Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dog-gone it's time to act!

Saturday 23rd August to Wednesday 27th August 2014

With plenty of time on our hands there really was not a lot of need to move, which was a really good reason to stay put - the rain predicted for Saturday was another good reason, but it didn't seem to stop us heading off for a spot of shopping.

Why oh why didn't we wait just an hour, or at least take umbrellas bigger than a handkerchief over a small wire frame.

Things to drop off at the charity shop - things that we had found during our movement of the cupboards - at least  they will be a little lighter next week.
Breakfast - poached eggs on spinach and
flat mushrooms with hollandaise sauce -
I could take this more often

After we returned, there really wasn't much chance of doing a lot, so we took it easy - read as I only did a few hours work and Diane made use of the hot water available.

It was clear enough in the afternoon to get the starboard gunwhale sanded, primed and topcoated - now just the other side to be done

Sunday - weather outlook - brighter, a few small showers, periods of sun, mostly cloudy.
Our 48 hours were up so off we cruised - just 1 lock and heading for the Church Minshall area.

There was a little bit of a wait at the lock but not much; we tried mooring up near the farmshop at Church Minshall but there was a decent enough ledge/restriction and we couldn't get close enough, so we moved to the other side of bridge 14 and moored up on the designated moorings right near the bridge.

A walk into CM was the order of the day, especially since we discovered that there was a pub - The Badger Inn - which was not marked in our copy of Nicholsons Guide 4.
To say that the walk down the road is fraught with danger is really a given, but without a clearly identified alternative we walked (no running here!) the gauntlet.
The road of death - just enough for the cars - not anyone walking
- and there was plenty of walking

Pub was easily found; the village was quite charming without having much else apart from the lovely buildings.

an unusual portico

The Badger Inn

A nice quiet drink at The Badger; a look over the menu, but we declined; and then a good walk to the other end and back to a public footpath - the road was definitely too hazardous to contemplate a return journey.

Thrashing through the path and jungle environs, we stumbled upon others lost in search of the end - fortunately we were each looking for the end that each other had just come from.
well almost jungle-like

Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?

Not all of the scenery was dark and overgrown whilst we
walked back along the public footpath

Back on the towpath we reviewed other moorings along the way where we had landed and a quick decision to move to a quieter location, so back at the boat we readied everything and moved just a short 500 metres to south of bridge 13 and a view over the valley - simply beautiful.
The view across the valley from the new moorings

Unfortunately we were on pins and still some of the passing fools on tillers don't understand about tickover.
We ventured outside and the boat approaching, upon our appearance suddenly decided to slow down (a bit); when I spotted the two pins at the stern pulled out and the rope dangling in the water, a blast about speeding boats (as a general blast) and they slowed to tickover - complete and utter "dicks".

A few of the boats previously moored in front of us had moved and we were able to move down and moor up on rings.
We are getting absolutely fed up with the number of people who don't give a sh_t about moored boats - first it was the Bridgewater and now the Middlewich branch - they suddenly remember when you make an appearance. It is not hire boaters only - a 50/50 split with them and non-hire boats - we did recognise a few as share boats as well.
I am trying hard to go along with Diane wishes and not saying anything, but it is getting close to breaking point. Such inconsiderate b_____ds.

Maybe super-soaker water-guns might do it - not so effective when they are already soaked.

Anyway a couple of nights moored there were still very pleasant - the weather for Monday dictated a non-moving day - very pleasing to see so many souls getting drenched and me staring them down to not speed.

Back moving on Tuesday - 2 locks to negotiate - a slower boat in front of us, but that was better than being behind the 5 boats in the queue immediately behind us - ooh that was a bit of a wait for them.
I have found Diane's new boat - as did the three ducks on the roof.

Nantwich reached and we moored up on the 24 hour rings; a walk into the town for some supplies - yep, you guessed it - milk was top of the list - reckon that we might buy a butty next year with room enough for a cow.

We did meet up with Corinne and Mark (nb Dee O Ghee) and had a bit of chat with them and met them again on Wednesday when we were getting water (as we moved to the 48 hour moorings) - we also met Charlie the 'Ridgeback.
With Corinne and Mark and their boat; Charlie declined the
chance to be in the shot

They are going to really enjoy it all when they can get onto the boat full time, but for now they are doing well and enjoying it muchly.

Water tank filled, cassettes now empty we moved another 400 metres - I needed a haircut and we just enjoy the walk into Nantwich so that was another couple of hours that went by.

A late decision to sand and prime the port gunwhale will show it to be a wise decision tomorrow when it only needs topcoating.

One last decision that I am contemplating, is buying a Border Collie and training said dog to be able to round Diane up in any clothes shop that she goes into and direct her back to the door - might be a good investment - should save more than the cost of the dog food.
The final option to speeding boats - sit down
with a pleasant glass of red!

14 Miles, 3 Locks

Totals: 2838 Miles, 2067 Locks, 97 Tunnels, 34 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

Friday, 22 August 2014

Yikes! It's a Kiwi Invasion

Thursday 21st August to Friday 22nd August 2014

We stayed put for Thursday - it was just so peaceful where we were and we were certainly in no rush to have to be anywhere, although Diane would like to get past the only real obstacles that stand ahead of us - that being locks, which are always a chance to have some sort of problem or other, but we weren't moving.

In fact we hardly even moved around or out of the boat - I got on with a lot of work that had suddenly come in and Diane just took it easy.

Diane did decide that we should investigate how easy/difficult it would be to move two cupboards in the kitchen so that access to a ding in the outside of the boat could be accessed for pushing out.
These things always start out as looking incredibly easy and by the end of it, it just seems like a tornado has swept through - well not quite. We did achieve the end objective - if only it will be possible that I will remember how it all goes back together in 3 months when I will need to attend to that task.

It wasn't until just before 6pm and there were noises like a troll with hob-nail boots on the roof that we stirred from our lethargic state.
Of course we should have realised it would have been Ray from nb Firefly - Diane had read the blogs that morning and they were heading our way, but with the distance being about what we do in about a week between us, Ray would whack it into warp speed and be here -which he was.
Moored just around the corner, Leonie had told him we would be there - how did she know? - she read our blog.

Arrangements were made to wander down later, after dinner and have a drink - he was saying that he had quickly moored up just on one rope, so he needed to fix that.
There was also another boat behind them with a couple from New Zealand - I was beginning to feel outnumbered, but you wouldn't tell a kiwi that!

We exited the boat and immediately in front was a boat called "New Auckland" with the stars from the NZ flag painted on the back - not another lot of them - although we had only seen the one lady on board from earlier in the day.
No. 1 - New Auckland

We reached Firefly, still moored up with the one rope - always glad to see that Ray wasn't rushing into anything.
Once aboard, we met Diana and John from nb Molly Rose - both Diane and I had seen them pass earlier in the day.
No.2 - Molly Rose

Fortunately for me the All Blacks had failed to beat the Wallabys in the last match so we needed to find other subjects to talk about. Without the usual delay in bringing the subject up, toilets quickly surfaced and was then forgotten about.
No.3 - Firefly
You'd have thought by this time we had been transported
to New Zealand and not just south of Northwich

There was a great deal of discussion about getting into and out of Manchester from all directions and any number of other topics - but mostly it was an enjoyable evening.
We might be on the other side of the world to home but kiwis and aussies will always have a good time when we get together.
John and Diana

Leonie and Ray 

After not too much drink it was time to head back; Ray decided then that it might be wise to add an additional rope and pin to the still solo one that had been there for the past 5 hours.

In the morning we had intended to head off early but we got talking to Grace from "New Auckland" - a lovely lady indeed (so we knew instantly she wasn't from NZ) - she was a local from Norwich, having brought the boat down solo, whilst her husband and his mate set to work to do some repairs on the mooring pontoon at the end of their garden.
She did have a great affinity with NZ having visited there a number of times.

Eventually we headed off and farewelled by our four antipodean friends and in some patchy sunlight we were off towards Middlewich.
Through Big Lock without any hassles, we found ourselves potentially third in line for water, so we quickly side-stepped that and onto the three locks in the flight up to Middlewich.
An aquaintance of ours - Bill on nb Duchess - was in front of us, single handing to Aqueduct Marina, so we helped him through the first couple and then set ourselves to commence.
Suddenly boats appeared at the top and we were in a pickle with one boat being caught in the last short pound - a boat above and a boat below so each lock movement was a juggle to position boats.
In all it took about an hour to get through these 3 locks and we still needed to top the water tank up which we managed to do at the junction - the only tap we have seen that uses a 1/2" connection instead of the usual 3/4" - luckily we found the right adaptor.

With tank filled, there was a qucik reverse and then into the lengthy Wardle Canal and we moored up just above.
We hadn't seen such young ducklings in quite a while

It wasn't until we had moored up at 12:15 that we realised that we hadn't eaten for the day - we left breakfast for when we would moor up, which we expected by 11am, so there was only one thing to do - off to lunch - our selected venue was The Big Lock at the place of the same name.
The Happy Friday drink shot

The meal was superb without being pretentious and we finished off with a dessert each - something to do with the lack of breakfast - needless to say we left no space for anything else.
Dessert time - both were delicious

On the way back we popped into a charity shop and bumped into Diana and John from last night - what a pleasant surprise.
They, like us, peruse the bargains available and we all made some purchases .
We left them outside Tesco and Diane with her infallible directions guided us back to the boat without any trouble.

I had a tunnel light to look at again and Diane had a bed to hold down - as well as an afternoon siesta for her.

5 Miles, 5 Locks

Totals: 2824 Miles, 2064 Locks, 97 Tunnels, 34 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Farewell Bridgewatertonians - we now know how to spot you !

Saturday 16th August to Wednesday 20th August 2014

We slipped out of Manchester relatively early, only on account of the weather reports - stopping at the services block to fill the water tank and empty the cassette - essential duties.

Diane single handed until we reached the Junction, allowing me some time to catch up on some work, as is the norm for a Saturday.

After the junction we were both out the back allowing us to say goodbye in full to Sale, Salford and Altrincham together - we shall see you all again early next year as we attempt the Rochdale 9 going up and then the Rochdale Canal in full.
"Bandit" country

For now though we were on our way to DunhamTown - planning for Sunday lunch always begins on Saturday morning.

The weather held off until after we had moored up and we were safely inside, but having also done a load of washing on the way there is the question about refilling - especially on the Bridgewater - water points never seem to be conveniently located to fit in with the random acts of cleanliness.

And it was in that frame of mind and again consulting the relevant iPhone app that changed our mind on Sunday morning and we headed off early to water up again - there was more washing as we prepare to leave the boat.

The forecast of random showers fortunately worked well for us, for although we had a couple of showers, the heavy rain came just after we had retreated inside to await the water tank to fill again - this time along side Ye Olde No.3 public house.
As well as the rain the high winds were a real problem and combined, they made it a lot colder than we had had for awhile.

Watching boats passing whilst this was happening reminded us that we have become skilled observers of Bridgewater registered boats.
The critical points to note are:-
·        where fitted, they invariably cruise with the pram hood in the raised position - even in fine weather.
·        usually have all of their fenders down, and
·        they never slow down when passing moored boats - usually passing very close - tickover is a southern word for them

In the time that we have visited these parts - either north from Preston Brook or travelling south towards it, we have always stopped in Lymm - it is one of our must-stop towns and for this day we would stop again and try a different hotel for our Sunday roast.

The Golden Fleece was the chosen establishment; upon entering we noticed that the football was due on shortly.
We settled in, selected from the menu, ordered drinks and watched a bit, chatted a bit, observed a bit.
The match would be Liverpool v Southampton - blimey, with a few players moving from the south to mersey-side it would be a meeting of old friends. No-one could possibly be pleased with a Liverpool game to watch, but we were there.
The meal came and whilst it was good, it would not be a page-turner in the culinary diary; we decided to try dessert and hot drinks - well, the hot drinks weren't really and Diane's dessert needed a second try to get it to lukewarm - a bit disappointing really.

We  had not moored in the prime spot - the mooring had all been taken, but instead we moored just before getting into that area, and whilst we were on pins and not rings, it did turn out to be a lot quieter - so now we need not fear that there are no spots on our next visit, we will gladly moor up north of bridge 23.

Next morning, the sun was out, the wind had gone and it was a really lovely morning.
Lymm - hotspot moorings full but we were happy just beyond
the bridge

The great thing about the Bridgewater is that the lack of locks means that as needed I can continue working whilst Diane just cruises along.
what a day for cruising

We finally agreed on a mooring just north of Moore (by Bridge 8) - it was sunny; it was peaceful and quiet; and it was somewhere we hadn't moored before.
A really nice spot for Diane to sit and rest after cruising and I was left to tap away on the laptop clearing up emails and the like.
Quite restful in fact.

Not so early on Tuesday morning we waved hello/goodbye quickly to Ali and John on nb Triskaideka - whoosh and they were gone away slowly.
Funny - north of Preston Brook tunnel the aqueducts become

By the time that we had decided to get underway on Tuesday, the calculator was out checking on how far and how long we had to Preston Brook tunnel, so as to avoid a lengthy wait if we missed the passage time. Diane had wanted to visit the chandlery, but in the end it would have to wait.
Calculated time and moored boats (where we ticked over, as usual) gave us a short time of just 2-3 minutes to wait to get through the tunnel - almost perfect timing with that.
The tunnel light was in full working order for this passage - so glad that it is fixed and works all of the time now. Diane didn't need to stand up the front with a lantern - like an undertaker in front of a flowerless hearse.

So skilful was our passage that we made it to the stop lock and it was ready to open and a boat was coming up so no need to shut the gate.
Looking down on the Weaver from the T&M

But around bridge 208 "disaster" struck and we were slowed dramatically - rubbish around the prop - mixed in with it were some of the hedgerow cuttings - the fingers are still a bit sore from the thorns.

Nevertheless we cleared it and moved a bit further on, this time perfectly timing the Saltersford Tunnel and then the Barnton one, and finally moored up just after bridge 201- overlooking the Weaver.
It is a lovely spot and after a bit of a foraging trip on Wednesday morning in search of a cow, we found a lovely little Co-op as well as an interesting Indian restaurant that will need some further investigation next year.

Our time on the Bridgewater had left us a bit sluggish - the lack of locks has a detrimental outcome on the amount that you tend to walk/exercise, so we both decided to give it a full mile individually whilst the other cruised - Diane went first and all the way to the services block where she made sure that the hire boat moored towards one end of the available space and not in the middle - she did say that they were moving that way anyway.
Above Anderton - I cannot recall ever seeing
this without a boat moored here - usually you
cannot get through for the boats.

we have seen this boat before, but strangely we had been
talking about it just a day or so ago
So it was the usual - water tank to fill and this time 2 cassettes to empty.
I heard this boat winding - from the sound of it's bowthruster !

Then it was my turn for a bit of walking and it felt good to be able to stride out a bit - a little bit of time off from it and you really do feel it.

Diane did slow down to let me back on board - the oncoming boat through a bridge hole plus the prospect of a narrow section after with moored boats suggested that this act of allowing me back on may have been a bit more for her benefit than mine.
I need to include this so that the kids remember what I look like -
only so they will know me at the airport.

Was it really a month ago that we moored up at the flashes with Joan and Jim (nb Two Jays) for a few days - anyway we were now back and probably will spend a couple of nights here.
I have done some more berry picking and another apple/blackberry pie/crumble will be making an appearance in the kitchen quite soon.
It is just so peaceful and quiet - obviously the wind is coming from a different direction as we haven't heard a plane overhead all day - and may it continue tomorrow.

Not Tixall Wide - it's the flash at Brook Farm

37 Miles, 1 Lock, 3 Tunnels

Totals: 2819 Miles, 2059 Locks, 97 Tunnels, 34 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Just by Chance

Friday 15th August 2014

The morning ritual on Ferndale revolves primarily around two activities - the predominant ritual at any rate - one of us stays in bed to drink coffee and read the blogs whilst the other gets up out of bed - to make the coffee and cater to all of her whims - oh and do some work.

When I say she reads all of the blogs, she does take it as a heavy responsibility to see what all of the boaters are doing and where they might be.

This very morning as the second cup was produced, I was informed by "she" that she thought that we might meet up with nb Chance in a day or so, as Doug and James were in Lymm.
That would be very nice indeed as we had not met them yet but had heard only good stories about them.

This morning was Brenda's last with us and as with any time that comes to an end there is a certain sadness about having to change away from what we had by now become accustomed.
The two of us had become the three of us and now it would change.

As it was an early afternoon flight we had determined that a 10 am departure would be about right.
It seems the usual thing that happens for us - we get ready way too early - and so at not much after 9 am, we were able to venture outside to have a last walk around together - this time in some bright sunshine, something of which there had been a diminished amount during the last 2 weeks.
But warm it was.

Brenda and I walked a bit around closer to the junction, looking at boats and a couple moving, when suddenly I noticed a name that readily recognisable - from Lymm to Castlefields before 10 am - the boys on Chance had not wasted any time about getting here.

Diane was already there to greet them and take Doug away from the mooring up process - leaving all for James to do; but Diane did go and hold the centre line.

We chatted away for about 10 minutes before we needed to think about getting to the airport.
So a goodbye to them both and we were off to Deansgate station.
Just a little time before the train

The fast train through to the airport was absolutely full but fortunately almost everyone evacuated either at Oxford Road or Manchester Picadilly.

Straight from the station through to check-in, but a change of seating was of concern to Brenda as Anne and Julie whom she would meet up with in Dubai were on the other side of the plane.
Hopefully after seeing the customer service desk this will be fixed in Dubai.

We said our goodbyes and closely watched as she headed through to Passport Control and after that it was left for us to head of as well.
any liquids to declare?

We had some shopping to do in Manchester then lunch and finally back to the boat absolutely exhausted as we in effect walked all of the way back from the Arndale Centre.

We had recovered enough later on to head over to The Wharf, briefly chatting with James as we passed by - we will catch them both again when we finally make it down to London, but for now it was a pleasure to meet you both.
We'll meet again...

The boat seemed a bit empty now that we were back to just the two of us, but we are now into preparing ourselves to go home as well and that will be in such a short time.

No travel

Friday, 15 August 2014

Help - We're being stalked!!

Monday 11th August to Thursday 14th August 2014

When I was much younger than I am now - yes, I know, just a few weeks ago - but really it was a bit longer than that, the summer seemed for be such a consistent mix of sunshine and rain that the joke at the time was-

"What follows 2 days of rain?"

answer - Monday

The outlook this last Monday reminded me of that - after bad weather on Sunday morning, the sight of a sunny sky was most welcome.

We untied and cruised just across to the other side of the canal to Bridgewater Marina - for diesel and a new gas cylinder - Mark was really great at helping us get tied up in the wind and very good having us away in quick-smart time.

We headed off and seemingly no sooner had we started than we were stopped and tied up again - this time at Worsley, where we took on clean water and disposed of the not so clean contents.
The sun did remain out for us and in an even shorter time after leaving Worsley, we stopped again - what for this time - it was time for the hobbit's second breakfast and we moored up Perrin Lane to visit Dave and his Butty Wagon - the two girls had bacon and egg baps.
The wind had stayed around and this time it was tying up on my own - those two were off as soon as the boat was close enough.

With munching going on in both ears, I untied and whilst we went a little further this tine, it was not much further - we eventually moored up at The Trafford Centre.

Not long after mooring up, a hire boat was heading as though they were going to moor up behind,but alas it was for the steerer to introduce himself to us and he was a blog reader and had seen me on the boat in Birmingham in 2010 - not long after we had bought her.
Like Dot and Derek before us, he was a New Zealander by the name of  Don McKloskry (hope that the spelling is correct).

Whilst I worked a bit, I was left alone as they ventured off into the shopping centre - peace and quiet at last.

The following morning we headed into Manchester, passing Old Trafford and down into Castlefields - we stopped at the services too, for the same as at Worsley and then to moor up - we could see the water pouring over the top of the bottom lock gates at Lock 92 - mmmm, a bit of water coming down the Rochdale then!

Surprisingly, there were an ample number of spaces available - not the norm for here, but a pleasant surprise.

With a limited amount of time in Manchester for Brenda we weren't about to waste too much of it, and so we headed out to MediaCity on the tram - it gives good views about the ship canal and along past the old and now renovated docks.

A bit of a tour around the area and through the shopping area there as well as the morning's cruising had built up a healthy appetite which needed some satisfying.

Afterwards we headed back to the boat and ventured up to Dukes 92 for a drink and have a look at any boats who might attempt to get down through the lock - the overflowing water did make it extremely difficult.
We watched and made mental notes of what they did - no out-loud comments to them - just sit, watch, and learn.

The following day was a bit of more shopping and discovering the centre of Manchester, via the free bus system; a visit to the John Rylands Library; and in the name of economic equality, we visited The Wharf for another drink - it simply was necessary to balance things between the pubs - How many pubs in Manchester and how many days have we left? - maybe a bit of an imbalance there.

Not long after returning, there was a face peering in the window and for me I have a bit of difficulty recognising people out of the original context in which I first saw them - but with anyone peering in, I am OK with popping out to have a chat - in this case it was indeed the same kiwi, Don, whom we had seen just a few days before at The Trafford Centre moorings - are we being stalked.
Anyway, chat time and we had a nice long one, during which time Don's mother Joy came out too to join us - whilst I could not disclose a lady's age, I can say that she is about 5 years older than my own dear MIL.
Joy was having a wonderful time and seemed from her own actions and those described by Don, a very active and energetic on boarder.
Have a great time for the rest of the trip and look forward to seeing you next time you make it over here.

For Brenda's last full day with us we had decided to head off to Chester - a favourite for us and with many things that we would consider of importance for a first-time visitor.

But  firstly it was time to say goodbye to Don and Joy as they headed off and, of course, the obligatory early photo -
Don and Joy - till next we meet again

Diane had consulted the train timetables, and we headed up to Deansgate station and in a whisker under 2 hours we were in Chester - allowing for change of trains and stops at every small point along the way - but we made it - including enjoyment the views of the countryside
A cab ride to Eastgate, gave Brenda another experience she had been wishing for.

The usual walking along The Rows and The Wall as well as photographing every half-timbered building along the way.
Chester is one place, amongst others, where there is a good feel and understanding of the way the city would have looked hundreds of years ago and makes a perfect tourist point.

yet another Bridge of Sighs that we have found.
as with others it was a prisoners last walk from gaol to beyond.

for rent - loft apartments - going cheep!

Brenda and the Town Crier 

The trip back was slightly less enthralling or it may very well have been the long day that invoked the droopy eyelids for one in the party.

We all felt a bit exhausted by the time that we had made it back on board!

9 Miles

Totals: 2782 Miles, 2058 Locks, 94 Tunnels, 34 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

Monday, 11 August 2014


Sunday 10th August 2014

The problem as Diane saw it with mooring up at Scotsman's Flash on a Saturday is that come Sunday it was a bit of a walk or a cruise to find a decent Sunday roast - and as many will testify, there is a good reason not to stand between my dear wife and a chance of a Sunday roast.

So even with the prospect of the remains of Hurricane Bertha about to make its impact on the countryside, but with straight cruising ahead, the skipper had made her plans to head to Bridgewater Marina and the pub that stood alongside.

Her dilemma was does she want me endure steer through the heavy rains in the morning or the high winds in the afternoon.

This was easily resolved by the reasoning that the roast dinner tastes best at lunchtime.

So off we set bright and early - yikes, on one of the few days I felt like a bit of a British lie-in, I was kicked out of bed; quick breakfast; and off at 7:30am - yes, Sue and Andy it is a real time.

Brenda was kind enough to keep me company for the first 45 minutes but it was getting a bit wet so she headed inside.
Diane had graciously decided that she would give me a 15 minute break after an hour - at the 75 minute mark she appeared to do the lift bridge - then 10 minutes of "she at the helm" and she was gone - the promise of a tea was mentioned.

There was also a suggestion that we should stop at an unmarked (in the Nicholsons) sanitary station to empty a cassette (we still had 2 more empty ones) - the crew (i.e. me) thought that stopping in the pelting rain was the last thing that I (the crew) wanted to do - unfortunately I expressed that a little too obviously and only escaped keel-hauling by the facts that we have no keel and the rain was still as heavy as ever.

Anyway passing through Leigh, the Chief came up on deck to survey the progress and the upcoming elsan point (the promised tea made it's appearance)- I had been placed on report in the ship's log.
Passing beneath Butt's Bridge, the assigned point was found and I made the necessary calculations to slow down from warp speed, when BANG - "I've lost all power from the engine(s) Captain" (in my finest Scottish accent).

The skipper jumped ashore and pulled the boat in - the weedhatch was up, arms in the water (which actually felt warm compared to the rain and wind above water).
Piles of stuffing - like in a mattress or pillow - and something decidedly metallic which didn't want to budge.

We were under a lovely shady tree - well it would have been shady if the sun was out, but the rain was blowing in under the branches and the wind was strong enough to help shed the excess water from the foliage directly above me - to Diane there appeared to be a drowned water rat on the back with its paws in the water.

After a half hour struggle the prop was cleared, the hands were by this stage bruised and battered from the contest with the tubular metal frame of a childs play pushchair.
The weatherproof clothing by this stage was working a treat - it was keeping all of the moisture on one side - unfortunately it was the inside.

Onward we cruised (by this stage the tea had gone cold), the skipper in a rare attempt to boost the morale of the crew steered us out of the trouble - which if I recall was down to a navigational decision to stop where we did - and after another 5 minutes she disappeared below decks.

It was another 10 minutes on that I noticed the water being pumped out from the side of the boat - well actually it originated from the bath - she told me later that it was a nice hot shower.

Onward we pressed - the wind that we had wanted to avoid had come up, the sou'wester was gone - I lashed myself to the ship barge boat, fully prepared to go down with it to save the captain and other crew - as if !

Finally we moored up on the opposite side to the pub; everything put in order; lovely warm shower and I felt a lot better.
By the time we were ready to eat, the rain had eased, the wind had gone; when we were eating, the sun had come out - I never did get to see the weather reports before we left - was it really supposed to be worst in the afternoon !

10 Miles, 1 Lift Bridge

Totals: 2773 Miles, 2058 Locks, 94 Tunnels, 34 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Grumpys' Saturday

Saturday 9th August 2014

Our intention was to cruise for 4 miles and through 6 locks and moor up at Scotsman's Flash.

Another chance for just a pleasant cruise.

So you would think.

But interactions with 3 old farts fellows presented the types of characters that you meet and really feel like throttling.

Old fart fellow no.1
            Working through Pagefield Lock and down he walks along the towpath with his 2 dogs in front of him - the dogs were great and very friendly - the antithesis of the owner.

When one of them - one of the dogs I mean - although the owner might well have been the type - does his business right next to the towpath at the lock.
Owner walks past it and we politely ask about him picking up after his dog - owner frowns, simply turns his head away and starts to walk off.
Our words to him become a bit louder and more intense - but enough to get him going, by which point we couldn't hear or understand him anyway - must not have had his teeth in.

Old fart fellow no.2
            Working through Bottom Lock (Wigan) and old fart fellow no.2 with Mrs old fart fellow no.2 walking past with their two dogs on the lead.
We comment that they are nice looking poodles.
Well you would have thought that we had called him a member of the Tory party - "they ain't b____y poodles, they be Bedlington terriers"
Our reply was to do with our unfamiliarity with the breed at which point he remarked that we should learn our history.
I think when next we speak with the relatives in their teens, we might ask about how their studies in animal history and husbandry are going - even though we are not "from around these parts" I am pretty well sure it isn't a subject at O or A levels - but I could be mistaken.
You could just imagine old fart fellow no.2 standing around the bar with a pint discussing with his mates the development and breeding of the Lancashire Dick Hound - or maybe it could be how well Wigan did in their last game.

Old fart fellow no.3
            Working through Poolstock Lock No. 1 - are you seeing a pattern to all of this.
The Lock was half full (although some might say half empty) and with no-one approaching from around the corner I opened the paddles (after unlocking), then proceeded to go around the lock to repeat that on t' other side (see I'm getting the language almost right) - the lock was now 3/4 full (or a 1/4 empty), when a person appears walking along the towpath - still too far away to determine if he had a windlass or was actually with a boat - but then the boat appears.
Now this is a lock that is slow to fill the last bit to enable the gates to be opened.
Whilst the water is still piddling in, old fart fellow no.3 walks up to the bridge above the bottom gates - then standing with his back to us, surveys something or other - no acknowledgement to us in any way; walks back to the boat; repeats this another couple of times - still no acknowledgement and certainly not an offer to help.
By the time he was on his way back to the boat for a third time, we had managed to open the gates.
I explained the episode to Diane over the walkie-talkie as she was coming into the lock - she slowed the boat to an uncustomary crawl - she was taking great care to not touch the sides (or was it that she was just going to take as long as possible to get through the lock).
Very methodically we closed the gates and slowly lowered the paddles taking care to not let them drop and be damaged for the next boat through.
We carefully raised the bottom gate paddles slowly so that the turbulence of the water wouldn't upset the boat moored below.
By this time I think he guessed what we were doing and he appeared to help open the gate. Still not a word and with a look on his face that would kill someone given the chance.
Diane could now see that they might have been in a hurry to get through the lock so she exited with a bit of hurry (not excessive) - just enough to ensure that may caused the other bottom gate to open - OOPS!! - now he would have 2 gates to close.

Brenda and I said hello to the lady woman on the boat but we only got a look away.

As we walked to the next lock we could see that the boat was stuck on the side - dammit we must have let that water out too quickly.

We carried on through the last lock where we managed to find and pick a hat-full of blackberries to go with the apple crumble for dessert; then moored up where we planned; the two girls had the chairs and books out to enjoy the sun - it may be the last for a while; and I got on with finishing painting the engine bay and got 3/4 of the gas locker done as well.

All-in-all a bit of an entertaining day with a pleasant end result.

Day's end - a lovely sunset

4 Miles, 6 Locks

Totals: 2763 Miles, 2058 Locks, 94 Tunnels, 33 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges