Sunday, 18 October 2015

Chance meetings and rounding up.

since my last blog we have been slowly making our way down the Shroppie, heading back towards Stone where Oakapple has a winter mooring booked and the Captain has a hernia repair op. in November.
It is strange how things happen. As we aproached Market Drayton last week we were wondering where our friends Roly & Bev were and lo and behold, there they were, sitting out in the sunshine with Sally, another of last winters gang. It was great to catch up with them.
The weather has been exceptionally kind, very little rain and lots of sunshine. It has been a joy to cruise and appreciate the autumn colours developing.
This week we met up with another of the gang, Sue & Andy from Festina Lente. Happy Friday in the 'Radford Bank' and an 'all you can eat breakfast' followed yesterday morning. Mmmm!
While we were there the fuel boat Halsall came through and supplied us with six bags of coal, now neatly stacked on the roof ready for the stoves when the weather finally breaks.

Since leaving Stone in the spring we have covered nearly 800miles and worked about 400locks. We have attended some great events. The Braunston historic boat rally in June, always a great show, and more recently the steam rally at Acton Bridge on the river Weaver.
The highlight of the year has to be our trip into Liverpool Docks. The whole experience was stunning. From the passage in through the docks, to our mooring right in the heart of the city. It was a total contrast to the usual canal cruising we do and we are already planning to return next year.
We are off to see family and friends on the south coast next week and looking forward to catching up with everybody.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Steam and diesel on the river

Moving south, we left the Bridgewater canal and rejoined the Trent & Mersey at the shallow stop lock at Preston Brook. Hardly worth having a lock at all, since the diference in levels is only a matter of inches.
Passing through Anderton we couldn't resist another few days down on the river Weaver which has become one of our favourite haunts this season. We were soon down on the lift and heading for Northwich for the night. The town moorings were a lot quieter this time since the piling work which has been going on seems to be almost finnished.
While we were there we got wind of a steam event happening at the weekend down at the Leigh Arms at Acton Bridge. Never able to resist a steam engine, the captain announced that we must go!
On Saturday we walked down to Acton from our mooring near Saltersford lock.
It was amazing to see the car park so full of steam rollers and traction engines. There were a few old cars as well as 1/4 scale engines weaving around the place.
While we had our lunch in the pub we watched the engines queuing to fill their water tanks.  Down on the river there was a steam powered narrowboat which the owner was pleased to show us over.
With the boiler and fire tucked into the corner, it was a very different engine room to what we are used to. The boat was apropriately named 'Whistle Down the Wind', which he certainly did on his way back up river on Monday.
One of the boats attending was the fuel boat 'Halsall' so we arranged to have our diesel tanks filled on Sunday afternoon.
Just before our Sunday lunch went on the plates, (luckily), a vigorous hooting announced his arrival and Halsall glided alongside in a very professional way. We soon had both tanks filled, taking 160Ltrs in all.
Within ten minutes we parted company, Halsall on up river, and us down below for our roast lamb, mmmm!