Narrowboat News - Edition 1

Narrowboat News - Edition 1

I am slumming it tonight, sat aboard Ali with the diesel stove alight, but the G&T has no ice and no slice! Never mind, it was an easy move aboard - it’s our 3rd trip on Ali.

Our garbage bags with suitcase contents are all emptied and the wheelie shopping trolleys (stored at P&J) have been unpacked and everything has a an established place these days. We are in Great Haywood marina just south of Stafford.

A marina is a convenient point for a handover as you can park nearby and use the wheelie carts to convey all the luggage along the pontoons to the boat. We have a mains electricity hook up and access to a hose to fill the water tank before we leave, we also need to fill up both diesel tanks - one for the engine and one for the stove. The daytime temps have been about 10c since we arrived with cooler nights. Some early hedgerow trees (such as Blackthorn have flowers known as May blossom) are starting to show now, and the trees have a faint haze of green.

In the frenzy of cupboard sorting and tidying away, J ascertained that the sink on which he performed the best possible jury rig repair last year (not having access to suitable tools or equipment) was still weeping. We advised Jackie last year that it was a temporary fix and left a ‘catch-all’ in place. Today it was still the same but without the “catch-all’ and everything in the cupboard was damp. We cleaned and dried it and put the dish back.

I commented that we had a bit of a port list (but there is a lot of storage is on the port side) but that lead J to check under the bunk… at least 2” of water in a bilge that should be dry. We may be doing a pump out tomorrow whilst we take diesel!


Tomorrow is shopping day - we have a monster shopping list for all kinds of food stuffs for a 9 week stay and a few essentials to comfortable living such as oven gloves! We also need a plank (for getting ashore if we are unable to moor near the bank - which may happen on the Lancaster canal. It is easier to do all the heavy stores before we relinquish the hire car. We hope to get all this done plus pump out and diesel and out of the marina before tomorrow evening!


We were successful with all our quests today, apart from leaving the marina. Despite an early start, the groceries took quite a while. Having not shopped for groceries for a year now (thanks to the wonderful service from the Independent in Chester) it was rather disconcerting to find the store frantically busy with personal-shopping staff driving carts containing 6 or 8 trays for on-line customers. Whilst they were perfectly polite and helpful you did feel in danger of being run down! The builder’s merchant from which we obtained a shortened scaffolding plank was rather off the beaten track. Having carted, stowed and had a bite of lunch, we set off to Manchester airport to return the hire car. It is significantly less extortionate to hire from airport to airport, than to return it to a nearby hire base. The cost difference amply covers the expense of an Uber ride back to the boat.

The traffic on the M6 between here and there was very heavy, with considerable slow downs and delays so by the time we got back we only had 30 mins to get to the fuel dock before they closed for the day (and we also want to pump the bilge) - we decided not to rush. I took advantage of the convenience of the pontoons here to start sorting out the plants and pots that Jackie had left for me. It’s still early in the season here, so pansies and primula and spring bulbs are the best options. It’s been very showery - you could say downright wet at times, so now that the plants are settled they can take advantage of the rain!

And we are off! Water tank is topped up, shore power disconnected and the engine started sweetly. It’s 0830 now tied up at the fuel dock waiting for it to open at 0900 - fuel and a pump out. Not raining currently, the sun is shining but there are a lot of ominous black clouds around.

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1 comment

I look forward to “our” trip every year. Thanks for sharing pictures and all the detailed notes of the journey. From my comfy chair I love every rainy, cool, nature moment of this trip that I wouldn’t be able to be on any other way. You are a jewel.

Tiferet Valentine

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