Once we had arrived back in Red Bull and sorted ourselves out, our cousins from Perth Australia, Brenda and Arthur sent a text saying they had arrived in the Red Bull Pub car park. Having driven up from Essex after receiving our message of all good to go from the hospital, we were relieved that the directions and address we had given them had worked in the GPS of their rental car. We got them settled in aboard Celtic Maid, ran them through the basics of bathroom use and where the tea and coffee are kept, and then we all went back to the pub for a well deserved ale/G&T and dinner.
Over time we have perfected the art of the bedroll to use when guests have our bedroom and we sleep on the converted couch. We can now transfer the bedding from the bedroom and make up the bed in about 2 minutes – not bad we think!!!!
On Wednesday we took advantage of the access to a vehicle and went to Tescos to stock up again making sure our guests wouldn’t starve – as if that could ever happen aboard Celtic Maid!!! Then we prepared to set off from the safe haven of Tony’s boatyard mooring, leaving the rental car in his yard, and crossed the aqueduct onto the Macclesfield canal.
No sooner were we across and we spied NB Figment and our friends Malcolm and Julia, with whom we will be exploring the canals over summer. After a quick hello and directions to Julia for the CRT laundry (and that’s another story!!!) we cruised along on Brenda and Arthur’s first taste of the canals. A quick stop for water after the first stop lock (put in place to stop boats to pay their tolls to the canal companies) and we found a nice mooring for the night – it was late start after all. After dinner we went for a walk further along the towpath and captured photos of a beautiful building and its reflection in the canal at dusk and also encouraged some very pregnant cows in staying calm before their impending calving.
We were of to a slow start on Thursday morning deciding to walk back a short distance to a boatyard and chandlery to pick up some new fender hooks – we keep losing and breaking them!- and to treat ourselves to some delicious Cheshire ice cream. The sun was shining after all!!! We also found a plumbing supply shop and bought 2 new sink plugs and a chain – ours keep going out with the veggie peelings so we have put a stop to that now! They also directed us to another store in Congleton to pick up some edging for our shower – a job we have been promising ourselves to do for a while. At time of writing it is still in the bow awaiting time to do!!
After stopping in Congleton and benefiting from the very helpful staff, we cruised on to Buglawton and found another nice mooring. We decided on a good rest before tackling the flight of Bosley Locks on Friday – 12 in all. Luckily Bob had some help from Arthur (despite him feeling unwell and pretending he wasn’t!), while Brenda undertook to video as much of the action as she could. Just a few bumps and scratches on poor Celtic Maid!!! Our mission was to get to Macclesfield by Friday afternoon and find a mooring where perhaps we could stay until returning from yet another visit to London for Bob’s eye treatment on the following Monday 8th June. There are some very impressive new visitor moorings on pontoons in Macclesfield within easy walking distance of the Puss in Boots pub, the train station and the town centre. We did have to negotiate with the boats already moored there to give us a few extra feet of space to fit in but they were very obliging and most helpful.
Once securely moored and with dinner prepared we availed ourselves of the hospitality provided by the Puss in Boots pub for a drink or two and checked out the menu for consideration (and eventually tasting) for both Saturday and Sunday evening meals.
On Saturday morning we sent Arthur and Bob off on the train back to Red Bull to retrieve the car and find a park for it nearby in Macclesfield. Success on both counts and they were soon back with the car just up the steps leading to the road from the canal. Then we were ready to tackle the town by foot. The first section was quite easy – all down hill. Then we crossed the road and train line and it was all uphill from there. After a bit of a look around the shops and getting some more medicine for Arthur (who was soldiering on a treat bless him) we headed back to the pub to enjoy a brilliant meal before retiring back to Celtic Maid for more catch up chats.
On Sunday we thought to try and find a laundry in town and get all the washing up to date. So we packed it up into the car and armed with the GPS and internet list of potential targets we set off to try our luck. Alas we had none. At all. And eventually retreated back to the reliable twin tub on Celtic Maid. Meanwhile NB Figment had arrived and were helped to moor. We encouraged them to head to Puss in Boots for their Sunday roast and reluctantly declined the invitation to join them due to having had a fortifying breakfast and impending need to undertake our domestic task. They returned full – of food, praise and encouragement – so we decided that dinner there Sunday night would be just the ticket. Yum yum yum!!!!!
It was an early start on Monday as Brenda and Arthur packed up to leave on the next leg of their journey to Scotland while we caught the train to London. It was sad to farewell them as our time had been companionable, relaxing and very easy. A huge thanks to them for taking the time and letting us share our adventure with them. Very happy times and memories…..