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  • clivenmel

Jan 8th 2010

Well what can I say – apart from the fact that it is perishing cold and this boat is not going anywhere anytime soon!  However it is very, very pretty!

Winter Wonderland!


We are still alive, not two little frozen husks inside an icy cold steel tube!  We are managing to keep warm, though we did have a bit of a hiatus a few days ago.  You will recall from the last blog that our friends Heather and Les took us to Tesco’s petrol station to buy coal and all they had was the normal House Coal.  I was very dubious about getting normal coal at the time but as we had completely run out of fuel we had to get something. Well it was absolutely terrible stuff! We couldn’t get the stove to burn hot because every time we opened the damper the smoke just poured out of the stove from every orifice it could find, in fact it got so bad it set off our carbon monoxide detector alarm - so we had to open several windows to get rid of the smoke – not helpful considering the temperature was sub-zero at the time! However the following day Clive managed to find a local coal merchants on the internet – guess where it was? Right opposite the Tesco petrol station!!!  I have to say it was very well camouflaged because it is also a campervan storage facility so we were a little put off the scent so to speak!  Anyway Clive phoned them to see if they could deliver to us but because of the heavy snowfall thenight before the guy was unable to get his truck out of the yard!  So Clive was going to set off and walk there because evidently the guy also sells sledges so he intended to buy one of these to tow the coal back to the boat!  It turned out not to be necessary though as one of the BW guys very kindly gave him a lift there and back so he bought 6 bags, enough to keep us going for a few days anyway.


Needless to say we are therefore still here at Kidsgrove!  The temperature has been plummeting at night, so far the lowest has been -9 but it is evidently due to drop to -11 tonight!  We currently have plenty of food (went to Tesco’s yesterday), half a tank of water, which hopefully we will be able to top up again if the water pipe remains unfrozen, we have fuel for the stove and about a quarter of a tank of diesel, which should last us a while yet.  The only thing we are short of is a pump-out for the loo!  The pump-out facility here at the BW service station is currently frozen and therefore unusable!  Fortunately they have full facilities here; showers, loos, launderette etc so we are currently using their loos during theday and only using ours during the night if the need arises.  It harks back to the olden days when one had to go to the outside loo for a pee!


Other than that we are coping very well with the cold snap.  We are keeping ourselves occupied on the boat, reading, watching TV or playing gams on the laptops.  It is unlikely that we are going to be able to move the boat for some time yet as this cold spell is due to last for about another ten days.  We have therefore decided to abandon Lady Arwen for a week! We are hiring a car from Monday 11th to Monday 18thJanuary.  We are heading over to Huddersfield on the 11th for one night to drop off some stuff that we don’t need on the boat any more, then we are driving down to Cambridge on Tuesday and staying until Friday when we will drive back up to Huddersfield. We will stay in Huddersfield until the 18th, then drive back here and drop off the hire car. Hopefully by the time we get back the weather conditions will have improved and we should be able to set off on our travels again – keep your fingers crossed.


The canal here has actually been thawing out during the day up to press.  This is mainly because there is a very high iron content in the water, which is why it is the colour of oxtail soup!  Today however it has remained frozen as it is so cold. I just looked out of the window and noticed two ponies on the opposite bank pawing through the snow with their hooves to get at the grass!

Ponies grazing above the frozen canal

Even if the canal wasn’t frozen we couldn't risk setting off, firstly because the ice would make the locks extremely dangerous for me, if I were to slip and fall in the water I probably wouldn’t survive for long!!  The other reason of course is that whilst we are here we do at least have access to the facilities and we aren’t far from shops etc whereas if we set off and then get stranded out in the wilderness somewhere things could get rather dodgy, so its best to stay put!


Having now spent two harsh winters on board Lady Arwen we have just about made our mind up that we are going to spend the next winter in New Zealand!  They have just had one of the warmest Christmas’s on record! 



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