I gave in.
Trying to keep the batteries going was wearing me down... way too much battery management going on rather than enjoying boating - add to that guests who want to charge devices over night etc. and it was just getting too much.
SO - I bit the bullet and ordered 4 new ones from Tayna... next day delivery supposedly. A Saturday order, arriving Tuesday. In theory that would have been fine as we had a few days between guests so we'd booked in to New Mills Marina (which incidentally is quite nice ... the Lovey Sue and Rufus being very hospitable). I HAD tried to buy them from the Marina (whenever possible I DO try to give business to boatyards/marinas etc) but the only ones they had were the wrong size/ratings. I asked before ordering and they were perfectly happy for me to have them delivered there. All good (or so you'd think)...When they hadn't arrived by Wednesday morning, I began to get a bit miffed - we had guests to collect in Whaley Bridge from the 2.46 train so had to leave around lunchtime... STILL not batteries. Oh well, assuming they'd come in the afternoon, I arranged to call in the following morning as we chugged by on our travels to Marple.
You've guessed it though - by noon Thursday when we arrived... the batteries hadn't. Grrr. So there was only one thing for it... chug on and get back to our day.
Annoyingly, once we'd got to Marple (and tied up so our guests could have an explore) I got a phone call from the courier firm to say they were at the Marina with my batteries ffs. There wasn't time for us to turn around, head back to New Millls AND get back on track with out timings to make it to Bosley Locks (within the stupid 8.30 - 1pm restricted opening hours) so I resigned myself to having to wait until the end of this trip and then come back up for them . However, when an overseas guest then cancelled, it meant we wouldn't have needed to come back up - except for the batteries... ergo, I called a taxi and whilst did have to stomach a 30 quid fair, it did save a weeks chugging.... AND the cab driver helped me carry 2 of them back to the boat from the bridge in Marple.
It'd been quite nice having a few days off between customers - quite good timing too as my old phone (cracked screen) was playing up so it allowed time to get the train to Manchester to go to EE and get a new one - my contract had expired so the outcome of that is that I got a new phone AND saved 30 quid a month. Result.
Whilst rushing back to catch the train back, we bumped into my ex and his ex (at least I think they are still exe's ... who knows) - luckily there wasn't time to stop and chat and to be honest, it would have been very awkward for both the bosun and whoever the other chap was... we did exchange polite messages later in the day and both agreed, stopping and chatting would have been difficult. It's strange to find the prospect of talking face to face with someone you shared 14 years of your life with so daunting but there we are - life moves on.
A glass of wine and read in the evening sun later and all was well with the world again.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
As we worked our way down the Macclesfield canal, rather than (as usual) look for sunny spots to give maximum power to the batteries from the solar panels, SHADE was the order of the day as it was simply too hot for comfort... despite all portholes being open, the inside was like a furnace so we grabbed the last bit of shade (a bit too close to a bridge for comfort tbh) and then settled down for the day.
Still, having new batteries ready to fit, did mean I was able to relax a bit and just let the batteries get used up . The down side being having to store 4 bloody heavy lumps in the saloon... luckily, they sort of fitted either side of the chairs and didn't cause too much of a nuisance.
There was no way of fitting them after we stop for the day as the engine compartment is unbearably hot then... and no time to fit them on a morning before we start as due to tunnel and lock flight timings (not to mention the need to run the engine for hotwater first thing)... they'd have to wait until the guests had left.
Speaking (well writing) of guests, we had a nice time with them - a returning couple who whilst on occasions have opposing opinions to myself, were able to rub along nicely with mutual respect preventing major frictions... THEY get the 'live-aboard' experience and both of us enjoyed our time together... they even took us out for dinner on the last night as a thank you... which was much appreciated AND meant I had a meal in reserve for the freezer lol.
During our travels, we even got lucky (first time ever for 'Ellis') and dropped on to an empty pontoon mooring in Macclesfield town - another chance to put my feet up for half an hour and plod on with an awful book I'm forcing myself to get through... it's rubbish but I've only got about 100 pages to go now so I will finish it.
Once at Harecastle, we'd just missed the tunnel by 10 mins (sods law) but I did have a very productive conversation with a crt chap - it is possible! I'd been moaning about the tunnel times making a relaxing cruise difficult... he explained the thinking behind it being that the new manager wanted to make better use of the staff... so rather than have folks sitting around all afternoon at both ends of the tunnel waiting for a boat that may or may not arrive, by booking slots in the afternoon (and suggesting boats come early if they can) it frees up staff to go off elsewhere and do maintenance tasks, such as greasing etc. I get it... it's not ideal but finally something proactive from someone at CRT.
We were 2nd in a convoy of 4 boats and did get through about half an hour before our booked slot - that gave us the last mooring at Westport Lake and time for a wander around before tea... and of course a few mins feet up time again.
We spent our last night at Etruria and then got up early to get down Stoke locks (5 before breakfast) to the train station. We carried on (in thunder and torrential rain) all the way down to Stone - we'd half planned to stop off at Wedgewood but once soaked through figured we may as well just get there.
Luck was on our side again and we found a spot to moor just up from a couple of boaty friends. Having a couple of days spare, we made the best of things, explored Stone on foot and were lucky enough to be able to meet them in the pub for a lunchtime session.
It's not often we're able to stop and enjoy 'boat life' fully - but an afternoon in the pub drinking wine, chewing the cudd and generally being silly was wonderful. It was after 5pm (and probably 5 bottles of wine) by the time we left and made our way back to our respective boats... via Morrisons which on reflection was perhaps NOT the best idea. To say we bought the wrong stuff is an understatement. Bed by 7.30 though as we really were trolleyed... all good fun and a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Next stop was the Marina where we're over wintering (all booked and first 3 months paid for now) and time to change the batteries. It was the usual kerfuffle and I knew the day after my back/legs/ arms would be killing me... but it's done now.
I HATE doing that job!
Whilst in the engine hole, I spotted a choc block that connects the solar to the solar fuse, had melted a bit ... I must have not had a big enough one for the job so that meant a walk into town to get the biggest one I could find and that was replaced. The BSS is due in January so better to have spotted that now than then.
On route to town, I spotted a late clutch(if that's the right term) of cygnets - perhaps 'new' parents too...
I hope they get big enough to survive the winter before it arrives.
The down side of having the new batteries (and no car) was that I now needed to get rid of the old ones...in a new low , I loaded them onto a borrow cart from the marina (not approved of but I didn't ask) and walked them the half mile to the scrap yard... it nearly killed me in the heat but did raise another 45 quid for the blacking fund.
Due to another overseas cancellation, we now have a few days off again to do chores... plenty of them as always but I think we'll go boating up the Caldon first.
Until next time...
Oh btw - you may have noticed the Adverts have stopped appearing on the page... I know they are a pain but they DID generate a bit of passive income - alas, apparently some of the blog traffic 'clicks' have been from the same place and they've put me on block for violating their traffic policy... nowt to do with me if folks from the same ip address click on the adverts - however it has meant I'm on the naughty step for a month whilst they consider my appeal. Hey ho.