Lived onboard Hadar

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Week One of our time away.

As anyone reading this diary of Hadar knows were were off North for a few weeks until Yard Lock in Stone was open.
This is an account and photographs of our adventures. We were away 3 weeks so I will give you a week at a time, before adding another week in a day or two.
Many thanks for all the messages left for us, it is lovely to know people have been in and read our diary.

Monday 28th January.

The day finally arrived when we would be starting the first day of the rest of our lives aboard Hadar, continuously cruising the waterways of the UK. Neither of us could not wait, as more recently we have had the urge to get moving, but as you all know we have had engine problems and it has taken time to repair being a 1945 engine, you cannot go and buy the parts off of the shelf like with the newer engines in boats today. But as our boat is a working boat based on a boat my husband used to work on, we needed the engine to look the part and now it does. So today I had a visit to the vets with Marmite for her check up after she had been spayed, thankfully all was well, she was given the all clear. So having done a few things, including ringing the BW people to book a passage through the Harecastle Tunnel, we set off at 10.30am heading for Wedgwood bridge. The weather was lovely, there was not a breath of wind and the sun was out for most of the journey. We did not encounter any other boats on the move it was all quiet. We did the Meaford Locks and past through Barlaston, before mooring up at 12.50pm the north side of Wedgwood Bridge. We were greeted by the Canada Geese, who were pairing up ready for breeding. I heated up the homemade Vegetable soup I had made the night before and we had that with chocolate cake for afters. Keith and I then decided to have a walk around the Wedgwood factory.

We last went for a visit some 3 years ago, so it was nice to see that it is all change at the site. They have built a brand new Museum which will be open later on this year. They now also take you by mini bus to the production line at the factory, where you can walk around a set route and see how the china is made. It is truly amazing to see the process and the paintwork that goes into the final product. I spoke to one gentleman who has worked their since leaving school. He was painting Pegasus with a warrior onboard. He was telling me that it takes 50 hours to paint and £12,000 to buy, but it is a limited edition. We both found the place wonderful and will go back again sometime once the new state of the art museum is open. I reckon it is well worth the £8.25 entrance fee.
The day ended with us watching a little TV before having and early night.

Tuesday 29th January.

We had no plans as to what time we would leave our mooring at Wedgewood Bridge, but having woken up early we had breakfast and set off at 9am. I walked Paddy to Trentham Lock so he could do what all doggies do. I then set the lock for our boat. On through Trentham our friends Sheila & Chris were out in their garden as we passed by so we had a quick natter before heading on towards Stoke, we passed by the Britannia Stadium the home of Stoke City Football Club. Although it was a dull morning again there was no wind and it felt very mild. We arrived at Stoke Locks with a cruiser named Pickled Egg following us and a surprise awaited us at the lock as there was a scaffold plank wedged across the lock entrance, so unless Keith had taken a run at the lock there was no way of removing it or breaking it, the only way to remove it was to tie the bow rope around the plank and reverse the boat, this pulled the plank free and allowed us into the lock. As the cruiser was heading the same way we were, I set the locks for him as we exited them, he was on his own so it was the right thing to do. We had a pleasant cruise through the locks up to Etruria and on towards Harecastle Tunnel where we moored up for the night. We are booked to go through the tunnel in the morning. It turned out that we moored up just in time as the rain began to fall.

Here was my rant for the day. The one thing that was evident on our trip today was the amount of rubbish in the canal; some of this rubbish was from a couple of building sites close to the canal. I seriously think that something needs to be done about building contractors who allow their rubbish to pollute the canals. There should be fines in place for such disregard for the environment and wildlife. We came across, large plastic sheets, timber pallets, insulation and much more. It really seriously annoys me that they get away with this, not only that, coming through Stoke there are some warehouses, and they have allowed plastic and wooden pallets to fall into the canal. Surely someone out there should be making sure this does not happen again and that they are made to pull them out of the water. Ok rant over for today.

Wednesday 30th January.

Both Keith and I were awake early but did not get up until 8am; we could hear the rain pounding on the cabin roof, so we knew we were probably in for a wet trip once out of the tunnel. At 8.45am came a “Hello anyone on board” it was the tunnel guy, who had come over to check us in, give us a leaflet on tunnel safety, which we already knew from previous trips through Harecastle Tunnel, but it never hurts to re-educate ones self on the do’s and don’ts. He wanted us ready to go through the tunnel for 9am and was going to set the fans going to blow out the cobwebs, his words not mine. Paddy had a quick walk to relieve himself, whilst Keith did the boat checks, putting on the rear light, headlight and lights inside the boat, before starting the engine. As asked we were at the tunnel entrance for 9am, the rain was now pouring down.

Behind us was the little cruiser Pickled Egg who had followed us the day before. He was asked to go behind us as he had a petrol engine. Keith put in his ear plugs (yes you read right) because we knew that our engine would be very loud through the tunnel. We should have supplied the guy on the cruiser with some hahaha. So off we went, I stayed inside taking photos from the engine room. I was also watching the cruiser who at times was right up our stern. The problem with that was he was getting our wash, constantly he kept hitting the sides of the tunnel, his boat was weaving from side to side, at one point I heard a loud crack as his bike which was on the bow of the boat hit the tunnel wall, maybe next time he will stay further back as told by the tunnel keeper. Keith was more than happy with the way Hadar went through the tunnel, he said “she handled like a dream”. This was more than could be said for the cruiser behind us. As we exited at the North end of the tunnel the sun was out, it was like a different world, we moored up to put the chimneys back on allowing the cruiser to pass. He had an awful lot of damage to his cabin top corners, I could not see if his bike had suffered as well, but it would not have surprised me.

So the tunnel was behind us as we headed for Harding’s Wood Junction onto the Macclesfield Canal,

The cruiser was heading on down the Trent & Mersey canal thankfully. Moored up on its permanent mooring was our old boat Misty Lady, which we had sold last year. Andrew her owner was no where to be seen.

The Macclesfield is such a beautiful canal, lots of fields and trees, plenty of beautiful scenery including a distant view of Mow Cop. It looked as though BW had been busy over the winter as there was a new towpath along the canal; they had certainly made a lovely job of it. Our destination was Congleton to see friends, who live there but also have their own boat Pavo. I only had one lock to do at Hall Green and that is only about a foot deep so it was no hardship, before we cruised onto Congleton. We had our first sighting this year of a Kingfisher.

With no leaves on trees and bushes they are so much easier to see. With their vibrant plumage it was easy to spot. Throughout the journey we only met one other moving boat Willow an Elton Moss boat heading in the other direction, it was so peaceful. There were a few fishermen on the towpath who commented on how wonderful our engine sounded. It is so nice that the thump, thump of this 1945 engine is enjoyed, by others and not just us.

We reached Congleton at 12.50 pm and a mooring at the Wharf, there was no other boat there so we had the place to ourselves. The only noise we could hear once we turned off the engine was someone practicing on their drum kit. They probably got it for Christmas LOL. Whoever was playing the drums was actually pretty good. After some lunch I rang Win and she came and collected us to take us down to Morrison’s to get some provisions, we also had a look around the town, which has quite a few charity shops, our favourite shops LOL. We spent the evening at Ian & Win’s, Win cooked a lovely meal, whilst we caught up on all the news. It really felt quite odd being in a house for any length of time; we are so used to visiting friends on their boats. I know for sure I could not live in a house again, but one should never say never. It was a wonderful evening and we know we will see them on the cut when they take their boat Pavo out during the warmer months

Thursday 31st January.

Omg it was blowing a hooley outside. The forecaster said it would be bad that day and they were not kidding. I was woken up in the early hours by the waves on the canal lapping against the stern of the boat. The rain was lashing down, so I dressed for a wet walk with Paddy. Just as we were about to exit the boat the heavens opened with rain, hale and gusts of wind which would have knocked me off my feet, so we waited for it to blow over. Some 10 minutes later the sun appeared and Paddy and I made our way out of the back cabin. On the back counter the hale stone had piled up against the door, brrrrrrrrrrr it sent a shiver through me. Paddy looked very unhappy with the fact that he would have to walk in all of this, but a dog has to do what a dog has to do, so with a huge leap he jumped off of the stern. Walking in new places is always lovely and even Paddy gets to enjoy new smells. After his 30 minute walk we were back on the boat in the dry and warm, with breakfast ready and waiting for me.
Due to the wind we were not planning on moving, so it was a good time to get some chores done. Keith was busy in the engine room checking pipe work for any leaks and making sure joints were all done up. I on the other hand, made a stewing steak casserole, plus a bread and butter pudding for afters. I then had some washing to do, so we ran the generator for half an hour. It also gave us the chance to charge up our laptops and torch. We have been listening to the local radio and on the news it told of the death of Jeremy Beadle at the age of 59, geesh that sure puts life into perspective. I used to love watching him on his TV programs. They also gave out the weather forecast for tomorrow it is not great, they are forecasting snow yipppppeeeeee. We have already had a heavy snow shower.
I was so looking forward to having some snow on Hadar, for those wintry photographs. I want to get together enough photos for my next poetry book, which will have Hadar in it and on the front cover. But these things take time as I want the photos to be right. So bring on the snow yayyyyyyyyyyy. The washing finished so I had it hanging in the back cabin which was very hot, as I was cooking the casserole in the oven, as for the rest of the washing it was in the engine room, and would dry in a day or two depending on whether we have the engine running or not. Lunchtime consisted of Cheese on toast and a cup of coffee, the remaining bread went to a pair of swans who seem to know if they tap on your window they will get fed.

The cob actually had his head in through my galley window, making noises at me as if to say "feed us, come on, we know you have bread over". They even took the bread out of my hand, so it is fair to say they are used to this sort of thing from other boaters. .

Friday 1st February.

It may have been the beginning of February, but that did not improve the weather prospects. Constantly throughout the night I was woken up by the howling wind. My biggest fear was that if someone cut our ropes or untied us we would be blown into the wharf building on the other side of the canal. Stupid I know but one never knows these days. Anyway we were awake at 7am, so I got up and made us a cup of tea to have back in bed. We sat drinking tea and listening to the wind. It was certain we would not be moving again as the forecast was for strong winds and snow showers. Paddy however needed his walk, so it was waterproofs on and off we wet with the wind in our faces. To my surprise whilst walking back to the boat, I saw in the water a Koi Carp.
It was swimming close to the surface, on its merry way. It had to be at least one and half feet long, and goodness knows how much it would have weighed. It looked well fed hahahaha. Paddy found it very interesting. Back on the boat Keith and I decided that we would take a walk down to Congleton town centre for a change. So we donned our coats and hats for the short walk. As always when we are out it was the charity shops that we were interested in more than anything else. So I was pleased to pick up a white cotton tablecloth with around 4 metres of lace around the edge. Just what I was looking for to go in the back cabin, and at £3.50 it was cheap, as lace can be expensive at times. Keith bought brass cooking utensils and a rack that you hang them on, which is now hung in our galley looking very smart. We went to the Bread and Basil deli for a coffee and hot sausage roll. It is all very relaxing now that we do not have to be anywhere at a certain time, which is how canal life should be. Having been out for a couple of hours we walked back to the boat just as it began sleeting. The wind was definitely picking up so we were glad to be back in the warmth of the back cabin.

Keith had to run the generator for an hour to charge the batteries, and we will not be moving far for the afternoon as it has turned foul and Hadar is being thrown about a bit in the strong wind and hail falling.
Saturday 2nd February.

The forecasters got it right yet again, we had snow overnight, so as I opened the back cabin doors and saw a blanket of white yayyyyyyyy. Hadar has her snow blanket. It looked really beautiful when I left the boat with Paddy for his walk.
Paddy loves the snow. He loves to run around getting his nose covered in the white stuff. He has little thought of what maybe under the snow. When it snows everything always looks clean and fresh and brand new.

We were going to head back this morning as the strong winds had calmed down thankfully. So Keith got the boat ready for an about turn.

The plan was to head back to Harding’s Wood junction and head north down through the Red Bull flight. The canal had ice on it in patches. Hadar bow ploughed through quite happily.

We stopped for lunch at 12.25pm on the aqueduct, before heading to the junction at 1.00pm, where little blighters were waiting on the bridge with snowballs. I was armed with my camera as always. But they thought it funny ducking down on the bridge. We then left them behind as we went down through the first lock, we stopped at the Red Bull sanitary station to empty the loo and get rid of a bag of rubbish, before heading to the next lock, in the distance we could see another boat coming up so I left the gates ready for them. As they approached we could see it was Satellite a small Woolwich, built in 1935, she was then a butty, and these days she has a new top and is no longer a butty. We cruised on watching Mow Cop disappear into the distance. At 2.40pm we decided to call it a day as the wind was getting up. We moored at a designated mooring place just below the Red Bull flight at Church Lawton. I got a few boat chores done we then settled in for the evening. Come 6.30pm the church bells began to ring out, we thought it must be bell ringing practice for tomorrow’s service. The weather forecast was not promising for Sunday.

Sunday 3rd February.

There seems to be no let up in the weather, with yet more strong winds this morning. We decided not to move down through the locks at Church Lawton. Paddy enjoyed a good run in a field alongside the boat; it gave him a chance to stretch his legs.
Back at the boat we had breakfast and then did a few boat jobs. Keith was sorting the thermostat; he ran the engine for a couple of hours to see if he could get it to work properly but to no avail. The engine was running way to hot, so it meant stripping it down again and we will run her cold without the thermostat until we get back to Stone. I on the other hand did some baking, making a lemon cake and some chocolate crunchies. I also managed to make a few cards for birthdays and next Christmas. I love to recycle old cards and bits and bobs, to make brand new homemade cards. After that it was time for lunch and then an afternoon of movies. I was going to take a walk up to Church Lawton Church, but the weather is so cold and foul, I had second thoughts. Later we ran the generator for a while so I could have a shower, whilst I showered we did a bedding wash, the bedding will dry in the engine room. Because we are running the engine cold we have no hot water to hand so I have the kettles on both the back stove and the saloon stove to use for washing up and making drinks. It actually works well because if the kettle is already hot it takes less time to boil on the gas, so that helps us to save gas. I brought some logs in from the hold to burn on the salon stove, although to begin with the wind was blowing so much, it was blowing the smoke back down the chimney and out into the saloon (cough, cough). Burning logs saves on coal, even though we have a hold full, the more we can save the better. Logs are easy to find because when BW cut back trees and bushes they usually leave the logs for boaters to pick up along the way. We have a chain saw and an axe for anything to big.
Our first week out over and it had been fantastic. Stay tuned for week two.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Its good to see you both out there enjoying your travels (irrespective of what the weather has to throw at you!). We look forward to the next instalment ;-)
Best wishes, Steve