Saturday, 16 January 2016

Snake in the bed

Jan is quite convinced she awoke in the early hours of this morning to find herself in the grip of a boa constrictor which had her completely imobilized and teetering on the edge of the bed.  It didn’t attack me and nor did I notice it when I gave my love a gentle cuddle during the night.  It’s a mystery!

As usual; Jan was up this morning before the sparrows.  Apparently she heard the hail on the cabin roof and the last of it was definitely on the towpath.  The roof also had a layer of frost.  However the day started warmer because it was raining rather than snow.  We waited until the rain passed and the sky cleared before heading south.  It looked as If we would have a great cruising day with blue sky, sunshine and no wind.  It was cold, but with no wind and almost no boats moving it was lovely weather to be on the move.

Jan was trying to take a photo of a shy heron but each time she raised her camera he flew slightly further away. Eventually she managed a shot of him on a distant hillside whilst he waited for us to pass.


A large black clound appeared behind us as we approached Chas Harden Boats.  Jan said it was catching up with us but on a more positive note I said it would go north.


Can you see the last of the hail on the towpath

We passed blog reader Nick’s boat just below Beeston Iron Lock.

P1020269That black cloud caught us just as we were leaving the lock (Jan was right) and we got peppered with small hailstones.  Suddenly the pleasant cruise wasn’t so nice.  We kept moving in the hope that it would pass over and 30 minutes later the hail/rain ceased, however it was overcast rather than sunny.

I took this next photo of a dwelling near the lock.  What interested me was the large window and gable above the front door.  It suggests there may originally have been a set of doors to the second floor.  The building might have been a barn or storehouse?


From this point onwards the locks were in our favour and eventually we reached the CRT boat facilities at Calveley where we stopped to top up the water tank.  The plan was to also complete a toilet tank pumpout but the hose wasn’t sufficiently long enough to reach Waiouru so that will have to wait.  It’s only three weeks since we last emptied the tank so it’s less than half full.

It was a left turn at Barbridge Junction and onto the Middlewich Branch.  Back to skinny locks and it Is most noticeable how much quicker they are to fill and empty.  A large black cloud which had been chasing us caught up at the lock and started to make our cruising miserable.  We decided to moor for the day on the 48 hour visitor moorings halfway between Cholmondeston and Minshill locks.  The towpath and grass verge here was sodden and very muddy.  We’d just completed tying up Waiouru to the rings when Jan noticed the large sheet of ice in the water immediately in front of the boat.  This stretch of the canal is a cuttting with trees on either bank and we guessed it gets little sun at this time of the year.  Consequentially we decided to press on despite the rain.  Eventually the rain cleared just as we reached Minshull Lock. 

By now it was 3pm and the light was starting to fail.  We continued on but it started to rain again so we called it a day outside Aqueduct Marina. 

The water in the calorifier was piping hot after running both the engine and the central heating. A very hot shower for each of us along with a change into warm dry clothes was most welcome.  Weather permitting, we should reach Middlewich tomorrow.


Les Biggs said...

I would say it was a building for animals and had a hay store in the loft.

Tom and Jan said...

That's a very logical explanation