Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Perfect Timing! 30th July 2019

Tuesday 30th July 2019
Hassall Green, Lock 57 to Church Lawton (B135) Trent & Mersey Canal
3.5 miles, 10 locks

We woke to sunshine having had some overnight rain.  How long would the wet stuff hold off?  Boats started to go past us from just after 7am, but thankfully all going down, so we hoped that meant and an easy passage for us as we headed up the next 10 locks.

We left at 08:45 which turned out to be exactly right.  Eight of the locks were indeed empty, I had to lower one lock by about 6 inches and at the penultimate lock we had to wait for a boat to come down.  The entire journey was the same miles and locks as yesterday's, but took half the time!  There were boats behind us - one had a crew of six, so we often had help.  With boats continually coming down as well, it really was a breeze.

There were some interesting clouds in the sky - we were not sure what they heralded.

The bits of blue were not very big!

So a few things seen en route.

I have added this conservatory by lock 54 before with the stuffed dog in the window

I have never been so close before - this is a double lock, so we must always have used the towpath side in the past.  The food, vet and insurance bills must be very manageable!

The by wash for this lock is in the same garden as above - the owners have made a great effort to make it look as pretty as a picture

How is this for a garden room with a great view (the canal is just below their patio area) without all the hassle of being too hot or too cold that most conservatories give you.

It was not until we went past we realised it is one half of a double garage with a very appropriate stained glass window.

I have seen plenty of these on bridges, but this is my first on a lock beam!

We made it to our chosen mooring spot and were moored up and inside well before lunch time

with a reasonable view out of the side hatch - a bit less reed and the view would have been quite far reaching.

About an hour after we moored, Cleddau slipped past to moor just ahead of us

Just after that we had a light shower, but by 1:30pm the heavens had opened along with lightning and thunder which really scares Monty. 

I decided to try an experiment and 'built' him a den.  I popped his bed under the table and he went straight in, curled up and was quite calm.  Something to remember for the future.

A quiet afternoon and evening ahead with a walk for Monty almost between the showers.  We headed back along the towpath and up to the church.  I know I have been in here with Sue some years ago, but I can't remember when

We re-traced our steps back towards the towpath and then took a footpath to our right past the extensive church yard.

Then on down towards the woods below

Plenty of shelter from the light rain, but it kept going down and down with no signs of the towpath, so we turned and went back the way we came.

 I had not realised how far down we had gone.  A pleasant walk apart from dodging dog deposits.  I know it is in the country, but if they walk their dogs along these parts, surely they should assume others might as well!  Rant over.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

We have sun! 29th July 2019

Monday 29th July 2019
Rookery Rail Bridge to Lock 57 - Trent & Mersey
3.5 miles, 10 locks

After half a month's rain in 24 hours yesterday, it was a big relief to wake to a wonderfully sunny morning.  As was to be expected there were a lot of boats on the move today, so we set off around 9 am with about 8 boats ahead of us and 10 locks to  do.

First stop was to be the services at Wheelock - as we expected there was a queue, so we held back before the bridge and I spotted this charming and very appropriate planter on a balcony across the cut.

I walked ahead to see how many boats were waiting to fill with water only to find that it was a tree that was causing the delay.

Before I arrived the boat in the picture below took a man with a chain saw across the canal to release the fallen tree from its stump.  Then another man arrived with a grappling iron - one throw and he had it hooked.

Then it was a question of heaving it across the canal

and then four strong men to try and lift it out of the water

All together now

Keep pulling

The chain saw was brought into action on several occasions to break it up in to more manageable pieces

Bit by bit

It was removed

Still more

Nearly there

The four men did a sterling job and managed to get most of it out of the way.

The Cleddau crew were expecting a very important crew member - their granddaughter 'The Cheshire One' (back to the camera below) and her Dad got stuck in to help remove the last bits from the canal.

It was a lot of tree from such a small stump!

It had taken 15 minutes since I had arrived and all was clear and we were able to use the services to empty and fill as required before we were on our way.

 We managed to get through the first four locks in around an hour with some locks ready, some not and sometimes a boat to come into the lock we were leaving.  All very painless.

Then suddenly when we emerged from our fourth lock (no 63) we found we were sixth in the queue as no 62 is suddenly just one lock, rather than two.

There was a good deal of queuing behind us as well

We finally got our turn

and emerged one hour after we had arrived

As we left lock 59 we got the first sight of the M6

through lock 58 as quickly as possible as it is almost next door to the motorway

to carry on and find another queue at lock 57 - our last for the day.  Thankfully we were third this time rather than sixth.

There were still others behind us

When we passed this house by lock 62 in May it was looking very tidy, but not particularly colourful.

Today it is decked out in its summer glory

I think we were all glad to moor up and retreat inside out of the sun having hung the washing up to dry first.  It is no wonder we Brits talk about the weather.  The contrast from yesterdays continual deluges to today's hot sun was quite remarkable.

So what does tomorrow hold?  Well we had a slightly pink sky, but we are forecast some rain. Hopefully not torrential or for all day.