Foxton locks
Secret nuclear bunker
Clouds over the Shroppy
Middlewich arm
Anderton lift, going down!
Anderton lift looking down
Anderton lift from the Weaver
Winsford Salt mine
Winsford Salt Mine
Les Lobbs Diary
September 2011
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Chester, sunny
Another month - flies by doesn't it! I'll put a header picture up when I find something suitable.
Today, we reached Chester by lunchtime and Dawn has topped up the larder and fridge, and "done" the charity shops. I have ordered a new ffd for the diesel heater, because it is getting cooler in the evenings and us OAPs feel the cold. They are posting it to our friend Paul at Brewood, so we can collect it when we pass there in a couple of weeks time. Tomorrow, t'plan is to fill and empty and then pop down to Ellesmere Port and try and get a mooring in the town centre basin, which is supposed to be quite good. There is a boat museum near the basin, so we may have a look round there, if I can drag purchasing past the charity shops.
Bridge 189, drizzly
Yesterday we went down the 3 chamber staircase lock in Chester and then had a fairly pleasant run to Ellesmere Port. The winding hole outside the museum was just a floating raft of every kind of junk imaginable - we turned round and spent the night back in Chester. Friday night in Chester is not a quiet experience, they were still whooping it up at 03.00. This morning we did a bit of last minute shopping and are now moored in the country near bridge 189; there is a golf course, behind a hawthorn hedge, the other side of the canal, we hear the odd thwack and a few expletives, but apart from that, it is very peaceful.
The original sin?
Bridge 189, sun turned to showers
Today we had a static day and did some of the trim around the new drop down hatch in the cratch; we got it glossed after lunch, so I don't think the showers will affect it. This mooring is certainly a contrast after the hustle and bustle of Chester; I expect we will visit Chester again sometime, because we were both very impressed with it.

They met at the OAP singles club meeting and discovered over time that they enjoyed each other's company.
After several weeks of meeting for coffee, Claude asked Maude out for dinner and, much to his delight, she accepted. They had a lovely evening. They dined at the most romantic restaurant in town. Despite his age, they ended at his place for an after-dinner drink. Things continued along a natural course and age being no inhibitor, Maude soon joined Claude for a most enjoyable roll in the hay.
As they were basking in the glow of the magic moments they'd shared, each was lost for a time in their own thoughts.....

Claude was thinking: 'If I'd known she was still a virgin, I'd have been gentler.'

Maude was thinking: 'If I'd known he could still do it, I'd have taken my tights off
Maude and Claude
Bridge 89, Nantwich
Blowin' a good un
Last night we tied up opposite Nantwich marina, but could not get tight into the side because of the submerged ledge that exists along the parts of the Shroppy that are finished in concrete. This morning we have moved a couple of miles outside Nantwich, into the country, and have found some Armco to tie up to; as it is really windy we will probably stay put until it eases. Autumn has arrived with a vengeance, there are leaves being blown everywhere and we even had the diesel heater on last evening. The locks are all narrow now, right back to the marina, so we have put away the extra lines and the boat looks a lot tidier, apart from all the leaves.
Here's a link to a juggling act that's well worth watching.
Audlem, breezy
It was still gusting when we set off this morning, but it stayed dry. We were in Hacks Green locks when a lady came up asking for help; she was on a hire boat, with five other women, and they had suffered a very noisy night, because the bilge pump would not turn off and their batteries were nearly flat. They had rung the hirers, but got no reply, so I pulled out the fuse to the pump and all went quiet - the sensor had jammed and the stern gland was letting in a fair drop of water, so they are going to put the fuse in when they want to pump the bilge. (I gave them another fuse, just in case). We then continued up two locks of the Audlem flight and are now moored near the village - we have strolled round the village and bought some sausages, which Dawn is now "toading".

What's this all about?
Near Market Drayton, fine but breezy
This morning we got off to a good start on the Audlem flight and were at the top lock by 10.20. The Adderley flight of 7 locks follows after a couple of miles, with it's farm shop at the top lock; we bought 4 huge lamb steaks and some "low calorie" carrot cake and flapjacks. Before bridge 66, we found some Armco with a good depth of water, so we tied up at lunchtime and sampled the cakes; we didn't feel like starting off again, so we'em here for the night. When I sat out after lunch, there was a family of buzzards, mum dad and five kids, soaring and diving; obviously flying lessons in progress. Glenys - how did the op go?
Factoids - Peregrine Falcon
The peregrine falcon's fastest recorded speed is 242mph. It has special baffles in its nostrils to divert the air at these speeds and a second eye lid that drops down like a visor to protect its eyes. A fighter pilot experiences about 9 Gs in a dive, a peregrine, about 15 Gs. Their eyesight is so much better than ours, because our human eyes process about 50 images a second, the peregrine processes about 200.
When the young leave the nest they have extra feathers on their wings, which act as stabilisers while they learn to fly and manoeuvre at these high speeds; they lose these as they get older. It must be like learning to drive in a Ferrari instead of a Cortina (If you don't know what a Cortina is, you are too young to be reading this)
Xword clue :- Avoiding directors, this goes to the wall. ( 8,5, )
Bridge 46, near Shebdon, clouding over
First stop this morning was Market Drayton, to fill and empty, and then we headed for the 5 locks at Tyrley. There was a short boat waiting to go up the flight, so after doing a few sums, we went in nose to tail and did the whole flight that way - still not quick because of waiting for other boats coming down. The sun came out at lunchtime so we stopped and out came the shorts; the sun has now disappeared behind masses of clouds and left us with goose-pimply legs. We saw a kingfisher really close up today - he sat on a post at the side of the cut and watched us go by. Most of the time we can hear buzzards calling and, this morning, we saw a swan teaching it's young how to take off, or try to!
Brewood, getting windier by the hour
Yesterday we travelled through the narrow cuttings on the way to Wheaton Ashton, there are lots of kingfishers near there, the young ones chase each other up and down the cut, shrieking ( I don't know how else to describe their call) We filled up with diesel - 237.9 ltrs!!! and after a quiet sit down, we continued on to Brewood, where Paul brought his children, Katie and Josh, to see us. We had bought some lamb steaks at the farm shop, so we invited them for lunch today, and a short cruise up t'cut. We left mid-morning and travelled for a couple of hours, while the head of catering was preparing the repast, then turned round, parked in the country and enjoyed a splendid lunch, before returning to Brewood where we are now moored. The weather forecast is for a spell of quite strong winds, so we will probably stay here till it calms down again.
Gnosall, windy and warm
We had a rest day yesterday and watched the cut fill up with leaves. This morning was just a bit breezy, so we passed through the lock at Wheaton Aston and have stopped at Gnosall for the night. With the engine still warm, I changed the engine oil and filter and will do the gearbox when we get back to the marina. The wind has got up again, so it looks as though we stopped at the right time. I saw more squirrels this morning than in the whole trip, but not one kingfisher. You always get lots of shags on the canals; they might be cormorants, but I find it hard to tell the difference. There is a bakery here, so we bought a giant pork pie and a couple of low calorie fresh cream cakes.
Bridge 47, cloudy
After another walk through Gnosall, we left early afternoon and moored at a previous mooring place, bridge 47. Tomorrow should see us at Market Drayton, where housekeeping is planning a visit to the Launderette. The weather is looking changeable, so I hope it stays fine for BC who is going
camping on Thursday.
Audlem, raining
We had a couple of days at Market Drayton, and what a sorry state the town is in; lots of shops are closed down or boarded up, and as for the gingerbread it is so famous for, there was not one shop selling it. We were also unfortunate to get caught by the SS (Stead & Simpsons); another pair of shoes, which turned out to be so comfortable that our crew went in again this morning and bought a second pair!
After this shopping trip, we set off mid-morning and had a few showers on our way through the Adderley and Audlem flights and have moored up in Audlem. At Adderley top lock we bought a few goodies - sausages, Vic sponge, ginger cake etc., well it's the least you can do when someone is trying to make a living; we still have some of the lamb, frozen, that we bought there last time.

Middlewich arm, bridge 22, drizzly
On Monday morning we left Audlem and joined the Middlewich arm at midday; we moored up before the first lock, because the weather was getting iffy. This morning was grey and drizzling, so we lit the stove and read and drank coffee until it brightened up; we went through the first lock at 12.00. At the second lock we met Tony and Heidi, who we cruised with last year, so out came the teapot and we caught up on each other's news, before travelling on. The sun came out for a while and we had a good spell of fine weather before stopping here for the night.
Middlewich, bridge 30, sunny
This morning we had a slow pootle into Middlewich. That's the end of the Salopian part (sounds like something gynaecological) of the trip, now it's Cheshire again. Tescos took a hammering as we came away with two bags and the logistics vehicle well loaded. We still have a fair bit of time before we need to get back to the marina, so the new plan is to turn left to Anderton and go down the lift onto the river Weaver; Tony & Heidi have done this earlier in the year and said it was well worth doing. In preparation for, the forecast, very cold winter, we have bought some more antifreeze from the chandlers here.
Anderton, fine
We left Middlewich via the shortest canal in the UK - the Wardle, 35mtrs - and then turned left onto the T&M. There certainly is a contrast on the run to Anderton, lovely countryside and then the massive ICI works at Northwich, which seem to go on for miles. Weather permitting, we will go down the Anderton Lift, onto the River Weaver, tomorrow morning.
Northwich, River Weaver, Sunny
This morning we got the first slot on the Anderton Lift, 10.00; we were lucky to share the descent with a chap who had done the trip many times, and got lots of useful info on moorings etc.. The descent was awesome, if a bit juddery to start with; I don't think BC would have enjoyed it. I thought the two chambers counter-balanced each other, but I was wrong, they are individual hydraulic units, like giant versions of the car lifts you see at Kwikfit. It only took us 20 mins to reach Northwich, so we had a stroll round the town and lunch at a cafe, before raiding the charity shops - there's loads of them!
Northwich, windy but dry
We have spent the weekend moored near Northwich swing bridge, just minutes from the town centre. There is a large park behind us, which we explored yesterday; its a proper park, with lots of old trees and really good flower beds, squirrels everywhere. The town is made up of old timbered buildings and has a pedestrianised main drag, with indoor market and a good selection of shops and cafes. Tomorrow we will carry on upstream to Winsford, the head of navigation, and try to find a country mooring so that our domestic can do some washing.
Downstream from Northwich, glorious sunshine
Yesterday we went through 2 locks (biggish) to reach Winsford, the head of navigation on the River Weaver. As we neared Winsford we saw the salt mine alongside the river, it apparently works by pumping water underground into the salt deposits and then extracting the salt from the resulting brine - not very pretty, but provides employment. At the bridge in Winsford, we turned and made our way back to Northwich, where we spent the night. Dawn "popped" into Northwich and came back with a new hairdo and fish and chips, which were on a bogof offer (the chips not the haircut!). This morning started with a clear blue sky and it has stayed like that all day; I've been doing a bit of fishing off the boat and Dawn is reading. This is a lovely mooring, out in the country with a good depth of water and a grass bank you can sit out on. There are two more locks downstream, before the Manchester Ship canal, so we should do them tomorrow and then think about going back up the lift and heading towards Heartbreak Hill and home.
Middlewich, sunny
Yesterday we followed the River Weaver seawards and reached the last lock down to the Manchester Ship canal; after a look round, we turned and headed back to same mooring we had the previous night. The lower part of the river at Runcorn is dominated by the huge ICI chemical plant, but upriver from there is very pretty, with some heavily wooded banks and open fields. This morning we reached the lift at Anderton and got on the first passage up; we then had a slow and peaceful journey to Middlewich. This is the end of "Salt" country, and now we have the long slog up heartbreak hill towards the marina. We have been very impressed with the river Weaver and look forward to spending a longer spell there in the future - we are already planning next year's schedule!