Tuesday, 19 August 2014

We done a runner!


Yesterday, after patchy heavy rain early on, we moved on in light drizzle. Alison and Mick went off ahead of us, and we caught them up again at the water point near the Hall Green stop lock. We had discussed gingernuts before they left, so at the waterpoint, we had a cup of tea and said gingernuts (Alison is definitely a fan), and we left them with the remains of the pack we started. Sorry, Lesley …
As we were all preparing to leave a small boat came down the cut with an inexperienced steerer who, when told by the woman on board to slow down, increased speed and steered directly for the pristine sides of 3 No Trumps. Aaarrrggghhh!!! Mick and the woman on board managed to fend him off, and Alison went ahead and opened the lock for them. The decision was it was far better to have them out of the way before they could cause any more mayhem! Just as we were undoing to follow Mick and Alison into the lock a few minutes later, a boat appeared around the corner. As they were underway and we weren’t, we sat back. Then another one appeared so I signalled them to pull in behind us. I don’t think they were too pleased but they thawed. The woman came to tell us that Heartbreak Hill was a bit of a mess at the moment with limited navigation allowed. David checked with CRT and found out that one lock, well up the flight, is being closed for repairs and part of the flight was being closed off.
So we decided to moor up at the bottom of the Maccie on the aqueduct and instead of doing part of Heartbreak Hill, we’ll head back through the tunnel earlier than planned. We thought it was possible that there could be an influx of people changing their minds once through Harecastle and coming up the Maccie instead of continuing up the Trent and Mersey down the locks. So we moored up tight to the boat behind us to maximise the number of mooring spots available. I hung up the washing then we set off to get some shopping in (a very English way of putting it, yes? Or should I say, innit?) We decided to find the CRT building on our way but came up off the cut a few yards before it, as it turns out, and walked into Kidsgrove’s main street through the station carpark where we stopped and chatted with the people who had warned us of the lock closure. They had done their shopping and were heading for the tunnel straightaway. It was well after 2pm by this time – where does the time go? Holidaying uses up time very quickly we are finding. So finding something to eat was a priority. We found a quaint (as in slightly strange) café called the Shaky Bean so in we went and ordered good basic English caf food, chatted with the grandmother and her daughter, ate and left having been given directions to Aldi. We headed there up hill but decided, that loaded up with groceries it would be too far to walk back to the boat, so retraced our steps to go to Tesco’s (don’t tell Mick). As we crossed the road, the café grandmother was waiting for us. I thought she was checking to make sure we had found Aldi. But no!! We had not paid for our lunch and she was coming to get us. Given we were the ones who’d walked out without paying, it was interesting that she was so embarrassed. Bloody hell, I hope they don’t think we’d done it deliberately. Now that does make me blush. I thought David had paid when he ordered for us, and as I was already sitting down I wasn’t looking. He thought he’d asked me if I’d paid and we had to agree that it was a silent question that never left the confines of his head. And it was unlikely I’d paid as I don’t carry cash or cards – I’m like the queen in that way…
So we paid the huge bill (£7.50 for eggs and bacon on toast, steak and ale pie with chips and gravy, a scone and a pot of tea), and left again. Off to Tesco’s for a small shopping foray (essentials only: chardonnay, fruit, coriander, tomatoes and peppers, GF biccies and bread, mayo, passata and canned tomatoes – forgot coconut milk, dammit). And back to the boat. I needed to blob – white toast in the lunch had knocked me, so we had a lazy couple of hours in the welcome warmth of the sun. Then as I was thinking about starting dinner I could hear David moving things around outside. He was clearing the decks (literally) to be able to get down and remove water that the bilge pump won’t deal to as it’s not deep enough. He had scooped a fair amount out by the time I poked my head up out of the boat, so I helped with the dregs – holding the bucket low enough for the handpump to work. It is now pretty clear. We are going to find some of the stuff I’ve read about in a blog or on the forum that soaks up oil from the bilge. I would like it to be as clean as it was when we bought the boat.
David also had a sudden rush of blood to the head about power consumption on board. Ed had told us that the inverter itself is quite hungry and that we could turn it off when the 240v appliances are not in use (in our case: the washing machine, the TV and anything plugged in to charge on the 240v power points). So instead of turning it off at night or when we’re cruising and the washing machine isn’t in use, he started wanting it turned off at any possible opportunity. I started to feel like I was in Baghdad with severely rationed power. ‘Is the TV on while you are here in the galley cooking dinner?’ ‘Not anymore.’ The upshot was that I suggested we look for the next marina that had a place where items could be donated so we could get rid of the TV to reduce our power consumption. A rethink of the power regime ensued, and we are back to normal, ie careful but not obsessively so.
A peaceful night and the weather looks quite settled. We are going to head for the tunnel now and eat breakfast while in the queue. I will take magnesium to settle my nerves … More later.

6 comments:

Lesley Bateman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lesley Bateman said...

My ginger nuts, MINE!!:-) X

NB Holderness said...

I dunno, you come over here and steal our cafe food and then try to fool the people by going to a different supermarket... It must have been highly embarrassing for you both. Mind you I'm sure they thought it was a mistake as neither of you look like you are going to do a runner! You may try getting some cheap nappies from Aldi/Lidel and lay them in the bilge. You then just pick them up and bin them when they are 'full'. Saves a bit of messing about.
Cheers, Tony and Helen.

Lesley Bateman said...

In the good old days that would have achieved a free trio to Australia. You come over here and give away my ginger nuts and then then steal (allegedly) from little British old ladies. X

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Tony and Helen, Thank you for the vote of confidence re our not looking dishonest! Or did you mean that we are too portly or old to run very fast or very far? That latter would be true, of course!
Thank you for the tip re the nappies. I will get some when we go to Sainsbury's tomorrow - we need to be equal opportunity re supermarkets, even though we prefer the Co-op. But Sainsbury's is apparently very close to the cut at Etruria.
Cheers, Marilyn

Marilyn McDonald said...

Lesley darling, I was transported to NZ by my parents back in 1953, so no worries there, except that I have a British passport and can come back whenever I like - nah nah na nah nah.
Re the gingernuts, we are saving you from yourself, sweetheart ... Do you believe me?
Mxox