Thursday, 17 September 2015

Last of the summer/wine?

Sunday 6th and Monday 7th September; Whitehouse Tunnel – Frankton Junction – Prees Branch junction

After a pleasant interlude in the morning sun, chatting to a neighbour who will be wintering at Droitwich Spa marina, where we intend to leave Chuffed this year, three boats came by followed by the first Sunday dayboat, so we thought we’d better get going!  The chipboard factory at Chirk clearly has 7-day working;  the smell can be quite pronounced.  We have never noticed this industrial area before.

1 chipboard factory working on sunday

We had a wait at Chirk tunnel, long enough to make and drink a cuppa and still have time to twiddle our thumbs. Three hireboats and three dayboats were behind us as we entered the tunnel.  Luckily, we got to the aqueduct before the boats at the far end were ready to cross – I hate to think of the mayhem in the short stretch between tunnel and aqueduct if we’d all had to wait for them to come across!  The offside edge of the aqueduct is wide and made of stone, so ‘no pedestrian’ notices have been installed.  It would be perfectly safe to walk on if it were not so high …..

2 chirk aqueduct

We met two boats coming through the narrow winding stretch through Chirk.  That would have been interesting for the boats behind us!  We had time to snap the painted pots at Monks Bridge.

3 painted ware at monks bridge

The visitor moorings at the Poacher’s Pocket pub were almost full; I suspect some of the dayboats will have had this as their lunchtime destination.  This moorhen was lunching on a windfall apple.

4 moorhen and apple

We stopped above New Marton locks for lunch, and boats continued to pass; when we got going again several were still waiting at the second lock.  We didn’t have too long to wait, unlike the boats already in the queue, and passed the time with nattering and helping several sets of hirers on their first lock.  We’d planned to stop at Frankton Junction to wash and varnish the starboard side of the boat, but the sun had already gone from there so we moved on a couple of bridges to find a sunny spot and Dave did the other side instead while I went off down the Monty for a run.

Later, I went to crack open a bottle of red – it was my birthday after all – but we’d run out!  That wasn’t in the plan!

10 miles, 2 locks

Monday was another glorious sunny day, though cold first thing.  We made our way down to the Ellesmere service block, where I called CRT to report the failed water tap back in Llangollen, and mentioned the unrepaired Elsan; – the chap was a bit cross about that because he had asked the contractors to deal with it last Thursday and was grateful for the feedback.  A boat moored near here has two signs asking people to slow down; the other one says ‘would you pour boiling water over a baby?’  I am not sure that the speed merchants would have time to read them, even if they noticed them in the first place.

3slow down sign

We moored up the arm, conveniently  close to Tesco, and went into the town to Vermeulen’s for bread and cake.  Dave went to Mr Mod the barber, where he sadly did not come out with a lovely mullet cut!  He caught up with me in Tesco where I had been chatting to Carolyn (nb Inca) for a while ….  After replenishing the cupboards (including wine, phew) we had lunch before moving on.  The harvest in in full swing – probably wheat here;

5 getting in the harvest

but Meg wasn’t interested in that and had a zizz in the sunshine.  How she didn’t slide off the locker I don’t know but she was spark out.

6 fast asleep in the sun

We moored where we did last week, just before the Prees branch.  You have to use chains here as the piling is rather rusty and tatty, but we had the sun for the rest of the day.  Dave started working on the well deck, where there are a couple of growing rust patches, and got about half of it rubbed down while I walked Meg.  We couldn’t get an internet signal but the TV was fine.

10 miles today.

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