Greetings Reader and a Happy New Year to you. You find us here at Great Heywood, on WaL nicely snugged up but in the marina.
We were intending on going out on the cut but in the event we didn't, this due to a Covid scare, one daughter was with us 9 days ago and on her return to London 2 out of the family of 4 tested positive and then a day later 3 out of the 4 were positive.... So David and I started testing and remained negative. David was poorly but with a cold from another grandchild, symptons masquerading as CV.
I brought up a half used box of tests and when I went to open the second box it proved to be David's bowel cancer faeces testing kit (unused) so when we get home we'll just check that we are negative still with the correct testing kit.
On this trip (after testing, mask wearing, socially distancing and mostly outside) we have had a new cratch cover fitted from Kinver Canopies which Reader I am very pleased with. The old one had shrunk considerably so much so we couldn't get the zips fully closed. We had Kinver out well over two years ago.... but our turn came up finally and we had the template done last November.
Also this trip we have had a frightfully good egg Tom Holmes, out to fit a much bigger towel rail fitted in the bathroom, a header tank fitted on the engine to give hot water when the engine has been on, something we had wanted.
He serviced the Lockgate stove and fitted a new starter battery. The thing I am most delighted with is the radiator of course, every wife will tell you that its the husbands bath towel that gets prime spot.
Well now during the past few months David and I celebrated our Ruby Anniversary, yes I was a child bride. We had a lovely family celebration at home, I mean where else has anyone been recently? I had wanted to have been somewhere hot but here we are in Staffordshire in January with the marina mostly iced up. Frankly its lovely to have had a change of four walls to look at.
So we've been here and there. I've tested out my new boating coat, no one tell my sister I have "another" new coat, but I have to say at the moment I am pleased with a longer waterproof windproof spacious hooded coat with big pockets.
Lets just call it a Lockdown treat, or another Lockdown treat.
Oh I should say that in early November the Boat Sharers joined us for a weekend onboard. I took some photos which I had meant to have done a blog posting about but it failed to materialise so I'll include them here.
If you hate photos then as they say on Match of the Day "Look away now" normal service will be resumed probably in April, perhaps he'll have taken me to the Caribbean by then .
"Breath", "hold" and "do not" come to mind.
So some from November first;
|Our 40th with a divine creature called a grandchild.|
|Shrugborough Hall looking very tired and even more tatty|
|Essex Bridge over the River Trent. I just read that it was built in the late 1500's by the Earl of Essex who was a great "Favourite" of Queen Elizabeth 1st. Its a 100 metres long and I photograph it every time we visit here such is my love for it.|
|A carpet of yellow leaves primarily for you Marilyn, the gardens were open today FOC and deadly dull as you might expect in November.|
|A single Nerine, the only colour on the whole estate.|
|This is the rear of the hall, at the front the stonework is dirty and cracked with paint flaking off the window frames, I wonder if the jolly old National Trust are going to stump up for the repairs....?|
|So this was a Boat Sharer helping to locate the source of the water leak from the water pump. The Hero fitted a wee tray underneath to catch the drips. Water pump was replaced soon afterwards.|
|A training exercise for these men, only knee deep here but the training was to swim/float under the bridge then get back on their feet further down which they all managed. Just watching them made me shiver.|
|Pretty Muscovy ducks.|
|It was cold back then, but not quite as cold as this week.|
|With the man I love.|
|Bridge repairs at Sandon, was it a gas pipe?|
|See the cratch cover not properly zipped up?|
|Friends now for 43 years. We share winter hats and everything.|
So here we are in January and an ice-age.
|Marina frozen over|
|Believe me when I say the pontoon was like an ice rink.|
|Old cratch cover almost set alight by close contact to the stove chimney....|
|New one that fits and everything.|
|I kid you not, swimmer from the river getting re-clothed with the aid of husband, taken from my my favourite bridge.|
|You can see the 100 metres a bit better here.|
|Yes every bit as cold as it looks.|
|So we went a hiking up on Cannock Chase, see the frost behind us?|
|Interesting tree here, about a metre off the ground and then divides into four branches, I wonder if that was natural in gales knocking off shoots or man made.|
|We walked a long way, there are 5000 pathways, its a bit featureless so I feared getting lost. I took the precaution of taking a location of the car.|
We arrived by chance at the Cemetery for German Soldiers of two World Wars. We've been here before when we have visited Penkridge on WaL.
Its such a touching place I wanted to go in again. Its maintained by the War Graves Commonwealth and what a great job they do.
|Ceramic memories recently installed.|
We walked through Tixal Wide and over the Shrugborough Estate, had David not been unwell we were going to have come to Tixal to spend a few days but Reader just look at the mud. A no brainer to avoid.
|This is a gatehouse to Shrugborough, there is a pair of them both occupied with tended gardens but Jeepers look how small it is, WaL is much bigger I feel. The smoke it was polluting the atmosphere with made us cough.|
So that's about it for this visit. We are home tomorrow home from what David is calling our winter sun holiday....
You'll be hearing from me again in the spring.