Monday, 8 December 2014

We're off!

Saturday 6th December to Sunday 7th December 2014

It was a bit like waking upon Christmas morning, except that the presents were all to do with finally cruising again - Yippee!!

We just had the usual jobs to do before leaving - empty the toilet cassette; fill the water tank (two separate operations); use up as much of the electricity credit that we had; see Simon (the maintenance person) about the work done (we had no problems at all); defrost the ropes - yikes that's not usual, but we are talking about winter - guess we will just have to get used to that.
Morning has broken - and the frost along with it

In the process of using up electricity as well as a final clean, we managed to expunge the vacuum cleaner - the smell of burning electrics a dead giveaway. So that will be on the list of shopping to be done.

The weather was absolutely perfect for this time of year - very bright (and blinding) sunshine - where is the sunblock and sunglasses; cool air; no wind.

Set forth the ropes and a gentle push away from the pontoon - we were off - taking care not to touch either of the boats ahead of us; a gentle turn to starboard; get blinded by the sun; out through the exit and onto the Shroppie - heading northwards.

The sun on our backs was marvellous; clear skies - oh how we have missed this.

So confident were we that we knew where we were going that we left the Nicholsons inside.
Clear blue skies - perfect for cruising

and the countryside was wonderful

We were not expecting too many boats to be moving but sure enough at the second bridge there is a boat approaching us - fortunately for us (not so for them) they had the sun in their eyes and slowed right down - we would have been there first anyway but after passing them we looked back and could hardly see a thing - glad we didn't have that.

Diane had made the executive decision that she would be doing ALL of the locks today and as we approached Hach Green Locks she was off at the bridge and was striding out to get there before the boat did - the luck was with her and she only had to open the top gate.
Thank you dear, push a gate open and bugger off!!
After that she deserted me - off to the next lock.

By the time she returned, I had the lock lowered; bottom gates open; and hauling the boat out - at least she closed the gates and lowered the paddles - in her defence the next lock was ready to go straight into.
One lock down...

Obviously she had completed her work for the day - I knew this because she hopped on the boat and left the lock to me to complete. one, you're on your own

Once again there was a boat coming from the other direction so it was simple to leave the gates open and then hop on.
They, like the earlier boat crew, could not see anything in front, so were very grateful when we passed by and advised them that the lock was set for them and gates open.

We were heading for Nantwich for a few days, mainly for a full shop and fill the fridge and freezer as well as any spaces in the pantry - oh and of course there was a suggestion about Sunday lunch.

We moored up in one of the many spaces available and set everything up and off to Sainsbury. The trolley was full for the journey back and that meant carrying the new vacuum cleaner - just a short 2.7 km walk.

With early sunset it was starting to get dark when we got back and still a bit tired from the flights as well as all of the cruising and the couple of locks - we were tired and just flaked out.

Sunday was another glorious day - bright sunshine - and we still had other supermarkets to visits - it was almost as if they might have forgotten all about Diane if she didn't at least say hello to them all - so another trolley full, but this time the efforts from the day before had taken their toll and the blisters from Saturday when she wore her new boots (from Dallas) pretty much said to her to take it easy and let Ray take the shopping back to the boat and pack it away - which also meant solving the tetris puzzle that is packing all of the freezer food into the limited space left.

I returned to Diane about a half hour later to find her in The Cheshire Cat with the first glass of a lovely hot mulled wine well underway to being finished; her feet up and totally peaceful - it took a few seconds until she realised I was there - I did tread quietly so as to not wake her!

Lunch was lovely and we were a bit naughty - having all three courses on offer - something that we would know about for the journey back to the boat and for the evening.
Well cooked roast; fine glass of mulled wine - what else could
a girl want....

...Obviously dessert.
This was the naughty part - but it did taste lovely

Despite the sunshine which had put some power back into the batteries we still needed to run the engine for a couple of hours.

A light dinner was all we needed.

5 Miles, 2 Locks

Totals: 2848 Miles, 2071 Locks, 97 Tunnels, 34 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

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