Lived onboard Hadar

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Week Three of our time away.

Monday 11th February.

It was a very cold and frosty morning with temps down to -3C over night, so it gave for a breath taking start to our day. As we were heading back to Wheelock.
The canal always looks too beautiful on a frosty morning with a gentle mist rolling along the cut.
We stopped off at Middlewich to do some food shopping, before heading off again.
At Rumps Lock I was shocked to see a large amount of dead fish, so we called BW to alert them to the pollution. It seems that someone dumped something in the Trent and Mersey and BW are trying to do something about it.
We had a fabulous days cruising, and moored up just below Wheelock. We sat out on the boat drinking coffee as we watched the sun go down.

Tuesday 12th February.

We were awake early so got up and enjoyed a beautiful frosty morning yet again.
The sun was coming up and having had temps down to -3C last night it was a hard frost. Paddy as always enjoys a good walk when the weather is crisp, especially as we were near his wood. Yes there is a wood named Paddy’s Wood
We were heading for Hassel Green and a mooring if there were any to be had.
We always see interesting things on our travels, and today we saw one of the best duck houses we have ever seen. I actually wonder if any ducks use this designer home.

We were followed all the way by Honeystreet, so we set the locks for them as we left them, it is always something we have done, and it’s a polite thing to do for a fellow boater.
When we reached Hassel Green at lunch time we moored up opposite the Romping Donkey, and thought we would have a meal there later.
Having had lunch we took a walk to the local pottery to see what was new there, as we have bought mugs from there in the past, we then went to the shop at Hassel green at Lock 57 and bought our first ice cream of the year mmmmmm. We also learnt that due to government cuts their post office is closing in a couple of weeks. Village life will never be the same again.
We paid a visit to the local "pink" church.

Yes this is a church and it is in use and it is pink.
The weather has been so calm that the water has been like a mirror.

For February it has been a really warm day, so warm that Keith and I have been in our shirt sleeves, long may it last.
Marmite took another step closer to freedom from the boat, and loved every minute, she still has to wear her harness though.

We spent some of the afternoon cleaning the brass; we were then treated to a fantastic display by the starlings, who gathered for roosting over night.

They are so majestic in flight and the noise was quite amazing, there were hundreds of birds flying in formation.

The last sunshine of the evening was then seen setting over the M6. We had planned to eat at the Romping Donkey, so we got poshed up and walked round to the pub, only to find it was being revamped and they had a new Chef, so they were only doing cold food grrrrrrrrrr, not what we wanted on a cold night. This is the second time this has happened to us at this pub, so there will not be a third time. So we thought ok never mind we will go to the restaurant lock 57 for an evening meal, you guessed it. It was shut for the winter season, only opening in the mornings for coffee etc. Not our lucky evening. I ended up cooking a chicken curry with cous cous and naan bread. Oh well never mind.

Wednesday 13th February.

We did not have to rush up this morning as we did not have far to travel. Our plan was to head for Rode Heath, which meant I only had 4 locks to operate. It was a bright morning; we had been blessed with another hard frost as the temps dropped to -3C last night. With the boat icy at the bow care had to be taken when untying the boat, but we set off at 8.55am for our short cruise in lovely sunshine.
The water on the canal was so still this morning as there was no wind about. We had a trip which had no real highlights, so as we moored up at 10.25 opposite the Broughton Arms, coffee was first on the agenda. Our day was filled with boat chores, looking around the village, which has a fantastic little shop, full to the brim with all your grocery needs, it also has a post office. Once again we ended up chatting to people passing who showed a big interest in our boat and her engine. We decided that the evening meal would be had at the Broughton Arms, as last nights meal attempt had been so disappointing.

Through out the day the pub had been very busy with people eating and drinking outside in the sunshine, so we thought it boded well for our evening meal, so we set off at 6.30pm feeling very hungry and looking forward to a good pub meal. Mmmmm well we had the meal but it was not as good as we expected. Keith and I both had cottage pie with seasonal veg. The cottage pie arrived in a small dish and the potato I am pretty sure was not real, it tasted like smash if you have ever tried it, not only that it was a very small portion, as for the veg it was not cooked very well and came in another small dish on the plate with the cottage pie.
What ever happened to just putting the food on the plate?
It left both of us wanting something else as the portions were very small. So not the best meal we have ever had. We went back to the boat and ate cheese and biscuits as we were still hungry. I begrudge paying £3.75 for cheese and biscuits in the pub LOL. We settled in to watch the TV for the evening before another early night no doubt.

Friday 14th February.

We were awake at 7am, but we had gone to bed at 9.30pm, too shattered to sit and watch the TV, not that there was much on anyway, so being awake early meant we got up and had a cuppa with breakfast, before I took Paddy out across Rode Heath Rise for his run. In the spring and summer the meadow is full of wild flowers apparently; the only thing it was full of at this time was grass and mud. Once back at the boat I made up the fires and did a few chores before we set off at 8.25am to do 6 locks close together for us to stop at Church Lawton. The locks are not really too bad and there is some wonderful views. We met up with Ivor on his boats Mountbatten and Jellicoe; they are both from the Admiral Class boats built between 1957 and 1960.
There were only a few of this class actually built; it is lovely to see them still working hard. Ivor and Mel sell diesel, coal, wood and painted canal ware.
On the whole I am the one who does the lock work, winding up the paddles, opening and shutting the gates, whilst Keith moves the boat. I enjoy the exercise, as it can be quite physical, you also get to do plenty of walking between locks.
Keith with his boating face on hahaha, as he waits for me to close the gates behind him and the boat. I could not resist this photo.
Having negotiated the 6 locks for the day we moored up again at Church Lawton, which is below the Redbull flight, we have that to do tomorrow before the tunnel.
So we moored up at 9.50am, the kettle was already boiling on the back cabin stove so coffee was first up. We then took a walk into Church Lawton such as it is. It has a church and an elderly people’s home, plus Lawton Hall which seems to have been turned into apartments.
What interested me at the church were the surrounding grave stones. I think you can learn a lot about a places history from its church yard. For instance it seems that between 1848 and 1860 a lot of very young children were dying, one as young as 4 months to a family who lost 4 children between 1848 and 1865, even the parents died young in their 40’s. Through the church yard there were graves of very young children from that time frame.
So what happened in those years to cause so many deaths? Because it seemed that there were many older adults who were living into their 70’s and 80’s?
Also a young man died on the railway at Red Bull Wharf, having been involved in a collision back in the 1800’s. It was all very fascinating. Church Lawton does not have a shop or pub, but the walk was nice and I felt I had some things to look up to learn a little more about the places history.
Having got back to the boat I then took a walk back to the Lawton Locks to take some photos of the disused locks.
All the way up this morning the locks are in pairs until you get to the last remaining locks and one of the pair has become disused for some reason. It is such a shame in this day and age that these locks are left like this. It is a little depressing that these have been left to rot. The only things using them now are the birds and other wildlife. I can imagine in the summer there is somewhat of a bottle neck here, because both locks are not in use. Hopefully one day one of the canal groups will find the funds to replace the gates and give these locks a new lease of life.
So lunch has been done and we have also cleaned the boat brass. I like to give it a wipe over every other day to keep it shiny looking. Mog and Dog are out on the back of the boat enjoying a somewhat fresher day. Tomorrow we have the Redbull flight to do in order to make it to Harecastle tunnel for 11am. We want to do an early dash before the bandits get up, this being half-term, so see you tomorrow.

Friday 15th February.

Up early for the cruise to Harecastle Tunnel for 11am. It was a cold morning with no frost, but the wind chill made it raw. Paddy had his walk whilst keith moved the boat to the first lock. It gave me the chance to set it for him. Because it was only 8am no one else was about, so quiet and peaceful. As we assended the Redbull flight, BW (British Waterways) were hard at work on their veg pledge, trimming back the bushes and trees on the flight. It does look lovely and tidy. We stopped at the Redbull sanitary station to empty the loo before tackling the next lock by the Redbull Pub. Moored just above the lock were the owners of Narrowboat Sam, who had become stranded due to the loss of their prop the night before in the pound below the lock. Apparently they had emptied the pound over night to see if they could find their prop, but it would have been like looking for a needle in a haystack. So their only hope was to either get a tow or bow haul Sam to the boat yard on the Macc. We would of offered them a tow if we had been going that way, but we had to be at the tunnel. It shows not everything goes according to plan when cruising. They both seemed calm about the whole thing, enjoying a breakfast before getting down to some hard boat pulling up through the next lock.
We carried on our way to Harecastle Tunnel and arrived at 9.50am, so plenty of time for coffee and a chat with the owners of Narrowboat Talisman who moored up behind us. We passed the time until the BW guy came and checked us in.
We were supposed to be going into the tunnel at 11am, but a change to the plan as boats from the south end were coming through, so we did not actually get through until 12 noon. On exiting the other end we moored up to take on water and eat lunch, some 20 minutes later we were on our way again.
We arrived at the Etruria locks and had come down in the first lock, only to find boaters emptying the already full 2nd lock which was in our favour grrrrrrrrrrrrr. They seemed totally oblivious at the fact that they should of left the lock for us first. I won’t name the boat, but it was a shared ownership boat. It always pays to check who is either going up or down in the next lock if you can physically see the lock, don’t take the lock if it is in the other boaters favour.
For all the football fans reading this we passed by the Britannia Stadium, where Stoke City Play.

The rest of the cruise was pleasant and quiet. The only thing moving was the Canada Geese, who always panic when they see a Narrowboat coming.

Normally they all climb out of the canal, but these had to fly up to escape LOL.
We passed our friends place, but there seemed to be no one at home, so we headed for the last lock of the day Trentham Lock, where I had a couple of young lads willing to help with the gates. We moored up at Wedgewood bridge at 5.20pm so it had been a long day. We settled down for a sausage and dumpling casserole for dinner which was well earned.
The following day we were back in Stone, where we have been ever since. We have got some shopping done, picked up a list of supplies we will need on our trip down South, so if you see us give us a wave. I am sure you wil hear Hadar long before you see her.
What I have found wonderful is the amount of people interested not just in our boat and engine, but in life on the canal. Some people want to know how difficult it is to live on the boat and others just want to know all about how we cope. Keith has really enjoyed talking to people about the engine. We have received some wonderful comments on the sound of our engine, even other boaters have popped their heads out of their boats, and said how wonderful it sounds. So the credit for that has to go to Roger and Keith for doing such a great job in rebuilding the engine.
I will sign off now and will be back on when we start heading south. Do not worry if you do not hear from me straight away, I will post when I can. Thank you to everyone who reads our travels, we look forward to meeting you for real maybe sometime.

2 comments:

duke said...

Hai Keith and Jo, wonderfull journey have have it is realy a journy isn,t it? We come soon again to England for our Duke. It would be nice if we can meet somewhere on the canal.
gr. Martin and Aderieke. (Duke)

Keith & Jo said...

Hi Martin & Aderieke.
Lovely to hear from you. We hope all is going well with the boat.
We will be heading South in a few days.
Where is Duke?
Maybe we can sort something out.
Jo x