If it’s Monday it must be Nantwich… and an early phone call provided details of a local dentist who could slot the navigator in for a repair later that morning. Meeting up with the head gardener afterwards, lunch at a charity creperie (a new one on us: food amongst the hand-me-down clothes racks), a wander round the shops and a visit to a local vet to collect some of Sir’s special diet, and the day soon passed.
Our peace and quiet was somewhat rattled by two Vampires in close formation flying low over the boat. T’Interweb suggests there’s only one airworthy example at the moment, so either the FOs aircraft identification skills are getting worse and one of them wasn’t a Vampire, or he’s seeing double. Maybe one was a Venom. Or they’ve got another one flying.
We’d had a communication from the Captain’s favourite standby staff, saying that they were going to be heading from North West Wales back to Windsor on Tuesday, and would like to call in en-route to pay their respects, so we ended up staying another night in Nantwich: technically overstaying, but the CaRT chap we spoke to didn’t seem that bothered.
Our friends duly arrived on Tuesday for a snack lunch at the local marina cafe, before departing late afternoon to do battle with the M6 and M42. Rather them than us.
Wednesday morning, and we left Nantwich Aqueduct, turned the boat round and headed back up the Shropshire Union; we waved at the Llangollen Canal as we passed Hurlestone Junction again, and turned Right at Barrbridge Junction onto the Middlewich Branch. We were now back where we’d planned to go, and were on unfamiliar territory. We also hadn’t decided where we were going after that, but never mind.
One thing we had decided was that the laundry mountain was beginning to reach crisis levels, so we’d booked ourselves into the Aqueduct Marina near Church Minshull for the night, to plug in Song & Dance and get some washing done. It really is a lovely spot, and the marina certainly has splendid facilities, including a decent cafe, serious league chandlery, superb showers and so on. It is also eye-wateringly expensive as marinas go, and renowned for it, seemingly. Ah well, never mind. At least we got the washing done, and stocked up on some boat bits.
Mind you, we nearly didn’t make it. At a lock some way before the marina, there was quite a queue, and it was hot and sunny, so while we had lunch on the hoof, moving down the queue, the Captain decided to go walkabout, disappearing down a steep overgrown hedgerow loaded with barbed wire. By the time we’d got to the front of the queue, there was still no sign, so we tied up and waited. And waited. And… about 14:45 he strolled nonchalantly across the towpath, jumped aboard and investigated his food bowl.
As a result, it was actually about 16:30 before we were properly ensconced in the marina. If we were going to make serious inroads on the laundry and make the most of our extortionate overnight mooring fee, we clearly weren’t going anywhere further until quite late on Thursday!