Category Archives: Middlewich Branch

2019 Round Up.

Checking our vital statistics for a years worth of cruising takes a while. We have a trip computer which records almost all our journeys, sometimes it counts locks twice, sometimes it doesn’t quite catch where we reached before we wind. Before we used this method of recording our journeys I would use canal plan to work out our distances. This method can also miss out parts of our journey but it does give me more statistics. You know how I like numbers! How many bridges, how many narrow locks and what distances we travelled on different types of waterways. So inputting a years worth of cruising takes some time.

Anyhow, here is our round up of the year.

The New Year was seen in at Crick. From here we decided to head to Sheffield to have the last snagging jobs done on Oleanna, we were fortunate that the route north was open with no winter stoppages in our way until we reached Yorkshire. Once in the top chamber at Foxton it was going to be downhill all the way to Keadby.

Going down at Foxton

Sadly our blog started to loose it’s photos, which is a great shame. It was a problem shared by many bloggers who were all doing their best to get things working again. Have to say we ended up jumping ship from blogger to wordpress, but posts still lacked their photos when moved. We hope gradually to rectify this by replacing the missing photos, I miss them when looking back. But this will be a long job.

Waiting at Cromwell

During January we cruised down stream on the River Trent, the weather was getting colder the further north we got. Our route was clear but at Keadby the lock off the river was being dredged, so our journey was held up a touch. Then with February came cold nights and the canal at Keadby froze over. So we waited at Cromwell for things to improve.

First go at Gluten free puff pastry for cruising sausage rolls

Daylight hours and tides meant we split our tidal journey at Torksey. The early morning start from Torksey was very cold, so I was very glad I’d knitted us both balaclavas, we remained cosy cheeked for our journey.

Cosy heads

Our journey up towards Sheffield meant we coincided with the bicentenary of the opening of the canal and a very unseasonably warm weekend. The chaps at Finesse replaced a leaking window, gave us a new one (our choice), sorted out our gas locker lid amongst other bits and bobs. It had been a good decision going to Sheffield, it saved them time coming out to us and it saved us money on the extras we’d asked for.

New galley window going in
200 years old

Next we headed for Goole, the lure of cheap diesel and a night away to see our friends Bridget and Storm on the otherside of the Humber was a bonus. We then hunkered down to sit out storms and rising river levels. Our original plan had been to go to York, but flooding put paid to that, so instead we went by train.

Bridget and Storm with their lovely house

Towards the end of March we decided to give a trip up the Ouse another go, the rivers were at better levels and we still haven’t taken Oleanna there. But first Bank Dole lock wouldn’t fill due to silt, then when we reached Selby the Lock onto the Ouse had a fault which would take too much time to mend for us to wait. This was a relief for Tilly as this was where she’d discovered the difference between grass and duck weed and ended up learning to swim a couple of years ago.

Mark came to meet us from York

At the beginning of April we headed to Leeds. From here we had a day trip to Derby Crown Court for the sentencing of our original boat builder (Stillwater) who had finally pleaded guilty for fraud. I also spent a more pleasurable day in London, having a meeting for Puss in Boots.

Derby Crown Court

With panto in mind we planned our cruising for the remainder of the year. The remainder of April we made our way up the Calder and Hebble and onto the Rochdale Canal.

Being a foot shorter it wasn’t as tight as it had been on Lillian

Our friend Frank joined us to do the stretch from Sowerby Bridge to Hebden Bridge, which included the deepest lock n the network, Tuel Lane. He’d not done this stretch back in 2014 when he and I walked from Manchester locking Lillian over the Pennines to get to the Tour de France.

Tuel Lane the deepest on the network
Frank

Once over the top we picked up a boat to share the locks down into Manchester. Clare and Graeme were over from New Zealand for a few months and proved to be very good company.

Mr Blue Sky and Oleanna

On the 1st of May, with the help of a Canal and River Trust volunteer our passage down into Manchester went well. The following day both boats headed down the Rochdale nine with an extra pair of hands from an old college friend of mine, Doug.

Nearly there!

During May we cruised down the Bridgewater and onto the Trent and Mersey Canal gradually heading southwards. A short detour up the Middlewich Branch to look at where the breach had been before we carried on southwards.

Climbing the Cheshire Locks

A pause in the Cheshire Locks meant we got to meet up with Tom and Jan who were over for a visit. For Micks birthday we moored at Barlaston and had a nosy at the wonderful hall on the hill, our plan still stands if any of our family are interested! https://oleanna.co.uk/2019/05/23/the-plan-20th-may/

Tom and Jan

We saw the end of May out mooring at Tixall Wide before rejoining the Trent and Mersey and heading onto Fradley Junction where we joined the Coventry Canal. With Atherstone Locks out of the way I spent time below working whilst we cruised familiar waters on the flat, it might have rained too!

Tixall Wide

A day trip to London from Rugby for us both, me to a seminar for Separate Doors 3 and Mick to catch up with his friend Siobhan who was over from Australia. Continuing down the North Oxford Canal to Braunston where we joined the Grand Union Canal to head to London.

Busy Braunston Locks

A visit to the Royal Ordnance Depot at Weedon meant I bought some lovely yarn to make a cardie for myself (it’s nearly finished!) and caught up with our friend Heather Bleasdale, who just so happened to be moored there as well.

Yummy yarn

Our route then up and down the Grand Union meant we managed to get to see both Mikron shows this year as well as teaming up with the cast and NB Tyseley to climb the locks up to the summit.

Sharing the locks with Tyseley

Tilly was left in charge for a couple of days whilst we headed to Scarborough to check on our house as we had a change of tenants. This meant we got to stay with Jaye and Duncan and catch up on the news from home.

I’d be in trouble if this photo wasn’t on the blog again!

We now pressed on down to London where we booked a mooring in Paddington Basin for a week in early July. This gave us the opportunity to catch with with friends and family before we headed back out west and down the Hanwell flight. I made the front cover of Canal Boat for July.

Mid July we locked out onto the Thames cruising the Tidal section to Teddington. From here we transited to the River Wey, brand new waters for us.

Up onto the Wey

With my final design for panto delivered to Chipping Norton from Guildford we could enjoy our cruising a bit more, despite the soaring temperatures which had us hiding under trees for a couple of days.

Finished!

On the 26th July we ticked off our third point on the compass, reaching Godalming the furthest south you can get on the connected network. On our way back to the Thames we met up with Adam from NB Briar Rose, both he and Tilly got wet that day.

Furthest South

The original plan had been to cruise the Basingstoke Canal whilst we were there, but sadly the levels were too low and the canal closed before we got there, so we spent a while longer on the Wey.

Hampton Court Palace

Onto the Thames where we managed to get a space outside Hampton Court for a couple of days and I discovered the joys of standing in line for some fresh veg. Gradually we made our way up the Thames. Waking early and getting going worked for us as mostly we managed to get moored where we wanted around lunchtime. Three years ago we did from Teddington to Oxford in a week but with a months licence we took our time.

Waterway Routes
No Problem XL

The further upstream we got the quieter the river got, less hustle and bustle. We met up with Paul and Christine (NB Waterway Routes), missed Carol and George (WB Still Rockin), finally got to have a proper conversation with Sue and Vic (WB No Problem XL) as we headed upstream.

Kelmscott Manor

As the rivers bends got tighter, the banks were harder to get up. A mooring by Kelmscott Manor required a rope from the post to help us get on and off the boat, but it was worth it to visit the house.

At the end of the navigable Thames

On the 26th August we winded at the furthest point we could reach on the Thames on Oleanna and started to head back eastwards. Tilly gave one of our moorings a double stamp of approval and stayed out well after dark!

Isis lock, Oxford

An incident with engine coolant nearly stopped us from reaching Oxford to see War Horse. But a nice man from RCR got us going again so we had a narrow lock fix and headed to the show catching up with Matt and Bill for a drink afterwards.

Lovely chaps

Then at the beginning of September we turned off the Thames onto the Kennet and Avon. For the last five years we’ve been meaning to head this way, but for one reason or another it hadn’t happened.

Gangplank land, the K&A

With tales of lack of mooring we kept to rising early hoping we’d get moorings. This mostly worked and wild moorings were very rarely needed, we did still have to use the gang plank every now and again. We only encountered one pound on our westward journey where even the longest plank wouldn’t have helped which meant we had to carry on up a flight with the clock ticking before locks were locked around us.

Over the summit

At Devizes we met an Instagram friend Frankie who’d been working on the flight over the summer. Despite following another boat down the flight we made good time with the help of the volunteers.

The photo of the year, Devizes

Onwards to Bath and Bristol. Here we moored with HMS GB in the background and met up with two of my old school friends for lunch. A big shame we couldn’t stay longer as there was more we wanted to do and see whilst there, we’ll just have to save up for next time as the mooring fees are quite pricey!

In good company
Old school friends

The section between Bath and Bradford upon Avon was our favourite, with the aqueducts and views along with the second deepest lock on the network.

Cornwall

Mick and Tilly got to enjoy it for a week longer than me whilst I headed off to Cornwall to eat gluten free pasties and start painting my panto set for a week.

Pasty

Once I was back we had two weeks to reach Oxford, but the weather had different ideas. What felt like the monsoon season started. There was rain on most days, luckily not the day we did Devizes. We managed to team up with two couples from Bristol on a hire boat, by the time they reached the top of the flight they could work uphill locks with their eyes closed, we left them to master downhill on their return journey.

Tilly enjoying the big trees

Our second low pound struck as we tried to leave Cobblers Lock, Oleanna was sat firmly on the ground and unable to leave the lock until a good flushing of water set her free. The rain actually did me a favour as whilst we sat in Newbury hoping for the Thames to drop I managed to get my model for A Regular Little Houdini finished.

A Regular Little Houdini

At the end of October I headed off to panto land leaving Mick and Tilly a short distance outside Reading, hoping they would be able to get up the Thames in the following week. Our friend Paul came and helped Mick out onto the Thames reaching Goring on their first day. Here Mick and Tilly got to met Carol and George (WB Still Rockin’) who’d been clinging onto the moorings there before heading downstream.

Photo courtesy of Carol WB Still Rockin

Paul returned later in the week and despite the engine overheating and having to deploy the anchor they succeeded in getting to Abingdon where Oleanna had her second visit from RCR. Mick battled on against quite a downstream flow and reached Sandford Lock before tying up. Here the levels rose and fell, the engineer came for a second visit and found lots of crud in our cooling system.

A calm paws on the Thames at Sandford

With the engine in better fettle, Mick nudged his way up towards Oxford and finally made a dash up Osney Lock and onto the canal despite that section still being on red boards. It turns out he’d chosen his moment well as the river has stayed on red boards since then.

Pantotastic

Once I left all the singing dancing and glitter behind and returned to narrowboat life we had to sit out high levels on the Oxford canal and on the River Cherwell. We loitered in Oxford, but as soon as it looked like things were improving we were on our way.

Lakes not meadows

We paused in Banbury for Christmas haircuts and shopping before pulling in for a few days at Cropredy Marina, from where we headed to London for a Sibling get together at my brothers.

Family

Onwards to the top of the Oxford Canal the day the locks reopened and down the other side continuing onwards to Radford Smelly for Christmas.

Christmas

In Warwick we met up with my family and then picked up crew Mike and Chris to help us up the Hatton and Lapworth flights.

Our final visitors of 2019

The last few locks were done on New Years Eve bring us up to the Birmingham level for the new year.

Narnia Lock our last for the year

Quite a busy year. So our vital statistics for 2019

According to Canalplan

Total distance is 1199 miles, ½ furlong and 886 locks . There are 119 moveable bridges of which 22 are usually left open; 139 small aqueducts or underbridges and 20 tunnels – a total of 8 miles 2 ¼ furlongs underground and 8 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 207 miles, 4 furlongs of narrow canals; 399 miles, 5¾ furlongs of broad canals; 102 miles, 5 ¼ furlongs of commercial waterways; 226 miles, 6 ¼ furlongs of small rivers; 212 miles, 5 furlongs of large rivers; 49 miles, 6 ¼ furlongs of tidal rivers; 150 narrow locks; 626 broad locks; 109 large locks; 1 lock on major waterways.

838.2 engine hours

That is 255 miles and 272 locks more than last year! But 246.4 hours less engine running, just goes to show it’s worth having solar panels.

1336.93 litres diesel, 9 (although we’ve got 2 empty now) gas bottles (used for central heating as well as cooking), 6 overnight guests, 6 packs Dreamies, 1 cover cat, 32 friends, 17 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 1 double stamp, 5 pairs socks, 3 pairs gloves, 1 baby blanket, 2 shows designed, 1 cover illustration, 5 lots gluten free puff pastry, 9 supermarket deliveries, 39 boxes of wine delivered, 12 bottles of wine delivered.

Thank you for sharing our year with us.

How Different Our Day Would Have Been. 13th May

Bridge 22 to Rookery Railway Bridge 158, Trent and Mersey

No shore leave for Tilly this morning, we weren’t going to risk her getting carried away and not returning for hours! With a mooring in mind we pushed off in the glorious sunshine to find the next winding hole to turn in.

Shuttered house

Just over a mile and a half away there it was, for a change nobody was using it. Mick swung Oleannas bow in towards the V and started to turn her just as a boat came round the bend, they’d have to be patient for us to finish, which they were. Then we were on our way northwards again to be able to head southwards.

Bridge after bridge

More fields were being ploughed, hay turned, cattle grazed with a few very young calves having a rest by Mums feet. The branch is so rural, just the West Coast Main Line to break things up. We passed the cottage with it’s painted shutters, a new coat of paint has been added avoiding the roses. The converted stable block is another must for a photo.

On the new rings

By the time we had descended Stanthorne Lock it was lunchtime, so we decided to try out some of the new mooring rings at the breach site. I walked along to have a better look down at the side of the aqueduct where the breach happened. You can’t get down to see from below, but from above there is a definite scar where the water pushed everything out of its way.

Looking down to the river

The bank has a fresh layer of grass taking hold, but at the bottom there is still earth showing. The bank of the river has been made good and twigs mark where a hedge will grow in the future. The stone up on the aqueduct almost certainly marks the spot, a local dog has also left it’s mark here!

After lunch we swapped with a boat coming up Wardle Lock. A horn sounded below, then the bow of a boat appeared round the bend just after I’d lifted the bottom paddles. The bow hit the far side of the bridge as the chap at the helm tried to get their boat to turn, then the cabin top took a bump as the angle aligned perfectly. A chap walked up towards the lock and saw that I was opening the gates, ‘Thank you!’ He hadn’t realised there as a boat in the lock.

One swan!

I walked on to set King’s Lock leaving Mick to navigate around the hire boat and turn. As he waited for the lock to empty he spotted that the annoying water point at the junction has gone. Here there used to be boats moored up outside the chandlers, boats turning into and out of Wardle Lock, boats waiting to go up King’s Lock with another sat on the water point. Such a busy busy junction, all empty now.

Up above NB Elk was pulling in. We saw New Year in with Brian a few years ago at Bugsworth in the hold of NB Tench (I doubt he recognised us, we were yellow then). We wonder where Tench is now as her owner sadly died in a boat fire a year ago.

Four more and a boat in front

When on NB Winding Down we’d always count the swans in this pound. A popular spot for them, a fence was even put up to keep them from wandering onto the road. But we now seem to arrive when the numbers are low. At first count there was only one who’d made the effort, but another four were hiding at Rumps Lock.

We once bow hauled a boat here along the treacherous towpath

Some work has been done by C&RT on the lock landings along this stretch. For years the concrete edge has been collapsed and you had to choose where to step off your boat carefully.

Salt mountain

British Salt is always an interesting sight. The mounds of white stuff outside looking like part of the Alps and indoors the more pristine mounds were being rounded up by a very diddy digger. A short distance further on is a footbridge that goes to nowhere now. When we first bought into Nb Winding Down here stood the remains of the 1920’s factory for Bisto.

As we reached Booth Lane Bottom Lock, we’d caught up with a boat ahead. I asked if the locks had been full when they arrived, ‘Yes’, ‘The same here!’ I helped with the gate and reset the lock for us.
All the locks on the Trent and Mersey today have had chains and padlocks at their bases. I’ve not noticed this before.

Nice lock

Crow’s Nest Lock 67 is a nice lock. It used to occasionally be a really nasty lock too, but now it’s just nice. This was quite often the first lock we’d go through on NB Winding Down, it was also quite often the last before tidying, cleaning and packing away after our time on board. I helped a hire boat down, then it was our turn.

Artie’s back yard

Artie’s backyard is still a mishmash, the cottage looks like there are new owners and a boat is pulled up on a permanent mooring where the Carefree Cruising turn arounds used to happen. New build houses over look from behind and Artie’s new backyard is settling down well, it really is a huge house.

We’d originally planned on mooring at Wheelock, but the afternoon was ticking on. A fill of water also required, so once through the railway bridges we pulled in where there are rings, deployed our tyre fenders and settled down for the remainder of the day.

Today would have been the first day of the fraud case in Derby. The last few weeks we’d have spent cruising to get to a mooring. Mick would have been in court today, I’d not have been allowed to watch until I’d given my evidence. Our life would have been taken over by it for the next four weeks. How different today was, we made the most of the lovely weather and cruised.

I wasn’t too enamoured with this outside to start with. The friendly cover too thick for my liking and the towpath had just been cut, removing all the tastiest morsels. But after a while I found a good patch of trees. These provided me with very good climbing and a group of crows and magpies flocked to join me, serenading my achievement at climbing so high.

She came out to see what all the fuss was about, I think my new friends were being a touch too noisy. As we walked back to our boat a Tom stuck his head up out of another boat. ‘Excuse me is that Jingle Cat?’ This is the name I go under on social media. This was my Tom friend Ben. I met him in the Bugsworth outside ages ago, his memory is better than mine. She and Ben Tom chatted away whilst I found more grass and then disposed of it as only cats can. Then I spotted Ben Tom’s cats inside his boat. Olga and Betty. They shouted at me then hit each other, I’m not that surprised as I would never ever dream of living with a cat!

7 locks, 8.16 miles, 1 wind, 1 right, 5 swans, 1 bumping boat, 2 boats with boats in front, 0 water, 2 familiar boats, 1 with a repaint, 2000m, 0 court, 67 nice lock, 1 Ben Tom, 1 hour chatting, 2 bickering cats, 0 yarn news.

Success! and Feeling The Need For A Narrow Lock 12th May

Whatcroft Flash to Lea Hall Bridge 22, Middlewich Branch

6am. Beautiful

Blimey, now that the sun has come out it wants to be out all the time. It woke me at 5am and again at 6am. This did give me the opportunity to send the London Leckenbys a supportive message.

Two tired faces

They eventually set off from Clapham Common on the Moonwalk after midnight, by 00:30 they had walked the first two miles. At 5:00 two thirds of the route had passed under their feet and at 8:45 there was only one mile left to conquer, which they did. A photo was sent through with them proudly showing off their medals this afternoon, after they’d had a well earned sleep. They raised between them over £2000!

Our day wasn’t to be quite so energetic, but we both felt the need to do a narrow lock, which actually meant we’d have at least four to do before stopping for the day. As we had breakfast we were joined by another boat, so we decided to push off and leave them to enjoy the view by themselves.

Sunny weather hat

Mick’s Akubra hat came out for the first time this year, this meant that the sun was most definitely out.

Bramble Cuttings

The heady smell of wild garlic in the wooded stretches accompanied us towards Bramble Cuttings, a popular mooring spot on the off side. All spaces were taken, good job we didn’t want to stop there, we knew where we were heading.

Back in the narrow world

Across Croxton Aqueduct we pulled in at the tip to dispose of old engine oil and glass.

Big Lock

There was nobody to share Big Lock with so worked our way up on our own. The bridge here has been closed, the weight limit of ten people must no longer be safe. So the only way across the lock is by the top gates. As Oleanna ascended a chap arrived, put his bike on his shoulder and walked over the gates, this actually looked reasonably safe compared to him then riding it past the off side of the lock!

We pulled in by the park and walked up to Lidl and Morrisons, popping something important in the post. All the times we’ve been to Middlewich we’ve never visited Morrisons, I think it opened around 2015, so our days of passing through several times a year on NB Winding Down were over by then. Morrisons is currently our favourite as they tend to have a really good Free From isle. Sadly today though I was left disappointed with just an average selection to choose from.

Our first narrowlock since Foxton in January

After lunch we pushed off and headed for the locks, all narrow from here. Only a couple of boats at Anderson Boats. We’d not seen any of their boats until today. With Marple still closed the Cheshire ring is out of action so most of their customers must be heading south for the Caldon and the Four Counties ring.

The bottom lock was empty, the next pound looked a touch low. No volunteers to help today. Once Oleanna was level I’d emptied what excess water there was in the second lock and walked back to see if I could close the gate behind. But there wasn’t sufficient water to get over the top cill. I went back up and opened a paddle at both ends of the lock to let water down. Mick had reversed back into the lock below and waited before trying again. Gradually he inched forward, I kept an eye on his progress as I wanted to stop the flow of water as soon as I could as the next pound is very short. I got a thumbs up he was through.

Between the second and third lock
The new bench, everyone has taken it’s photo so I didn’t want to be left out

As Oleanna rose in the second lock I walked up to let more water down. The bottom two locks had been empty but luckily the top one was full, so I could let the water down without having to steal anymore for the pound above. As she rose in the last of the three a boat came towards us so we could leave the gates.

Just about empty

This next pound is normally chocka full of boats. Middlewich Narrowboats with it’s hire fleet and then all the Carefree Cruising share boats. But all the share boats were out and sadly Middlewich have ceased trading.

A ghost town

Only three boats in the pound. At Kings Lock Chandlers, normally filled with boats their moorings were empty also. It was like a Ghost Town!

Oleanna on the Wardle Canal

I walked ahead and turned right stooping under the low arched bridge that leads onto the Wardle Canal, the shortest canal in England at 154 feet long. We’d decided on a short detour up the Middlewich Branch.

Two reasons for this. Firstly we wanted to see for ourselves where the breach had been last year that closed the canal for so many months. We’d had a plan to cruise up the Shroppie to see Jaq on NB Valerie after Christmas when we’d heard she’d put NBV up for sale. But Valerie sold very quickly and Jaq returned to the States before we could get there, so our plans changed.

Secondly we like the Middlewich Branch and have spent a couple of Bonfire Nights over looking the flashes on the River Weaver, another of our favourite moorings. We’d bought supplies for a barbecue and knew the towpath would be wide enough for us if there was any space to moor.

Taking their time

Hire boats came towards us, no need to close the gates as the lock would soon be filled with a boat going down. Gardens were filled with people enjoying the sunshine and as we passed one boat I spotted The Tiller People chatting. We’ll most probably pass them on our way back and have longer to chat then.

The breach site

Out from under the numerous bridges we reached where the breach had been. In March 2018 paddles had been lifted at both ends of Stanthorne Lock, the amount of water coming down the canal was too much for the bywashes and over flows to cope with, so the water had found the lowest part of the towpath and over topped it. Exiting the canal where an aqueduct crosses the River Wheelock.

Does this stone mark where the breach was? The river just visible below

A huge chunk of canal went with the water. This necessitated a major repair and closed a popular link between the Trent and Mersey and Shropshire Union Canals. In December 2018 the breach was mended and the canal reopened.

New concrete edging on both sides, new fencing and towpath with a few rings for mooring. A neat job, it just needs nature to do it’s bit and tone the newness down.

Farmers busy well after dusk today

Once up Stanthorne Lock we pootled our way past cows and farmers collecting hay in the fields. The green fields and views wonderful to see again. As we came through Bridge 22 we could see that the end of the moorings was free, the best end, with the best view. We pulled in and claimed the mooring we’d been aiming for all day.

A lovely warm evening

I was told I had until they came in, so an un-specified time limit, so it should be as it was almost my ding ding time! Hungry I decided to do my own catering, they were far too busy sorting out their barbecue. My first course was removed from me. My second still had moving legs so when it looked like this was going to be confiscated I headed deep into the nettles. From here on I was busy, very very busy. The towpath had good pouncing, the field below had a few trees and more friendly cover.

Yummy!

We ate our barbecue sat looking over the flashes below, as the sun started to set there was no sign of our little thug, none what-so-ever. This is when we have to trust her. Everything cleared away, still no sign. An hour of TV, next to no light left in the sky, still no sign. Whirling the big torch around had no effect. Just incase she wasn’t still busy and had got herself lost I popped her litter tray out the back. Within five minutes she jumped on the back of the boat, ravenous! Well mice aren’t as filling as they used to be.

9 pm Beautiful

It has been a successful day, except we’ve failed in one way. We need to get hold of some daffodil bulbs. Our mooring tonight is currently a vacant location on the Les Biggs Memorial Daffodil Trail. Jaq had ear marked their favourite moorings and as she travelled round the network after Les died, she would plant a bulb and scatter some of his ashes. Here was one of the sites. Sorry Jaq. We will be back, hopefully with a bulb to plant next time.

6 locks, 1 big, 5 narrow, 6.99 miles, 1 right, 1 card going to be late, 2 medals, 4 very tired feet, 8.5 hours, 2 clueless hire boats, 1 favourite mooring to another, 1 boat without TV, 2 corn on the cobs, 4 veg kebabs, 2 turkey steaks, 2 bananas with chocolate, 1 dirty stop out cat, 4 friends, 6 trees and only I know what else! 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.