d be moving first thing.

Still quite a busy towpath, but Tilly made good use of it. One boat came past making use of that closed gate and letting it swing back open as they left. Oh well, I’ve closed it once I can do it again.

99% plastic garden, 1 dying plant in a corner

Our friend Chris on NB Elektra got in touch this morning regarding my printing problems for panto. He was willing to have a go at improving the image with various programs he has. Many thanks to him for his hours tinkering away, they are an improvement. However it could be that I’ve shot myself in the foot with my original artwork, a collage may not be the best thing to scan to be enlarged. 0.5mm depth between layers may not be helping. Maybe a really good photograph would be better? Maybe I just need to have a chat with Peter, the man who deals with such things all the time, only tricksy thing is we’d not been planning for his company to print everything.

Blaby Mill

At midday a notice came through about the leak on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal.

A leak has occurred close to the M18 Bridge and it affecting a section of towpath between M18 Bridge running parallel to East Ings Road track at Thorne. The team are working to repair the leak as soon as possible. The navigation is currently open and but this section of towpath above the leak will be closed until the repair is carried out. During the afternoon photos of a tug and skip filled with clay were posted on facebook, presumably heading towards Thorne. Fingers crossed they get the leak bunged up quickly.

Another notice came through regarding the Chesterfield Canal.

Low rainfall and diminishing reservoir levels mean we have no option but to close the Chesterfield Canal from Boundary Lock 41 upstream, as we are unable to provide enough water to accommodate boat movements. The closure will commence on Friday 1st September. We’d been thinking of heading that way, but with the best part of the canal closed we’ll leave it for another time.

6 locks, 4.4 miles, 1 giant gnome, 1 low pound, 1 dilema, 2 moving boats, 565783 hazelnuts, 0 covered in chocolate, 2 notices, 40 tonnes of clay! 1 closure, 1 plan changing, 1 phone call needed, 1 more Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.