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Jan 4th 2010 - Kidsgrove



Well we have had a great few days since the last blog – 2010 has got off to a really good start for us. Heather and Les came to pick us up on New Year’s Eve in the afternoon around 3.30pm and took us back to their house. It was great to see them again. We were very glad to see that Heather was no longer resplendent inplaster cast as her badly fractured leg has now healed and she is back to fullstrength – it’s taken a long time though!  We also got to meet their lovely daughters, Emily and Lucy.


We had a great meal with them and lots of wine and never actually got around to watching the DVD’s as planned – we just chatted and reminisced about old times whilst Les and Emily listened! Well Heather, Clive and I all grew up in Huddersfield whereas Les didn’t – I don’t think we bored him to tears anyway, he certainly didn’t fall asleep, which is a good sign! We also did a bit of singing! Clive played the guitar whilst Heather and I tried to remember the harmonies we used to sing to the likes of The Boxer and some carols too, then she reminded me of a Frank Ifield song we had sung together in our very early days – “I Listen To My Heart” – oh boy, that was a real blast from thepast!  I had completely forgotten about that one but as Heather sang it, it started to come back to me.  I have no idea what was running through Emily's mind during all this - she is 21!  It is probably quite hard for her to imagine her mother as a "Sixties Chick"!


We saw the New Year in with the TV on and watched the fireworks in London, then a short while later we all went off to bed.


The next morning after breakfast Heather and Les took us into Nantwich to have a look around – it was shut!  There are some really lovely old buildings in Nantwich and a wonderful old church.  We all trooped inside (because it was open and lovely and warm!) to have a look at it.  There is a fabulous curtain hung on the back wall which had been made by the ladies of the church.  It is really amazing, done in a type of appliqué which has a special name but which I can’t remember!

St Mary's amazing curtain



All the pews have wonderful hassocks also made by the Church ladies, they are really beautiful.


After our visit to St Mary’s we managed to find one other place open – a coffee shop!  So we went in and treated ourselves to a lovely cup of coffee and cake!  Heather and I had the carrot cake, which was absolutely divine, I think I can honestly say it was the best I have ever had.


After our coffee we went back to the car and went for a drive into the country.  We actually managed to find Church Minshull Marina, where we were supposed to have left the boat when we went to Huddersfield for Christmas.  We have actually booked her into the marina for a week as she needs to be craned out of the water to have her bottom cleaned and reblacked and also the stern gland needs repacking as it is now letting water in and we are having to empty the bilge a couple of times a day, which is a bit scary!  This is all going to take place the week after next. That is providing we can actually get there!  If this cold spell doesn’t break soon we could have a bit of a problem – Church Minshull is still three days cruising away, including the flight of locks immediately in front of us – all 23 of them!


After leaving the marina we drove back to Heather and Les’s house via Sainsbury’s where we stocked up on a few essentials, then they drove us back to the boat.  Heather finally got to come aboard Lady Arwen – something she has been wanting to do for ages!  Unfortunately when we were moored in Nantwich last year Heather was in her plaster cast and there is no way she would have managed to get aboard. She has been following our blog ever since and has been really looking forward to actually seeing Lady Arwen first hand.  We had a cuppa then they left us with a promise to catch up with us again in a few days time. 


It was Heather’s birthday on the Saturday and she was expecting a visit from her mum Suzanne and her sister Jennifer with her family from Huddersfield to help her celebrate but unfortunately the weather stepped in to spoil their plans – it snowed again. They got an hour into the journey on the motorway but the snow was so bad they had to turn back – what a shame.


One thing we had mentioned to Heather and Les was that we would really like to go and see the new James Cameron movie; Avatar.  They decided they would like to see it too and so we arranged to all go together on Sunday afternoon.  We booked tickets for the 3.40pm showing. They drove over to meet us at the boat late morning, leaving their car parked in the Red Bull pub car park.   So the first thing we did was patronise the pub!  We had soup and a sandwich and wee drinky poo - all except poor Les who was driving!  The next thing we needed to do was find somewhere that sold coal!  We had almost finished our last bag and there was nowhere near us on the canal that sold it – not good!  However Les drove us to a local Tesco’s and their petrol station sold coal.  Unfortunately they had run out of smokelessf uel so we had to buy common or garden house coal.  We slung it in the boot then headed off to Newcastle-under-Lyme where the cinema was.  We finally managed to find a free parking spot in the market place and went for a wander round Newcastle (Clive and I have never been before) – it was shut too!  Well most of it.  Once again we found a coffee shop open.  Heather and I were both very decadent – we each ordered a Super Gooey Hot Chocolate!  This consisted of a large cup of hot chocolate with four large marshmallows floating on the top, finished off with whipped cream!!!  The diet starts on Monday!


Eventually it was time to head to the cinema and before long we were sitting in lovely comfortable seats clutching our 3D glasses ready for the film to start.   Well – words fail me!  Not something which happens very often!!! The film is truly awesome!  If you never go to the cinema normally do make an effort to go and see this film, it is absolutely incredible.  It would be a spectacular film anyway but in 3D it is just amazing.  James Cameron has teamed up with James Horner again for the soundtrack, as he did for Titanic so that too is brilliant.  It is most definitely a “must see”.


We left the cinema, piled back into the car and headed off to find somewhere to have a meal.  We came across a place called “Island Buffet” and decided to give it a try.  It was brilliant – an all you can eat Chinese buffet (diet definitely starts tomorrow!). It was excellent, good food, good service and of course good company.  We all thoroughly enjoyed it.  Then it was time to go home.  We drove back to the Red Bull and parked the car then we had the task of getting ourselves and three bags of coal back to the boat!  Initially Les and Clive took one bag each and a bag between them however when we reached the steps down to the canal and the sloping towpath down from the lock we had to do a rethink – it was like an ice rink!  The first thing we had to do was get Heather safely down the slope – she is not surprisingly rather nervous of slipping and falling now following her nasty fracture last year and although her boots had quite good soles they were not quite good enough.   In the end Les and Clive got Heather on to the level part then Les took a bag of coal in one hand and Heather in the other whilst Clive and I took a bag of coal each.  Finally we reached the safety of the boat!  We had a cup of coffee then Heather and Les headed back up the towpath – they both have to be up for work in the morning!


The one thing I am disappointed about is that I never took any photographs over the weekend so have nothing to show of our time with Heather and Les.  However we will be around these parts for a while longer and are planning on meeting up with them again.  Heather has suggested we all go on a trip to Chester, which would be lovely.  We are unable to get there by boat due to a stoppage which doesn’t reopen until March 12th so can only get there by road.  So apart from the photograph above, which I pinched off St Mary’s website, I have nothing to show you!

For the time being would everyone please think warm thoughts in the hope that the canal will defrost and we can safely make our way to Church Minshull!



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