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  • clivenmel

17th September

Right, first of all we have decided to do the blog and update the photos etc mostly in the mornings - our website provider is based in the USA and when we update in the evenings our colonial cousins are all awake and on the web and our site is soooooooooooooooooooo slow!  However, in the mornings they are all in bed and the website responds very quickly so from now on we may be a day behind. So we stayed put for most of yesterday and finally got the laundry finished!  We got chatting to our neighbours, two boats that were moored next to us - we had met them a couple of times previously coming up the lock flight in Stoke.  They had had a bit of a saga as just as they were about to enter the Hartshill Tunnel the engine wouldn't start!  Fortunately there was a boat in front and they kindly agreed to tow them through the tunnel.  It turns out it was one of those occasions when a woman should never touch anything relating to an engine - evidently her husband had asked her to sound the horn ready for the tunnel and she had pressed the starter motor instead - oh dear!  They are speaking again now!!! After getting the laundry done and socialising with the neighhbours we decided to push on a little way so headed off around 4.00pm.  We reached a very narrow part of the canal with the tiniest lock we have ever seen - Hall Green Lock - it is only 1' deep!  Its a very pretty little lock with a tiny cottage next to it.  Just as I was starting to wind up the lock a little boy, in nothing but a tee shirt and with a long dog lead hanging round his neck, opened the cottage gate and toddled over to me - needless to say I was frantic - small child, water aaaaah!  Anyway he took my hand for a minute and then started pushing on the lock gates to help me open them.  His granny appeared and said "don't worry, he's fine - his mum was born on a narrow boat and lived on it till she was 3 and has lived in this cottage ever since"  A few minutes later his mum came out and as he wouldn't leave the lock she said "OK lets help Wolfie" - well that intrigued me straight away - I asked what his name was, "Wolfie - short for Wolfgang" she said, "I actually prefer Beethoven to Mozart but I couldn't really call him Ludwig could I" - well you do meet some very interesting people on the canal!  After our encounter with Wolfie we continued along this really pretty stretch of the canal but there were some very narrow bits passing through the bridges leaving us only a few inches on either side of the boat - a bit hairy! Along the way we saw in the distance Wilbraham's Folly perched on the top of Mow Cop (Mow pronounced like cow).  It dates from 1754 and is quite a sight!  We then moored up for the night in a really beautiful spot overlooked by Ramsdell Hall (c1760).  In the canal map book the following paragraph says it all: "A mischevious image springs to mind of the gentry taking tea on the terrace and studiously ignoring the vulgar gaze of the bargees - "Don't look, Daphne, don't look"!  It is a beatiful country house with the most glorious views over the Cheshire coutryside.  There is a photo in the gallery. We are staying put today.  The weather is glorious and there is evidently a house of even greater antiquity, about 20 minutes walk across the fields, called Little Moreton Hall, one of England's greatest half-timbered buildings. So after we have done the washing up we're going to investigate.

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