Well we were up bright and early - just after 6am to get ready for the Harecastle.
In still dark conditions at 7:30 we headed off for thelast half mile and last lock.
Lights were on and torches abounded - there just seemed to be enough illumination to make out the lock entrance and I could see the difference in lighting between the inside of the lock and the faint light of the sky - well I could see it until Diane in her desire to help, shone her torch toward me to help light the bridge hole and then I couldn't see anything.
"Shine it into the lock" I shouted and that helped.
We made it to the Harecastle moorings just after 7:45 - tunnelkeeper was already on duty; gave us the talk; strongly advising to wear a life preserver (which Diane insisted I do - yes dear!); moved the CRT craft out of the tunnel entrance and we were first through (the only boat at the northern portal) - the boat at the southern end apparently had not shown any sign of life.
The passage was uneventful - after 9 previous passages through here, we are used to it - but always careful.
Diane decided to do a bit of cleaning inside and indicated she would check occassionally to make sure I was still around.
Once out we moored up for water and after that it was straight to
Howard (nb Compass Rose) popped by (we had texted him to see how he was) - so we chatted over a cuppa for a while and plans were made for lunch on Monday.
The remainder of the day was spent inside working and reading - pretty boring we can be a lot of the time.
Sunday now became a fasting day, but we cruised down to what many call "China Gardens" but we just know is as the Toby Carvery - we were hoping to find a mooring just before the bridge but instead we opted for right outside the carvery - not a boat insight - never seen it empty before.
|Look - empty moorings outside the carvery - whoever heard of that!|
Our slightly revised schedule determined that we needed to do a bit of shopping today - just little things, but meant a walk up into town.
Amongst the items on the ubiquitous list - price on a new mattress (just a price!). On the way into town we stopped at one shop - tested and priced - and later discussed it a bit - our existing memory foam one was a bit depressed in the centre and was in need of replacement; so we bit the bullet and bought one - the store wanted to charge ₤75 for delivery or we got 10% off if we took it ourselves.
Most people shopping like this have cars and taking such an item is relatively simple - not for us, we had to
Diane's words seemed to be something like "no problems - you can carry it" - it started out OK but we were both needed to finish the task.
We did appreciate the offer of help from the fellow in the blue van when we were 50 metres from the boat.
Back on board and sweating profusely; we had both dressed for the cold conditions; not for an audition for World's Strongest Person; we practically stripped off inside just to cool down.
No strength left in our bodies at all.
After recovering we needed to take it a bit easy so rather than just sitting down and relaxing on the boat, we headed off to sit down and relax and watch the third installment of The Hobbit - showing at the nearby Odeon - and we didn't fall asleep once - and enjoyed it as well.
Monday was a chance to sleep in - still bloody recovering - work to be done - more shopping to be done - groceries this time.
Lunch with Howard - unfortunately Janet was very unwell - had a great time as we always do with Howard - he is fun to sit down with and chat away.
Lunch was good as well - just at the carvery.
After saying our goodbyes we cruised the boat down to just short of the first lock in the Stoke flight and moored up for the night.
We had earlier unwrapped the new mattress so that we could "road" test it before leaving.
Road tested it was - hard and springy!
Our aim for Tuesday was to make it down to the Wedgwood/Barleston moorings.
For the past week really, the weather has been quite mild - not warm but definitely not cold - just nice weather - except for the damn wind.
Today it dropped a lot but still gave a little movement to the boat if you were moving slowly.
Made it through the five Stoke locks in quick time - every lock against us - then the enjoyable cruise down to Trentham Lock - also against us - by this stage we had decided on the Wedgwood moorings - someone wanted to visit the Factory Shop.
At this time of the year with few boats moving the last thing you expect at a lock is a boat coming along - no sooner had we closed the bottom gates and Diane got on - we were nomore than 50 metres from the lock, than nb Harnser with Brian and Diana on board appears around the corner - a wave and greetings - at least it was set for them.
We were damned
|Entrance - to the building site|
|Scaffolding around the existing manufacturing building|
|part of the new housing estate - already occupied|
|across the road, the next phase of housing|
So if you didn't get there, you won't be getting there until next April.
Almost forgot to include this and if I hadn't I might be turned into a newt or something worse.
To my very dear Mother-in-Law, Dorothy (affectionately known as Millie) we wish you a very happy ??th birthday - we saw you in October and had a great time - will call you tomorrow -love from both of us
10 Miles, 7 Locks, 1 Tunnel
Totals: 2889 Miles, 2112 Locks, 98 Tunnels, 34