Sunday, 7 November 2010

SCOOP - Bumper Ice Cream Harvest Predicted

Monday 1st November to Sunday 7th November

7 Miles, 6 Locks – for this week

Totals: 358 Miles, 367 Locks, 10 Tunnels, 9 Swing Bridges

This week has been another week of mixed bag weather, but much more consistent – invariably the morning to very early afternoon have been brilliant sunshine (cold air) and then about 2:30 to 3:00 the clouds come over and the breeze comes up and then it is inside and close up.

Nothing like a bit of predictability.
Beeston Castle in majestical splendour

Life as a single-handed boater is not the easiest existence in the world sometimes and this was made absolutely no easier when trying to negotiate through Beeston Iron Lock – there is no ladder down to or out of the lock and a footbridge below the bottom gates further enhance the troubles of getting the boat out of the lock - but it was negotiated.

The end of the cruising came as well when I moved onto moorings in preparation for the winter and for preparation of the boat for winter – at Tattenhall Marina.
Sunrise at Tattenhall

Having not previously been in a marina I have nothing to compare this one too, apart from my expectations – I have to say that I am very pleased with everything that I have seen and experienced so far – there are no complaints and only praise for the people who are here.

The Marina

There are a few bits and pieces which will need to be taken care of and Mark the workshop owner has been to see what for and everything is booked in for it to start in a week’s time.

The days have been punctuated by visits into Tattenhall village and also into Chester. The village is only 1.5 miles away but not necessarily the safest distance to traverse by foot – there are no tracks for walking so it is with fingers-crossed (as well as other body parts) that the journey is undertaken – I opted for the bus. It is well worth the visit – 3 restaurants – take your pick – Indian, Thai and Chinese – as well as well stocked supermarket, a local butcher, PO, 2 pubs, good coffee shop and a lot more. I can recommend The Sportsmans Arms pub for good food and beer.

The Chester trip was vital for my sanity – any good Australian overseas will ensure that their stock of Vegemite is never allowed to run out – for 3 weeks I have been having withdrawals and finally was able to restock after a visit to Tesco’s in Chester – and it was on special – you little beauty.

Whilst on good things Australian – the UN Development Program this week announced that Australia was No 2 in the world of top countries in which to live, with our trans-Tasman cousins, New Zealand at 3; who were we behind? – Norway.

Quite rightly Australia is looking to limit EU country migrations, insisting that there are already too many Fish and Chip shops and Pizza places - but with Norway at the top we also won't be looking for any whale kebab houses to appear any time soon.

Went out walking today (Sunday) and came across a rather unique farm – The Ice Cream Farm – just a kilometre down the way – I was assured that they are expecting their best harvest for years – maybe bettering last years efforts and I have pictures to prove it to. So many paddocks and so many different flavours – some with chunky bits as well.

The Ice Cream Farm

Apparently harvesting is best fom the end of January to mid February whilst there is still a lots of snow about - just as the cones become visible.

the Honeycrunch field

Life can become a bit crazy sometimes - but there comes a time to just chill out.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Things of sun, wind, celaphods and pubs

Monday 25th October to Sunday 31th October

11 Miles, 3 Locks – for this week

Totals: 351 Miles, 361 Locks, 10 Tunnels, 9 Swing Bridges

I have spoken to a number of other boaters this week and without exception the consensus has been that the weather this week has been most unpredictable – not in the sense that the conditions have been terrible, but in the fact that the weather on any particular day has born no resemblance to the day before or the day after,

Invariably it has been sunny bright conditions one day followed or preceded by blustery winds and/or rain. Marvellous one day, miserable the next.

Sunset over Middlewich

I have spent time this week just staying put – a couple of days at Church Minshull mornings where it was particularly nice being sheltered from the wind; this was followed by two consecutive days at the moorings above the Venetian Marina; and lastly more stationary time at Calveley.

the beautiful Cheshire plains

I have to say that the last of these gave me further opportunity for more pub research – it has meant that the next time we visit here we have to spend at least two days so that we can visit both pubs.

My copy of Nicholsons only comments on one of them – under the name of The Goldmine Bar and Grill (at Bridge 104) which has been reopened under the new name of The Davenport Arms – good food and beer and I managed to take in the whole of the Blackburn v Chelsea game.

A bit further up the road (a nice one kilometre walk), and iconed but not named in the guide book is The Tollemarche Arms – again good food and beer – I did find myself drawn back to here for the Sunday roast – an excellent meal.

Mist rising
What a difference a day makes

I guess I also need to acknowledge what I would believe to be either the direct or at least indirect efforts of the Shropshire Canal Society – there are vastly more areas where the grass has been kept down, but more importantly where mooring rings have been placed to make it easier and more reliable to moor up and not have mooring pins move about in soft ground that we currently have in most places.

Sunday brought summer time to an end – officially, that is, as I am sure that summer actually ended some time in September, but the resultant early sunset (dark now by 5:30) are equally compensated by an earlier sunrise.

As an early riser, it makes no difference to me whether the clocks are set 1 hour or 2 hours ahead of GMT, but I guess it makes a difference to those who enjoy sleeping in.

The funniest comment that I heard this week was from a woman packing her things from boat to car at the Calveley BW water point when she said “I go home when the clocks go back as the nights are longer” – I know what she meant by this but in thinking about it in the strict sense of what was said – the nights are no longer really that the night before (I know they get progressively longer) – it reminds me of the statement we hear in Australia from Queenslanders who are against Daylight Saving – “more daylight in the evening will fade the curtains quicker” and from country people – “the cows will give less milk”.

Really this is a case of mind over matter – even the news on the radio this morning suggested that the changing of the clocks affected people so badly that some take up to a week to recover from the change – PLEASE give me strength.

That was my rant for this week.

One last comment “Vive le celaphod” – with the passing this week of one “Paul the octopus” and the extra-ordinary predicting powers, we must now reflect on the powers or lack thereof of Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes (nicknamed “the octopus) – if only his hearing had told him that the ref had not blown his whistle. Go ManU.