Saturday, 9 August 2014

North by Northwest - locked in

Monday 4th August to Friday 8th August 2014

We moved on from Lymm - our 48 hours being up - but it wasn't very far that we finally decided upon - only as far as Aqueduct 26A.
It is an ideal place to access both the estate of Dunham Massey and the pub The Swan with Two Nicks - also a good place just to put the chairs out and have a rest.

Along the way we stopped for water just neat Ye OldeNo.3 and met up with nb Just Imagine and the occupants Michelle, Barry and the pooch Libby.
Michelle, Barry and Libby

Waterpoints and waiting for the water is always a chance to have a chat - where else do you find people not in any great rush to do anything.

We filled the tank and then moved on the extra half mile and moored up; not long after which we had a boat pull in behind us - we did notice that there was a large amount of smoke billowing from the engine bay - I guess we were first attracted to it by the burning-rubber smell - a fairly characteristic odour.

It wasn't much after that the man-of-the-boat came strolling up to see if we could help him out; Diane was busy doing something - reading, sleeping, ignoring it all - so I guessed it would need to be me as Brenda was officially on holidays.

Lifting the engine board, we lost complete sight of the boat we were actually standing on - there was a fair amount of heat as well - a clear sign that something serious was wrong.
After allowing some time for the smoke to clear and the heat to abate, and also give me time to change into overalls and make it seem as though I knew what I was doing, a closer inspection showed a frayed and almost completely destroyed fan belt.
Should be an easy job to replace that.

Well it would have been!

Clim, the guy on the boat, and his wife (whose name we never did find out) had borrowed the boat from his brother who was off in the Middle East somewhere and they had limited experience with and knowledge of the boat; but they did know where the spare fan belts were.
A whole big bag of them - must have been 30 or 40 of them.
They were certainly spare fan belts - just not for this boat - every one of them was way too small.

They would need to get a new belt - which we left with them to sort out.

Later on, new belt in hand, we descended the dark depths of the engine bay - wrong size - this one was too big. A quick measurement of the size required of one they would need to get.

The following day we all headed off to visit Dunham Massey -
Diane and I had been last year but we had heard that it had been re-dressed as the war-time hospital that it had been during WW1.

It is just a quick kilometre walk and the NT cards came in handy again; just the one to pay for - Brenda, who was looking forward to seeing a stately English home.

We toured through the house...
the original dining room now made up
with beds to resemble it's 1915 appearance
as a hospital

Nurse ! - is there a nurse in the house

One of the setups to simulate 1915 and how they made use
of the rooms

part of the silver collection

another of the bedrooms the library

the kitchen

the closest Diane has come to an iron in years

... and then through the gardens...

....before starting to head back.

We were tempted in for a drink at The Swan.

Finally making it back to the boat in the latter half of the afternoon - still plenty of daylight left in the day.

Clim had good news - the new fan belt fitted but he needed help to make sure it was tight enough - this was done in just a few minutes; the engine sounded and ran much better.
A quick adjustment of the shaft seal to stop a leak and she was looking like a million bucks - well maybe just a tenner.

We said our goodbyes to them later when Diane snuck out of the boat for a quick hold of their new grandson (their daughter had come by) - Diane had that look in her eye - the one that a woman with grown children has and she is holding a new baby.

The following morning we headed off after the rain had eased - Diane and Brenda on tiller duty and I was safe and dry doing some work on the lock-free Bridgewater as we headed towards Worsley.
Later on Diane and I changed places as she went below to start on some sausage rolls for lunch and some nice rock cakes for later on.
The weather continued to improve.

Past Waters Meeting junction; past the Trafford Centre; over the Barton Aqueduct - nothing to stop us - well nothing until we got to Perrin Lane - a quick moor up on the off-side for a visit to Dave's Butty Wagon - sausage and bacon bap for Diane and a plain bacon one for Brenda.
With that done it then seemed safe to proceed - the hunger pains now quelled.

It was just a mile on that we moored for the day at Worsley and after elsan duties were done and everything else was fine we headed off for a bit of a walk to show Brenda around.
A couple of beers in the pub (well maybe one more than a couple) and we went back.
One of the most photographed buildings on the system -
the packet house at Worsley

As we hadn't done that many locks whilst Brenda had been with us Diane thought that a bit of journey further towards the north-west would give her a taste of them; also see a bit more of the countryside and clear us off the Bridgewater within the 7-day limit.
I love the name of this boat - rather apt really

So we ventured a bit further on stopping at Plank Lane for the lift bridge - it seems that a few boaters, Diane included, see this as a point where they have some power over the traffic - not in a malevolent sense, just a bit of fun in the normal passage of water craft.

The girls with the power - at Plank Lane lift bridge

The night was spent at Dover Lock, where whilst sitting outside there was a large police presence - at least 6 officers on foot; a couple on cycles and 2 more on motor bikes as well as an omnipresent helicopter - the reason - a missing person - we weren't asked whether we had seen this person, but with the numbers around it makes you think that it must have been someone of special concern.

The night was relatively peaceful although the nearby train line seemed to be in a bit of use overnight and interrupted the normal sleep patterns.

And so onto some larger than usual locks - even by Grand Union standards these are a bit bigger and heavier and gave Brenda a better idea of what they are all about - when a new person experiences the operation of a lock you have to cast your own thoughts back to when you have started out and how it takes time to get used to everything that has to be done - and she did well, the old girl!

Mooring at Crooke, we strolled down to Dean Locks for a look and just to stretch out the muscles, after which we headed to Crooke Hall Inn for happy Friday - I had to ask the barman if he had got the prices right - they were well underpriced to what we have been used to.
Dean Locks toll house - Brenda in the foreground

Late evening rain came and eased off; night fall came and we all felt a wee bit more tired than we had in a while - I think it was all of those heavy locks!

32 Miles, 6 Locks, 1 Lift Bridge

Totals: 2759 Miles, 2052 Locks, 94 Tunnels, 33 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

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