Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Fairy Glen

Nikita is staying with us for the half term holiday and we’d booked to go into Salthouse Dock for the week, however, CRT rang us last week as there are complications with planned work to replace a bridge and the canal’s now closed. So we are just leisurely pootling up and down the canal. We got up the locks on the Rufford Branch in no time at all as Nikita is so much bigger and can do the paddles & push the gates all by herself. Today we met Heather and the two boys at Fairy Glen near Parbold, for a picnic. We’re moored a short walk away by the disused locks at Appley. I took a black sack & our grabber to do a litter pick along the glen & footpaths. There was very little actual rubbish but my sack was quite heavy with the loads of dog poo bags that had just been left. 

Yesterday we strolled to ‘Cast North West’ (http://www.castnw.net/) a charity fishing & farming centre for youngster with learning & social disabilities, in Newburgh near Parbold. We had an excellent lunch in the cafe and had a stroll around to look at the animals. 


Nikita and John are making needle felted llamas and Nikita has started knitting a scarf. Plus, she loves drawing and has done lots in her sketch pad.

We hired a car last week for a few days to attend my young cousin Nick’s funeral near Peterborough. It was a very difficult time for his sister Jen and her family from Australia who were only able to stay for a week. It was so lovely to see Jen, Jason, Danny & Joe along with lots of other family members.


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

A quick cold snap!


The end of January & beginning of February have seen a quick cold snap, with a sprinkle of snow and a thin sheet of ice on the canal & marina, all very mild compared to our experience of the ‘beast from the east’ last year. I think we came off quite lightly up here in the north west as when we travelled to London (on the train) at the weekend there was a good bit of snow in Bedfordshire over the Dunstable Downs.



Colin & Carole from ‘The Wool Boat’ gave us some free tickets to a craft show at Events City, beside the Trafford Centre, Manchester, which we attended last Friday. We travelled on the train & a bus to get there. It was a nice small event with a varied selection of crafts and we did a little bit of shopping. I was quite excited at being able to go back to the Trafford Centre, not to look at the shops but to watch the fountains, gaze at the amazing murals & statues. We had our tea in food hall there, which is modelled on the inside of a cruise ship.




The following day we hopped back onto the train to London to attend a London Transport (LT) reunion at The Met Bar, Baker Street. All the LT people remember the pub when it used to be the HQ for the Metropolitan Line. It was lovely to catch up with people we’ve not seen for years. Edmund popped in to see us after he’d finished work. We then went home with Lyn & Kevin to St. Neots for a couple of days.

Today we have had torrential rain to wash away the last bit of ice that was hanging around in the water.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Polluted River Ribble

Saturday we caught the bus to the outskirts of Preston and walked along the River Ribble for about 3 miles, before the path veered inland to avoid the estuary marshland. We were totally shocked by the amount of rubbish, mainly plastic bottles that were along the high tide line on the foreshore. I would have thought most people would dispose of their rubbish properly in a bin, however, there were literally thousands of bottles. There were sheep grazing on the banks and were able to wander down on the shore where all the rubbish was. From now on we’re going to boycott plastic wrapping & bottles as much as possible. The walk gave us a chance to view Savick Brook, the Ribble link between the Lancaster Canal and the rest of the canal network, via the River Douglas & River Ribble. People have told us it’s a narrow, twisty ditch and we have photographic evidence of it to be true at low tide!!! We may well embark on the journey to the Lancaster Canal at some point in the future. As we had a day rover bus ticket we hopped on and off doing a mini pub crawl on the way home.


Savick Brook

We had a lovely birthday breakfast with Heather here at St. Mary’s Marina Cafe last week. Ada surprised Heather and took the day off to spend with her. I knitted Heather a hat and now the 3 children want one too in the same pattern. The kids have chosen their colours from my wool stash under the bed.

Magnus & Lance came for tea last Friday and enjoyed using Fiddlers unsalted crisps to dip in their yogurts!!!

Friday, 18 January 2019

Roasting coffee beans

Last week we brought some coffee beans at Booths because their price was reduced. Both packets of beans were very pale & extremely difficult to grind. So while I was in the laundry room John had a go at roasting them in the oven. As I walked down the jetty to the boat the aroma hit me, it was AMAZING and reminded me of this time last year when we moored in Apsley behind the coffee roasting factory.

We’ve had a wonderful time cruising to Tarleton for Nikita’s 9th birthday, we picked the 3 of them up from school. We went to The Village Inn in Tarleton for her birthday tea with Ada & Dale, Jason surprised us by having the night off & coming too. Sadly, Heather was working so missed the meal but met us afterwards and we all went back to the house for a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to You’, blowing out of candles and a slice of cake each. Nikita wanted a birthday sleep over with her friends without her brothers there, so the boys both came to stay Friday evening. Ada & Dale picked Magnus up on Saturday, so we cruised with Lance to Sollom.

Townend Swing Bridge
Lemon drizzle cake in the making

Helping put the spare bed up

The late Marshall Lee
We had a sad few days last week as one of Heather & Jason’s rescue cats, Marshall, got knocked down and killed. The driver had taken him to the local vet but there was nothing they could do for him. We helped Jason bury him in the garden, luckily he hadn’t got any visible injuries and looked as if he was just sleeping. His sister was obviously missing him as she was wandering around the house meowing (which she’d never done before), they used to groom each other each evening & sleep together. So to keep her company Heather has adopted 2 more kittens which she picked up yesterday, Lady Rainycorn & Lord Monocrome. We just can’t wait to meet them.

Rainy & Mono

We decided to spend a few days moored at the lovely rural spot in Sollom, with a view over the moss towards Anglezarke Moor and Parbold Hill, where the winter sun rises are beautiful. It was a good job we’d planned a few days stop there as the gale force wind & torrential rain blowing in from the marshes kept us firmly on the side. It was just under a 2 mile walk to the school to pick the kids up and we discovered a lovely little track running parallel with the A59, so we didn’t get blasted by the juggernauts zooming past. 


Tuesday, 1 January 2019


Where did December go? We’ve had an action packed end to 2018. It’s like a spring day and not new years day here in Rufford, doors and windows open - glorious.

We saw the new year in at St. Mary’s Marina with our boating neighbours, around a roaring brassier, which I ended up keeping well stoked – I just LOVE fires.

Last Saturday, 21 of us went to panto in Southport. We had an excellent meal before hand and all opened our secret Santa parcels. It was ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and Alice’s friend Toni was Beauty. Alice and Toni had done Ada’s make up for her wedding earlier in the year. Alice took the 3 little kids back stage after the show to meet the cast. Heather & Jason took the wee ones home and the rest of us met Toni and most of the cast at the pub. Edmund’s Australian friend Ella, had no idea about panto, but she does now. 

The planned and emergency repairs are all completed on the Rufford Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the water levels are just fine, probably due to the huge amount of rain we’ve had. It’s so nice to be able to cruise after a 7-8 weeks being trapped.


Bank Bridge

Christmas eve we took the boat to Tarleton to be near Heather & Jason, plus Samantha & Paul popped in on their way from Dundee to his family in Sheffield. We stayed at their house for a few nights. They had a house full for Christmas dinner as Jason’s sister Tina & her husband Psy were up from Luton for the week and Ada & Dale came too. Heather’s worse than the kids and woke us all up at 05.30 Christmas morning!!!!

Becconsall Marsh

Boxing day we had a lovely walk along the River Douglas. We’ve never seen the river so high, it was up over the path and Becconsall Marsh looked much more marshier than we’ve ever seen it. I’d suggested we’d do a litter pick on the marsh like we’ve done before, but we’d have probably sunk up to our middles!!!

Where's the path gone?

Ooopsy Magnus!!

Dr Foster, went to Gloucester!

The kids gave us a hand to move the boat back to Rufford 

Fearn's swing bridge

Town Meadow swing bridge

Uncle Ed brought the kids make your own sock animals for Christmas. So the other day we had a whole day workshop on the boat. I helped Nikita & Magnus do theirs and Heather did Lance’s. Sewing & me just don’t get on!!!!!

Stuffing the sock monkey
Sock unicorn

Sock giraffe