We moved off the next morning. Happy to leave the miserable man and his brewing. They were planning to stay for a few days longer.
We made our way along the canal, a dreadful forecasted day was due. Now the forecasting has been very hit and miss recently, when you are a "Weatheraholic" like David is, it drives you mad, but we did decide to go on a trip on this dreadful day.
We moored up at Bettisfield and drove to a Welsh National Trust property called Erddig, its south of Wrexham so only thirty mins away. HERE for Wikipedia.
Quite a place full of the original contents of the house through the ages and this was due to the family never throwing a thing away, just storing it all in unused rooms. Reading between the lines the family were asset rich and cash poor by the beginning of the C20th added to which a couple of unmarried brothers, (Crackpot I'd say) the last one ending up living in three rooms I think it was. But now restored it was fascinating glimpse into past centuries.
|Erddig, It nearly fell down in the C20th due to subsidence from a nearby coal mine. Like many other stately homes the family went broke and eventually the NT took it on on condition that all the contents went with it.
|One of the longest borders we have ever seen. Its murky but that was the only reason we visited.
|The nearby coal mine that was responsible for the almost collapse of the house as seen from the garden terrace.
On we trundled.
Due to weather and Wimbledon we arrived at Grindley Brook Locks at about 18:00 one evening. No one about and the sky had become as black as your hat. I walked forward to start prepping and a boat was coming up. I helped them and as I chatted to the captain a Saint Bernard's head appeared in front of him. Well my heart melted and I asked if I could have her. She was a rescue dog, they'd had her six months, the wife said yes she's hairy and smelly, the captain said no.
Oh Reader I remember the hair and smell so well as after a family holiday to Switzerland we visited The St Bernard Pass and the monastery where the cattle dogs were bred and trained as rescue dogs in days gone by.
We gave a St Bernard puppy to our daughters for Christmas that year and she, Lottie, became my fourth daughter included in everything. She guarded the children and our home ferociously and was loving, gentle, hairy and smelly. Beloved by us all and still missed.
When they'd gone I reset the locks. I was watching the ever blackening sky and to save a bit of time cut short the emptying of the bottom lock thinking it might be okay.... I man walked past and I asked him if he was a boater?
Nah he said
Oh okay thank you,
Why what do you want?
Oh I was just wondering if that bottom lock is empty enough?
No! Its got to be completely empty.
No! Its got to be completely empty.
Great. I'd wasted time. Back to it and did it properly.
Blacker sky. While waiting out of sight David had donned full wet weather gear plus got the tonneau cover ready. I was too hot to put a coat on and resigned myself to a soaking and hot shower.
|Grindley Brook Staircase flight in the middle one I think.
|Brighter behind WaL but the rain wasn't coming from there...
|One more to do....
Well I couldn't quite believe that we got down the six locks dry, okay I was dry but as we moored up on the straight below the locks after wriggling ourselves into a WaL sized spot the drops began. I disappeared inside and David got a bit damp as it finally walloped it down.
The next day was dry and we set off with the usual task of avoiding the rain but trying to get 4G for the tennis. We'd had decent reception at Marbury so that's where we headed.
At Marbury intending to treat ourselves to lunch again at the Swan, but in the end we went into Whitchurch by car and went to their sister pub called The Black Bear.
Whitchurch is a lovely place, wonderful period buildings, individual shops, plenty of cheap parking and The Black Bear was fab. I couldn't manage a dessert and that is saying something.
The canal arm is a way from the village centre but walkable, there's a Sainsbury's, and a Lidl but to carry shopping to the canal I'd consider it a hike.
|The Black Bear Pub, the building is C17th.
|David tasted the local beers and liked all of them.
|Cute as can be house.
|Great High Street.
|Nice end to the day near Marbury.
Now I'm writing this from home I can't quite remember how we came to do a couple more evening cruises but we did. The tennis matches were getting exciting with the players I wanted to get through but still the main player I didn't want getting through.
We'd had some very strong winds so perhaps that was it, by the late afternoon the wind generally had calmed. I do remember jumping off the boat at Wrenbury to do the electric lift bridge but an oncoming boat was already there and the crew had started. She waved us through so I cut along to the next lift bridge, but met a boat who we had met a week before, they were on their way to Trevor but didn't fancy the narrow stressful section up to Llangollen, I had urged them to reconsider, giving them a few pointers to help, they did go and had loved it too. by now David had brought WaL along and the wind up lift bridge was still down plus I hadn't remembered to pick up the windlass.
|We found the weather and winds are much better in the evenings.
|The maize getting much taller all of a sudden.
|We did the last few locks towards the junction in the evening as the weather forecast was another bad one for the following day. Lovely evening.
We departed from just before Swanley Marina at dawn the next day. Rain was due mid morning and we wanted to be in Nantwich to ensure good-ish signal for the Men's Singles Final. We are getting well practiced at being as silent as we could be past moored boats.
David topped up with water while I went forward to fill the locks, but my heart sank as the pound below the top lock was very very down. I set the paddles to move water down wondering just how long it would take to do this. I walked down and the second pound was worse, so opened those paddles too. The third pound looked okay so I walked back up to the top, David was approaching, but so was the very nice man who lives in the cottage here. He has the Cheshire Cat Hire Boats, I've chatted to him a couple of times both here at at Overwater where the boats are moored.
He advised me that yes the state of the pounds is entirely normal and the other day some boaters had left paddles up overnight resulting in all the pounds were empty.
|The canal or some of it flows into the Hurleston Reservoir right here.
|The lovely cottage where the nice helpful man lives. I feared waking him with all the cranking but he is an early riser. (I don't know about his wife though)
|Refilling the top pound.
|I took this after I had let a lot in, it was much lower.
|Finally through, David has turned south onto the Shropshire Union canal and we are headed for Nantwich.
Well due to the delays playing with water we arrived late and moored late..... at about 10am. It was raining by then.
Well the very best result, with Mr Djokovic making way for the new blood. A terrific win for the young Spaniard. We were exhausted afterwards but to get to Overwater in time for the morning we moved after the match, at 19:30. We got more than halfway to Overwater that night and popped her in the following morning at 8am where she is being blacked while we are at home.
To be perfectly honest even though I'd packed and prepared the day before yes we were late leaving, we loaded the bags in the rain just for a change. I had the worst case of boat hair in a long time.
Home for a fortnight, see you all soon.