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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014 – day 43

Posted by indigodream on 26 January, 2015

Saturday 4th October

Northwich (River Weaver) to Saltersford Lock (via Vale Royal and Acton Bridge!)

I said we had a drama in the morning….

Soulmates Herbie and Alfie spent most of the weekend on the sofa; as for the rest of this photo? I should start a caption competition :-)

Soulmates Herbie and Alfie spent most of the weekend on the sofa; as for the rest of this photo? I should start a caption competition πŸ™‚

The boat was woken at 7am by Steve shouting “Arun’s in the river”. He’d taken her out for a morning walk and she had absentmindedly strolled off the path into the water between Indigo Dream’s bow and the boat in front (quite a drop). Luckily, Arun is very light, and Steve has long arms, so by the time we’d mobilised to help, he’d managed to get her out. Being a spaniel, she was unperturbed by her dunking, and Steve’s greatest fear had been that she would enjoy her swim too much and head over to the far bank.

We had dog towels to spare, so Steve dried her off and we settled back to bed – except that the boat was suddenly filled with the smell of petrol! Cue panic check of the diesel tank, but the smell was emanating from Arun! The Weaver is a clean flowing river, so how on earth did Arun manage to fall in at the exact place where a boat had dropped (hopefully accidentally) a tin of gooey yellow resin??

Apart from the overpowering smell, we couldn’t leave Arun, with her dodgy liver, covered in a potentially toxic petrochemical, so cue an extensive showering session. Although this removed an acceptable amount of goo, the stuff was horribly tenacious and poor Arun needed another super-bath later on with a “Sue Special” degreasing formulation – always handy to have a pharmacist on board πŸ™‚

Steve and Alfie on the helm - Steve is a natural so we were able to relax and leave him there for most of the day :-)

Steve and Alfie on the helm – Steve is a natural so we were able to relax and leave him there for most of the day πŸ™‚

We did manage a moderate lie-in after all this commotion – it was raining and there was no particular rush as the Vale Royal lock wouldn’t be open until late morning. We were able to enjoy a very leisurely breakfast and eventually set off after the worst of the rain had passed.

The Weaver was precisely as lovely as I remembered – we cruised through Vale Royal lock and went all the way up to the flash at the end, venturing as far as we dared into the shallows before turning back downstream.

We’d had a vague ambition to get as far as Weston, but once again we were scuppered by the early lock closures. We got through Saltersford lock, but we realised that we wouldn’t make it through the next – what a shame. We went down to Acton anyway, as the giant swing bridge is well worth seeing. We were amazed by the amount of traffic on the river – we hadn’t realised that there was a steam boat rally at Acton. Luckily the rally included fuel boat Alton who we know from many years back – we like to support boating businesses so we filled up with diesel at a reasonable 85p/litre.

We stopped at the Riverside Inn for a quick drink and to scout it out as a potential overnight mooring spot. The pub was not dog-friendly so we sat outside with the hounds – they were soon wrapped in blankets as the afternoon turned more autumnal. The pub mooring is fenced from the road but it wasn’t a good place for the dogs – the landing was a bit too narrow for comfort; we also had a lot of very fine food on board! In the end, we moved up to the visitor moorings just below Saltersford Lock, as recommended by the lock-keeper earlier.

It was a quiet and idyllic spot. Steve used the early finish time to de-grease Arun – the yellow resin was intractable and it took an age to get her clean; I ended up throwing away the towels that we used to clean her – horrible stuff 😦

In the meantime, I cooked dinner – always a pleasure, especially then the galley window offered a view ofΒ  a stunning sunset followed by a starry black sky of the sort you rarely see in the populous South East. There’s something very snuggly about sitting on board with the heating going, good company, good food and fine wine – we had a merry evening πŸ™‚

Note: we were so busy enjoying the cruising and company we hardly took any photos – d’oh!






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