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Friday, April 02, 2010

Easter at The Port

We set of from Christleton at 7 and headed down the locks into Chester. At the staircase we where joined by Alex from NBs Witchcraft & Bewitched for the trip down to the boat museum.

On arrival at the Port we moored up in the top wide lock abreast of George & Irene Boyle on Sandbach. We then spent quite some time trying to clear our prop, eventually we moved about a ton of coal to bring the counter up and Brian stripped off to the waist and leaned in under the counter to eventually clear of the rope, plastic & wire off the blades.

It's been nice catching up with some old friends & we are looking forward to a pleasant weekend.
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Northwich to Christleton

Set of at 6.30 and had decent clear blue skies but still a cool wind. Made good progress up Middlewich locks and sold a bit of coal. Did a bit more trade at the start of the Middlewich Branch and then headed of to Barbridge. At the Junction we headed north stopping at Calveley services for a refreshing shower. We had a pleasant afternoon stopping for a chat with John Roberts & Big Al at Beeston Stone Lock. Once down the locks we made slow but steady progress along the long pound towards Chester passing GU motor Seaford (pictured) and Claytons motor Spey. We tied up abt 8 by the Old Trooper at Christleton.

We clothed up & headed of to get some food & beer at the Ring 'o Bells in the Village. We had heard good reports of this pub but we were left a bit disappointed as the range of cask beer was bland with a choice of Green King IPA, Courage Directors, or Ruddles County - no local or regional beer at all. The black pudding starter was very tasty, but the rump steak asked for as medium rare came well done. We later joined the crew of spey ( John Watson, David Macc & Tom) for a drink, they had also heard good reports this pub but were equally underwhelmed by the beer range saying that the Cheshire Cat where they were moored was better.

Anyway enough moaning and groaning, just a last days boating to go, down into Chester & along to the Port
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Lift in the weather

Set of just after 7 from Marston & grabbed a shower at Anderton Services. Arrived at the lift at 8.30 but first passage we could get down was 10.15, which was then slightly delayed to a computer fault. We had a bit of banter & gossip with the lift operators and then out onto the River Weaver.

The weather was horrible with driving rain, sleet & hail. We made our deliveries at Dutton Lock, Saltisford Lock, Barnton & Northwich Town before Winding at Hunts Lock. Here there was a crane barge leaving the lock so as they followed in behind us we got to see the footbridge at BW Northwich Yard being swung open in a most unusual manner, we'd like to see the risk assesment on that job.

We managed to get the 4pm passage back up the lift & headed south again stopping at Broken Cross to diesel up the Claytons tar boat Dane & butty Clara. Here we managed to pick up some electrical cable around the prop & spent a fairly fruitless hour trying to get it off.

We tied up for the night at Bilinge Green Flash & had a very fine eveningin the company of Roy & Mel (NB India), Tom & Gaynor (NB Hunters Moon) and James & Heather (NB Matilda May). Good Craic and excellent music with Heather singing & playing the guitar and James on the flute & whistle. Thanks for a great night guys.
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Crane Barge at Hunts Lock

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Middlewich to Sandbach, Heading North???

We woke this morning to the phone ringing, our diesel delivery driver was up a bit early. Ann Marie nipped to the shops & then it was time to load a lorry load of coal onto Alton.

We set of at 11.30 down thru Middlewich stopping for a few customers in the town pound and below Kings Lock. By 4pm the black clouds caught us and gave us a good drenching. Near Marston Salt works we met George Boyle with his tug Sandbach just off the dock from Ashton Packet. We both winded & tied up at the Salt Barge. At 7.50pm they had stopped serving food so Ann Marie russled up an impromptu tea whist George & Brian sampled the Salt Barges fine ales (nothing to write home or to the blog about, we wonder why pubs are closing down every week). Anyway we have our own mini historic boat gathering here at Marston with the Claytons' Pearl, GU Titania, Alton & Sandbach.

Plan for tomorrow is to try & get the first passage down the lift, then deliveries at Dutton Lock, then Hunts Lock & hopefully back up the lift before end of play.
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Heartbreak in the Rain

We set of at 6 this morning in the rain & we were into the tunnel at 10 to 8. All the way down the Cheshire Locks the rain came down. We stuck in Lock 63 Malkins Bank Towpath side, it seems that the lockwall or centre island between the 2 locks is moving. With some help from Ade of NBs Walton & Serpens we managed to flush Alton out of the Lock. We also had help on locks 60 to 65 from Phil on NB Aurora.

A busy afternoon with plenty of customers around Wheelock & Crowsnest. We tied up at Kings Lock at 7pm, in time for a fish & chip supper, yum yum.

Tomorrow we are loading in the morning then making are way towards Anderton. We are hoping to meet up with George Boyle on NB Sandbach as he is coming the opposite way round the Cheshire Ring. Then Wednesday morning we are planning to go down the lift onto the Weaver.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Viking Marauders on the T&M

Well after making reasonable progress down Bosley Locks this morning we dropped of the film crew at Buglawton & enjoyed a fairly leisurely few hours boating on the lower Macc, just stopping for 3 customers. With a bit of time to spare we decided to nip down to the Caldon to meet our friend on Skylark at Etruria. We reached Harecastle Tunnel just at 3pm (ensuring our passage) and we found the tunnel keepers at both portals to be chatty, pleasant & helpful - how refreshing!

At Festival Garden we stopped to supply diesel to Steve on Bream, when what should we see coming towards us but a Viking Longboat complete with a team of oarsman. Apparently Stoke had been invaded by the Vikings for a re-enactment weekend. This boat is a full size replica of a Viking raiding party vessel. Sometimes people say do you live on a long boat? We say no it's a narrowboat, you don't get Viking longboats on the english canals,- how wrong we where.
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Ben on the tiller

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Goodbye to the film Crew

We have had a fun few days with a film crew aboard producing a program for NHK Japanese TV. The crew consisted of Hiroko, (Producer/Director), Ben (Cameraman) and Dave (Soundman). They were a good team and we had a laugh and they didn't hold us up too much. We don't know what they made of us and our mad lifestyle but they mucked in well. We even got Ben on a windlass and on the tiller, just not at the same time. Cheers Guys!
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