Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd August 2010.

Monday
Our holiday on the Weaver is coming to an end, we’ve both enjoyed it tremendously, well-behaved river waters, deep and wide, have provided an oasis of calm and quiet.

But I can see V is itching to travel again and no jobs-list of mine will get her mind off exploring.

Sanding and painting will continue as we travel, weather permitting of course.

Hasn’t it been a funny summer, mostly warm but oh so much cloud, not unlike last year for us in the north-east. It’s the holiday boater that I feel sorry for with long days, tight schedules and unused bottles of factor 30.

We turned the boat south, motored upstream to Northwich and carried our shopping baskets to the grocers shop (Sainsburys). I walked miles for a hardware shop and found nothing, the old boy I asked along the way sobbed the story that his two favourite shops had given up their fight against the out-of-town giants.

My day brightened up when the town bridge swung to let the tug Northwich pass through. This delighted a local lad as he explained to his girlfriend that he’d never seen this happen before. Well I’ve seen it twice in three weeks, so there.
Northwich swing bridge

We took the 4 o’clock slot alongside “Sylph” at the Anderton Lift and I completely forgot to ask them the story behind the boat name.
Anderton lift

Our kind BW operator added to our education by directing our gaze to the gear wheels above us that were designed by a certain car manufacturer from France. He used the tooth design as his trade mark but some say he pinched the idea from a mill wheel.
gears

We were done-in by the time we turned right on the Trent & Mersey Canal so we grabbed a mooring opposite the gardens. My spirits revived when we were entertained by the children opposite who teased each other mercilessly when mother’s eyes were diverted. We closed the day with a BBQ and had to make do with sausages, there being no naughty children on our side of the canal.

Tuesday
We fired up the engine between showers and set off after a quick fuel top-up at Uplands Marina.
Passing this pub along the way reminded me of a song I was taught at Nan’s Salvation Army Hall in Rope Walk, Rye many, many years ago.
old rugged cross

For those of us who like a pinch of salt on our egg there’s no need to worry about shortages after last winter’s gritting lorries nicked it all for the roads. There’s so much at Middlewich it’s spilling out the sides of the warehouses.
middlewich salt

A long day brought us to within spitting distance of Wheelock (is that whee-lock or wheel-ock?).

Wednesday
Another big push got us to Church Lawton, actually only a four hour day but with plenty of locks to tire poor old V. What’s the matter with us, we’re only youngsters but we’re shattered, must be out of practise.

A chap going t’other way on nb.Ani, who I only know as Greybeard, said he recognised our boat from a certain canal forum. He must have a good memory because I hardly ever add anything to the site, maybe he read the blog by mistake.

Hassall Green’s signboard had everything but the one thing we wanted – gas. Is it my imagination or are gas prices on the rise again, £23 for the last 13kg bottle.
hassall green

Today we were very sad, a neighbouring boat has lost a ginger cat. He’s been gone 24 hours and has never done that before. Mum and Dad walked up and down the edge of the sweet corn field calling but there was no meow. We took a walk across to the church but we couldn’t see him, we checked the hedges and the road across the canal but saw nothing remotely ginger.

If you find him wandering around the Church Lawton area catch him (?) and let his owners (nb Siena) know, he has a collar tag with contact details and there will be notices on the fence posts within sight of the church, above the lock
Church Lawton

Thursday
One more push and Heartbreak Hill was done. A fast handbrake turn and we were on the Macclesfield Canal, back to the peace and quiet, not. Boats nose to tail means the top end of the L&L is still closed and so everyone is down on the Macc’.

I thought we were in for a bad time when we turned right because the muddy canal bottom was only just damp and we struggled into the first lock. But all was well on the other side, water was trickling over the by-wash so I cancelled the crane and low-loader.

We holed-up just past that rather fine house on the right, the one with iron railings along the canal towpath. Their lawn comes right down to the water’s edge and I remarked to V that it would make a lovely place to moor for a week or two. Ideal for barbeques on the grass.

News is just in, the hosepipe ban is over, oh goody we can stop using the little plastic bottles to fill our water tank.

Friday
Its all hands to boat jobs. V is whizzing through the push-in re-covering while I’m keeping a look-out for the sunshine. I wasn’t completely idle, I made a ‘Coal Boat Stop’ sign for the roof and put our spare lifejacket out for anyone to take.

Saturday
I don’t know how it looks to those passing by but I’ve found a way to correct a sideways going bow fender. Attaching the hooked ends of an elastic bungee to the fender front to give the necessary incentive to move to the centre position I stand on the bow with a sledge hammer and belt the thing until it sits straight.

Sunday 22nd August
Someone stopped to ask about the free lifejacket so that’s gone to a good home. It was a bouyancy aid type vest, not a modern inflatable one and we needed the space under the bed. The space will no doubt be put to good use, probably one of V’s jigsaw puzzle boxes if I’m not quick enough to get my radio stuff in there first.

It’s the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend where HAMS make radio contact with contributing stations around the world. I decided not to get the wireless out this time, its no fun putting up aerials in the rain.

Spider hunting is going well after V found a big’un in my pillow case. I’m left with squashing the tiniest ones that are quick enough to build a web across the portholes at night.

I watched one crawling outside our window this week and marvelled at its agility. But before I could flick it away it vanished, at least its body did, the legs were still there. Was it one of those spider’s love feasts I wonder.
spider

And if that wasn’t enough excitement for one week we got invaded by this burrowing waspy thing.
If it hadn’t been for a pile of sawdust on the roof I wouldn’t have noticed we had a lodger. A hole in our plank told me we’d been punctured by something nasty and only when I applied a squirt of turps would it come out and talk to me.
wasp

I’ll have to get V to test the plank before I can trust it again.

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