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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.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Flaming June?

Well yes, it’s flaming June, the flames have just died down on the fire and it’s a lovely warm glow now. It was chilly last evening so I put the winter duvet back onto the bed and as it was only 11c in the boat this morning the fire just had to go on. There’s a weather warning of wind >40mph and heavy rain all day.

We’ve been moored at Rudheath on the Trent & Mersey Canal, near Northwich for 5 days now, mainly because I just can’t bear to leave due to the fantastic aroma from Roberts Bakery. The factory has a huge glass frontage and it appears all the loaves go on a roller coaster ride before being dispatched. We’ve walked past the factory several times and it just makes us chuckle seeing the conveyors full of loaves. There was a ghostly sight ahead on the water the other evening, as it got closer we could see it was 3 grebe chicks with parent catching fish for their supper.


Magnus came to stay last week as it was half term holiday and I was worried he may get sun burn, such a contrast from the last couple of days. He arrived on Whit Monday along with all the other Overells. Ada & Dale had been at their house over the bank holiday weekend and came too on their way home. We were moored at Lymm, a beautiful little village on the Bridgewater Canal. We all had a picnic at Lymm Dam, which included G&T for the adult non drivers. Then we strolled through the woods and climbed the trees!!!!


Anderton, with it’s restored boat lift is a very popular mooring spot, so the mooring there is limited to just 48 hours. It was lovely to be there for John’s birthday, so we had breakfast at the lift cafe and looked around the museum before going on a ride on the trip boat. We don’t have an anchor so can’t take our boat on rivers. We had a nice long ride from Anderton to Northwich on the River Weaver and then up in the boat lift at Anderton. The lift has was restored in 2002 with lottery heritage money and lots of volunteer support. As a special treat the 3 of us had dinner out at the Stanley Arms. Magnus loved helping pick elderflowers and de-stalk them to make elderflower cordial and wine.

We are shocked at the volume of boat traffic. On our second day’s cruise on the Bridgewater canal we counted more than 30 boats heading towards us, then we lost count once we moored. We’ve never ever experienced so many boats and the majority don’t slow down to pass when we’re moored. There’s always talk in the canal press about queues at locks which we haven’t experienced before, but we think we will soon though.

I made a knitted felt bag for my sister Samantha’s birthday. It was from fleece we got from her friend’s sheep when we were up visiting her. I spun and knitted it in the grease. After the bag had been through 2 hot washes in our mini washing machine it had shrunk to half the size. I need to make myself a couple now as I just loved it. I made some pink and yellow handspun pompoms and John made some lovely needle felt bees for Heather & Nikita to take home to add to the memorial decorations that are in their village.

Tomorrow we’ll wind and head back to Anderton to go to the launderette and fill up with water. Then we’ll head back to this spot ready to pick up Edmund bright and early Saturday morning from the station.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Saying good-bye to the north west

The excitement of the Bridgewater Canal opening a day early on Tuesday was over shadowed by the unfolding news from the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena. Such shocking news and so, so, sad as Tarleton, where we’ve spent 4 months over winter, lost two young girls in the attack. Saffie was 8 years old and in the year above Nikita at Tarleton Community Primary School. It’s such a small village school the pupils all know each other. We helped at the school Christmas fayre and the Macmillan cake sale and attended all the assemblies over winter. The poor headmaster had to address the press. Heather’s found it really difficult going to & from school, trying to avoid the huge amount of film crews, photographers and police at the school gates. The other girl, Georgina, was 18 years old and did a placement at Magnus & Lance’s nursery over winter as part of her course. Heather & the children attended the vigil and placed some of their glass painted jars with a candles in. The villagers have put pink ribbons on all the trees and lamp posts. Saffie’s mother remains critically ill in hospital.

Thanks to Colin of the Wool Boat for the Pics

So today we are moored on the Bridgewater Canal. We made an early start with Carole and Colin, from The Wool Boat. Just as well as it’s getting pretty hot. Colin reports for some of the canal press and wanted to take photos of the workman finishing on Tuesday evening and he was thrilled it actually opened and he could snap the first boats through, John tagged along too. We are only able to stay on the Bridgewater Canal for 7 days with our CRT licence, so over the next couple of days we’ll be heading for Preston Brook where it ends. We need to go back to Braidbar Boats as we have a couple of bits that need seeing to. On the way we think we’ll be passing through Middlewich when their folk and canal festival is on, so it’s be rude not to attend.

Liverpool seems such a long time ago now. We had glorious weather for the whole time, apart from the day we left, it was pouring & very windy. We paid for a few extra days there as Ada & Dale wanted us to view the venue they’ve chosen for their wedding. The train to Milton Keynes is less than 3 hours and Dale was here to meet us. It was an action packed weekend, dinner at his parents house on Friday. We were up bright & early to meet the wedding planner, who just happens to be our niece Alice. We rather over stayed our allotted time at the venue, however, we got to taste the type of food they want for the evening buffet and then on to see my sister Louise. Then we all went to Dunstable in the evening. Edmund was in Luton visiting friends, so we all met up for a Wetherspoons breakfast before saying our good-byes.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Steam on the dock

What an excellent weekend with Steam at the Dock. There were toot toots and honk honks echoing around the buildings all weekend from all the steam engines. With quite a range engines from a small steam powered row type boat, narrow boats ‘Whistle down the Wind’ and ‘Emily Ann’, 2 launches and 2 tugs ‘Daniel Adamson’ and ‘Kern’. 

The smaller vessels that could get under the bridge from Albert to Salthouse Dock did several trips in front of our boat. Both of the narrow boats however, had to lower their funnels to get under the bridge. On the dock side there was a train from the Snowdonian Railway, traction engines full side and tiny ride on ones, steam lorries and a little milk float. In addition two shire horses and street performers.


It was dismal and very chilly, but dry on Saturday, I in fact had to light the fire. Sunday was gloriously warm and sunny. Heather, Jason and the children came down from Southport on the train as we anticipated parking to be a nightmare with the steam event and Liverpool playing Southampton. 


We had a ride on ‘Palmerston’ the steam train, then we had a look around the ‘Daniel Adamson’ which has been fully restored to it’s original d├ęcor. 


Nikita and Magnus were totally fascinated by the jelly fish swimming by. Plus, they got really excited when a shrimp or fish swam by too.
Lunch time John and I nipped to get us all KFC.
Friday evening we put up our bunting and fairy lights in quite strong wind and it stayed up. I was shocked that none of the other narrow boats here didn’t decorate their boats too.