Chester then to Ellesmere Port

17th to 18th August 2016

So today was set to be a day of playing Tommy the tourist. First item on the agenda today though was to walk back along the canal about 1.5k to a vet to pick up the pooches food that we had ordered a couple of weeks back. Took both pooches with us for a bit of exercise.

Back to the boat to unload the food and to leave Mapes behind as that is a pretty big day for her already. Packed up the small noisy and extra cute one to come with us for our jaunt into Chester. We moored up right outside the wall of the city and it was a short hop skip and jump up to the top of the wall. Our view back down on the canal gave us a good idea as to how high we were and look what we found down below.

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Not seen her from this angle before. We went down into the center and found the cheese shop we had read about and bought a few different samples to feed the rat in the fridge that seems to have come to England with us from Canada. Right across from the cheese shop was the city hall which is up there when it comes to “looking good”.

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Whilst standing outside the lolly shop by the town hall we were accosted by a rather eccentric 80 year old lady wanting to talk to us about Toque and also gave us her life history in 10 minutes. She really was quite entertaining and very English. As the day went on we met a few other odd bods but will go into that later.

Next port of call was the local cathedral who wanted a donation from you to see their wares. Only thing was the donation was rather obligatory as you had to pass three rather officious looking reception people if you wanted to even dare poke your head around the corner to see what you might get for your money. Once again, they lost out. From the outside though it was very nice.

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Chester is very well known for their black and white buildings and there are certainly many of them in excellent condition.

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There was a large exclusive upmarket shopping area with all the top labels but if you look passed that you can see some great architecture. Found this pub that was built in 1622 – Cook still had 150 years before he discovered Australia and New Zealand when this pub was built.

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Many of the buildings are still utilised as residences and shops. This was a row of rental apartments.

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Chester is a walled city and the wall is in excellent condition. We walked around 2/3rds of it. There was a rather elaborate clock over one of the gates which apparently was a city gift for the jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria.

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This photo doesn’t do it justice but like York, Chester is a mecca for tourists and today was no exception. Also difficult to see but there are actually two layers of shops. They have verandah’s on the second level which gives you another lot of stores. It was rather nice getting onto the second level away from the crowds and also out of the sun as it was a blinder of a day. We wandered down to the River Dee just outside the wall which you can access via the canals but we have opted not to do this as it is tidal and we do not have the experience to attempt this.

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After spending a full day wandering around we went back to retrieve Maples and do the obligatory food shop at Tesco’s. We decided that we would move off our mooring about 6.00pm as it was cool and we wanted to get through a staircase of three locks before the busy morning traffic. Whilst maneuvering through the three locks Fraser was accosted by a very unpleasant knowitall gongoozler who told him that it was obviously his first lock and that he was doing it all wrong. Good thing he didn’t approach Di as she would have probably punched his lights out. Then as we moored up for the evening this other boater took over our ropes and proceeded to tell us how to moor a boat and had the audacity to jump on our boat and take over. He is very lucky he is not permanently inspecting the bottom of the canal. Couldn’t believe we got two of them within a space of an hour.

Our morning started very early with Di heading out to the laundry at 8.00am whilst Fras went yet again back to the vet to pick up some eye drops for Mapes as her eyes are weepy again. We got away at 11.00am heading towards Ellesmere Port which is right beside the Manchester Ship Canal which is next to the Mersey River. On our four hour cruise we came upon excessive amounts of weed which clogged the canal up. It was very difficult to push nb Lucy through the stuff as it was quite heavy.

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On the way along the canal we passed a large Dutch Barge with the owner in his swimmers, snorkel and goggles at the stern of his boat in the water. We stopped to ask him if he needed assistance but he said he was OK cutting through a mattress that had fouled his prop!!! Didn’t feel it was appropriate to take a photo of him – poor guy.

We appear to have a sick dog as Maples has stopped eating and has been throwing up. Her not eating is a sure sign of her not being well so we will need to keep a close eye on her. Toque seems to have gone out in sympathy with her until dinner time in which case she ate her dinner as well as Mapes. We have been very careful with their food and even provide them with bottled water for drinking. Hopefully it is only a 24 hour tummy bug.

We made it into Ellesmere Port in the late afternoon and have moored up inside the National Waterways Museum. Our entrance fee included a mooring within the museum amongst some of the very traditional canal boats. Nb Lucy could be considered a candidate to be permanently here as she is certainly close to the age of some of the exhibits.

We needed to negotiate ourselves through two narrow locks to get down into the basin which is no great drama except we had left three of the sides windows open and the top lock was rather leaky. So leaky that it poured in through the windows and soaked the curtains and destroyed a box of tissues on the sill. Oh well, shit happens.

We will go for a wander later this evening when it becomes cooler and all the tourists have gone as we will have the museum to ourselves.

Our mooring was next to a rather large vessel that dwarfs her.

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