So that's what the stern fenders are for! - Yes it is real
Round turn and two half hitches
Les Lobbs Diary
July 2012
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Barbridge junction. Shroppy Middlewich Arm
What a start to July, we've got the heater on, and had a bowl of porridge each when we stopped. It was Chester race day on Saturday and the town was packed, so after a stroll round and the obligatory top-up shopping, we headed back towards Barbridge in the afternoon. It was on/off weather until we tied up at Waverton and then we had a dry but breezy evening. This morning was much the same, but now that we are on the Middlewich arm we have narrow locks again, which are much more user friendly. Over the weekend we have tiled the area behind the sink in the shower room, painted a bit more on the hatch and cleared the junk drawer - it's already filling up again! There's an odd phenomenon we notice in large towns like Chester - when passing, people look at the ground, or anywhere else, rather than speak, but half mile out of town they're waving and chatting to you - bizarre!
Strange, but true
A man will pay £2 for a £1 item he needs.
A woman will pay £1 for a £2 item that she doesn't need, but it's on sale.
Strange, but true
Mustn't keep harping on about the weather, but it really is a bummer. As we came in to moor at Middlewich, we found that someone had left us a nappy pin (gadget used for tying up to Armco), so that brightened my day, as I have not found much lately. Think we will turn left here as planned and try to go down the lift at Anderton onto the Weaver; if we can't use the lift, our next choice is Lymm on the Bridgwater canal - we'll see. Just heard from Glo in Portugal - someone has fixed her laptop and she is surfin' again, yipee.
I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid.
Though he says he can stop any time.
Anderton, T&M
We've just heard from a couple of friends, Roger and Linda, who we met in Spain the year before last; they may be able to visit us when we get near Lymm, so we are giving the Anderton lift a miss and will try it on the way back. I awoke this morning to find a wet patch, no, it was on the ceiling and, when we got tied up here, the weather was dry enough to investigate. The vent I put in place of the old gas water heater chimney looked to be the likely source, and sure enough I found one of the old fixing screw holes that I had not sealed properly. We need some more rain to test it now, and I don't think we will have to wait too long for that!
This video clip is an eye opener for anyone thinking modern cars are secure >>>
Moore, Bridgewater Canal
A good mornings cruise took us through 3 tunnels and some lovely sycamore lined cuttings, and the rain held off until we were tied up! The Trent & Mersey is certainly a canal of contrasts (see pics on left); yesterday we had flashes and the chemical works around Northwich and today we passed rural forests and one of my favourite tunnels, the Preston Brook. Flashes are places were the canal has spread beyond its banks onto surrounding land; after the confines of a canal, all that water looks tempting, until you see a heron standing in the middle of it, so we keep well away. Preston Brook tunnel is 1239yds long and straight, apart from a few minor kinks; it has good headroom and is mostly dry and for some reason never feels as cold as other tunnels. The Bridgewater canal is deep and lock free, so it's a chance to blow the cobwebs out of the engine - I had it past 2000rpm and nearly had it on the plane, until I got
that look from the crew.

B 213 T&M
Weatherwise, yesterday was one of the best so far. There was a street market when we arrived at Lymm so we decided to "have a look round". We came away with a smashing side of smoked haddock, veg and strawberries; there was also a pie stall where we bought meat pies, hotpots and some yummy fruit slices. Housekeeping kept muttering about not taking me shopping again, but she soon tucked into the fruit slices and she steamed the fish with fresh beans, new pots and carrots to make our evening meal - proper 'ansom! As a reward I left her in the arms of Morpheus this morning, while I set off back towards Preston Brook. I had a few drops of rain, but nothing serious until we got near the tunnel, then it hissed down. We cleared the tunnel just before ten and it was obviously not going to let up, so we tied up, to what must be the only rings for miles around here - we usually have to bang in stakes on this section. Our gear is drying in front of the stove and, after our showers, we are now chillaxing. Roger phoned to let us know that it would be easier to visit us back at the Marina, later in the month.
18.00 - Anderton
We decided to move nearer to Anderton when the rain eased up, unfortunately it started again soon after we got underway. I timed the Saltersford tunnel wrong and we had a half hour wait before we could enter. As we exited the tunnel, there were two hire boats spinning about, one chap started shouting to me through a loud hailer asking if there was a boat following me. I explained in my usual polite and helpful way, that there was a b***y girt board with the access times on it, and it even had a picture of a clock, for people of lower intelligence - wazzock, I don't think I'll be on his Xmas card list.
Middlewich Shroppy
Yesterday stayed dry enough for us to leave the wet weather gear off and we reached Middlewich by lunchtime. When head of provisions got back from Tesco, her back had gone on her, so we are having a rest day and will see how things are in the morning. I've been trying to catch up on emails today - if you have not had a reply to an email you have sent us, please resend it, as I have been having problems with my web host, thanks.
Barbridge junction
A dry trip!! By mid morning Gran's back was more mobile and she insisted I got out of bed and got moving. We have our favourite mooring places along the Shroppy and this is one of the best. After tying up, we were treated to a rare sighting - a water vole; it was swimming along near the bank with a curious mallard escorting it. I took advantage of the dry spell and got into the engine room to tighten up the stern gland, which had developed a significant drip. I think in future, we are going to ignore the weather forecasts and travel when it looks OK.
A married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing!
Shroppy B89 (Oak tree)
We're back to normal - stove on, gear drying; we always used to stay put when it rained, if we'd done that this year I think we'd still be in the marina! This morning's run was six miles with no locks; we stopped to fill and empty at Nantwich and then called it a day before we got to the two locks at Hack Green. Dawn's back is still giving her gip, so we'll see how she is in the morning, before deciding whether or not to travel
Have you heard the one about the man who took tippex instead of viagra - he woke up with a huge correction!
Bloke at a horse race whispers to Paddy next to him, "Do you want the winner of the next race?"
Paddy replies "no tanks, I've only got a small garden."
Paddy finds a sandwich with two wires sticking out of it. He phones the police and says "Bejesas I've just found a sandwich dat looks like a bomb."
The operator asks, "Is it tickin?
Paddy says "No I tink it's beef"
We arrived here by late morning yesterday - just in time for lunch at the newly refurbished "Bridge Inn". When we got back to the boat, Dawn's back was giving her gip again, so we have stayed tied up today and enjoyed the sunshine. It's not worth trying to go on until she feels better, because we have no mooring places between the next nine locks, so once we start we have to finish them. A chap moored next to us, has offered to work the locks for us, but Dawn is not having that, so we'll see how she feels in t'morning.
Looks as though we are here for a while - Dawn's back is twanging all over the place. They say every cloud and all that, well I got given money to go shopping on my own, L-I-B-E-R-T-Y. The order was for milk and bananas, but I managed to inadvertently buy biscuits, cake and a telegraph without realising it; I think I could get to like it, given a chance. Dawn is now tucked up in my bed, as there is more room to move about in that end of the boat, and I'm now head of housekeeping and catering. The weather forecast is for rain all day, so I doubt if we would have moved anyway
Mkt Drayton
back in business - 6 miles and 16 locks! It kept dry all the way and some of the locks were in our favour, which makes a big difference. Another boat was following us up Adderley flight and, because there were no boats going the other way, Dawn was lifting a paddle for them as we left the lock. This means that the lock will be empty for them and saves a lot of time. The boat has just moored in front of us and came to thank their "lock fairy" Dawn, who has just had a well deserved hot shower. Jane has just rung to tell us that they can meet us here tomorrow, so we're staying put.
Paddy's racing snail was not winning races anymore, so he decided to take its shell off to reduce its weight and make it more aerodynamic. It didn't work, if anything it made him more sluggish.
Mkt Drayton
This morning we walked into town, between showers, and bought a few groceries for lunch; we hadn't been back at the boat many minutes, when Jane rang to get final directions. Dawn did chicken chasseur, which went down well with a few glasses of plonk. Unfortunately Jane and Steven couldn't stop too long, but we had a good chinwag. We are alongside a college sports field and this morning the ground staff were busy getting ready for a sports day - by 13.00 they had taken everything down and collected all the equipment and chairs; another event rained off. Providing the weather and Dawns back are OK, we will probably move on tomorrow morning and head for Gnosall or Brewood.
I was stopped in the street this morning by a lady conducting a survey... she asked me what I knew about dwarfs .... I said "Very Little"
They're back - earwigs; the short lengths of insulation on the fender lines are like magnets to them. We had a 5am start with all the locks on the Tyrley flight in our favour, the rest of the trip here was good, without the usual hold ups at Norbury. There were lots of squirrels about this morning and we also saw a spotted woodpecker trying to take down a telephone pole, and a couple of young kingfishers playing "chase me". Weather permitting, we would like to get to Brewood tomorrow, after filling with diesel at Wheaton Aston.
Another good trip, through some of my favourite stretches of the Shroppy. A kingfisher sat on a branch at the side of the cut, about 2mtrs away and watched me go past; where was the camera, hanging up in the boat in case it rained! We joined the queue at Wheaton Aston and topped up with diesel, whilst there we also got oil for the next engine service and a new gas bottle - finance dept has a bit of a headache at the momen. I have given Paul a ring and he is coming on board for a bite to eat tonight, and to collect all the jars Dawn has been saving for him.
Below Shutt hill lock, Staffs & Worc
Paul came on for a meal last evening and brought us a bag of goodies off his garden; the time flew by and it was gone eleven when he wound his way home. It was fine this morning when I awoke at 04.30, so I left Dawn in bed doing her chain saw impression and was underway by 05.00. We reached Autherley junction at 06.45 and turned onto the S&W towards Gt Haywood; I didn't meet another boat until we reached Gailey lock and then things slowed up as we started queuing for locks. After we got through Shutt hill lock we were both creaking, so we tied up past the lock moorings and got the aft deck cover on, just before it started to rain. It's a fairly easy trip back to the marina, so we should make it tomorrow all things being OK.
Flag Quiz
New Zealand
How many of these can you identify?
Gt Haywood, T&M
Back home again. We now have to get the boat ready for its Boat Safety Certificate examination; it's a compulsory four yearly check on all the systems, ventilation, fire extinguishers etc.. Head of housekeeping has already got the marina washing machine full, with more to follow.
The BSC chap was working in the marina, so we have booked him for 16th August which gives us time to check everything out; one thing that we need to change is the gas hose from the regulator which must be under 10 years old.
Happy retirement ann
Happy retirement ann
Gt Haywood
Dawn's got all the laundry ironed and put away, and now her back is now suffering for it. We have just heard from Gloria in Portugal; while we have been having all this lovely rain, those poor dears have been suffering in 32º - brings tears to your eyes doesn't it. I got a bit of painting done yesterday and have started sorting out the engine room; I've got the 1000 hour service to do before we set off again in August, that's changing all the oils and filters, new injectors, adjust tappets and belts, and generally check all joints and linkages - should pass away an hour or two.
Gt Haywood
Yesterday was a bit hectic; after sitting out on the aft deck, without her shoes on, Dawn stepped back into the boat and got a wet foot. It was a mad panic then to get the inspection hatches up, these had swelled with the water, and find out where the water was coming from. John from the workshop leant us a pump as ours did not seem to be doing much good. While all this was going on we had all the taps on, to empty the water tank and lift the bow higher in the water. There are cross members welded to the base plate, these have small weep holes to let any bilge water find its way to the stern; these also slow down the flow of water, so we are still getting small amounts of water to mop out. The water tank was our first suspect but we could find no problems there, likewise the newly fitted calorifier; this morning we took the spare gas bottle out of it's locker and I think we have found the leak.
The gas locker is a sealed steel chamber with a vent hole, outboard at the bottom, to allow any leaked gas to escape outside the boat; this locker gets water in through the hole as the boat moves and this is quite normal, but it looks as though one of the joints is split allowing the water to seep past the bulkhead into the main bilge area. Later this week, there is a welder coming to work on a boat near us so we will ask him to re-weld all the seams for us and hopefully that will cure the problem. This morning, we have refilled the water tank about halfway, which still leaves the vent hole high enough to stop any water getting in.
And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world.
Then He made the earth round....and laughed and laughed and laughed...
Gt Haywood
Alas and alack, we now think that the gas locker is not to blame and that we are taking on water through the hull, sob, sob. I was up at 02.00 and 04.00 pumping the bilge out (worse than having a baby!), so we fitted an automatic bilge pump this morning and that is shooting out a fair amount of water every hour. As we have drained the water tank completely and the gas locker vents are well above the waterline it is more or less certain that the water is coming in below the waterline. Our only option now is to have the boat taken out of the water and the leak found and welded; I'm going to ask John tomorrow how soon he can pull us out.
Gt Haywood
Water is still coming in, so we are being pulled out at 15.00 to see if we can find t'hole; lucky that we have the van here. There is a hog roast here tomorrow evening and it looks as though it's going to stay dry, if a bit cooler. If we are out of the water for long I might not be able to update this so often, but we'll see what happens.
Paddy and Murphy are working on a building site.
Paddy says to Murphy "I'm gonna have the day off, I'm gonna pretend I'm mad!"
He climbs up the rafters, hangs upside down and shouts,
Murphy watches in amazement!
The Foreman shouts "Paddy you're mad, go home".
So he leaves the site.
Murphy starts packing his kit up to leave as well.
"Where the hell are you going?" asks the Foreman.
"I can't work in the friggin' dark!" says Murphy.
The boat is out of the water, on blocks and we have found the hole - couldn't miss it really! There is a large dent in the base plate and the hole in the centre of it is big enough to take a 6mm screw, but at least it's localised and easy to find. I can't remember hitting a mine or being torpedoed, so I suppose it's the equivalent of a flat tyre on a car, or my bad driving.
Happy Birthday - Baz
Happy Birthday - Baz
Gt Haywood
John is going to get a welder to have a look at the boat on Monday, to see what is necessary to repair the base plate. The hog roast last evening was a great success; a small group playing proper music, good food and drink - all for £10, even our finance dept was impressed, (hers got a headache this morning!).
Do you know the collective nouns for these birds?
Here are a few possible suggestions for some others:- (can you think of any more?)
Gt Haywood
The welder has cut a section of the sacrificial chine off and is going to weld a 60cm sq piece of 6mm plate over the damaged area. If all goes well, we should be back in the water tomorrow and can continue getting the boat ready for its Boat Safety Certificate on Aug 16th.
The clip on the right shows how to pass those cars that hog the middle lane!!
Keep them coming :-)
Gt Haywood
This morning we had a chat with the welder, and all seems to be OK for putting her back in the water later on today. After thinking back, we are both fairly sure that we must have got the damage when we hit some underwater rocks at a landslide near Woodseaves cutting; the boat tipped over to one side and then levelled off with a bang. That might sound a bit dramatic, but touching the bottom is an everyday occurrence on some canals. We've had a drive in to Stafford, to use the ATM at Sainsbury, but it was out of order, so head of finance walked to Barclays in town and was aching when she got back.