Sunday, September 29, 2013

Time Is Moving On

But we are staying stationary for a day Smile

We have been zipping along at speed for the past few days, Snail we left Tixall Wide a bit later than planned as we needed to wait for a phone call.  Once that was done, we moved on to Great Haywood for a water top up, very necessary due to the amount of washing I had done in the previous few days !  I took the opportunity to visit the farm shop butcher which is on our favourites list. We had the pork chops for dinner last night and they were just lovely again Angel.
A very large Gunnera just outside Little Haywood - unfortunately you cannot see the flower stems growing in the middle

Cute little piglet seen on a farm outside Rugeley

We cruised through to Rugeley where we stopped again to stock the cupboards. The plan was to head for Morrisons BUT a huge brand new Tesco’s had opened the day before and is right by the canal at bridge 66.  While I put away the groceries, Andrew popped over to Morrisons to see if he cold find the dehumidifier crystals that we need. They were not available in Tesco’s but not at Morrisons either. Andrew thinks Morrisons are going to struggle now with the new Tesco’s just across the canal ! 
As it was still reasonably early we decided to continue on to Fradley Junction. Well….it took a bit longer than we thought and when we finally arrived there, al the moorings were taken. We tried a couple of times to moor up past the 48hr moorings but just could not get in to the side.  So while I got dinner on the go, it was already 6:30pm by now, Andrew continued until he was able to find a suitable mooring spot.  Finally at 7:30pm we were moored up and were able to eat dinner ! 

Captive Buzzard outside Rugeley



Shaggy Ink Cap

On Saturday we were up again at a reasonable hour and on our way but yesterday seemed to be telling us something when after just 20 minutes we saw a boat well known to us moored up.  Naturally, we pulled up and moored to have a coffee and chat with Allan, on nb The Lovely Lisa aka Lucy Lowther.  We had not seen Allan since we met going in opposite directions on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal mid July.  After a long chat and now we are going in the same direction, we moved on with the plan to meet up later in the afternoon.


Our plan was to head for the bottom of the Atherstone Locks a fair number of hours away.  But this was not to be, as we reached Fazeley junction, there was yet another familiar boat, nb Islonian who we had spent some time with on the Llangollen Canal just a few weeks ago.  So once more, quick reverse and pull in. After another cup of coffee, or three, we could not be bothered with moving on Sarcastic smile so a quick text to Allan about the change of plan once more!  Allan turned up later in the evening and we all ended up spending the night here in Fazeley Junction. 
It is so nice to be able to change plans so easily, we are staying here for a few days, there is a nature reserve just up from the junction which we shall move to today or tomorrow Winking smile and then we shall carry on towards London.  Allan has moved on but we shall catch up to him along the way and stop again for another coffee and chat.

Cows in the Cut :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Work and Play Update

Not too many pictures again today I'm afraid :(  We have been cruising waters we have passed before and we are also on a mission, so not a lot of time or reason to take more pictures.  Although we did see a Kestrel today, so might just have to see if one of those ones is usable.

So an update!

I enjoyed my trip down south, but more because I was able to spend some time with my brother Jody and his wife, Gina, in their new house.  The job interview though did not go well.  Or at least that is what I thought. I have still not heard back so I am assuming it was the same from their side of the desk too.

On the bright side though, I managed to get a bunch of job applications off on Friday, Saturday and Monday and I am now fielding calls and emails.  Lots of fun when internet and phone signals are intermittent. We are crossing the fingers and toes that one of them will lead to a negotiation of sorts and that I shall soon be gainfully employed.

It does make us realise though, that the last year has slipped by very quickly and that the sabbatical is almost over.  What it has also done, is made us see that retirement is something to look forward too, not dreaded.  We will be able to fill the days quite easily I think :)  

I made it back to the boat late Monday afternoon.  Tuesday we pulled pins and over the past 3 days we have trekked from Gnosall to one of our favourites, Tixall Wide.

Shropshire Union view

We are making our way south at a reasonable speed and south is where I have been applying for jobs. Our initial idea had been to do the Wolverhampton 21 and make our way back through Birmingham. The problem was firstly, that in order to do this required a long day to make it from the top of the 21 all the way through to Birmingham, as there are very few safe mooring spots along the way. Secondly, on arrival in Birmingham mooring spots would be scarce.  There is a floating market organised for this weekend in Birmingham and as a result, many of the mooring spots have been assigned to the trading boats. So a Birmingham by-pass has been set.  We are happy though, as the rural cruising is far more fun. Not only that, we could find ourselves, that should probably read will find ourselves, big city placed for a good while. The final destination will not be known until the job is sorted but we would like to enjoy the quiet rural countryside for as long as we can.


As you can all probably work out, Andrew survived the 5 days without me very well. He was able to pig out on beans on toast for a few days, along with a couple of proper meals :)  He doesn't get to eat like that when I am around :)

So there is our news for another week.  Now that i am back on board and provided we have some internet, you might get the news a bit more frequently.

Cheerio for now

Monday, September 16, 2013

Stopping over in Gnosall

Monday 16th September

We arrived in Gnosall this morning after a short 2 mile journey from Norbury Junction.  The internet here for now is holding but not on my smartphone on 3!

Anyway at least we have something, so after a short chat with Jody this morning, my train tickets are all booked and paid for.  So Andrew gets to have a bit of a break from my company for 5 days as I will leave on Wednesday morning and return on Monday afternoon.  Well I was not going all that way and not stop for a few days with my brother was I Tongue Plus also going up a day early gives me a chance to get some pointers from Jody, as it has been quite while now since I last interviewed for a job Big Grin and never for one in the UK !

This way I also get to see their new house and maybe give a hand with sorting out boxes or cupboards while I am there over the weekend.  You never know I might even make it to a hairdresser and have a bit of a trim and colour Big Grin

In the meantime Andrew has booked his daily seat at the Navigation Inn and will look after the necessaries on the boat until I get back.

So there will not be any blog from me until next week, maybe Andrew might decide to give it a go, but then maybe not Laughing

Take care everyone, till next time, cheerio Wave  

To finish off some pictures from the last week which I have not put up yet
The Shot Tower - outside Chester: Tue 10th Sep

Audlem flight - Thu 12th Sep
 and finally
Tonight's moon seen outside our front window

Heading Towards London (for work :| )

Thursday 12th September

We left Hack Green, without visiting the Secret Bunker and headed towards the Audlem flight.  14 locks in all.  There had not been any boats pass us in the early hours, so naturally assumed that the flight might be quiet.  How wrong were we! or maybe that was just me, Andrew probably knew perfectly well.  They had all moored up at the bottom of the flight.  So with at least another 10 boats already ahead of us we started up the flight, turning each lock after the boat immediately in front of us had passed through the lock.  In all we only passed 4 boats going down, lucky them, they just seemed to cruise from one lock into the next.  Raised Eyebrow

Once through those locks, I was pretty much exhausted, so Andrew locked us up the next 5 locks of the Adderley flight while I did my best to look in control of the boat.  At one of the locks, with a boat coming down, me in the pound and the boat behind in the lock, the boat swung across the canal.  Andrew said the lady that was locking the other boat down, insisted that he come and help me as I was obviously having trouble.  Blast! No chance to get out of that one on my own, although I must admit it would probably have taken me a bit longer to sort out than it took Andrew.  I am not that keen on the full blast backwards and forwards maneuvers, I tend to be a bit more gentle.  Anyway, Andrew sorted it and the remainder of the flight was uneventful. 

Once more plans were changed as we were not able to get in to the side at the visitor moorings at the top of the flight, which were very nice I might add.  As usual the shroppie shelf got in the way and we did not have any tyres to keep us off it.  So on we cruised to Market Drayton, nabbing one of the last 48hr moorings, just a boat ahead of nb Waiouru, who we seem to have caught up with, last seeing them as they were heading out of Chester in the opposite direction to us! 

That evening I started feeling a bit nauseous and dizzy, bugger not the flu again!  In the morning I felt even worse and the whole world was spinning. I was worried I had a middle ear infection as the dizziness did not go away when I lay down.  So that put paid to moving on for the day.  In the evening, I was able to get up and sit for a while, but kept my eyes closed the whole time.  It was then that I felt a large lump on the back of my neck and remembered that I had been bitten/stung by an insect while locking up the Audlem flight.  We now think that I may have had a bit of a reaction to the bite, as 48 hours later I was feeling much more like my normal self. 

The only problem with me being out of it though was that Andrew had to do the Tyrley flight of locks on his own.  I stayed in bed as I was still not feeling great.  But he loved it.  I think it is that whole control thing again.  Being able to show the world and himself (plus me of course) that he can do it all on his own Not worthy

Sunday 15th September

So now we are moored up at Norbury Junction.  The plan is to wait out the forecast rain, which has just arrived.  We will venture off to Gnosall tomorrow, Monday, where we shall stay until after I have been to my interview in London.  The major problem here at Norbury Junction, is no internet AT ALL.  But there is free wi-fi at the coffee shop, so we popped in there this morning so that I could at least download the bus and train timetables to work out how I am going to get to London. Not too keen on using open wi-fi though to actually buy the tickets so that will wait until we get our own connection again.

So there we have it.  A few quiet days for me and fun days for Andrew Big Grin

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cruising Again

Tuesday 10th September

Our time here in Chester was now up, so after a grocery stock up and a trip the '3' store to change my phone over to them, so that we can tether the phone and use skype on the laptop again.  Now I just need my number moved over and a decent signal, so that we can then catch up with family in NZ.

We left Chester late morning, planning on stopping back at The Chesire Cat.  The day was nice but cool, so we continued on to the bottom of the next set of locks, mooring up as the weather turned and it started dripping a bit from the sky.  The evenings have turned chilly but we did not want to light the fire just yet.

Wednesday 11th September

This morning was definitely cold, and we succumbed to lighting the fire.  We also have the washing that I did yesterday hanging in the dinnette and it needs a bit of help to dry quicker.  Once the interior was warming nicely we upped sticks and headed for the first lock of the day.  We were through all the locks really quickly today, with them all being set in our favour, brilliant.  Made for nice easy work for me.  We made it to Nantwich without too much rain but not long after that it really started persisting down.  Luckily we were almost at our desired location, so 2 quick locks at Hack Green and we pulled in to moor.  Well Andrew did anyway.  I put the kettle on for a nice cuppa :)

So here we are at one of the worst kept secrets, Hack Green Secret Bunker !!!  Or possibly it was until they put up a huge bloody sign directing everyone's attention to it.  Now it is some sort of museum, not sure if we will go and visit tomorrow before we leave.

I have a job interview lined up in London for next Thursday, so now we have been trying to work out the logistics of getting me to London by train at the desired time.  So not sure if we are heading for the Grand Union via Great Hayward or Birmingham.  I guess we shall decide for definite when we get to the turning point :) 

Anyway, that is it for now.  No pictures as none have really been taken !  Cheerio :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Away and Back to Chester

Friday (5th September) morning saw us doing a quick un-mooring as a boat passed us heading in the direction of the staircase locks.  We knew if we were quick enough we could catch them up and share the locks down.

King Charles Tower from below
Northgate bridge from below
We stopped at Tower Wharf to fill the water and empty the pump out tank.  The later was fun as Andrew had to reverse the boat in to a lock in order to get close enough to the pump out facility, oddly placed at the bottom end of the lock !!

Odd place to place a pumpout

The weather was playing up, it just could not decide if it wanted to be wet or dry, warm or cold.  We, on the other hand, decided rather than stay at Tower Wharf, we would continue towards Ellesmere Port and stop if the weather got too bad.  We eventually stopped about half way to Ellesmere Port as the rain got more persistent and Andrew was feeling a bit chilled.  Out came the necessaries to get the fire going and we warmed up the interior a bit.  First fire for the autumn :(  We did not keep it in though and let it die out after a few hours.
Saturday morning we woke to a nice bright sunny morning.  The temperature though is certainly dropping as we are wearing our warm jackets in the sunshine.  I guess it is more the wind though that it chilling.

Saturday morning visitor - odd looking plane and flying with it's wheels down

After a very slow start we continued down to Ellesmere Port and paid our way through to moor up in the basin.  Another odd and even day with the weather saw us laze away the remainder of the day in the warmth and comfort of the boat interior.  There was not much going on in the basin or at the museum, so a nice quite night it was too.

Ashdown moored in Ellesmere Port basin

Sunday.  As we had paid an entrance fee for the museum in order to be able to moor, we figured that we might as well have another look around.  Nothing has really changed since Easter when we were last here, so the look around did not take very long.  So by 11:30 we were ready to make our way back to Chester.

On the way out of Ellesmere Port, we passed the Chester Oaks, Designer Outlet retail park.  Andrew suggested that there was no reason to visit as there was nothing that we want.  At which point I set him straight, there was lots of 'stuff' that I WANT, problem is on the 'need' side Tongue out I do not really NEED any designer items and as the cash cow is drying up, the capability of purchasing such items is also a bit beyond the wallet.  As such we did not stop but cruised on by.  I was saving my walking points for the walk around the city walls of Chester and the retail park here as I wanted to get some more wool.
We made it back to Chester, planning on staying in the basin at Tower Wharf but by the time we got there the 3 spare spaces were full and the other 3 boats which had been in the 48hr mooring for the previous 3 days or more, were still there!  So it was on up the staircase locks and hope for some space where we were before.  We were in luck, the other visitor moorings only had 1 other boat so we were able to sneak back in there Winking
The weather is still playing up and I have no idea if it supposed to be wet or dry from one day, or even hour, to the next.  But still at least it is relatively warm with only a lightweight jacket needed to keep the slight chill out.
Andrew had arranged for a diesel fill from nb Alton.  They travelled further in one day than we have done in one week!  I do not envy them their life.  Hard work doing all those locks in a day and still managing to serve all their customers too.  They arrived at late afternoon and topped the diesel tank up very nicely.  Andrew also bought a replacement button for the bow as we have given the existing one a bit of a beating.  We waved them on their way at early dusk. 
Today, Monday, we finally did the city wall walk.  Lovely sunshine and warm to start and a soaking to finish I dont know  but still it was fun and great to see.
It was  back to the boat to wait out the worst of the rain, have a cuppa and a snack and then we were out again for the walk to the retail park.  I tried to work out those bus timetables as I was already tired but couldn't figure out which bus so we walked anyway.
Lots of city wall views:
Roman Garden
Roman Amphitheatre
Houses on the wall
Bridge over River Dee

Wier on the river
Castle walls
Water Tower
Pigeon tiles :)

Tower Wharf

Found the wool I wanted from Hobbycraft and then we had a look at a few other places, stopped for coffee while it rained again and then finally made our way back.
Trotting up the towpath towards the staircase locks, we spied nb Alton on their way back from Ellesmere Port, so Andrew gave Annmarie a hand with the locks and was granted a short ride back to our boat and was even allowed to steer.
Andrew at the helm of nb Alton - photo courtesy of Brian, nb Alton :)

The rest of the day has been spent recovering from the long walks today and watching the sun and rain come and go Big Grin

I have also sent my cv off for a prospective job so we shall see what happens.

Andrew and I had another discussion on the matter of work on our trip back from Ellesmere Port.  As the majority of the job opportunities that I have seen advertised are in London, that is where we shall head.  So it is back down south for us now and hopefully I shall soon secure a lucrative past-time SighRolling on the floor

So there you have it once more. All up to date Dancing