Monday, 1 December 2014

Middlewich Branch.

Hi all,

That’s it,my other fan has finally persuaded me to start Blogging again now that we are on the move and on our way to pastures new so,here goes.The Shroppie mainline is now behind us and we’re on the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie, heading North East towards Middlewich itself and then the T&M.We finally cast off this morning,having said farewell to some of the lovely people that we’ve met on our adventures in and around the Nantwich area,and,after a couple of hours cruising,we’re now moored about a third of a mile below Cholmondeston Lock in the middle of nowhere.Our companions for the winter,Rob and Suzie,off NB Swamp Frogs,are not too far behind us,they’ve just to tidy up their affairs in Nantwich before coming to meet us here and then we’ll all be off again.Since I last put finger to keyboard to type a blog some seven weeks ago,I still only type with one finger you know,we have had some very enjoyable experiences and I’ll do my best not to bore you with too many details today.

Over the last seven weeks we’ve moored at various places on the Shroppie between Market Drayton and Hurleston Junction,that’s where the Llangollen Canal leaves the Shropshire Union Canal and heads west into Wales.

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A couple of the moorings we stayed at on the Shroppie, the first below the Adderley Flight and the second at Coole Pilate which is one of our favourite Shroppie moorings,sadly we’ve not enjoyed a great deal of sunshine over recent weeks so the pictures don’t do them justice.While we’ve been shuffling backwards and forwards we’ve also met some very nice people,there was Richard and Sharon off NB Oakapple who we met while we were moored above the pair of locks at Hack Green,the site of the not so secret Nuclear Bunker that I’ve mentioned before.Then there’s been Archie and Tracey off NB Greenfinch and their cat,Harry,who we’ve bumped into a number of times,not literally I must add.Above all though,I just have to mention Dennis and Ann who were introduced to us by Rob and Suzie,they’re the proud owners of NB Emily,which won the best in show at Crick in 2013 and who,amongst other things,invited all of us to their home for a meal on our last night in Nantwich,where a good night was had by all.The things that Dennis and Ann have commissioned from wood,both in their home and on their boat,are nothing less than works of art ,each piece exudes craftsmanship and attention to detail.Thanks to Dennis,Lisa has been able to rediscover her Bellringing while Ann introduced us to Line Dancing at the Civic Centre in Nantwich.Both activities proved far more complicated than I ever imagined and we both look forward to participating again in the future.We need something other than Ukelele playing you see.   

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Overlooking Hurleston Junction,Chyandour is the half a boat on the extreme right of the pic’ which was taken from the reservoir at Hurleston.The Reservoir itself that we finally got the chance to walk around.

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Two volunteers,Emma and Nick,from the Small Tasks Team Volunteers putting a new mooring bollard above the Hurleston Flight.Just one of the many jobs they undertake on the North Wales and Borders waterways.You can see who does all the hard work.We’ve known Emma and Nick since we hired Kingfisher from Bettisfield Boats on the Llangollen back in May 2012 when we came prepared for the tail end of winter and almost got fried in a heatwave.We had to get a bus to Oswestry to get Suncream.

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Lisa and I being shown the ropes so to speak in the Belfry of St.Mary’s Church,Nantwich.Lisa used to ring when she lived in Cornwall 50 years or so ago and thanks to a couple of new found friends,Ann and Dennis,she got the chance to have a try during the Thursday night practice session and it came back to her like riding a bike.I was,shall we say,not so good,though it was my first time.Lisa got the opportunity to have a go again the following week when we were invited back for Fish & chips in the Belfry,now that has got to be something few people can say they’ve enjoyed.

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Some of the very friendly Bellringers in Nantwich and then there’s Lisa having a go in the nearby St.Mary’s Church in Acton, we were again invited to their practice session by Dennis and they also proved to be very welcoming and encouraging.

Among the many facilities that we were able to enjoy while moored near Nantwich has been the railway.On the train we’ve been to Liverpool and to see our Daughters and Grandchildren  near Burton on Trent on a couple of occasions.On the buses that pass under the Aqueduct carrying the Shroppie over the A534 Chester Road,we’ve been to Crew and Chester.

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The Royal Liver Building,Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building at the Pier Head in Liverpool that we visited by train for the day.We walked to the Pier Head to take a look at Albert Dock where we hope to moor when we visit Liverpool next year.The other pic’ is the statue of Billy Fury near Albert Dock,a Rock and Roll star of our generation,who was born in Liverpool and is famous for singing Halfway to Paradise amongst other achievements.

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Part of the Christmas decorations in Liverpool and the famous clock on the city walls of Chester where we went for the day,this time by bus though.

During our stay near Nantwich we’ve had the chance to enjoy the services of Renaissance Canal Carrying Company,better known as Brian and Ann Marie McGuigan on NB Alton.They deliver coal,gas and diesel on a number of canals in this area,between Ellesmere Port on the Shroppie and Whaley Bridge on the Peak Forest Canal.The service they provide is excellent and they deliver in all weathers from early morning till well past sunset.It’s not unusual to hear his horn attracting his regulars well after dark and we’ll be heading nearer to his base so we should be assured of a supply of fuels over winter.

Well that’s it for this time folks.Since our last blog we have gone through 70 Locks and cruised 58 Miles,most of both the locks and miles at least twice.That gives us a Grand Total of 1056 Locks and 1681 Miles since we set off back in October 2012.