We stopped for couple of nights in Stockton Heath (Wed/Thurs) to catch up with numerous friends and get a couple of jobs done.
The first job was to help Neil and Pauline get a sofa out of their boat. Well! First the doors had to come off then the cratch had to be dismantled. The sofa just went through the door - and just in time too! Our friend Bill (and his mate with a van) came round the corner to take it away just 10 seconds after Pauline sat down for a rest! Good job done.
The second job promised, initially, to be even more of a problem than the sofa. The 240v alternator on “Chance” developed a fault in the pulley. It has a ‘free wheel’ ratchet mechanism which was slipping and failing to generate power at low revs. Cutting a very long story short, instead of having to courier the alternator across the country for repair, and then limping along without 240 volts when we need it, we found a specialist on the doorstep just two miles away who was able to replace the pulley within hours! With the sun beating down on him, and also having to embrace a hot engine, James was perspiring nicely as he took apart and reassembled things. He was ably supported by Neil as two heads are better than one in these things. Another good job done.
With sofas out and alternators repaired it was time to get back to more enjoyable things. On Thursday afternoon our cruise friends Bill and Jill with Bill’s daughter Fran and her husband Brian, and Bill and Jill’s son John came onto “Chance” to celebrate Jill’s birthday with a few bottles of Champagne. Then ………
……….. James, Jill, John, Doug and Bill all went down into the town for a wonderful celebratory meal at Bistro Pierre. With two difficult jobs completed and a birthday celebrated, the day was incredibly successful.
On Friday morning we set off from Stockton Heath for the journey into Manchester. The journey was well punctuated with a stop in pretty little Lymm to get to a post office then three further stops for fuel, water and black water pump out and a gas bottle. You have to laugh but it transpired that we couldn’t get all three done in the same place due to Thorn Marine being unable to do any of them!
Anyway, the terrific Bridgwater Canal being deep, wide and hard edged on both sides most of the way, afforded a brisk sprint for “Chance” and, in four and a half hours we were passing Old Trafford – home to Manchester United Football Club …….
…… and soon after that we arrived in Castlefield Basin where we spent the night. Well - half the night if the truth be known, the rest was spent ‘on the town’!
Having left Pauline and Neil behind for a night, on Saturday morning they joined us in Manchester for the journey up the notorious “Rochdale 9” set of locks through the city.
Being a canal through a very busy city a good part of it disappears under various buildings and short tunnels. Actually, it wasn’t a bad place to be as the weather was atrocious!
For the entire journey the rain fell like stair rods.
Pauline, working the very heavy locks with Doug, was a real stalwart.
The rain was so heavy the coffee tray filled up within minutes!
When they built the canals they thought of everything – even a little niche for Doug to stand in out of the rain while the lock emptied!
Both Pauline and Doug were drenched to skin and both had slipped and fallen down and James helped a man to his feet after he fell of his bike. But, were we downcast – not a bit! The day ended well with us mooring up in the lovely Piccadilly Village for the night ready to tackle the Ashton flight of locks in the morning.
Views along the canal at Piccadilly Village …….
….. and our moorings for the night.