Thursday 24 May 2012

A Cleaning Weekend

Saturday 19th May 2012 to Sunday 20th May 2912.

An early start from home on Saturday in order to get to Great Haywood in good time for a good cleaning and preparation session before our first proper cruise of the year next weekend.
It didn't start well as we discovered our local shops had been burnt down and were still on fire as we left. Later discovering the whole parade of shops were affected.

The devastating scene of our local shops on fire!

The journey did improve as we overtook a friend of ours who was travelling to Stoke with a stock cart that I hadn't seen before and it was a nice surprise to see it on the motorway even if it was only a fleeting glance!

The weekend was busy and successful; cleaning, hoovering, and servicing the engine before topping up the diesel and water tank ready for a quick launch next weekend.

I even changed the drivebelt on the power pack although I did cut my thumb!

We travelled back home Sunday afternoon.

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Robert and Suzanne's Weekend

Saturday 5th May 2012 to Monday 7th May 2012.

Robert and Suzanne joined us this weekend. We all travelled down to Great Haywood and then cruised down to Acton Trussell where they would stay in the Moat House for a couple of days.
This weekend was a weekend for us to celebrate our wedding anniversary by returning to the scene of the crime. We all ate in the bar and Rob and Suz enjoyed typical Moat House hospitality before we all, after breakfast, cruised up to Penkridge.
It was a pretty quiet cruise apart from a 10 minute spell! When we were passing fishermen, at the same time as we passed an incoming boat, all made more dramatic by my crew who were stoking the fire to create what was a black acrid cloud in the face of the oncoming crew making visibility and breathing impossible for both of the steerers! I could only apologise to all affected by my crews timing. At one point I actually thought they may have been burning carpets in the saloon!
At Penkridge we winded (a tricky operation; as a fibreglass cruiser had moored at the winding point and I needed to get quite close to crushing the damned thing in order to turn in the length now available).
On the return to Acton Trussell we discovered that Marks and Spencer's angel cake is dryer than expected and even the swans were choking on it!

A swan choking on the Angel Cake!

After another great meal at the Moat House (this time in the restaurant) we returned to the boat while Rob and Suz enjoyed the hotel facilities.
After breakfast on the Bank Holiday Monday we cruised back to Great Haywood to sadly pack ready for the trip home.

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Weekend Cruise up to Sandon

Friday 13th April 2012 to Sunday 15th April 2012

An early dash from work on the Friday allowed us to get to the boat in good time to be able to pull out of the marina and moor at Weston just before dark. A quiet trip as there were very few boats out.

On Saturday morning I was forced to deploy one of my "dog shit" signs in the hope that it embarrasses dog owners to be more responsible! We departed and were able to lock up through Sandon Lock and Elaine stayed at the Lock while I travelled the 100yards up to the winding hole and was able to return to the lock to drop down on the same water that had lifted us up! (often we need to queue in both directions for this lock).

My crusade to tidy up the towpath!

We moored just north of the Salt Bridge and walked into Salt to have a very relaxed and, as usual, fantastic meal at The Hollybush (the oldest pub in Stafforshire!)

The Hollybush at Salt

On returning to the boat a fender seller had moored up next to us and I took the opportunity to buy a set of six rope fenders for £25. A bargain! A few replacement fenders never go amiss! The chap was heading towards Stone to be blacked, and I guess financing his maintenance works as he travelled.

We moved on back to Weston for the evening to put some distance between us and the adjacent railway line.

At Weston, while I pottered around the boat I discovered the batteries needed topping up (it seems checking them regularly didn't result in a top-up ever being required - that is until you don't check them and they are then instantly embarrassingly low!!!!). The top-up would need to be sorted as soon as we get back to the marina and obtain the necessary distiller water.

Sunday morning was a reasonably early start back to the marina and a trip to Halfords at Stafford was in order to procure the battery top-up! We couldn't decide how much was needed so we bought both a 5ltr bottle and a 1ltr bottle! Within 40 minutes Of arriving back at the marina we discovered we needed even more!!! In total the batteries took 7ltrs of distiller water!!!!

Dropping down in Weston Lock on the way back to Great Haywood

It was late by the time we left the marina, with our fingers crossed hoping there was no lasting damage to the batteries, finally arriving home at 10pm.
It had been a great weekend!
It would be while before we return to the boat as Elaine's daughter, Danielle, was in the process of moving to Perth, Western Australia and she would need our help preparing for the move!

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Weekend trip to Acton Trussell

Saturday 31st March to Sunday 1st April 2012

Travelled down to Great Haywood early Saturday morning and wasted no time pulling out of the marina and travelling down to Acton Trussell stopping enroute opposite Stafford Boat Club for lunch before arriving to moor opposite the Moat House at 4.00pm.
We had a wonderful meal in the bar washed down by a more than ample helping of red wine and Sandon Ale!
Staggering back to the boat in the dark under an umbrella (Elaine is always prepared for rain!).

The Moat House

Sunday was spent cruising back to Great Haywood passing nb.Chelsea at Baswich (one of Anthony M's early Crick Boat Show winners!)

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Another Wet Weekend

Saturday 3rd March to Monday 5th March 2012

Although we had planned for a long weekend on the boating having booked both Monday and Tuesday off work the weather was less than conducive for cruising.
Instead we travelled down late on the Saturday and as the weather was still poor on the Sunday we instead opted to use the car to do some shopping and visit some local hostelries.
At lunchtime Sunday, after a long morning peering through rain spattered portholes in the marina, we drove by car into Stafford to buy a necklace for Elaine. Not a cheap trip but I gained some valuable brownie points from Elaine on an otherwise miserable weekend.
The time 'cabined' up was not completely wasted as I carried out some of the improvements and recommendations that the boat surveyor had suggested. (eg. providing additional clips to the gas supply pipework under the cooker).
On Sunday evening we drove along to Sandon to have a meal at the Dog & Doublet. To be honest the pub service and food quality was disappointing on this visit but after many fantastic experiences we are putting this down to just a bad day! I'll make a point of commenting in the blog when we next visit.


After! With additional support and an additional bracket.


After! With pattress and fixings to the gas tap and some additional brackets!

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