Merry Christmas to everyone. Hope you are enjoying the holiday and not over indulging too much :-).
Chris's last working day was the 14th December and a Works Christmas dinner was arrange for 2:30pm at the Cheshire Cat pub.
Whilst Chris was at work I fettled AmyJo for cruising and left the marina by 10am. I managed to moor right outside the Cheshire Cat at 1pm. After walking smudge, I left him at home and went to the pub for a pint. Whilst there I was invited to join in the feastivities with all Chris's work mates which made for a pleasant afternoon.
Once the meal was over (I abstained by the way) some of Chris's colleagues came back to the boat for a few more drinks and good banter was had by all. In no time at all 3 bottles of wine had mysteriously evaporated!
|After dinner party onboard|
On Sunday we returned to the Marina and the following day drove to Essex for a few days to visit family to give them the Christmas prezzies. Traffic was surprisingly good with the only hold ups around roadworks on the M25. Its always good to catch up with everyone back South but we're glad to get back home again.
Friday 21st saw us back on AmyJo and again heading to Chester. This time we wanted to get into Chester before stopping.
|His lordship presiding over the cruise|
Chris needed to do a food shop so we moored outside Waitrose for a while and then moved onto the first mooring bollards just before the Artichoke bar. Its quieter here and far enough way form Harkers pub to avoid the shouting and drunken antics.
Next morning Chris took herself off into town Christmas shopping while I moored AmyJo further along the cut. We managed to moor 3 boats back from the Lock keeper pub and had a pleasant night there. Glad to report on Chris's return the bank manager is still talking to me.
|Moored by Waitrose|
Every other Friday in Ye Old Gardeners Arms is Karaoke night. Pete and Yvonne, good boater friends of ours, have just taken on the pub as landlords so we go there to support them. Pete likes me to have a go at the Karaoke and with a Christmas theme we both dueted a Bing Crosby and David Bowie number, Peace on earth. It was so popular we ended up singing it again later after numerous request for us to do so.
|Singing at the Gardeners Arms (video available on request)|
Of course being a boater run pub Friday nights would not be the same without our good friends from the marina coming in too! These are the same people we cruised the Llangollen with this year and always come to support the pub as well. Pete and Yvonne are 2nd and 3rd on the left.
|The Tattenhall gang with Landlord and Landlady, Pete and Yvonne (2nd & 3rd from Left)|
If you are in Chester anytime on a Friday evening do look up the Gardeners Arms, its a terrific little pub and Pete and Yvonne will make you more than welcome. Just tell them Steve on AmyJo sent you (no I'm not on a commission honest, its just a great pub to visit)
On Sunday we headed off to the basin, descending the infamous Northgate locks. I say infamous because of the number of boaters that do not like or will not use them. I know I mentioned this before but whilst deep, these are the gentlest of the double locks on the Shroppy. We always enjoy going through these locks. Even the pigeons are still here riding the gates as they have done for the last 4 years.
|Descending the Northgate top lock|
|Looking down the flight|
We found the basin pretty full with most mooring spaces taken and wondered if we would be able to stop. We did find a spot just after the turn bridge opposite Taylors boat yard right next to the CRT fascilities. Bonus though very shaded by the surrounding tall buildings.
|Initial mooring in the basin|
A few days later a boat moved off the visitors mooring nearest to the water tap so we moved AmyJo over into their spot, double bonus. We have been here since then. It more open here and enabled us to take better advantage of the little sunshine we have had to use our new solar panels. Glad to say we're getting 1.5 amps even on a dull day.
Christmas Eve dawned grey and foggy. Despite being the festive season the day felt dowdy. We rose late again and pottered about for the rest of the day not really doing much.
|Foggy Christmas Eve Morning|
When spending Christmas Eve in Chester we always like to attend the midnight mass in the Cathedral, it always has a special feel to it and for us is the start of Christmas proper. The city was alive with people and looked great with the lights and Xmas tree outside the town hall.
|Christmas tree outside the town hall|
Inside the Cathedral people gathered and we found a seat near the bronze nativity scene. The service started at 11pm and finished just after midnight. We always enjoy this service after which we returned to AmyJo for a night cap and bed.
|Midnight mass in the cathedral and the nativity scene|
When we got back to the boat I was going to take Smudge for a last walk but there was no sign of him, unusual, as he always greets us at the door when we come in. I got a bit worried at first fearing something was amiss but need not have worried. We found him fast asleep in his fav night time place.....
We had a lovely Christmas day onboard after once again rising late, 10:30pm sort of late. Chris excelled with a fabulous dinner even though she was on the sherry, a tradition for her when cooking Christmas dinner. It was really nice, just the two of us. We realised this is probably the first Christmas on our own since the girls were born. We then visited the girls in the evening to give them their presents
Today, Boxing Day, we took Smudge for a walk round the city walls and stopped for a drink at the Abode. We were out nearly all day and tonight I took Smudge out for his evening walk in thick fog. The basin shrouded in fog and looking like a scene from a movie. I was waiting for the spy to appear but no sign of him. My glad as I forgot the secret phrase anyway.
|Our current mooring in the glow of a foggy night|
So there you are all updated. We'll be stopping a while in Chester before returning to Tattenhall so Chris and I would like to wish you a wonderful New Year and may all your dreams come true in 2019.
Happy new year to you both and happy cruising for 2019
All the best Richard and Sharon
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