Wednesday December 16th - not sure where!
Saturday Dec 12th – Wood Lanes
Terry finally arrived on Saturday morning after a three hour journey from Atherstone! He had brought all the poles with him to convert into the frame for the pramhood. He set to and drilled lots of holes then fitted the poles onto the stern, then he left! I was really surprised he was so quick, I never even got to speak to him. I was going to make him a cup of tea but he didn’t stop long enough. Still I suppose he wanted to get off home, another three hour drive away! So things look a little strange at the moment with the poles laid flat along the seating around the stern. He is hoping to catch up with us again around the 18th December to complete the next stage, which will be fitting the “dodger”. This is the lower part of the canopy which goes around the whole of the stern and is separate from the actual pram hood itself. He may also do a trial fit of the pram hood canopy to ensure that all his measurements are correct. So it looks as though the job won’t be completed now until after Christmas. Can’t really blame Terry for the delay – remember the gales a few weeks back? Well Terry’s workshop roof blew off and all his equipment got rather damp!!! So he had all that to sort out before he could start on our canopy, plus all his other customer’s orders as well – poor Terry!
Just before Terry arrived on Saturday morning Clive had taken a taxi into Macclesfield to pick up another hire car as we were driving down to Cambridge for a couple of days to catch up with the kids tomorrow.
Sunday December 13th – Wood Lanes
On Sunday lunchtime we packed the car and set off on the drive to Cambridge. Clive had decided to go the scenic route through Derbyshire and it was absolutely beautiful. We have always liked Derbyshire, the scenery is really stunning. When he had booked this car he decided to go a bit larger so that we would be more comfortable on the journey down. He turned up with a new Vauxhall Astra, which was a wee bit on the sporty side, so he turned into the Stig didn't he! Oh dear - he went from placid boatee pootling along at 3-4 mph to boy racer hurtling down the motorway at nearly 90mph! Men!
We finally arrived in Cambridge about 3pm and decided to do a bit of Christmas shopping before heading over to Vicki’s house in Wilburton. I was a bit surprised the day before when she texted me to ask what time would be arriving as she and Ben were going to prepare Sunday dinner for us! Wow! We arrived in Wilburton at about 4.45pm and it was lovely to see Vicki again and Ben too. Its great now that Vicki has moved into her new place, she has spare bedrooms! Well only one spare actually, the third bedroom (the small one) is completely filled with all our worldly goods in plastic boxes!! She is using our furniture though and it was a bit weird seeing my dresser, display cabinet and bureau in such a different setting – a bit surreal actually! The funniest thing of all though is our enormous flat screen TV, which didn't look that big in our large lounge but in her small one it looks absolutely humungous!
It wasn’t long before the dinner was ready and it wasn’t just Sunday dinner, it was Christmas dinner complete with crackers! Ben, the man of the house, carved the turkey and did a very good job of it! It was all absolutely delicious – I was very impressed! We even had pudding!
Clive watches on as Ben carves the turkey!
After dinner we sat and watched the new Pixar Movies animated film, UP. It was absolutelybrilliant – I love Pixar movies!
We met up with Gareth the following day and ended up having a pizza together at lunch time then we took him home. However we had already decided to all go out for dinner in the evening – groan, more food! So when Vicki finished work we went back and collected Gareth and drove into Cambridge, we met Vicki in the Akytery Japanese restaurant in town. The food there is absolutely great, so it didn’t take us long to work up an appetite when we saw other people’s food being delivered to their tables!
Tuesday December 15th – Wood Lanes
We got up bright and early on Tuesday morning and said goodbye to Vicki then headed off back up the motorway to see if the boat had survived on her own for two days. She had, but she was very cold indeed! I put the central heating on straight away whilst Clive took the hire car back and kept my coat on whilst I was unpacking all the bags, it was really cold! Once unpacked I set to lighting the stove, which wasn’t as straightforward as usual. We didn’t have any kindling whatsoever, just newspaper, firelighters and damp coal!! Finally after three attempts and six firelighters it decided to play ball and stay in! Within a very short time the boat was all cosy and warm again.
We had decided that as soon as Clive got back he was going to turn the boat around and head off back up to Goyt Mill so that I could go to the launderette as things were getting a bit desperate in the underwear department, I was down to my last pair!! I also wanted to get the bedding and towels washed as well. It took about two hours to get there and whilst I went to put the laundry into wash Clive carried on up the canal to the next winding hole and turned the boat around so that we would be facing the right way in the morning.
A couple of hours later and I was back on the boat with a big smile on my face – aaah! Nothing like clean laundry! Am I a sad git or what!!
Wednesday December 16th – Goyt Mill to not sure where!
The alarm went off at 7.45am to make sure we didn’t sleep in this morning, we have a long way to go! The Church Lock at Kidsgrove reopens on Friday, which means we can finally escape from the Macc! It will take us a couple of days to get there and then another three days for us to get to Church Minshull Marina where we have booked a temporary mooring for the boat whilst we go to Huddersfield for Christmas. So after a quick breakfast Clive got the engine started and did his usual tinkering under the engine hatch, pumping out the bilge etc then he set off. It was actually quite foggy and chilly but not as chilly as in other parts of Britain this morning we understand! Then it started to rain! I joined him about an hour later with a cup of coffee to warm him up. I also decided I needed some more practice at the tiller (a lot more actually!). This stretch of canal has quite a lot of low bridges and the passage through them is very narrow, only a couple of feet wider than the boat itself so it is quite tricky steering the boat safely through them. Clive of course does it perfectly having had a lot of practice over the last fourteen months, I on the other hand am still a total novice who finds it difficult keeping the boat in a straight line under normal circumstances never mind through the narrows! However with a bit of guidance from Clive (who was trying very hard not to laugh!) I managed to negotiate several of these bridges without crashing though I was zig zagging quite a lot! I wasdefinitely getting a little better by the end of the afternoon – I think!
We finally arrived at the swing bridge at Fool’s Nook and I jumped off with my BW key and dashed over the bridge to open it – you get a great feeling of power as the barriers come down and you hold sway over the traffic! Clive brought the boat through and then I closed the bridge again and trotted up the towpath to catch up with him and jump back aboard. We decided to carry on a bit further rather than moor at Fool’s Nook under the trees as there is no TV signal there whatsoever and we really wanted to be able to watch the news and catch the weather report for tomorrow, nor is there a particularly good mobile or dongle signal. So we pootled on a bit further and eventually came out into opencountry side and found a perfect mooring, brilliant. So here we are, not sure just where exactly, somewhere between Macclesfield and Congleton! We were both very cold and damp and a bit bedraggled by the time we had got moored up so were very glad indeed to get inside where it was warm and cosy. Once settled I set to and made a curry for tea – well we thought we needed really warming up, from the inside!
Ahead of us is the Bosley Lock flight so I have a busy day tomorrow. It will do me good to have some exercise again, I have definitely become fat and lazy over the last six weeks with no locks to do!
So, until tomorrow!