Monday 26th July to Sunday 1st August 2010.

Despite our seasonal summer rains reducing visibility we’ve actually seen the Kennet from the banks of the Weaver.

Tug Kennet, built 1931, looked magnificent as she motored past us at the beginning of the week. I was hoping she’d be back but she’s either gone through Marsh Lock onto the Manchester Ship Canal or she’s hanging around the lower reaches of the Weaver.
tug kennet

There’s a much clearer picture of her doing work last year on the Weaver at this LINK.
We’ve also seen the Alton, which was built in 1936 a few years after Kennet, and is now carrying coal, diesel and boaty things in this neck of the woods. Brian and Ann Marie came down the Anderton Lift and were doing brisk business in pump-out, gas and oil. I don’t know how prices compare with other coal boats but the service was very friendly, there was plenty of laughing going on.
cb Alton

I was persuaded to take a walk on Wednesday and managed to make it to the lift’s café for a coffee.

On the way in, as I passed the cashier dealing with a line of customers, I was hailed with “Are you alright?”.
Thinking I’d walked into something without paying I stopped and waited to catch the lady’s eye and asked “Did you want to say something?” “No, no”, she said, “I was just checking you were alright”.

It’s taking me a while to get used to being an old man. The other day I walked into a shop and was looking at the tins on the shelf when a lad came up to me and asked if he could read the labels for me.
Cheeky monkeys all of them. I’m going to stop dying my hair white and let it grow back to its natural blond colour, that will sort them out.

There’s a notice near the lift on the path to the river that caught my eye, I misread it and thought the authorities were fed up with barking dogs running around.
You and I might wear ear defenders to reduce the noise that guns make, dogs on the other hand find a lead around the neck has the same effect.

We heard a lot of what I thought to be 12 bore discharges a week or two ago and guessed it was a pigeon cull, never thought it might be a gun club. It certainly wasn’t 0.22 rifle fire that we heard, and it went in pairs. You don’t see many double barrel 303s these days do you.

The lift’s mouth was wide open on Monday as we headed up-river but we couldn’t be tempted. We were off to Northwich for a water top-up and a visit to the grocers.
Anderton lift

There’s a lot of this going on down here, boats racing each other, it’s usually the hotel boats that are to blame, they must be matched pretty well because there never seems to be an outright winner.
bywater hotel

Talking of tugs I got to see another this week. Tug Northwich was returning from wherever she’d been and passing through Northwich to wherever she was going. I might have missed this but the man doing the cleaning at the service block told me his mate was going to swing the bridge any minute and I might want to see it.
Tug Northwich

I was more interested in seeing the tug until she came round the corner and I caught sight of an unremarkable boat. Her super-structure has nothing going for it and those drop-down window protectors do nothing to improve her looks.
Northwich in Northwich

But the bridge was a joy to see. A lady stopped the traffic by reading the same sentence over and over again, something along the lines of “Keep away, the bridge is opening”.

There was a sound like chains being dragged across a cobbled yard as the gates swung across the road and then the ironwork started moving, swinging gracefully to one side allowing Northwich to pass through Northwich.

The same thing happened afterwards, the lady read the same script as the bridge swung back and the chains rattled across the yard.

Nice paintwork I remarked, Done five years ago, said my cleaning friend, had to use the biggest crane in Britain to lift the bridge off and plop it down where those houses are. Grit blasted, so she was, then painted black and white just like all the others so that you don’t know where you are on the Weaver.
I learnt a lot from him that day but he couldn’t tell me anything about BW turning into a Trust.

It’s been a bad week for walking, I was to be found doing it a second time, down by Saltersford Lock. The sun was out for a change and so were the boats including another of those little dog ferries that you see from time to time.
dog ferry

With apologies to the owner of Shiraz.

Having moored-up up and down the river (it doesn’t sound right, but it is) I can report that most sightings of bats are along the Barnton Cut. I’m assuming they live in the canal tunnel up on the hill and go down to the river at night to feed. It’s either that or we have a plague of mice leaving their whoopsies on the roof.

We seem to be winning the battle of the spiders, apart from one. He lives under the washing machine and teases me when I sit upon the throne by popping out, waiting for me to spot him and then scurrying back to safety.
Knowing how he likes to dash out to catch the gnats I’ve teased him by dropping tiny bits of tissue on the floor. He pops out to have a look but my slipper is yet to find its mark.

On the subject of insects I have to report my worst enemy is back. The dreaded earwig has found its way up the ropes on to the boat. I’ve seen rat guards but does anyone know how to stop earwigs crawling up ropes and into our home?