Sparks at Red Bull

Ramsdell Hall (Macc) to Church Lawton (Trent & Mersey): 5 miles, 7 locks

Bored of reading about snow sightings (several today) and biting winds (a fair amount)? Today’s update will make no further reference to either topic…

     What would the day bring? How far would Cleddau cruise? Much seemed to depend on how to solve a new problem… On return from Seyella yesterday something looked odd. There had been various boat movements during the afternoon and one can understand that boaters might be in a hurry to reach their destinations and then to warm up.  Fast boats can dislodge mooring pins; Cleddau fortunately was secured to mooring rings embedded in the towpath. But the rope wrapped round the nearside bollard on the stern was waving in the breeze, while the bollard had become detached from the back deck. The Captain re-secured the stern using the offside bollard and all seemed temporarily well.

That sort of metal on metal repair needs a welder: solution – contact Tony at Red Bull (about two miles further south).  Said Tony has worked on Cleddau a couple of times before, but, unlike many, he’s not welded to his mobile phone.  There was no answer. Nor was there any additional number for him available at Heritage Boats at Scholar Green. Cruise on towards Red Bull Services seemed to be the logical solution.
 There Tony was, repairing the blacking on a boat which a new owner had used in an ice-breaking expedition – and the welding needed could be done! Via a reverse and some boat hauling Cleddauwas taken under cover into the wet dock – and operated on.

Within half an hour the bollard was back in place … and three miles later the Captain has touched up the paintwork –a drama averted!
The delight of this life often comes in the incidental boater to boater conversations, whether long or short. Today at Heritage Boats the liveaboards on nb Enchantress were about to set off on their 2013 travels. That crew had Cyprus and Hong Kong and Cottesmore in their log books, and a son-in-law about to depart for Afghanistan again.

        Then at the Hall Green lock a boater kindly waved us into the prepared lock.
           “In no hurry,” he said. “Are you going far?”
           “No, only to Red Bull Services.”
         “ Not as far as us then,” came the reply, “We’re going to Norfolk!”  And then began an explanation of the family tree… Just below the lock a short boat was struggling to maintain a steady position while Cleddau worked through. “We’re novices,” apologised the girl, “we just started four days ago.”
            And so, with various unexpected conversations and a repair completed,


Cleddau was able to cruise on, join the Trent and Mersey Canal at Hardings Wood Junction, drop down six locks, pass the cows queueing patiently for the milking parlour

 – and moor in the sunlight at Church Lawton. It’s good to see again the curly metal supports on the lock bridges and the red coloured staining in the canal water.

    At  All Saints Church at Church Lawton an Easter display could just be made out through the glass of the porch door,
  while back on the boat an Easter egg decoration swung by the curtain
– and the chocolate of the Captain’s Easter egg had begun to melt in the sunshine!
Tomorrow: to Rode Heath to wind (turn around) and start to head back…

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