Monday proved to be hot and sultry again, so after pootling along for a while in the morning, we decided to stop for a refreshing lunch before tackling the broad beam locks that descend down to the centre of Chester. The Captain left things to us, jumped ship before we’d managed to tie up, and beat us into the pub. He didn’t even care that he was drinking from the dog bowl. The shame of it!
Resuming cruising after Sir had had his fill, it was getting hotter and hotter, and we were beginning to wonder whether we would make it to Chester and the canal-side Waitrose before we turned around or gave up. Our spirits were lifted when we saw two young ladies walking along the towpath holding their free cups of Waitrose coffee. “It’s only about ten minutes walk further along”.
Actually, it was a good mile and a half, and three more very hard locks. And they never walked it in ten minutes either: never trust time estimates from nattering young ladies.
There are good moorings right outside Waitrose, apart from the fact that they’re limited to two hours, but it was blissfully freezing inside. Back in the heat, we’d decided we weren’t going all the way down to Chester Basin: several more locks including a busy staircase. Fortunately, just before the “last chance” winding hole, we came across a mooring, right by a large pub and even a huge rhododendron bush that the Captain could hide in and cool off. 100 yards to the town walls – just the job.
Later that evening we were slightly bemused by this “push-me pull-you” floating restaurant, which as far as we can tell just reversed all the way to the top of the staircase, then went forwards up towards Waitrose and beyond, before reversing back again. Not a very interesting outlook for the diners. Still, at least it’s afloat.
On Tuesday we really needed to be heading back towards Swanley and Sidmouth, but decided that as the walls and the cathedral were just a few yards away, it would be churlish not to have a quick look.
There’s lots of nice buildings in Chester, with great views from the walls. The busker was playing a clarinet accompaniment to “I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside” backing track, which seemed singularly inappropriate.