Faith and Daisy have finished theirs so now Nick has started his chart – 2 sleeps to go. Visit going well so far…neither Faith or Daisy have become stuck to the stove or fallen in the canal. Been on boat trip, filled up with diesel, carved pumkin, made jelly, done drawing, watched dvds, visited another boat, eaten a pile of chcoclate…nearly bedtime:) Hopefully going to avoid the face painting inclcuding glitter that they thoughtfully bought onboard. Left with one memeber but the remainder of ‘Swiss famly’ have gone to check into their luxurious hotel. 80 mile an hour winds forecast for tomorrow…plan to head up to Stone.
No big dramas today. Travelled down to the bottom of Stone and moored only 0.58 miles from Morrisons – luxury. Two shopping trips in the rain, one including a humongous pumpkin and we are loadeed and ready for (cover you eyes Sar) ‘Swiss Family Robinson’:) Attempting make the boat look spooky but there’s only so much that can be done with crepe paper… hoping it’ll work in the eyes of a five and three year old! Cannot wait xx
Black Prince marina proved even worse than our previous 70’s time tunnel experience. Moored up, bloke came out muttered ‘No mooring here’, explained we wanted diesel, replied ‘Can’t do it’, asked why, explained ‘Because it’s Saturday’…oh of course. Wasters. Luckily we have enough to get back to Aston. Stopped at Burleigh pottery outlet, really lovely and warm plus free tea and coffee – might head back Dec through ’til March! Past Stoke football stadium at 2.50 – a deserted tow path suddenly had swarms of people coming at it from all directions. Beautiful freezing cold afternoon, planned to stop by the Wedgewood factory but carried on and eventually ended up almost at the top end of Stone. Found lovely mooring spot, guy called over that they’d be fireworks going off on the opposite side of the canal in about an hours time. Perfect:) So the first one whizzed into the air, we quicklly poured drinks and headed out to sit on the stern and admire our own private show. Spectacular burst of dazzling light above us…shortly followed by flecks of charcoaly stuff fluttering to the ground. Grabbed caps to save singed hair. Watched a couple more. Another one flew upish and also sidwaysish, followed by chunks of shrapnel falling in the water next to us and on top of the boat. Decided to retreat into the engine area, using the hatch as a make shift bomb shelter, abandoned drinks at this point. Murk watching the most calmly of the three of us! By the end of the show we’d retreated to the cratch cover (partly to check it wasn’t on fire)…unable to agree whether a photo would come out I grabbed the phone – looked up and got a bit of crunchy burnt stuff in my eye. Apparently the finale was impressive but didn’t see it as I was looking into the bottom of a glass of water ha ha. Oh yes and we burnt some foraged fuel – hoooooray, about time.
Re-shop this morning as we managed to forget spaghetti bologniase and it’s almost Saturday!!! So a bit late starting, but we only had to get to Harecastle Tunnel by 3pm…easy. Bright and very cold, even Nick opted to walk Murk as he was sooooo frozen. By the time we’d stopped for lunch we realised we’d have to move pretty quickly to make the final entry time – waves flew from the back of the boat, we jammed the trottle as far forward as it could go…brilliant fun:) Sunk a few moored boats and screeched under the final bridge. Tunnel still amazing on the second time through, managed to get the skeleton pic that I failed to get last time as I whacked my head on the wall. It was painted about 20 years ago, in secret, by a guy who used to paint castles and roses for a living. He died a month ago.
Cooking on the burner tonight so have it blazing, a burnt on bit has fallen down the chimney and the fire alarm wants to go off. Nick’s nightly pursuit of discovering the finest cider during his canal experience has so far resulted in Bulmers coming out top?!?
Very very very windy at the top locks this morning. Had to turn the nose into the wind and move sideways across the lock pools. Managed to do a self pump out at a bargain price of £6 at Bosley locks, only worrying thing was outlet was waterside of the boat and these fangled machines require application of pressure or you get sprayed – ew! Left Nick to it, with one foot pressing down hard. Interesting to have an inspection chamber on the piping so you could see exactly what was being sucked errrrr. We both got quite into that. Calmer now we’re 120ft down, shopped in Congleton and moored under a railway bridge. Murk has been brilliant today, he’s now cyclist, jogger, lock friendly and he growls like something ferocious on command. Not sure what’s going outside the boat but we’re staying inside…a kind of screeching whirring noise. Think we’ve landed in War of The Worlds, we’ve gone urban – help!
Really stormy today, had to have loads of throttle on just to stay straight. Stumbled upon a very exciting bunch of shops just off the tow path, think we might have mellowed into canal world too much as cars seem to be whizzing by and our road crossing is a little haphazard. Apparently PC world was an assault on Nick’s senses ha ha! Have developed a new strategy for the troublesome swingbridges…tailgating OAPs:) We were just about to pull out towards the first, when we heard a boat coming from behind. Dashed inside and pretended to be washing up (in our hats and fleeces?!) at the kitchen window as they went past…no sooner were they infront we shot out and tailgated them…through the first and onto the horrendous traffic stopping second. Worked like magic. Nick got chatting to them and we all waited together while some numpty tried to turn a 70ft boat in a 60ft winding hole. Established we were mooring at more or less the same point for the night. As we moored up, the elderly man asked ‘would we like scrabble tonight?’ Nick’s mouth hit the deck. We both staired figuring if it was for real. I eventually exagerated Nicks crap spelling by telling them he was dyslexic. A few pitiful looks later and we were away – phew. Wind whistling round boat this evening.
A monumental day in that we joined the National Trust. Only very old people do that. And we very much enjoyed our first experience. Walked up and up and up onto moorland, past friendly signs like ‘Your sat nav is wrong, turn round’ and ‘No spectators past this point’…trusting in technology we ploughed on regardless and finally came to that lovely oak leaf symbol that meant we were in member’s teritory:) Spectacular Lyme House and Gardens, where Pride & Predjudice and The Awakening was filmed, in the Legh family from 1398 – 1946. No photos allowed inside, shocking that all the crafty old gits were checking out how many they’d managed to snap in the hunting room at lunch. The Knight’s bedroom reminded us so much of ours we just had to take one. Even saw four chippendale chairs upholstered using Charles I execution gown. Walked up to the very creepy ‘Cage’, an old hunting loadge, later used to imprison poachers. Made our way back through hostile signage, down to boat. Need to use £44 more entry fees and we’re in profit (kind of) – plus we get a free pair of binoculars…bargain. Walked Murk into village in the hope of buying some bread but nope. Maybe tomorrow. Nick has been doing some engine stuff ready for departure in the morning. Heading back to Aston a day earlier than we thought – think I read the original text in the pub Sar – sorry! Electricity will be interesting tonight as only ran the engine for 40 mins to top up.
Sunshine completely gone. A late start, continued through the final seven bridges until we hit the end of the Macclesfield canal! Touched a tinsy bit of the Peak Forest as we turned round and headed back through bridge 1. Water/bin stop and some extremely shameful BIN DIPPING resulting in a fantastico mini recycling bin that fits perfectly out with the gas, all washed and smelling lovely now. Past last night’s home, the old Goyt cotton mill and on towards Lord Vernon’s Wharf; where stopped, in daylight and moored for the night. Very wide section of canal due to collapsed coal mine. Walked along to the boat yard and down into the village. Made cake. About 41 miles or 8 days back to Aston.
Woke up in a very sunny Oakgrove with leaves falling like crazy, if we still had a garden I’d have been raking today for sure. After a SHOWER (Cat only just told me she thought we didn’t have one, leaving me mortified that other people might think the same!!! We both have two a day…no to smelly boaters! Icky uk.) On towards two swing bridges; with the first electric one we held up five cars, two bikes and a canoeist. The crinkly old guide book said the second is hardly ever shut, it was. Weighed an absolute ton, took a bit of figuring plus a wack with the hammer to retrieve our closely guarded British Waterways key. Lunch on the roof. Passed old Hovis flour mill built in the 1820’s and now converted into apartments. Geek alert for the day: ‘Hovis’ is derived from the Latin ‘hominisunvis’ meaning ‘power to the man’. Continued on past silk and textiles mills. Lots of boats about so some interesting nosing, including one fat old man sitting his vest and pants, mmmm nice. Macclesfield was beautiful and not at all scary. Not even mentioning the time/how dark it was because I am beginning to bore myself, but the pic below is of the boat next to us with it’s fairy lights when we tied up. Had a bit of a result as TV stayed tuned from lat night.
Easy peasy cruising on the Macclesfield canal so far…brilliantly wide, plus loads of moorings. Mile markers along the tow path that were burried during the war, so enemy soldiers couldn’t use them to find their way. Went into Congleton for lunch, proper normal shops like Boots. Slight heart attack with the deluxe macerator toilet in that we had no power, aaaaargh yikes, turned out to be trip switch – never so glad to see a 2mm green light in our lives.
Only one section of locks on the Macclesfield canal but it is 12 locks long, all designed by some idiot called Telford who decided to make them all with double mitred top gates; just to annnoy us 200 years later of course. Started them about 4.30, finished at 7.15, obviously in the dark again. Developed a bit of a double act, sending the boat forward slowishly and jumping on and off to do paddles and gates. Nick just in from letting Murk out, apparently no lights for miles around – will see where we are in the morning, it’s somewhere in the Pennines. 34 miles of lock free canal ahead of us:)