On the Wednesday Colin and Heather left as they had work the following day, seeing them go to re-join the rat race really did kick home to how lucky we are to have been able to take early retirement and move onto our boat and be reasonable financially secure to be able to this. It’s now been five weeks since we embarked on our new life style and we have really enjoyed it so far. Being a retired school principal and Sandra a teacher/Instructor having long summer holidays has been the ‘norm’ for us, but this is still the longest boating trip and we have ever had. We have to kick ourselves to remind us that this is a long-term thing, well at least a year, maybe two or maybe longer! Who knows?
Rather than move on we decided to stay another night at Ellesmere with a little sadness as our friends had left and as usual we had much fun and laughter with them. During the day we did a ‘wash day’ using the generator (2.5kw Kipor) for a change. We also in the evening sat on the tow path and joined a couple who had been cruising the waterways for 6 or 7 years and still loved it. They also had a permanent mooring in March, Cambridgeshire – something we are thinking of doing from October, we miss a base to call home. We also met Trisha one of our ‘Facebook’ friends who came over to chat, and how informative she was regarding electrical consumption on boats – by the way our electrical issues on board are a distant memory, we no longer stress over the damn batteries!
We finally left Ellesmere with the hope one day we would return, great little village with really friendly people, we decided to head for Grindley Brook and moor after the locks, as the weather was superb, sunny and very hot, we carried on and did an eight hour cruise. We finally moored at Wrenbury, just before the first lift bridge. We managed to find a beautiful countryside spot, with wooded area close by which was absolutely full of blue bells. We had a quiet night in, no drink, salad and we were both fast asleep by 9.30pm.
On the Friday we headed for Nantwich, another one of our favourite towns and one we had visited the previous week. The weather was a little overcast which was a bit of a relief after the previous hot day. It would give my face time to recover and maybe turn from bright red to orange!! We went through Hurleston locks without delay and quite swiftly as we were helped part of the way by two German hire boaters. Just before we called in at Nantwich Canal Centre for diesel and a pump out we filled up with water, we find it easier to do this every few days, rather than leave the holding tank to run low – which then takes ages to fill up in one go. The pump out was £18 which was more costly than we have previously paid – however, worth every penny, the guy emptied our waste tank and then filled it up with water and pumped it out again. We were fortunate to find excellent mooring just before the aqueduct.
We had a chill out evening again! I checked the engine out and pretended I knew what I was doing, ended up getting oily hands. I also looked at the engine hours and since the boat was built we have only clocked up 788 hours – not even run in yet! Later we watched a brilliant DVD about America film screen writers and how they went a little over the top regarding the Soviet Union perceived threat in the 50’s and 60’s (cold war and all that). Well I found it brilliant; Sandra went to be ‘tired’ before it ended!
On the Saturday we got up early and headed for a Nantwich, a lovely walk into town passing many old and interesting houses (and pubs!) along the way. I managed to buy some new LED bulbs for only £1.99 each from Home Bargains which made me very happy, and we had a traditional English Breakfast in a friendly café along the high street. We then went to the outdoor ‘Bric and Brac’ market and also the indoor market where Sandra replenished her knitting pattern collection further! Later in the afternoon back on the boat we decided to touch up the paintwork on the boat, not a good thing to do in the now boiling sun! In the evening we decided to go for a few drinks in the town and pick up an Indian Takeaway (our favourite food). In fact we ended up meeting some really nice people who insisted we stayed for more drinks (easily persuaded), we just couldn’t say no!! We had too many drinks and ended up in the Indian Restaurant, trying to pretend we were compos mentos!
Sunday was yet again a stunningly hot day, however we couldn’t really enjoy this as the night before, for some unknown reason, rather than sticking to real ales – I had drank lager, lots of it, and now both of us (Sandra had kept up with me) were suffering from a slowness of mind (hangover). When we finally crawled into the outside world we found moored behind us was ‘Toastie’ another ‘Facebook’ friend who sells ice cream, mugs and T shirts from his boat that can be printed in a range of designs – brilliant stuff! He also gave me some good advice on how to try to blend in the new paint with the old paint (paint bleaches in the sun over time and it is near impossible to get an exact match) a really nice guy, but aren’t most people on boats?
Late morning we headed off to Audlem, but after two locks we pulled in for lunch – and realised we were only 200mtrs away from an infamous nuclear bunker, built as part of our protection from the Russians. We decided to visit this as it is now decommissioned and open to the public. After watching the film the previous night I had also suddenly become an expert on Russia! The visit was a great experience and you got a real feel to how it must have been working and being constantly alert regarding a possible nuclear threat. Looking at a poster on the wall it also reminded me of a trip I had many years ago when I found myself in Moscow looking down at the dead body of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin, a Russian communist revolutionary, politician, and political theorist, who had been encased in a glass box in a building just off Red Square – I remember getting up really close and I could see the hairs coming from his nose! It’s funny how things can spark past memories. Later in the afternoon we returned back to the boat, sat in the sun and ‘chilled’. We went to bed for 10.00pm and as we were in the countryside slept with the bedroom doors wide open and a slight breeze to keep us cool – heaven!