Thursday, 24 August 2017

Warm dry weather!

Written on Wednesday but posted on Thursday:

Since I have complained vociferously about the rain over a few (OK, the last several) posts, I thought I had best report the change in climatic conditions. It hasn't been brilliantly sunny and hot (fortunately) but it has, over the last several days -  since Saturday when we left Nantwich - been mainly fine (a mix of cloud and tentative sunshine, some heavy rain Saturday afternoon but after we had moored up, so it didn't count) and quite warm.

Because it has been warm and dry, we have been happy to move along at a good pace. Now, you need to know I struggled over how to describe the pace, as for some people (Mick and Julia for instance) our pace would be counted as 'you might as well have stayed in bed', and for others it would have counted as part time boating. Suffice it to say, that since we left Nantwich on Saturday (and we are now at Old Lea Wharf and it's Wednesday), we have travelled about 18 miles and done 26 locks. That is 44 lock miles which equates to about 14 or 15 hours of boating. OK, OK, it's not warp speed, we know!

When we left yesterday morning (Tuesday), we had been moored up overnight at the place we met Mike and Helen, so it was up the last two locks in the Audlem Flight (14th and 15th, but numbered 2 and 1, respectively). Then on to and up the Adderley Flight.
This is the bridge I sheltered under at the top of the Audlem Flight while David walked ahead to check out moorings above the locks a month ago - that time it had rained the whole trip and I looked very bedraggled in spite of David's hat.
This time, wearing a T-shirt and a smile. There were more clothes so don't worry ...
The bits of blue sky are proof that it was fine. I liked that the cows and sheep happily shared a field - don't see that much back in NZ.
We moored up at Market Drayton on Tuesday afternoon, a bit close to the noisy road, but earplugs helped. In the evening, we walked down a dark path and suburban streets to Morrison's to do a bit of a shop. And look what we found:
Jammie Dodgers in memory of Bill Darby. Of Carole too, but Bill was the JD king.

Today Wednesday) was a marathon-ish effort for us though - we started out by about 7am from Market Drayton, eschewed the FAST tap there and trundled up the Tyrley Locks. They are mostly in a deep glade, and have vicious by-washes. So doing them before many people were up and about was a good thing.
The approach to Tyrley Locks is made through a stone cutting - a mammoth work effort, even if it was being done today with machinery and explosives available.

Nearly at the bottom lock - these ones have quite vicious by-washes so I hung back to give myself a good speedy run up.
I made quite a reasonable job of getting in to all but one of them without too much crashing. However I did try to get into one of them on the diagonal ... and it wasn't until we got to the top that I saw I had knocked the books and the TV off the shelves. I quickly scooped the TV up and put it back, but did confess to David later. ** See below for reaction and action.

At the top, we stopped for water, emptying toilet, recycling and rubbish. The mooring notice at the services says half an hour max. That would be OK if they had a tap that had a flow on it of any reasonable pressure. It merely dribbled out, and I am not exaggerating. Our tank was probably close to empty but it only takes about 425 litres. It took over an hour to fill. So I am sorry, CRT, we overstayed on the services mooring.

However it did give me time to assist and give some coaching to some hirers who had collected their boat at Norbury and had no tuition on how to do locks. And to make things really stressful, they had come through Grub St Cutting (moderate width) and Woodseaves Cutting (very narrow) to get to the locks. That would be enough to scare anyone off!

Bob and Sarah were on the boat and had two fifteen year old boys on board who were still in bed. Well, that had to be remedied immediately. A loud banging on the boat side and a shout soon got them up ... But in the meantime, Sarah and I had done the first lock.

Max 1 and Max A - two friends and lovely young men.

Max 1 helped with the second lock and Max A was there to do Lock 3.

I am not sure why, but I had seen someone at the third lock down, but when we got there they had disappeared but the bottom paddles had been opened, lock was empty and no boat was in sight. So I set them to turning the lock and I then left them to it.

By the time I got back, the tank still wasn't full so I started breakfast. Poached eggs on toast - easy you would think. But no! The eggs which were not the freshest ones on board, were fragile in the pan - and one broke as I slipped the fishslice under it to get it out it oozed everywhere in the pan. Kitchen rage ensued and to teach those eggs who was boss, I tipped them all down the sink. There, that told them! So out came the fishpaste and the tomato to have on the (successfully) cooked toast instead. Yummy!
This teeny tiny narrowboat was moored above Tyrley. I think it is probably long enough and wide enough for one person to lie down in.
We came through Woodseaves Cutting and, because it was sunny, it was far less spooky than on our trip in the other direction a month ago. ( I just wrote 'a couple of months ago' and then did a calculation - it is only a month since we met Helen and Mike at the top of Audlem - a helluva lot has happened since then!)
A bit hard to see but the roots of this fallen tree in Woodseaves Cutting also have rocks attached. It's no wonder there are warnings to stick to the towpath. I wouldn't want to come through here in windy conditions, as many of the trees lean out over the cut to get to the light, and obviously the rock sides are impacted by expanding roots.

I am standing tall so I don't look podgy. Unsurprisingly the bridge behind me is called High Bridge. It shows the height of the cutting which was carved out of the rock. Quite an amazing engineering and labouring feat.

In fact the whole trip was much nicer than when we came up (it's northwards - but the locks took us downhill on the way north, so it's difficult to know which term to use - up for north or up for uphill).

We are now moored up where we moored on the way up (north) - lovely sunshine, the washing dried on the whirlygig/rotary line on the tiller, and we had some time (I had more) sitting out in the sun.
I took my boots off when we moored up but couldn't be bothered removing my socks and couldn't walk on the towpath in them. So on went my sandals. I am showing my English-ness, as no NZer would be seen dead in sandals and socks. I won't be doing it again either!

A large lime and water first in the sunshine - not enough cups of tea on the journey, so I was pretty thirsty! Cabin boy fell down on the job - the fact he was doing locks for part of it was no excuse. He had about 4 hours of no locks to ply me with copious cups of tea.
Can you see that damned fly in my glass? I know it doesn't drink much but the least it could do is ask before diving in!

We have chatted with Dee and Wilbur who have nb Olive moored at Norbury and had driven their car to Old Lea Wharf to check out moorings. (We were to look out for them this morning, but I was in the shower at Norbury waterpoint and David was focused on the hose so we didn't get to see them to wave to, dammit.)

** After my confession re the TV, David decided that it needed protection from me and determined a bungee cord would work to constrain it. Out came the rarely-used macho tendencies and the drill.
I think it would be safe to say the bungee cord is too short ... Oh how we laughed!

David is now making dinner - salad, rice, a Morrison's chicken tikka marsala and a couple of naan breads. There was a crisis a short time ago as he couldn't find the chicken tikka marsala, and was grumbling that he must have put it in the freezer after all. I thought I would have another look in the fridge - often helps for someone else to check. Into the galley I go, and what is on the bench, above the fridge, still chilled so only just removed from it?

He has been interrogated about the two likenesses between him and Trump:
  • both have the initials DJ
  • both losing their minds ...
It may be sensible for me to quit this relationship - after all, I do not want to be finding more likenesses!

1 comment:

Jenny and Robin said...

Sandals and socks? No, certainly not the Kiwi way!! But they look lovely comfy sandals. We both have a similar pair to yours, Keen in blue for her, and another pair of Keen sandals in black for him. Wonderful - you can be out walking all day and never get sore or tired feet. Certainly one of our best buys.

Jenny and Robin, still in tropical Cairns for a little longer