Friday, 27 May 2016

Up and at 'em, the locks that is

This was the view last night after all the tractors had cleared there was just peace, quiet and the sunset.

David wanted to set off for the locks early today, well of course he did, all that pretend farminess has had its effect.  I too am very happy to report for early duties when needs must and we wanted to get on with the flight.
As we pulled out, another man was at the helm, awaiting his wife, he called out to David "I thought I was going to be first this morning"  I bet there was tongue pie and cold shoulder served up.

There was a right kerfuffle at this bridge hole when unbeknown to us, we separated a new family....

None died, behind the adult there were three more.

Here he comes around the bend, just moments after us.

First lock and it was in our favour, it bodes well for the flight

A fair old leak on this one.

I think this house has been extended three times through the ages, 
A lot of dog walkers around this bit, the canal is pretty rural and we haven't seen that many people walking along but here masses.

After two locks there was this longer pound with several boats moored, NB Pern caught my eye as its almost WaL's twin.  First NB I have seen looking so closely like us.
This pound is where it all went wrong, lock wise that is, clearly a boat had pulled out from here and going downhill, as from here on all the locks were against us, (And the boat behind us too).

 The Audlem Flight was really a pleasure today.  The sun shone, the people sang and were happy, well that bit was me anyway and then joy of joys, as we  progressed down there were boats coming up.  To a non boaty Reader, if you meet a boat coming the other way at locks this halves your workload as you don't have 
 shut the gates behind you.
Everyone's a winner.
As the locks slipped past us I think there are 15 in total, it seemed that there was a boat at every lock, all the world and hi mother were out, fantastic!  The weather forecast for the next day was HORRID, all rain so that was probably the reason, all making a dash for it.

Oh dear, more expense.

Hawthorn I think, in full bloom now.

I am not sure if this was stabling, or a pump house or both, but I love the roof.

That's David in the centre.

So here we are all arrived at the famous Shroppie Fly pub, this photo doesn't  really show but it was a right Bun Fight on arriving, one boat in the lock coming up, two boats on the water point here right outside the pub one of these wanted to reverse onto the five day moorings on the other side, another hovering, then David came through the bridge hole from the last lock and joined in the fun.  It all ended well after a few laughs.

This above was our view form the moorings for a couple of days, glorious sunshine all day.

The nest day had supposed to have been rain all day so we went in the car on a day trip to Nantwich, as you can see the weather wasn't too bad at all, and here are some of the timber framed buildings.

Our flat dangly bit.... 

We departed after 48 hours from Audlem to go into the marina here, a most attractive one allied Overwater.  As I have said we have been home ten days now and in 25 minutes we leave for the airport, the family are all taking David and I to Budapest for the weekend to celebrate his 60th (This was actually last year but due to them all using their annual leave going to NZ for the wedding in 2015 the trip had to be postponed. So you'll be hearing form me later on.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

There's a tiny bit of randomness going on here.

So I am sorry to have to continue the theme of the Reader working out which order these all belong in but you know my mother would say "Worse things happen at sea"

So I don't know who it was that switched the camera off of auto and onto sepia, cats mother I think but here we have a nice arty shot of a Turnover Bridge, that is to say to any non boaty people reading this, that the horse pulling the narrowboat on a long long rope could go up the bridge on the right, walk over the bridge and come down towards the camera on the left hand side of the photo, then go under the bridge, on the tow path and continue on its journey now on the other side of the canal and all without having to unfasten the towing rope.  
Clever or what? Plus an object of beauty. 

Good idea not to moor up where narrowboats are wanting to turn around

Well they have left a gap I suppose......

I love this red stone of this bridge.

So eventually we are arrived at the beginning of the locks.  So there are two smaller flights of locks and then the Audlem Locks, so we were happily going along and oh my goodness admiring the views.

Here is the view from the second and third lock

Quite fierce side races here but this one is covered better than some others

NB Constance

So as I say making happy progress and I went ahead to do this lock with a very nice lady who's boat was coming towards us and during our brief conversation the nice gentleman above, (I am so sorry I didn't ask your names) explained to me that this pound was very shallow and that our boats should pass close to each other in the centre of the pound, I thanked him and jogged back to tell David as we are new here.  Yes fine and off they went, I then returned to the furthest away lock again and as NB Constance moved away, he called out that he read my blog!  I was most surprised and asked him how he knew I wrote one, I recognised your hair as you walked down the towpath he replied,  so it seems having boat hair has some benefits.  
Lovely to have met you both, next time perhaps we'll have a bit longer to talk.

I do hate to see unstable looking brickwork in locks.

So onward again and away from the trees and out into the sunshine and how lovely to be really warm in the sunshine too.  We had been told of a great farm shop along here at the top of the Adderley flight and suddenly there it was, selling pork pies, scones, then some scones with jam and the ones I brought were scones with jam and clotted cream.  David had a pork pie which were huge and sadly got eaten before I could snap a photo.  They also sell gammon, sausages and steaks.

So off we go again and we are following down a very nice Steve Hudson boat, and behind us a hire boat with a couple onboard.

There was quite a delay while the boat in front was waiting for the third lock of five to fill.  I went along to help/chat and finally the two of them heaved the gate open.  Our go and I turned the lock, or tried to.  While that was doing I went ahead to prep the next one, then came back to our lock so to speak.   Eight or nine inches short, I walked to the downhill gates to check the paddles were properly shut and they were.  
No joy.
So after much discussion and heaving we decided after looking at the leakage from the downhill gates to empty the lock again try to close the gates more closely and refill the lock again.  In fact the hirer from the boat behind us, came to help and between the four of us, we kept the gates closed tightly and us girls opened the paddles again.  
The lock filled to the same level, eight or nine inches short.

By a horrible coincidence, the lady from the Steve Hudson boat in front of us, had walked back to say that the boat in front of them had gone through a bridge hole on the fourth lock, walloped an underwater obstacle and displaced his rudder.   The following Hudson boat had felt the knock underneath but it hadn't affected him but he had pulled up to help his travelling companion.   

So picture this Reader, four boats in five locks at a standstill. 

We rang CART.  Sometime later a nice man in a van arrived to help.   He started with our lock and pretty quickly deduced that one paddle had broken and with the leakage at the bottom gates the lock would never fill.

While he repaired it, another boater from the moorings below  the locks, walked back (To buy another pork pie) and told us all of a old traditional boat had gone down the flight yesterday and he had dropped each of the paddles without using a windlass at all.  It had infuriated him at the time and now having seen that the paddles are held by a bolt, if they are left to drop Wallop, it damages the bolt, shortens its life and causes unnecessary call outs by the engineers taking resources away from other problems.  
I give notice now that whenever I see people of any description dropping paddles I shall report them directly to CART.

Hours later we were off again.  The chairs had been out, the pork pie eaten, a glass of enjoyed.  So with the rudderless boat still struggling there awaiting RCR to help them, we crept throughout the bridge hole, engine off and rope pulling it through, not a hint of a bump, we think the second boat had knocked the obstruction completely out of the way.

So out of the last lock and we moored up straight away, you can spot us 6th boat from the left.  There were lots of spaces when we moored up but boats arrived all late afternoon.

The Hudson boat made it and moored up too somewhere here.

 We went for a walk.    Dearest darling calves gambolling about  and the farm had its own road!  A cul-de-sac with only an impressive farm there.

I asked him if he missed farming...

I don't think he said yes, however he watched through binoculars he silaging right opposite the boat all evening!

So the grass is mown and rowed up into rows then this machine picks it up, chops it and blows it into the wagon.

All ready for the off, then its "Keep the kettle boiling" 

Full wagon and off he goes to unload at the farm

NEXT! Phoar look at the dust.

Final word of the day goes to David, these two had raced by and as David was polishing the front of the boat they returned and in loud voices, one was describing how he met his current girlfriend.... "We were both in the process of splitting up, we went out to ******* "
"Thats an odd place to go for a date" said the other one
splash splash splash

"Can you slow done please mate" calls David, "I want to hear the end of this story!" loud guffaws from the one listening to this story, David and myself and stony face from the teller.

Supper was this

I added extra jam to the scones form the Farm Shop.  Bloody brilliant.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A step back in time

Now for Purests in the blogging world this post may annoy you a bit.  I have to confess that we are home again and having photos on three devices, its proving tricky for me to get thing exactly in the correct order.  But on the plus side you can be assured all the photos are of the Shropshire Union Canal, just different sections of it.
Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Now these two boats will need little introduction from me, its President and its Butty Kildare, but if you don't know look 
HERE  On their generally way to the Crick Boat Show I would think, all manned by volunteers who are dressed the part and a bit like Father Christmas, greet fans and the bemused alike. It was a fantastic sight from the pub's dining room window we were in.

This is the rock through this cutting....

This is shaped blocks alongside the rock from previous centuries.

Then on the extreme right you can see todays maintenance to support the cutting

A short distance along substantial repairs to this section.

A carved out roof

A great view of where they carved the tunnel 

This is an interesting bridge, was the middle section to stabilise the structure?

Looks like a later addition, telephone wires now disconnected.

We were told about this pub miles and miles away, its famous locally.   HERE   Although its a pub, its is how its always been since it was built in mid victorian times.  Inside it has what look like high backed church pews, one is curved and has its back to the door so as to protect the customers from any draught.  I would have liked to have taken some pictures of the interior but it seemed rude to.  We met Olive, the Landlady who has been there since the 1960's I think.
Its absolutely fascinating.

Beautiful gate onto the canal towpath.  I love gates.

This was the pretty sunset walking back to WaL that night.