Monday 9th to Sunday 15th August 2010.

Mon 9th August – River Weaver, Devil’s Garden
The weekend over, we bid farewell to Bob and Jenny on Ivy-May and set off for the water tap and shops down river.

Dropping V at Sutton Swing Bridge I continued on my own to explore the far reaches of the navigation and to see if I could squeeze under Whites Bridge and enter the docks at Weston Point. I knew it would be tight but the recent rise of 6 inches in water levels hasn’t helped and it was no surprise to find the way was blocked.
Whites Swing Bridge

I backed up and turned the boat in the approach to Runcorn Locks, that poorly maintained flight up to the Bridgewater Canal.
Runcorn Lock

Like most dead-ends there’s rubbish and overgrown vegetation but unlike other places there’s no one living here, no boats no dossers, nothing. Perhaps it’s something to do with the smells and leaks from the chemical works next door.

Returning to Marsh Lock I checked the shipping movements on and noticed that the ferry Snowdrop was approaching Weaver bend on her way up the Manchester Ship Canal. I assumed she was doing the Liverpool to Manchester cruise, judging by the commentary drifting across the water.

Looking back at Marsh Lock (on the left) and the canal to Weston Point (on the right) I wondered how long it would be before we were back in these parts, perhaps next time we’ll book a passage through the lock onto the ship canal and pop across to Liverpool.
Marsh Lock

There’s not much more to see in this neck of the woods but you daren’t go to sleep while cruising, there could be boats out on the river at the Runcorn Rowing Club.
Runcorn Rowing Club

By the time I got to Sutton Bridge V was on her way back from Frodsham, on the bus.

Minutes later we were down below sipping hot drinks when suddenly all the lights went out. A black boat crept up close and blocked the light completely which sent me scurrying top-side to find out what was going on. Imagine our surprise to find nb.Trundle with Dave and Dil’ millions of miles from their marina at Raynsway on the River Soar.

We sat outside and nattered and caught up on all the news from ‘back home’ Leicester way before parting, us upstream to Devil’s Garden while they continued down to the end.

I’ve been putting off doing the dinette table for a while but V’s frequent glances at the calendar reminded me that we don’t have too many days left to get the boat ship shape for the winter.

Sanding varnished wood is a messy job so I’ve decided to strip instead. I have to say there are merits using chemicals instead of sanding machines, everything comes off in one go.
There is one small problem, last time I did this I went too far with the sander and gave the table a ‘light’ spot in one corner. It doesn’t look too bad until the varnish goes on, when it suddenly becomes too obvious to ignore. This time I thought I’d be clever and stain the light area before applying the varnish.
I tried wet tea, coffee granules, lipstick (V’s not mine), shoe polish and eye shadow (again, V’s not mine). It’s better, not perfect, but it will do until another idea comes along.

When V’s not busy clearing up my mess she’s doing wonders making new push-in covers (porthole bungs). I get to do the heavy duty stapling but she’s a whiz at cutting, sewing and covering, is there anything she can’t do?

By the evening we were ready for a BBQ on stern. The sun was low but despite a breeze I reckoned we could take it if we wrapped up.
Devils Garden

Checked the paint locker up for’d for signs of leaking around the bow thruster tube after hearing stories of tubes rusting and boats sinking. Fortunately this compartment is sealed off from the rest of the boat so even if it does leak we shouldn’t sink. A good design point by Reeves.

It’s rare to see two boats together on the Weaver so when we saw 8 boats in a convoy going down river we knew something was happening. A Mersey crossing perhaps?

Thursday is market day so we pottered off down to Sutton Bridge and caught the bus to town.
The man on the paint wagon had remembered me and stocked up on floor varnish floor. A 2.5 litre tub of varnish at half the shop price should do me for a couple of years, good man.

Being a travelling day it rained long and hard. Even the water fowl had no need to go swimming.

We quit fighting the weather when we were upwind of the ‘smelly’ farm and pulled over to rest up and hang the boat with waterproofs.

Friday turned out better so we took ourselves off to Barnton Cut.
On the way I got talking to Dutton’s locky Fred Coppenhall who said he’d find me some old ship photos that I’m always on the look out for. He used to have a website for them but now he’s concentrating on his book writing.

A quote from Seyella’s Blog:-
….Fred Coppenhall ….. He’s the lock keeper at Dutton Lock down on the Weaver who writes in his spare time. I picked up his second book today, Untying the Knot, having enjoyed the first, Fools and Villains.

How unusual, something was moving at Acton Bridge. Divers were walking about under water so we crept up so as not to snag our prop on one but as it happened they were all taking tea in the work’s van.
acton bridge

Lastly, Saltersford Lock carried us up to Barnton Cut where we were chuffed to find the moorings completely empty, we’d beaten the local boats.

I couldn’t wait to see what was in the floor varnish tub and once I’d opened it and smelled the delightful chemicals I found I couldn’t resist slapping some on the bathroom floor.

But it wasn’t all work, by 4 o’clock the clouds had gone and the barbeque was spitting into life.
A couple of local boats joined us for the evening but it was so quiet on the river that you could hear voices in the village a mile or so away.

Sunday 15th August
A light breeze with hazy sunshine makes the river just perfect.

We are so fortunate to be here, there’s no rush, no competition for moorings, no anglers and no mountain bikes belting down the towpath. Ok, the water is dodgy, you wouldn’t want to drink it, but there are no signs that anyone or anything has ever fallen in it and suffered.

Unlike canals we have no plastic bottles, no polystyrene KFC trays, no size seven shoes (why is it always a size seven left shoe?) and no Sainsbury carrier bags.

Whether that’s because things don’t get thrown in or the chemicals dissolve them quickly I wouldn’t like to say.