Cruising off the Llangollen Canal on Monday morning, we met quite a few boaters en route. There was a couple from Scotland on their boat with two dogs for two weeks, and a couple on a shared boat whose allocated weeks just happen to coincide with the easing of lockdown. How marvellous for them. We’ve met many more on our recent journeys, heaps of hire boaters too, all lovely respectful, grateful people keeping their distance.
The winds felt gale force strength on Monday, consequently moving from one lock to the other at Hurleston was interesting. Passing each other in the top two pounds was challenging and I was extremely grateful I was locking not driving! Barry did a brilliant job – others weren’t so confident.
Arriving back at the bubble, we were sad to discover a boat in ‘our’ spot. Ah well, it is a fantastic place to stay. It was like coming home.
Only one night was spent here, as the following afternoon we met Lisa and the boys one of whom came for tea after our walk to …
Sneaking Into Snugburys
Pip had informed us a couple of weeks ago that Snugburys Ice Cream Farm had opened to walkers as well as their drive-through. I’d forgotten until she commented on a Facebook post, asking if we’d visited when we cruised to Hurleston. We couldn’t have gone then anyway, time wasn’t on our side. However …
The weather forecast yesterday afternoon was for light rain all day. What to do? I know! Walk to Snugburys from Lisa’s parking spot just off the A51. So we did. Unfortunately, Snugbury’s had closed its outdoor pedestrian cafe serving area due to the weather. How ironic – but perfectly understandable. It’s not an ideal outing eating ice-cream in the rain.
Lisa considered walking back for the car, but the idea was for us all to get fresh air and exercise. So Barry bravely asked them if we could order on foot. They asked, “Do you not have a car?” “No.” He replied. “We live on a boat. I don’t think we can make it up here!” So bless them they said we could order from the hatch they were giving the ice creams from, so long as only one person approached. We sheltered under a tree and it was fine. Rather fun in fact.
So yes Pip, we made it and got ice creams! I chose the banana caramel. Barry mint choc chip. Sadly I wasn’t that impressed tbh. I could hardly taste anything banana-like. Nice but nothing incredible. For me not as delicious as the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm near Tattenhall.
The grounds, however, really are something very special. A wildflower meadow straddles their latest massive bee sculpture. For 20 years they’ve been creating different designs to delight visitors. And the place was certainly popular; with a queue of cars waiting to be served, heaps in the car park devouring them, as well as walkers looking at the pigs, a goat, the flowers and bee. I suspect I just chose the wrong flavour …
Following our fun albeit damp adventure, our eldest grandson (ten and a half now!) came for tea on board for the first time since February. He was so excited to be on the boat again, and after we’d eaten we headed to Bridge 95 so his dad could scoop him up easily.
All Things Soanish
This morning we heard a hoot of a horn outside, and saw a dark Cl blue boat coming alongside. Peering out of the window there was Sandra and Bob from All Things Spanish! A lovely couple who spend half the year in Tenerife and the other half on their narrowboat in the UK. They both only just managed to return to the boat before lockdown this year. And like all the other roving traders, have seen their meager incomes hit by the cancellation of all floating markets.
Fortunately most traders are now finding ways to follow through physical distancing and COVID-19 government guidance to trade without those organised events. So if you see any please support them if you can.
COVID-19 Symptom Study and Southern Hemisphere Debacles
Of course, we’re continuing to report daily with no symptoms, and we’re thankful no-one close to us has either. We feel enormously grateful we’ve evaded the virus – so far. Hearing of a new lockdown in Melbourne, where one of our dear kiwi friends is currently living, is rather disheartening. But when you read about the foolishness and lack of following the guidance, you can understand why!
“Authorities are probing alleged security lapses at Melbourne hotels used to quarantine overseas arrivals, including claims guards slept with guests, amid concerns the breaches have contributed to the spike in infections. Unlike most states and territories which enlisted their police forces to regulate the quarantine, Victoria contracted out the task to security firms.”https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-07/victoria-announces-6-week-lockdown-across-melbourne-metro-area
Shockingly there’s been a few unbelievable returning kiwis breaking the rules too. The most recent is the man who made a supermarket dash, escaping through a fence that was being reinforced. He arrived from New Dehli on 3rd July and the morning after his ‘escape’ he tested positive for COVID. He will be charged and likely face a large fine or even a prison sentence. And so he should! For goodness sake, how fortunate is anyone to hold New Zealand citizenship at the moment, and be able to return there if they’ve been living overseas for whatever reason. Personally I think anyone breaking the rules should be sent back to where they came from. They’ve lost their right to be in the ‘team of five million’ as far as I’m concerned.
A few days earlier, a woman who’d flown from Brisbane, Australia, on 27th June, escaped from an Auckland managed isolation hotel. She’ll be charged too for breaching the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act. I should think so too!
Update On Our Plans
Damn these idiots! Each day we’re waking up to more stringent rules for managed isolation. By the time we get back, if we do so successfully, who knows what the system there will look and feel like. Already our Gisborne flight for 31st August has been cancelled – we suspect it’s because they’ve had to limit the number of returning kiwis as the numbers have started to outweigh the facilities available. We suspect it’s because we’re not going to be ‘housed’ in Auckland. It could be Rotorua (though the fumes there are likely to kill any virus!), or Christchurch, or …
Thankfully our flights to New Zealand have been booked for almost a year, we’re not just rushing back without thought or consequence. And we WILL follow whatever guidance/rules/whatever is in place by 18th August.