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Jan 20th 2010 - Rode Heath/Hassall Green

Well we have actually moved at last!  Yesterday, Jan 19th, the coalman arrived mid morning and dropped off another two bags of smokeless fuel for the stove and two containers of diesel (40 litres) to bring the fuel tank to a slightly more respectable level.  All we needed now was the pump-out.  We waited and waited and waited!  The man who had bunged up the drain with his rods decided to mend a broken water pipe and seemed to be ignoring the drainage problem altogether.  However finally late in the afternoon we managed to do the necessaries and now, thank goodness, we are able to use our loo again! 

So we got up bright and early this morning, had a cuppa and a bit of breakfast then we were off by 9.00am!  I have to say that this was with some trepidation on my part - I have developed a gammy knee!  It started on Saturday night whilst I was on the dance floor!  Actually I wasn't dancing at the time, I was actually just leaving the dance floor when I got a stabbing pain in my right knee and it gave way!  I can honestly say it felt like someone had just hammered a nail through my kneecap - excrutiating!  I soldiered on and didn't mention it to anyone at the time, I also didn't go back  onto the dance floor!  It happened again on the boat when I got out of bed yesterday morning, last night when I got up quickly out of my chair and again this morning when I was brushing my hair up on deck!  So I was extremely nervous when I set off to do the first lock this morning but I took it very steadily and fortunately the knee held out and we have managed to negotiate ten locks today. Maybe it just needed some gentle exercise. 

Side by side

The locks on this stretch are quite interesting, they are known as duplicate locks because they are in pairs.  Fortunately most of them were actually in our favour and it didn't take us too long to get down, just over three hours.

We didn't manage to get as far as we intended however.  Having come down ten locks without any problems we noticed there was some ice floating on the surface of the last lock.  Soon after we passed some residential moorers and a couple of the residents waved to us as we were going by.  One lady said "you are very brave"!  Then a guy told us that they hadn't been able to move for a while due to the ice, which had been two inches thick he said.  We told him that it had been a lot thicker than that up on the Macclesfield Canal where evidently it had reached eight inches in depth and people were able to walk backwards and forwards across the canal!  However, just as we passed the last moored boat we hit ice!!!  We managed to break through it initially then it just stopped us dead, we couldn't push through.  We could see from the slabs that had broken off that it was still over an inch thick.  Oh dear! 

Inch thick ice!

Finally we had to reverse back and pull her into the bank and moor up.  Once she was tied up securely we went for a walk along the towpath and discovered that it was only iced up for about 200 yards and then there was clear water again.  We decided to call it a day though and stay here overnight and see if it thaws out at all over the next day or two.  We had some lunch and settled down for the afternoon then I heard an engine!  It turned out to be one of our neighbours from the Red Bull moorings where we have spent the last couple of weeks.  As he was passing us Clive popped his head out of the window and warned him about the ice.  He decided to have a go at breaking through but to no avail, a few minutes later and he was reversing back.  He is now moored behind us! 

New mooring

We have just watched the weather forecast and evidently the temperature is going to drop again to about minus 1 tonight so there is a good chance that the open water will refreeze - not good!  However we now have plenty of water, an empty loo tank and enough diesel to keep us going for a few days.  We also have plenty of food, some wine and even some Bourbon - hmm must make some ice!!!   So we will stay put for the time being and hope things thaw out again soon!  Oh well at least we have a change of scenery!

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