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New Year Boating 2022

Day 1

Audlem (The Shroppie Fly) - The Cheshire Cat, Christleton.

A pretty non eventful but lovely first day boating. The girls, our eldest particularly, have suddenly reached that age where they're actually extremely helpful at locks, and understand properly what's going on, not just how to follow instructions. E went ahead to get the locks ready, and managed most of the paddles.

The weather was good, and we passed not one, not two, but three boats I've previously drawn. Audacious (painted by Lost Art Painters ), Trefaldwyn, and the beautiful Bolli.

We made it to The Cheshire Cat in plenty of time for dinner, and cheekily opted for 3 courses rather than our normal 2. The arancini balls were something else, I tell you!

Rounded the night off with bolinder lessons for the girls, me included!


Day 2

The Cheshire Cat, Christleton - Chester, opposite Mecca Bingo!

The day began with a lie in...we NEVER get lie ins! We pottered down the locks to Chester and tied above the Lock Keepers pub. Have never tied here before but we didn't fancy tackling Northgate 3 days in a row.

Once we moored up we walked down the locks to meet Bob and Emma on Jubilee, who had just done the Ship Canal to meet us. A spot of lunch then we hit the rows for some post Christmas shopping. I bagged myself some Sea Salt slippers in the sale, and the girls got sweets. We had ice creams by the river and eventually ended up meeting our pals in the Brewery Tap for a few scoops. Genuinely one of the most gorgeous bars in Chester, if you're passing, you should go! Amazing chips, and mulled wine - we may have stayed for a few hours...

The Cross Keys soon followed, and we happily learnt the correct way to pronounce Joules....which is essentially any which way you prefer! We intended to get take away chips, but by the time we'd got the kids into bed, the chippy had closed. So, take out pizza from Pizza Express was called for, and an episode of The Crown.


Day 3

Chester - The Cheshire Cat, Christleton.

New Years Eve! Another ridiculously short day of boating (we aren't used to this!) began with a final mooch round Chester in the morning.

I've been low on proper coffee for a while now, so picked up some ground coffee from Jaunty Goat just up from the canal, and we got delicious baked goods from Neighbourhood Bakehouse. Both places are right up my street so I'll have to come back to sample them properly.

Minnow is in need of a few curtains here and there, so I called in at Abakhan to get some sale fabric. Sewing, fabric, that sort of thing is a complete mystery to me - so I hope I bought the right sort of material. It's certainly the right colour anyway....😅

Also found some macrame thread (?) as I'm looking to make a hanging fruit basket for the extended cabin. Space is tight in a historic narrowboat and anything I can move up and off the worktop space is a bonus. I'll keep you posted!

After lunch we set off, back up those wide locks, to the Cheshire Cat (again), and met the inlaws there with their new, old boat Capricorn.

Bumped into Greenbank Marketing at Hoole Lane lock - very surreal after only knowing Kirsty via social media/zoom and having never met in person before.

A delicious 3 course set menu at the pub with friends, and a few G and Ts later and it's New Year!


Day 4

The Cheshire Cat, Christleton - National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port.

New Years Day!

It poured it down in the night and we really didn't want to get up. Thankfully, as soon as we were dressed and ready to face the world, the rain eased and stayed dry for the rest of the day.

We pootled down the locks to Chester again, the 3rd time doing these locks in as many days! I still forget the order and their names though, is it Hoole Lane first...or Chemistry...who knows!

The girls stayed snuggled up in the extended cabin for most of the morning, much needed after the late night. We arrived at the museum just before dark and moored in one of the wide locks, as have a special mission to do the following day.


Day 5

National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port - Saltersford Lock, Weaver Navigation

We were all up bright and early ready to depart the Museum onto the Manchester Ship Canal.

We'd been tasked with towing the "box boat" back to Northwich with us (part of the museum's collection) as she's on Dock with us in a few weeks time for some maintenance. *

The ship canal was like a mill pond, as ever, and we soon got to Marsh Lock to join the Weaver Navigation. It may be fairly straight and wide, but the Ship Canal always fascinates me and I never tire of boating that way.

SO good to back on our home waters, after nearly 6 months away. We first left the Weaver in July for Sarah and Lawrence's Wedding, and it's good to be back. We stopped the night above Saltersford Lock as the light was fading, ready to finish the journey the next day.

A huge thank you to Canal and River Trust for locking us up the Weaver.

The last day of the trip, I let Matt tackle alone as I had errands to do - get the cat from the cattery, food shopping, wash ALL the clothes! But all in all, a lovely trip boating and a nice way to enter 2023.

When I'm not drawing boats I'm painting them!

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