As our boat is our primary residence as of 1st of June we have been permitted to go cruising AND stay on board overnight!
The Canal and River Trust are lobbying the government to extend this to leisure and hire boaters too citing the following reasons:
- Being aboard a boat for a continuous period is integral to allowing navigation on the inland waterways,
- Boaters are typically self-sufficient, spending their time largely in the open air (where the risk of transmitting the virus is known to be much lower) or in their private on-board space with their own facilities,
- Using a boat for navigation presents a very low risk to virus transmission,
- Social distancing requires little additional effort when operating a boat on inland waterways and daily distances travelled are modest.
So today we started our Summer Cruise, needless to say this was preceded with a flurry of maintenance activity causing not some little pain to the bank balance, but we need a reliable power supply when the luxury of mains electricity is not available.
- Two bow-thruster/TV & Computer batteries were replaced.
- The generator starter battery was replaced.
With water tank was filled and poo tank emptied we said our goodbyes to our friends & neighbours and set off this morning at 11:30 with the modest target of reaching Acton Trussell, just three and a half miles away.
Joy had hurt her ribs a few days earlier, just getting up from the settee (Yes, I know!) and was still in some pain but Voltarol Gel was administered and she managed quite well, Chris took the boat into the locks and operated them while Joy drove the boat out again.
Quite a number of boats, probably 10 or more, had gone ahead of us so all the locks were against us, but no problem.
At Teddesley Basin a smart new boat, ‘Dewi Sant’ (Saint David) was glistening in the sunshine, but the wheel steering from the front wouldn’t be my choice, although it seems to have a tiller too.
In fact after the five locks down to Acton Trussell we decided that one more lock would be OK and continued onwards having lunch of egg & (home-grown) cress sandwiches on the move.
The lockdown doesn’t seem to have curtailed the village’s Scarecrow Festival and quite a few canalside household had theirs on display.
On we cruised for another hour, meeting three boats at Deptmore Lock, one kind gentleman operating the lock for us so we didn’t even have to get off the boat. After passing Stafford Boat Club and the extensive town playing fields we tied up at Radford Bank, just outside the (closed) pub. This is going to be an unusual cruise with no pubs to patronise at the present.
We had been noticing an unpleasant whiff on our journey, despite the empty poo-tank, and on investigation found a split joint, mercifully on the top edge of the plastic tank. So after some thorough cleaning and disinfecting, phone calls were made and advice taken and a sealant product ordered.
Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode!