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Sunday, 29 November 2020

Not Hacked... boaty chores and 2022 Cruise Itinery Started.

 I hate fiddling with the website - partly cause I'm crap at it... partly cause it goes against the original 'dream' life of being a free spirit bobbing around the canals on a whim.  Reality bites though and the only way I can afford to do this until I can draw my pension is through structured trips... a (not too difficult I suppose) compromise I can live with - in fact, one I embrace when it comes to actually HAVING guests on board... I just don't like the planning.  Several people have commented about my poor syntax and grammar - whilst I do GET their point, it's such a faff to fiddle with the formatting and given my tendency to bugger things up when I try and change them, I'm learning not to worry about it too much.

There's a saying an old bloke who used to come in to my dad's garage used on many occasion:  "It's near enough for a country spot"... I  always liked that and suppose have adopted it as my mantra lol.

ANYWAY - I have made a start on my 2022 routes.  Having enjoyed the time we spent going up and down the Anderton boat lift this year... AND the cruising on the River Weaver, we're going to start the season with a few trips around Northwich.   I've put in the header note about the plan to get a dog for 2022... it might not happen but forewarned is forearmed AND doing it with the consent of prospective guests FEELS like the right way forward.   If there was any way I could persuade 'Ed's" dad to give him up I wood as he's a smashing fella.

Website building a side, I've also being doing some inside jobs that I can get on with during the wet weather - which seems like ALL the time at the moment.  I've an awful lot of painting to touch up after quite a 'rough' season ... just look at all the scuffs and marks on the starboard stern.

The bow isn't much better either.

I could really do with some dry weather though... it's not cold yet so painting would be ok but it's just never dry enough to sand and paint... grrr.

INSIDE - the new (mains powered) bigger fridge freezer whilst brilliant, IS a pain when it comes to the freezer part.  You see, the door cannot open totally and given the "flaps" can't open all the way, putting stuff in and out is a bit of a pain in the proverbial.  My temporary

solution to this is to remove the larder /tumble drier cupboard door which is currently surface mounted - cut a strip off the side to shrink it and then re-fit it flush.  I'd worked out doing that would give an extra 22mm of opening space for the door.

It has made it a little easier but NOT enough.  The longer term solution is going to be (I think) a piano hinge in the middle of the (now flush) door - that way it can fold back on itself totally and allow the freezer to open fully INTO the cupboard.    That will have to wait until the end of this lockdown so I can have a meander around B & Q or wherever.

Another internal EASY WIN has been a new loo seat - soft close and only plastic but given I spend a lot of time looking into the bathroom (leaving the door open to let the heat from the fire circulate) I've put on a sticker which cheers me up...

Childish I'll admit but it does make me smile.

In other news, given the revised countrywide tiers that have been announced after this lock down finishes shortly (what lock down???) I think we are unlikely to be taking any guests anytime soon - despite the now permissible "Xmas" free for all.

Trouble is that VERY few people are obeying the supposed FULL lock down we've just had (well are technically still in until the 3rd Dec).

When taking my exercise, (or buying gin) it's clear by the number of cars on the road during "non- rush -hours" folks are just out and about...  high streets, despite not having many shops open are STILL heaving...  the tow path is full of folks and groups of youths are hanging around empty buildings doing the sort of things they would usually do... 

Corner shops are not asking folks to wear masks... the 2 metre rule is gradually being ignored.

SHORT of the army being on the streets pointing guns at us - like China would do, the uk population won't comply...

Even the oldies are revolting...

I do as I'm supposed so - to a sensible point... and that's just that..  everyone is thinking they are doing what their supposed to - to THIER version of a sensible point... people who are "mask exempt" are waving their silly little lanyards to show their exemption as they wander around Tescos infecting (allegedly) the rest of us...

The reality of government OR opposition at the moment, is NO ONE knows how to progress...  

I've been rejected by the discretionary hospitality fund for my home town because "Hotels are not being ordered to close this time" - and because I'm classed as an Hotel, I CAN be open... to "appropriate" customers... it's a complete farce... alas, one which no matter how much I moan about it, there is nothing to be done.

Hey ho - although given the approaching season perhaps that should be HO HO  😆

Oh btw - I nearly forgot... I had an email the other day from a well meaning reader, who intimated the blog might have been hacked as adverts are now appearing on it.  HANDS up...  I was fiddling with the new settings (new since blogger forced me off the legacy version which I liked, to their new version) and I activated something called Ad-sense... apparently having advertisements that are supposed to be relevant, is making a few pence... it'll all add up and who knows... perhaps someone might actually see something worth while.  Sorry if they are a pain but ANY source of additional income right now is well and truly welcome this end.

Until next time...

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Fire-Escape & and 'That's That Then'.

Now then,  here we are again - nearly the end of November and I just realized I'm behind where I was LAST year in the old 'book-keeping' chores... looking through my phone to see what I'd been up to recently, I came across the screen shot I took on the 6th Nov Last year of my accepted Tax return by HMRC.  Hmmf...  not like it'll make begger all difference to the finances but I suppose I really do need to get it done before the deadline becomes just that.

MEANWHILE - ignoring 'grown up stuff' for a moment... ACTUALLY, come to think of it I suppose this is just as grown up:  After17 months of solicitors bills (for very little actual work me thinks), last week I got the Final Dissolution Order through from the court... WHICH in "normal parlance" would be classed as the 'Decree-absolute' - ergo,  I am now FINALLY legally single again.  I really do pity people who got 'properly married' or those with kids and maintenance issues to sort out... it must be horrible.  It's been a difficult enough split for us and we already came to a fair agreement BEFORE involving a solicitor.  In hindsight, we should have just done it ourselves and saved an awful lot of money for nothing.  Hey ho. Anyway - That's that then...  the end of an Era.

I'd hoped to feel more positive about it to be honest - alas when the paperwork landed on the doormat  (my tenant opens my post and updates me accordingly) it felt like a final dagger to the heart... like watching years of (mostly positive memories) having a big red cross put through them.  I can't deny it's sent me on a bit of a downer... not helped by the miserable winter blues nagging at my mood, all at the time of my late mums birthday anniversary...(and that's with me ignoring the covid elephant in the room).  Still - it does leave both Andy and I "free" to do it all again... hmm...  or perhaps not!  

We're still in touch - all be it at a LONG arms length...  there is still genuine affection for each other and I'm confident as time heals, we'll be able to be proper friends...  right now, I'm still smarting emotionally and as much as I WANT to totally forgive, I'm not sure I have the capacity just yet... likewise I suppose from his point of view... in one of my less proud moments (admittedly at the end of a very difficult few months, during which I struggled to come to terms with what had been going on) I lost control and was cruel to someone when I shouldn't have been... namely his parents.  The contents of that vicious exchange ( vicious from both sides) are private but suffice to say buttons, were pushed from which there came a point of no return - Which I'm sad about and when NOT looking through the red haze of the time, I regret and am sorry about.  

Still - it's all water under the bridge now and I hope everyone is able to move forward in whatever weird direction mother nature has in store for us all.

In my case, I had a VERY close call with the Grim-Reaper this week...  For a while now, when the immersion heater has been on (it's rated at 1kw) I've noticed 'hot smell' coming from the inverter.  To be honest, I just rationalized it in my head that as it contains a massive coil and moffsats (I think that's their name) this was probably just a  side - effect of them doing their job.

Being on Shoreline, I didn't really think much  of it until the other evening whilst cooking tea.  I had the microwave on at the same time as the immersion... (immersion 1kw and microwave rated at 1.5kw) -combined total still within the inverters capacity (or on pass-through mode) the 16amp shoreline feed.

The  'hot' smell became more of a 'Smokey' smell.

On opening the cupboard to look, it became apparent all was NOT good- acrid smoke was being produced and a strange "glow" from inside the inverter was visible.  After knocking off the power at the boat's isolator AND outside at the shoreline, I investigated properly by removing covers etc.

IT turned out that the negative INPUT must have had (good English) a poor/stretched connection and passing such a big current through created enough heat to melt the connecting block.

I went looking for a big choc block in amongst my electrical gubbings box... only to remember, I USED up the big ones last year when I fitted the power supply in the bedroom for the chap who had booked who needed to bring a CPAP machine with him... never used in anger due to covid trapping him in Germany.

Knocking on a neighboring (mid self build) boat, I managed to scrounge a smaller one and decided to use it for the earth.  I also replaced the internal negative wire with a new piece (and put the heat sleeve over it too) .

On putting it all back together I turned everything back on (hearing the fridge/freezer start up) I was relieved when it worked again.  Over the next couple of hours I kept checking (as you do) for smells and having phoned my brother (he's an electrician) and shown him what I'd done, we agreed all is now well...  I might just have been a case of poor crimping on the initial installation but whatever the cause, it's now resolved... the grim reaper being sent on his way on this occasion.  

To be on the SAFE SIDE - I fitted new batteries in all 3 smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms before retiring for the night lol.

IN OTHER NEWS... remember I mentioned about putting on a couple of Xmas Specials up on the website? - well I did... just 2, 3 night trips... ONE of which was snapped up very quickly which is marvelous... what's even better is that it's the Xmas eve one  and it's the lady who came for her 70th (and thus saved her 'bubble' for us, so no matter what happens, Boris can't really put a spanner in things.

The other one is yet to go but even if it doesn't, I think we'll make the trip anyway cause as lovely as Shoreline is, I do get a bit itchy hull when not moving around.

Ooo, before I go (I've 5 miles to walk this morning to pick up a parasol due an accidental WRONG location click and collect), I've had another visit from the Spanish rescue dog yesterday - he's a charming fellow and I REALLY could keep him.  He poses for photos almost instinctively

don't you think?

HIS visits have really made me think it's time to get another dog... or rather PLAN to.  Something Ed's size and nature would be perfect.  

The thing is, I DO have to consider what booked guests might think... SO - in a bid not to brass anyone off who's booked already for 2021, I've decided that WHEN I put the 2022 schedule online (I'm about to start that), at the top of the page is going to be a large paragraph explaining that for the 2022 season there will be a dog on board... this BEFORE anyone can book so as not to enforce it on anyone.  I Think that's fair and gives me  NEXT winter to find the perfect rescue dog to join the good ship Ellis.

Until Next time...

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Overnight Oats (Bircher Muesli) and no comment

 Ignoring what is currently going on in the world, here on Ellis I am sinking my teeth in to my winter jobs list again...  a few easy wins such as taking the (overly dark mirror film I put on last winter) OFF the portholes and side hatches,  changing the mesh on the roof vents to ones with smaller holes  (now the fly nets have worn out over the mushrooms)  and touching up scratches here and there.    Bigger jobs include re-modelling the crew wardrobe to remove hanging rails and make shelves/dividers to store clothes folded on and also in the lower half, fit shelving to store uht milk, soft drinks AND make space for the very useful (but space consuming) sholley to live.... instead of it being on top of the crew loo - which to be frank had become a pain in the bum every night when preparing crew quarters for bed.

As much of the country is probably sitting around at home eating and drinking more than is good for them in the run up to 2021, I am taking the opposite approach - as much as I'd LIKE to keep eating and drinking whatever I like, the reality is, now we're not moving around I am just turning into a fat middle-aged puff! - the latter I can't really do much about... the former...? well it requires will power and motivation - both of which are in short supply but having touched on 13 stone 10 the other day, it HAS to happen.  

My blood pressure is higher than it should be (even having been medication for it for the last 20 years)  

- cholesterol is also high and the doc did suggest last year I they'd take another test and put me on statins but then Covid came along so that was that.  Having had a phone consultation recently, they suggested I take an over the counter test from a chemist and let them know the results...  suffice to say once again the overall level being 6. something or other, meaning in the absence of "proper" testing, they sent an online prescription to the nominated chemist... ahem, school boy error idiot at large here HADN'T changed it from Boots Northwich! - ergo, I'll not be collecting them anytime soon.

So - in an attempt to soak up as much as I can without medication, I've began the whole Plant Sterols regime and forced myself to begin eating over night oats for breakfast each day... after the 3rd day, I stopped noticing how unsweet they tasted and am now a bit of a convert....  AS for the plant sterols - all I have to say on that subject is that after a week or so on them, I seemed to develop an allergic reaction and my back came up in lumps and bumps and itched like mad.  On stopping them, it disappeared... 'looks like all my hopes are pinned on the oats.  I'll report back in a month if I'm still alive!☺😁☺  I've also knocked the gin on the head massively - initially doing alternate days... then every 3rd day and now I try  not to drink until weekends.... with varying results but any day missed HAS to be a benefit.  

The toe is still sore but I'm making better progress now walking and in fact can manage 6 miles or so in my boots before I have to take a pain killer... wish the same could be said for my back  but I suppose that's the price you pay for being such an agile, athletic old man - eventually, nature catches up with you.  Hey ho.  LUCKILY, being ginger people don't notice the limping!

What else to report? - er not a lot really...  when I'm not pottering about doing chores, I trying to work out a couple of short Xmas trips to put on the website (that will depend on what happens on 2nd Dec.) and also work some more trips out for the end of next year.  2022 is in the planning now and I  AM going to begin the year from Stone and spend some time on the River Weaver doing 5 or 6 night trips from Anderton, down the lift and after a few nights on the river, ending at Northwich Marina to do change overs plugged into electric... it makes it SO much easier.  After that, I think it'll be time to head further south but as yet I'm not sure.

BEFORE then however, I really need to get my accounts up to date for the previous year and do the tax return - tbh, the figs are already in a spreadsheet so it's really just a case of pulling my finger out.

Thing is, I keep getting distracted - yesterday I made a new friend... Whilst I was buggering about trying to fit the shelves in the wardrobe, I turned around and there he was - sitting quite happily watching me!

Upon instruction (and after a dog biscuit) he went and sat outside and continued to watch me working... amazingly, understanding me perfectly... later on I discovered he's actually a rescue dog from Spain! As you will imagine I spent the rest of the afternoon doing my BEST "Manwell" (how do you spell that?) impression... "I speak very good Spanish... I learn it from a book" lol.

So there we are - Remembrance day...11th hour, 11th day, 11th month. ALL this Covid stuff is REALLY put into perspective by WW1 I think!

Until next time....

Friday, 23 October 2020

Moan Moan Moan Moan Moan! - oh and the 4200 hours service

 I'll come clean - I'm not in the best of moods at the moment... well let's face it, WHO is?  This whole situation with restrictions and people with different opinions /solutions/knee jerk reactions and down right hostility is getting me down.  Well more cross about it than down I suppose but given the impending "dark gloomy nights" and short days it's only a matter of time before I'm feeling blue.

The thing is, I love boating, and moving around the network - I love chatting with folks and having guests on board.  Winter is miserable enough after a GOOD summer of guests ...  I'd hoped for a good season (I'd been pretty much fully booked at the start of the season ) - well PRE the covid situation.  SO many folks couldn't come (the overseas totally cancelled and even when we were allowed to operate under the '1 metre plus' guise, quite a few didn't want to take the risk... which I totally understand.

Others were "trapped" in places like Wales and Scotland with their power crazed dictators cautious leaders locking them up like criminals  To summarize, from a potential "earning year" of  30 weeks, we only were able to "do" 7 and a half... the majority of which were solo travelers... in short, I'm heading into winter with even less than bugger all and STILL have divorce loans to some how repay.  NOW OK ... I'm not destitute as despite NOT being GIVEN any grants or self employed income support (you'll recall I didn't qualify as due to this being a new business, I didn't have 3 years profitable tax returns to submit)  I WAS able to borrow 25 percent of my turnover on the basis of a 'bounce back loan' - which of course will need to be repaid.  I can survive and will try and offer some out of season day trips again as soon as tier 2/3 restrictions permit 2 households being under one roof again...

THIS whole "tier" thing is a load of bollocks, designed to let the government off the hook from having to try and 'pay' people not to work whilst at the same time, effectively passing the buck to businesses/self employed folks.

THING is, I GET it.  Boris and Co - (and by Co I suppose I mean the country) can't afford to have a total lock down again... and anyway it DIDN'T work last time did it? - all these folks spouting off about a ruddy circuit breaker being required (and Wales / Northern Ireland and Scotland most probably - I've lost track a bit) don't seem to GET it....  it's all spin an being SEEN to be trying to do something .... when in reality there is bugger all they CAN do.  I believe the term is LIP SERVICE.   Boris needs to grow a pair of balls and actually state that we can't afford to hide away forever...  RATHER than allocating funds to provide (lip service ) support, to the offending areas, how about  channeling all that money into MORE field hospitals to provide covid care  - let it burn it's way through and let the people who WANT to hide - or rather CAN afford to hide on their pensions and HAVE all the supermarket delivery slots etc. DO SO.

I'm really getting sick of the young folks being demonized for just trying to get on with things - I saw a lovely clip the other day of an 83 year old woman saying she's not got much time left and she'll be dammed if she's gonna hide away so she'll take her chances - very stoic but more importantly NOT selfish... she went on to say it's all well and good her friends berating the youth for putting "her" in danger but they will be ones who (if they are lucky enough to be employed in whatever economic world is left) will be paying for this for years after she is dead anyway.

Sobering but true.

Don't get me wrong - I AM complying with the guidance... I AM wearing a ruddy mask when in shops like I'm supposed to but it really is a load of cobblers having to wear a mask to get from a pub door to a table - then take it off once I'm sitting down.  It makes NO sense... NOR does the "children being except" rubbish - everyone knows they are full of germs at the best of times... it's all gotten so silly it'd be funny if society hadn't been brainwashed.  THE REALITY of a SAFE mask is this - what is now having to be worn all day in operating theatres 

So all this silly mask wearing obsession whilst might mitigate how far the globules in a cough can travel, WON'T do an awful lot to stop it spreading...they are just a way for governments globally to create some positive assurances that our lives matter ... the reality is none us really do.

Rant over - suffice to say I continue to follow guidance, wear a face covering, wash my hands and keep the required distance away from people which is common sense (well that latter 2 anyway).

MEANWHILE - back in boaty land...

When the couple got off in Chirk, we decided we'd go BACK up to Llangollen Basin to do our "1 day turn around" back on mains electric ... that turned out to be a bad move as we ended up stuck in a convoy - at the head of which was a 70 foot boat being skippered by someone who'd never been on one before and who held everyone up.  In fact, a couple of boats ahead of us actually winded and abandoned the journey.

We tolerated it and did a couple of loads of laundry on route anyway so it turned out for the best in the end.  Next day we headed back to Trevor and collect our next guests.  They were with us for 5 nights and after them we had another quick turn around and then another guest joined us in Nantwich to Penkridge.  When he'd departed  we trudged on to Stone in the wind and rain and then spent a few days on shoreline in Aston Marina.  IT was nice to see my friends again (who are there now for the winter ) and when the time came to leave, we began our trip back up north where we're to spend the winter. The plan HAD been Aston but with winter stoppages planned, IF they over run (and lets face it that's highly likely) we'd NOT be able to begin next season in the right place at the right time.  

So here we are ... effectively trapped in a tier 3 area for a month at least with no chance of doing any trips.  On the plus side, I HAVE done the 4200 hour service and also gotten rid of 20 litres of waste oil to be used as fuel for a boat yards heating system.

Here's a photo of me having a nap after that picnic we had down by the river near the Ponty what's it's name? aqueduct.

I think that was the last sleep I had lol - nothing to do with a big swig of oramorph to ease my poorly toe - WHICH is still sore btw if anyone cares.

Until next time... (when I'll hopefully be feeling more chipper)

Friday, 2 October 2020

LONG overdue update, a bit (well lot) of a moan, a broken toe and a dislocated shoulder!

 Righty ho - I'm finally back here for a catch up.... not really with any spare time as such, but we've stopped early today due to Storm 'Alex' making progress difficult and bloody miserable!  

WHAT'S been happening I hear you ask? - well, having merged two trips together so as to enable a returning guest (who's barmy but lovely  who's great fun)  to celebrate her 70th Birthday on 'Ellis'   BEFORE then however, we took another trip down the Anderton Boat lift to enable easy mooring of the the boat near the supermarket to stock up - NOT before the lady had met us in Lymm at the pub to buy us lunch AND bring two caldrons of plants ( a few days before her trip) that were shortly going to be bursting into flower - we do get em!

I think you'll agree, they looked nice enough on the roof of the boat as we waited return passage up the lift.

In typical ginger style, whilst leaping back on to the boat like a fat ginger lump the athletic gazelle I am, I clonked my middle toe on my left foot on the dolly and apart from pushing the nail back through the bed and causing it to bleed profusely for days, I think (from the ongoing pain) I must have broken it.  Having consulted 'Dr Google' the consensus being nothing can be done other than strapping it to another to until it heals...  suffice  to say, nearly a month on it 's still blooming painful - NOT that I'm moaning about it so much now and after the initial 3 weeks of not being able to wear anything on it other than crocs, I can now at least tolerate a trainer.

We did our 'covid clean' (which is just the same as a normal one tbh) and collected our guest near The Old Broken Cross at Northwich.  After the usual ching wag and glass of fizz, we began our trip to Llangollen.

AS you'll know if you read this (and yes I admit I've been really crap lately at writing it... so much so in fact, the other day a woman passed by on another boat and shouted " I still read your blog but you need to pull your finger out" ) you'll know, GENERALLY I'm quite forgiving of hire boaters doing silly things...  HOWEVER, just as we ascended our first locks of the trip in Middlewhich, we encountered  hire boat "mid hand over" who 'stole our lock' just as we'd come up and one had come down in the middle pound...  meaning I had know where to go in the wind other than the far side - the so called expert (the chap doing the hand over from the bank side) then shouted at me that I'd need to move as the boat was 70 foot long and needed the space to turn... I'm afraid I shouted back and explained what a poor example of boating etiquette HE'D just demonstrated to the hirers... and have to admit to sulking about it for a fair few hours after.


Next day I was in a better mood and we stopped off at Church Minsull where, we took a walk into the pub for a lunchtime glass of vino - OVER priced at £19.50 for 3 glasses!

Still, the "socially distanced" toilet in the loo did give me a giggle.

AND the scramble back up though the woods was pleasant enough.

We continued our journey and after a detour up the Shroppie to Calverley Services (to dump some rubbish that Venetian Marina wouldn't take when we filled up with diesel) and were soon on the Llangollen canal again... our trip was interesting as we encountered several hire boats without the first clue of how to work a lock - the result being queues of 5-6 boats soon mounting up.  

LUCKILY, the bosun is now well versed with bossing people about at providing assistance, so he and Chrissie went to the front of the queue to sort things out and in Much less time than it could have been, we were making reasonable progress.  We went a bit further than we'd planned to (once the hirers had stopped so as not to be behind them again the following day) and due to an early start, there was even time the following morning for an impromptu "zoom" Zumba session - on the towpath...  luckily, the captain had enough sense the night before NOT to agree to join in... unlike David. 

It was an exercise theme to continue throughout the rest of the trip lol.  OUR 70 year old not behaving like a 70 year old AT ALL!

The weather was behaving itself quite nicely so we decided to take a segway down the Monty branch...  Chrissie insisting on working the locks and remembering about the "blow holes" I was ready with my camera when we began our descent.

 I'd forgotten HOW shallow it is down there... not so bad when you are in the middle of the channel but whenever you meet a boat coming the other way, BOTH parties get grounded quite often.  Still, the journey to the end of the navigable section was enjoyable and we spent a lovely while down there... 

We even  went exploring on the kayak...NOT quite so sure where we'd stand insurance wise (although the kayak IS licensed properly) but you can't keep a game bird down with trivialities like that so we did it anyway...  NO Matter.  It was a lovely change from the chug of the engine.

Once our sojourn down the Monty was over with, we continued up stream - NOT before I'd been made to walk nearly 6 miles STILL with a broken toe to a pub for a drink... I barely moaned about as you can imagine...IN my crocs - them being all I could tolerate at the time!

A little farther on, I threw an "I'm sick of cooking" tantrum so we went out for tea in the Poachers Pocket in Chirk...  nice enough, a crappy selfie but these days you can't ask someone to take a photo  - apparently!

On route back to the boat we bought some eggs (as you do) and then had a "gin tasting night" .... the next day us ALL thinking the former was perhaps NOT the greatest idea we'd had!

Still, we had an easy day planned with a ramble along the aqueduct and picnic lunch down by the river underneath - David took his drone and this photo was the best quality he could take due to the fact he'd forgotten to put a memory card in it! - it IS us 3 having a lovely picnic though... my toe was really hurting so I'd been swigging oramorph on route  .

.. the result being me having an afternoon nap on the rocks by the river as they drank bubbles.

The remaining trip up from Trevor to Llangollen Basin was as interesting as usual with lots of chaotic moments including hire boaters AND live-aboards - all in great spirits.

Spending 2 nights in the basin, we were able to celebrate Chrissie's (I never know whether it should be Chrissy?) birthday with a surprise "unicorn cake" we'd kept hidden... and a rather dangerous candle which claimed to be safe for indoor use - we took no chances and I think the expression on her face, rather captured ALL our thoughts about said candle!

What this photo doesn't show is ME in  behind the camera with a fire-extinguisher to the ready!

We ended our trip with a birthday meal in the Cornmill Restaurant  - the usual one way system meaning that if you want a wee you have to go out the back door, round the outside, back in the front door and then repeat to get back to your table ... it's all a bit silly really but the sheeple seem to think it will stop covid spreading...  AND given how brainwashed we've all become, folks walking their dogs down the towpath wearing masks seem to think it'll make a difference.

Oh dear - If I'm not careful I'll end up on a rant about it...

MOVING away from that - we said our goodbyes following 2 weeks of laughs and adventurous japes - the down side being we only had 1 day to turn around and get the boat prepped for our new guests who were due on at Chirk the next afternoon... in the (rushed) process of mooring up, I took a tumble into the canal between the bank and the boat - only up to my groin and dislocated my shoulder during the attempt at not falling further...  this meant more pain (well i suppose it distracted me from my toe for a few days) but it went back in without too much hassle as I have quite lose shoulders...  FINALLY something useful about being genticially flawed lol

With new guests on board, we began another trip up to Llangollen Basin and then on to Ellesemere before returning 4 days later.  We had fun with them too but my photos seem to be missing...  no idea what I've done on my phone but hey ho.  It was their first trip on a narrowboat and they've booked to come again next year which is lovely... 

When they left, we had another next day turn around (5 loads of washing and drying being a bit of a schlepp  on a boat) but we did it and all was fine... I'll up date about that trip next time.  RIGHT now, time is cracking on and I've got dinner to cook.

until next time...

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Still here - just busy

Sorry - this isn't an update... it just a quick note to prove I'm still alive and all is well... busy but well.

We're back on route to Llangollen now... 'will update when we  stop for air.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Northwich to Manchester to Tarleton to Liverpool - at last!.. PHOTO HEAVY

It's been quite a busy time sine I was last here...  I'll explain.  Whilst down 'playing' on the Weaver, I had a call from a chap wanting to know if we could fit him in before our next planned trip.

Being skint thanks to covid and lack of support from Boris EVER amenable, we quickly worked out a plan to offer a 3 night trip on the river AND incorporate the return journey up the Anderton Boat lift at the same time.

This meant initially that we might have to abandon the planned trip the other way (down to Runcorn) on the river given the restricted locking operational days.

Tying up in Northwich the night before the chap was due to arrive, it  had all gotten a bit congested and when we went to fill the water tank, we "lost" our space.  Looking across to the Marina (with apparent spaces) it seemed logical to give them a call and see if we could tie up for the night - plugged in to shoreline.

The lovey Heather was most helpful and we were able spend the night on a floating pontoon - plugged in to the national grid.

Having developed a bit of a rapport with the chap arriving, I'd explained he'd need to sign our covid disclaimer and agree to having his temperature taken twice daily - (infrared rather than rectally)😉  and David even made a valiant effort at a "duck" towel for him...

If you are coming along at some point, don't expect this every time... we had time on our hands lol.

Once our guest was on board (and covid proofed), we discussed options... he was game to head down stream and try to get to the end of the river and back in the time... in the end, we had MORE than enough and ended up almost wasting  time.  At least heading down stream meant we wouldnt get stuck if the lockie was forced to work to rule - the locks holding up to 24 boats at a time!

We spent our first night together moored just after the last lock - the plan being to chug down to the "end" the following day before overnighting at Devil's Garden (referred to as enchanting in the guide) in readiness for our return up stream the next day...

It was a nice enough evening, but the next morning the wind had gotten up and rain was intermittent.

The run down to Runcorn was uninspiring and the squalls coming and going made for some miserable cruising - still, we made the best of it and stopped off to take a look over at the ship canal.

ON our return, the rain was awful and on tying up at Devil's Garden, we STILL decided to go for an exploratory walk... in the mud!

Still, AFTER our walk, the sun DID return and the evening ended nicely.

Next day we returned to Northwich for our final night with our guest and then went up the boat lift as planned.  Saying goodbye to him, we winded and then began our journey to pick up the next guest.  Alas, he emailed to cancel as due to the quarantine restrictions imposed (he was coming from overseas) he'd be unable to join us in Runcorn on Sunday as planned.    

Rather then detour to Runcorn, we hatched a revised plan to head straight to Manchester and have a couple of nights in the Marina again - where I planned to paint the roof, fit some fairleads and give the boat a good clean.  Once again, PLANNING to do jobs meant something would break... THIS time it was my drill - it finally burned out drilling the holes for the fairleads and that necessitated a walk to screwfix to buy a replacement (I'd only drilled 1 of the 4 holes when it melted)...

The walk from the marina to the shop wasn't too far (circa 1.5 miles each way) but in the  heat by the time we'd got there (and put on the required mask to enter the store) I could understand perhaps why so many folks get agitated wearing them... I have to admit it should be ALL folks in the shops not just the customers... no point in moaning about that however.  The walk back, did introduce me to a sad sign of the times... masks now beginning to litter the streets!

Once back in the marina, I finished fitting the fairleads, washed down the roof of the boat and then applied a coat of paint.  To be honest, it was WAY too hot to be painting but I added a bit of white-spirit to the paint and made as good a job as I could ...  it's ok and has at least sealed in the non-slip granules properly now.

IT really did get hot though - being in the marina (in full sun all day) the boat was like a sauna...

Although for some reason, "Vinny" the marina managers dog, didn't seem to want to sit in the shade of the parasol -opting for full sun!

When our time was up, we left and headed off towards Appley Bridge where our next guest was due to join us.  The weather still kind to us, we enjoyed the trip along the Bridgwater to the Leigh Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool

We spent a night at Pennington flash where I witnessed my first "live" mirmiration (sorry no photos - I did take a video but can't find it now)and then went on through Wigan in the sun (for a change) before tying up in the old lock arm after Appley Bridge - a leak recently occurring there has meant crt have filled the hole, cut down some trees and taken the edge off the mooring... THAT said, I did at least see many kingfishers whilst there so it's not all bad.  I've got some photos somewhere that David took and once I work out how to get them out of Whats app into my normal gallery, I'll upload them!

Once our guest arrived, we chugged off towards our ultimate destination of Liverpool.  Having looked at the map, we decided there'd be time for a quick diversion down the Rufford branch to Tarleton (Ribble link) so that was a nice detour.

Although a lot longer than I remembered it from 2018

Once back on the mainline, we chugged on to Maghull and through to Melling where we planned to stop the night before the run into the docks - reputation of the rough areas ahead being our primary motivation.  The canal beyond Maghull was quite weedy and after way too many trips down the weedhatch, once tied up for the night, we decided to head out to the Bootle Arms for tea (taking advantage of Boris's "eat out to help out" discount.  

It was nice enough  - if a bit chaotic.

The journey next morning towards Litherland left a lot to be desired...  the canal being full of junk and general yuk.  

Once at Litherland services, we stopped to get rid of rubbish and top up the water tank .  As the wind began to get up again that proved to have been a good idea... 

It rained solidly from Litherland through Bootle to Eldonian village and by the time we arrived at the locks, I was soaked to the skin.  Jules (the lockie) was there and helped work us down through the flight - providing information and advice at each lock.  

Not many boats in ... and even less as I type this (Saturday morning) as 2 left yesterday before the link was closed due to high-winds....

More are due to arrive today (them being held at Eldonian village over night) so hopefully we'll have a few neighbors before the day is out.

We got  until Wednesday now to explore and experience Liverpool - it's good to FINALLY have made it here on the boat after a couple of thwarted previous attempts.

Until next time...