Sunday, 2 October 2016

Definitely not to plan!!

Sunday 2nd October 2016
Audlem Wharf to Audlem Top Lock
1.25 miles, 12 locks

If we thought things had gone awry up to this point what happened today beat all that into a cocked hat!  The plan was for our friends Jane and Chris with black lab Kiera to arrive around 10am to help us up the locks.  Their reward was to be lunch on board.  However things to did go to plan.

As I am sure one of the first jobs of the day at this time of year for most boaters is to mop up the condensation from the windows.  I was at the stern whilst Chris was mopping up in the bedroom (bow) when I heard a shriek of alarm.  I dashed along to see if he was okay - he was, but the window was not.  The top part that opens had fallen out onto the tow path and was in thousands of little pieces!!

The first task was to clear the towpath before any dogs cut themselves. That done we had to decide what to do about the gaping hole above our heads

I phoned a couple of marinas/chandlers without any success although I have to say they were both very helpful, but they just did not have the right sized spare.  Chris taped over the window from the outside as part one of the fix.

and a phone call was made to Jane and Chris (I will call him Chris M to avoid confusion!) to ask if they had a spare piece of thin plywood.  Well they arrived at 10am as planned along with a piece of MDF.  In the end Chris M took the measurements and popped back home to cut a perfect circle with his jigsaw.  Bearing in mind we had been planning to leave shortly after 10am we were in complete disarray. I had not even brushed my hair never mind cleaned my teeth.  Just to add to the mayhem my Chris had cut himself badly when he shaved and we also discovered that whilst sorting out the window he had trodden in a pile of dog dirt (I would hang, draw and quarter dog owners who do not clear up after their pets!) and it had, of course, come into the boat.  He changed shoes, I cleaned the dirty ones and the floor only to find that he had had the misfortune to do it all again!!  More shoe and floor cleaning.

Thankfully Jane and Chris are brilliant friends and whilst Chris M was away cutting our wood, Jane set too and did our pots and tidied up.  Thank you both for saving the day.  Chris M returned and the porthole was covered and taped up from the inside.  Tea and toast was supplied all round to keep us going until what would be a late lunch.

My Chris tidied up the outside tape and it should see us home without getting cold or wet.  A phone call will be made in the morning to Pinders to get us a replacement for us to collect when we get home.  Having lost two pairs of glasses into the cut and now a glass window we fervently hope that that is our run of three for this trip.

In the end it was midday before we got started on the locks, which with four of us, were an easy task especially in glorious sunshine - such a relief after yesterdays torrential rain.  I have to say that some of the bywashes are very fierce - this one was the worst

there was nothing to be done to stop the boat moving across and thankfully there is a well placed piece of wood to stop the boat banging into the walls.

Not only did Jane and Chris save the day we made them work for their lunch as well!

Despite a single hander ahead of us (I spent quite a bit of time helping him) and lots of boats coming down we did the flight in around 2.25 hours, so were at the top lock around 14:15. We did ensure they got a cuppa on the way up!!

Chris M also had to earn his keep, steering the boat, before we moored just after the top lock and gave them a rather late lunch.  It was great to see you both again and we are so very grateful for all the help you gave us today.

Just to proved I do exist!!

Monty enjoyed seeing Kiera again and we were able to wish her a Happy Fifth Birthday.

If you come this way look left as you exit the top lock and you will find a cornucopia of goodies on sale

At Kynlock Kitchen

Along with all the baked treats there is a small freezer with small tubs of Cheshire Ice Cream - a ready made desert for after lunch.  I have to say the lemon drizzle cake did look very tempting.

Across the cut is a field of young cattle

One of whom decided the pickings were better canal side and clambered down a steep embankment to enjoy a veritable feast.  Amazingly it managed to get back up again when it had had its fill.

The stove has been lit for the first time this trip.  Although the weather was fantastic today as soon as the sun started to go down it just got chillier and chillier, hence the stove.  Tomorrow has to be a better day - today was certainly not the stress free relaxing day this boating lark is supposed to be.

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