After a lovely afternoon yesterday it was a little disappointing to wake to drizzle and grey skies. I did not try my usual before breakfast walk, but had a shower and read for a bit instead.
Bosley Locks were on the agenda for the morning which was fun and energetic and the rain did not matter at all. We set off as usual about 9.00 am but stopped to take on water at the permanent mooring site at the head of the locks. This took about 20 minutes and then we were off. The drill is, when locking down, to go to the lock and make sure it is full of water. Sometimes you need to open the paddles a little if the lock gates leak, or a lot, if a boat has just gone down ahead of you. When the lock is full it is quite easy to open the top gates for the boat to go in (making sure the paddles are closed again if they had to be opened.)
When the boat is in the lock the top gates are closed. Then hurry forward to open the paddles on the bottom gates so the lock empties. When the new water level is reached the lock gates open fairly easily for the boat to go out. Then you close the paddles.
If there is no one wanting to go up, you also close the gates, which allows the lock to fill again.
We had to go down a succession of twelve locks this morning. Terry and I worked together to get things ready for Swan and the others came after with Mallard.
We motored on another hour before lunch. I went to the back of the boat to talk to Terry for a while. He and Jane have lived on boats for quite a long time and are looking for one of their own pretty soon.
After lunch we moved on to Congleton, where we stopped for an hour. I went into the town with Bob and Sally and posted some cards and looked around a bit. A couple of the buildings seem to date from Tudor times and the centre of the town is quite old. Near the mooring is an old derelict warehouse which must have been fabulous once.
Moving on from there we passed through lovely country side - seemingly remote from anywhere - until we moored for the night near Bridge 86.
Little Morton Hall is a very pleasant walk across the fields from the canal and although the house was not open, the grounds and the outside of the house were well worth looking at. To get there (I went with Terry and Sally and Bob) we climbed several stiles and walked through fields with cows, large and ruminantive, and alongside barley - nearly ripened in one case. Terry pointed out the Deadly Nightshade plant, with a purple flower, and showed how a dockleaf is usually found near a stinging nettle.
We have seen quite a lot of moorhens with chicks today. One chick was persistantly chirping at us in a very plaintive manner. There were also a great many swallows swooping and diving for insects. As we were finishing our evening meal we saw a kestral hovering above a nearby field. It was there for a long time, but I didn't see if it stooped for anything.
After such an energetic day, bed seems rather welcoming. It would be nice if the weather was a little clearer tomorrow, but it doesn't really matter.