Saturday, July 20, 2019

And so to Dimmingsdale bridge

We left Wheaton Aston and got a couple of breezy hours cruising in before the drizzle started. The bright spot, quite literally, was another sighting of a kingfisher. It was just sitting in a pool of sunshine on the end of a branch. We guess that the babies have fledged and the adults are tired and taking stock now.IMG_4270

We awarded this boat ‘the most neglected boat of our trip so far’ prize.

Just as we reached Autherley junction and our first lock of the day, the heavens opened, and Brenda had bread still in the oven – timing! She couldn’t work out why the loaves were taking so long to brown. As she put some falafel into the oven to warm for lunch she realised – no flame. The gas had run out, IMG_4272“Graham!” New gas cylinder switched on and the bread was baked OK.

We moored at Wightwick which enabled Graham to do a car shuffle whilst Brenda went to visit Wightwick manor again. Once he had returned to Jannock we continued on to Dimmingsdale bridge where we plan to leave the boat for 14 days whilst we return home.

Friday, July 19, 2019

oh boy! – did it rain!

Brenda fell asleep at half eight last night and was still asleep when Graham set off inIMG_4250 the pouring rain at nine this morning. Moored two boats in front of Jannock’s mooring was this little boat named ‘Spirit of Pheobe’ – Graham believes it used to be named ‘Sarnie’ and belonged to Orph Mabel.
The way through Woodseaves cutting is usually soggy but today it was a full blown bog – pedestrians would have a very hard time unless wearing waders. The ferns were magnificent however. IMG_4252We hope that our ‘land garden’ has had just a fraction of this rain.
Our old thermal mugs gave up after 15+ years service; the plastic just crumbled over time. We looked for replacements but the only half decent ones were over a tenner each and the thought of that going overboard in the breeze was a bit much. Morrisons had some at just over £3 each. Any good ? – Graham took out a hot cup of tea when he set off and then waited 30 minutes before drinking it. It was still very hot so we thoroughly recommend Morrisons thermal mugs.
IMG_4253A day boat passed us with the steerer wearing a tee-shirt and body warmer in the rain. He said that he’d expected better weather in July when they’d booked the boat. So, did he not check the weather forecast or even look out of the window before he set off today?
The Gnosal G-Fest is being held this weekend. Lots of traders and working boats were in evidence. I asked a moored boater what the ‘G’ in G-Fest stood for, he replied “Gnosal” -  Hmm, not so sure. Tried the Gnosal website, still no idea.
We spotted this magnificent garden opposite all the working boats gathered for the festival – what a exuberant whacky sight.
IMG_4259  IMG_4260
We had the pleasure of cruising slowly past two Kingfishers today, perched on IMG_4263branches in the offside bank, not more than a metre from us. Unfortunately attempts to photograph them were thwarted by needing our point and shoot camera on full zoom and so maximum shake.
We received two outage notices from CaRT about Wheaton Aston lock – it was out of use this morning and will be mended the first week in August. Therefore we continued on to pass through it before mooring for the night – just in case it breaks again and we’re stuck above it.
Once moored up Graham did an (overdue by 10 hours) engine oil and filter change before we had dinner. That should see us back to Brinklow before another is needed.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

25 locks and 11 miles today.

As Friday’s weather forecast is not as good as todays, we decided to try and pass through all the Audlem, Adderley and Tyrley locks so that we’d be left with more than one days lock free cruising should it decide to rain tomorrow.AudlumLocks
Once again we set off at 9am and the trip to Audlem bottom lock took almost an hour. We found ourselves in the queue behind two small boats but as they were sharing the single locks they made good progress. We followed them up the fifteen lock flight, passing a northbound boat coming the other way at all but one lock.
At lock 3, Graham purchased two scones from the ‘honesty box’ cake stall outside the lock cottage and then also purchased two pork pies from the stall at lock 1 (the top lock) During the one-mile cruise from the top of Audlem flight to Adderley locks we had lunch on the move which included devouring the two scones. we then ascended the next five locks still following the two small boats.
TyrleyWharfOn our approach to Market Drayton we moored at Victoria bridge (65) and then walked up the road to the Morrison supermarket at the top. Provisioning completed we then continued on into M.D. to stop at the sani-station and dispose of our rubbish. Then on to the Tyrley lock flight where the bywash outfalls at the bottom two locks were so fierce that we had to use the front rope to keep Jannock’s bows in line in order to enter the narrow lock.
Additionally, the top three locks of this flight seTyrleyWharf2em to suffer from top gates that refuse to remain closed when the lock is full. At the penultimate lock, Graham even walked back, closed the gate and let a little water out of the lock to make sure it stayed shut. By the time we were ascending the top lock it was open again.
Incidentally, the 3 bedroom house in the picture above is for sale, with mooring, for £390k.
We moored for the night, above the top lock on the 48 hour moorings, at 6:30 pm after a tiring day for both of us. Brenda photogaphed this wonderful bracket fungus on a tree stump in a CaRT workboat moored above the toplock.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sssshh–it’s a SECRET Nuclear bunker

We set off at 9am and cruised past this exceedingly cluttered boat into Nantwich. It RubbishBoatmust be an illness that makes people retain so much rubbish and not throw anything out. Even the back deck, under the cover was full of bags of stuff.

We stopped at Nantwich canal centre and refilled the diesel tank with 160 litres. I also checked through their stock of fan belts and managed to get another 1025 as a spare.

HorseStatueThe chap who served us diesel told us of a dreadful accident he had on his own boat when he’d only owned it for 3 days. He admits to not concentrting on the Wigan lock flight and breaking his leg very very badly as a result. The funny thing was that no-one could get to him to get him to hospital until they called . . . . mountain rescue . . . . in Wigan!

We then continued on through Hack Green locks to WorkingBoatmoor next to bridge 85 so that Graham could have access to the road for a car shuffle. He went and collected it from Middlewich and positioned it further down the Shroppie before returning to the boat just before the rain started.

MuffinsWhile he was shuffling, Brenda decided to get all boat-wifey and bake some cake. Lack of planning and relying on ‘historical’ supplies meant she had too little marg – muffins then (see Cut & Pastery). No tinned pineapple – nectarine muffins then. And then I remembered why I cook and bake less in my Italian Bompani boat oven. Unlike a British gas oven, it heats a metal plate in the base so that the hottest part of the oven is at the bottom. No doubt brilliant for Pizza but a good old british bun is almost toast before the top looks vaguely cooked. Does chocolate spread cure anaemia?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Complaints about hirers.

Last night, whilst we were moored up just after Faulkners bridge, we had a couple of Anglo-Welsh hire boats go past heading north. They slowed down nicely to passBeestonCastle Jannock and we decided that they must be a school group as there were a couple of adults and numerous teenagers on each boat.

A while later they returned, trailing another boat. They slowed down to pass us but soon caught up with the other boat again, which continued on at a snail’s pace, once past us. There was plenty of room and so the hire boats pulled out to overtake but rather than let them past, ‘snails pace’ pulled across to stop them. Then when they tried to pass on the other side he pulled back across to stop that manouvre as well.BeestonCastleSignalBox

This continued until they were out of our sight and we commented on how un-cooperative and daft the first boat had been.

This morning we set off at 10am, once the rain had stopped and the sun had come out, and started the long drag pass the continuous on-line moored boats between bridges 115 and 113 before starting our ascent of 6 locks to Calverley.

The pound immediately above Beeston Iron lock was very low due to the restriction of only one boat at a time to pass through whereas all others along here can cope with two boats. The pound level was drained everytime a pair of boats passed through.

BeingFollowedWhilst waiting for Bunbury staircase lock, Graham got chatting to the Anglo Welsh (AW) base staff who were repairing a wall at the lock landing. G. happened to mention that we’d seen their two hireboats having hassle with ‘snails pace’ the night before. They were most interested in our report on the issue as it would appear that a complaint had been made to AW H.Q. about them by a woman from ‘snails pace’ who didn’t supply their boat’s name and only knew that it was being steered by a guy called Mike. The complaint was about bad behavior and language and poor boating skills.

Graham was happy to give a statement to the opposite, expressing how well behaved they were when they had passed us whilst we were moored and how we had IMG_4219witnessed the poor behaviour of ‘snails pace’ when the hire boats had tried to pass it. As we were ascending Bunbury staircase the AW manager came over with his phone and handed it to Graham and the head mistress of the special needs school thanked him for providing the statement. Glad to be of service!

So, although we’ve heard otherwise in the past, we now know that Anglo Welsh do take complaints about their hirers seriously – this one had gone through their HQ and was being dealt with by the base when we accidentally got involved.

We left Bunbury lock and headed to Calveley sani-station where we filled with water and took the opportunity of both having a, post locks, shower in a large spacious shower room.

Once past Barbridge junction we moored for the night  near Vickers bridge (98). Whilst eating our evening meal out on the foredeck the same two AW hireboats passed us again, correctly slowing down to do so, so we made them aware of who we were and how, from what we had witnessed, the complaint was unfounded.

FrisbyDogAs we finished dinner, we heard a clunk and then what seemed like a ‘scrabbling on metal’ sound coming from the back of Jannock. A dog walker with a Labrador had accidentally thrown the dog’s frisbee onto Jannocks back deck and the dog had retrieved it. They appologised profusely as they passed. They were throwing the frisbee into the cut and the dog was jumping in the bring it back. They returned past later ‘sans frisbee’ as it apparently sank down near Hurleston Junction.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Hello Albion, Farewell Chester

Time to go, but not before we actually got to “The Albion” for a drink. It was worth it! TheAlbionTime stood still at WW1. Beer prices, obviously not. The beer was good. We needed a sandwich as the dont open until midday and we’d spent a while reprovisioning,  ‘doing’ Roman ruins, watching a group of young school children being taught legionaire tactics, and watching the river. The sandwiches wre fresh, with a salad on the side and very tasty. They had good old RomanChildrenfashioned grub on the meals menu as well. Just check the opening times if you want to visit an excellent establishment.

On our return to Jannock we prepared for the off – only to have the restaurant boat go past InsideAlbionand head for the locks so we had a cup of tea instead. A while later we set off just as another boat, Windrush, was heading up from the staircase lock end of town so we’d have someone to share with. We met the restaurant boat in the second lock – it appears that they pass through the first lock, then go up in the second and tie up in the lock to allow their passengers to get out to explore, have a smoke etc. before emptying the lock to come down again and heading back into town.

GuestLagerSteady progress found us completing the locks and heading through Waveney to moor up just past Faulkner’s bridge, hopefully for a quiet night, immediately before the tedium of passing the ‘longest linear moorings in the world’.

It would appear that this is where nb Windrush moors. It was their first cruise, in 18 months of boat ownership, with a duration of longer that 48 hours. Their report of their cruise to Ellesmere, and the weed they encountered en-route, made us glad we decided to turn round in Chester.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Another city break for Jannock

After a leisurely breakfast we wandered into town for necessities – a cake, new IMGP5274sunglasses, a phone charging lead & selotape – the usual boat gubbins!

The afternoon was taken up with walking the city walls. We took every opportunity to divert our attention. There was a band concert at the bandstand alongside the river Dee so we wandered down. There were a lot of motorcycles there but BloodbikesGraham’s attention was taken by the ‘blood bikers’ stand.

After a chat and a sit down listening to the music it was back onto the city walls for the next bit. All the hospitality tents and bits and pieces were being taken down after the races yesterday at the race course.

Onward to the staircase locks for a look-see. We’re not planning to go down them this trip so we’d already turned round in Chester. As our circuit was nearly done, we went for a beer at the pied Bull ( with IMG_4193microbrewery ). It was consolation prize as 17 years ago we tried to visit the Albion for food and beer but were unable to partake. As we passed it today it was closed – they don’t open on Sundays Doh!

The last distraction during our 2 mile walk around the walls was watching a falcon being exercised in the IMG_4198cathederal falconry centre. We assume birds of prey are kept there to keep the pigeon population at a manageable level.

Supper was taken at the Gate of India, on City road, which is an Indian restaurant that Graham fondly remembers from work visits to Chester. It did not dent his memories – delicious.


Saturday, July 13, 2019

Chester and the lost chimney.

The weather forecasters predicted that the weather today was going to be about normal for the time of year – where? Antartica perhaps? The cold gusty wind madeIMGP5263 manoeuvering at close quarters tricky.

The CaRT volunteers were out in force at Bunbury staircase – mostly getting the fund raising gazebo erected. We  hope they had it well tethered. Racing was on in Chester today – the trains running parallel with the cut were packed with punters.

At 1:30pm, after having completed Tilstone, BeestonCastleBeeston and Wharton locks, the sun finally came out and we could see the Welsh hills on one side and mow Cop on the other. We also started the long slow slog past what we believe to be the longest continuous fieldside moorings in the world! (probably!)

At 2:30pm, just past Waverton, the sea searcher was brought into action as we happened across a ‘boat on a rope’ with the chap obviously looking for something in the water. We pulled over and helped them locate their chimney that had been knocked off by a low branch. They have not long owned the boat and didn’t realise that the chimney was not permanently fixed in place. Chimbley recovered they asked to join us for the journey to Chester to get some boat – lock – learning in. Both boats made it down the locks by 5pm and we winded and then moored between bridges 123B and C to be near City Road.

Tip of the day – unless you have a sense of humour, do not venture into Chester city centre during the evening of the races. As the evening goes on, a strong stomach BreweryTapmight be useful.

We chose to visit the Brewery Tap alehouse – outlet for the Spitting Feathers brewery at Waverton. It’s the second Grade II listed pub we’ve visited recently in a Medieval hall. An excellent selection of ales and a own-brand cider which Brenda really liked.

BreweryTap2We wandered back through a throng of drunks from all societies strata. Some very posh frocks clothed some very un-posh women – ditto suits/fellas. We returned to Jannock to find that dignity had indeed taken a night off. A chap and his lady love approached, both finding walking somewhat of a challenge. She was protesting and so I kept an eye out for her. He was trying his best to help her – no chance mate! Her figure hugging dress had hugged it’s last and split up the back. Her knickers were definately ‘pulling pants’ and available for all to see. I say pants – more dental floss for the most part. I offered my services with needle and thread. She took a while to comprehend. Tugged at the dental floss between her cheeks one more time and replied “Oh, ta love! No, yer all right. Thanks” and tottered off.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Middlewich Arm

After a bit of post-party tidying up and depositing HarnserSeatthe empty keg back into our car we said our farewells. The sun came out – just for a laugh but Graham cast off in drizzle. As we passed Harnser we were impressed by the freshly painted seat adornng a freshly painted boat.

We passed a moored boater who knew what Jannock means – Yah! We didn’t believe that it had rained that much but a seaplane flew over as we were passing Church Minshull.

Another un-eventful cruising day. Even the weather was mediocre unless you conChalmondestonLocksider the strengthening wind.

At Barbridge junction we turned right and headed North on the Shroppie towards Chester. We stopped at Calvely services for a water fill and Graham took the opportunity to have a shower there as well.

We then continued on a short way and moored for the night before Bunbury locks.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

We’re going to a party!

Wildlife of the day – a snake simply popped up mid-channel whilst we were moored in Middlewich. It just basked in the sun until a camera was aimed – then all 2 foot of it swam to the offside and slithered into aBandPreBreak ledge in the canalside.

An un-eventful cruise to middlewich where we stopped near the car to offload a BBQ and for graham to get some ‘slippers’ for himself and a new log-book for Jannock. We knew we’d need one soon and then forgot to bring one from home – doh!

Then up three locks and turn into SoggyAudienceWardle canal – almost at our destination. There were boats in all directions, not a lot of manouvring room and then it chucked it down for a good 10 minutes while we ascended the last lock of the day.

We moored at the end of J & G’s garden – bows on to Tam Lin – as we were to attend an evening of folk music supplied live by Pilgrims Way. Graham had brewed the beer for the night. Gillian organised fish and chips for everyone who had arrived by 6:30. Lovely!BandPostBreak

The band were very good indeed. The inclusion of YMCA and Stand and Deliver was genius. The evening was everything that this year’s Glastonbury was not – in so far as the heavens opened 10 minutes before the band started their performance and continued raining until they stopped. It did not dampen our enjoyment.

At the end of the evening, not a drop of graham’s beer remained in the keg – the band were not amused as they then had to resort to bottled beer.

Thankyou everyone.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

We get Jannock back

We took possession of Jannock, hoping that the last crew had a good time and made some memories. We’d shopped at Morrisons in Middlewich en-route so  quickly got the fridge filled and going. No lunch was needed today as the Morrisons deli-counter were offering samples of pork pie, samosas and chicken skewers for people to help themselves to – we had our fill as it was past our lunch time ;^)

Once we had moved our stuff on and the dirty linen off the boat, Graham took the car to Middlewich and returned on the NEW (to us) Di Blasi. We then winded Jannock at the Lift winding hole and set off towards Middlewich, mooring for the night in Marbury Country park.

After supper Graham addressed the alternator belt issues of last week, replacing both belts and the missing tensioner bolt whilst I went for a good long walk in the old Marbury Hall grounds. The Lime avenue smelt wonderful and reminded me of the times my Mum visited us and we’d smell the Lime blossom as we walked to school and playgroup with the boys. The littlest things can make huge memories!