Wednesday 10 June 2015

Weekend in Chester and Single Handing for a day.

The 3rd of June is a big day for us as in 1978 Chris and I celebrated our marriage to each other. Last week was our anniversary so to celebrate we cruised AmyJo to Eggbridge on a warm sunny Friday evening. After a peaceful night we then carried on into Chester. Surprisingly for the weekend we only saw one other boat on the move all the way through the locks.
Moored up at Eggbridge in Waverton
By Cow lane Bridge only three boats were moored up so we pulled in behind. As we were comming alongside a hire boat in front pulled off so to conserve mooring space we roped AmyJo forward into their spot. This left only two other boats, most unusual for a warm weekend in the city.

We bought one of those T-peace gadgets that lock onto the swan neck and allow the use of a rotary washing line when we were at Crick.  As a good breeze was blowing Chris decided to wash the bedding and try out the washing line to see if it worked.  It caused much interest and good comments from passers by but one problem we found was that Chris has to kneel on  the back hatch in order to reach the line.

Bit of a climb for Chris but the washing dried quickly in the breeze so a success

After phoning round we managed to book a table at Chez Jules, Amy's favourite restaurant in town. Their web site is here. If you like French cuisine then Chez Jules will not disappoint. Its a bit of a walk from the canal on the other side of the Cathedral in Northgate Street but worth the walk. After a fab meal and excellent service we could see why its Amy's favourite restaurant!

Sunday dawned bright but with a good breeze that was still a little on the cool side.  Sunday mornings are always dinghy sail racing at our sailing club on the river Dee here in Chester.  We regularly sail with them and often see people on the far bank or meadows side of the river watching the racing on the water.  We decided it would be nice to walk through the meadows and watch for ourselves for a change. From the canal one walks to Grosvenor Park and follows the signs for the Iron bridge or the Groves (the one bridge that features in most photos of the river Dee in Chester).  Walk over the bridge and turn left.  Follow the path and you arrive at the meadows,  a lovely large open expanse of green land that abounds with wildlife.  A path follows the contour of the river and the sailing club will be on the opposite bank.  A conveniently placed bench (In memory of a long standing sailor of the club who sadly died of cancer a few years back) is available here to rest whilst watching the sailing antics.

The much photographed Chester Groves and Chester Boats pleasure cruise boats.  The wide beam behind acts as offices
for Chester Boats Company and is a fixed mooring allowing electricity and telephone line etc.

Walking across the iron Bridge, something we have only done twice in the 15 years we have lived here

The meadows with the sailing club in the background
Some of the dinghy fleet.  Those with blue sails are Enterprise dinghy's like the one we sail.
Our Amy and crew Andy in her Lazy E dinghy.  A larger version of our Enterprise. When windy he crew hike out
on a wire to balance the boat.  A rare sight on the river due to space.
 We sat in the warm sunshine for a while then cadged a lift via the club's rescue boat to cross to the clubhouse for a cup of tea. We then walked the short distance to the little ferry that plies across the river between Sandy Lane and the Meadows and walked back into town. After a late lunch outside the Moorings restaurant by the groves we called into Tesco's for some shopping and returned to AmyJo. 

On our way back the canoeing Chester opposite the Groves was busy indeed with youngsters enjoying the water

Lunch at the Moorings restaurant at the Groves
Chris needed to be back for work on Monday but as it was so nice she suggested we make for Eggbridge in Waverton for the night and she could get a lift from a work colleague from there. This would leave me free to cruise AmyJo home on Monday and give us another night out on the cut.

We winded AmyJo at Cow Lane bridge much to the delight of the Lockkeeper's customers out front of the pub and a large group of tourists on the bridge who all clicked away with cameras.  I'm relieved to say AmyJo winded perfectly for me this time round.  On arrival at Eggbridge moorings, that were surprisingly still empty, Chris made us her version of afternoon tea with sandwiches scones, jam, clotted cream and cakes.  I confess we did, however, substitute the pot of tea for a bottle of Vino colapso instead.

Afternoon Tea and wine

Monday morning we were up with the sparrows and Chris reluctantly departed for work. I remained and prepared AmyJo for cruising. This took an age as I ended up talking for some time with several passing dog walkers that took an interest in AmyJo. They asked the usual questions, do you live aboard as so on. One commented that AmyJo was a much nicer boat than some that moored there. I believe in the past some really run down boats had over stayed there and had caused problems by all accounts.

At 10am I managed to up pins and get under way. By now the wind had dropped and the sun had some warmth to it. All in all the cruise was thoroughly pleasant though I will admit it did not feel right without Chris aboard ( but don't tell her that). It was not long before I realised I should have made myself a cuppa before getting under way. No problem, I pulled in and ran aground on the shallows by the bank. With AmyJo aground I made myself a drink and backed off the shallows and got under way again

This guy passed me as some rate and returned going back the other way some time later.  Made me tired watching him!
I made Tattenhall by mid day but as it was so nice I just carried on for another hour, winding at the Shady Oak pub just below Wharton Lock and then pulled onto the pub moorings. I stayed long enough for a pint and some lunch then slowly cruised back to Tattenhall. After fuelling up I reversed AmyJo back onto her moorings. I was quite pleased with myself to be honest. This was the longest run I had done on my own and even got AmyJo onto her mooring by myself. I know there were no locks or bridges but I felt it was not bad for a first time single handing all day.

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