Ones and Twos
It was half term.
The year is moving fast. Numbers seem to be in the air…
The Cheshire One was in residence in Beds for a few days. She was delivered by train, there was one car trip to Cambridge, two slow Park and Ride bus journeys to and from the city for a museum visit, one lunch time concert in a Bedford church , one beach pool swimming session, before mid-week the car was pointed north to Cheshire.
“We’ll need to go early, to beat the snow,” insisted the Captain, having studied the met reports of a snow-carrying weather front attacking the North West. There was the usual route debate: M1 motorway and M6 across the Midlands to the western side of the country – or head further up on the M1 before turning west along the A50, past Derby and then…? Detailed discussion ensued – and Wednesday lunch-time, with no sign of snow, (but a fair amount of claggy cloud), the hilly route was taken between Ashbourne and Leek. How very conveniently placed is the Cottage Kitchen, where those who wish can feast on Staffordshire oatcakes and others can select from a wide-ranging breakfast / brunch /lunch /tea menu…
By mid afternoon the Cheshire One was safely home.
It may have been half term for schools but folk still had work to do. Hence on Thursday two school age pupils were continuing their artistic endeavours,
before challenging Boatwif to a game of Monpoly. What a blessing it is to have honest game players. A rule new to Boatwif benefited her hugely: a player landing directly on the £200 for passing GO square is to receive £400. (Do that a couple of times and your bank balance is pretty healthy, Boatwif discovered). The girls, both Harry Potter fans, each had ambitions to buy Kings Cross station – but when their respective Hat or Rabbit landed on any one of Boatwif’s three stations the rent charged was a huge one hundred pounds…!
While in Cheshire Cleddau was brought out of winter hibernation (photo courtesy of Techno Son-in-Law, 16th January) and the crew spent three warm and comfortable nights aboard. With just 10 weeks left before the provisional departure date for the Cleddau 2016 cruise things need to be done…
Two years ago the Captain was pleased as punch with Cleddau’s revamped engine room . A couple of cruising seasons later there was a pressing need for further instrumentation. (You need instruments to fly, don’t you, so you must have instruments to cruise, goes the logic…) “Playing with electrics” on a narrow boat demands the enthusiasm of a boy for his train set, the skill of a professional electrician, the flexibility of an acrobat and the patience of Job – plus dry weather. It was this last component that proved the most problematic. The new instrument board was cut into the large wooden panel below the Beta Marine display; two bilge pumps and one tunnel light were connected up but rain prevented the tracing and repair of the horn connection from boat roof to panel switch…
So that’s a job left for another time.
Even in less wet weather the towpaths and local trails around Poynton can become waterlogged squelch tracks. On Saturday, in need of a walk, but not of a mud bath, Boatwif took the uphill option, up the 330 feet elevation from canal level to the fine house in Lyme Park . Part way up the track passes these: two wood chipping hillocks, by product in a landscape and grounds maintenance business. Nearby a flash of colour in the undergrowth caught the eye – early Spring colour? Not so, just one lonely lost mitten. Onwards; upwards, past stern stone walls to an avenue of skeletal trees. Encased in waterproof clothing two estate volunteers were busy clearing debris from a brook.
Tiny signs of Spring there were in the garden
inside the Orangery gave a hint of sunnier days. Part hidden in a small copse of trees on the East Terrace is one strange object, a stone table. The theory goes that it was once a cock-fighting table…
The return downhill trek to the canal bore resemblance to a water ski experience, as rain water surged down the hill, carving out new stream beds and spilling out from the field sides onto the pathways.
Then (in dry weather!) it was back home on Sunday to two more cruise-related tasks, the ongoing planning (booking for passage into Liverpool Docks secured now for 16th May) and the scrubbing of parts (Airhead users will recognise the items…)
Now, what were the other one or two more jobs still to be done…?