Friday, December 03, 2010

Staying put

Just like most of us boaters on the frozen canals the boat is not moving. We did walk down past a few locks and found British Waterways operatives working hard dredging the canal. Somehow they had managed to break up the ice around their boats using the grab bucket. We just had to complement them both on their efforts.
A small stream was still clear of ice and flowing into the canal where it eventually froze. Also where the water is flowing past Gailey lock there is a large stretch of clear water almost getting past our boats.
The cold weather has not stopped us getting out and we walked up the A5 Watling Street to the roundabout where we found ‘Dobbies’. It is one of those Garden Centres with much more. It is a virtual Santa’s Grotto for adults at this time of year. Everything is there to satisfy those of us who want a material Christmas rather than a spiritual one. We have been keeping in touch with our friends not just by reading their blogs but also writing emails an making phone calls.
Carol, George, Ann and I plus two dogs called Molly all walked up the A5 to catch a bus to Penkridge. The market was open but several stalls were missing. Not surprising due to the conditions being sunny but icy under foot. Stafford Gramar School music department were there playing Christmas Carols.
We had arranged to meet Geoff and Margaret on Seyella and they provided homemade soup, mince pies and warming drinks. It was a wonderful gathering of friends during this cold winter. We then elected to walk the 3 miles back to Gailey because we realised we had just missed the bus. It took about an hour boat to boat. Thankfully it was not snowing or too windy. Most of the canal was frozen but with a few clear ponds where all the ducks have gathered.
Next day Tesco managed to find us bringing our orders. The driver and helper were travelling together in the bad conditions as support for each other. Then we packed it all away. Meanwhile George had opened the lock gates and flushed out the slab of ice. It had warmed up during the day so the canal was clear behind us. Both Rock n Roll and Moore 2 Life backed up one by one to get diesel and water. One tap had frozen due to its lack of insulation. Thankfully there is another available for use. We left it dripping slowly so it would not freeze.
Back down at our mooring, just below the lock, the ice reformed as the temperature dropped again. “More porridge for breakfast please.” It cooks well on top of the stove while we get up. Batteries are not so efficient when cold so are not giving up as much energy as normal. We find it best to charge them up twice a day while it remains cold.
Geoff turned up as arranged, George n Carol came and we all had a drink and a natter on M2L in the morning. Then George got the Barbe out. The snow under it quickly melted! When Geoff returned we were soon round on R n R for a lovely meal.

1 comment:

phlubber said...

The canal thru bounville in Birmingham is frozen solid. Some kids have chucked a sandbag from a bridge and no cracks visible