Thursday, 13 June 2013

Back early but things to be done

Saturday 8th June to Wednesday 12th June 2013

Despite the frantic travelling that we had achieved to get to Stoke, there was a change of plan (again) and now it was decided that rather than stop off in Barlaston on Sunday we would make our way down to Stone and back into the marina by Sunday.

I couldn’t disagree with the sentiment of getting back – we were both a little tired and eager to get back – especially in view of the mounting list of work that we wanted to get done and staying out any longer seemed to be just of no value at all.

I think we had forgotten just how far in terms of the number of miles and the number of locks that it really is from Festival Park back to Stone and it took a little longer than we would have first thought.

good grafitti is always appreciated
We headed off early on Saturday and expected to miss a lot of boat traffic by doing so – certainly we missed the hire boats as they were in changeover mode, but come Trentham Lock and there was a bit a queue, but no real delay.

The scene below Trentham lock - these CaRT work vessels
didn't make it easier - reducing the width to a single boat
Down through Meaford Locks and we were wondering if nb Valentine would be backed moored down the bottom after her paint job – he she was and very splendid se looked indeed – and a bonus Phil and Lynn were aboard, so we stopped for tea and a chat.

Smile Lynn !

Phil was ready
They were both well and we regaled with some of the early season adventures – they were going through their final preparations for heading off in about a week.

Plans were made to have dinner that night so we would catch them later, as we headed down the last 3 locks and final mile into Stone.

We didn’t know at all that the Stone Festival was on this weekend and so we were unsure about moorings, but in luck we were – one of the 24hr moorings above Star Lock was vacant until we took it.

Timing can be everything and once again just as we moored up the street parade was starting – a gentle paced walk to the lock as the parade was about to pass – so we caught this one.

The kids were great and there was plenty of work put in by parents and staff (of the many schools and kinders) to make it a wonderful procession.

A spy in the sky getting a bird's eye view and filming at the
same time

Busy by the lock and for The Star Inn as well
... and the main street wasn't short of pepole either

We decided to try the restaurant Thai Lanna in Stone for dinner – Diane had been eyeing it for over a year and wondered what it might be like – reports prior to our cruising had given it the thumbs up and we were not disappointed – we were a bit lucky again, being able to grab the last table despite not having a booking (for a Saturday night).

After a bit of shopping on Sunday morning we prepared to make the journey of the last mile (and a bit) and final two locks.

You can imagine our “thankfulness” at being able to be advised on how to do it all, by the crew of a hire boat when Diane went forward to offer help if needed.

The hire boat came down through Yard Lock and moored at the bollards – I had readied our boat to move over once they had gone through; a boat was coming up through Star Lock so there was a bit of holding back by the hire boat crew.

Diane in the meantime had gone forward to see how it was all going; by which time the boat coming up was on its way out of the lock and one of the women from the hire boat was getting ready for her boat to go down – when she remarked to Diane

“we were here first you know”

“yes I know that – I came down in to help if needed” came Diane’s reply

“where did you come from – I didn’t see you come through the last lock?”

“we were moored up on the other side – see the boat there – we are ready to move”

“oh! OK then; what are you going to do if there isn’t a boat coming up?”

“what do you mean?” enquired Diane

“ Oh, you can waste water – you will have to wait for a boat coming up to fill the lock”

Diane politely pointed out that there was an awful lot of water flowing over the bywash that could easily fill the lock rather than being wasted bypassing it.

“oh you can’t waste water, you will have to wait for a boat to come up”

“Look I came down here to see if any help was required and to wait for you to go through – once you had pulled away from the bollards my husband will move our boat over to there – waiting our turn; we do liveaboard and we have been cruising for a little while now and we are aware of the etiquette, which includes offering assistance when required or needed – and quite frankly I have had enough of you – you can do the lock by yourself” and she promptly returned back to Ferndale

Always nice to know that there are people who know how to graciously accept help – shame that this woman wasn’t one of them.

Back home !
We wondered how long they would be prepared to wait at an empty lock for a boat coming up so that they would be able to proceed – it seems they weren’t prepared to wait – by Aston Lock they had gone through without a boat coming the other way.

Once back in the marina – fully pumped out and dieseled up we headed back to our mooring – a boat was occupying our regular spot, but we spoke to Alex and we chose the end position as an interim solution – the boat in question had come in with some sort of family emergency.

No time was wasted after we this and relatively quickly we had the first window out that needed resealing; then set about cleaning it up and doing as much as we could without causing a fuss – it being a Sunday, and very sunny, there were a throng of people around and we needed to use the sander to get rid of the surface rust that was around the opening – so we waited until about 5:30 before starting – the café/restaurant was due to close at 5pm.

The deck was full with everyone enjoying the sunshine
and the good food

The first window out  and the two frames separated ready
for more work on them

The window opening - showing the surface rust
It took virtually no time to sand back to metal, prime it and we also managed a first coat of topcoat as well, which had time to tack –off before we covered it with plastic for the night – it had been a wonderful day (weather-wise) that continued to after 9pm.

The following day – Monday – we whipped out two more windows and readied ourselves to put the first one back in – it was always going to be the start of the next part of the learning curve and of course it didn’t go too well – a bit of a mess ensued which needed to be sorted out and cleaned up; worked continued on the other two windows which were able to be sanded, primed, topcoated twice and with a revised plan of attack we got both of them back in by the evening – now that was simple – why hadn’t we done it like that to begin with.

Tuesday and Wednesday were both forecast to be wet so that meant that window number 1 remained out – we did manage to varnish the frame whilst it was out – a new overall plan for when we attack the other side of the boat.

Time was not wasted and Diane did a lot of sanding inside the boat on the bulkheads that had been created last December for the new kitchen layout; also removing a bit of weathering from moisture damage over winter and we are now ready to stain and varnish almost all of the wood requiring this inside; put the first window back in; finish off the insulated wallpapering; varnish the window frames of the two windows already resealed and to relay the bathroom floor.

Lucky for me that I have a day off work.

11 miles, 15 locks

Totals: 1846 Miles, 1382 Locks, 60 Tunnels, 29 Lift Bridges, 139 Swing Bridges

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