30 March 2008

And we're off

Technically this is day three of our holiday. But we've only been on the go for two. And to be honest, yesterday didn't really count. But today has seen us get a proper cruising day under our belts, accompanied by some rather fine weather and we're now tied up on Croxton flash, tired but happy and with that familiar 'hot face' feeling after a few hours in the sun.

Yes, despite all our intentions, Friday was cancelled due to a combination of pants weather and a crisis at A's client. We decided to stay put which was a good call because it took all day to solve the crisis and the pants weather was determined, to say the least. But come Saturday morning, the blue sky was visible through the porthole and I was fool enough to believe that it was here to stay. But it was a treacherous sky, one that turned all grey and blustery in a matter of hours and threatened rain at every turn. In the end, I decided that it was just too tiresome and moored up short of Cholmondeston Lock. I've often wondered what the proper pronunciation of this phonetic mouthful is - I've been told Chumley and Chumston, but if anyone can give me a definitive answer, then I'd only be too pleased to hear.

The short trip had two highlights. FMC boat Cactus tonking down the cut with what I think was a Bolinder in full cry and a couple of young lads on a hireboat whose manners and nifty helmsmanship were a credit to them. Despite what the hang 'em and flog 'em Daily Mail brigade on the canal forums think, there are people under 18 who are not marked with the sign of Satan.

We idled away the day reading and watching telly, and headed for bed early like the quasi-pensioners we are. We woke up this morning to a day of much promise but I didn't want to be too precipatate with my trust. However, there were occasions when I stripped down to my T-shirt such was the warmth and we had an excellent run across the Middlewich arm and then up through the town itself. The flight of three was busy with hire boats but it offered no real difficulties although it is a tad tight through there. And then the run up to the flashes on this much under-estimated part of the T&M. For my money, it is by far the best bit of the canal but don't tell anyone will you?

Tomorrow we go through one of my favourite places, the living Etcha-Sketch diagram that is the Brunner Mond chemical works. Can't wait.

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