|I must have stepped out of the boat to take this one of the raindrops still clinging to the ropes and chair. A reasonably arty shot for me! See the mist in the valley in the background?|
On Thursday Steve arrived on his bike looking rather wet but ready with the parts to fix our airhorn. Before starting work, he did need reviving with tea and gingernuts – sorry, Lesley, we gave him a pack to take home with him and he did say he thought they would probably be devoured in one hit.
The horn is now functional, and how! From sounding like a strangled goose that could barely be heard screaming for its life, it is now worthy of being on a large truck. I feel like I should have a call sign ‘Ten four, Rubber Ducky’ or somesuch. We needed the horn fixed to qualify for going through the Harecastle Tunnel. However I am scared now, that if we had to use the horn to signal that we’d broken down, the sound would blast the mortar from between the bricks … A word of warning – if you are on board Waka Huia sitting in the dinette, and I need to use the horn, for heaven’s sake, make sure you’ve already used the facilities to empty your bladder and bowel!
Having fixed the horn and disconnected the immersion heater (we thought it was a bit of overkill having three ways to heat water on the boat - engine, Webasto and immersion heater), it was about 4pm when Steve left to bike back to Macclesfield, so we decided not to move on. There had been a steady stream of boats all day until about 3pm, even though it rained quite heavily off and on. We didn’t notice that the stream of boats coming from the locks had stopped, but did notice that the moorings were surprisingly empty. At about 5pm a CRT man came along, and given we had guilty consciences about having been at the 48 hour mooring for 50 hours by then with a planned 16 hours more, I went out to confess and apologise. The man wasn’t at all worried about our overstayer status. He was checking how many boats were heading for the locks. Apparently one of the gates at the top of the Bosley Locks had broken and there was a boat in pretty much every lock in the flight. CRT had got them to stay in the locks as the pounds were emptying – some of the gates are rather leaky. We found out they had repaired the lockgate, and had everyone out and up through the flight by 8pm. Well done, CRT!! The boaters who told us that had stayed in one of the locks overnight as a heavy rainstorm came through and they decided discretion was the better part of valour.
|A sunny morning but not shorts weather. The stain on my T-shirt is where I dropped my cornflakes ...|
Our mooring is just past an aqueduct over the former Biddulph Railway that is now a walk/cycle/bridleway. The canal is on an embankment high above the valley floor which incorporates the Dane in Shaw Meadow, an SSSI, ie a Site of Scientific Significance – can’t remember what the I stands for ... Last evening we walked through it – just lovely. It is a place I would love to bring the grandsons as it is ideal for kids – lots of picnicking, running and playing space, and the stream at the bottom is obviously crying out to be temporarily dammed up as a day’s work by industrious kids. It reminded us a lot of Seton Nossiter Park in Johnsonville where we used to take Tim and Kirsty when they were young.
|There were masses of these flowers beside the path down into the Dane in Shaw meadow.|
|The bridge across the stream|
|From the bridge|
|The railway viaduct - a number of trains went over it, both north and south while we were in the park, but they didn't seem noisy.|
|Now, isn't that stream crying out to be temporarily dammed up by kids?|
|Our boat up on the embankment|
|The aqueduct over the old Biddulph rail bed - David used the flash as it was getting a bit dark|
|The caisson for the canal - I wonder if trains would have fitted through given that headroom|
|Near our boat there is a bench seat dedicated to the memory of a local rambler. This was the evening sky when we got back from our walk.|
Before going for a walk, we had a lazy afternoon, as we went into the Queen’s Head pub in Congleton for lunch, accompanied by a large Oz chardonnay for me. We found a neat little hardware store across the bridge and managed to buy the bits and pieces we’d been looking for. These wee shops are great – they have all sorts of things that the big places don’t, and their stock list is amazing. We found de-ionised water, tennis balls to go on the mooring pins, mugs to replace the ones that we’ve managed to break, blutak (for some reason he didn’t stock earthquake wax …), and, very surprisingly, earplugs. I almost had to be pulled out of the shop as I could have kept finding things we just had to have – these shops are more attractive than clothes shops, I reckon. We went to a tiny but well-stocked convenience store (NZers, read dairy) for milk, cheese and toothbrushes, and back to the boat to blob a bit. The rain came down for a bit so I felt justified in watching a few videos of Robin Williams – on Michael Parkinson, on the Jonathan Ross show, who of course called him Wobin, on David Letterman and performing in a show in London called AMUSED I think. If you can find it, check it out. He was extremely funny about George W.
David's back was very sore (had been for a couple of days since the locks he finally told me), so he had a sleep before sorting out the TV reception.
This morning, having given David tea and a gingernut and a digestive biscuit, I am finishing this off prior to posting. When David is more compos mentis we will decide whether to move on to Bridge 86 and visit Little Morton Hall today, or stay here and explore some more, and head for LMH tomorrow.