Boatwif Blog

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Down the stairs to Chester

Beeston to Chester, 10 miles, 8 locks          Saturday – what, no wind? No rain? The sun really shining…?  Beeston Castle seemed to be shimmering this morning on top of its rocky outcrop. There were seven miles of Shropshire Union Canal ahead before any locks; a decision as to whether to tie up for a lazy day or proceed on down into Chester would be made en route.            For the past two days thermally-lined hats have been rammed on heads and...

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Up two, down six…

Church Minshull to Beeston, 9.14 miles, 8 locks Usual preparations for departure were momentarily delayed this morning.  The Captain grabbed the camera to photo the chimney to which he had made some emergency adjustments last night. Early evening the stove had begun to belch smoke, oozing and billowing it back into the cabin, it unable to escape because of the force of the wind. A quick tilting and weighting of the “coolie hat” had been the solution to that problem.  ...

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Not all Plain sailing…

Middlewich to Church Minshull, 7.4 miles, 5 locks      A lesson for the day: make your interpretation of a weather forecast – but do not assume your interpretation will be accurate… Heavy rain early this morning led to a decision to delay a start until about midday. The Captain went shopping – got thinking – then said: “It’s not raining now (about 9.30) so if we move now we can sit in the sunshine this afternoon.”      Off Cleddau set,...

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Wind-lashed to Middlewich

      Arrived in Middlewich today: after a total of 37.35 miles (and 47 locks) since last Friday. The direction had been generally south from Macclesfield to Harding’s Wood Junction and then mainly north to Middlewich.        At one point during the morning there had been a long drifting about wait for a lock, during which Boatwif from the back deck had been gazing into back gardens at Malkin’s Bank. They have brown bins round here, she observed, property of Cheshire...

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Courtesy and concerns on the T and M

4.25 miles; 12 locks      Imagine a courtly flourish. Yesterday afternoon Boatwif walked on from Red Bull Services to Lock 44, just ahead. A boat was just emerging, apparently crewed by one mature gentleman and one dog (its age unknown). The boater wound down the top paddles, stepped back onto his stern deck, bowed low and with a wide gesture and a twinkle said “It’s all yours!” How charming. Today during a much later start than usual (more later) Boatwif was...

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Legal – and lower…

    It was as Cleddau was about to draw away from the Hightown shopping area of Congleton this morning that it happened. A man on a bike stopped, gazed hard, and then peered into his hand-held device.  A modern-day boating equivalent of a train spotter? No, an official from the Canal and River Trust (Northern Canals) checking boat licences and registration numbers. He’d driven from Halifax, off-loaded his bike at Bridge 46 and had been pedalling the towpath (and checking...

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Many hands make light work

      There were five pairs of hands involved in getting Cleddaudown the flight of 12 locks at Bosley today. The Cheshire Three had offered their services as volunteer lock keepers.      “We could leave home at 10, meet you at Bosley at quarter past,” the Cheshire Mum had suggested.  Alarm bells, alarm clocks, an electric swing bridge and about a three mile cruise flashed through the mind.       “Better make it half past ten,” became the agreement.      Through Broadhurst Bridge...

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Snow mitts in summer time

               Escaped! On Friday duties done (for a while) the Cleddau crew could head north in a heavily laden car. There was a brief pause in Macclesfield to hand over spare car keys and then a continuation to Higher Poynton. The rubber front deck tiles were re-laid;  the bed was made up; the car was unloaded… Then “How about…?” mused the Captain. It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t even blowing – and so it was, that a day ahead of the...

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Better than watching paint dry…

     There was one last weekend before Summer Cruise departure date, one last chance to “do boat jobs”. The Captain had been muttering about the front deck. It takes fair punishment – as an overspill catchment area during water tank filling,  as drop off and landing place for boat crew and visitors, as coal shed and timber store during the long cold months, as storage space for anchor and water pails, as conservatory for summer basil and mint pots…...

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Spit and polish – a sequel

        “ I’ve started so I’ll finish,” a particular TV quiz master used to say. That was the sentiment in the Captain’s heart: he’d started the boat polishing, it needed to be finished. So, a Friday afternoon and an early evening were spent taking diversions to avoid M1 hold-ups between Junctions 14 and 15, and  using the M6 Toll to avoid delays further up the M1. Then just patience, lots of patience, was required during the slow and near stationary...