Saturday, 5 August 2017

Back in Nantwich

You'll be pleased to know we are feeling less down about the weather now. We have had some sunshine and it is amazing how differently it affects the mind.

I think that during the last week or so we confirmed that we would not be able to live aboard all year round - we do not cope well with confined spaces in bad weather. So we would be hopeless (literally) in winter here when the rain/cold/snow would probably have us feeling incarcerated.

However, enough of negativity.

David has taken up Sudoku; and in the manner of a boffin, he has worked out a strategy that will stand him in good stead whether he is doing easy ones or diabolical ones - so he says. Given his first attempts at the Easy ones took over an hour then reduced to 45 minutes and then 30 minutes, I think I am safe from his crowing for a while yet. He tells me he is now on to Medium ones ...

He tells me he doesn't yet qualify for the yellow jersey of Sudoku but he does qualify for the yellow gloves for champion dishwasher ... He is aiming to get faster than me at Sudoku - and he will catch up, I am sure - he is extremely competitive and now he has taken it up, he won't rest until he has got faster ...
We had an entertaining day after my last blog - we moved all of 500 metres, having intended to cruise for at least a couple of hours to get to Bridge 14 on the Middlewich Arm to meet up with Ed, our favourite engineer.

We had looked at the forecast and it was meant to be clear until about 8am, so thought we'd move off early to beat the rain. But, sod's law, as we moved off at about 6am, it started to persist down. Into the lock we went thinking 'yes, we can boat in the rain, after all it's only water', but when we got out the lock we decided that given the forecast for the next few days also had some of the wet stuff, we would have to do the two hours again. So discretion being the better part of valour, we winded at the Venetian marina and pulled over and moored up. Of course, I had already put on a load of washing, so the engine had to stay on till that was done and the batteries close enough to 100% again.

Not to worry - I was busy making bread (started before we moved off), baking cheese scones - Ed was coming and I always feed the tradies, eh Luke Nattrass? There was Tom Kha Gai in the fridge for lunch, so food was sorted.

At one point he had to go back to his van in the marina carpark and mentioned the dog was in the van. Of course Orla had to come back to visit. She is a six month old lurcher - I knew Mick and Julia would be jealous, so I sent a photo.
She is rather cute, isn't she? Mel wasn't safe though, so when Ed and Lisa use the boat next week while we go down to have a few days in the motorhome, we will take Mel with us. Even though he has horns, Mel is not very good at defending himself.

The sun came out in the afternoon but the wind came up very very briskly - a number of boats came through the lock and we got whacked several times throughout the afternoon - we were moored just back from the lock moorings, so it was inevitable really. And people were very apologetic. But let's face it, it is extremely hard to control what is essentially a 60 foot steel sail when going very slowly forwards.

Ed had told us that the first lock is one of the busiest on the whole system so I decreed that we'd leave really early in the morning. David thought I was joking, until I woke him at 6 - I did make him a cup of tea, but he was more than a trifle grumpy ...

And even though it was scheduled to be clear, it wasn't until we got to about Barbridge. So I force-fed him magnesium to lighten the mood (his) and make sure I didn't toss him overboard.

When we got to Nantwich waterpoint it was about 8.30am and it was empty, so no waiting. And because we hadn't used much water in the previous 36 hours (we are grubby), the tank topped up fast, rubbish got disposed of and the portable toilet emptied. David headed off to find the laundrette and came back very chirpy that the woman would do the washing and drying and call us when it was done - excellent service!! We usually do the washing on board, but given the rain and the inability for it to dry outside, we thought that living in among draped wet washing would only add to the depressive atmosphere and should therefore, for the sake of sanity and relationship, be avoided.

So off he went with the pillowcase full of whites and the coin bag. Happy as a pig in mud.

We scored an excellent mooring, right next to the path down to Marsh Lane (convenient for the walk into town), and tied up - that was entertaining in hindsight. As we moored, a boat of NZers came past - we had seen them as we left the waterpoint, then saw them as I held the boat further along the moorings as David went up to find a better spot, and then again as we pulled in (they had gone to the nearby winding hole and turned). While chatting to them I tied up the stern only to find that David needed the boat moved back a few feet so we weren't encroaching on the long term mooring spots. Stern untied, boat moved back, and the man (no longer my husband at this point but some stranger who had taken over his mind and body) started giving me a lecture on how to moor up the boat. Given we have been boating for the same length of time (27 years) and given I have had two more weeks' experience than him (holidays without him) I quickly dismissed the body/mind snatcher and cut short his lecture and went inside to make breakfast, with my parting shot being 'My bad. I didn't check that you were standing where you needed to tie up to. Shall check next time. OK? Now give over.'

I did win forgiveness for not listening to a lecture by preparing BLTs with an egg on the side. So calm was restored.
Breakfast suitably smothered in cracked black pepper in case the man who came into the boat had turned back into my nice husband, not the grumpy old bugger mentioned above.
And that night we went to Simply Thai on Welsh Row for an early dinner (breakfast was actually brunch, so no lunch was consumed) and a bottle of NZ sauv blanc (OK with spicy food ... well, actually rather yummy).
Mains: I had a mussamam (?) chicken curry and David had something with beef. We did have starters but I forgot to photograph them, sorry. I am going to find a recipe for the soup David had - it was a hot and sour soup, rather than with coconut milk.

On Friday I went to the osteopath again - a second session to get my neck, back and right leg sorted. Grace is a lovely young woman - only a few weeks out of her (formal) training and already a good practitioner. She is also planning to do equine osteopathy - not that I am the horse's ass, mind you, in case you were thinking you could make that link.

Today we took a bus trip to Chester - it confirmed for me why I don't often travel by bus:
  1. the bus to Chester was about 20 minutes late arriving to pick us up
  2. the trip there took much longer than scheduled - lots of stops and lots of Saturday morning traffic - neither of those were a problem really
  3. the bus back was 30 minutes late leaving Chester
  4. the driver went like a bat out of hell, exceeding the speed limit for a large portion of the drive back - we know because we checked his speed on the Memory Map app we use on the boat. I am planning to dob him in as I did not enjoy being thrown around as he sped around corners. GGGRRR!!!
 In Chester we did a little bit of grocery shopping, and bought two bells for the bikes, some matt black paint, a cold storage bag and some freezer pads.

We then looked for somewhere to have lunch. We considered the Chester Grosvenor but looked at the prices, and went over to a popular-looking Italian place just across the road. Good value and the food was pretty good too.

And I don't think we met the dress standard ...

Mocktails at the Italian place - I am sure they were about 30% sugar, but rather scrummy.

Back on the bus, a calming cup of tea and now it is healthily chardonnay o'clock - David has already started on his alcoholic ginger beer so I am behind. Fear not, I shall catch up.

Dinner tonight is possibly going to be nibbles. They may be forfeited if we are full after the Gu puddings. As Garfield says 'Life is uncertain - Eat dessert first'. It is a very wise maxim, and we would be silly to ignore it!

And I realised that Friday was my 66.6th birthday - a devilish little number and two thirds of a century. Why do I not yet feel like I have grown up?


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Tell David we don't wish to gloat....but Ian is on Killer Sudoku and finds that easy! Oh, and as for giving mooring instructions, I think that's a man thing, as is securing ropes. I can never get that right!!!

Marilyn McDonald said...

Ian is clearly unnatural, in my opinion! The man obviously has too much time on his hands and should be set to work cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry from start to finish!
David doesn't do much of those things, but he is a boffin and easily distracted so any task takes and inordinate amount of time ...
Did you pick up the reference that we are going down to get our new motorhome this coming week? Exciting!!
M&D xx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Yes I did and Ian wants to know how much excess baggage you will have to pay on the motor home to get it back to NZ! Xx

Jennie said...

I am sure giving instructions is a man thing - on our day out with the family, our daughter did ask her father (as he issued copious instructions) just how long her mother had been locking and mooring boats!!

Tom and Jan said...

66.6...... You'll need to work a little harder to catch me! Oh, and was David as happy after he had paid the laundry bill. I recall it was very expensive and we never returned on subsequent trips through Nantwich.

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Irene, We are excited about the motorhome but a bit nervous about driving it along the narrow roads near Gomshall and Abinger Hammer. No doubt all will be well. I will just need to take note of advice from Ray Edginton (NZ Firefly) and now motorhomer who said to watch out for the rear fenders ...
And by the way, the giving of instructions may be a chromosomal flaw in the male of the species, so why is it that women are scolded for nagging? And why, when my professional life involves project managing and occasionally giving instructions, does it not worry the guys I work with but annoy my husband? Don't answer that - it may incriminate you!
Love and hugs, Mxx

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Jennie,
See my comment to Irene ...
And one thing that drives me nuts is that David often comes along afterwards and reies my knots. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! Given I use a couple of half hitches so that the ropes are easy release in case of speed being required, I find his rat's nest of knots a right pain to undo, apart from the fact that he thinks mine are unsatisfactory! And I was taught by Mick Granger, the Admiral of the Fleet!

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Tom,
I am not aiming to catch you up in the age race, mate - that is a hiding to nothing!
David paid £7 for the washing and drying - a very large load of sheets and pillowcases and white clothing. So we were very comfortable with the price. We find that it is sometimes fine to pay a higher price than usual for the convenience.
Today we are heading for Swanley Bridge Marina and will get the washing dried there - not sure how much that'll cost, but it will mean David can get the guest bed made up today rather than tomorrow and rather than having to turn on the webasto to get enough warm air inside to dry it - that's got to be worth a quid or so.
Cheers, Marilyn

Marilyn McDonald said...

Jennie and Irene,
I have just read the blog, your comments and my responses to David. He had the grace to laugh. But said I was to tell you both he had told me it wasn't a lecture but a tutorial ... I am unclear how that was meant to be easier to listen to. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha, ha, I usually let my 'tutorial' go in one ear and out of the other and just say yes dear!
After over 45 years of training and things are much the same now, men are so set in their way of doing stuff aren't they?
Enjoy your first drive of your motorhome, exciting times.
Ann and Keith xx

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Ann and Keith,
Lovely to hear from you.
We have just moored up in Sawanley Bridge Marina and guess what we can see? A lovely Oakfield boat. Doesn't seem right that you aren't on it, dammit!!