Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The (Cheshire) Cat's Whiskers purrs into Chester

After almost a fortnight of warm, dare I say, hot, sunny weather, its back again to leggings, waterproofs and the occasional fire, so it must be the Bank Holiday weekend.
I must say the Jubilee celebrations somewhat passed us by. I now accept the fact that we live in a parallel universe. This was brought home to me twice last week. We were queuing to go through some locks last Wednesday at Grindley Brook. It was a tranquil spot – quiet and leafy, with various birds tweeting and swallows swooping over the water. Looking up I noticed a Shell sign above the hedging. I thought I would walk through the little alleyway just down the cut and get a newspaper. What a surprise. I came out to horns blaring – cars roaring in and out and a general melee of noise and loud music. It was quite a contrast and, of course, it was the normal world that most people inhabit. The other was when we got on a bus to go into Wrexham. The bus chugged down the road at 15mph – Being more used to travelling everywhere at 2mph for weeks on end, we clung on tight. It was like being on a rollercoaster. Such is our life now. And we went in a car on Sunday. First time in nearly three months. Quite a treat, I can assure you.
Anyway, back to the Jubilee. We have been conscious of this coming up as all the shops have been full of flags and bunting and we kept saying we would get some for TCW, but when we finally got round to it, all the good stuff had gone and all that was left were paper plates. Not ideal to hang from the roof!
A lot of boaters have made the effort – some, a little too much, if you know what I mean. I just hope that a lot of it does not end up in the water wrapped around my propeller when it’s taken down this week.
We now have a garden on board TCW. Pat purchased a suitable receptacle last week and while we were in Elmsmere we visited a garden centre near the canal to buy some plants to put in it. It now sits on the roof obscuring my view of what’s approaching. Pride of place are some white pansies that are called “The Cat’s Whiskers”. We had to have some of them.
Look what the white ones are called

Pat waters her new garden

Despite the change in the weather I am still in shorts and slip ons. I haven’t seen a pair of socks in about three weeks now. This might surprise some readers and has certainly surprised Pat, as I would not normally entertain exposing my legs to the sun until it is at least 30 degrees in the shade, but I considered it time to “Go Native”.
Only one leg on show. I don't want to frighten you all.

On the wet day of the Jubilee weekend, I think it was the Sunday, we met up again with our pals Vic and Liz in Northwich.
We checked the local train time table and walked the mile or so to the little station at Wrenbury. The information board explained that if we wanted the next train to stop we had to flag it down. And it worked. Just like in “The Railway Children”, though I didn’t stand on the line waving Pat’s flannel petticoat like Bobby did in my all-time favourite film. Anyway, I’d never done that before – stopped a train by waving my hat! Pretty cool.
Vic had picked up two folding chairs Pat had ordered locally and she spent most of Monday afternoon in of them in the cratch area chatting to the boats that went by. She is delighted and as I exist to make her happy, I am delighted that we have more stuff cluttering up the boat!

Pat tucked up under the cratch cover on her new chairs
So, we are now on the Shropshire Union Canal and just arrived in Chester City Centre. We both thought the Llangollen was stunningly beautiful, but, quite frankly, I was relieved when we made the turn into the Shropshire Union. It’s just toooooo popular. Oh those queues at the locks.
We really like Chester.  It’s a city we know well, but you see a very different side of any town or city coming in by water. Really looking forward to a bit of civilization again – Wetherspoons etc, a phone and an internet signal. We might even be able to get more than four or five channels on the telly. The weather forecast is for rain and wind so if possible we will stay here until Sunday. So if you’ve never been to Chester we can confirm that we have no house guests this weekend. Give us a call.
Finally, we have just topped the 200-mile mark.

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