Category Archives: Theatre

Mud Weight. 7th April

Lockdown Mooring 3

The gardeners were about this morning

Mick put the oven on first thing with our cast iron pot inside to warm up good and hot to bake the loaf. I didn’t hold out much hope when I unveiled it. When everything was heated up I lowered it into the pot on some greaseproof paper, put the lid on and slide it into the oven. Twenty five minutes later the lid came off, not the best view, but another twenty five minutes before it could sit on the shelf to finish cooking. I already knew it wouldn’t be the most appetising loaf I’ve ever made! Oh well I knew it was an experiment.

Not the most appetising loaf!

Mick spent some of the morning linking my phone to Zoom so that I could use it as a hand held camera to show my model better at my production meeting today. A cuppa was made and I sat down to see what changes to The Garden were going to happen.

Come play with me!

Dark Horse Theatre Company work with learning disabled actors, they have an Ensemble of qualified actors and students. The Garden was to be this years graduation show, sadly Lynda and Amy had made the decision to cancel all live performances last week. Rescheduling the show was getting more and more complicated, affecting their next production which is a big tour for them. However they had come up with an idea which would mean the play could still be heard and still involve everyone who’d been contracted.

A zoom meeting taken from a bad angle

Five of us discussed the possibilities of the play becoming a radio play. How could the actors record themselves? How different would the recordings sound as they got edited together? Posting out a recording device wouldn’t be possible as the actors are not that tech savvy and not everyone has help from family members where they live. So the play would need to be recorded onto phones, sound effects and atmosphere added. We actually decided that the quality of the recording would reflect the times we’re living in rather than sound as if it was done in a recording studio.

But what of my part? I know how the show was going to look, how would it look now. The play will be illustrated by me, eight or so drawings depicting moments from the play, then portraits of the actors for the credits (my own idea!). The hope is that we’ll produce something that can go onto YouTube, therefore reaching a larger audience and be accessible for all. So I’ve not as much work to do, no sewing, but a lot of drawing and painting, all of which can be done on the boat. The hope is that when people can be together again Dark Horse will put together an immersive exhibition of The Garden, we may even realise part of the design, so my model needs to be kept.

A smaller meeting followed between myself and Amy (the Director) regarding the show that will tour next year. They currently have a computer games animator working on the show and it’s getting to the point where he will need to know what people will look like, what costumes they will wear etc.

We chatted through the show in detail, a play about Adulting, set in a 1984 type world where you have to pass tasks to be allowed into the adult world. It is a highly technical show and I will need to seek advice from those more ofay with serious digital projection.

View by our mooring

Mick and Tilly kept quiet whilst my two hour meeting was happening. Mick had headed out to find milk whilst Tilly search for friends.

Late afternoon I headed out on my own again for a walk. This time I took the OS map with me and I headed out to walk in the opposite direction to yesterday. First walking along the canal to Bunbury. I passed a few boats moored along the cut, a tent in amongst the trees where a chap was collecting fire wood and a whirligig drying a bit of washing nowhere near a boat!

Bunbury

Bunbury staircase had both chambers empty, nobody had gone through, the walls were dry. Well we’d been the only boat along here to move yesterday so that wasn’t a surprise. In the window of the AngloWelsh office there were signs up trying to discourage people from walking the towpath. Below the lock the towpath is narrower than above so boaters who live there are getting twitchy.

Walking on water

Here I followed the road to the South. Lock Farm was readying itself for the cattle to cross the road for milking, the farm house a very fine looking building set back a touch from the road, all immaculate.

What a lovely farm house

I continued onwards to where Bird’s Lane headed off to the left. Here hedges have been carved into long wide triangular divides between road and fields.

Triangular hedges

At the righthand bend I came across a couple of ladies out for their daily walk. They moved with precision keeping at least two meters apart from each other and did a red arrows manoeuvre when I came into view to give me space too. Thank you ladies.

What’s that mid shot

Then across the fields, over stiles and little bridges to where I’d gone wrong yesterday. I’d turned left instead of keeping going straight, the kissing gate in a little dip so it had been out of view. Over the last bridge into the field below Oleanna and the canal. A black shape was just visible above the friendly cover, Tilly.

Is it?

Well, there I was minding my own friends when a She appeared in MY field! How dare She!! I’d just detected a friend and then got distracted. She seemed to know me, She called my name. Hang on how come She was in my field!? Hello!!! My friend could wait.

It is!

When Tilly became convinced it was me her tail lifted above the grass and she trotted her way over to say hello. That tail is such a welcoming sight.

Hello!

This evening I sliced into the loaf. Heavy, thick, zero crumb, just as I thought. We tried a little taste each, very sour from having been left overnight. I finely cut some up to sprinkle on top of my Shepherdness pie. Too heavy to feed to the ducks, but not quite heavy enough to become a mud weight, it went in the bin.

My little thug

April is full of anniversaries for us. Today three years ago we hired a van, loaded it with essential possessions and bundled Tilly into her escape pod to drive to Sheffield. That day we moved onto Oleanna and Tilly claimed the bottom shelf of the bookcase as hers. Since then Oleanna has served us well, travelling over 3500 miles of canals and rivers and ascending and descending around 2300 locks. This year our travels will be much reduced, but one day we will be able to cruise again.

Staking her claim three years ago

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 towpath trimmed, 2 hours talking to Yorkshire, 2 shows, 8 illustrations, 1 box set, 1 animator chomping at the bit, 9th April milk, 0 water, 9 hours, 2.3 miles walked, 2 boats, 1 failed loaf, 3 years of Oleanna life.

A Faltering Starter. 6th April

Lockdown Mooring 3

Trying to give my sourdough starter a boost means that I’ve been creating quite a bit of discard. You need to empty out some of the starter before you feed it again, so that the ratios remain good and the existing starter is getting enough food. So I’ve been storing the discard in a jar in the fridge. Today the jar was getting quite full so it was time to use some, we also have quite a bit of milk for which the use by date is bordering on terminal. Time to make pancakes!

Bubbly yumness

Sourdough pancakes are not as quick to make as normal, mostly because I need to make oat flour, for this I use my stick blender which has a very sharp blade. I also add some ground almonds to make then a touch finer, but this makes it quite sticky, so you have to scrape it off the blades. Maybe I should just make my whole bag of oats into flour and save it for recipes.

Ready for toppings

Once mixed and left to rest for a short while they were cooked in batches of three and added to a plate in the oven to keep warm. Then enjoyed with various toppings. One nice breakfast.

Pushed out

Another load of washing was put through the machine making us very low on water again. So once Tilly had returned from her morning check of the estate we pushed off and headed backwards for water. The wind pushed us away from the side, then we reversed back through the bridge behind us and past all the moored boats.

Backwards for water

Outside the service block were three C&RT vans, a meeting or tea break going on inside. We disinfected the water point and attached our hose. The three chaps came out in turn from the building, they may have a van each, but one chap had no idea what 2 meters looked like with his colleagues. We kept our distance anyway.

Back at our mooring we settled back in. The view to our off side clearer now as I’d managed to remove Tilly’s artwork at last. Tilly headed off to find friends and I caught up with some work emails whilst Mick tried unsuccessfully to find the handle from the riddler on the stove that had fallen off the other day.

Our nearest neighbour

The Garden is changing due to the current state of the nations health. Live shows sadly will no longer be happening in July. But the play will go on, just in a different form. I’ll find out more tomorrow about my new involvement. I’ll still have work to do, but no need to go shopping or paint the set and everything will be done from home on Oleanna.

Reading up about my failing sourdough starter I decided that I needed to do something other than just feeding it. One person suggested that at the next feed I should have one third starter, one third flour and the third third water. So I would need to reduce the amount of starter I already had. It was a bit bubbly so I decided to risk making a loaf of bread.

A Buckwheat loaf was mixed and put on the shelf to rise and what bottled water I had left was mixed in with the remaining starter and fresh flour. With no more water I would have to put the starter in the fridge until I can replenish my stocks.

Across the bridge

An explore was needed to stretch my legs. A kissing gate from the towpath seems to be a popular route across the nearby fields. A quick look at the OS map and I set off to see what I could see.

Three kissing gates and a bridge later I had no idea which way the path went. We’ve never got round to downloading them onto my phone so Google earth was all I had. Sadly it wasn’t that much use. I knew which way I was supposed to be heading, but just couldn’t find a way there. I walked perimeters of fields looking for gates or stiles, but none showed themselves. In the end I gave up and retraced my steps over the dry ploughed fields, back around the kissing gates to the boat.

Late afternoon sun

After two hours, the oddly short time my recipe suggested, my loaf of bread looked no different. I left it high up on the proving shelf to see if things would improve after a few more hours. After seven hours up there there was some rising happening, but it was now too late to get the oven and cast iron pot up to temperature and bake it. So I risked leaving it overnight, it was just an experiment anyway.

What a texture

0 locks, 0.38 miles, half backwards, 7 pancakes each, 1 full water tank, 5 clean windows, 2 meters please! 3 shows cancelled, 1 change of tack, 1 show that will go on, 3 woodpeckers, 1 failing starter, 1 lumbering loaf, 2 friends, 1 failed walk, 1 PM in intensive care.

Self Catering. 3rd April

Lockdown Mooring 2

Time to wake my sourdough starter up this morning. I let it warm up when out of the fridge and then gave it a feed popping it on the proving shelf, high up to do it’s stuff. It bubbled up, but not as far as it has done in the past, so I may need to keep feeding it for a couple of days before it’s really good for baking again. A shame really as I was keen to get a loaf baked so that a hefty hint could be put in for a cooked breakfast one morning soon, poached eggs so need to be on a slice of toast! At least it will give me time to work out which recipe to try next as I now have no sorghum flour.

Mid morning an email I’d been hoping for popped into my Inbox. Will, the producer at Chipping Norton was getting in touch regarding this years panto, Rapunzel. If the health of the world improves over the next few months they will be forging ahead with panto. Would I be interested in designing it? A different contract to normal due to the virus and uncertainty as to whether the show will be able to go ahead which is totally understandable. They are hoping that by August they will be able to make a decision, if they give it a green light then it will be full steam ahead.

Rapunzel at Chippy

I have said that as soon as a script is ready I’d like to make a start, even if it doesn’t go ahead. Something creative to keep my mind busy would be appreciated. Anyway I’d only be able to get so far with it before needing model making materials, cereal boxes are just a bit too flimsy.

Heading to pick up the shopping

Mid afternoon it was time for Mick to head off and pick up our shopping, blimey I’d forgotten how bright his cycling coat was! Off he headed down the towpath to join the A51 towards Sainsburys. I took advantage of having an empty table and stuck the model for The Garden together and took photos.

Just the right amount

It looked like we’d got the amount of shopping just about right for the Brompton bag and a rucksack. All our shopping had been put in plastic bags, I think this is standard practice at the moment due to coronavirus. A shame that whilst other pollutants decrease in use that plastic bags are making a come back.

I was ready to disinfect things that needed to come inside. Other items were left in a bag on the stern under the pram cover, they’ll stay there for three days before being brought in. Having the pram cover is great at the moment, we can leave anything out there for long enough should anything have been picked up on coats or shopping.

Tilly Tumbles on the towpath

My sister-in-law Jac called and we had a long catch up about her escape from Australia last weekend. Getting a flight home had been one problem, but because she has an Australian passport she also needed a form to be filled in by the equivalent of our Home Office for her to be allowed to board the plane to come back to England. This took quite a bit of doing and it was just as well it arrived back just in time as her passport was double checked at the airport.

Cute cat

She’s settled back at home now. There were no guidelines for quarantine from the government on her return, so she’s not being kept in the garden room for two weeks. Instead she’s been thrown into the mass of extra accountancy needed by the company she works for to claim things from the government. She’s not sure how long her work will continue for but at the moment there is plenty to keep her busy.

with Murder in her eyes

The London Leckenbys were looking forward to an Indian take away this evening. That is the downside of being out in the sticks on a boat, no take aways and no chips. This of course is good for us, but boy would I like some nice chips! Tilly on the other hand doesn’t need to have her food delivered, as she’s moved into catering for herself. Today I have witnessed the devouring of two small friends who’d been invited home for dingding! They were just an appetiser as she still insisted on us feeding her!

Courgette and Greens pilaff

This evening after we’d eaten, we headed to the National Theatre to enjoy One Man Two Guvnors via YouTube. A very funny adaptation by Richard Bean of The Servant of Two Masters by Goldoni, set in the 60’s. James Corden certainly earns his keep. It is still available to view until next Thursday. The only down side was an interval of only 30 seconds, far too short to get a glass of wine and some chilled medication, never mind a dash to the loo! However there is always the pause button.

Our view this evening

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 miles by bike, 4 plastic bags, 0 boxes of wine this time, 1 model totally finished, 6 moving boats, 1 returning boat, 1 new panto, 4 fingers crossed, 0 chicken left, 2 self catered meals, 1 play, 2 sides split.

Was That A …. !? 2nd April

Lockdown Mooring 2

As we sat in bed with our cuppas this morning, the curtains of our large picture window (36″ by 18″ is large on a narrowboat) drawn open above our toes, a large furry shape dashed past. ‘Was that….. was that a horse?’ We tried peering out of the window at an acute angle, nothing could be seen. Then a few minutes later there it was again going in the opposite direction. If it wasn’t a horse the first time it certainly was now. My camera sat on the dinette table so my phone had to suffice as the horse/pony trotted on down the towpath on it’s own.

A Horse trotting on the towpath

Just where had it come from? On our walk the other day we’d seen a donkey in a field, but no horses. So it must have got onto the towpath quite a distance away. Hope it found it’s way home, we certainly didn’t see it again.

That was only the start of the days excitement.

Mick every now and then has a look to see if there are any delivery slots available at the supermarkets. This morning he spotted one with Morrisons in three weeks time. He grabbed it and checked our delivery details. Thanks to Jaq Biggs we have pin pointed a couple of places around Nantwich where deliveries worked for her in the past when she lived onboard NB Valerie. Normally with deliveries we book them and arrive the day before hoping there is space for us, there always has been up till now. Fingers crossed that there will be space on the embankment in three weeks time.

The fields around us have been turned over, what next

So our cuppas lasted longer in bed than usual as we put things into our basket. Some items not in stock, but we got enough to hold our delivery. Hopefully when we revisit in 19 days time milk will be back in stock! They were excited, but taking far too long over it! Where was my game of PEN!!! At least they added food for me. Plenty of wood pellets for the pooh box and some new odour control to add to it that we’re going to try, She said. We? Well I use shore based facilities now so have no need for such things, maybe they’ll add it into their pooh bucket.

Over breakfast there was even more excitement. Mick had been able to log into Sainsbury’s website and there was a Click and Collect slot available in Nantwich for tomorrow! Sainsbury’s have reserved all their delivery slots for the over 70s and high risk people, so we’d not been expecting one of those, but this would happily do us for the next week.

The Llangollen canal feeding the reservoir

We thought about what we would need to keep us going along with what would fit into our Brompton bag and a rucksack. Our Sunday chicken is still feeding us from last Sunday so it would be nice to have a change. A joint of lamb maybe, some fresh veg along with milk and bread. Mick will cycle the two miles to collect it tomorrow, so we are limited to what we can get. When we’d checked out we noticed that if we spent another few pounds then we wouldn’t be charged £4. So another few items fell into our basket.

What an exciting morning.

I had a read of a new script I’ve been sent. #Unit 21 will hopefully be the next Dark Horse show to tour this time next year. Not your average show, plenty of animated projections required, so someone who works in computer gaming has been part of the team for a while. Next week after my virtual production meeting for The Garden is over Amy and I will have a chat about the new show. I think I’m going to have to read it through a couple more times before then as it’s a little bit hard to get my head round in one sitting.

Late afternoon we walked up to Hurleston Locks. A route back via the A51 had been rejected as the road still looks like it is quite busy and without a footpath a risk to life so we headed for the reservoir instead.

Going up

A narrowboat had just gone up the first lock of the flight and was waiting for the second chamber to be opened up. Blimey it was windy! Even if the journey was essential, I don’t think we would have been doing so today! With wind and tooing and froing the chap kept forgetting to close paddles, but others managed to close them or pointed them out to him.

Blue and blustery

At the top lock we crossed over the wide plank on the top gate, no need to hold onto anything, we then climbed over the stile to join the path around the reservoir.

Views

The views from up there are fantastic, Oleanna just out of shot. We considered walking all the way round the water, but the wind was so blustery that it was doing it’s best to knock us off our feet. So instead we returned, pausing to wait for the narrowboat to finish at the locks. Here we met Barry who had succeeded in the full route round the reservoir, we managed to chat keeping our distance as we made our way back to our respective boats.

Still going up

Back on board we waited for the daily press conference on the BBC. We like to stay informed so watch them, but at times they are more party political broadcast than anything else. Look how good we are. 3 million lots of PPE (or whatever they quoted today) may sound a lot, but are they enough!!

The seed drill is out now

The last lot of my gluten free puff pastry had been defrosted during the day and was used to top a chicken and mushroom pie. This had to wait to be eaten until after 8pm as we wanted to join in with the round of applause. Oleanna beeped her horn and we applauded the masses who are working so hard. A distant boat horn could be heard in reply and the busy farmers in the fields tooted their horns too. We may be out in the middle of nowhere but we can still be heard.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 horse, twice, 1 delivery slot, 1 click and collect slot, 9 hours actually equates to 15 cat hours, 5 left, unit 21, 4 boats, 1 going up the locks, 1 very blowy day, 9 hellos to Lucy’s readers, 1/3 pastry, 1 chicken pie, just the stock to use now, 1 tractor, 1 seed drill, 8pm horn blowing, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

Lap Wing. 1st April

Lockdown Mooring 2

She would like me to thank you all for suggestions on the mystery birdie. Jennie came in first, followed by Anne, then Sue. The sausage roll really goes to Jennie’s son, but apparently if we keep quiet about it we’ll be able to eat it ourselves, so Shhh!

The birdie in question was apparently a Lap Wing. A strange name. A Lap is where I lie on an evening in front of the warm stove, then a Wing is what I leave, far too feathery for my liking! Although they are quite good for flossing between your teeth.

Grey and chilly Lockdown Mooring 2

Life has suddenly become very busy for me and not so busy for others. There is so much exploring to do, trees to climb, digging, woofer avoidance, I’ve even sorted out my own shore based facilities.

My day starts off with extra snoozing, as I need to conserve my energy for the rest of the day. She and Tom sit in bed that bit longer than normal so I do my best to keep toes warm. But should a boat come by they both crane their necks round to see who it might be. This morning it was a boat that has come all the way from furthest Wales in the last few days, our friend Geoff Tom saw him and now we have, he’s not tied up the outside like everyone else has!

Then there is the game of pen. It is such a good way to wake up, the sound of a pen lid being clicked back into position ready for me to pounce. Some days this goes on for a while, but others She cries out in pain so the game is stopped. She seems to think I don’t clean my nails enough anymore. But it’s their fault for not moving the outside as much as they used to.

Sunny and plenty of friendly cover

Lockdown Mooring 1 was great. A couple of trees, friends, side ways trees, a bank to watch from and a field to run around in. It was sunny and warm, lovely.

Then last Friday they let it go, untied it and let it drift away. She said I needed a break so to put my paws up and let them be busy instead. I kept an eye on them though, they weren’t that busy. I’d have been busier!!

Look at that tree!

The outside was then moved to Lockdown Mooring 2. Lockdown Mooring 2 had potential, blue skies, trees but not enough time to check it out fully before it was Dingding time.

Newspaper day came. They let Lockdown Mooring 2 outside go and headed to Nantwich outside. It’s not so good there so I wasn’t too disappointed not to be let out. She said I wouldn’t be going out there anymore, too many people who might have the lurgy durgy. So I sat in my window on the other side of the glass from the lurgy durgy people, they could admire me, but not touch, I was safe.

Having a break from my admiring public

She and Tom went off to do the shopping. I normally get closed into the bedroom for a few minutes when they come back, but that day I was in there for ages and ages and then another age. When She let me out again everything smelt funny, a bit like when she cleans out my pooh box. Luckily it didn’t smell for too long.

This outside was cast aside wizzed round, briefly tied up again so they could top up on water. I got a clean pooh box too. Back we went out of Nantwich outside, wizzed round again, only to tie up Lockdown Mooring 2 outside again. Well what was that all about? They wasted a hole day just because it was newspaper day. I could have kept myself busy all day and when they tied this outside up again I’d have still been in it! They are so selfish at times.

You said to the bench, we’ve not got there yet!

Lockdown Mooring 2 outside is okay. It’s not as sunny as Lockdown Mooring 1 outside was, it’s colder too. There are fewer woofers and walkers, most probably due to the lower temperature. But the farmer has been preparing a great big pooh field for me, lots of fresh earth to dig up and use as cover, so I’ve only once had to step foot in my pooh box.

Summer in The Garden

Some days, like today She does some work. I couldn’t help today as it was all tiny writing and then lots of numbers, I’m not so good at writing freepaw. But then she came for a walk with me along the towpath. We’d nearly got back when a man appeared with a woofer. The woofer didn’t see me but the man did. He made his woofer wait whilst I went down the bank into some friendly cover, no way was I going back onto the boat yet, there was still another two hours of shore leave left!

NB Tench with Brian on board

I’ve been told that I shouldn’t use the outside up too quickly as we might be here sometime. Tom wouldn’t let me out after dingding time, even though I can see in the dark! I’m pacing myself though and reckon I’ve about another twenty hours before it will all be used up, that’ll be fine won’t it?!

This lockdown business is so tiring

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 outside walks, 1 pooh field, 1 diddy poem, 2 outsides, 7 identifiable woofers, 2 Lap Wings, 2 tractors, 9 hours a day, 1 oak, 1 daily pen game, 2 stone games, 19 friends, 3 boats, 1 Tench, 1 busy cat, 1 very tired falling asleep sitting up cat.

Come In Number 51**87 Your Time Is Up. 30th March

Lockdown Mooring 2

Last year we finally managed to put a name to some birdsong. What we now know to have been Chiffchaffs had started to sing around early March time and normally when we were in a certain part of the country, mostly around Crick. This of course was because this tended to be where we were at that time of year. We’d asked a few people if they knew what the bird could be as we tried to replicate its song, ‘Cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep’. I know, it wasn’t much help! But then a friend made a remark about how the Chiffchaffs had arrived. I looked it up and there was the birdsong we’d been puzzled about. Chiffchaff song

Birds gathering!

Here on our mooring we’ve heard a song that isn’t in the normal range. I’ve hunted round on identification sites, but not come up with the right song. So I’m putting it out to our readers to see if you can help.

Our surroundings are canal, hedges and fields which seem to be pretty dry in amongst the open countryside, so that’s the habitat sorted. Now for a description. It sounds like a cross between a human whistle and a kazoo. One long note that may go up or down. We don’t hear it that often so whom ever it is doesn’t sit on a branch and sing their heart out. So please any suggestions. A sausage or spinach and feta roll to whomever comes up trumps. I have to include a veggie version as I think Laura might just see this, she is a bit of a specialist in birds.

Today it was back to work for me. I’ve a week before my virtual meeting for The Garden so wanted to get my model painted. The main set I’d nearly finished last week, today I needed to tie it into the floor. At the moment I’m not sure if we’ll be able to afford a floor. Dark Horse have various rolls of flooring in their small store, so I was going to have a look at them and see what could be used. There may of course not be enough and there isn’t an extra £350 in the budget to buy new, so I may just have to cope with the floor in the cellar theatre.

Some floor

During the afternoon I managed to get everything painted, toned down a touch (it’s not panto!), just need to add some poetry to the seasons and the model will be finished.

The first boat to go past us today was a hire boat from Norbury Junction. At some point last week the hire company had asked on Social media if anyone saw this boat to get them to call the hire base. Hire boats were being recalled. The boat had passed us early last week heading to Middlewich, today they were heading back towards base, I don’t think they got the message very quickly!

The Garden gate

Another four boats came past during the day, one returned presumably after filling with water or shopping. Then a second hire boat from Rose Boats, this must be one of the two out on a long hire.

From today all manned locks, tunnels and bridges on the network have been closed to traffic, unless there is good reason and then they will need to be booked. One boat with good reason came by today, NB Halsall.

I really must wash Tillys art work off that window!

NB Halsall normally cruises the Four Counties Ring selling coal, diesel, gas and doing pumpouts. They will continue to trade for as long as they are allowed to. They ask for you to pre-order, unlock diesel caps, make access easy for them and then to stay inside your boat and at all times to observe 2m distance. Payments by bank transfer, card or if you really can’t do it any other way then cash.

Diesel 4p cheaper than ten days ago

As they came through the bridge behind us they tooted their horn. This morning we’d asked for a top up of diesel and some coal. They pulled up besides us and whilst Roberta topped us up with diesel Lee loaded three bags of coal onto the roof. I noted how much we owed them and payment was made over the internet.

Bye bye

Before they headed off towards Nantwich we checked when they’d be back round. This pound is on their round every two weeks, so as long as they stay well we will be looked after. As they pulled away from us hands were washed. A big Thank you to the Halsall Crew.

Walking with Tilly

0 locks, 0 miles, 9 hours, 5 taken, 5 boats, 1 model painted, 1 new script, 1 chicken stripped, 4 maybe 5 meals! 3 bags coal, 21 litres, 550m cat walk, 0.5 field ploughed, 1 urge to make scones.

Heads Above Water. 27th March

Lockdown Mooring 1 to Lockdown Mooring 2, Cornes Bridge 96.

Back on the 16th March just about every theatre in the land closed it’s doors to the public, by the 17th all venues were dark, only a ghost light left lit in the middle of many a stage. Since then theatre companies have been doing all sorts of things, many adding online material that can be accessed for free.

From Thursday next week the National Theatre will be launching National Theatre at Home. One of their shows will be available on line for 7 days, starting with One Man Two Guvnors staring James Corden.

Animated Objects Theatre Company in Scarborough known for their large scale community projects and giant puppets have added various art projects for families to do at home, including building a biplane from a toilet roll and a cereal box. If you fancy having a go, just scroll down their website and Lee will show you how to do it.

Other theatres have launched campaigns to help raise funds so that when Coronavirus is all over they will be able to open their doors once again for people to join together in one room to enjoy live theatre. One such theatre is Chipping Norton, with it’s Heads Above Water campaign.

Chippy got in touch with performers and creatives who’ve worked there over the last few years and asked them if they could produce something to go on their social media for World Theatre Day, which was today. Now, I’m not a performer and would rather not have to appear in shot, but wanted to do something for the day. I make models, so that’s what I did. If you listen carefully you’ll hear Tilly’s bell.

This morning my little offering was all over their social media, along with Dames singing ditties or showing off their patent leather boots, King Rat threatening to raid fridges for Cheddar!

Today we needed to do some essential travelling. Our water tank was getting low and we also would need some shopping in the next couple of days. So much to Tilly’s distain there was no shore leave this morning, instead we pushed off and headed towards the lock where the new (to us) water point is.

We had an escort

Coming towards us was a boat, the chap at the tiller was well away with the fairies, I did consider shouting out to him but he spotted us just in time to avoid running into us. Once we’d passed all our neighbours we pulled in and started to fill with water.

Chiff Chaff

A load of washing was on the go and Tilly’s pooh box got a good clean and fresh litter. Mick walked down to the Chandlers to see if they might just have some milk, which they did, a touch more expensive than it would have been at a supermarket, but it was here and meant we could hold off going to the shops for a day longer.

Hello Blossom

The tap didn’t have that much pressure so the tank would take a while to fill. I gave my brother a call to see if there was any news on Jac and plane tickets. A day ago she’d managed to get hold of a ticket back to the UK from Melbourne which would be leaving Monday lunchtime. The first Andrew had known about this was in the middle of the night when he had an alert from his bank asking how money had been spent on Jac’s account in Melbourne when she’d also paid to watch something on TV in Hackney! She is however going to be checking with the flight centre every day to see if she can get a flight earlier.

Lockdown Mooring 1, narrow towpath

Tank full, it was time for us to reverse to the winding hole, where we turned, passed our mooring from the last week and headed back to Barbridge Junction. I popped up to the bow to see if anyone was coming, clear both ways I waved Mick onwards and we turned towards Nantwich.

Barbridge Junction

Our hope was to find a space near to Hurleston Junction where the towpath is wider, then we might be able to sort the boat covers and do some jobs on Oleanna without constantly avoiding walkers. But as we got near three boats were tucked in before the junction and once through Bridge 97 the 2 day visitor moorings were just about full.

Loads of boats

A printed C&RT poster stood on a pole at the end to try to discourage towpath use. A chap busied himself cutting wood on his workbench. NB Mountbatten and Jellicoe were breasted up awaiting the locks up onto the Llangollen to reopen. Several dogs ran about enjoying themselves. We could have slotted in, but decided to see if another mooring on our map might be free.

Men still at work at the locks

We pootled onwards, the next spot occupied. A week ago there’d been half as many boats on this stretch. A short distance on we tried pulling in, the Shropie shelf keeping us a touch too far out for our tyre fenders. Through the next bridge and we tried again. We were in luck, here was better too due to fewer trees so the solar panels could earn their keep better.

Who thought the Shropie shelf would pay off

A late lunch and only a few hours for Tilly on the towpath. Here the path is wider and we have the added advantage of an extra 18 inches of Shropie shelf to help with our buffer zone.

Walking with Tilly

The sour dough pizza dough seemed to work quite well, it’s not as sour smelling as my old starter was. A large oven tray was covered with the dough and baked for 10 minutes before I added the toppings.

Sour dough pizza

Tuna, red onion, sweetcorn (with added peas!) and plenty of cheese. It turned out rather well a touch more bready than previous versions.

A Shropie sunset

0 locks, 3.62 miles, 0.3 in reverse, 1 wind, 1 left, 1 straight, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 2 pints milk, 1 sister-in-law booked to come home, 11 boats moving including us, 18 inches extra buffer, 1 walk with Tilly, 1 game of stone, 1 very large pizza with leftovers, 1 little film, 1 coal boat first up Hurleston Locks.