Friday, March 01, 2013

We’re ONFA again!

That’s “Of No Fixed Abode”, which in most cases would be a bad thing, but in ours it’s put a spring in the step and joy in the soul.

We’ve spent the week getting prepared for our exodus from Barton Marina, Tuesday we made the trek up to Yorkshire to see Mag’s GP to get her up to date with what’s been happening, Wednesday was big shop day, Thursday was finishing off the new rear steps and firing up the “donk” (a bit reluctant I might add, it’s been nearly 12 weeks since I ran it, but after a bit of popping and f**rting it launched into life in a cloud of white smoke).
Then Flossie had to taken back to Dad’s. Now he’s had his cataracts done he’s able to drive again, so the old girl will be reverting back to her usual life of 15 miles a week, no faster than 50 mph, and a roof over her head at night. Still, I think she enjoyed the change over the last few weeks, she never complained….

We had a lunchtime visit from Mo and Ness, who’d come up the canal from the Trent on NB Balmaha to see us (and kill a bit of time, I guess). They joined us in home-made soup and hot rolls before heading back to spend the weekend at Branston.

So this morning it was empty the rubbish, empty the loo, fill with water (whoops, forgot that one!) get a couple of bags of solid fuel from the shop, strap John Sage to the bike rack on the counter and shove off.

We weren’t the first away by any means, All week boats have been setting off after the winter lay-up.

Jona and Jean on NB Keep Smiling just along our pier left on Wenesday, then Terry and Pam, NB The Rooster’s Rest, headed out yesterday morning.

NB The Rooster’s Rest on the way out…SAM_4625 Terry and Pam, Roosters Rest
…and Terry.
They headed east to join Mo and Ness, but will be turning back after the weekend to head in the same direction as us.

That’s us then, backing out of Berth 24, Pier 1SAM_4643
Whoever uses the berth next will find they have about £5 credit on the electricity meter. Broke my heart, leaving that…

First thing this morning I had a walk around the lakes with Meg to say farewell to the locals…
Mallards, pochard, skaup, tufted duck, grebe, moorhens and coots all exist cheek by jowl  beak by wing with a handful of swans and a transient population of gulls and terns.SAM_4632

And of course there’s the Canada geese….. they get everywhere!SAM_4642

We turned right out of the marina entrance, heading towards The Potteries and the Macclesfield Canal. It’ll be a while before we can get any distance, though. There are still Winter Stoppages the other side of Fradley and at Great Haywood. But it is good to be cruising again.

Wychnor Lock was a gentle 30 minutes up the canal, a first test of the suitability of my bike rack, and Mags’ ability to still steer a straight line! I told her she could stay inside, but she insisted on doing her usual lock duties, bless her.

In Wychnor LockSAM_4644
SAM_4645The bike looks pretty vulnerable, but in fact it’s well within the width of the boat. Turning sharply at the exit of the lock could be dodgy, though, and the handlebars stick out further than the stern button so could hit the lock gate if the boat is swept backwards when filling the lock.
A solution could be to remove the front wheel, thus shortening the overall length and allowing the handlebars to be turned through 90°. I‘ll try that tomorrow.

Oh, and Mags did really well too!

We did pull over just above Alrewas Lock, though. It was quite a cold day after the last two fine ones, and we’ll need to fill the water tank this weekend anyway. If we’d pushed on through the village and moored above Bagnall Lock we’d have had to fill today.

On the Alrewas river sectionSAM_4646

Locks 2, miles 2½. Yippee!


Sue said...

WOW you are in good form!

Really great to see Mags on the tiller too..


See you soon then! :)

Sue said...

WOW you are in good form!

And really great to see Mags on the tiller too!


See you soon then! :)

Dave,Beryl Bradshaw said...

Good to See you back cruising Take it nice and easy Beryl Dave Nb Sokai

nb.bobcat said...

I discovered that you can get a refund on the electric. I got my £6 back no problem. You may still be able to?

enjoy your trip.

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Beryl and Dave, we will, we will...!
Kath, yes, Pam on The Roosters Rest told me the same thing, unfortunately i'd chucked the card away by then!