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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Last few days on the Rufford Branch.

 
Fearn's swing bridge
Over this winter we’ve continuously cruised a very short stretch, along a 4 mile section of the Rufford Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, it adds up to 44 miles and the same three swing bridges 33 times. During a shorter period last year, from when we moved aboard until mid March we had travelled 151 miles and through 62 locks and 26 swing bridges.

The winter stoppages were lifted 2 days ago, but the wind obviously wants us to stay in Tarleton. The wind has been incredible, huge 30-48 mile/hour gusts, it seems worse then a few weeks ago when storm Doris hit. On a fairly still day the breeze over the moss really catches the boat as we stop to open Fearn’s Swing Bridge, so we’d be pinned to either bank in these winds. Fingers crossed we can make a dash for it this week as I REALLY WANT to be moored outside The Farmers Arms for knitting on Thursday.


 










 

We spent a few days visiting my sister in Dundee and the weather was fairly kind to us. It was a much shorter train journey from Preston than we’ve been used to from Luton. I’ve always wanted to walk over the Tay Bridge, which we did and I got a sun burnt face!!! The foreshore of the River Tay is rocky and craggy on the Fife side compared to the embankment of Dundee. 


















 












She works at an agricultural university trust and invited us to attend some presentations by the post grad students. They were doing a ‘Dragon’s Den’ type event where they were putting forward their research proposal bids. We heard six of them speak and only two were about potato roots and aphids. The others were very interesting:- a tool for detecting clostridum strains in soil, making paper from fungus, a Scottish rural study and increasing barley crop yealds. The farm manager from the trust has recently retired and we visited him at his own small holding. It was like being in heaven as the rams are very friendly and wanted to be cuddled. They have 3 pregnant mares, one was 3 weeks over due and delivered a couple of days after we were there. I came away with a carrier bag full of black fleece from their Zwarbles ram and white from the cross bred white ewes. Our last day we spent strolling in the mist and then warm sunshine at Lunan Bay, one of my favourite beaches ever.

 














 


I’ve done a fair bit of knitting over the last few weeks, spun up some of the fleece I got in Scotland and had a ball winding frenzy, winding 24 balls!!!!







John’s second batch of mead was lovely and we actually still have a bottle. We have a kit of elderflower wine fermenting on the side now. I can’t wait to start gathering things for wine making and plan to pick dandelions and nettles as soon as I see some shooting.

The kids got us both Ancestry DNA testing kits for Christmas and after weeks of waiting our results are back, it looks a your ethnic make up. John was contacted by one of his 4th cousins in California and it turns out her great grand father Clide and John were brought up in the same house in Archway, with a good few years in between them. 




Lance had what Heather & I thought at first glance was chicken pox, so we looked after him while she was at work. However, it turns out the strange chicken pox spots were actually the hand, foot and mouth virus. Luckily it didn’t make him unwell like chicken pox does.

Heather and I went to a gin tasting evening at a new bar at Burscough Wharf, ‘Jack & Gin’. It was an outside event in the court yard under gazebos, luckily the earlier rain had stopped. We got to taste gins from 10 different distilleries. We moored at Rufford so we were able to get the train and Heather had her first sleep over without the rest of the family. She is now getting the bar to save her their empty gin bottles to put her origami flowers in.

We’ve made the most of the 2-3 nice spring days we’ve had. John swept the chimney and touched up the black paint work and I had to put a good bit of elbow grease into polishing the roof vents as they were very tarnished.
Welcoming committee on our return from Scotland