Yes I know - its been a while - sorry! However there really wasn't a lot to tell and the last thing I want to do is bore you all to tears!
We remained in Nantwich right up until the morning of Sunday 7th Feb. We intended to leave each day but somehow we just didn't. Clive was not feeling very well for a start, he had a bad cold, which naturally turned into "man-flu" and he wasn't feeling up to standing on the back of the boat freezing to death or getting wet through so we just languished in Nantwich! I managed to get back to the launderette again and did another batch of washing, all the whites this time, so that was good. Other than that nothing exciting happened at all until early Saturday evening. We had decided to go on an expedition into Nantwich in the morning, find Morrison's and do some shopping. When we got back I made a steak casserole and we thought it would be nice with chips so I went to the freezer (our lovely little Shoreline freezer which is located under our bed!). pulled the drawer out, lifted the lid, put my hand in and located the chips - they were soft! So were the peas, mushy actually!!! Oh no! Clive came at my shriek to see what the problem was. We lifted up the mattress and removed one of the wooden boards under the bed so that we could peer at the freezer's motor with the torch. We found the fuse, which appeared to be intact so obviously it wasn't something that simple. The compressor wasn't making any noise, which it normallydoes, quite loudly, so obviously the motor wasn't working at all!
We got all the soggy food out of the freezer and cleaned it out. Looking through the stuff I had removed I frantically tried to figure out how to save it all! It obviously hadn't been off for a very long time as the food was still quite cold but not frozen. There was mince - no probs, I can quickly rustle up a Bolognese sauce with that and then freeze it in my little freezer compartment in the fridge. There were four large pork chops, we normally have one each for a meal - hmmm. There was a box of cooked steak ready to make into a meat and potato pie. Also one small box of beef curry and a small box of Bolognese sauce. Oh dear - too much food - how are we going to eat it all before it goes off?
Clive spent the whole of Saturday afternoon watching the rugby - well the Six Nations has started now, so it will be wall to wall rugby every weekend for a while! I ended up playing games on the lap-top so all in all Saturday was a bit of a write-off
Sunday dawned and it was definitely time to set off - if we didn't get a move on today the BW lady who tramps along the towpath checking boat licences and how long boats have stayed in one spot (a bit like a traffic warden!) would be telling us to sling our hook! So about 9.20am we were off - bye bye Nantwich! We weren't intending travelling far - our destination was Audlem, which is about three hours cruise from Nantwich. There were only two locks to negotiate on the way and we got through them both without a problem. Eventually we arrived at the bottom of the Audlem Flight and moored up just before the lock. We have moored in almost the exact same spot before, at the end of October 2008 on our maiden voyage! Its very pretty countryside around here.
Whilst we had been cruising I had put a couple of baking potatoes in the oven. Once we were moored I heated up the tub of beef curry and the tub of Bolognese which had been in the freezer. Clive had the curry and I had the Bog sauce on a jacket spud each for lunch. Then a short while later I rolled my sleeves up and set to. First I prepared the Bolognese sauce and then whilst that was simmering away merrily I decided to make a batch of Anzac Biscuits. We haven't had any for weeks and withdrawal symptoms were setting in. I have made several batches of these gorgeous biscuits now and they seem to be just slightly different each time - but they are always scrummy yummy and this is an exceptionally good batch! We had intended to have a couple of the pork chops for dinner but neither of us were hungry enough so we just had a sandwich!
When we woke up this morning (Monday) it felt rather chilly, so much so that I nipped out of bed and put the central heating on then dived back under the quilt till the boat warmed up sufficiently to get dressed! Once I was up I decided to make a casserole with the pork chops. I got it all prepared then I decided not to cook it in the oven but to put it on the stove, which will act as a slow cooker. So having made sure that the stove was at a reasonable temperature I put the pot on top of the stove on a tray (to avoid getting gravy all over the stove!) and there it sits, chuntering away to itself.
Pot on stove!
Once the casserole was on I got togged up in my boots and waterproofs, because it was snowing! I left Clive on board and tramped up the towpath past the next two locks, with my windlass in hand, to see if there were any moorings available further up the flight, near the Shroppie Fly. There was a space after the second lock so I phoned Clive and told him to set off and in the meantime I set the upper lock, the lower one was already empty so I just needed to open the gates. Clive had strict instructions to be VERY careful as I didn't want my casserole knocking off the stove! It didn't take long to get through both locks and we were soon moored up once more. We are now only about 100 yards from the Shroppie Fly and have a lovely view of Audlem Cemetery across the fields!
Before I took all my outdoor togs off I decided to head into the village of Audlem to find the Post Office as I had to post a birthday card to my Great Niece, Molly, who lives in New Zealand. Audlem is a nice little place, amazingly for such a small place it has a lot of pubs! We are planning to go to one of them tonight, as mentioned previously, The Shroppie Fly is situated right on the side of the canal and is the venue for a rather good Folk Club which takes place on the second Monday of every month - which just happens to be tonight!
You may be forgiven for thinking that we are having pork casserole for tea but you would be wrong - we are having meat and potato pie! I figured that if I cooked the pork it will keep a little longer. There is still a wee bit of room in my freezer compartment so we will probably eat half the casserole for tea tomorrow and the other half can now be frozen. All in all the only stuff that had to be thrown away were the soggy chips and mushy peas! Not too bad really. We now need to try and get the freezer sorted out. Fortunately we have the contact details for Shoreline if we can't sort things out ourselves. These freezers cost about £600 yet theyare quite small, only a bit larger than a cool box.
I bought mine off eBay for £200, it was two years old and had been fitted on a boat but had only been used for three months out of each year. It has served us very well indeed for the last 17 months and has been on permanently except at Christmas when we left the boat without power so it had to be emptied and turned off. So we are sincerely hoping that it is something that can be fixed without too much trouble or expense!
We will probably remain here at Audlem until Wednesday before heading off again. Our next destination is Market Drayton where we are hoping to catch up with Clive's cousin Jean and her husband Glyn.