Non Cruising notes

We are currently in the “wichs”. In and around Northwich, Middlewich, Nantwich, which also means we are in salt country. Large old factories devoted to the refining of salt, and production of salt based products abound. Naturally there are very large spaces underground where salt has been, and is being mined. This in turn produces “flashes”, a fancy name for collapsed salt mines filled with water. Some of these have been adjacent to the canal making it both wide and/or deep in places.

However the main purpose of recent weeks has been work on the boat. It was pulled out onto hard standing, the hull was steam cleaned and we then physically cleaned the sides and painted them black with bitumastic paint. We took the opportunity to have the propeller refurbished at the same time.

This is what the boat looked like when first pulled out

Here you can see the variety of shellfish that we have been giving a free ride to for some years

They did not survive the steam cleaning, and we did not indulge in steamed shellfish as a main course.

Then came the grim assessment. The hull was not in pristine state and was going to need about 12 days work to get it clean enough to paint. So to work grinding off all of the limestone and rust that we could and putting on the first coat of blacking as we went.

Some bits were particularly bad and left me in a worse state than the boat.

Still we made progress slowly, here you see a bit of blacking peeping round the edge.

Eventually we were nearly done with the first coat. Just one more panel to grind, wire brush, de-rust and black.

Having completed the first coat over 12 days, the next 4 coats were dead easy at one a day. A few days for the finished paint layers to harden, and for us to attend to some other bits and........

Here she is ready for the water, fully re-blacked and with new anodes.

Complete with re-furbished propeller. It turns out that they had to replace nearly half an inch of metal to bring it back up to size.

And off back in the water she goes!

We did manage to get a break from all of this, frankly filthy, work to attend a bridge renumbering party. Probably the first and last that has ever taken place. Let me explain.

In 1776 the Preston Brook tunnel was opened, it is about three quarters of a mile long and almost dead straight joining the Bridgewater canal and the Trent and Mersey canal. It became bridge number 214 (a tunnel is, after all just a long bridge).

Many years later the bridge number plaque fell off into the canal. Once again, many years later the canal was de-watered, probably for tunnel maintenance, and the original plaque was found and put in a house by the canal used by a waterways worker. More decades passed and eventually the house was purchased by canal enthusiast Steve Davies and he found the plaque. He had the plaque refurbished and arranged to have it replaced on the tunnel entrance in the same position that it had originally been. A party and BBQ was organised with local canal enthusiasts and others invited.

Some of the assembled company at the house the plaque was found in.

The unveiling by Steve and his daughter Lauren.

And “bridge” 214 now has its original identity back again

All done so onto the barbecue, and guess who was first in the queue

That's pretty much it for this time

have fun!