We had the weekend in Nantwich as I had an osteopath appointment on the Friday and we were due at Swanley Bridge Marina on the Sunday night waiting for friends to join us.
If I remember correctly (never a certainty ...) it was pretty quiet, punctuated by seeing nb 3 No Trumps go past, and having an extremely short conversation with Mick T on the stern and a wave from Alison in the fordeck. They were heading to Audlem for the weekend.
David and I debated going there on the bikes to see them but they had friends on board, so we opted not to intrude and took a bus trip into Chester. You have read about that previously ...
We decided to leave Nantwich on Sunday at mid-morning as the Shropshire Branch of the IWA was having their annual fundraiser, the Hurleston Lock Wind, that weekend and we thought it may be rather busy there.
So down we went under the bridge to turn around. We did so, with great difficulty as the reeds seemed to hold the nose quite firmly in place and any reversing just resulted in the wind undoing any progress I had made. It all got better when I used a few more revs in forward to break the hold of the dastardly reeds ...
As we were turning, a guy on the towpath asked where the name was from, and on hearing it was Maori, he said he'd lived in NZ. Where? sez we; Waikanae Beach, sez he; WTH?! sez we, we live in Waikanae! Where in Waikanae Beach? sez we; Williams St, sez he (inner jubilation cos that's where our friend Derek had a bach for the longest time, so we know it well) Rata St, sez we, in response to his query about our address. Yes he knew it. Where did you kids go to school, sez we; Kapanui, sez they. Yes, we know it, we walk past it quite often.
Then (and I am not sure who fetched it from the house) he and his kids showed us their painting/photo of Kapiti Island - ahhh, it is lovely!
|This is Karl with his two lovely kids. And their also lovely Kapiti Island picture.|
So, what are the chances, do you reckon, of meeting people on the other side of the world who used to live about 5kms from us? When we come back through Nantwich next Friday, we will moor up and call in on Karl and his family. Don't worry, English readers, they did say we should do so, and as they have lived in NZ, I am sure they mean it!
I was really pleased that the winding had been a hassle - if it had been easy we wouldn't have seen or chatted with them, and that would have been a loss - one we wouldn't have known about, but a loss all the same.
And then it was back through Nantwich and on to Hurleston.
We had seen this boat as we went north to the environs of Venetian Marina to meet up with Ed and when we came back. I know someone lives onboard, as this time it was facing the opposite way and may have moved along a smidge. However, I am not sure it is driveable given the amount of crap on the counter. The cut was wide enough there for it to be turned using a rope and the breeze.
I think it is the abode of a serious hoarder, and that is a sad and difficult thing to be. I'll say one thing for the woman (yes it is, we saw her on our way north last time), she has not spilled out on to or beside the towpath.
|The forward well deck is similarly full. Much of the stuff is unusable but obviously unable to be disposed of.|
David gave them £10 and I gave the operators on the first lock some helpful advice: i.e. Talk to the people you are hoping to raise money from. Obvious, I would have thought, but they were deep in conversation above my head as I came in (without touching the sides, mark you). I did say it more jocularly than that - I think my words were 'Come on, guys, interact with the people who are going to donate to your cause'. It got a laugh and then one of the guys and I chatted for quite a while (I had to wait for the boat coming down to exit his lock) - he and his wife had been campervanning around the North Island so there was quite a lot to chat about.
It was an easy journey up to Swanley Bridge Marina, and an easy entry to the jetty, even in reverse, because there was no wind. A far better experience than our entry and exit at Overwater with Mike and Helen a week or so previously! Swanley Bridge is a lovely marina and the customer service was great too. I think their set up is excellent - they have pumpout and diesel on the offside of the canal so that passing boaters don't need to come in to the marina, and they have the services replicated just inside the entrance for their resident or stored boats. Speaking of which, look what we found:
|The middle boat is an old friend, and we miss the original skipper and cabin boy! But we did see them in Gloucester so that was very very nice!|