Audlem

Yesterday afternoon back at the boat, we heard someone knocking on our roof. It was the crew of nb Sarah Kay, another Hudson boat that was actually at the Crick Boat Show, along side us in 2014. As both boats are a similar age it was great to be able to discuss service and maintenance tips. It was also a good excuse to visit the Shroppie Fly P.H. for an evening drink.

This morning we were up with the lark and underway by 8 am. Nb Sarah Kay had got away even earlier. There was a fairly heavy mist hanging over the canal. 

       
       
Today we were planning a short 1 mile journey to the pound between locks 3 and 2. We found ourselves following another boat closely up the flight, meaning all the locks should have been set against us. The lady on the boat ahead however very helpful, lifting a paddle on the bottom gate as they exited their lock meaning it emptied for us by the time we got to it. We arrived at our destination  two hours after setting off, just as another boat was departing. We had timed it to perfection, by lunchtime the pound was full of moored boats. 
After lunch we walked up to the top lock, and the canal side cake stall that we knew was there. I chose raspberry and almond slices, whilst the crew opted for melt in the mouth shortbread biscuits.
Two boats ahead of us was nb Spirit of the Wind. We have played leap frog with the crew over several months. Today we had tastings of boat brewed elderflower wine and sloe gin in the afternoon sun.
The day has remained fine with a clear sky, which will hopefully help in viewing the Perseids Meteor shower tonight. The sky will be quite dark where we are so hopefully it will be a good show.
       

       

We will stay put for a day or two depending on the weather, which is reported to get a bit rough on Friday. Our next destination will probably be Market Drayton due to the need for services.
Totals 1 Mile 9 Locks
Running total 409 Miles 201 Locks 17 Tunnels

Audlem/Overwater Marina

Yesterday we had a plan. After spending an extra couple of days at the foot of the Adderley flight due to it being a picturesque and peaceful setting, it was time for us to leave. The plan was to descend 11 of the 15 locks at Audlem then stop for a day or two. 

       

The picture above was the moment we passed from Shropshire into Cheshire and at this point all was well. At least we have reached the right county for our wedding date, it has only taken three months so far. We continued descending the flight, passing an example of a barrelled roof building, historically used by carpenters, stonemasons and blacksmiths maintaining the locks.
      

You can just make out the number on the balance beam, number ten only, one more to go today, or so we thought. After the next lock we moored in the sunshine, and were ideally placed for trips into the village of Audlem. I was particularly looking forward to my tea. I was going to have a chicken kebab from the village takeaway, something I have not had for nearly a year.
After securing everything away, and in preparation of a relaxing afternoon the crew drew to my attention a wet floor in the shower room. Further examination revealed that it was not the case, that I had splashed around excessively having a morning shower, but that we had a leak. It was a simple to reach joint in the plastic push fit plumbing that was seeping, but the system pressured by the water pump meant that a significant amount of water was collecting on the floor. Rather than the old fashioned brass compression fittings that could simply be tightened with a spanner or two, this new fangled push fit stuff requires a special key to unlock. A special key that I do not have in my toolbox. So with the system depressurised, we had no water, no toilet flush and a wet shower room. A few phone calls later and the staff at Overwater Marina informed us, if we got to them they would fix the problem. 
We set off once more. Goodbye to our nice sunny spot at Audlem, but more importantly goodbye to my chicken kebab.
We passed the famous ‘Shroppie Fly’ P.H. which was historically a wharf and warehouse. The old crane still present at the front.
     

Inside the bar is shaped like the bow of a narrowboat. We have eaten here a couple of times and it is also dog friendly. The ‘ fly ‘ relates to the so called fly boats, that used to travel the 80 miles from Ellesmere Port to Birmingham in a little over 24 hours. They used to travel day and night and required a regular change of horses. The fly boats were used to transport perishable goods so needed to operate to a strict timetable. Only three more locks and about half a mile to cruise before we arrived at Overwater. We had been directed to a berth and good to their word, a couple of hours later the leak was fixed. It took about 5 minutes with the correct tools, so a HEP2O key is now on my shopping list.
Overwater Marina is a bit larger than our spot at Yelvertoft, but the layout is nice with islands in the centre which breaks up the boat park look. It also has a good set of services including a cafe and won Marina of the year 2015. Due to forecast rain over the weekend we have booked to stay here till Monday.
      

The furry crew member was not too impressed at having to do 15 locks instead of the planned 11 and thought that if he stared long enough he would get the comfy seat. He was wrong.
Totals 3 Miles 15 Locks
Running total 268 Miles 126 Locks 11 Tunnels