Monday 6th June 2016
This morning was spent doing a fair bit of organising for pooch grooming, podiatrists and laundrettes. We are learning a valuable lesson that when opportunity knocks you take it. If there is a water point you fill up even though you might still have half a tank of water. If there is a laundrette you use it. We thought it would be quite easy to get the girls in for a trim today but discovered that no one was able to take them until Thursday so we phoned Posh Pugs in Kidsgrove which is our port of call for tonight to see if they could help us. With much cajoling and a sorry story that have squeezed us in for Wednesday at 8.00am – this will be our earliest start yet.
Di did all the right things by making sure any medical issues were dealt with before we left Canada and that any medications we required were purchased back there. She even made sure her hooves had been reshod and all corns and callouses dealt with – alas, one of the horseshoes became a bit skew whiff so had to go searching for a Podiatrist. Finally found one in Alsager which is up the road from Kidsgrove who could fit her in on Wednesday.
The next item to deal with was the washing that was accumulating in large quantities and we are sure was breeding in the back bathroom. When we were this way about five years ago there really wasn’t an issue finding laundrettes but things have changed significantly. They are as rare as hens teeth but having said that there was one in Kidsgrove. We are loving this Kidsgrove place before we even get there.
So off we chugged at the sensible hour of 11.00am to the water point at the junction of the Caldon Canal and the Trent and Mersey. Whilst tied up there giving Lucy a very good drink as we had not done this for three days we got talking to a couple in the boat behind us. They are a German couple from a town called Bremen in northern Germany. This will interest our friends Horst and Elfi who also originate from the same town. It appears they are doing exactly the same route we are doing though taking six months instead of our four. There will be many a time where our paths will cross so with a bit of luck when Horst and Elfi join us we can all get together for a good session of german folk singing at an English pub – little inside joke there.
Puttering away we then came up to the Harecastle Tunnel which is approximately 1 ¾ mile long and took us 37 minutes to go through. You are given detailed instructions prior to entering the tunnel by the tunnel keeper as there are a number of safety issues. They actually had a death in the tunnel of a boater who hit his head on the roof and got knocked into the canal. It took three days for them to find the body! In one particular area of the tunnel it is only 5’ 8“ high and with lighting from the lights inside the boat plus your front lamp on the boat there is not a lot of room for error. Once you get the go ahead to go through they shut the doors to the entrance of the tunnel which then triggers the huge ventilation fans to start up. It doesn`t take long for the temperature to drop significantly plus there is a lot of leakage within the tunnel onto your head. It is pitch black but we were a little fortunate as there was a boat about 5 minutes ahead of us plus one 5 minutes behind us so it helped with our bearings a little.
Entrance to Harecastle Tunnel
Exit from Harecastle Tunnel
Tonights mooring was at the junction of the Maccesfield Canal and the Trent and Mersey Canal. In fact the Maccesfield Canal crosses over the top of the Trent and Mersey Canal. Quite a feat of engineering for it`s time.
The Maccesfield Canal going over the Top of the Trent and Mersey Canal
Tonight was spent going into Kidsgrove checking out where the laundrette was and it`s opening hours plus where the Pug Pala was. Fraser also needed a 15mm spanner to repair the tyre on one of the bikes and we found this secondhand store called Steptoes – the owner even looked a bit like him. The shop was quite a sight for sore eyes – you could have found a grandmother in there if you so desired to browse long enough.
Steptoe and Son
On our way back we dropped into Tesco`s to do a bit of a shop. Now here is another little gem we are learning. Do not try to save all your shopping for one spot. You have to shop opportunistically in small amounts because one`s grandma trolley does not handle 10 litres of water plus milk, OJ and other items .