Monday, 2 September 2013

Visitors and through Chester

Last night blog readers Steve & Chris kindly called in to spend some time with us having read we were in their area.  They are in the midst of having a boat build by Fernwood and it’s of course an exciting time for them.  It was interesting to hear that their shell was built by Alexander Boat Builder as that is where Waiouru’s shell was originally going to be fabricated.  Jim Alexander builds a beautiful shell so we know Amy-Jo will look lovely.  I’m not going to write much more about the design and construction of Amy-Jo because it’s Steve & Chris’s story and they have their own blog <link here>.

But of course we did discuss the usual boatie subjects well into the evening.  In fact we became so engrossed that I failed to take a photo.  Steve wasn’t so slow and managed to take a snap with his phone camera as they were leaving.

This morning Jan rudely prodded me at 7.30am for my weekly Sunday call to dear old mum back in Perth.  You would have thought Jan would know by now that I need my beauty sleep.  Well actually I need more time to fill out the wrinkles and crevasses. I tried eating them out which resulted in having fewer but they got deeper!  Listening to mum sometimes reminds me of what I have to look forward to in 20 years……… Oh, I hope not!  It’s no wonder she is small and skinny these days….. The doctors appear to have removed much of her insides in addition to making a big hole in her savings! Smile

It was a later than usual start to the day and the first task was to move forward a couple of hundred metres to the nearby water point and fill the tank.  That done, we dropped down five wide locks to find a vacant mooring just short of Iceland.  No..!  Not the country you idiots….. Iceland the supermarket.  The toilet tank is big enough to get us to Iceland (the country) but not the diesel tank! 

It was only a short trip to the nearby Tesco where we played load and unload the trolley.  I put the interesting, tasty, expensive stuff in the trolley and Jan then returned them to the shelves.  Actually she is getting cunning and ensures there’s almost no money on the debit card in my wallet.  She has a second card that George Osborne would just love to own!

The plan was to drop down through the staircase locks and cruise around to the vicinity of Deva Aqueduct which would make us close to the Cheshire Oaks Retail Park.  Jan could then use her debit card in Dunelm Mill, Hobbycraft and Marks & Spencers.

The length of canal between Iceland and the staircase flight of 3 locks appears to be quite narrow.  However I suspect this is an illusion created by the towering walls of old Chester.

Passing the 48 hour moorings

The bridge across the canal leads to Northgate St.  I assume this means the bridge lead to the ‘North Gate’ through the city walls.

Looking back. 

I’m not sure if this smaller gate is original or was constructed later.  I must go for a good walk around the walls and get a better idea of the layout.

We arrived at the staircase flight of 3 locks to find them all full.  The lower two have to be empty so Jan volunteered to go down and raise the paddles whilst I looked after our valuables on Waiouru.  I must be very efficient because I even managed to dispose of the rubbish in the adjacent CRT bins whilst waiting for Jan to raise and lower six large paddles.  Just to prove I wasn’t totally helpless I opened the upper gates to the top lock and manoeuvred Waiouru into the lock before closing the gates behind.  There was even time to take a photo of Jan resting.

A family arrived on cycles and stopped to watch.  The two small girls were very interested in the whole process and managed to volunteer their mum into opening the gates.

These would be some of the deepest double locks we’ve done in several months.

The lock keeper turned up just as Jan was finishing the last lock and Jan commented to him that they were hard work  and “did many people use them?”  Apparently not!  Immediately below the staircase there is a 90° turn to the right and the canal then runs parallel with the link to the River Dee.  It’s another three locks down to the river but we are going straight ahead.  Looking back it’s possible to see our route to the left.  What looks to be a dry dock in the middle with a roof over the top, and the locks down to the River Dee to the right.  Behind the dry dock are the 48 hour moorings (which were all full)

A little further on some working boats were moored on the left.

The plan was to moor near Devas Aqueduct but we couldn’t get near the edge.  The canal is so shallow Waiouru was running aground about 4ft from the bank.  In the end we found a spot further along which has left Waiouru’s stern about three feet from the bank.  Hopefully there won’t be any more boats today which will avoid us getting pushed up onto the mud leaving us with a list.

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