Friday 21 April

On Wednesday night, after childminding duties ended, we headed back to the boat which James & Ali had returned to its temporary mooring at the top of the Hurleston flight.  They’d had a lovely week away and were reluctantly returning home to face preparation for the Summer school term.

We spent a fairly quiet day yesterday, doing a spot of baking; a quiche, some scones and some bread cakes were requested – not bad as our invited guests said they were on a low carb diet.  Storm said he thought they’d be easily dissuaded and he was right!

Today we picked up two Shropshire lasses, who we’d not seen for six months.   I used to work with Nicki and Sarah at Hull Truck Theatre and we’ve been trying to catch up with them for a while and as they’d posted a message on Facebook this week saying they were in Shropshire, we got in touch to see if we could meet up and if they fancied a pootle along the Shropshire Union Canal.

We took them on a cruise down the four locks and out along the Shropshire Union Canal to Nantwich before winding, and mooring for lunch.   We had a healthy lunch, with only a few carbs!

Storm paused at the bottom of the locks so we could pick up cars and they headed back to Wem and I drove on to Barbridge to rendezvous with Storm.  I think we might visit the pub this evening.

After a few days of warmth, today was overcast with a chilly breeze but we had a lovely day out.


Sunday, 16 April

A week ago we celebrated Joseph’s 5th April birthday with a family party.    The weather in the morning was wonderfully hot so we set out tables and chairs on the newly mown lawn ready for the afternoon.  Unfortunately not long after all the family arrived, the wind got up and the temperature dropped and we soon sought shelter back indoors in the newly decorated playroom.

Summer enjoyed helping Joseph open his presents and cousin Jacob helped blow the candle out on the lion cake – a good time was had by all.

While we did our usual three days of childminding this week James and Ali were on board heading for Trevor.   They rang a couple of times on Tuesday morning to ask about an alarm.  Initially we thought it was the reoccurrence of a sensor fault but later discovered that, when we’d carried out our maintenance checks prior to them taking the boat, we’d failed to secure the lid on the water filler.  Once James had refilled the tank with water, they had no further problems.  They did bounce over something submerged as they came out of Chirk tunnel which had un-nerved them slightly but otherwise they’ve had a lovely, relaxing trip.

Once Laura and Marc returned from work, our evenings were spent helping them demolish a wall in what is to become the kitchen/dayroom.   By Wednesday evening, we were ready to escape and we set off to Yorkshire for the Easter holiday and a rest.

When we arrived at the house we couldn’t get the lights to work but thankfully I’d bought a torch and a quick look at the fuse board showed we just needed to flick the switch.  We had a quick look round to see what progress had been made since our last visit before we headed over to the pub for a drink before calling it a night

The plumber has started installing the central heating as promised but still has quite a bit to do.   Stuart, our electrician, has been back in and done a bit more but otherwise things were pretty much as we’d left them.

Despite intending to rest, I’ve done quite a lot of gardening. I’ve cleared a huge mass of tangled brambles and mowed the lawn. Storm has steamed the last of the wallpaper off the staircase which I’d been reluctant to do off the top of the ladder, reversed the swing of the sitting room door, and attended to various bits of admin.

We’ve spent more time seeing friends and family and have spent quite a bit of time socialising during the day this time.

On Friday afternoon we set off to Keadby to meet up with Pip and Mick before they left Yorkshire to head down the Trent to Nottingham.  We wanted to see their lovely new boat NB Oleanna which they moved onto last week in Sheffield.  Pip and Mick have spent seven years dreaming and planning for this moment and they were proud to show her off to us.

They will be looking for new owners for NB Lillyanne and there will be no more WASP journeys but we are planning to visit the Lancaster Canal with them in the Summer.


Friday, 7 April

Since our last blogpost we’ve travelled back to Yorkshire for another four nights, and have also spent six days babysitting .

We spent the days in Yorkshire knocking down walls, burning paint off the front door and checking on the progress of the various contractors we have working in the house.  We’re in demand in the evenings too when we try to see as many friends as possible before we collapse exhausted into bed.

On Sunday we drove back via Ikea.  I was wanting to buy curtaining and matching bedding for our new house.  The Leeds store didn’t have what we wanted. We’d strolled through the whole store pretty much before we discovered that Leeds is a ‘small store’ and only has a limited fabric supply.  I persuaded Storm to stay on the M62 another junction so we could call in at the Warrington store. Storm opted to take Max for a walk instead of battling his way round another store.  I was in and out like the SAS having achieved my objective of buying 12m of lining and 12m of main fabric.  I must learn to check the website before I go shopping next time!!

While I’m babysitting, Storm is kept busy working on Laura’s house.  He’s now on to his second room.   Laura had been finishing off the playroom while we’d been in Yorkshire and on Tuesday we were there to let in the carpet fitter and to take delivery of some new furniture.  One room down,  three to go before the wedding in June!

It was Joseph’s first birthday on Wednesday and we’re going to be celebrating this this weekend.

We both took a day off on Thursday this week, when we moved the boat from The Shady Oak to the top of Hurleston Locks ready for James and Ali to take to Trevor.  The Shady Oak has changed hands in recent times and we’re happy to say that the atmosphere is much improved, as is the beer.   They apparently do a roaring trade at weekends with their roast lunches.

Storm steered the boat and Max and I walked to Wharton’s Lock and made it ready.  Afterwards we walked back to the pub before heading back to pick up the car and we drove from lock to lock.  We caught up with Storm as he stopped for diesel at Chas Harden’s boatyard.   We knew our tank was nearly empty. We only have the one diesel tank which also fuels our central heating system.  The central heating failed to come on on Wednesday night which is the first sign we have that we’re getting low (that is unless we dip the tank).  The price of diesel has gone up by 10p per litre since we last filled up – ouch!

Driving from lock to lock was quite fun as we had to work out how to get to each lock by car.   A guy from CRT kept appearing at locks just after me, but didn’t seem to notice that he’d seen me three times already when he kept asking me if I was alright!

We met up at Calveley where Storm stopped to use the facilities and while moored up we had lunch and loaded the car with a few boxes from our cupboards to give James & Ali some space for their belongings.

We then went our separate ways again and met up again at the bottom of Hurleston Locks.  There was a volunteer lock keeper on and he’d seen me approaching from the top with windlass in hand and wondered where my boat was.  He didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Today, Storm & Max headed back off to Laura’s to finish installing some steelwork and I finished off the spring clean I’d started two weeks ago.   I took some time off this afternoon to walk round part of Hurleston Reservoir.   It was glorious in the sunshine.   The reservoir is high up above the junction with the Llangollen and Shropshire Union Canals and from the top you get terrific views of Cheshire.  Jodrell Bank Observatory is just visible in the distance.

The reservoir has a capacity of 85million gallons and gets its water from the Llangollen canal which in turn gets its water from the River Dee.  The water is used for both drinking water and to supply water to the Shropshire Union Canal.