The problem as Diane saw it with mooring up at Scotsman's Flash on a Saturday is that come Sunday it was a bit of a walk or a cruise to find a decent Sunday roast - and as many will testify, there is a good reason not to stand between my dear wife and a chance at a Sunday roast.
So even with the prospect of the remains of Hurricane Bertha about to make its impact on the countryside, but with straight cruising ahead, the skipper had made her plans to head to Bridgewater Marina and the pub that stood alongside.
Her dilemma was does she want me
This was easily resolved by the reasoning that the roast dinner tastes best at lunchtime.
So off we set bright and early - yikes, on one of the few days I felt like a bit of a British lie-in, I was kicked out of bed; quick breakfast; and off at 7:30am - yes, Sue and Andy it is a real time.
Brenda was kind enough to keep me company for the first 45 minutes but it was getting a bit wet so she headed inside.
Diane had graciously decided that she would give me a 15 minute break after an hour - at the 75 minute mark she appeared to do the lift bridge - then 10 minutes of "she at the helm" and she was gone - the promise of a tea was mentioned.
There was also a suggestion that we should stop at an unmarked (in the Nicholsons) sanitary station to empty a cassette (we still had 2 more empty ones) - the crew (i.e. me) thought that stopping in the pelting rain was the last thing that I (the crew) wanted to do - unfortunately I expressed that a little too obviously and only escaped keel-hauling by the facts that we have no keel and the rain was still as heavy as ever.
Anyway passing through Leigh, the Chief came up on deck to survey the progress and the upcoming elsan point (the promised tea made it's appearance)- I had been placed on report in the ship's log.
Passing beneath Butt's Bridge, the assigned point was found and I made the necessary calculations to slow down from warp speed, when BANG - "I've lost all power from the engine(s) Captain" (in my finest Scottish accent).
The skipper jumped ashore and pulled the boat in - the weedhatch was up, arms in the water (which actually felt warm compared to the rain and wind above water).
Piles of stuffing - like in a mattress or pillow - and something decidedly metallic which didn't want to budge.
We were under a lovely shady tree - well it would have been shady if the sun was out, but the rain was blowing in under the branches and the wind was strong enough to help shed the excess water from the foliage directly above me - to Diane there appeared to be a drowned water rat on the back with its paws in the water.
After a half hour struggle the prop was cleared, the hands were by this stage bruised and battered from the contest with the tubular metal frame of a childs play pushchair.
The weatherproof clothing by this stage was working a treat - it was keeping all of the moisture on one side - unfortunately it was the inside.
Onward we cruised (by this stage the tea had gone cold), the skipper in a rare attempt to boost the morale of the crew steered us out of the trouble - which if I recall was down to a navigational decision to stop where we did - and after another 5 minutes she disappeared below decks.
It was another 10 minutes on that I noticed the water being pumped out from the side of the boat - well actually it originated from the bath - she told me later that it was a nice hot shower.
Onward we pressed - the wind that we had wanted to avoid had come up, the sou'wester was gone - I lashed myself to the
Finally we moored up on the opposite side to the pub; everything put in order; lovely warm shower and I felt a lot better.
By the time we were ready to eat, the rain had eased, the wind had gone; when we were eating, the sun had come out - I never did get to see the weather reports before we left - was it really supposed to be worst in the afternoon !
10 Miles, 1 Lift Bridge
Totals: 2773 Miles, 2058 Locks, 94 Tunnels, 34