Friday, 19 December 2014

Return to Duck territory!

Wednesday 17th December to Friday 19th December 2014

It is not until you are without something that you rely on, just how lost you are without it.
That has been the case with us for the past 2 days - no internet services - and Diane has been completely lost. 
No chance to viber anyone and chat away; yes, I guess it has affected me as well, not being able to do as much work.

All three devices have failed to pick up a consistent signal, so we think that the problem is with the towers and not at our end, especially since the signal does come and go.

We have had to rethink our cruising plans a half dozen time in the last 3days, taking into account all of the stoppages and the breach at Dutton as well as what we have committed to do and what we would like to do.

But as of now we are going through Harecastle tomorrow morning (Saturday) and will be spending time in Stoke before heading down to Stone probably on Boxing Day and will leave after New Year - our booking to go north through the Harcastle is for the 9th January - last one before it closes.

After that we would like to get down to Chester and maybe Ellesmere Port; spend some time on the Llangollen before we head up the Macclesfield.
This means traversing the Cheshire Locks twice more, but having just come up we had a great time of it all.

We left Middlewich on Wednesday morning and filled with water before Kings Lock and whilst it was a bit cold and windy it was far better than being in the place of all of those people stuck in cars on their way to work.
Glad that I do not have to deal with traffic like this to get to work...

...just crap like this - why bother to bag if you aren't going to find a bin

Cruising is always lovely 

and winter views are just as good

see what I mean

We eventually moored up in a new location for us - Paddys Wood - so very quiet - we will stop there again.

Rain in Wednesday night disppeared almost on Thursday morning, but it was quite windy - more than Wednesday - but very much warmer.
The only rain that we had was a quite heavy shower before we reached Wheelock, where we topped up with water, dumped the rubbish and the elsan.
Doing the locks was mighty enjoyable - at least it was not cold and with no other boats around you just worked at your own pace - seems to be the positive side of winter  travel.
So 14 locks passed us by before we decided that Rode Heath would be the stopping place - and damn that internet signal.
Still we enjoyed the rain on the roof that night.

One other thing we are finding is that we are being more selective about turning the TV on - if there is nothing worth watching then it stays off. We are starting to use the BBC iPlayer for any late shows and watching them a few days after screening.

The Reflecs is working a treat - the boat is keeping cosy warm at around 19-20C without any fuss. Her indoors is happy as well.

Anyway a quiet night of reading - but after 14 locks the tiredness set in early and we couldn't stay awake much longer.

Friday, still no internet, so rather than stay the extra day in Rode Heath as we had planned, we headed off towards Red Bull - our intention at that stage was to stop around there until Monday morning - the time for our inital booking through the Harecastle.
With just 9 locks and little or no wind we set off. Whilst the air was chilly, the lack of wind balanced it out and we actually felt quite warm.

She had done plenty of locks over the three days - so happy with
another out of the way...

...and some had been heavy
Diane as usual decided which locks each of us would look after - her tried and tested formula being that the ones that are close together were hers, and the ones further apart were mine.
So she looked after the first four - all set against us - and than I took over.

The sun was bright and warmish, the air was coldish

At the very first of these we found a boat coming down the lock, so it was set for us (me) and naturally the next lock which was only about 50 metres away was also set for us.
Unsurprisingly the next two of mine were also in our favour - I was doing well - 4 from 4 - a bit of a win there.
The last lock, which I was meant to look after, Diane decided she would tend to it - lo  and behold, it was full, so she needed to reset it - score was Diane 0, Ray 4.

Moored at Red Bull, we are making full use of the services including the washing machine and dryer, plus we both had showers.
We enquired at the CRT office here about Harecastle passages and we were able to change our Monday timeslot for one tomorrow - just have to be there at 8:30am.

With that done and the second load of washing finished, we headed off to Red Bull pub for lunch. A lovely warm fire a lovely friendly face behind the bar greeted us - drinks done and food ordered, Diane brought out the pigs for a game.

Our Happy Friday photo 

The food arrived in just a short time - Diane's trio of fish looked and tasted very good as did my seafood rissotto.
Alas we could not indulge in any of the desserts - and they all looked pretty good - we had a boat to move up two locks.
On the way back we spotted this little fellow

If we were to meet the 8:30 timing at the tunnel, we would not do it the morning if we had 3 locks and another1.5 miles to move - so we clipped 2 locks and a mile off the job.
Diane doing the first (had to be reset) and I did the second (set for us)
Diane 0, Ray 5
So we are now ready for the morning; still cosy warm.
Looking forward to Stoke tomorrow - eh Duck!

14 Miles, 31 Locks

Totals: 2879 Miles, 2105 Locks, 97 Tunnels, 34 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

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