The rain has returned today after a number of days of glorious sunshine, which having lulled us after a just a few days into a languorous feeling of dreaminess, has returned us now to the real world of very changeable English weather. Though the air temperature remains high the return of grey forbidding clouds and the patter of rain on ‘Futurest’s roof is a reminder that the English summer remains very fickle.
However the wet weather that keeps some of us fair weather boaters firmly tied up to the side of the canal, does enable me to do jobs aboard, such as blogging, that tend to be neglected in the normal course of a travelling day. With the Russell Newbery throbbing in the background, deputising for the Sun on this dull day to replenish ‘Futurest’s batteries, I gain inspiration from its perfect beat to tell what has happened to us in the last week or more.
Chester Staircase Lock hewn out of solid rock mainly
The gorge along Chester’s North Wall
While we moved ‘Roots and Wings’ to a mooring a mile or so south of Chester the previous day ‘Futurest’ and I remained in the basin so that I could collect some mail from the local post office on the Monday after the last blog posting.
As soon as this was accomplished we set off too and after some time, while negotiating the large staircase lock, we eventually caught up with ‘Roots and Wings’ snugly moored up and patiently awaiting us at Christleton just to the south of Chester.
Sunshine, peace, reflection and shadow
Sunbeams and shadow
The following day we continued happily south in sunny weather towards Barbridge Junction where the Shropshire Union is met by the Middlewich Arm of the same canal. Here we turned hardaport, or in more usual narrowboating terms, sharp left and headed off towards the junction with the Trent and Mersey Canal at Middlewich, some fifteen miles or so away.
The Sun continued to shine as we meandered slowly along giving both Janis and I a healthy looking tan and the maturity of high summer moved swiftly on. The green of the countryside which only a short while ago had appeared so vigorous in its growth had now gained the more languid look of maturity. Having produced and scattered its seed, it seemed now content to move into the metamorphose of Autumn. And while large juicy blackberries ripened on their briars Mallard chicks that had only recently appeared as fluffy ping pong balls, now had grown almost to the size of their parents.
Peacock Butterfly on Lorna’s Wall
Male Gatekeeper Butterfly
On Friday last at a convenient bridge along the Arm Janis and I left our two ships moored snugly together and shot off to Newark on Trent the help Janis’ friend Tina celebrate her fiftieth birthday. It was a wonderful party and thank you Tina and Steve for inviting us. We stayed at the home of another friend Lorna and thank you to her as well for her generous hospitality.
The exotic looking but roguish natured Himalayan Balsam
We returned by train on Sunday and caught a taxi from Crewe Railway Station back to the ships. It had been a lovely weekend but it was good to be back and to find them safe and sound exactly as we had left them.
The following night we moored at one of the frequent visitor moorings that one finds conveniently along the Shropshire Union Canal. Here the grass along the towpath is always neatly cut while ropes can be securely tied to rings set in concrete. Often there are wooden picnic tables, benches and iron frames to make barbecues convenient and safe, while always they are situated on a part of the canal that has stunning views of the countryside.
‘Roots and Wings’ turn to be leader
So now we have arrived at the small town of Middlewich and though we managed to get ashore last evening quickly to buy essential provisions at Tesco, Janis and I have yet to explore the vicinity in more detail. Hopefully the rain will clear away soon to enable us to do so without getting wet.
However time is passing quickly and we still dawdle. We have now had to give up the original idea of travelling over the Pennines and have decided that as we need to be certain of arriving back at Warwick by November 1st, since Janis is booked to fly to New Zealand on the 2nd, we should return south down the Trent and Mersey Canal and Birmingham. This allows for the fact that both of us are still eager to see everything of interest en route. Therefore dawdling along is inevitable. Hopefully we shall arrive before the ice of winter.