Sorry Reader to have left you in the lurch, I know you have all been waiting expectantly for the next installment, but I took a night off then one thing led to another and before you know it a week has passed by and I'm all behind like a dogs tail.
But moving on...
David had been out on one of his excursions by bike and called in at Sandbach Waitrose on his way back..
Its evidently not too far from Wheelock if you find yourself hereabouts. He brought me lots of tasty treats I'm not sure if as a reward for Heartbreak Hill or a sweetner for Audlem locks coming soon..
Last night as I said we just jumped on the very first mooring in the rain and flopped, but had we have gone on past the popular moorings we would have moored fine away from all the moored boats.
There is water here and a rubbish point too I believe and as we sailed past the water point I said shall we water up here?
No we'll do it in Middlewich where there is water too.
Okay on we went on miles of canal out into the countryside, past gardens which I was able to pass judgement on and houses too of course, then close to a railway line.
Just a few locks as we dropped down on the approach into Middlewich, we followed another boat who in turn followed a single hander so it was rather nice to chat as we waited the short time for each lock to turn.
|Here's a converted mill if that takes your fancy, myself I fear it's almost ugly and I won't be making an offer.
|Now how's this for a pleasant lawn with a canal at the bottom, myself I would have those willows down the day I moved in.
|Well this is such a rare sight I thought I must post it. It's a hedge that's been trimmed leaving a decent height to see over. Fabulous.
|Coming down into Middlewich, houses now where enormous piles of salt used to be heaped.
|I was glad at least this pub still stands. It looked to be a restaurant now, I can't be sure.
|Gorgeous lock cottage, but whoever planted those Laylandii should be taken out and shot.
Great fun was had in Middlewich, firstly a hire boat pulled out in front of us, the lock was to have been ours as another boat had just exited it coming towards us. Had we of gone into this lock it would have been the first lock in our favour in about 30 locks.
David was a bit cross, actually I was too, so in the windy conditions David hovered and eventually it was our turn.
Looking over the bridge here at Kings Lock it was a right bun fight. Boats approaching the turn to the Middlewich Arm from the north, boats coming out of the lock wanting to turn onto the Arm from the south, boats not wanting to turn but just get past.
To turn onto the arm you have to make a right angled turn under a bridge so you are completely unsighted, now then add to the mix, boats leaving the Middlewich Arm wanting to go either north or south onto the Trent and Mersey Canal (which we were currently on) but if a boat had already made the turn then there isn't really room to pass by the waiting boat, so the waiting boat might have to reverse back into the traffic from whence he came. Stay with me Reader here for right on this junction, there is the waterpoint which we needed to fill up with.
Well there were boats everywhere, going in each direction and actually there weren't any punchups.
I chatted to a lady watching all this on the bridge, she was an ex-boater and I asked her if it was always like this?
"Yes" she replied, "Its great watching it all!"
By complete fluke when we exited Kings Lock the water point which doubles as the lock landing for ascending boats was free. David ran forward start filling with water our water tap attachment didn't fit the tap. Now Reader, this little old attachment is years old, has been with us all over the system and at every other tap we have used it had fitted..... but not here.
By this time the sun was very warm, we had done well over the allowable union hours cruising. I DEMANDED that we go around the junction and take the first sunny mooring available as I wanted to relax in the sun.
As it happened there was a sunny mooring just above Wardle Lock, which we were told by a man leaning over his hedge that it is the shortest canal on the system, Wardle Canal HERE is the shortest canal in the country even, from the bridge, the few yards to the 72' lock then a few yards more above the lock.
We moored up, small argument about pins or rings, when you are 70ft the rings always seem to be in the wrong place.... in the end David did something very creative with ropes and dangles (fenders) and I found the sun by now a bit too hot to sit in. So later much later when the mood was calm and loving again we walked around the corner to the Big Lock pub on the Trent and Mersey canal except it seemed to be three miles away. Anyway as we got there and had the pub upstairs to ourselves, there was a hire boat on their first day, low level anxiety was palpable from the balcony where I was gongoozerling, so a narrow boater who was descending the lock stayed behind and gave a lesson in how to operate a double lock to the rank beginner and Reader I have to tell you she was a marvellous teacher and I wish I had met her years ago, she deserved a round of applause.
|Newby Hirer in pink, marvellous Locking Coach explaining all.
|I'm quite liking my G&T in a cut glass glass here.
Well, we left the balcony and went to sit in the converted carpark which is now the sunny terrace. Only intended to have a drink but ended up ordering food, to enjoy in the sun.
So supper ended up being a bucket load of nachos with all the trimmings plus olives.
We waddled back to WaL, got lost in the town and was helped by a local lady who took pity on us.