Saturday 25 March

We crossed back across the Pennines, westwards, last Sunday afternoon ready for another three days of childminding.

Laura moved into her new house last month and we now have slightly further to travel as her house is just a mile beyond the Cheshire/Wales border.  The house is a beautiful detached Edwardian house, which like all houses of that age requires some work.  While I look after Joseph, Storm now spends time doing DIY.

Yesterday we needed to move the boat as we’d stayed our 14 days at The Cheshire Cat.   Storm wanted to finish a job he’d started at the house, so Max and I moved the boat south to Bates Mill Bridge; a distance of 7 miles and no locks.

Max coming to warn of overhanging branches!

Max checking proximity to the bank!

It was a beautiful sunny Spring morning for a relaxing cruise.  We passed by our  permanent mooring and were informed by various neighbours that CRT are coming to start work on repairing the moorings next week, so we can’t return for a while.  That isn’t a hardship to us as James & Ali are taking the boat for a cruise over Easter and we’ll nudge  our way in the meantime towards their rendezvous.

Max and I arrived at our destination by mid-day and while Max basked in the sunshine and enjoyed the view of Beeston Castle on top of the hill, I began to spring clean the boat.

By the time Storm got back I’d sorted through and cleaned all the bedroom cupboards, had a good clear out of things that are no longer beautiful or useful, and made spaghetti bolognese for supper, as well as a pan of onion soup.

The evening sunset was quite spectacular suggesting another fine day tomorrow.


Saturday, 18 March

I’m now childminding three days a week and we’ve been spending fewer nights on board as it’s easier to stay with Laura than get up at silly o’clock to look after Joseph from 6.45am each  morning.

We’ve been very busy recently though and seem to have spent no time at all on board. However, on Thursday 8 March we returned to the boat, filled up with water, took some bags of coal on board and travelled south from our mooring to Tattenhall Marina, winded before heading back north to the Cheshire Cat.  As we haven’t moved the boat since New Year we thought we might need to refer to our Nicholson’s Canal guide to remind ourselves of the route!!

We had friends stay on board with us on Friday night and on Saturday morning we got up early, winded again and headed back to Tattenhall so that our friends could regain confidence in their steering skills as they’re looking to have a narrowboat holiday later this year.   Having successfully winded again we headed back to the Cheshire Cat, all before lunch, before heading out into Chester to sample a few pubs.

The Albion, just inside the City Walls near the River Dee, is one of our favourites; the landlord doesn’t welcome many people as he displays a board suggesting that hen parties, stag parties, race goers etc are not welcome, and suggests that pensioners need to turn up with their parents.   He serves food at lunch time and in the evening, serving simple fare with few adjectives e.g. kedgeree, on plates, not slates.   He closes at 3pm each day and re-opens at six.  The interior of the pub has remained unchanged for years and has some fine examples of William Morris wallpaper on the walls.    We got served so that was lucky.

The CRT are programmed to come and do some repairs to our mooring this month so we’re hoping that they arrive soon so we can shuffle from mooring to mooring for two weeks at a time before the 1st of April when the winter mooring rules end.

This weekend we’ve been to Yorkshire to work on the house which is really starting to take shape now.  The roof has been re-felted and re-pantiled, the windows have all been replaced with double glazed Everest ones and the house is now fully weatherproof.  The electrician has started the re-wire and we’re hoping that we’ve finally found a plumber.   We’ve knocked down a few internal walls to create more space.