We returned to the boat on Sunday with another dozen pots that Karen had planted up whilst we were back at home. We also brought back some tomato plants – we have found that the Tumbler variety do very well on the boat and are delicious. On Monday Karen was going to take the car back to Catherine in Nottingham but by the time we had pottered around and did some food shopping there wasn’t really enough time.
As gales were forecast for later in the day we decided to cruise into the centre of Middlewich where we hoped it would be more sheltered. We went up what is called the Middlewich Big lock. This is the first lock we have been up since leaving the Yorkshire Pennines; the 61 locks we have been through since then have all been going down.
This is the only wide lock at the northern end of the Trent & Mersey but it enabled wider boats to come up the River Weaver (from the Manchester Ship canal and the River Mersey) and then up the Anderton boat lift and into Middlewich to pick up loads of salt. Middlewich has been a salt producing town for over 2,000 years and British Salt still has a major plant here.
We were lucky to use the Anderton Boat lift ten days ago as it has since been closed due to a serious structural fault being found. We have still not heard what the real nature of the fault is nor how long it is expected to be closed.
It’s great to be back on board and Karen has already asked me what type of cake she should bake.
When we were back home we were lucky enough to be invited to look over the Christina O which is being renovated in Chatham Docks. This boat was owned by Aristotle Onassis for many years hence the name. It was incredibly opulent and in amazing condition. The carpeting and marble flooring were all covered in protective cardboard so we couldn't see what the floors were like.
The bar stools were really extravagant - the seats were covered in whale foreskin which is an amazingly soft leather. For protection they were covered in cling film and then a cover made of ordinary white leather. Here is one with the top cover taken off - the foot rests were made of whales' teeth as were the handholds on the bar.
Here are a few shots of the boat which cannot really do it justice because of the protective coverings and also all the wood was awaiting revarnishing.
This is a report about the boat in the loacl paper - Kent Online.