Sunday 15 May

With battery power at a premium when not cruising, we’re trying to conserve as much energy as possible, so that we have enough 12v electricity to power the fridge, charge phones, run the loo fan and the TV and so postings on here are becoming fewer and far between.

On Tuesday we went with Laura and Joseph to Sandwich for Storm to pick up some fibreglass mat and resin before going to the Old Hall for a lovely lunch which Laura had visited before.  The food and the surroundings were very impressive, …. even the ladies powder room!

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On Wednesday we used the park and ride to pop into Chester to do a few errands and saw how the new bus station is taking place.

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On Thursday we parked in Tesco’s multi-storey and I revisited the fabric shop to see if they had any strong thread suitable for canopy sewing and we also renewed our ‘two together rail card.’

We’ve had a fun few days  this weekend looking after Summer when we’ve been able to plug our computer into a land line and recharge.

A 45 minute Didi-dance class on Friday morning, Summer’s third lesson, saw her engaging in most of the moves with enthusiasm.  She is one of the youngest there and certainly held her own.

She takes after her Mum and Nanny when she told Dandad  that chocolate is only for girls!

She made my day when she told me to “Wait there young lady!”.

Storm managed to escape from playing ‘nursery’ a couple of times to make a fibreglass drip tray that fits snuggly under our stern gland to catch any watery drips in our engine bay.

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I’ve also managed to do some running repairs to our canopy where the stitching had perished.  My fingers are quite sore though and I must invest in some leather thimbles as my metal ones are useless.

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Sunday 8 May

For fear of boring you with news of our lovely grandchildren, we’re finding it difficult to write about anything  else at the moment as we’re spending quite a lot of time with them each week.  This week has been no exception.  The glorious weather though has meant that we’ve been able to play outside a lot.

Dolly's new quilt and pillow

Dolly’s new quilt and pillow

Water play with Dandad

Water play with Dandad

My pretend tent

My pretend tent

What's in that hole?

What’s in that hole?

"Run Dandad, run"

“Run Dandad, run”

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On Friday night we were trusted to look after both children and we even offered to do the night shift so Laura could have an undisturbed night.   Summer slept through and Joseph only woke once. I don’t think I slept very much though as with Joseph in his carrycot beside us I heard every noise he made.  We were treated to some liquid refreshment  at lunch time today though as a ‘thank you’ for babysitting.

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This week we’ve had confirmation that we’ve been accepted to undertake a cruise to Liverpool from Ellesmere Port, via the Manchester Ship Canal, across  the River Mersey and into the Docks at Liverpool.   This is not something that we can do on our own so we’re joining a flotilla of other boats on Wednesday 1 June and will be guided there by an experienced pilot.  The only thing that is likely to prevent us making the journey is a bad weather forecast.

As part of this trip we need to take the boat to Barbridge Junction for 11am on Wednesday 25 May  (9.5 miles and 6 locks south of our mooring) for it to be checked over by a Manchester Ship Canal surveyor to make sure all is as it should be and that we have the right equipment on board for travelling on tidal waters.  After that we need to get to the basin at Ellesmere Port for 3pm on Tuesday 31 May for a skipper’s briefing.  From Barbridge this is a distance of 25 miles + 17 locks, giving us plenty of time to make the journey.

After we’ve made the crossing we will need to come back via the long way round i.e. via Wigan on the Leeds Liverpool Canal into Manchester.   We travelled that way in the Autumn of 2014 and I’m sure it will look very different in the Summer weather.  Fingers crossed that the sunshine continues.

Tuesday 3 May

We woke to a definite improvement in the weather and after a quick bowl of porridge, I took Max for a walk round the field beside us.  The cows that have been residing there since Easter were in the process of being rounded up by a man on a quad bike and they headed out of the field, onto the road, over the canal and rehoused in a field on the other side.   The mooring is now noticeably greener than it was a month ago and it is nice to see the trees in leaf.

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We weren’t needed at Laura’s today until 3pm and I’ve been promising I’d make some bedding for Summer’s dolls’ pram and cot and so this morning I spent some time sewing.    Storm had some emails to deal with.  We headed out to Laura’s this afternoon and as we did so we noticed we had different cows in the field and many more than before.

At Laura’s I did a couple of jobs while Storm disappeared into the garage to play quietly on his own while Summer was at nursery.

His peace didn’t last long though. I went to pick  her up after we’d been there about an hour and she returned full of beans and made a bee line straight for him, well once she’d given her Mum and little brother a kiss.

Monday 2 May

While it rained this morning we went shopping and then in the afternoon sunshine Max and I returned the boat to its mooring, while Storm drove the car back.

Each time we leave the mooring the silt on the bottom of the canal seems to shift and we struggle to get close to the bank when we return.  It takes a while for the boat to settle back level and in the meantime we have problems with the water in the shower and around the sink as it fails to drain away.

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Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Storm has become a worm farmer and has also acquired a book entitled ‘Composting with Worms’, so his exciting experiment begins.   I’m happy to report that so far so good and no nasty niffs!

Sunday 1 May

This week has been spent mainly with Laura, helping her with any lifting, carrying, and driving that needed doing as well as taking care of Summer when she was home from nursery on Thursday and Friday.   Summer is more accepting of her little brother now and is keen to keep him entertained on the odd occasion when he is awake.

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On Friday morning Laura and I took Summer for her second dance lesson before we went to pick up Dandad who had moved the boat down to the Cheshire Cat ready for the bank holiday weekend’s visitors.

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On Friday  afternoon we had a family trip out to Ellesmere in Wales and had a walk beside the Mere to see the new ducklings and admire the beautiful colours of some of the drakes there, before visiting an interesting methodist chapel for sale nearby that Storm had spotted in the local paper and which has ‘potential’.

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After a pint back in the Cheshire Cat before tea on Friday, we had a quiet night on our own before heading to Laura’s on Saturday morning with a chocolate cake, to see family and friends who were coming to see Joseph.

Uncle James arrived first and Summer was very excited to see him and show him her little brother.  She was quite a bit shyer when her second cousins arrived and when she couldn’t persuade Uncle James to take her with him she disappeared upstairs with Dandad to play ‘pretend boats’ on her bed, leaving everyone else to fuss over her little brother.

We’re back on the boat this evening, enjoying the peace and quiet and have taken Max for a long walk this afternoon while it was dry.   It made a nice change from all the rain, sleet and hailstones we’ve seen this week.