Sunday, 26 June 2016

Keeping track of us.

John's brought a GPS with his birthday money from Louise. It runs with the Water Explorer programme so you can keep track of us. There's a link on the blog (as you've no doubt already seen).

We left Burscough mid morning Thursday after getting water and are now moored at Rufford, getting ready for our run to Tarleton to pick up Ada & Dale next Friday. We'll stay here until the beginning of next week then move nearer Heather & Jason's. We had a lovely run from Burscough and were lucky enough to have two volunteer lock keepers to help us down the first 3 locks on the Rufford Arm.

Friday morning we were up bright'n early to catch the bus to Tarleton to cheer Nikita and the other kids at Tarleton Primary School along on their sponsored jym jams jog. They'll have the option to keeping their jym jams on all day or change into uniform. We had bacon sarnies and did a bit of gardening at Heather's before catching the bus to Southport for some shopping.

Yesterday we caught the train to Preston to get the bits we weren't able to get Friday.

We left Eldonian Village earlier than planned on Monday 13th as a lot of boats were going into the dock at Liverpool and the rest were making a hasty exit as our 24 hour police protection was stopping Monday evening. We were booked to go through the swing bridges on Thursday 16th, so we headed to Litherland where we stayed for three nights. While we were at Litherland we went to the launderette to wash the winter duvet. 

We also strolled to Crosby beach to see the Gormley statues. There are 100 cast, naked statues of the sculptor over a 2km length of beach and 1km into the sea. Some of the statues on the duny foreshore were waist high in sand & some lower on the beach were all exposed and had barnacles on them, plus rather a lot of sea gull poo. John suggested I organise a yarn bombing session to give them all willy warmers in the winter.

On the Thursday we headed for the 09.30 bridge opening and carried onto Burscough, which was the longest trip in one go we've done so far, about 19.5 miles.

The Burscough Heritage weekend was excellent. There were several restored Mersey flats, the wide beam boats that did most of the transportation. Heather, Jason and the children joined us on Saturday, the weather was glorious. Nikita & Magnus were invited to accompany the morris dancers and played tambourine at the Wharf. Sunday afternoon, just as the heavens opened the home made raft race went by. The kids loved honking John's new super duper hooter at the rafts.

For father day, Heather & Jason picked us up to go for breakfast at the Wetherspoons in Ormskirk which was excellent.

 We've decided we don't want to be wild life photographers. We've been watching Mr & Mrs House Martin feeding their three fledglings and the moment we get out the camera the parents decided to take a very long break!!!!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

6 months on Burnt Oak

This is so amazing, we've been living on Burnt Oak for half a year. We've got used to the life style very quickly and can't imagine living any other way. We've met lots of lovely people on other boats, many who've lived on them for many years, boat traders, walkers on the tow path, people in shops and at events. I can only think of one chap lately who was quite irate that there were 4 boats going through the swing bridge as he may miss his bus.

We started out at Poynton with rain, rain and more rain, leaving the tow path as complete bogs, at times it looked like a dog had shaken it's self in the boat with mud splattered from our clothes and boots. Then we were frozen in a few times and had a good bit of snow and that's when our boiler broke, oh, how pleased we were to have the fire, which was kept stoked and ran all night. We've had wind that blew us into to the side and that's where we had to stay. As the weather got warmer and we didn't need to have the fire on I felt somewhat uneasy, as if something wasn't quite right, but that
feeling passed very quickly. And now I fear I'll end up sun burnt so plaster myself with suntan lotion. Now we can look forward to going full circle, keeping the fire stoked and have stews bubbling away on it while we're wrapped up warm cruising along.

So how far have we gone? For our first 3 months we were trapped on the large stretch of the Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals as the locks either side were closed for repairs. At times we were in danger of getting into trouble from the authorities for over staying, mainly because we were frozen in and couldn't move. Plus, we spent 2 weeks moored near Heather & Jason's. When we counted up our mileage we were totally amazed:-
326 miles, 197 locks and 54 swing/lift bridges.
We have stayed in Manchester and Liverpool, two cities we've never visited before and in some amazingly beautiful rural areas from the heights of the Peak District to the low flat reclaimed farm lands of West Lancashire.

We've been to two festival Ellesmere Port at Easter and have just left the IWA's festival celebrating the Leeds and Liverpool Canals 200th year at Eldionain Village, Liverpool..

This is a very lazy life style on the one hand and quite labour intensive on the other. We need to plan where to get water & diesel. Sometimes we have a good long walk to replenish our food store and we can't store too much and don't have a freezer. During the winter we had coal, wood and gas delivered to us by the coal boat nb Alton. We just love our
composting loo which needs emptying every 2-4 weeks. The smell when you are near a pump out station or Elsan disposal point are horrendous, where as our loo smells earthy like my old compost heap at home when we empty it.

We are looking forward to our summer jaunt across the Pennines to Leeds. We're hoping to moor near Yarndale the wool festival in Skipton in September. John's promised to visit Fawcetts the Maltsters in Castleford, he used to speak to the office on the phone and only met the delivery chaps. Then head back to be near Heather & Jason's for winter.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Eldonian Village Canal Festival

We've just taken down the bunting after the festival which was held over the last two days. As the festival is celebrating the 200th year of the Leeds & Liverpool canal I made black & white bunting to represent some of the main goods transported, cotton, limestone & coal, and our knitted bunting to represent wool. This was the first IWA festival we've been to on a boat and we've been quite disappointed with it. It appeared it was a village festival and not much of an Inland Waterways Association one. We had a shopping list of bits to get but there were no canalware traders. PLUS, shock
& horror, there was NO beer tent, just fizz beer in the community centre. We've been to lots of canal festivals organised by the IWA & other organisations and NEVER have we been to one without a beer tent!!!!!

There was quite a celebration on Sunday at the dock side in Liverpool as the Disney cruise liner 'Magic' was in port for a couple of days. There was a big screen erected on the quay showing Disney films and stalls selling goods too. All the little girls were in their Disney princess outfits, there was quite an atmosphere. In the evening we could hear the ship's horn echoing all the way up at the Eldonian Village playing Disney tunes, plus lasers in the sky and fireworks.

We arrived on the festival site last Thursday after spending the night at Litherland CRT services. We absolutely loved the journey into Liverpool as the industrial architecture was amazing. Many of the old warehouses are being still used or have been adapted retaining some character. The canal has water lillies growing in it and the most coot families
we've ever seen.

We are hoping to get to Burscough next weekend for their 200th heritage celebrations.

It seems a long while ago we were at Tarleton and watched all the boats coming back from their trips over to the Lancaster Canal. I think entering the lock looks scarier than leaving it to head up the River Douglas.

Magnus had his first sleep over the day we moved from Tarleton for our slow meander towards
Liverpool for the festival. We did really well and eked out our water for three weeks, thanks to Heather letting us use her washing machine & shower.

Ada and Dale went to stay with Heather & Jason over the bank holiday weekend. This meant we had a nice gathering and big crew to move just a few yards from the 24 hour visitor mooring up one lock at Rufford.

We popped into the Hesketh Arms in Rufford and stumbled across the weekly meeting of the ukulele group. The organiser came to say hello to us as she recognised us from when we filled up with water a couple of days previously, she lives on a wide beam boat near the services. It was a fantastic evening with some 40 ukuleles including a bass one, penny whistles, wash boards and melodian. Then the next evening on John's birthday we toddled to the pub again. We thought it was busy the night before, but Tuesdays are quiz night and there was a guaranteed jackpot and the place was standing room only, and it's a massive pub, fantastic to see.

We moored in Burscough for a few days, where the 'Wool Boat' lives. We went to their knit and natter at The Farmer's Arms and they asked John to model Carole's latest jumper. We caught the train to Liverpool for the River Mersey Festival. The Albert Dock was crammed with narrow boats (most carried on to the Eldonian Village Festival). There was lots going on on the river and in the docks too.

We spent a night at Scarisbrick Marina so we could hook up electricity so I could make bunting for the festival, otherwise we'd need to run the engine the whole time I was sewing. Plus I was able to use their large washing machines too for our bedding & towels.

We had a surprise visit from Heather, Jason and the children on Magnus's 3rd birthday the day before we were booked through the bridges.

We've had some amazingly warm sunny weather over the last few weeks. However, we've been shocked to see flooding in Dunstable and Poynton on the internet. Tomorrow we'll start heading for the other end of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (which will take us all summer). We'll head back to Tarleton to pick up Ada & Dale next month. They are coming to celebrate her 21st and the boat's 1st birthdays by helping us get up the Wigan flight of 21 locks.