Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Doubly trapped!!

Lock 3 with no gates
Big pump at lock 3

Re-enforcing the lock walls

We knew we’d be trapped on the Rufford Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal for a few weeks, as
CRT are replacing the gates of lock 3. Last Saturday we decided to stroll up the canal to the main line to look at the works in progress. The water level is low, as to be expected due to the work and no boat movement. By the time we got to the top, as you can imagine we were thirsty, so just HAD to pop into The Ship for a couple of pints. The Ship is also know as ‘the blood tub’, an early landlady was a famed producer of black puddings. She sourced her ingredients, particularly pigs blood, from her farmer customers. The deals were largely barters, exchanging jugs of blood, which were emptied into a barrel, for ale; which was then carried off in the same jugs - hopefully thoroughly swilled! The barrel of blood was known as the 'blood tub', again the name being adopted for the pub.

Our boat's bow just seen on right

Stop planks, St. Mary's entrance
Monday the manager of St. Mary’s Marina, where we’re moored told us all to loosen our mooring lines as there was a problem at Tarleton Lock and our levels were likely to drop further. The CRT lads arrived and put the stop planks into the marina entrance to prevent all the water draining away. This afternoon we picked the children up from school and took the opportunity to walk past Tarleton Lock to have a look at what’s occurring there. Interestingly there aren’t any stop planks in place and there’s blue tarpaulin over one of the ground paddles. The boats moored at the boat yard there are all listing a good bit.

It’s not too bad being stuck where we are as Rufford has pretty good public transport links, there are two bus routes to Preston, Ormskirk, Southport & Chorley. Plus, the train which links us to just about everywhere. However, we are marooned on a Sunday as there is no public transport at all.

Nikita's ginger breadman

A new wide beam going into the water

Monday, 5 November 2018


 At the moment we are moored in St. Mary’s Marina, which means we have electric hook up and a tap at the end of the pontoon, absolute luxury. Last evening we attended the bonfire party at the marina, it was nice to meet some of the other boaters.


Magnus and Lance came to stay a couple of weekends ago as Nikita was at Brownie pack holiday. Lance wasn’t walking last time he went for a cruise on the boat, as when they visited us in the south we didn’t actually move. We cruised the 4 miles up to Tarleton with the plan of staying there for a couple of weeks. Magnus is an excellent crew member and can hold the boat by the centre line really well. However, the evening of 30th October the youngsters in Tarleton caused havoc in the village, we could hear the commotion and emergency service sirens from the canal. Then we heard a lot of banging & shouting outside the boat and some of the hoodlums had spilled down the lane to the canal, jumped on our boat & ran off with our life ring. We got a crime reference number, but I think it was the least of the police’s worries as the yobs set fire to bins, threw eggs & fireworks at cars and people. Quite shocking for a lovely little village. There was very little antisocial behaviour in our area of Luton, as the police nipped it in the bud & issued certain areas with an ASBO.

Jason had planned to walk the children down to the boat on Halloween and do some trick & treating on the way and then have hot dogs. But our plans changed, we went back to Rufford and they stayed at home. We got the bus to their house for a get together, which was great fun as Ada & Dale came too.

I got an extra hour of birthday when we went back to GMT. I SO used to hate it when I worked  nights and having to work an extra hour on my birthday. But work seems a distant memory now we’ve been off for 3 years. Once again we had a full boat as everyone came around. We all took a stroll over Tarleton Lock and onto the bank of the River Douglas, it was odd seeing the boat from a different angle.


Last Friday we caught the train to Blackpool to see the lights. I’d been several years ago when Heather & Jason first moved to the north west but John hadn’t. It was a beautifully still & sunny day, just perfect for walking along the beach and taking a ride the whole length of the tram route to Fleetwood Ferry. We spend a good while looking in the artificial rock pools that had formed on the sea wall. On the way back we got off of the unicorn tram above the cliffs to look at the static light displays which were brilliant. I loved the Daleks and I think John would make a good Dr Who. The old trams were running in the evening along with the illuminated ones.


Sunday, 21 October 2018

Boaters wedding

Yesterday we attended with wedding of Jayne & John at St. Bartholomew's Church, Great Harwood. We met Jayne 2½ years ago when we were at the canal festival at Eanam Wharf, Blackburn, she’d not lived on her boat very long at that time. We saw Jayne a good bit during the summer of 2016 and she brought her then new boyfriend to visit us. We were thrilled to be invited to the wedding. The reception was at The Canal Side Cafe, Rishton, we took our own picnic lunch and had such a lovely afternoon. Jayne & John do
off-roading in his Land Rover, which was depicted with their wedding cake. They had their first dance on the tow path next to their boat. It was fantastic to have a lift there from Dale and Heather brought us home.

I really enjoyed my BritSpin wool spinning marathon last weekend. I spun 3.914km which was 678g. Our Team Spinning in Beds totalled 22.14 km and all the teams managed 506km. Altogether the teams raised £3,470 for the Air Ambulance Charity, which was great. I entered two of the photo competitions, where I came 3rd in each:- spinning somewhere – I was under a rainbow and I made a spindle out of my old pinard stethoscope (what I used to listen to baby’s heart beats in mum’s tum) in the make you own spindle competition. I didn't actually finish the challenge set by my team captain, so I'm working on it and have chosed to 'spin a rainbow'.

Spinning under a rainbow

Spinning in bed -no room for John!
Spinning at knit & natter, Burscough

Fibre ready to spin a rainbow
BritSpin wool drying by the fire

Plus as last weekend was our first in the north west we had visitors Friday evening and all day Saturday. It’s lovely being near the Overells and Davies'.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018


There’s a wool spinning marathon this weekend, I’m going to be part of TEAM SPINNING IN BEDS, although I’m now almost 200 miles away from my Beds friends. Kick off is at 00.01 hrs tomorrow morning and the last whistle blows at 23.59 on Sunday.

I did lots of dying when we were in Leighton Buzzard and I have a whole Beds fleece carded and ready to use.

Dying in the kitchen
Wool dying in steamer

Spinning in Beds stash in bed!!

The BritSpin event is raising money for The Air Ambulance Charity. If you’d like to donate here’s the Virgin giving info.

We are currently moored at St. Mary’s Marina, Rufford in West Lancashire and we have had a wonderful journey up from Bedfordshire over the last few weeks. We have electrical hook-up which is an absolute luxury and a water point at the end of the pontoon. 
Power and spinning wheel
View from the stern