Saturday, 25 September 2010

Middlewich to Chester

 We are currently moored in Christleton just outside Chester, our journey from Middlewich was very pleasant with warm sunshine  & we stopped overnight in a couple of nice spots on the way.
 The best was near The Shady Oak with Beeston Castle looming large in the landscape so when we leave here tomorrow we are heading back there to spend a couple of days enjoying the countryside & maybe a walk up to the castle.

The old canal stables at Bunbury

just a great  view

Beeston Castle in the distance

 Lengthman's hut 

Mark has a net book which is much easier on power usage  than my laptop so I did a bit of research, bit the bullet & am now typing this on a very cute (& small!) HP mini.

The only drawback is that there is no CD drive & I use some personal accounting software (Quicken) which I have used for years & have always been able to transfer via CD drive as I have upgrade PCs over the years.

I was considering getting an external optical drive, until I saw the price! Then a chap in Maplins said it's easy, just load files off CD onto a memory stick ( using laptop) then install on net book. Mmm, well not that easy, Mark tried for ages but no joy so I finally decided I will have to wean myself off Quicken - it is no longer supported in the UK anyway & my copy is 12 years old so I am now trying to get my head around Home Accountz, It's a 30 day free trial & I think it will take me that long to figure it out!

After the washout that was this summer I have finally persuaded Mark that we need a pram hood, even if we have it down most of the time for cruising it will be nice to have a choice & somewhere to store wet gear when we do moor up.
 I had a look at a few on other boats, emailed a few companies for quotes &  we've decided on Wilson's of Kinver, they replied promptly & have impressed me so far with their professionalism.  1st visit to measure up is on Monday but we are looking at 6 weeks or so before it's finished

  We weren't sure whether to moor in the basin in Chester so decided to moor in Christleton  for a night then go into town & check it out. Wednesday was warm & sunny & we had a lovely walk down the towpath into town, the basin seemed fine but we decided  we are quite happy were we are so we've stayed put. 

On Thursday we walked into town then got the bus to Cheshire Oaks Retail park as I wanted some new boots for winter which was a good as excuse as any for some retail therapy, I ended up with some fleecy lined waterproof snow boots so my feet should be warm & dry.

Yesterday we pottered around Chester for a while..


.....from up here on the wall

 ending up at Tesco for a big shop then a 10 minute bus ride back to the boat.

 I've been back into town today to the post office to send my laptop on it's way to it's new home with Hannah, it was very busy in town as it's the last race of the season at the Rondee, lots of people dressed to the nines, ladies in posh frocks & men looking very smart in suits. I also noticed that on nearly ever street corner the council have put portaloos ready for the hoards later when they get back into town, probably a little the worse for wear.

So whilst we've enjoyed our visit to Chester we are certainly looking forward to getting back in the countryside tomorrow.  

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Lymm to Middlewich

A change of plan on Saturday, we were ready for off at 7am (!!) so we winded & filled the water tank at Little Bollington & then winded again to head back through Lymm for a brief shop stop before heading off but by 9 am it was pouring down, again... so we stayed put.
 Lymm is lovely  but we couldn't get a signal for the TV & it was a bit noisy ( yapping dog) so when the rain stopped at 6.30pm we took a chance & moved a short hop to near bridge 19, nice & peaceful ;)

                                              Sunshine & showers mean rainbows

Another 7am start on Sunday so we were moored up by 9.30 am in another nice spot about a mile & a half north of Preston Brook. Before lunch I went for a walk towards the junction with the Runcorn arm to stretch my legs  & after crossing the not very pretty footbridge found the towpath disappeared  off onto a housing estate, I stuck with it & eventually ended up back on the canal bank at bridge 68 after an uncomfortable walk down a couple of hundred yards of very busy single tack road with no footpath. So, not the best of walks, however all was not lost as on the way back to Poppy I spotted a good crop of brambles so we had crumble for tea & very nice it was too.

 Monday we stayed put & had a lazy day.

Tuesday, tunnel day & we had a late start at 10am stopping off just before Preston Brook Tunnel to pick up some bits & bobs from the handy Spar shop ( handy but not cheap!) then through the 1st tunnel at 11am.  We were 30mins early for Saltersford Tunnel so time for a quick lunch & coffee, just Barnton Tunnel left & we were through & out by 2pm, then another 30 mins to the much needed services at Anderton before moving a hundred yards or so up to the 48hr moorings. Another day with heavy squally showers, at least we had some respite in the tunnels.

Wednesday & on with the waterproofs again, we needed to get to Middlewich as supplies were getting low,  leaving Anderton at 9.30am & battling with foul weather all the way to Middlewich arriving at 1.30pm. Then the sun came out!  Did a restock at Tescos.

Yesterday we did not a lot.

This morning a fairly early start at 8am & it looked quite sunny to start with,  1st stop the water point, then up to the 1st lock, by which time it's chucking it down & I'm shouting for my over trousers, should have put them on in the 1st place really...  
 2 more locks then it's the sharp turn under Wardle Bridge onto the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union & straight into no 1 lock...

                                                             Onto the Shropshire Union

On leaving the lock Mark suspected a fouled prop as reverse not "reversing" so I made a coffee while Mark removed a load of wire & weed. Once out into the country we were not long before we found a good spot to moor up. 
We shall probably stay put tomorrow as some washing needs to be done, I don't hold out much hope of hanging it out though :(  mark plans on chopping some wood as it's getting quite chilly of an evening now.

 Sid hasn't managed to fall in -yet, 
note the new collar, the last one is in a hedge somewhere on the Bridgewater Canal

             Soona  loves a ray of sunshine for her snooze, this time it was on top of the modem....

Friday, 10 September 2010

On The Bridgewater

Yes it's been a while, what with one thing and another it's been a  busy 3 weeks since my last post!
 We moved from Sandbach to Northwich, I then left Mark boat sitting  while I went up to Scarborough for a few days family time then on to Manchester to celebrate Rowen's birthday,
                                                                   Happy Birthday!
 Rowen then came back with me to spend a few days on the boat before we cruised back up to Stretford to drop her off ready for the new term.  


                                                           A visit to Dunham Massey

Needing to empty toilets & get rid of rubbish we went up into Castlefield before returning to Stretford, they are few & far between on the Bridgewater, & that's our only complaint, in all other respects we have really enjoyed it, it's peaceful, wide, clean & for the most part, scenic & with that we completed the Cheshire Ring, only took us 8 weeks...  

                                                     Ploughed fields, signs of autumn

We are now moored just outside Lymm, it's very pleasant here & the weather has, for the most part, been sunny & warm ( rain earlier today but the sun is out now) meaning  we've been able to sit out so we've been letting Sid get a taste of the great outdoors.

We have had him out before usually on a harness after his escapades climbing trees but as there are no trees in the vicinity we, (well me really as Mark's convinced something dreadful will happen!) decided to let him have some freedom & up to press it's all been okay, he did disappear under the hedge a couple of times for a bit longer than I was comfortable with but then reappeared just fine, although the 2nd time was minus his collar. 

He is chipped but they have collars with a phone number which are the quick release type in case they get caught on anything.  I tried to get another in Lymm this morning but no luck so Sid is wearing Soona's until I can get to a pet shop, she doesn't really need it as she never goes far from the boat. 

Both cats get lots of comments from passersby, most who think it odd to have cats on a boat but I remember someone saying to me when we first moved aboard that a cat will recognise the boat as home territory where ever it is moored & that does seem to be the case. 

                                                             a comfy spot

                                                                   it's a hard life........

Tomorrow we shall wind & go back up to Little Bollington to fill up the water tank then wind again & head back towards the Trent & Mersey, Chester bound.