Saturday, 28 February 2015

Sun, Breasts and Boats - what's that all about?

Thursday 26th February to Friday 27th February 2015

We didn't get up to a lot yesterday - the rain held us inside for the morning and after lunch we ventured out to wander up to the collection of houses above The Navigation Inn - this area being renamed as Buxworth.
Seems some time ago the connotations of the name Bugsworth didn't sit too well with those who lived here, so the name was changed.

Not sure that the more "exotic" name made much change - there is nothing here that would attract me with any intensity - Bugsworth or Buxworth - think I would not be persuaded by the name.

Diane is always on the lookout for public footpaths around the areas that we visit - me, I then look to see if there are any cows along the path - they invariably head for the dairy.

Anyway, she found one that looked interesting - me I saw it heading downhill with a dodgy path and not much at the end.
We didn't make it any further than about 20 metres along when the wet muddy ground claimed the inevitable victim - the missus found out how slippery and now has more washing to take care of.
If only I had taken the camera - legs gave way and the soft part of the posterior hit the soft muddy bit - outcome was muddy trousers and muddy coat and a quick acknowledgement that we should head back to the safety of the roadside footpath.

She was not sufficiently muddied to head back indoors, instead we headed around to Whaley Bridge via the towpath - where we had not been together since 2008 - it seems to be the quintessential hills town with a railway.
at Whaley Bridge - the terminus

Back in 2008 we had a meal here - all I remember is that every
dish contained coconut - we declined to go in this time
We did stop off for a cuppa and cake and after a little more looking around we walked back to the boat.

This morning the weather was much clearer and the sun was out - just lucky I guess - we had already planned to head off.

But first we thought it better to water up at the basin services - the water pressure is a lot better. As is not so unusual, with the engine already running and heating the water, Diane decided to shower whilst the water tank was filling.

Now this wife of mine can be a bit on the cheeky and naughty side, so as I am outside checking on things as the water is doing it's thing, she is on the inside of the boat flashing the glace cherries - the sun is shining in the window, I am on the outside and not able to do anything other than delight in their sight.

She can be just a bit naughty at times.

(no photos at this time)!

Immediately after that the water tank was full and overflowing, so I cleaned everything up and off we went.

The depth hadn't changed since Wednesday - still at a slow speed, but with sun.

There was some novelty for us though, coming along to two moored boats, we spotted another coming towards us. As their path would end in the off-side vegetation if we continued we opted for the stop and let them pass approach.

Vegetation on the left meant that two boats couldn't really squeeze
through, so as we put into reverse the bow swung to the left -
we managed to straighten up and everyone was happy

They too had observed the irony, that not having seen much in the way of any boats moving, we should meet at a point difficult to pass each other on the move.
In these photos you can see the new flag pole, skilfully made for
us by Elaine's brother - thanks Trevor, we shall use it with pride...

...and of course the new flag generously given to us by Paul.
There is also a crazy woman aboard with her crazy hat.
As if to extend the situation, a little further on we encountered yet another boat moving - too much of this and we will be thinking that winter has ended - sun, boats moving - next it will be trees with blossom.

These pictures show a brilliant day and if this is winter then
what could summer be like -

The workmen were still hard at it shoring up and repairing the towpath banks and we eased around each group, before reaching Marple and claiming the last mooring place opposite the services - in fact the same place from where we left on Wednesday.

7 miles, 1 lift bridge, 2 swing bridges
YTD: 80 Miles, 25 Locks, 1 Tunnel, 2 Lift Bridge, 5 Swing Bridge
Totals: 2974 Miles, 2146 Locks, 99 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 156 Swing Bridges

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Vale Barry Winton

Thursday 26th February 2015

It was terrible news coming through from Elly and Mick that our friend Barry Winton had passed away on Wednesday morning.

We are both so terribly upset at this and we feel so very sad for Carol and her family.

We all knew what the future held for Barry and that it was a matter of time but we thought that it would be a few more months before this happened.

We first met Barry and Carol in 2012 at Aston Marina and they were such a lovely couple together - smiles were never far away from their faces; very happy to be on their boat and cruising along the canals.

Carol with her hearty laughter and Barry with that cheeky grin and a sly word on the side.

He was a bit on the quiet side at times, preferring at times to just sit back and watch what was going on; at other times you could see that larrikin side of him coming through.

Barry will be missed by so many people around the system, but most of all by his family.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Peak cruising time

Tuesday 24th February to Wednesday 25th February 2015

After an easy Tuesday when we pretty well didn't do much at all - I got on with work and Diane held the bed down all day.
The weather was cold and raining, so it really wasn't a hard choice - with no need to move we stayed put.

Our time was up on Wednesday - these were only 48 hour moorings - so just on 9am we moved across the canal to the services to take care of the water and elsan and then headed off around at the junction.

The weather was almost perfect for cruising, with no wind and the temperature around 5-6C and just a little mist around.

But the Peak Forest canal is one of the most beautiful canals in the system and even today with it being winter it was still very pretty.

The off-side has been cut back and the hedges have all been trimed; the leaves have left the trees and all of the hills could clearly been seen.

Although shrouded in a bit of mist, the hills are still very lovely

Not even the couple of CaRT work parties carrying out rectification work on the towpath banks had any effect.

We came across Bridge 24 (Wood End Lift Bridge) which is being worked on due to an overweight vehicle going over it - quite pleasant not to have to wind it up and down.
Look - no lift bridge - if only they were all that easy.

Matlows factory - there was a sweet smell all of the way past it.

The canal is still, as always, a bit shallow, but even that did not affect the enjoyment of the cruise, and when finally we arrived at our destination - Bugsworth Basin - there were plenty of spaces in which to moor up.
We winded and reversed into the first finger of the moorings and tied up.

Off to Tesco at the junction to make up for a lack of opportunities at Marple - the towpath was very good and no mud - practically paved all of the way.

Back on board and we really just settled in for the day.

Tomorrow we will be out and about - Diane wants to see a few things that we have missed on previous visits.

An old friend of ours - Tone Fearne (nb Much Gigglin') - said to us early on in our boating days - there are over 2000 miles of canals; you can travel two different ways on each one; there are 4 seasons in the year - every combination of these is different and has it's own beauty.

I have never forgotten that and travelling the Peak Forest today reinforced that sentiment - it was a grand day cruising - this Peak cruising time!

7 miles, 1 lift bridge, 2 swing bridges
YTD: 73 Miles, 25 Locks, 1 Tunnel, 1 Lift Bridge, 3 Swing Bridge
Totals: 2967 Miles, 2146 Locks, 99 Tunnels, 35 Lift Bridges, 154 Swing Bridges

Monday, 23 February 2015

We were appled in Marple...

Monday 23rd February 2015

The boat warmed up very well after being cold for over a week and we had a nice peaceful night.

We had only booked at the marina until this morning and so after filling the water tank; using the power to get those jobs done which are easier with a landline; dropping the pramhood; and paying for the power that we did use, we headed off.

The sun was out this morning and quite warm to boot, but the air is cold, so were still rugged up.
Bright sunshine - just the thing for cruising...

...and to take your mind off the cold air

It seemed that that the entire distance to Higher Poynton was lined with boats or boats reasonably close to each other - we only averaged 2 mph.

Along the way Diane suggested that we should fill up the diesel tanks and cans there so that we were prepared just in case, so as dutiful as ever, I agreed and moored up - probably for the best, 114 litres at 69 ppl - and a new boatside connection for the landline which broke when we tried to disconnect. It had been a bit suspect for a while now, but failed to disconnect when we wanted to leave earlier.

The canal is shallow in places but we already knew that from our trip last month and we had to put the engine into neutral to clear a few longer cuttings.
Around the Middlewood Station Aqueduct there was a sudden thud followed by a shuddering of the rudder - reversing the prop didn't help, so it was a plunge into the icy-cold canal - fortunately only up to the elbow, but that was enough.

A bl___y empty coal bag - now where in the world would that have come from - another flaming boater, that's where, inconsiderate dimwit. Hope their prop gets jammed up nice and tight with a long length of high tensile steel cable.

Once cleared we were fine and continued on and passing Goyt Mill we were startled by an apple that had been thrown at us by a person from the Mill. 
We could hear laughing as well.
Luckily it missed both of us, missed the solar panels -hitting the backcover and rolling away.
I looked back and could see where it came from - if I get the chance, I may pay them a little visit.

We have arrived at Marple and to our surprise the moorings opposite the charity boat and services were completely empty, so we have moored at the back and the trading boat "Roach" moored up in front but moved off after lunch. A bit of a bonus - so now on rings and moored up nicely.

We had a wander down to the shopping area to get a couple of things at the Co-op - whoa, it has now gone -closed on Saturday 14th Feb.- just 9 days ago.

We think we have also found the reason why these moorings were completely vacant.......
Secret business around the services....'s a launch pad for a new Tardis

5 miles
YTD: 66 Miles, 25 Locks, 1 Tunnel, 1 Swing Bridge
Totals: 2960 Miles, 2146 Locks, 99 Tunnels, 34 Lift Bridges, 153 Swing Bridges

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A Charging Herd of Elephants and a Return to Plan A

Sunday 22nd February 2015

Yesterday evening after checking into the hotel we just had a relaxing cuppa before we went out for dinner; after such a long drive we felt a bit tired and wanted to relax a bit.
No such bl___y chance; the noise above us was pretty much like a runaway train or at the very least a herd of charging elephants.

It was most probably just a 7-year boy running and stomping back and forth across the room. It went on for a good 10 minutes before becoming somewhat intermittent but just as noisy.

You would think that responsible parents would have had the sense to realise that since they were not on the ground floor that there was a strong possibility of someone being in the room below - I was tempted to call Children's Services at Stafford Council to advise that this child was left alone and unsupervised, but Diane tied me down before I could ring.

Anyway on our way out I did inform reception who said they would have a word.

When we returned the rug rat was quiet and the remainder of the herd were asleep.

Just a pity that this kid's bladder control wasn't a bit better - during the night there was a stomping across the room as he (I am assuming it was a boy) needed a pee - personally I would have chained him to the toilet and left him there for the night.

"Her indoors" slept through it all, having her break a bit later, and I eventually got back to slept only for the herd to have been awakened and frightened by the sound of me loading my shotgun - he was at it again just after 6am on a Sunday morning.

Definitely no chance of any more sleep, so showered and dressed and down to discuss with the night attendant - not much joy there - agreeing with someone who is annoyed is the quickest way to remove any anger.

Back upstairs and it continued intermittently; I held off on going and personally giving the parents a good whack around the ears - but I couldn't find a lump of wood to use.

After we came back from breakfast, there was peace and quiet above us; we finished packing and went down to check out - by this time the woman whom we had complained to the previous day was back on - we explained the situation and that we had not had a good night - she refunded the full amount (including the booking fee) without any problem - a sort of a result - I still would have liked to have had a quiet word in the parents ears about next time finding a suitable place to leave their progeny - I do know of a good local kennel.
In this case it really is the fault of the parents.

We are now back on the boat after Dot and Gordon picked us up and brought us back - we managed to have lunch at The Miners Arms, which was very enjoyable.

A wonderful week is now over and becoming so last week.

I will tell you one thing though - it is a lot bl___y colder today than we had last week - time for the thermals to go back on again.

Along the way this week, on hearing of problems with lock repairs being required at the Manchester end of the Rochedale Canal, which will take until the end of March, and also hearing that the breach near Sutton on the Trent and Mersey was due to open tomorrow, we have returned our plans to part of the original one that we had had a few months ago.

Rather than going down the Marple flight and through the Ashton locks into Manchester Picadilly and then onto the Rochedale - which probably would have been in mid-March - we will now just go to Bugsworth Basin and back to Bollington for next week and then head back down Bosley locks, then the Cheshire locks onto Middlewich.
After that it will be onto Anderton and spend some time on the Weaver - will need to book for the boatlift; after that it will be into Manchester via the Bridgewater - for the end of March.
Just a longer time-frame and seeing a bit more along the way as we will see the northern end of the Weaver.

Quite funny how easy it is to come up with a new plan when there is a change needed!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

We're all going on a summer holiday - except it's winter

Saturday 14th February to Saturday 21st February 2015

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Shut up you kids in the back or I will stop the car!

Yep, it's typical holiday time - a long car drive and sitting in the car in the blazing sun - well except for the sun bit.

We were heading soth for the winter - on the road - the M6, then the M5, then the A30 and then we were there - Lamorna, Cornwall.

At least it was a bit warmer and the sun was shining.

We drove down with Dot and Gordon, with Elaine and Paul just a few hours behind on their way from Milton Keynes; Sue and Andy were off watching England triumph at Twickenham and would not be there until Monday.
This is where we stayed...

...complete with security
What did we get up to over the course of the week - mmm! let me think.

For some it was just a haze every morning - stumbling into the kitchen and dodging the stack of empties. For others it was up at the crack of dawn, springing into a new day.
No such luck - it seems that as we get a little bit older we do tend to sleep in a bit later when there is not an urgent need to get up and we can stay up later even on school nights.

Lamorna Cove

Paul and Bombo

Was Gordon really ahead of time?

Paul with Sammie

Bombo with Ealine

Sue and Elaine

Paul adopting his relaxed position - just slightly less relaxed
than the two boys
We did enjoy each other's company - along the way we discovered the Trivia Crack application and constantly started and played games against each other; we celebrated Paul's birthday (can't tell you how old he is, but next year he will be 60) - in fact at the moment there are 3 of us who are all 59, so it is the 59'ers club - looking forward to celebrating in 10 years time; we visited St.Ives, St.Just, Lands End, Mount St.Michael, Mousehole (apparently pronounced Mousall), Newlyn and Penzance; visited a few pubs; soaked ourselves in the hot tub; got to wear warm silly colourful hats; continued in with Andy's pre-birthday celebrations.

Out for lunch to celebrate both birthdays

Paul lost an olive and set about finding it...

...but even with the headlights on it was lost

Andy - holding the bar

Despite what Paul may have indicated on his blog, we kept our clothes on (most of the time).

Off to St.Ives

We have had a great week and certainly looking forward to the next getaway week - planning is in the early stages but may involve overseas exotic locations.

...and off to Mount St.Michael

how's about this then - off to the supermarket
whenever you need to - no need to check the tides

We have now headed off back to where we are moored up to continue with what we were doing before this week knowing that we have had a few drinks; a few laughs; and some good fun.

Lunch at the Godolphin - platters all round

And then there was the colouring competition...

...and some took it seriously...

...whilst for others it was deadly serious

The weather in general was pretty good and so glad that we have escaped the colder weather further north and the countryside has been lovely.

Gordon and Dot dropped us off at The Premier Inn at North Stafford and will drive us back to Poynton tomorrow - it is just a bit too far to have to go there after a long trip from Cornwall and for them then to have to drive back to Stone; so a comfortable night and Diane can have a lovely relaxing bath before we are back on the boat.