Category Archives: Middlewich Branch

Face Rhino Business. 22nd May

Lockdown Mooring 4A

The forecast for today was for wind, quite a lot of it, but we hadn’t expected it to wake us at 3.15am! Blimey it was loud!! We did however manage to get back to sleep eventually, but this meant we were slower in getting up than usual.

New signs from C&RT

As we sat with our cuppas in bed we talked about which way we’ll be heading when the time comes. We plan on loitering in this pound for a couple more weeks until we feel more comfortable about moving away from the safety of what we know, veg boxes and deliveries meaning we rarely now have to go to the supermarkets or town.

2 meters where possible

But where to go? The titles in my puzzle book gave us a plan. Our destination maybe a touch further east than we’d originally thought we’d go and we doubted canalplan would help us with much of the route planning. However we could make an educated stab at directions.

Our destination

Up to Barbridge Junction, turn onto the Middlewich Branch.

Wardle Lock Cottage

Right onto the Trent and Mersey, keeping a straight course when we reach Fradley Junction.

The Swan at Fradley Junction

At Trent Lock head down stream on the River Trent, passing through Nottingham and Newark.

Newark Castle

A pause at Cromwell Lock before heading out onto the tidal Trent. Tides dependant we’ll have over night stops at Torksey and Keadby.

As it says Keadby Lock

Then back out onto the Trent (new water for us), at Trent Falls, if the tide is right we will continue to head east onto the Humber. We’ll need a pilot for this next stretch, under the Humber Bridge. An overnight stop at either Hull Marina or Corporation Pier (now known as Victoria Pier).

Corporation Pier, Hull

The following day, we’ll join the ferries to Rotterdam following their route out to past Spurn Point where our course will then head northwards up along the North coast. We might stop off at Scarborough for a night to wave at our friends before continuing on wards.

Scarbados in the sunshine

One port of call heading northwards would be Edinburgh. We might have a night or two there. Then back out into the North Sea hugging the coast up to Fraserburgh.

Fraserburgh

A major restock whilst here, including making sure that the wine cellar was filled. Then after checking the forecast for the next few days we’ll choose our moment and with a bearing of east north east we’ll set forth across the 285 miles of North Sea to Stavanger. We’re really hoping that our diesel tank has sufficient capacity for this leg of the journey, if not maybe NB Halsall or NB Alton will be able to give us a top up.

Stavanger

From here Mick has previous knowledge from a holiday he once took up the coast of Norway, so we’ll hug the Norwegian coast maybe bobbing into the odd fjord to restock and for a touch of rest. At Tansoy we’ll pass to the north of the island and head out from the sea passing Brandsoy on our port side.

Brandsoy

Keeping the 5 road within sight we’ll continue eastwards round Sandvikbotn. One last restock at the Spar shop in Eikefjord before pushing back west and mooring up after a cruise of around 921 miles from Hull.

No idea who this chap is, but the Spar looks good

What looks like a gorge could be our easiest route inland through a forest to reach our final destination, only half a mile away at face.rhino.buisness What3words

Restock and mooring up

The first section of our journey, to Hull Marina entrance, has been calculated using canalplan. It would be 200 miles and 2 furlongs, include 89 locks, take 79 hours and 41 minutes, so just over 11 days.

Route from Hull

Then with an average speed on the Humber and sea of 5mph we reckon cruising time will be 184 hours. Crossing the North Sea (284miles) we’d not be able to stop, so that would be a 57 hour continuous cruise, taking turns being tied to the helm, Tilly would be exempt from these duties. The rest of the journey at 7 hours a day (a long days cruise for us nowadays) would amount to 18 days.

Not far really

So in total we’d cover 1121miles, 89 locks. Taking us a total of 31.5 days, so lets call that 32.

If my puzzle book had said faces.rhino.buisness we’d have been heading to Alaska.

Alaska

If face.rhinos.buisness, New Mexico.

New Mexico

If faces.rhinos.buisness, then Queensland.

Queensland

We’re quite glad our destination is only Norway!

In other news, today has continued to be very windy. Tomasz Schafernaker on the weather forecast said it would be a touch breezy this afternoon. He lied!

Bored!

It was so windy that Tilly’s shore leave had to be curtailed as it was too windy for cats. We managed a walk up to the bins, but decided to go no further. The rest of the day was spent painting illustrations.

Towpath work continues

Following on from Tom’s post regarding Costco toilet rolls. We have compared the toilet roll tubes from our last two lots of paper. The wide one was from a pack of nine rolls we purchased when it was all we could buy in Nantwich about 9 weeks ago. The other a more established brand. This more established brand has the smaller diameter, yet the roll before being used had the same outside dimension.

Side by side
One inside the other

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 very very windy day, 1 boat pinned to the side, 2 mad cruising boats, 1 ivy clad tree a touch too close for comfort, 1 cruise planned.

One’s Better Than None. 21st May

Lockdown Mooring 4A to Cholmondeston Lock to Lockdown Mooring 4A

Time to fill up with water, we’ve not been so careful this last few days so the tank hadn’t lasted so long. But which water point to choose? I knew as there was something that needed to be picked up.

Sun’s out again

We reversed back through bridge 97 to Hurleston Junction, winded and headed up to Barbridge. Our Lockdown Buddies were all busy, some already with plans as to which way to head when cruising restrictions are lifted this weekend. Most of us will need to move off the 48hr moorings on Monday. At the moment we plan on staying around the area for another week or two with the hope that the Covid-19 statistics improve.

A boat!!!

For the last two months we’ve hardly met another boat on the move, but now numbers are picking up. Those visiting their boats for the first time in a couple of months, maybe even this year, are out for a there and back day cruise. Others who can’t wait for the weekend and who have started to move already. So of course today we met a boat at a bridge hole, we were the closest, ‘Just like old times’.

Building site back up and running today

I stood as look out at Barbridge Junction and signalled the way ahead was clear as we turned into the Middlewich Branch. The building site opposite is back up and running again.

Not what you normally see on the Four Counties

A cruiser with a huge engine sat on a trailer by the slipway at Barbridge Marina, bit of overkill for the canal system.

Elderflower on it’s way

Now most of the Hawthorn blossom has gone, but getting going is the Elderflower. A few more days before the flower heads are out fully.

The plant pot lady on her swing now just about overgrown.

The length of boats we’d left a couple of months ago are still moored above Cholmondeston Lock. Each with their little patch and all very friendly now. A group stood round the water point as we pulled up, a boat just having finished filling. They wound their hose up and gave us room.

With the tank filling I took a large shopping bag with me and headed off on my own. There was a delivery I needed to pick up, sadly a second one hadn’t arrived. I returned to Oleanna where one half of Mick’s birthday present was presented wonderfully wrapped in a Sainsburys bag.

A while ago Paul, from Waterway Routes, had pointed us in the direction of Tannus tyres. These are solid tyres so therefore cannot get a puncture. As our faithful Brompton has had a couple of punctures lately I decided to fork out for a pair.

Present

Delays had happened. The company only dispatches orders the following week as they were working with reduced staff. They sent no confirmation of my order and it was only when it arrived that I was informed that there was only one tyre, not a pair! I ordered a second one, luckily getting some discount from the company. Then I wasn’t able to pick it up until Wednesday. Hence all the delay. So either Mick will get his Christmas present early or Tilly has used up all her pocket money for the next five years in buying the second tyre.

Look at that de-lamination, that used to be plywood.

Lunch was eaten as the water tank filled, we then backed past the line of boats and headed back home.

They’ve lost the ability to change the outside!

Videos of how to fit a Tannus tyre were watched, they are renowned to be quite tricky as they are a solid tyre. Time to give it a go.

The Brompton had it’s front tyre removed, easier than the rear one, it also had a slow puncture. Then the choice of which pins too use, red, blue or black. The blue ones were the correct size for the wheel. These were fed into the holes and then Mick started to fit the tyre. He’d had the foresight to leave the tyre on the rear hatch sitting in the sun for a while. This made the tyre more malleable and considerably easier to fit than expected.

Tyreless wheel
Blue pins slotted in

The wheel back on the bike it was taken for a test drive a short distance up the towpath. Just the second tyre to arrive now and he’ll be puncture proof.

Fitted

I started on some details and shadows on my illustrations. This became quite satisfying, the characters now taking shape and form on the page. There is still more to do and the slight disappointment when I realised that the main character, Emma not only has a stripy cardigan but her coat is multicoloured also! I saved that as a job for tomorrow.

Just that red coat to finish

0 locks, 5.55 miles, 0.2 in reverse, 2 winds, 1 right, 1 left, 1 full water tank, 0.5 present, 1 solid tyre, 1 birthday boy kept busy, 1 endless coat, 2 neighbours gone, 1 new neighbour.

One puncture proof tyre

Close To Home. 4th May

Lockdown Mooring 4A to Claveley Services to Lockdown Mooring 4A

Having done a load of washing yesterday we were starting to run low on water, we also wanted to get another load through the machine before the arctic blast lands at the end of the week. After breakfast and Tilly had returned from an explore we set off, reversing to the bottom of the locks, winding and then headed north to Calveley.

Fat hedgerows

The cooler temperatures and rain of the last few days has cleared the scummy scum, so the canal looked back to normal. As we cruised the sun warmed the world and I got the thumbs up from Amy regarding my sketches, only one slight alteration and a better photo to work from for the movement directors portrait.

Has someone been using this instead of a council tip?

At the services we filled up with water and disposed of rubbish. One of the big bins here was very full and a sign indicated that someone has dumped their building/garden rubbish in it making it too heavy to empty. Suspect it was a local disposing of their waste rather than having to live with it at home for a while longer. It will end up being a C&RT employee who sorts it out as the bin men won’t.

Settling into the eaves
Coming and going

We called in at Lockdown Mooring 3 to have lunch, NB Islonian were our nearest neighbours and we had a chat stood at our bows, a very good gap apart. I’d considered letting Tilly out, to remind her that the outside world would change again one day, but after some thought the doors remained closed, we wanted to head back to Hurleston today!

Less footfall here

In the last three weeks since we’ve been down this way nature has exploded. The family who live in amongst the trees were only just visible through the greenery today and the towpaths less walked were filled with flowers.

It being around three miles back to Lockdown 4A I decided to walk back for my days exercise. This gives me the opportunity to take photos that don’t include Oleanna’s roof and to enjoy the towpaths.

Large Bittercress and Oleanna

Underfoot went from being uneven to quite soggy in parts. The bluebells and cowslips are now past their best. But taking their place are patches of rapeseed by the road and the vibrant white of Large Bittercress. The Bittercress is actually pale purple which was a surprise up close.

Rather smart

I walked up onto the road to see what I could see of Old Wardle House. A fine building with white pilasters and a good set of stables/barns alongside. Maybe one day I’ll take the footpath that crosses the yard for a closer nosy.

Lovely looking barn/stables

I walked up onto the bridge at the junction to be a lookout for Mick, no boats on the move but us, so all was well, I waved him on.

Barbridge Junction

At times the towpath gets a touch narrow to pass other people, so I find a wide stretch and stand well out of the way to let others pass. I did this to let a couple of teenagers pass, enough room if everyone one went single file. But no they kept coming two abreast myself pushed up into the hedge. Thanks chaps!!!

Back home

Back at home, at Lockdown Mooring 4A, we pulled in with enough room for us to have the view into the field again. After Tilly’s magical mystery tour the doors were opened up with an hour and a half left before cat curfew.

Hurry up!!!!

So, they had spent all day moving the outside, and all they end up doing is going round in circles! I think I might have to have a word with my friend Paul, I think they need new maps to follow as they are not doing very well with moving the outside anymore!

Same old same old outside!

Sitting down to hear the end of the press conference and what embellished truths they would tell us today, I caught one bit of news that made me hunt the internet for more information. A message was sent to an old friend. Very sadly confirmation came back that her Father had passed away in a care home yesterday afternoon from Covid -19, just two weeks after his 84th birthday. She had been able to be with him at the end, now she will self isolate for 14 days and hope she stays well.

Sitting on our boat in the countryside we live in a bubble that we consider to be relatively safe. We take precautions, hand washing etc. We live our lives as if it is winter, except it is warmer. We watch the news, listen to the politicians each day, then make our own minds up on what is the truth. Life will return to some sort of normality eventually, some things will be different and have to stay that way, some should remain different but won’t. Just how many of us will know someone who has sadly passed away due to the pandemic?

Tilly and her field

Today it all got that bit closer to home. We send love and thoughts to Sara and her family along with so many others who are grieving for a loved one taken too soon.

0 locks, 7.17 miles, 3 miles walked, 2 winds, 2 moorings, 1 full water tank, 1 heavy full bin, 1 bemused cat, 1 field all to herself, 1 more very sad loss.

Vegging Out. 30th April

Almost Lockdown Mooring 4 to Marsh Lane Winding Hole to Almost Lockdown Mooring 4

Yesterday I’d checked with the greengrocer about what time they start delivering their veg boxes, luckily for us it wasn’t too early so we didn’t need to set an alarm clock. We had our usual cuppa in bed and then set off back to bridge 95 not quite a mile away.

Here we hunted for the holes in the concrete edge we’d made yesterday. Mick found the one for the stern, but try as I might at the bow it hid from me, only showing itself when we pushed off later! Once our spikes were in we made better note of where they were for next week.

Delivery to the gate

Time for breakfast, we could have been there for half an hour or right into the afternoon, but fortunately it was the former. Around 10:20 I got a phone call to say our box had arrived. Mick got out and waved, our box was laid on the towpath for Mick to pick up so that distances could be maintained. The chap said he does a big delivery to a boater at Venetian Marina which then gets passed on along the Middlewich Branch. This is where I’d got the idea from, the local Covid-19 Boaters group on facebook.

What had we got? I was excited!

Ooo goodies

I’d requested no cauliflower, but some garlic and a sweet potato. The rest was a mystery, a £15 mystery.

1 lettuce, 1 very long cucumber, a bag of new potatoes, 2 huge parsnips, a bag of carrots, 1 sweet potato, 2 bulbs garlic, 1 aubergine, 1 small butternut squash, a bag of tomatoes, 3 bunches of spinach, 2 onions, 1 red onion and some broccoli. That would certainly keep us going until next week.

What to cook?

Clem’s (or Nantwich Veg Boxes) does different sized boxes, some just veg, some just fruit, some a mixture. I’d gone for £15 veg as that is roughly what I’d spent on their market stall a few weeks ago. Next week I suspect we might still have a few bits left so I’ll try a mixed box of a similar size and see what lies within one of those.

If we could put together a big enough butchers delivery then we’d only have to use the supermarkets for pasta, rice, flour, milk etc. oh and wine boxes! Mick managed to get another Sainsbury’s click and collect at the weekend so any gaps we have will be filled with a bike trip along with getting our Saturday newspaper. Plain gluten free flour however is proving to be impossible to get unless ordered direct from Doves Farm in a 16kg bag!

They’re moving the outside again!

As we’d be needing to top up with water in a day or two we decided to headed on into Nantwich today, cutting down on our movements. I walked to give me calf muscle a stretch.

Hawthorn and cow parsley

All the Blackthorn blossom has gone, but is now being replaced by Hawthorn, weighing down the branches so they almost meet the Cow Parsley reaching up from the towpath. I suspect in a few days time the blossom will be fantastic, Narnia in May. We’ve often been up near Crick and Houdini’s Field at this time of year and some of the stretches are glorious.

Heading back out of town

Rubbish and water dealt with we pootled on to the winding hole, turned and headed back out of town to Hurleston. We could see a very big black cloud heading our way, would we make it in time without getting wet. Sadly no.

On their holidays from Lymm

The boat that had been in the spot we’ve started to call home had moved on this morning before we left, but this afternoon had been replaced by another. We knew we’d fit in the gap, so resumed sharing rings.

That’s the same outside! Just different

Time to plan our menu for the next week. Eating up the more perishable veggies first. We don’t tend to eat that much salad, but we may do over the coming weeks. Chicken Curry new style, salmon and spinach pasta will use the spinach up. Just how to shoe horn the glut of potatoes into everything. Well tonight we had fish pie with a mash topping (I normally do a crumble top) with a nice side salad.

Next time move the outside properly!

During the evening I started sewing the button band onto my treat cardigan. This took quite a few goes to get right to start with, but it just about worked out before bed. I just need to finish the end with a few rows of blue, then just a few finishing touches, find those buttons I bought in Devizes, block it and it will be ready to wear. I seem to have enough yarn left over to possibly make a matching hat too, bonus!

Jay

0 locks, 5.5 miles, 2 winds, 2 straights, 1 cruise before breakfast, 1 box of fresh yummyness (see above for item numbers), 1 ray of hope, 1 full water tank, 0 rubbish, 1 big bag of recycling, 1 weeks menus just about planned, 1 cardi nearly done, 3 hours shore leave, 1 new neighbour, 3 pooh buckets on the towpath.

Thursday 30th April

Surprises. 26th April

Lockdown Mooring 4 to Cholmondeston Water Point to Lockdown Mooring 4

A surprise biscuit was added to Tilly’s breakfast this morning. Fewer biscuits than normal too. The surprise biscuit is a touch smaller than the rest, a slightly different shape but a similar colour, that’s if the cut side is turned away from the consumer. The biscuits were put down on Tilly’s mat first thing and checked periodically to see if the surprise had been eaten.

The prettiest garden on our route today

After an hour or so of shore leave the doors were closed, despite the constant whinging the doors stayed shut and we made ready to push off. We reversed under Bridge 97, winded at the bottom of the Hurleston flight and then headed northwards to Barbridge junction.

Out for a ride

This morning there hadn’t been as much weedy scum around us, yesterday at times there had seemed to be quite a flow on the cut, maybe intentional to refresh the water. But we soon caught up with the slime where it had congregated.

It’s good to be moving even if just for a short time

I stood at the bow as we approached Barbridge as look out. All was clear as we turned onto the branch. We’ve not been this way for a few weeks, so it was a nice change of scenery.

As we reached the end of the line of moored boats we came across the biggest patch of green so far. Bleurgh!! In a few weeks time will a trip to the water point no longer be an essential reminder of cruising but become one plagued with trips down the weed hatch to clear the prop?

Blimey slimey!

A lady warned us that by Venetian Marina was very busy with boats, but we told her we’d be back shortly as we had no intention of descending the lock. We met NB Halsall close to a bridge, no need of a top up of diesel today, the sun has been doing it’s job with our solar so we’ll last a while longer.

Halsall

The same boats were still moored towards the lock. As we pulled up the boat nearest the water point had just finished filling up so things were perfectly timed. The bathroom got a good clean as the tank filled. Vessels were also filled, the kettle, the bottle used to rinse the separator on the toilet, the spray bottles topped up too.

This looks great!

This outside looked very good, plenty of fresh green friendly cover. But all they did was get the hose out and give Oleanna a drink. All I was allowed to do was watch from my shelf. Then all too soon the outside was untied and allowed to drift away backwards until Tom turned it round again.

Will we be able to see this couple next time we visit?

Back to the junction and back towards Hurleston. One of the chaps moored by the bottom of the locks has been busy signwriting his boat. He’s been doing a very lovely job, including three coats of yellow paint before adding details and shadows. Yellow is always a bad colour for coverage.

Busy narrow towpath down the branch

He stood up as we passed saying that he had designed the perspex yellow bike from the Tour de France we have in our window from 2014 at Hebden Bridge. His son had made them. We’d seen them in shops around the town and had managed to hunt down one of the last ones. We’re not ones for plaques, but the yellow bike is a prized possession of ours.

The same two rings were tied to with innies and then the back door opened up.

This one, again!!

Surprise Tilly!

We’re in the same outside yet again!!!!

At first she didn’t seem too impressed, the strands of grass she’d not finished eating this morning still sat on the hard edge. After a few minutes of confusedness, she was away through the sideways trees and back in the field hunting out her friends.

That’s the same
so’s that!

0 locks, 5.61 miles, 0.25 in reverse, 2 winds, 1 right, 1 left, 1 wormer consumed, 1 load washing, 0 blackthorn blossom, 5 scummy stretches, 1 coal boat, 1 covid hello,1 full water tank, 1 threatened rain storm, 1 synopsis read, vegetable research required, 1 lazy starter!

A Touch Further. 15th April

Lockdown Mooring 4

Today Mick had extra errands to do on his bike other than just the click and collect from Sainsburys. I’d managed to track down a local timber merchants that is open in the mornings Richard Potter Ltd. A quick phone call this morning and bingo they had dust masks! I go the chap to put a pack aside for me. I’ve been wanting to get on with some painting of Oleanna, which of course requires the existing paintwork to be rubbed back. When doing small areas I haven’t bothered with a mask in the past, but in the current climate I’d rather not be adding any dust to my lungs.

Cowslips on the branch

Just about any suitable masks on the internet were being snapped up by those wanting to wear them day to day when outside, so I was relieved to be able to get hold of some locally which are suitable for the job in hand.

As Mick cycled away I checked on my stock of sandpaper, nothing, well it wasn’t where it should be. I knew I was running low anyway so that and some masking tape were added to Mick’s list.

Whilst he was away shopping I continued to reread Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn. The theatre in Vienna were interested in putting on the show next year, but had been told by previous designers that it wouldn’t fit on their stage. A month or so ago I’d come up with a possible layout that might work, the other day I read Act 1 and today Act 2. If the director can live without having a bath I think I have a solution. Who knows whether the show will be mounted, but at least I can say that they could do it. Austria this week are lifting a few of their restrictions, allowing smaller shops to reopen. It will be sometime before theatres open their doors again. Here they were the first things to close, so in my mind will be the last to reopen. But there is no harm in having a show up your sleeve.

Successful shopping trip

Mick returned with the shopping, walking along the towpath. Only one thing was missing from our Sainsburys order and that was hand wash. We’ve just opened our last bottles and in normal times we’d buy more to have in reserve.

This afternoon I decided to extend my walk a touch and head off on footpaths to see what Stoke Hall looked like in comparison to the Manor. I walked northwards along the towpath to Stokehall Bridge 99 where I headed north east across fields.

Pooh sticks bridge

A bridge over a stream meant I just had to have a game of Pooh Sticks. I both won and lost, the longer stick being faster than the shorter thicker one.

Stoke Hall

The hall soon showed itself through the trees. A Grade 2 listed building from the 17th Century it has been extended through the centuries, mostly during the 19th Century. Three storeys red brick in Flemish Bond it doesn’t look quite as imposing as the Manor does. But I hunted down the details from when it was last on the market and their photos are far better than mine. The interior has wonderful panelling and a small blue swimming pool adds to the seven bedrooms and similar number of reception rooms.

Hos

I crossed the freshly ploughed field aiming straight for the stile on the far side, few foot prints to follow on this field. Then a short distance along the road before climbing into a field with a couple of horses.

Stiles a bridge and a hedge to negotiate

The footpath took me across grazing land, over small planked bridges and over stiles in hedges. A farmer plough his field heading uphill whilst the path I followed took me past last years cut off stumps of maize.

Last years crop

My OS map showed a trig point, so I veered off the marked footpath to spot it. Not much good for it’s purpose now as it’s surrounded by trees, but it’s still there.

I then continued straight along the footpath to where a stile brought me onto the road that leads either to Cholmondeston or Nantwich.

Onto the road

Next I had a choice to walk to Venetian Marina and Cholmondeston Lock, returning along the canal and past Lockdown Mooring 1, or to follow a road to the west which would see me passing Stoke Hall again. The former won, the road was a touch busier than I’d expected.

Cholmondeston Lock

Walking up to the lock and standing on the bridge above the bottom gates I sighed. On the 23rd of March we’d known what was coming and headed up the lock for the last time. This is starting to feel like another life, another time.

Hello Blossom

I now followed the canal back to Barbridge Junction. Many of the boats that had been there three weeks ago are still moored in the same places. I spotted a couple of boats that we’ve seen moving, now back on their home moorings and got to say hello to a lady who is a member of the local Covid boaters group.

Below Hurleston Reservoir

Back on the main Shropie a lady paused whilst gardening to have a chat. Her and her husband have been busy tidying their mooring and we’ve said hello each time we’ve passed when going for water. She said I must have been a long way, which I had, a touch further than I’d imagined, but it was making up for not working our way up the Cheshire Locks on the Trent and Mersey today. We chatted away across the cut, their boat was being painted when lockdown happened. Luckily the painter has been able to continue work, but all they’ve seen so far is photographs. I suspect we’ll have another chat the next time I pass.

Shouty boat lifting his fenders

0 locks, 1 walked over, 0 miles, 5.7 miles walked, Act 2 read, 1 solution, 3 masks, 2 boxes wine, 7 black plastic bags, 2 grades sandpaper, 2 rolls masking tape, 3 days quarantine, 3 on the offside, 1 Hall, 2 horses, 6 kissing gates, 4 small bridges, 2 sticks, 2 gardeners, 15 minutes chat, 2 concerned home owners, 3rd chicken left over meal, hash with an Indian influence, 1 shouty boat up the locks, 1 shouty boat down the locks.

Empty. 4th April

Lockdown Mooring 2 to Lockdown Mooring 3, Calveley Bridge 104

The water gauge wasn’t showing anything this morning, possibly the lowest it’s been since we moved on board. So only one thing for it, an essential journey to the services. No shore leave was allowed for Tilly and she soon decided to spend the morning on the bed with her eyes closed instead.

Our ash can still hot from ashes added last night. This is normally kept on the towpath, only put here to cruise, with all the covers open

What now seems to be the weekly Geraghty Zoom conference call took place. Just about everyone had been to the National Theatre in the last couple of days. Next week it’s Jane Eyre, Kath said it is quite long, but we’ll give it a go at some point. Everyone looked well and with them we travelled to outerspace, various sound control rooms, the Starship Enterprise and a tour of Frans front room. Tilly also made a large appearance as we attempted to change our background too, but we both just about disappeared so gave up.

About to reveal our second lot of holes

At just gone 11am we untied Oleanna and pushed off. I wonder how many times we’ll moor in this spot over the coming weeks and months, just how many holes will be before we are allowed to move further afield?

Down to the winding hole where we turned to face north. A short distance on we passed our nearest neighbours, Barry was chatting to the chap onboard NB Plum. NB AreandAre would soon be following us to Calveley to fill their water tank also

Morning Barry

Out of the three water points on this pound, Calveley is the furthest from Lockdown Mooring 2, but this was chosen on purpose so as to give Oleanna a bit of a run and to top up the batteries. So we were definitely on an essential journey.

Passing one boat enroute

At Barbridge Junction a boat was just turning onto the branch, we pootled straight on and passed no other moving boats. The service moorings were free so we pulled in away from the pump out end should anyone else turn up.

The water point had a disinfect, so did our filler cap. The plants got the first minute of running water through the hose pipe and then the tank could fill up. Blimey it sounded empty as the tank started to fill. A washing load was put in the machine and turned on as soon as we reckoned we had enough water.

A bear hunt boat

It’s been a week since I cleaned Tilly’s pooh box and until this morning she’d only used it once. Despite her attempt to stare us into opening the door, she wasn’t allowed out. Her four paws had been crossed for much of the morning, she finally had to give up and climbed into the box, I could almost hear her relief as I gave the shower a good clean.

GET ON WITH IT!!!!!

NB AreandAre pulled in behind us and started to fill too. There was time and enough space for us all to have a bit of a chat, comparing notes on shopping etc. It’s nice to get chance to chat with people face to face rather than on the computer.

With our tank full we waved goodbye and pushed off, the washing machine still going. On route we’d decided to moor up by bridge 106 and do our best to empty the washing drawer so that we can make the most of Sundays fine weather for drying. There was plenty of space, so we pulled in leaving good gaps between us and the other inhabited boats.

Pretty flowers

I took a stroll back along the towpath to the garage in the afternoon in the hope of being able to get our Saturday newspaper. I was a touch surprised that the shop was actually open so you could walk in. The shop looked like it is usually reasonably well stocked with none perishable items. if you want porridge oats here is definitely the place to come. One large bag £1.99 isn’t such a bargain, but a box of ten would only be £10. I refrained from such a purchase as I’d not be able to get it back to the boat and if I did we’d have to adjust our ballast!

Oleanna with the whirligig up

Sadly their milk had a similar use by date to the 2 pinter we’d got from Sainsburys yesterday. That’s a downfall with online shopping at the moment, you can’t return things once you’ve checked them over. But we’ll try at the garage again when we pass in a few days time.

Think the towpath will be a touch busier here

0 locks, 3.97 miles, 2 straights, 9 Geraghtys, 4 moving boats plus us, 1 full water tank, 1 boat free of rubbish, 4 crossed paws, 1 load washing, 1 newspaper, 1 whirligig, 1 starter still a bit flat, 5 hours, 1 year since sentencing day.