Tuesday 30 September

We set up our knitwear shop beside the boat in Lymm and whilst I didn’t actually sell anything today, many people stopped to admire it and asked whether we would be around tomorrow.  It was a lovely day for just sitting in the sun knitting.

The moorings are 48 hours so we plan to stay another day.

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Monday 29 September

We have never seen so many kingfishers in one day as we have today. Our total count was nine. I knew I’d photographed one but when I downloaded the photos onto the computer I got a surprise …

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We also spotted this merlin.

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We travelled sixteen miles from Anderton on the Trent & Mersey Canal to Lymm on the Bridgewater Canal today, passing through three tunnels and one stop lock.

We timed our arrival at each tunnel to perfection, albeit quite by accident, as we didn’t have to wait before entering.   Two of the tunnels are crooked and are not wide enough for boats to pass so a timed entry system operates.  Despite the occasional appearance of threatening clouds we stayed dry.

Sunday 28 September

The sun was shining this morning and as three tunnels lie ahead of us we decided to stay put and enjoy the sunshine rather than spending time in the dark!

We explored more of the Northwich Woodlands and enjoyed the tranquility and beauty of the area.

We also watched the Anderton Boat Lift in operation.   It is twenty nine years since we first saw this structure and at that time it was rusty and abandoned and it is so nice to see it working as intended. We helped two gentlemen understand the mechanics of the lift.

Saturday 27 September

This morning we waved cheerio to Pip and Mick and headed off towards Anderton. We passed through Billinge Green Flash where there were a few boats moored enjoying the spectacular view.   One of the boats was advertising fenders for sale.

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It looks as though another marina is being considered at Billinge Green Flash which currently attracts a variety of birdlife, despite there being a nearly completed marina just a few yards further north on the other side of the canal.

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Soon the beauty and solitude of the Dane Valley was left behind and we entered the industrial area of Northwich, passing under lots of pipe bridges before the countryside returned, passing the Lions Salt Works Museum which has undergone comprehensive restoration since we last passed this way.

We filled up with water at Anderton and moored up just passed Anderton Marina.

As we travelled today the temperature rose and by late afternoon the sun was shining so we went off to explore Marbury Country Park and we walked alongside the edge of Marbury Mere where Max enjoyed a swim.

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Friday 26 September

We have arranged to meet up with Pip & Mick later today and they’ve invited us to join them for dinner on board their boat, Lilyann at Bramble Cuttings, just north of Middlewich, a mooring spot loved by all of us. We were last there in January.

We headed off in sunshine towards our rendezvous.   We stopped briefly in Middlewich to shop for provisions and after lunch we continued on our way again.

On the Middlewich branch all the locks were set in our favour and so we passed through quite quickly.   At the last lock on the branch there was a group of people armed with windlasses and I was expecting to find a boat waiting for us to pass through. However, they were just receiving some training on how to operate a lock and they took a keen interest in all that I was doing.   Their trainer told me that I had passed the test – phew!

We turned left onto the Trent & Mersey and at the first of the locks ahead of us, there was a single handed heading in the same direction as us which meant that we had to fill each lock again before we could proceed.   I helped him close gates and paddles to hasten his transit time through the locks. We doubled up with him in the only “Big Lock” and here we were helped by a young man in a wheel chair, who was very keen to open the lock gates.

We arrived at Bramble Cuttings only to find the moorings were already occupied and so we moored up just south against the towpath. We texted Pip and Mick to let them know and they replied to say they still had a few miles to cover before they would reach us.

I baked one of our favourite chocolate cakes and did some knitting.   My selection of wares is growing and I hope to sell some of these soon for Christmas gifts to help boost our dwindling finances.

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Lilyann managed to moor just behind us.   The WASP is back! We kept Max constrained because since we last met, Pip’s cat Houdini, has joined them on board and isn’t too keen on dogs.

We had a delicious meal and enjoyed a boozy evening with them exchanging tales of our travels.   Thank you both for a fun time.

Thursday, 25 September

We are underway again after a hectic week.

Last Thursday we were booked to look after Summer for the day and we had intended to leave Chester the following day, but events conspired to keep us in Chester a bit longer.

Firstly, my car didn’t respond well to the attentions of Storm, nor to the helpful suggestions of Laura’s neighbours and even the man from the AA failed to identify the problem so after several days of tinkering, Storm reluctantly bit the bullet and on Saturday arranged for the AA to collect the car and deliver it back to Beverley on a low loader.

Secondly, Summer hasn’t been very well and we offered to help with child-minding so that Laura could continue working part-time.   The GP had suggested that Summer have a full week off nursery to allow her to fully recover and to build up her strength as each time she gets a bit better she goes back to nursery, gets tired, and succumbs to the next germ.

The tender loving care seemed to be working until I went to get her up yesterday morning and she greeted me with a very swollen eye. I’d never seen anything like it before. She looked like she’d been in a fight.   The GP asked me to bring her in immediately and after one look she sent us off to the hospital suspecting that Summer had Orbital Cellulitus.

The hospital admitted Summer straightaway and thankfully Laura was able to join us there quite quickly. The hospital said that they wished to keep Summer in overnight, insert a cannula in her hand and give her intravenous antibiotics for 24 hours to treat the infection. Laura stayed with Summer and we went back home to pack an overnight bag for both of them.

At the time we didn’t appreciate how serious this condition was but with hindsight we are so glad we acted quickly.

Anyway, I’m happy to stay that Summer is now much better and was discharged this morning. After picking them both up we were dropped back to the boat.

Amidst all the excitement of the week, last Saturday we moved the boat from Tower Wharf near Telford’s Warehouse, back to the Cheshire Cat at Christelton, as we felt we’d overstayed our welcome on the 48 hour moorings.   (Eight locks and 2.5 miles)

We went up the Northgate staircase on our own. As we were about to exit the top lock an elderly lady stood beside us clapping her hands at pigeons. She didn’t speak to us and as I got back on board after closing the lock gates, I realized that we’d picked up a lodger.

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As I looked back at the lock, I noticed that the elderly lady was following us. She wasn’t shouting or waving and so we continued.   The towpath was closed for part of the way and we spotted her crawling under the barrier that closed off the footpath before half running, half walking, as she pursued us, still making no attempt to get our attention.

At the next bridge our lodger pigeon flew off. After another half a mile, two joggers ran alongside us and said that there was a lady behind them who was very worried about an injured pigeon on our boat. We explained it had flown off at the bridge near Iceland and they ran back the way they’d come.

We continued on to the next lock and just as we were about to close the gates a boat behind us pulled out from its mooring and joined us in the lock.   We then shared all the locks with them back to Christelton, which was nice.

I tried to put the kettle on as soon as we moored up and had a problem with the tap. I then noticed that there was a pool of water on the kitchen floor. After investigating the source of this water we discovered that our water filter under the sink had split and was spurting water everywhere.   We turned off the water pump which in turn cut off the water supply.

Thankfully, we have a five gallon collapsible water carrier and the Cheshire Cat pub allowed us to fill this at their tap. You don’t realize how much you take water at the tap for granted until it doesn’t work.

Anyway, this morning we left Christleton and headed towards Barbridge Junction where we called in at the Chandlers and bought a new filter. (Six locks and 11.5 miles).   Storm fitted this as I turned the boat into the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal and we continued on for a further 4.5 miles and through two further locks before mooring up for the night just south of Church Minshull. We now have water back on tap!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 16 September

The car is still not well although it did make it as far as Laura’s house, through the centre of Chester,  much to the amusement of passers by as we kangaroo-hopped at extreme revs, leaving clouds of fumes behind us, using the handbrake to slow us down when necessary.   It runs better when it warms up.

After trying various options, Storm relented and called the AA.   They couldn’t solve the problem either.    Storm is now searching through Google for answers to the problem.   We are going to stay at Laura’s tonight.