Monday, 19 September 2016

A Hungry Swan and Too Many Lift Bridges.

Monday 19th September, 2016 at Grindley Brook.
Our climate is a curious thing; the only thing that is predictable is its unpredictability!
In Llangollen last Thursday, it was the hottest September day in 100 years and we had to move our afternoon tea into the shade to stop the chocolate brownies from melting as we mopped our perspiring brows.  The temperature fell ten degrees overnight and the following day, we left Llangollen wearing three layers of clothing and this morning we ended up wearing heavy fleeces and scarves! Mad!
A juvenile swan came and tapped on the window for breakfast. As we have run out of duck food, he left empty handed (or empty beaked, anyway).
 Later, R saw him waddling round the pedestrian area outside Tesco at the end of the basin eating discarded crisps from the ground. As there were a dozen or so crisp bags and discarded fast food polystyrene packs under one of the seats, R picked the rubbish up as it would not have done the swan any good. A teenager, sitting on the seat, when questioned, replied that "it wasn't his rubbish, so he didn't see why he should pick it up". Meanwhile, M went into Tesco to stock up with a "few bits".
We left after lunch and turned in the basin at the end of the arm next to the derelict warehouse. It's a handsome building and we hope it's not going to be left to fall into disrepair.
Beech House, at the junction of the arm, is the splendid former offices of the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Carrying Company.
Just south of Ellesmere are a series of meres or lakes, left over from the Ice Age; M declared that the next time we pass this way, she wants to moor MM on this mooring with a lovely view of this, the largest mere, that is just known as "The Mere".
It always makes us smile when we see cows peering over the parapets of a canal bridge, curious about the goings on underneath.
On the Montgomery, R had to go down into the weed hatch four times to remove vegetation. Today, we picked up something from the centre of the canal that made the whole boat vibrate as soon as the throttle was opened in either direction. R stopped by the bank and went back down the hatch - but whatever it was had thankfully fallen off.
There were four lift bridges today. M declared that this one was a doddle at only 34 turns of the windlass. One bridge had required 75 heavy turns!
At Whitchurch, as M was winding up yet another lift bridge, she fell into conversation with a delightful chap called Alan, whose boat was moored nearby. She asked him about the poor fellow who had lost his propellor in the arm when we moored there on the way up and whom we had helped look for it. Alan said that the chap never found it and so had to buy a new propellor and then fitted it under water with help from Alan, who was a retired engineer, supervising and giving advice from the bank. So now we know the rest of the story!
Another of the new jolly notices from C&RT. We like them!
We moored up for the night just above the Grindley Brook staircase locks, having filled up with water. Our intention is to rise early tomorrow to make sure that we are first through the locks as there are often queues of five or six hours to go through the locks later in the day.
Even though the sun was out for much of the day, it was still cold (witness R in his heavy fleece, above) - but we did get another lovely sunset.
Today: 13 miles, 0 locks and 5.0 hours (and four lift bridges, says M!).
Trip: 394 miles, 261 locks and 282.0 hours.

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