Up early, company coming!!! That means cleaning, tidying and vacuuming! We had just finished when we got the call that she was close. Sandy Bernard is a friend from our 5th Wheel Group who came to visit us last year. She came by train and Mike met her at the Red Bull Pub across the road from where the boat was moored. Good to see her on this turf again. She's an easy guest. She’s used to tight quarter and camping! As soon as we got settled (had tea, ate), it was time to cruise off to our destination for the night. We had 6 more locks to do and then arrived at Church Lawton for the night. Sandy walked up to the church and we rested.
Bonnie watched Wimbeldon. We were still tired from our trip. Bonnie prepared dinner. Afterwards we went over to Lynne and Roger for a natter. It had been a full day! We were all ready for bed.
Thursday, June 23
Up and at 'em this morning. We are setting off at 10. Cereal eaten, teeth brushed, vitamins taken, coats on and we were off. 10 locks ahead of us! With three of us working and setting locks, we were a well oiled machine! Sandy got her second taste of locking.
She caught on quickly. Most of these locks are close together so we walk from one to another. We met one or two other boats but not enough. Roger was setting them for us as they left the lock. Bonnie would walk down to finish and open the gate. Sandy let Mike out and then closed the gates behind him. Bonnie had the next one ready and so it went. We made it down to Lock 57 in record time with just a few rain showers.
As soon as we moored up, Bonnie watched tennis! There is a very popular restaurant here called Café 57. Sandy treated us to dinner and we all had a good meal. It’s a little pricey but beautifully prepared and presented. We came back to the boat to go have dessert at Lynne and Roger’s. Lynne made her wonderful Lemon Drizzle Cake and we all loved it!!! In fact, most of us had two pieces! Back to the boat for a little TV and BED!
Friday, June 24
Another 10-ish cruising morning. We again have 10 locks to do today. This time we will lead but it’s crowded at the lock so we decide to wait an hour until things calm down. We all sit down to read for a while. At 11, off we go. Since we are leading this time, we will be setting the locks for Roger and Lynne. Since some of these locks like yesterday, are two locks side by side, we will all move well. Lots of people moving so we often get a lock going our way. We stop for lunch at Wheelock. They have a great fish and chips place here. Lynne, Roger, Sandy and Bonnie take off for the "Mary’s Plaice". (Remember this place, Roberta? We stopped here on your trip with Daniel.) Mike stays at the boat to make his own lunch. After lunch, we move up to get water at the water point.
Boaters can get a key, which lets them open the tap. We then dump trash and talk to people who are walking by, as you do! When both boats are finished, we cruise a bit further out into the countryside and moor up for the night.
We like to stay out, away from houses and towns. It’s quieter! We all rest up for a bit, reading and napping while Bonnie watches tennis! After dinner and clean-up, we watch TV. Sandy hasn’t seen some of the comedy shows we like and all of us are laughing up a storm! At nearly midnight, we all make it to bed!
Saturday, June 25
We have had rain off and on all week. Today is no exception but by the time we take off it really a light mist. Only 4 locks before lunch. We cruise off with Lynne and Roger following. Our first destination is the chandlers at King’s Lock, Middlewich. The Mellor’s have to get calor gas (like propane) and diesel so we all stop to go have a mooch around the store. They get their calor gas but there is no diesel. We all walk back and head out after about half hour. We have 4 more locks to do before we moor up in Middlewich to go shopping. Fortunately, there are hire boats coming up the locks at each one so we didn’t have to prepare any locks. We moor up near the steps and go shopping at the Tesco’s store. Mike and Sandy head for a Natwest Bank. After getting everything on Bonnie’s list, we all head back with our bags. We need to eat lunch and then we will go through the last lock, Big Lock.
Bonnie had been making Chocolate Chip Cookies all morning because she like to have something for a man who lives on a little cruiser boat in the reeds near Middlewich. His name is Peter and we always stop and chat with him when we go by. We have been doing this for the last 20 years. We don’t know much about him but he lives alone, pretty rough but it is a life style he has chosen. He is a very nice man and he always has something to give Bonnie that he has made. And she gives him something she has baked. So we stopped and he came over from his boat to the towpath for a short natter. It was good to see him because we missed him on the trip down. We arrived at the “flashes” about 7:00. Bonnie had not been able to see any of Wimbledon all day and was dying to find out how her favorites had done. Aerial went up, TV went on and she sat down to watch! However, we had to have dinner so she cooked and watched at the same time. We saw the wrap up while we finished dinner. All her favorites so far are moving forward. No tennis tomorrow but Monday is going to be a great day! Sandy and Mike watched a little TV and Bonnie worked on the log. They hit the sack about 11. Bonnie continued working until about 2!
Sunday, June 25, 2011
This is going to be a day of rest! We are moored at one of our favorite places, the “flashes”. It’s quiet and peaceful and no tennis today!
Everyone on the Californian is cheering except Bonnie. Mike will get the log out to everyone and the rest of us will read and relax! A great day!!! It also is hotter than Hades so it’s good thing we are taking the day off. Bonnie took all day just reading the paper as did Roger. Lynne and Sandy read books and Mike was on the computer all day.
About 6, it was still very sunny, so we decided to have a Bar-B-Q. We didn’t want to say that too loudly as usually just saying the words makes for a sudden rain shower. However, today was not the case. We gathered up our resources from both boats: steak, chicken, sausages, green salad, Waldorf salad, baked beans, French bread. What a feast!
And for dessert – bananas with chocolate chips warmed on the bar-b-q with cream on top.
We stayed outside until the “midggies” began to bite. The sunset was gorgeous - lots of lights across the water and an arrora borealis effect in the sky. God really knows how to finish a day!
Everyone went inside to watch TV and head for beds. What a great day! We all needed a “rest” day. The Flashes is one of our favorite places to moor.
Monday, June 26, 2011
A slow morning today - nobody really was in a hurry to leave. Around 11, we headed out and cruised through historic salt mining country, through a salt refinery
and on to the Salt Barge pub where we were going to moor up for lunch. Ordinarily, we hurry by this place but we used to stop here occasionally to eat. We all decided it was time to try it again. It was still very hot today and Mike managed to get about 8 ft of shade to moor the boat. At noon, we all walked over to the pub.
The owner who had been there about 18 years ago is now back and has really got the pub going again so, as it turned out, this was a good time to come back to try it. Our meals were really good.
We all got the “old timers” specials. Bonnie had to have deep, fried mushrooms which were the best she had eaten out in a long time, very light and tasty. (Notice we said out, Derek. Not home made!) By the time we left, there were several other people in for lunch. We walked back to the boats and took off for another hour to stop at Marbury Park. Bonnie had heard about a Garden Center/Nursery here but had never walked to it. Lynne, Roger, Bonnie and Mike too the hike through the park, which is beautiful to walk through, and came out at the nursery. This park was a huge estate at one time but the house was demolished and the county has it now for a park. However, it had originally, a brick, walled garden area. That was purchased about 20 years ago by this nursery man who dug it all up and cleaned it out.
It is now the Marbury Nursery and it is wonderful.
It is not a garden center. He only carries plants and pots but the plants are so healthy and beautiful. He also has some unusual flowers and shrubs. We had a really nice natter with him. Bonnie wanted to walk out with a wheelbarrow full of plants! Mike managed to help her just take photos of the ones she might look up at home.
The walk was about 2 miles or more by the time we got back but we were glad we had gone. There was no TV reception at this mooring, so no tennis today. Bonnie nearly cried because all of her favorites were playing today. Oh well. . . . . . After dinner, we went over to Lynne and Roger’s and played Triominos . It’s like dominos but the tiles are triangular. Fun time! Lynne won most of the time! Good fun!
Tuesday, June 27, 2011
This is our last day with the Mellor’s. They have their friend,Barry, coming today to meet them at Anderton for lunch at the Stanley Arms. They will cruise back to Preston Brook on their own with Barry. We stopped with them at the water point because we wanted to go see our boat painter, Nick, regarding a few questions and to buy some paint to touch up the bottom black bits before we leave. We had a nice natter with him and he came out to see his handiwork to see how we have been treating it! Sandy took the trash out for us and we went on to moor up a little farther breasted up to the Mellor’s boat. There were no more mooring places at Anderton and we were only going to be there a short time. As Sandy and Bonnie were going to the gift store at Anderton, they met Barry, Lynne and Roger walking to the boat. Their guest had arrived. Mike went to take a look at the landscaping which features willow benches and arbors like those at Goldberg Park.
Sandy and Bonnie went shopping and returned to the boat. Mike wanted to get Claymoore’s for a pumpout before it was too late so had farewells with our traveling pals. We have had a great cruise with Lynne and Roger. We had not traveled together for such a long time. They were the first couple we ever cruised with back in 1990 when we were coming home from Gloucester Docks at the National Boat Festival. We cruised up the Severn River, onto the Avon River, through Stratford upon Avon and up through Birmingham. We had a great time!
So on we went with lunch along the way. We made it just in time for all the tunnels, two of which are timed.
Pulled into Claymoore’s about 4:20. As usual, there were so many boats moored in front, we had to breast up. Bonnie was quickly stopping the boat by tying onto it when we heard shouts from the lads, “We just painted that boat!”. How embarrassing! She quickly untied and pushed off to the next one. However, they are going to have to repaint the rail on top! Without Mike’s magic cone to use with the pump out hose, our guy had a bit of a problem getting the “sucker” to work. Finally finished that, got some diesel for us, and filled Roger’s diesel can. Sandy and Bonnie purchased a few more ‘gifts” and off we went with ice creams in hand. Next stop, Midland Chandlers. We went in with a couple of things on the list but they didn’t have what we wanted so we left. Next stop our mooring at Pyrahna Boats. All tied up and hooked up to electricity so we can start the wash. Bonnie immediately sets up the antenna to watch what is left of tennis for the day. Good games! She also discovered that the William’s Sisters were out of the running. So now she had to choose someone else to root for in the Women’s division. That was a real blow. Although, she didn’t think either of them were playing their best this year. Too many health issues this year for them. Dinner was thrown in while watching TV. Sandy worked on getting her rail tickets for tomorrow. Everyone in for showers so all the towels could be washed tonight. Nothing on TV tonight so we all read.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
No rush this morning . Everyone went at a leisurely pace. Bonnie got the wash going while we were still plugged in so we could dry while cruising. Mike called the taxi for Sandy which came about 10 to take her to Runcorn Station. She was headed for Birmingham to visit relatives. We set about getting things back in order in preparation of leaving to get to Lymm. Stopped at Moore for a newspaper and a few items at the canalside shop. Stopped at Thorne Marine to see Margaret and Brian and get a few items for the boat. She also agreed to take our coin operated machines duck food machines that we have been carrying around on the boat since it was built 21 years ago. in to use at her shop. We’ve had these “candy machines” in the storage locker in the front of the boat for about 20 years. Every year we think about giving them to someone and then forget. She’s going to try them. If they don’t work, she can toss them! Finally, got going again heading for Lymm. We passed, Lymm Bridge House, the canalside home of our friends Sally and Peter and we were again awed by his gardening skills!
Then on to moor up at our Lymm Cruising Club.
Bonnie has a few things to do in the village and then big tennis matches are on today that she doesn’t want to miss. Looks like Mike is on for another night of the “Wimbledon Diet”! Tomorrow we head for Castlefield, mooring in downtown Manchester our next cruising club weekend. Mike will be ending his ham radio positioning experiment so this will be the last chance to find the Californian on Google maps at;http://www.db0anf.de/app/aprs/stations/mobile-KC6BWK-9
More canal adventures to come! See you next wek.
40 - Love,
Mike and Bonnie