Sunday, May 19, 2013

Back To Base

We left Stoke at 10.30am, yet another early one!!  Elaine and her trusty assistant lockie Bombo prepared the locks, so Sam nicked the prime position ...

At least there were a few boats on the move through Stoke so generally there was always someone to give Elaine a hand through the locks.

Question..... are fisherman miserable bastards before they start fishing or does the fishing turn them into miserable bastards, just wondering - and generalising, of course!

Geoffrey then assumed the prime position for a while ... he is such a lovely old boy (23 years old), no ears due to skin cancer, plus skin cancer on his nose and a dodgy looking thing coming up on his right eye ... but still happy.

The excitement got all too much for Sammy, time for a kip ...

Lots of little swannies ...

Here we are held up at lock 34.  The boat in it got hung up on the cill, it was lucky there was a lady from another boat who was on the ball, she quickly opened the paddles and refilled the lock before it sunk!

Elaine went to help them drag it back through the lock, it had dislocated the rudder.
How did it get hung on the cill?  Well, the chap went down below to check the kettle whilst they were descending in the lock....and no it wasn't a hire boat.  The couple from the boat were very shaken at would could have been.

At lock 34 we met the crew from NB Pendlebury, apparently they read the blog and recognised Bombo on the towpath, thanks for reading guys!

When we got to Lock 34 and we met Merlin! I will let Elaine tell you his story, all I know is she gave him my pork pie supply :-(

El here ... he was a very well spoken gent with a large denim cloak on and a sort of biblical looking staff.  He told me he lived around the lock ... his lounge was beside the bridge, wc was the lock and his sun room was the bench beside the lock.  He told me he is a christian who had fallen on hard times after a marriage break up and his son had committed suicide aged 18 but he had travelled the world and ran out of money.  He told me it was pentecost today.  He was very philosophical about his situation; he told me he does You Tube videos and I found them here but I havn't looked at them yet as we are saving our computer data !!  Anyway ... I felt sorry for him so I instructed Paul to bring out some pork pies and apples for him (I hate it when Paul sneaks pork pies into the shopping so I was glad to share them for him!) - Mr Francis was very grateful. An interesting encounter.

Back to our winter base Stone ...

We spent 5 months here over winter.  How nice it was to arrive here on a warm sunny day ... there were plenty of people outside the Star pub to help Elaine with the lock gate.  (El here again - actually the only ones who helped me open and close the top gate were the couple who were already sitting on it with their drinks!)

And finally through Aston lock, which is the last lock of the day and the last lock for a couple of weeks ...

We are now back in Aston Marina, we even got our old berth back.

Once we got tied up it was on with the shore power and start hoovering and washing the boat, it feels really strange to be here and not be cold, it is quite lovely.

Tomorrow we will get the train to Macclesfield and pick up the car, then we are going to spend a couple of weeks land bound, visiting family and friends plus doing some touristy sightseeing away from the canal.  My brief from Elaine is ... I want to go to a dog friendly hotel, near a beach and she wants to lie in a bath for a very very long time!

We will go to the Crick show, not sure what date yet, but lookout for two little white dogs.

So I will also give the blog a break for a couple of weeks - also, it hasn't had a break since we started it in March 2011.

See you all soon may the sun keep shining xx


  1. Enjoy your time ashore and I hope Elaine enjoys her baths! I will miss your blogs and look forward to you coming back.

    Linda Gifford-Hull
    NB Mary H

  2. We are going to Crick on the Saturday, so if you do decide to go that day, so let us know - it would be good to see you both again. Jennie and Chris, nb Tentatrice.

  3. We'll all be there on Saturday. Hope to see you!!

    1. Hi Guys, we will give you a call when we get there.

  4. Make it Sunday at Crick and we can meet up!!

    1. Sorry guys we are orf daan London Sunday.

  5. Good to bump into you last Sunday. Keep blogging! (Fishermen are miserable people who fish, although in the last couple of years they seem to be getting slightly more cheerful!) Andrew B (Pendlebury)

    1. I rather thought they were miserable before they started fishing.

  6. Hi Paul and Elaine
    Great to meet you and Bombo and Sam at Crick - thats two years in a row!
    We will be launching about the end of June, so hope to catch up again on the cut.
    Gary and Della
    NB Muleless

    1. Good to meet you too, good luck with the launch.

  7. Hi Paul, Elaine......glad to meet you both at Crick and looking forward to a few beers with you guys as you head south and we head north...last night we were on a boat at Crick where we were telling the story about meeting your sister in Weedon......The owner of the boat said take a look at this....on the wall of her boat is a picture of the "real Manly Ferry" spooky!
    Take care
    Rob and Suzie

    1. Good to meet you guys too, I wonder why that boat had a picture of the Manly Ferry??

  8. I checked out the YouTube videos of that strange man you met Elaine and have to say that his comments were mainly non-sensical. He sounds quite well educated but not really all there!?

    1. Yep Elaine liked him, I thought he was nuts!