Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Friday 22 May. 7 miles, 12 locks.

Nice morning. First chance to wash the right side of the boat and give her a rub with baby oil. Filled up with water at the top of the locks and headed down just after noon with a bit of drizzle about. Late lunch at the bottom before heading into Congleton. Text messages back and forth as Marian was finding/reserving a mooring for us. Settled in before we joined Alan and Marian for fish & chips from their favorite chippy.

Saturday 23 May. many miles by car.

Alan & Marian collected us from the boat and we were off on another grand tour. The first stop was Cheadle in Staffordshire where we were taken to Pugin's Gem. A magnificent interior designed by Augustus Pugin who was also responsible for Westminster, Houses of Parliament. A short walk around Cheadle before we drove to Ashbourne where we had lunch. Another quaint market town with bunting across the street making it look very festive. Next town was Leek. We had intended to go here in 2010 but the tunnel on the Leek Branch of the Cauldon Canal was closed so we didn't get that far. Once again a walk around the town observing the Butter Market and the many and varied period buildings. Now time to head for home. On the way we called into the Yew Tree Inn. Hard to describe but it was as one expects an old english pub to look. In addition it was full of collected artifacts (junk). So Many grandfather clocks, guns, Victoriana, Pianola, Gramophones, penny farthing, swords, stuffed animals etc, etc. Had a pint and pork pie. Both very nice. Back to the boat for tea. Later on we walked to Alan & Marian's for the evening.

Sunday 24 May. more car miles.

We were picked up about 1130 and driven to Tatton Park, a National Trust property, near Knutsford about 4 miles off the end of the runway at Manchester Airport. The beautiful gardens included, Kitchen, Italian, Topiary, Conservatory, Fernery and others we didn't get to as it was a cold day. After a bite to eat we went into the big house to experience some more of the English Gentry lifestyle. Grand rooms with ornate ceilings and walls crammed full of paintings by Masters and other artists. Also many large portraits of family and royalty. On the way home we stopped in Knutsford for a look around. Another of those towns with a variety of architecture. The town is the centre of "The footballers Triangle" where more Champain per head of population is drunk than in any other place in the world. This status is obvious in the number of high class eating houses and the quality of cars parked in the street. The day was finished with a vist to "The Young Pretender", Local hostelry where award winning Cheshire pies were the main feature on the menu. Ham and black pudding pie with mash and peas was my tea. Diana's pie was cheese and onion with a salad. It is our intention to visit there again on the way home in September.

Monday 25 May.

Bank Holiday so we had a day off too. Sleep in, Cold day. Mid afternoon I joined Alan to watch a game of Crown Bowls at his local club. Joined Marian and Alan for afternoon tea and enjoyed Rhubarb crumble and custard. This had been made for afters on Friday but we overdosed on F & C. Back to the boat for tea and an early night.

Tuesday 26 May. 5 op shops

For a few days now we have been running out of power overnight. This happened a bit last year but this year with it being cold and having the diesel heater on a lot it was becoming a concern. I had a smart meter installed before we left Furness Vale and this has been giving me a better understanding of what was happening in the batteries. After lots of note taking and talking to Nick from TW Marine this morning we decided to replace 4 old batteries with 3 new ones.
That having been sorted we walked into Congleton and bought a few things for the boat. Had lunch and did a supermarket shop so we can be self contained for a few days. In the evening we returned to Alan & Marion's as they had offered the use of their washing machine. That made life just that much easier.

Wednesday 27 May. 7 miles, 4 locks.

Nick arrived and installed the new batteries. We were on our way just before lunch. A nice slow meander through the countryside in warmish weather with the sun poking through occassionaly. Took on water, drinking type, at the first lock then continued until we turned west on the Trent & Mersey Canal. After 3 locks light rain started so decided to pull over for a cuppa. Still here 4 hours later but it is starting to brighten. Hope tomorrow brings us sunshine.

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