Tuesday 9 September 2014


It's one of the perennial debates among boaters – cassette or pump-out. The loo, that is. A cassette is usually free to empty, but needs doing at frequent intervals. A pump-out costs you, but has to be done far less often, depending on your (cough, cough, hmm) personal habits. But when that little light comes on, you'd better find a pump-out facility fast. Mind you, you can usually tell that the time is approaching by the way the boat is listing to one side because of the weight of (insert appropriate noun here) in the holding tank under the bed.

So this morning the moment arrived, and I began to enquire about facilities along the route. First up was the Aqueduct marina at Church Minshull. They wanted £21, and that didn't even include the "Blue" (the highly toxic, extremely eco-unfriendly and no doubt carcinogenic stuff you put in the tank to keep the bugs and the whiffs under control). I consider that a rip-off, so they didn't get my custom and we pushed on to Middlewich along the beautiful channel followed by the canal, where the embankment keeps you on a level contour and gives great views over the valleys.

At Middlewich we stopped at Kings Lock Chandlery for the free diesel Steve had promised me almost a year ago, after an engine service had allowed a lot of diesel to drip out into the engine compartment. Steve had told me to call in for the diesel any time we were passing, and today was the day. He remembered the incident, and even thanked me for taking him up on his offer!

So we continue to be very happy to recommend Kings Lock Chandlery. Unfortunately they don't do pump-out. By now I was getting concerned about the time, wondering  if the next facility would still be open. So we moved round the corner to Middlewich Boats where, although the till had been closed for the day, Jimmy and Ken were very happy to do me what turned out to be an excellent pump-out, with lots of rinsing, and inclusive of Blue, for the sum of £15, provided I had the cash in my pocket. Thanks, guys – good to meet you – great service!

What a carefree life we must be leading when today's greatest worry is where to empty the poo tank.


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