Sunday, 20 July 2014

Down the Hatch and into the Bay

Wednesday 16th July to Saturday 19th July 2014

We moved along to Middlewich with unclear intentions of whether we might stay more than just the 1 night; nevertheless we did need to stock up on a few things and Diane wanted to sample the wares from the chippy opposite Kings Lock.
 
She has been baking - the scones were gone pretty quick
and the bread lasted until the following morning.

That all done we didn't get anything else completed whilst we were there - eventually deciding just on the one night. Our intention to head further along to the flashes and spend a few nights up there and then to get stuck into the engine bay painting.

We unmoored (not sure if that really is a proper word) and made for Wardle Lock which seemed to be taking the boat in front an inordinate amount of time to negotiate.
There was a family of "killer" swans at one of the bridges before the lock - they had threatened a lady and dog in front of Diane - she then thought it better to hitch a ride on the boat to get around them.

The lock didn't seem to hold any hidden secrets to it's operation and getting down - the crew on the hire boat behind us being reluctant to even offer any assistance - so be it.

Anyway, we traversed the shortest canal on the system - Wardle - turned the boat around at the junction to face north and then reversed back to the Chandlery for some diesel (81 p/l).
Moored up; waited for the guy to come out (he was quick); filled up; paid for it; untied; and headed off - we passed the junction again just as the hire boat was coming out of the lock - fair to say it was quicker being in front of them than behind - to their credit, they seemed to be having a good time.

Down through the next three locks and then pulled in for water. We could see the lock behind us - now, we have a large tank (900 litres) and it was down to halfway, so there was a fair amount of water needed. I wouldn't say the water pressure was strong (nor was it weak) - we untied and away by the time that the hire boat was through just the second lock.

After that it was through Big Lock and then the aqueduct and onto the flashes - where we moored after Bridge 180A.
The upper Trent is really quite pretty ....

...in an African Queen kind of way
I just cannot resist that smile

The width of the water there resembled Tixall Wide (the depth was slightly less) but it was an extremely pleasant view out of the window.
 
Looking out across the flash



Towpath dominatrix....

...but later with the family in tow, they just wandered past without
any fuss at all

Sunset - Thursday night

The towpath was not particularly wide at this point - certainly enough to sit out and enjoy the late afternoon sun and listen to the birds and the planes on their way into Manchester airport.

The weather reports were all saying that it was going to be very warm on Friday and rain on Saturday, so it was time to get cracking on the engine bay painting.
These spaces were never ever designed for someone around the 190cm mark to be squeezing down and twisting to reach all sorts of places to place a wet paintbrush to cover the old colour.
At the end of getting about 70% of the area painted, the body was agreeing with the designers - it was too much of a squeeze.

By the time I had finished and cleaned up, there was a welcome surprise to see nb Two Jays with Joan and Jim pulling up behind us.
We knew that they were heading this way but were not exactly sure how close.

We chatted for a bit before heading inside to rest the now aching body, have some lunch and ready ourselves for le Tour.
The lovely Joan striking a pose

Later on when were back outside we were able to chat a bit more - plus I had recovered somewhat and only had half the body sore and aching.
 
Sunrise Saturday morning

Saturday lived up to the forecast - the rain starting fairly early and not letting up much at all - but there was still the matter of the remaining section of the painting to be done.
So glad that the worst was over - at least I thought that - today's painting was mainly fiddly bits around the Mykuni and other areas which involved even more cramped conditions than the previous day.
Maybe I was getting better at it, because by the end of if I felt nowhere near as bad as I was previously.
More le Tour; Diane's bath day; more chatting with Jim and Joan - by now the rain had gone and it was quite sunny outside.

At least the first is now done - a second will be necessary and there is the question about the area around weedhatch to be resolved - all of which will be completed in this coming week (all going well!).


13 Miles, 7 Locks

Totals: 2669 Miles, 2037 Locks, 91 Tunnels, 32 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges