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Friday, 11 August 2017

Nikita came to stay last week and had to go home a little earlier than planned as she had a dental check up. Our initial plan was to travel to Bugsworth Basin with her, however, we spotted a sign for sheep dog trials at Sutton Hall Farm right by the visitor moorings at Gurnett Aqueduct and decided to go there instead. Ada & Dale had been to stay with Heather & Jason so dropped Nikita off at Macclesfield on their way home, which was a lovely way to spend our 35th wedding anniversary.


We had a lovely day watching the sheep dog trials. Nikita had a go at metal detecting and found a 3d coin (that the lads had hidden). There was a lovely craft marquee where I got a good few Christmas presents and they had local beer in polypins for us to try. We picked 6kg of cherry plums & a some blackberries on the Middlewood Way and made jam with Nikita’s help. Nikita did a bit more recorder playing and mastered the lower notes and can play ‘London’s Burning’ off by heart. Plus, we had to have her pre-bed time ritual of several games of dominoes. We went blackberrying again when Heather came to pick Nikita up, this time on Dane Moss & along the tow path. That 3kg is now fermenting away quite nicely.

While we were at home we picked the rhubarb and brought it back with us. I used the leaves to mordant two hanks of Shetland wool I’d spun. I then dyed the wool with onion leaves which gave a lovely orange.

I have FINALLY knitted up my first couple of hand spun hanks of yarn, only 27 years old!!!! I knitted two huge bags which I felted in our washing machine and they shrank to less than half their original size. I’ll be using the bags for bow & stern cruising projects. I’ve just completed my 3rd big bag and need to put it though the machine when we’re near a water tap.

Nikita is going on her first Brownie pack holiday next month, so I got out just about all my ‘old’ chunky hand spun and wound it into balls on the bow in the sun. I need to get a shift on now and get knitting.

We attended our second ‘Treacle Market’ in Macclesfield and brought some excellent local produce and this weekend we’re going to another local market in Bollington.

Our boat with the White Nancy on hill

The weather’s been pretty miserable these last few weeks with rain most days, but this is why the cotton spinning industry developed here due to the dampness setting the twist in the thread. We had an almighty hail storm while Nikita was here, luckily we’d just moored up. I think yesterday was the first really warm day in about 6 weeks. 



Thursday, 20 July 2017

A White wedding

We had an exciting weekend, as Sunday was a nice day for a ‘White’ wedding. We hired a car for a couple of days (we’ve not a driven a car for 19 months) to go to Tina & Psy’s wedding at Woburn Abbey. Tina is Heather’s sister-in-law, who has become Mrs White!!! We left Higher Poynton at 05.15 and arrived at Woburn by 08.00 just as the farmers market was setting up, so we had a browse, as we were too early for the wedding. It was a wonderful day with reception at the Safari Lodge, which meant we had to drive through some of the park. The heavens opened just as the speeches were taking place. After the wedding we popped to see Ada & Dale and raid the loft before heading back. 


cup cake from wedding

2 hanks of wool drying
We’ve decided to spend the summer on the Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals as it’s so beautiful. However, some of the views are obscured by the trees in full leaf, where as in the winter you can see through their branches. Yesterday we walked along the Middlewood Way, a disused railway into Macclesfield so John could pick up his new glasses from Specsavers. The walk took longer than we’d planned as we just had to stop to pick wild raspberries & cherry plums along the way, plus we made a note of where there are some lovely rose-hips that are almost ready for picking. It really is so good to be back where there are hills after a winter on the West Lancashire Moss!!

I have spun my first, two full bobbins of wool on my fold up spinning wheel that I've had for 3 years now.

Sheep bench - Middlewood Way

We’ve not taken many photos lately, so are including some old ones.

Our engineer - greasing stern gland


ICI Chemical works Northwich
Chemical works Northwich

Hazel an unpowered butty being poled out of a lock

Goyt Mill, Marple
Old rubber gloves as mooring pin covers

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Bugsworth Basin Fun Day

We’ve been at Bugsworth Basin, near Whaley Bridge for 4 days now. It was the fun day yesterday & the warden asked if we’d moor along side the trade boats & demonstrate spinning/weaving. So many people asked what I had to sell that we are really considering getting a trade licence. It was a beautiful day with lots of interesting stalls, a dog show, radio operated boats and Olympic games. I’ve hardly used my spinning wheel since we moved aboard, I tend to use drop spindles, so I spun on my wheel just about all day. There was a beer stall that had the choice of two real ales. We sat out until it was dark and the huge full moon peeped over the trees. 
The three resident cygnets have grown a good bit since we were last here, their parents are very friendly and bring the family really close for a dose of porridge oats.

Two weekends ago we were at Bugsworth, this time to meet up with our friends from the Kawasaki GT Club, who were having their National Rally at Buxton. The plan was for us to all have lunch at the Navigation Inn, however, there was an hours wait for food. So I nipped back to the boat & made us sandwiches and had already made cake. As they all rode off we both wanted to hop on a bike and join them, but, once we got back to the boat we decided it’s such a lot of bother to put the tent up & down, when we can float around!!

So our boat went into the water 2 years ago last Friday and it feels like we’ve come home being at Braidbar. Plus, the luxury of ‘Alton’ the fuel narrow boat coming by like clock work every other weekend, they have supplied us with diesel, a bag of ‘just in case’ coal and gas. Most of our teething problems have been done by the Braidbar lads. It just so happened when they were going to take off our side doors it poured and they have got a lot of work on. We’re in no hurry to head south and are quite contented to potter up & down the Macclesfield & Peak Forest Canals. So we didn’t get in the lads way we caught the train to Manchester and visited the Science Museum.


These canals are pretty shallow with few places to moor, however, we’ve moored in some lovely spots. John fed the tiny ducklings from his hands. Last Sunday we were treated to a brass band concert when we were moored beside the ‘Ring ‘O Bells in Marple. While we were in Marple we got our solar jars out and set them up with a linen bag, water and onion skins to have a go at dying the bags in the sun.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Tropical heat wave on the Macclesfield Canal

We are now moored on the Macclesfield Canal in the blazing sun shine, which is a contrast from my last blog at the beginning of the month saying we needed the fire on!!! It’s been too hot to venture into Poynton and we’ve just sat under the tree. We are outside the Braidbar boatyard and yesterday the lads assessed how long our bits and pieces would take to rectify. They envisage us being here for a couple of weeks. We left this canal April last year and it looks amazingly different in the summer.

Hissing Sid the hissing swan and the ever present Canada geese.

Bug hunting.
A bug

Edmund came to stay for last week, which was great to have an extra crew member to get up ‘heart break hill’, a nick name given to the 24 locks between Kidsgrove and Wheelock on the Trent & Mersey Canal. Heather & her family popped in to see Edmund while we were by the bread factory. Middlewich was VERY busy with the boat traders arriving for the Folk and Boat Festival. I think we’ll have to plan a visit to that festival in the future. As Edmund now lives and works in London he really enjoyed the tranquilly of cruising & mooring in the Cheshire countryside. He’s based at Kensington ambulance station and was, some what glad, he was with us with the huge fire at the block of flats. One evening he texted a request to Jo Whiley on radio 2, which she read out, saying we were moored in the middle of nowhere. 

Ed resting after a hard day locking


Bargus on it's way to Middlewich canal festival
Because the weather’s been so hot and we are just NOT hot weather types, we’ve got up really early to leave before 7am to get up the last few locks by Kidsgrove and Bosley flight of 12 locks. That way we’re moored by lunch time.

The view at the bottom of Bosley locks

This morning I’ve been to the dentist and had a temporary filling and have an appointment later in the week to have the tooth extracted as it’s caused me problems for a few months.