Saturday, 10 January 2015

Melbourne weather - rain, hail, sunshine

Thursday 8th January to Saturday 10th January 2015

After our return in December, from our travels, Diane announced that she had too many clothes and planned not to buy any for the whole of 2015, but this does not include essential replacements. Whilst locking Richard through on Wednesday, first one and then the other boot both started leaking water and it was almost a situation of pouring water out of the boots.
Now as they had lasted 3 years of continual use - they were the first choice locking boots and the first choice for a walk to the pub during previous winters - so they had plenty of work (and walk).
I could not begrudge her a new pair, so before we needed to set off for the tunnel, we had one last trip up the hill into the town centre.
What should have been a simple one stop trip turned out to last just a wee bit longer than that - 3 hours in fact.

Post Office; Costa (for coffee - an essential); B&M for a few things that we probably would be better off not eating; 3 Mobile.

This last one was to do with an upgrade for our Myfi - we have opted for the new 4G version, which should have been a suitable swap one for another and a few keystrokes into their computer terminal and we would be gone.

Why do they all have deals for new customers but don't extend them to existing customers - anyway, if we took a new SIM card for the phone we would save about ₤40 on a new contract.
As I had a new (newish/newer) phone we looked at is and said "why not?" - the guy dealing with us was great and really engaging and now we have a new superfast 4G Myfi and a new phone SIM, but it always takes twice as long as I think it should take.

Back on the back we prepared ourselves for take-off; having checked on Richard and letting him know. We were both going to head to the Harecastle south portal for an overnight stay and be ready for the 8:30 start in the morning.

So after watering up we were moored up and Richard was there behind - the sun was setting. Richard invited us aboard for a drink, but on a fasting day it could only be tea, but there was no restriction on chatting.

Up early in the morning - Diane is now a confirmed morning person - we had the boat ready be just after 8am; the CRT guy was down about a quarter past for the briefing. This time our tunnel light was working properly and I already had the life preserver on - saved any strong advice that I should wear it.
Off we were waved at 8:30 and had a relatively quick journey through - this being the 11th time we have taken Ferndale through and it was about the most uneventful - no times of inattention; no near misses of head on roof or boat on walls.
Out in about 35 minutes, to see nb Free (Carol and Dave) waiting for their trip south.

At Hardings Wood Junction we parted ways with Richard - us heading for the Macclesfield and he down the Cheshire Locks.

We only went as far as Poole Aqueduct where we moored up - Diane wanting to make use of the services at Red Bull before we need to move. So armed with bags of washing and shower stuff we headed that way - knowing the Richard was still working the locks - so we got the last one ready and locked him through and a final goodbye.
Washing machine engaged, we had showers and felt much better; I headed back to the boat and Diane waited for a second load of washing.

When we had been through here 3 weeks ago we had lunch at The Red Bull pub - just a starter and a main with the intention to return for dessert - well we finally made it back - but only after a trip to Tesco - milk was running out and a few other essentials - not sure where crisps and biscuits come in the order of most required items, but there they were in the trolley.

aaaarrrrgggghhhh! - Easter eggs already - no b____y  way!
Anyway we made it back to The Red Bull; ordered a drink; eyed the dessert menu,but we were also waiting for Howard to arrive - his printer was not working so we downloaded some information for him and printed it out - he was arriving to pick it up, but as it was also his birthday we couldn't let him go without a drink with him.
The birthday boy - farewell Howard until we catch up later this year

Finally we finished a 3 week old meal with lovely pudding.
Friday drinks 

The weather reports for Saturday spelt doom and gloom - high winds and high prospect of rain and the temperatures starting to head south.
We wanted to move - at least to Congleton and then after that we could be near to Bosley Locks.

An window of opportunity was there from about 9am, and when we were awake early Saturday, the intermittent heavy rain was belying the weather reports.
Luckily as I headed out for "madam's" Saturday paper, it was a bit drier; coming back, it looked better, so after breakfast we headed off - at just after 9am.
Whilst the wind was strong we found that in many places we were well protected; when in the open we had little problem controlling the boat even at slow speed past moored boats.
There was a little bit of light rain; a bit of hail and even some sunshine; but mostly wind.
Winter cruising is not all bad

concentration on the face; inside just saying "finish with the photo"
We only needed 2 hours to travel to Congleton; moor up and head inside - safe, snug and cosy.
Now as the wind seems to be picking up; it appears colder; and is definitely darker overhead - we are in for the rest of the day and night.

12 miles, 1 Lock, 1 Tunnel
YTD: 23 Miles, 13 Locks, 1 Tunnel
Totals: 2917 Miles, 2134 Locks, 99 Tunnels, 34 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

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