I have mentioned in recent times our need to keep a firm eye on the weather reports and just to have an idea of what may be coming our way.
This was the state of affairs this week as we could see a week long period of overnight temperatures falling below freezing and the higher probability of the canal freezing.
We knew we would need water sometime in that period.
We also wanted to pop into Lime View Marina regarding putting the boat in for 10 days in February whilst we are away; and then there were the cassettes that would need emptying.
All three at once meant that we would need a little bit of a cruise.
Tuesday was due to be relatively fine and so we thought that we should go after Paul and Elaine were back and our doggie sitting was over.
Fortunately the timing allowed us to head off at a reasonable time which meant that we got to Four Lane Ends and the marina early - booked ourselves into there - and then to Higher Poynton to fill the water tank, which after a load of washing was slightly above the 1/4 mark, so it took a bit of time to fill.
|Saying goodbye to Bollington|
As usual the moorings above the water point were full to the bridge and we cruised to Middlewood where we managed to moor up despite it being a bit shallow.
Surprisingly we the Myfi reception was very poor - one of the few areas where we have failed to pick up a signal, but I had Diane's phone to act as a portable hotspot and life resumed as normal.
Another check on the weather showed the strong possibility of snow on Thursday so it became the topic of our discussion about what do we do on Wednesday - head for Marple, empty the cassettes and then wind and head back for where we were and finish the cruise to Bollington early Thursday or do it all on Wednesday.
It all became a moot point when Diane found out that the BBC were showing the Australian Open semi-final (with Andy Murray) live at 8am on Thursday morning - no question now - it would be a mad dash on Wednesday.
The alarm was set for real early and for us that is early.
Up, dressed, breakfasted and boat was ready and then away by 7:50am - the wind had picked up and as expected we were barely underway when the rain hit - it was quite an early morning storm which only lasted 15 minutes but left it's mark.
You realise something is amiss when there is more water pouring off the roof of the boat than there is under it in the canal.
It settled down a bit after that and it was only about 3 miles to Marple - one of the crew decided that she would head below for a lovely hot shower as we could refill the tank again when we were emptying the cassettes.
There I was alone on the stern - deserted in my hour of need - just as the wind really came up - the bow was rising and falling as waves were moving along; the sleet then arrived and not a lot that could be done.
Fortunately the canal depth had increased so we were no longer crawling along.
We had encountered some problems at bridge holes and seemed to be picking up muck every time; our weed hatch check the previous day had revealed that there was nothing around the prop - reversing seemed to clear it, but eventually we simply slipped the engine into neutral and drifted for 30 seconds before engaging and resuming the cruise.
Our conclusion from all of this that most probably some of the vegetation trimming remains were getting caught around the rudder and when we slowed they simply dropped off - this remained our strategy which seemed to work quite well.
Once at Marple and the services jobs completed, there remained the little effort of winding at the junction - the wind was still up and then to top things off a boat was moored on the lock moorings at the top of the flight.
Thankfully we were descending today - we simply would not have been able to get into the lock - the boat was blocking the lock entrance.
Remarkably and without much fuss we winded and were now on our way back - still trying to beat the weather.
After getting past moored boats on both sides, the crew took over duties whilst I headed down for tea/coffee making duties and also to get on with some more work.
With this being lock-free, Diane is very happy to assume full control - it is the balance that we need to be able to cruise and get my work done.
She was feeling a bit smug when the sun made an appearance as she remembered the atrocious conditions that I had endured alone earlier in the morning.
That smugness took a bit of a battering when the rain and sleet reappeared and she took on the look of a drowned rat.
Finally we hit Bollington and moored up in the same spot that we had vacated just the previous day; tied up; and were inside as more rain came down.
She texted Paul to see how everything was going with Elaine's appointment for Wednesday and that we were back - the reply that came through meant that we needed to head down and look after Bombo and Sam for a for hours until their delayed return.
|Sammie waiting for Mum and Dad to return|
The day ended rather a bit better for all of as we sat down to enjoy a Chinese take-away together.
Now she will be able to watch the tennis tomorrow!
YTD: 51 Miles, 25 Locks, 1 Tunnel, 1 Swing Bridge
Totals: 2945 Miles, 2146 Locks, 99 Tunnels, 34