Rewind to Saturday 7th March
Since my last visit to the boat, the boatyard has finally started to assess the remedial work that needs to be done – the main problem being water damage from:
- a leak in the filler hose to the water tank
- a leak in the shower (found that later)
- condensation being channelled and trapped by poorly trimmed spray foam insulation (done 9 years ago when Indigo Dream was built)
There were a few other maintenance tasks, all of which added up to a job that was too big for the marina/yard at Northwich, however, they could do the work at their yard in Nantwich. This caused us some consternation as a lock closure on the Middlewich branch meant that we couldn’t get her there until this weekend! Edit: A “few” maintenance tasks, I wish!
We haven’t been cruising for months, so we decided to move Indigo Dream ourselves, having extracted a solemn promise from the marina owner that she would be made habitable!
Habitable for humans that is…….
We’d had a hint that Indigo Dream’s interior would need to be gutted, so we’d need to take more of our possessions home. This meant two cars and no dogs! Richard set off first – he’d get the boat going and cruise the lock-free pound towards Middlewich. In the meantime, I’d follow on with Ty and Ollie, the cunning plan being to meet Greygal in Norton Canes services on the M6 – she would take the hounds in for the weekend! Ty was not impressed by this plan and I left quite late after having to chase him round various hidey-holes before levering him into the car :-p
Despite Ty’s reluctance, our timing worked well – the hound transfer went smoothly, I had time for lunch and met up with Richard at the Old Broken Cross pub just north of Middlewich. It was a fine day and despite a very lively wind, we resolved to make the best of the weather and cruise until dusk – the forecast for Sunday was very wet indeed!
This stretch is becoming very familiar now – luckily we love the Trent and Mersey so it wasn’t a hardship. We envied the boats moored at the famous flashes – I’ve always wanted to moor there with the hounds but today we were on a schedule! This was a shame as we passed a twitter “friend” Nb Ruth who offered us a cup of tea, but we needed to keep going. They’re moored at Anderton and we keep missing each other – one day we’ll have that cuppa!
We turned on to the Middlewich branch and pushed on through the next few locks. Then we had a dilemma – we wanted to get as far as we could before dusk, but past a certain point, the Middlewich branch becomes wonderfully rural and inaccessible by road. This wouldn’t normally be a problem but we had zero food supplies on board so we really needed to have access to a pub.
In the end, we moored in a very quiet spot by Flea Lane Bridge (you are only allowed to moor there when you have no dogs on board). We uhmmed and ahhhhd before finally getting a taxi back to the Old Broken Cross, where we had supper. I like this pub – it’s dog-friendly, warm and cosy, it also has very kind and solicitous staff. Unfortunately their natty wi-fi bar/kitchen communication system wasn’t working very well, so the food itself was a bit random but we would go there again.
I drove us back to the boat, having found a handy lay-by near the canal bridge. We were pretty tired, but having had a dehumidifier running on board for the past month and the heating running all day, the boat was toasty and we had a good night’s sleep.
We woke up to a cold and lacklustre day with a fine drizzle that looked settled in for the day. Sadly the drizzle was soon replaced with proper relentless rain which only stopped when we moored up at Nantwich! We set off relatively early, having decided to do the car shuffle after we’d arrived at Nantwich. The decision was based on the fact that we expected much heavier rain in the late afternoon and thought we’d cruise while there was just drizzle – oops, got that wrong!
It was good to be on the water but I confess that I got cold today and was very glad to arrive in Nantwich. We got there at lunchtime and ate at the canal basin cafe – there’s nothing like an all-day breakfast for lifting the spirits 🙂
It was then time to get a taxi back to my car, but rather than pick up Richard’s car then, we came back to Nantwich to pack up the boat.
Oh my goodness, we are careful with what we keep in the limited space on board, but we still had enormous amounts of stuff! My car (a decent sized estate) was soon full to the brim and it was time for me to drive Richard to Uplands to pick up his car. Our grand plan was for Richard to stay on board so that he could talk to the boat-building team on Monday morning (and pick up the last of the boat stuff). In the meantime, I’d drive home on Sunday evening so that I could drive to Suffolk on Monday to collect the hounds.
It was a great relief to have the boat in the right place so that the long-anticipated works could start. I should have been careful what I wished for – it’s proving to be a bigger job than we ever guessed!
This is a photo of the many lenticular clouds that we saw today – apparently they’re a rare enough phenomenon to be reported in the local newspaper – http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/beautiful-lenticular-clouds-photographed-wirral-8798648
Lenticular clouds are apparently formed by shear winds created by a front – the reason they’re rare here is that the terrain is relatively flat (they’re generally associated with mountains and tall buildings
I’m quite proud that I did recognise them for lenticular clouds and didn’t mistake them for UFOs, which is apparently quite common 🙂