I spoke to Sue on NB No Problem on Tuesday evening, with a view to meeting up. We were prepared to go back to Middlewich to see them before they head south, but instead they came up to us at the flashes.
With visitors for dinner I had to get some meat and veg in, I wouldn’t have bothered otherwise, we’ve plenty of back up canned stuff. So I unwrapped the bike from the stern carrier, and spotted a broken brake mounting bracket. It looks like we’ve had a close encounter with a lock gate sometime in the last couple of months.
Anyway, I took it off, and pedalled up to the farm shop on Shipbrook Lane with just the back brake working.
Coming back I tried to get hold of someone at Halfords in Northwich (it’s a Halfords bike), but struggled, the promised call-back not materialising. I decided to have a ride into town to visit the branch in person once we’d got moored up today.
We tried to moor just up from the services at Uplands, but struggled to get in, then, when we did, we couldn’t get a TV picture. Soaps for Mags tonight, so that was a no-no.
We’d not intended to use the services till tomorrow, but the next spot for mooring was the other side, so we pulled onto the wharf to empty loos, fill with water and drop off the rubbish. And here’s where the result came in.
In the skip compound is a bike frame, handlebars attached, with exactly the same brake gear as on mine! I took off the handlebar complete, and had to drill out the very badly corroded mounting screws, but now I’ve got not just a replacement, but a spare, too!
So, if Sue and Vic had waited for us in Middlewich instead of coming to meet us, I’d never have unwrapped the bike and found the damage.
If Halfords were a bit more efficient in returning enquiry calls, I might have finished up ordering a new part, at, no doubt, some ridiculous cost.
If we’d been able to get a decent mooring the other side of the services I‘d have been ignorant of the abandoned frame in the skip compound, and would have cycled in to town and maybe ordered the new part at Halfords.
And finally, if we’d not got any rubbish to get rid of…
As I said, a result!
Anyway, Sue and Vic turned up after lunch yesterday, and we had a really good afternoon and evening, just talking about this and that. It was warm enough to spend a lot of the afternoon sitting outside, first time this year.
This morning it was time for both boats to go in opposite directions.
No Problem had to turn around, so reversed past us and turned in the wide section of the flash. It’s OK to turn here so long as you don’t got too far out.
Sue and Vic reverse past us…
…and head back towards Middlewich.
Good to see you again, have a good summer! It should certainly be better than anticipated earlier, they’ve finally got their engine issues sorted. Read Sue’s blog here.
We were about half an hour later getting off, seen off the premises by Sid the swan.
He’s a bit tense, his missus is sitting on eggs just across from our stern, so he’s feeling protective.
Around the corner to Billinge Green Flash and the dredging for the new marina, and I could see the remains of the derelict boat that used to be anchored in the shallows.
Derelict, could have been NB Brill.
The other marina, a little further up on the towpath side, is still making progress, although slowly.
You can’t see much from the canal, but the towpath bridge over the entrance is finished.
Nothing much seems to change at Orchard Marina…
The canal skirts around Northwich, to the east and north. The town grew up on the banks of the Weaver, around 50 feet lower than the canal.
A bit of housekeeping would make the bend near Bridge 183 a little easier..
Smells nice, though.
Passing Broken Cross the navigation has to go through the Brunner Mond chemical works.
Brunner Mond adding steam to the already moisture-laden clouds.
Everyone has their own idea of the perfect mooring…
The Lion Salt Works in Marston is being restored as a working museum, after several decades of standing disused. It’s expected to be open to visitors later this year.
Lion Salt Works at Marston
From Marston the canal leaves all traces of industry until Anderton, passing through fields and woodland for a couple of miles.
Bluebells in Marbury Wood.
As I mentioned, we finally washed up opposite Anderton Marina, and spotted our first brood of cygnets for this year.
Proud parents, seven little ones
A little later, as I started to write this, there was a bit of commotion outside. A group of schoolkids in canoes were heading up the canal, but the cob, concerned for his young family, had other ideas…
A bit of panic ensued, before they all got turned around and headed back the way they’d come.
Swan 1, canoes 0.
The weather hasn’t been as bad as the forecast suggested; we put up with half an hour of rain when we set off, but then it faired up a bit. We even had a few glimmers of sunshine this afternoon.
I think we’re dropping down onto the river tomorrow, out of the way of the Bank Holiday traffic.
Locks 0, miles 5.