Friday, 18 November 2016

Buckets of hail stone being thrown at the roof!!!!

We’ve been moored in Wigan since Sunday, we had planned to take a couple of days to get here with a stop over at Crooke. However, there was a 3 MILE fishing competition last Sunday. Boaters have the right to moor anywhere and the fishermen have to move for us. We had to pass all the chaps close to the bank so as to reduce disturbing their catch too much. They were telling us it was a league competition. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to get, probably 5 or 6 of them to shift, so we ended up in Wigan. We decided to cruise here to see the chiropractor as we’ve neglected ourselves over the last year, as we always used to have a routine manipulation every few months.

It’s a good job we didn’t need to leave Wigan this week as we’ve both had a rather nasty tummy bug, which lasted a couple of days and vandals opened the paddles on the two locks directly below us, completely emptying about 2 miles of canal. It’s taken 3 days to refill the section which has due to reopen tomorrow.
And, today the weather’s totally pants, it sounds like someone’s been throwing buckets of hail stones at the roof since the wee hours of the morning and on and off all day long.

This has given me the perfect opportunity to get on with making my first boaty Christmas puds, cakes and mince meat. I’ll let the fruit steep in rum over night and cook them tomorrow and jar the mince meat. Earlier in the week John made some raspberry, cherry and mixed fruit vodka, which we are shaking everyday. We just need to peel & pickle the onions I brought last week, may be tomorrow. There’s only about a couple of measures of rum left in
the litre bottle, so best have some with coke this evening.

While we’re close to Heather she’s taking the opportunity to do a good bit of overtime and we are baby sitting the boys. Plus, we’ve been to the McMillan coffee afternoon at Nikita’s school, where we won a huge cake in the raffle. The following morning we attended Nikita’s class’s Remembrance assembly.

I went to the knit ‘n’ natter at the Farmers Arms at Burscough, organised by Carole from the Wool Boat a few weeks ago. I had attended it way back in May and had met most of the girls at the Burscough Wool Festival. I’m trying hard to finish all my half completed knitting projects. So far I’ve managed a shawl which grew amazingly once I blocked it. Lots still to do though.

Heather and the boys (Nikita had a party to go to) helped us up the 7 locks on their Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, when we were heading for Wigan. It’ll be good when Lance can get his life jacket on and help too.

We’ve had some spectacular sun rises and sun sets these last few weeks and the super moon was behind the clouds as it came up at it’s largest. It looked beautiful through the willow tree in front of the boat but didn’t come too well in a photo. Sadly we missed an amazing photo opportunity last week, a kingfisher doing his morning ablutions on a branch oblivious to us chugging by.

Next week we’ll need to head back and go up the Rufford Branch as due to the planned winter stoppages we won’t be able to wind (turn around) beyond Burscough. So that’ll be us on the branch until the stoppages are completed in mid March. It is going to be a very different winter this year, last year we were ‘locked’ in on a 28 mile stretch of the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals. We are going to be limited to a 5-6 mile stretch between Tarleton and Rufford, but a short stroll from Tarleton to Heather & Jason’s though.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Cold and frosty morning

November’s certainly here with vengeance, the temperature halved last night and our first frost this morning. Yesterday afternoon I was sitting out beside the boat knitting. We had lots of coal delivered to Heather & Jason’s garage today, then we can have a bit at a time as we don’t have a coal boat like we had last winter on the Macclesfield & Peak Forest Canals.

We are moored in Tarleton just by Heather & Jason’s for this week as it’s half term. Heather’s had the chance to do some overtime the last few weeks so as we’re here we are looking after the kids.

Last Sunday we helped at the 5th ‘Burscough Fibre Festival’ organised by Carole and Colin of ‘The Wool Boat’. We’ve been to the first three in the car. It’s a tiny event compared to any of the other ones we’ve been to. We were looking after the entries in the Halloween competition, which gave us the opportunity to chat to lots of people. I spun on a drop spindle & John had lots of interest in his knitting loom/block. One of the stall holders was a boater who sells hand spun yarn, dyed yarns and fibre & felting.

We decorated the boat for Halloween with some bright orange bunting, gel window stickers and the ghost & pumpkin light’s Edmund brought us. Plus we had two small pumkins carved on the bow. We got some sweets in as we had the Overells booked in and Nikita had her friend with her. There is a new housing estate right by the mooring, there were people commenting on the boat’s decoration but none knocked.

We’re planning to go to the firework display on Saturday at Southport as we can all squeeze into the car.

Sunday we’re planning a trip with the Overells back down to the main line of the canal.

We have seen the end of the season long celebrations of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal’s bicentenary. We caught the train from Burscough to Wigan on Friday 21st October to see the flotilla headed by ‘Kennet’ the Liverpool short boat that’s been renovated and converted into a floating museum, it was doing a week long trip along the whole canal. ‘Kennet’ had a huge band of volunteers that were assisting it’s passage down the Wigan flight of 21 locks. The second boat in the procession was our friend ‘Ribble’ the other short boat that we’d helped when it got stuck under a bridge. ‘Ribble’ was looking much higher in the water as it had unloaded it’s 30 tons of sand. We’d taken our windlasses & anti vandal keys with us, so we helped ‘Ribble’ with it’s crew of just 2 down quite a few locks. Then on the Saturday the flotilla came past where we were moored in Burscough. We put up our bunting, pompoms and fairy lights. I made the grandchildern some wavers out of some old material and we blew bubbles and honked the horn as all the boats went by.


 Then on the Saturday the flotilla came past where we were moored in Burscough. We put up our bunting, pompoms and fairy lights. I made the grandchildern some wavers out of some old material and we blew bubbles and honked the horn as all the boats went by.