Saturday, 17 March 2018

The Big Hole. 16th March

Norbury Junction to Wheaton Aston Winding Hole

29249113_10158043099001515_8030739174434799616_nWe woke this morning to pictures all over facebook of a breach that had occurred on the Middlewich Branch overnight. If you are a boater you are more than likely to have already heard about this, but other readers won’t have. I’ve taken the photos from various sources on facebook so it’s hard to know who to credit. 

29244184_10155072044542331_3925731878140641280_n‘A short section of embankment containing the Shropshire Union Canal, Middlewich Branch, has collapsed overnight, causing water to drain from the canal into the river below. Our emergency engineers were on site all night dealing with the breach, and the canal is currently drained between Stanthorne Lock and Wardle Lock, on the south side of Middlewich town centre, a distance of just over three quarters of a mile. The towpath has also been closed along this stretch. Between 15 and 20 boats are within the drained section and we'll be contacting all the owners today with offers of assistance.
Engineers are on site now trying to understand the cause of the breach and will be making an initial assessment regarding how to progress repairs, likely timescales and costs.’ C&RT information from facebook.

29257502_364894817321970_765824150987079680_n29313081_364894803988638_7307229109967388672_nThe pictures of the breach kept on appearing during the day from various angles, up high from a drone, below the aqueduct where it had happened, from the towpath (brave people to stand there). One boat was very close to the incident and the chap on board was helped onto dry land by the police in the middle of the night. We know of one Carefree Cruising boat that is in the pound. The chap on board got up to make a cuppa and wondered why the boat was listing, looked out the window to see no water. Luckily no one was hurt.

29261247_364894867321965_8414602739803226112_n29339750_10155678296064121_6651349902645264384_nThe Middlewich Branch connects the Trent and Mersey Canal to the Shropshire Union Canal and forms part of a popular cruising ring called the Four Counties Ring. At the moment the Cheshire Ring, another popular cruise is closed due to a lock on the Marple Flight being rebuilt, this is currently due to reopen at the beginning of May . These closures mean that many boaters will have to rethink their summer cruises. Hire companies in the area may well loose custom.

There are rumours that C&RT plan to put in means for single file traffic so that the navigation can reopen for the summer, closing over winter for a more permanent repair. These rumours are suggesting it will reopen in 3 weeks! Just sorting out an engineering solution, then getting it to site will take a lot longer surely.

Fortunately for us we were well away from the area. We may have to look for a new Bonfire Night mooring for this year though. Where we have been the last two years is in the pound above the now drained one. We could get to the mooring overlooking the flashes, but the reverse to the nearest winding hole would be over a mile and through four bridges. Anyhow we haven’t planned on where we’ll be come November yet.

P1250453smP1250467smP1250481smOnce we’d put down our phones and turned off the computer we started to continue on our way. Today was meant to be wet, but we only had the odd small shower. The sky had enough blue for a table cloth as we pootled along the remainder of the pound to Wheaton Aston. Through Gnosall and Cowley Tunnel (all of 81 yards) where it’s not worth going into tunnel mode. A tree had fallen at the entrance and a group of high vis clad chaps were waiting to put a floating pontoon into the cut to gain access to it, but there was enough room to get round so it didn’t bother us.

P1250507smP1250519smAlong more embankments and through  cuttings where the tree canopy created a guard of honour for us to pass through. Many flowers were out, daffodils, crocus and primroses brightening up the banks, hope they survive the weekend. Day boats came towards us, managing to regain control and stop zigzagging to keep a straight course as we crossed bows.

P1250544smOn reaching Wheaton Aston we pulled over onto the mooring by Turners Garage. Here they sell Red Diesel for farm use and to boats. The original owner when he first took over the garage supplied his friends and then he opened it up for other boaters. Here the diesel is some of the cheapest on the network and we’d be foolish to pass by without filling up. If it had been in the summer we’d most probably not have filled up a couple of weeks ago as the price was 62.9p compared to 76p on NB Halsall.

P1250562smI walked over the bridge to see what moorings were available, there were two so we pulled through the bridge and positioned ourselves furthest away from the road bridge as we could. With the forecast being for strong winds and temperatures around freezing with snow, we shall stay put for the weekend. We have a service block in front of us, shops in the village and plenty of coal to keep us warm.

DSCF7114sm0 locks, 1 in view though, 7.48 miles, 1 short tunnel, 71.55 litres, 1 gas bottle still gasping it’s last flames, 1 very funny tree, 2nd towpath with vans! 2 useful shops, 1 gardeners crack, 1 paper on order for tomorrow, 1 very big hole in Cheshire, 20 dry bottoms.

Friday, 16 March 2018

A Long Wait. 15th March

One side of Norbury Junction to the other side of Norbury Junction

P1250414smWith one empty bottle of gas and another soon to finish we decided to get a new one today from the Wharf here, hoping to replace the second one from NB Halsall when next they pass. The forecast for the day was for showers so we hoped we’d not get too wet. After breakfast we got on with a few chores, mostly to do with our toilet. Then as the rain seemed to have stopped we decided to pull through the bridge and head for the diesel point for a bottle of LPG. A couple of boats had passed us this morning and one of them had beaten us to the wharf.

P1250416smWe pulled in in front of the Junction Pub, tied Oleanna up with her centre line and started to wait. Across the way they were having the works, pump out, diesel, and a bottle of gas, so we patiently waited. The boat runs helmsman courses, the couple on the course had been sent off for a coffee to the cafe whilst the boat was being filled and emptied. We waited. One job after another was done and when all was in hand the tutor disappeared into the chandlers to pay. We waited. The couple returned and stood around. We and they waited. She went off to use the facilities. We waited. She came back. We waited. They took photos of each other. We waited. She went into the shop to buy something. We waited, both of us stood looking across, but obviously invisible. At least it wasn’t raining!

P1250430smAt last the tutor came out from the chandlers with a shiny new windlass and a pot of stern gland greaser. Hooray! He put the lid back on the gas locker, chatted to the couple. We waited, still invisible. He then disappeared down below. We waited. Just what was he doing down there? We waited and waited and waited, then gave up. Over an hour had passed, so we decided to give them some space, we didn’t want to hassle them! So with loud comments from Mick (in a Geraghty manner) such as ‘We’ll go to Wheaton Aston for diesel then!’, which fell on deaf ears, we moved on to the water point.

Ten minutes or so later the students were down below and the tutor moved the boat away and headed southwards. Once Oleanna had had a good drink we pushed ourselves over to the wharf, our waiting was over. Except they were all on lunch! This was a far shorter wait and we soon had a bottle of gas. Mick rearranged the gas locker so that the nearly empty bottle would be the easiest to get out next. Now that we were done, the heavens opened up just as we pushed off! We’d considered staying put for an hour to have our own lunch, but thought that would be unfair on anyone wanting to use the services.

Not far on we pulled in with a view from the embankment, let Tilly out to enjoy the rain. Despite the sun coming out we decided to stay put for the day and move on again tomorrow.

IMG_20170315_090236371_HDRsmP1000219smToday is the anniversary of Oleanna being craned into the water in Sheffield, getting a wet bottom. She’s had a year of floating, minus a few hours out of the water in a dry dock. So because of this we headed to the Junction Inn for a meal in the evening. On Thursdays they do a special offer of a couple of main courses and a bottle of wine for £25. Sadly we hadn’t spotted this before we ordered a couple of pints. We both had a burger and chips, mine with a gluten free bun, and enjoyed our meal.

P1250432smDSCF7114sm0 locks, 0.21 miles, 1 empty pooh bucket, 1 empty wee tank, 2 empty bins, 1 full water tank, 1+ hours waiting, 1+ hour lost on a training course, 1 new gas bottle, 3 hours of embankment frolics, 2 burgers and chips, 2 pints, 2 puddings back at the boat, 1 year of Oleanna floating.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Close, But Safe, Encounter With The Margeless Margees. 14th March

Norbury Junction

A busy morning giving Oleanna a clean and spruce up as we had visitors coming to meet her. Mick hovered throughout whilst I finished baking a Bakewell Tart and removed as much of Tilly’s fur from curtains and upholstery as possible. The summer duvet was packed away again under the bed, now surplus to requirements. It may have to resurface at the weekend though if ‘The Beast II’ comes our way.

With as much fur and dust removed as possible we both made use of the copious amounts of hot water and gave ourselves a spruce up too. We were ready for them. Just a shame they had had to turn round back towards home!

DSCF5241smWe first met Alison and Laura a couple of summers ago on the Chesterfield Canal (link to Lillian’s blog). We ended up spending weeks with them and cruising the tidal Trent and Ouse together. Last year we called in to see them at Great Haywood Marina where they had moored for the winter. It had been good to meet them, (link to Lillian’s blog) but ended up with me visiting A&E in Stafford with a broken ankle! Last year they cruised the Kennet and Avon, bought a house in Shropshire, sold NB Large Marge and moved back onto land at the end of the year. Since then they have had a list of things go wrong with their house, the latest being the Rayburn stopping working. Today we’d arranged to meet them for lunch  at The Junction Inn, but they’d had to turn round to let an engineer into their house. Still determined to meet Oleanna they turned round again and came to meet us, sadly a bit late for lunch.

P1250406smIt was the first time they’d been on a boat since selling NB Large Marge. I think they were suitably impressed with Oleanna, Alison at one point suggesting a house swap.

DSCF4250smDSCF5049smTilly had been kept in so that she could say hello, But they’d come without my tasty friend! No point in staying in if Jaffa wasn’t with them. They had a full guided tour, when the conversation could be steered back to the matter in hand! Plenty to talk about and catch up on. After about three hours we all managed to breath again as we walked them to their car, to make sure that they both left, I think Alison would have tried to stow away if we’d let her.

It was lovely to see them again and hopefully we’ll meet up when we’re further south near Worcester later this year.

P1250407smWe waved them goodbye and carefully made our way back to Oleanna. This visit we’d survived without injury.Just hope their Rayburn was mended when they got home.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 attempt at a pub lunch, 2 visits from an engineer, 2 pilots, 1 bakewell tart, 0 Jaffa, 1 chuntering cat, 2 Margees, 0 Marge, 2 home owners with a pump out!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Magical Cuttings. 13th March

Tyrley Top Lock to Norbury Junction Visitor Moorings

P1250189smFor the next 17 miles we will be on the flat to Wheaton Aston Lock. Not being a contour canal the Shroppie has long straight sections, crossing the countryside along embankments and through cuttings. Today we were to cruise through long stretches of cuttings. First up was Woodseaves Cutting. Here trees cling on for dear life to the steep cut rock slopes. Many have long since given up their fight and now lie rotting away on the slopes covered in bright green moss with the occasional scattering of Scarlet Elfcup Fungi. I wasn’t quick enough to take a photo of the bright red cups so here is a link.

IMG_20180313_201223_783High bridges cross over the cutting and the lack of leaves at the moment made for some wonderful views along the mile long straight. The amount of birdsong was amazing, if only we’d been on a silent boat, horse drawn the atmosphere would have been amazing.

Popping out the other end we were greeted by the ‘BEEP BEEP’ of a reversing wagon somewhere, shattering the moment.

P1250250smP1250290smCrows were high in the trees, busy weaving twigs into nests. The sun was out and views across the fields towards The Wrekin and beyond were wonderful.

Long lines of moored boats slowed our progress and today we saw the most moving boats we’ve seen in one day for months. Having noted in our Nicholsons guide where the Shropshire Union Canal Society moorings are we knew one was coming up by bridge 47, so we pulled in for a lunch stop.

P1250291smWe were soon joined by the newest of the Carefree Cruising Shareboats NB Otter, someone has been breaking ice and I suspect the winter maintenance has been completed for this year! Interesting that the hull is cream underneath the blacking.

P1250303smOn we continued, now along Shebdon Embankment. When we passed here last year all the trees were in full leaf and views were hard to grasp, today it was easier. Three birds of prey circled overhead above the trees keeping our attention for much of the way.

P1250319smP1250333smThe Anchor Inn looked shut up for the afternoon. We’ve managed to time our visits twice with the front door being open, but today we wanted to get a few more miles under Oleannas hull. The 6X will have to wait for the next time.

P1250350smP1250358smGrub Street Cutting next, wider than Woodseaves, but just as atmospheric. The two boats are still moored here offside along with the lovely blue car which is kept under cover. An old Land Rover is almost at one with the landscape and a couple of vans seem to have joined the collection of vehicles under the trees.

P1250377smAround the next bend is the photo opportunity of the Shroppie. How many photos have been taken of High Bridge? I know I’ve taken hundreds! The wallpaper photo on our trip computer is one of the first I took of it back on NB Winding Down.

It was getting chilly in all the shade of the trees, so we were glad when it gradually opened out again and we could see the sky and sun. Plenty of space presented itself before Norbury Bridge so we pulled in for the day. I took the opportunity to give the starboard side a quick rinse off in the sunshine as Tilly did her best to create interesting patterns on the roof. Jumping onto the pram cover is great fun and the view from up there is so good. But the best bit is, if I have enough mud still between my toes, sliding down the window part to get down. I could do this for hours!

P1250395smWe resisted the lure The Junction Inn with it’s beer and excessively large pies and stayed in to enjoy my version of a chicken junction pie.

DSCF7114sm0 locks, 9.49 miles, 2 amazing cuttings, 1 long embankment, 3 birds of prey, 1 heron, 1 owl, 8 boats moving today, 1 winey whingey woofer who so should shut up! 1 day ahead of plan, 1 pie between 2 instead of 1 each!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

We So Should Have Stayed Bored! 12th March

Market Drayton to Tyrley Top Lock
P1250137smWhat a wet morning! Not downpour wet, but totally soggyfying wetness that sneaks up on you. So we decided to sit and wait for it to stop and let Tilly out instead. Our schedule slipping, but then at 1 hour 18 minutes a day  it shouldn’t be too hard to catch up on ourselves.
The morning got pottered away, but all three of us were getting bored and wanted to be on the move again. After lunch we decided to don the waterproofs and push off, if all we did was get to the top of Tyrley that at least would be progress.
P1250164smApproaching the bottom of the locks we entered our first cutting. Not that impressive at first, but soon the tree canopy covers the whole cutting and you are cocooned below, damp and surrounded by red and green stone. We wondered why the locks had been cut here instead of building them closer to Market Drayton, maybe the geology here was more suitable than further on.
The last few days we’ve noticed quite a flow on the canal, it’s been similar to that on the Llangollen. Below the locks it looked like we could go white water rafting! A new piece of armco has been added to the old to try to force the bywash to flow down stream instead of across. The force of the water is so great that watching from above I wondered how long the new metalwork would last.
P1250174smThe bottom two locks were empty, I opened up for Mick to charge Oleanna through the rapids and into the lower chamber. With the lock filling I walked up to the second lock to open the gates. I could see that the next lock was full and there was almost certainly another boat coming down the flight by the amount of water pouring over the lock gates. I turned to try to signal to Mick to leave the gate open for them, but he’d already closed it and was stepping back on board in the mouth of the lock.
The bottom lock has new gates and no mention that the following pound should not be moored in, the next lock up has signs on the bottom gates warning you to set the next lock before exiting. We knew this, hence me having gone to open the gates, but others coming up hill wouldn’t!
Our mistake here had been for Mick to close the gate. Despite having stopped close in the entrance to the lock, the amount of water coming down and heading to the bywash weir had pushed Oleannas bow across towards the towpath. Mick stepped on board and tried to straighten her up to bring her through the next lot of rapids. Without a working bow thruster this meant moving the stern across to pivot the boat away from the weir. However the force of water coming down and the stone shelf under the water meant that the stern of Oleanna was pushed onto the stone and stuck there!
P1250180smI could see that he needed assistance so walked back, the boat coming down the flight loitered in their lock waiting to see what would happen. Mick was pushing with the boat hook trying to get the stern off to no avail. The bow was still free, but that wasn’t helping. I walked up to explain what was happening to the next boat (The Lollipop Boat), he came and tried pushing whilst Oleanna fought to get off the rock. We both stood on the off side to add weight to that side, engine, push, still no movement.
The Lollipop chap suggested that we should refill the lock above bring their boat in and then try flushing the pound with the water from the lock, which hopefully would lift Oleanna enough and with some oomph from the engine get her free. So this is what we did, all that happened was another couple of inches that normally sits below the water line appeared above. Oleanna was even more aground.
The Lollipop boat was moved down into the next lock out of the way. Towing Oleanna wasn’t going to be an option as we didn’t want them to get stuck as well. Boat poles came out, with two of us pushing the bow and Oleanna in gear, still no movement, her bow was now aground too. Mick wanted less water in the pound, Lollipop man suggested more, it felt like he’d been here helping or in a similar situation before. So I headed up to the lock above and opened up the gate paddle hoping to raise the water level enough to refloat Oleanna. From above I could see the two of them pushing and pushing, Oleanna doing her best to fight free, plumes of water going over the towpath, still I let water down.
A dog walker joined in, he was passed our boat pole. With the two of them at the bow I could see Oleanna starting to swing round, but was the stern free? The chaps moved along towards the stern pushing and using the poles as levers, ‘Give me a lever and a fulcrum and I’ll move the world’ as Frank Matthews used to say (he most probably still does!). Then I could make out that the water at the stern wasn’t washing over the towpath and Oleanna was moving towards me and the lock above. No time to stop and say big Thank Yous as she would have just gone aground again.
Once the next lock was filling with Oleanna safe inside I walked back down to retrieve our pole and shout a big Thank you to the Lollipop boat just as they were exiting the bottom lock. Everyone had remained calm throughout and that bit of local knowledge had helped get Oleanna free. If there hadn’t been so much water coming down the flight it most probably wouldn’t have happened. If I’d been allowed to help it would have been sorted a lot quicker. Tom didn’t seem to want my tuppennys worth though!
P1250184smWe worked our way up to the top with ease. Stopped to fill with water at the slow tap. By now the light was starting to fade so we pulled up onto the end of the visitors moorings stoked the fire and dried off. Maybe we’d have been better off spending the day being bored!
DSCF7114sm5 locks, 1.39 miles, 1 major sticking, 2 inches, 4 inches out of the water, 1 sign, 2 poles, 1 hook, 75438gallons of water later, 1 hour stuck, 1 floating boat, 2 big Thank yous to the chaps, 1 full water tank, 2 showers, 2 drying coats, 1 cat who knew what to do all along, but nobody was listening!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Three Boxes And Three Supermarkets. 11th March

Market Drayton

P1250123smYesterday evening the boat moored in front of us kept it’s generator running well after the 8pm turn off time. When eventually it stopped (suspect it had run out of petrol) the engine was turned on for another half hour. There can be reasons for running your engine out of hours, we have been known when returning late after a day away to run over by half an hour to help the batteries top up to last out the evening. So this morning when I saw him walk past us with a jerry can and then start up his genie again I thought we’d be in for a noisy day. We decided to let Tilly listen to it and went out to the shops with a bike to act as a sherpa.

Market Drayton has three supermarkets, Asda, Morrisons and Lidl. The hunt for my preferred yoghurt and a few other things took us to all three. Asda was first, an older store not very big, but they did have boxes of wine and sawdust for our toilet. The three boxes fitted nicely into the bike front panier and we headed to Lidl next.

We don’t often come across a Lidl and it warranted a good look round. Plenty of the things we were after but no parsnips for our Sunday roast. In the chilled section there were plenty of free range chickens waiting for us. At about £2 less per bird than other supermarkets I hunted through for the two biggest. Our freezer had space for one once it was jointed and the other would be for dinner tonight. Once the full trolley had been loaded onto the bike I popped into Morrisons to see if they could fill any of the gaps we still had. Mostly successful, apart from my yoghurt, I’m going to try a substitute as I know there is very little chance of finding the one I prefer on the remainder of the Shroppie.

P1250129smSpecial offers of booze were sat by the front door. I know if Fatso (my Dad) was still around he’d have sniffed out the offer and a special trip would have been planned. If my Mum was still around I’d have to look no further than the green litre bottles of gin for her Mothers Day present. I’m not sure what she’d have made of todays fashion for gin everywhere. Either she’d have embraced it with her glass or poo pooed it as a fad, sticking to her Gordons with Schweppes tonic, ‘Not slimline, Thank you!’ I am not fond of the stuff, I suspect it has something to do with having had too much whilst I was in the womb!

Pip Christening 1967 aBack at the boat we were relieved that the boat in front had moved on, this meant that we would stay put for the rest of the day. The doors were opened up and Tilly allowed to come and go for the rest of the afternoon.

One chicken was chopped up and skinned, put into freezer bags, making four meals in the waiting. The carcass put in a saucepan on the stove for stock. The second chicken was accompanied by a leek, an onion, carrots, thyme and a jot of wine into my cast iron pot and put next to the stock for four hours. Checking it after a couple of hours proved a mistake as it’s legs made a bid for freedom and the lid didn’t want to sit back on top of the pot tightly! Foil was needed. Once the four hours was complete the chicken came out and was nestled in amongst the roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips for twenty minutes to brown up the skin. This worked a treat. The chicken totally cooked was falling to bits and cooking it for the most part on top of the multifuel stove had saved us an hours worth of gas.

P1250132smThe end result was very tasty indeed, the gravy was almost tasty enough to have just on it’s own. I’ll have mastered all varieties of stove top roasts and then it won’t get lit for months!

0 locks, 0 miles, 6 boarded up windows, 3 supermarkets, 3 boxes, 1 bale sawdust, 2 chickens, 3 leeks, 1 bag potatoes, 1 bag carrots, 2 Chernobyl parsnips, 2 cheese twists, 4 hours in the field, 0 woofers allowed, 4 hours on the stove, 1 tasty chicken.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Shroppie Sunset. 10th March

Audlem Lock 3 to River Tem Aqueduct

As ever on a Saturday we were on the hunt for a newspaper. With just over a mile to walk or cycle back to Audlem you would have thought that would have been where we headed to. But it was raining when we woke and due to continue for a couple of hours (Frank wouldn’t have been put off!). So we decided to sit out the rain and then continue onwards to reach Market Drayton where there had to be one copy of our paper left.

The towpath would change sides today, so we made use of it being on the easier side to empty  the yellow water tank, once it had stopped raining. Then we pushed off and continued our climb. There are quite a few locks on the Main Shroppie, but they are grouped in flights, with the exception of Wheaton Aston lock and the stop lock at the end of the canal. We had two more to do of the Audlem flight to be able to tick them off.

P1250041smThe cottage by the top lock is having quite a bit of work done to it. We’d heard rumours of a large extension being built. At first glance it does look huge, but then you realise that the original lock cottage was single story and they have extended some of this upwards. It’s not going to be an architectural masterpiece, but the large first floor window will have great views down the flight. Due to all the building works the little cabin, normally full of cakes and goodies, was empty. No need to have spare change in your pocket today. Maybe there will be some treats put out for Easter?

P1250052smAfter a gap of just over a mile we arrived at the bottom of the Adderley flight. These have older wooden, slightly rotting, bottom gates, these I can normally kick open, the metal ones are not so easy. My back feeling much better today I gave them a shove to open them up. Sadly my legs are not long enough and I’m not brave enough to hop back over the gap with one gate closed to close them again. So there was still a walk round to close the bottom gates.

There were a few walkers on the towpath, some of them helped as they went, bottom gates on empty locks miraculously opened before us, Thank you. Reaching the top didn’t take us long and then it was the three or so miles to Market Drayton. Mick paused in a bridge hole at one point as he had moved our starboard centre line to port (it’s the longer of the two) to make life easier, but now as the towpath was changing sides it would be better for it to return to starboard.

P1250075smThe first stretch of moorings at Market Drayton are noisy with a busy road. Then there are permanent moorings which you can moor opposite, but only overnight as you’d be in their way should they want to head off on a cruise. The short stretch that followed didn’t appeal either so we carried on past Betton Wharf and under the next bridge where there was plenty of space for us. Here Tilly would have trees and a playing field to amuse herself.

P1250084smMick patiently had lunch before he headed into town for our paper. Asda didn’t do well, so he had to venture further to WH Smiths and then Lidl for a few essentials. We’ll venture out tomorrow to stock the cupboards, we’re almost out of wine!

P1250089smThe remainder of the afternoon I popped a large pot of chilli on the stove to gently cook and set about checking a couple of knitting and crochet patterns for some friends in Scarborough. Animated Objects are enlisting local community groups to make them a mass of poppys for their ‘Stories Of Remembrance’ project which will be on display on Armistice Day. Before sending out the patterns they wanted to make sure that they weren’t written in gobbledygook, an extra pair of eyes is always useful.

P1250103smThis evening we have been treated to a very red sky. A couple of years ago we had a spectacular sunset near Norbury Junction, the Shroppie knows how to do sunsets.

DSCF7114sm7 locks, 5.09 miles, 0 cakes, 2 almost dry boaters, 1 smiling boat, 1 disused workshop, 2 spring lines, 1 mid afternoon paper, 3 poppys, 1 vat of chilli, 1 very red sky.