Thursday, 6 June 2013

Wrong Shoes

Tuesday 4th June to Thursday 6th June 2013

Whenever we journey northwards from Stone or we are coming southwards towards Stone there is an unwritten rule on Ferndale – by orders of the Skipper –

“Thou shalt stop at Barlaston for Sunday lunch”

Without missing a beat the schedule is always backtracked from Sunday at Barlaston to where we happen to be and the intervening days divided up into chunks of travel to meet the end result.

And so it passed this past few days – we were moored outside the Trafford Centre a few days ago – at least it seems like it was only a few days ago – and the notepad is out, the canal planner is out – by Tuesday we need to be at such and such a place; and similar for Wednesday and Thursday and the rest.

no more side trips my lovely - we are not going down onto
the Weaver

amazingly there was not a single boat moored on the 24hr
moorings up at Anderton and only one on the 48hr ones

Lifeboat pod in the marina yard at Northwich - I think Diane
just took the photo to include the guy on the right

keep to the right lest you meet the same fate !
So more in keeping with the grand traditions of the hire boater who is quickly moving around the nominated area to be covered in their allotted time, so we too are moving with the same hours during the day – early starts and early to mid afternoon finishes – some breaks in between; and some work on the move.

And now here we are in Stoke having travelled 80 lock-miles in the last few days – but by golly we are on schedule – the captain says so.

approaching the area of the breach at Dutton

There was no let up in the efficiency of the operation either – we have been engaging the washing machine whilst on the move; kettle into action almost constantly; and now the latest is that with 40 minutes to see through a tunnel and her indoors not especially in love with being outside, it was a great opportunity to be inside and take a bath – at least there was plenty of hot water and we could fill once out at the south portal.

inside Harecastle tunnel...

this is the 9th time through but the first photos we have taken
very pleased to see this as we filled up with water - out of the tunnel

Now we can relax just a bit – only 6 miles and 6 locks to go – and then we can make it back to base after Sunday – after the roast lunch.

Despite the miles and locks, it has been a bit of fun – working through them all and looking forward to the end of the travelling day – back into a routine going through them all.

some lovely person has (or people have) crocheted hearts...

... and flowers and put them on the lock gates along the Cheshire Locks

We are at the stage where we share the workload and this too is divided up by the management on the single basis –

She does the locks that are close together and I do the ones that are much further apart – there is some centralised theory of the conservation of lock-mile momentum – all I know is that my legs are tired by the end of it.

as you can see these two locks are close together - so it was my
turn to steer and Diane's turn to do the locks

Anyway, late in our journey today came another of her classic comments –

Diane had control of the tiller and I was lounging around on the back deck keeping out of her way.

I must give the precursor to all of this by our experiences on the Lancaster canal last month – she was terrified of all of those cruisers – not so much that they would hit us but from what she could do to them with 17 tonnes of steel hitting fibreglass – but back to today – along the nice straight from the Harecastle down to the lake there is a bit of a dog-leg and we were a bit away from it when around the corner appears a cruiser – there is immediate consternation about it and I said to her that she could handle it OK – it was a wide enough stretch of canal – the reply was that she had the "wrong shoes" to take on the responsibility of not hitting it.

Now I am concerned that the shoe industry is missing a tremendous opportunity with the huge need for cruiser-tackling footwear.  Even if we were to find it, I would not be certain that it will be in her size or the right colour to go with the rest of the outfit – what a crises!!

44 miles, 36 locks, 4 tunnels

Totals: 1835 Miles, 1367 Locks, 60 Tunnels, 29 Lift Bridges, 139 Swing Bridges

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