Rewind to Friday 25th September
Anderton Marina to Stud Green Bridge (below Crow’s Nest Lock)
Big Sid – the sweetest greyhound who ever lived…
When we left the boat a few weeks ago, Ollie’s vet in Northwich had given him a simple choice – get better or fade gently away. When we came back from holiday, we had another dog swap, Big Sid and Herbie came to stay while Archie and Henry went home for a rest; Big Sid was unwell – his Suffolk vet had diagnosed a kidney infection. So when we got back from holiday we had two hounds under par, but then the unexpected happened. Ollie decided to get better and continued to perk up during the week. But Big Sid deteriorated badly – our vet identified a problem with his liver, a scan revealed it was probably liver cancer. Big Sid slipped away with great dignity on the 16th September to join the crew of the virtual Indigo Dream cruising serenely beneath the Rainbow Bridge 😦
By the 25th September, we reckoned that Ollie had perked up enough for the journey to the boat and a weekend’s cruising, but Ty (who was still with us then) wouldn’t have appreciated an intense weekend of locking so we had the usual fun logistics as I did an epic dog swap and jam delivery.
Richard and Ollie headed up to the boat on the Friday evening. This would allow them to get an early start on Saturday in order to get to Kings Lock boatyard in time to see Steve. We needed to get our Webasto remote control up and running properly – it hadn’t been working since we had it installed since May. This wasn’t an issue over the summer, but it was essential for us to get it sorted before the winter. Indigo Dream really suffered in the northern cold last winter; we hoped that the ability to set the heating going remotely would save her from damage if Winter 2015/2016 turned chilly (hasn’t happened yet, but it is very soggy!).
I stayed at home, but on Saturday morning I took Herbie and Ty off to Sarah’s for the weekend, stopping off at a Greyhoundhomer stand in Essex along the way to drop off some jam. It’s not a bad trip up to Suffolk via Essex, and I was soon picking up regulars Henry and Archie Beanz for a very special meeting on Monday. The satnav calculated a particularly fine route from Suffolk to Cheshire which avoided all of the usual tedium of the M1 and M6 so we all got together by early afternoon. Meanwhile Richard and Ollie headed off up the Trent & Mersey, through Big Lock and then up the three narrow locks to Kings Lock.
Miracle boy Ollie, taken on Christmas Day wearing a special scarf given to him as a gift by a friend 🙂
It was a fine day, so after we got the Webasto sorted (hurrah!) we decided to set off up heartbreak hill – we needed to get to Red Bull by Monday morning so we had plenty of time.
It is probably worth a few words about the Webasto: We had a TC3 unit installed when we had the works done over winter, there is a bit story here but can be simply summarised as the install was not good, we could operate the Webasto via our timer but not via the TC3 hence wanting Steve Wedgwood at Kings Lock to have a look at it. The man is a marvel, he looked at, checked things over and quickly decided that the issue must be that the wiring of the plugs was wrong. It turns out that the TC3 comes with bare wires and plugs which you need to configure to suit the installation, Steve always offers to send them out ready configured but Nantwich wanted to do it themselves and got it wrong 😦 arghh. If you know what you are doing then it is relatively easy, take the wires out of the plugs, ready the pretty indecipherable circuit diagrams and put them back together for a narrowboat install. Of course I could have done it myself, it probably would have taken me oooh 10 hours? Took Steve less than 2 minutes.
I didn’t take any notes, but it’s basically relentless locking for the first few miles out of Middlewich, with the greyhounds restricted on board by the busy road that flank the canal. They didn’t mind too much, they were quite happy with the sofa and various other luxury beds available on board. It was just as well, from the slow perspective of a narrowboat, the cars drive at an unreasonable speed along the A533. We couldn’t think about mooring until the canal peeled away from the road at Stud Green Bridge.
It was near dusk when we moored up, with just enough light for Richard to cycle back to get my car from Kings Lock. It didn’t take him very long, and he was soon back at the boat. We’d contemplated where to eat, and plumped for a takeaway from Kings Lock Fish ‘n Chip shop which had good reviews.
Parking was a little tricky at Stud Green Bridge. we found a likely verge for the night, but knew that we’d have to move early in the morning. There was plenty of room for passing cars, but one of the big beastie combine harvesters we’d spotted in the far fields might have taken a wing mirror off, but by now it was far too late to worry about such things….
Mist on the water – the canals are so atmospheric…
We think Indigo Dream looks good for her age and “mileage” – how swanky will she look after her repaint in September 2016!
The great saltworks of Northwich….
This marina is now in water – wonder when the first boats will move in?
Lovely Trent and Mersey – well worth a visit….
Ollie having a solo bimble in Middlewich 🙂 – it was quite a long bimble . . .