January 12, 2010

We had our 34th Wedding anniversary on Sunday so went out for a meal, we dithered between a Chinese and an Italian and it being a Sunday night the town centre was very quiet and ditto the Restaurants but the coin eventually fell for an Italian and off we went to Romazzino where we had a most enjoyable meal it couldn’t have been better and we would certainly eat there again.

That reminds me, last year we were in Thrupp for our anniversary and had a drink with Bones and Maffi, coincidentally we were also iced in at that time and left just as our 14 day stay was up. Anyone who knows the warden there well know that he would have been around asking us to move on regardless of the ice, it takes all sorts.

I was aching a bit after the diesel top up and was dreading having to do the same again with the water, the chap on the boat next to us said that we could borrow his large water containers, but as the thaw begins we are hoping to last long enough to get to the water point by boat. It is very convenient having showers and toilets nearby.

Statistics so far:-

1106.38 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels


Keeping the fire going

January 10, 2010

Well I walked almost 6 miles today just filling up with diesel, backward and forwards to the marina slipping and sliding up the treacherous icy paths, oh the joys of winter. There was one place in particular, a sharp rise to the bridge that crosses the canal which was pretty bad and I had to use the trolley as a brake coming down it. On the last occasion that I came through I saw that someone had fallen as there were drops of blood speckled about, I do hope that they are ok. One good thing about this weather is the coming together of the boating community; my journey time was made much longer as I stopped and chatted to other boaters who were also topping up with either diesel or water. We are using a jerry can of fuel every two days as we keep the fire going through the night and we need to run the engine for two to three hours a day so that we can watch TV and play on the computer.

We went to a concert of the Messiah last night put on by the Nantwich Choral Society, and very good it was too. There was no orchestra but an organist, my what a performance he put in, the last time we went to a live concert of the Messiah was in 1972 in Sydney Australia, well that’s my opinion as Frances thinks we may have been more recently during the 80’s.

I bumped into a couple (well not literally) on the towpath and got chatting to them, they used to own a narrowboat but sold it a couple of years ago after travelling around for 7 years; they bought a house in Nantwich as they liked it so much. I have to say that I tend to agree with them as we would seriously consider doing the same when we are done with boating; I hasten to add that this will not be for some time yet but Nantwich certainly ticks all the right boxes.

Is it my imagination but I do believe it is getting warmer?

Statistics so far:-

1106.38 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

Sub Zero Servicing

January 8, 2010

We got up this morning to discover that the sink outlet was frozen solid and it took absolutely ages to unfreeze it, while I was outside trying to unblock the outlet a wren flew along the full length of the boat at the water (ice) line between the boat and the bank, passing underneath where I was kneeling, there seems to be one wren per boat and as you walk along they fly off on to the other side of the canal.

I had intended to do the engine servicing over a week ago but decided to wait until it got a little warmer, well it didn’t and so I had no alternative but to get out this morning and do it. The temperature was -11 degrees at 9 am this morning so by the time I finished the servicing my hands and feet were like icicles and I was glad to get in to next to the warm fire, still that’s one chore done, only another hundred or so to do before we close shop. I still haven’t replaced the gate valve for the stopcock, must do that tomorrow, well I will think about it at any rate. By the way I used the knee pads and what a difference that made, in future if I have any work to do that requires me on my knees then I will be wearing those pads.

We faired better than the boat behind us as their water tank froze, they mustn’t have left their fire on over night, I cant imagine what the over night temperature was but it did say on the news that it was -16 degrees in Crewe which is 5 miles away.

A very nice day though with beautiful clear skies and bright sunshine.

View from Embankment

The Freeze goes on

Statistics so far:-

1106.38 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

The Big Freeze

January 7, 2010

We are glad we moved along to our winter moorings as we would have been stuck and unable to move the boat before our trip to New Zealand. I guess we are all in the same boat (sorry) with the whole country being iced in, we couldn’t imagine a better spot, we have good shops and pubs nearby, not to mention the British Waterways facilities and boat yard.

We had a walk today in the bright and crisp sunshine taking in a geocache for good measure.

We are moored next to a permanent moored boat that run their engine for hours at maximum power and in gear, I am sitting here with ice creaking and the boat rocking with the force of the water being pushed passed us with the occasional crash as bits of ice bang against the boat. We haven’t really spoken with them other then exchanging a few pleasantries when they arrived back from a trip out, as they work during the day we have not seen them since.

We have started to look at what we need to winterize the boat, maybe we should have looked at this earlier.

Lazy Days in the snow

Moored boats

Winter in the Marina

Frozen Canal

Statistics so far:-

1106.38 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

Our first snow

January 5, 2010

The canal has been frozen for sometime now, but today we had our first snow and very nice it looks too but I am glad we do not have to travel in it as it doesn’t look too good. Not much to report today as we have just been lazing about and reading, although we did have a visit to Nantwich museum. Where we found out that wich is associated with salt manufacture and Nantwich was built around its production.

Photos, just where are they? I must get back on track.

Statistics so far:-

1106.38 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

Winter Moorings

January 3, 2010

Well we have eventually arrived at our winter moorings as the weather is reported to be closing in on us with cold temperatures forecast over the next few days we thought it benificial to get ourselves safely settled. Well there is no chance of us leaving it another year for the boat blacking with the antics of yesterday; we have removed a fair bit of blacking along the water line of the bow. We will be ringing around tomorrow to find a suitable place to do the blacking hopefully in April or May.

Last night we went to the Black Lion for a couple of drinks and then a take away from the Sun Sing, a very worthy contender for the best Chinese take away we have had for ages.

Today we did 0.49 Miles

Statistics so far:-

1106.38 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

The Joys of Winter Cruising

January 2, 2010

Well true to our word (well Frances’ word) we were up at the crack of eight and after breakfast set off to catch the bus to Crewe and all that is B&Q. We bought the stopcock and other bits and bobs to make a flexible coupling to the water pump, we also got a can of freezer spray so that I can make the change without flooding the boat, hopefully. Oh yes and I bought some knee pads as I do not want to go through the agony of the last week (he doesn’t know what pain is ed.).

What a thrill it is having pumped out, topped up with diesel and filled the water tank, we can probably survive the up and coming cold spell. Mind you what a palaver it was moving the boat today. The canal around the boat moorings was relatively free of ice, with only the odd duck appearing to be standing on water, so we thought that today was probably the best day for moving over the coming week. So off we go up to the Marina, first hitch, a boat had moored inconveniently close to the turning into the marina so we decided to head up to the winding hole about a mile further up the canal. A passing boat did inform us that the ice was thick up that way but by which time we were committed and had to continue on. When we got to the winding hole there were more than just a few dark thoughts crossing our minds. Away from the channel the ice was about 100mm thick with the pole just bouncing off the surface and poor Frances was doing her best but it looked like it was impossible. I reversed to take a long run and jump at the ice at an acute angle, this I did embedding the bow into the ice and just managing to get the stern at 90 degrees to the bank. So shuffling to the bow I began to pound away at the ice and eventually managed to loosen it up, after what seemed like ages we managed to turn (there was no winding here) and head back to the Marina. So despite only been about 100 metres from the marina entrance it was three and a half hours before we were back at our moorings, and of course from the water point to the moorings was done in the dark.

Oh the joys of winter cruising.

Today we did 3.82 Miles

Statistics so far:-

1105.89 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels