Yesterday we had an errands day; first moving down the Runcorn Arm to empty loos and top up water tanks, then across the junction to Midland Chandlers before reversing a few hundred yards up the main line to moor again.
The shopping trip was to buy the paint, wet and dry, brushes etc for the on-going paint job. I’d bought some at Thorn Marine, just in case MC didn’t have the colours I wanted. I should really have waited and got it all here, they’re doing a special on International paints, 3 cans for £50. At just over £21 normal price, that’s a huge saving. Buying 9 meant I effectively got 2 for free!
So now I should have enough to do the job, and have been busy working on the roof these last few days. It’s almost all prepared now, just a final bit of titivating tomorrow and we’ll be ready for the grey gloss on the bands that break up the panels. Two coats on them, then I‘ve got sand-coloured Interdeck to roller on the panels.
Ooh, exciting init!
Today we decided to move south off the Bridgewater, through Preston Brook Tunnel, to the Trent and Mersey. Chas and Ann were waiting at the motorway bridge for a courier to collect Ann’s laptop for return to the supplier, so I did a bit more work on the roof before we moved off to catch the 13:30 “window” through the tunnel.
Claymoore Narrowboats at Preston Brook
You’ll spot that our roof looks clear; in fact there’s less on it and it’s all on the front half at the moment. You might also notice that the mushroom ventilators and plank rack are being painted.
All are brass, but the rack is never empty to get polished, and the mushrooms look more like gunmetal than brass when they’ve been attacked with the Brasso.
So now they’re going to be Ivory White, to match the coach line on the new scheme.
We were arriving at the tunnel at about 13:35, expecting any waiting boats to have already disappeared into the gloom, but no, there was a queue of five boats ahead of us.
Queuing for the tunnel.
The reason for the hold-up can be seen left of centre. A work boat had made a very slow transit through, and it’s only one-way (hence the timed passage), so we all had to wait.
Consequently we couldn’t all get through before 13:40, us and the boat ahead had to wait till 14:30 before we could go.
It wasn’t all bad news though. The couple on the boat ahead (sorry, can’t remember the name, only that it’s Latin and only of significance to the former owner), Peter and Jennifer, are from Tasmania, bought the boat last winter and are on their first summer cruise, before returning home in the autumn. We had a good chat, mainly about roof painting, and found that Jennifer reads this blog, among others. Good to meet you both.
I didn’t take a picture, I thought I'd have a chance later as both boats were heading for the same mooring spot, but as it happens neither of us got there.
The spot in question is the new moorings on the repaired section at Dutton Hollow, following the disastrous breach last September. A passing cyclist told us that the moorings were all but full, so we stopped at our regular spot near Longacre Wood. Meg can get re-acquainted with the squirrel population.
She’ll enjoy that, not sure about the rodents, though.
South portal of Preston Brook Tunnel
a) protect the Trent and Mersey in the event of a breach on the Bridgewater, and
b) to stop passing boats long enough to extract tolls as they moved from one navigation authority to the other.
Mags in Dutton Stop Lock
Just beyond the lock there’s an abandoned, flooded cruiser, a bit of a hazard when approaching or leaving the lock.
Mags carefully passing the sunken cruiser
It was tied up on the lock landing, and I wonder if that’s how it got in this state. It’s a vulnerable position for a light plastic boat when there are 15+ ton steel narrowboats about – some with crews of questionable proficiency…..
We pulled in a little further along, just past another awash boat, this time a more substantial open pan.
Another sunken boat
I think it’s maybe off the ship canal, It’s open-decked, with “40108 MSC MB No 7” on the bow. And a patrol notice on the mooring chain…
After spending all day waiting for the courier, Chas and Ann finally joined us at about 6 o’clock, and have moored the other side of the wreck.
Not sure what we’re doing tomorrow, I’ll certainly be doing some more rubbing down, though.
Locks 1, miles 2