We were woken at 6am by the gale force winds howling and rocking the boat. It didn't last long and when we finally got up at 9.00 it was fairly calm and sunny so we set off back down the locks towards Chester,chasing a rainbow for about half an hour.
By the time we got to the third lock the wind had got up again and at one point it was so strong it was difficult to keep the boat from going sideways down the cut. Thank heavens for the bow-thruster. We don't use it very often but it certainly came in handy today. As we came out of Tarvin Lock there was a tree hanging low over the water. It hadn't blown completely over but some of the branches were too low for us to get through without scratching the paintwork, so while Roger carefully inched the boat forward I stood on the gas locker and used the secateurs to "prune" the tree. It didn't take long but made a huge difference. Up until that point we hadn't heard about the gales battering the rest of the country and I think all in all, we got off very lightly round here.
The last lock is at Hoole Lane and below it the canal was covered in rubbish bags, plastic sheets, floating polystyrene and a plastic pumpkin. All the bags were from B & M Home Store so I assume one of their rubbish bins had been blown over by the wind. Once I got the gates open, Roger gave the engine a good blast and then cut the power to coast past the rubbish and avoid getting all sorts of crap round the propeller. The photo only shows about half of the floating rubbish.
We're now safely moored in Chester and have been and raided Tesco's to re-stock the fridge. The shelves and fridges seemed quite bare after the holidays but they had everything we needed to last us a week or so.