Thursday, 19 January 2017

Two birthdays

We had a lovely time a couple of weeks ago at Nikita’s super villain 7th birthday party which fell at the weekend. Heather & Jason had decorated the house amazingly, bars on the windows, 7’s all over the walls and a bat cave under the stairs. Plus, the food was themed too, cryptonite jelly, asteroid nuggets & pizza the hut.

And Heather’s 30th birthday is next Monday. It was snowing this time 30 years ago, our car had been stolen and we travelled to hospital in the brewery’s old van which had a broken passenger seat!! Plus, there was a telephone strike on, (no mobile phones back then), which meant we couldn’t let anyone know she’d been born. John had to drive to Edgware to let everyone know.

This morning we moved from Sollom to Tarleton ready for a weekend of birthday celebrations as Ada & Dale are coming up for a long weekend. It’s so nice to be on proper moorings with bollards to tie to and hard standing. The tow path at Sollom was very muddy, but amazingly quite with hardly anyone walking by.

Yesterday we walked to Mere Bow, a gentle 6 mile stroll there and back as it’s flatter than the Fens here and the soil is just as black. We had lunch at Legh Arms, it was lovely, especially the most AMAZING crème brulee I’ve ever had . We’ve been to the sister pub the Hop Vine in Burscough.

I’ve been to the knit and natter at The Farmers Arms in Burscough quite a few times now. I just ran up to the village to go today and missed the bus by the skin of my teeth, not to worry. When John came a few weeks back he impressed everyone by making a set of woven coaster on his little loom. So, if you’d like some coasters, even if you’ve got some already just let us know. I need to get down to grafting the toes on 3 pairs of socks I’ve knitted. I’ve spun up the purple/pinkish wool/silk blend fibre I was given by P&M Woolcraft when I left the Bedfordshire Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers. I’ve plyed it with similar colours to make a yarn that gets gradually darker purple from pale pink. And I’ve started knitting a scarf with it, quite a few of the girls at The Farmers Arms are making the same scarf. 


At last I've made a long skinny triangular rag rug for beside the fire to put the fire tools and coal bucket on.  The majority of the material is what I dyed in the autumn with acorns.  Plus some old sweat shirt of John's and a jumper of my dad's that had
been put through the wash & shrunk.


John has his second dose of mead fermenting away by the fire. I think our last bottles of blackberry wine and mead will be consumed this weekend.

We had hoped to head south in March when the locks on the Rufford Branch reopen after their repairs. However, there are works on the Bridgewater Canal that are going to over run until mid June. So our plan to go to Crick Boat Show at the end of May is totally out. So we’ve booked to go into Salthouse Dock, Liverpool instead. It’s something we’d planned to do at some point in the future. You can stay free for 7 days and the pontoons have free electric hook up and water supplied. If you stay longer than 7 days it cost £20/day. We have been told if you go out of the dock and return a few days later it’s free again, so that’s what we’ve booked to do. We’ll probably catch the sea cat to the Isle of Man for a few days.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year


We are currently moored at Tarleton, which is a short walk from Heather & Jason’s, where we have enjoyed two Christmas dinners & new year too.

Our first Christmas dinner was towards the beginning of December as Edmund was working over Christmas. So him, Ada and Dale came up, it just so happened to be a double celebration as Ada and Dale announced their engagement.

So we had a great weekend, which went far too fast. We had our dinner quite late in the day as Nikita and Magnus had swimming tests for which they both got a certificate and badge. Once Heather was home from the kid’s swimming we toasted Ada & Dale with some bubbly, plus we’d brought some mistletoe too, kisses all round!!! We had a 3 bird roast with all the trimmings. The youngsters enjoyed a game of Christmas twister. We needed to head off to Rufford the week after to get water and to make sure we don’t get a parking ticket as we’re only allowed to moor in the same place for 14 days. We returned to Tarleton on Christmas Eve.



On the real Christmas day Heather came to pick us up at 06.45. When we got to the house Ada, Dale, Jason & the children were all eagerly waiting to come down stairs. All the parcels were opened in record time and the floor scattered with paper.

Jason cooked another lovely dinner, turkey this time. 

Boxing Day everyone descended on us for breakfast, pigs in blankets & rolls which they brought with them, all hot and ready to eat. Then, we headed off to the pantomime (oh yes we did!!!!) in Southport. It was Snow White and Lance managed to sleep thought the second half.

Samantha, Paul and Blue stopped off for a couple of days on their way back from Christmas in Sheffield. They stayed one night at Heather & Jason’s and one here. As usual the time went too fast. We had a couple of bright, fresh walks along the bank of the River Douglas near the Overells and the next day where it runs parallel with the canal, where we are moored. We all got thoroughly muddy and had a great time. When Samantha & Paul left Nikita came to stay for a couple of days.

We stayed at Heather & Jason’s for new year and Nikita stayed up. The fireworks at midnight frightened the boys and they both ended up too. We’ll stay at Tarleton until we run out of water & then we’ll take a run to Rufford to fill up.

Way back in November we ended up staying in Wigan a few more days than planned due to gale force winds along with rain and hail. However, this did mean we were able to visit ‘Wigan Central’, the micro pub we discovered in July. It’s fitted out like a station and has the actual train times for the two Wigan Stations on display screens.

On Tuesday 22nd November we made a run for it as the weather was fine and moored at ‘The Ring ‘O Bells’ before heading onto the Rufford Branch. When we got to the Rufford Branch it appeared someone had come up the locks the day before and not closed the top lock gates at each lock. Lock 4’s bottom gates are VERY leaky, that consequently lead to two pounds draining completely. There was a boat moored in one of the pounds which was almost tipping over. Canal & River Trust (CRT) had contacted the owner as they weren’t on the boat and there was a danger of it filling with water before it refloated. A CRT chap was already on the case and running water through to refill the pounds, he estimated it could take about 3 hours, which actually ended up as 5 hours. John was out adjusting the water flow and keeping an eye on the stranded boat. This was the prefect opportunity for me to prepare my pickling vinegar and prepare the onions and red cabbage for pickling.

We spent a couple of weeks above Rufford lock. So this is us now, on the Rufford Branch until mid March. There are planned works on the branch near the locks. We were frozen in a couple of mornings which is quite magical. We left the boat for a couple of days while we went down south on the train and stayed with Lyn and Kevin, to attend our friend Pat’s funeral. He was an apprentice with John on London Transport and was the same age as John.

We are now starting to plan what we’ll do over the next few months on this short stretch of canal. The main problem is the phone signal is pretty bad down on the canal at Tarleton and the internet's slow too. We’ll probably go to Scotland on the train to visit Samantha & Paul for a few days. In addition we’ll spend days out on the train. Plus, Heather’s doing some overtime while we’re here so we can take Nikita to school & look after the boys.