Saturday, 31 May 2014

Marple Flight of locks. pouring rain,2.5 hours. Stayed down at the junction but realise that we could have got another hour under our belt by staying at Fairfield Junction at the top of the Ashton flight of locks down to Manchester.

 Some years ago we turned right at the junction and accomplished the highest summit on the waterway network, being on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.  This time the Rochdale Summit will be the 2nd highest . !
Anyway, some years ago this load of locks had a bad rep. for numptyism etc. but seems ok now.  It is quite dull, but then it has its industrial heritage.  Was never meant to be pretty-pretty. 

Just started off ( in the rain), when a small boy walking his large Rottweiler said “ Nice Boat”, to which I replied “ thanks, nice dog”. He could have put a saddle on it and ridden it home.  However, the dog owners around here have yet to hear that there is not a Dog Poop Fairy ! crap everywhere
Met a hoody or two, and it seems the standard Mancunian greeting is “ aaawwwriiiiight “. Not hello or hi.

So arrived in Manchester( in the rain). And trundled around until we finally found the Rochdale bit of the network.  Now,THE BOOK SAYS to book your water for the flight of locks going our of Manchester….. No longer have to. We did. And  I was expecting to see a muscly CRT bloke to help with the DOUBLE LOCKS, that have water running over the top, and paddles that take a crank at a time to work. !  Not so.  Mick, we are on our own, chum !. 

So did the first 2, and arrived at Cotton Fields Marina, New Islington. Well I have to say. We liked it a lot. It has had a bit of a bad rep, yet again, these mancunians are a bit spiky, it seems.  But we stayed 3 nights. Walked in to City Centre. Got on a tram, and went off to Media City, to see the Lowry Museum.  I rather like Manchester. So much to see and do.  Managed to hold back from going to see One Direction at the Etihad Stadium, though.

Met a couple of nobs whilst walking Finlay in the morn ing.They weered toward me saying   “ aye, ‘ave yer got taxi credit?”…. I don’t have any money. “ oh, so you don’t ‘ave any taxi credit?”  I don’t have any money .  Whats Taxi Credit ?

 a pub in Dodge City, sorry I mean the Ashton Canal. note the boarded and padlocked lower windows.

 Hello Manchester .

 weird and wonderful lock mechanism. 

 Photos from a tram --- Fantastic buildings

 Manchester Ship canal.

 Media City

 What does it say ?????

 ..... erm, erm..   open water swimmers, apparently.

 Cotton Fields Marina, New Islington.

 the red boat is us. !!!!  Mick is having a shower in the Boaters Hut 

 the white blob is a swan on her eggs

 Boaters Hut, with all facilites

 Imperial War Museum North.

Anyway, This marina, gives 2 nights free, then £10 per night. There is water, Pump OUT £2. !!!!!!  not for us anymore. Washing machines £2.  Elsan. And its all set up like a nature reserve. Still a work in progress, as they have had their problems.
The tram stop is just behind. But an easy walk to city centre. Run by a company called Urban Splash. I hope that it works. Its got a good feel.

Sunday, early, and we will begin our long ascent to the Summit. All on our own.  Aaaahhh.   

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Peak Forest Canal, has been lovely again, especially Bugsworth basin. So much history here,where limestone was mined and processed in years gone by.
Great walking, IF ONLY it had stopped raining.  The pub was good. Had some nice beer. Went for Sunday lunch which was good, but my tates tasted strange….. sort of mouldy, although they weren’t. But the lady was good enough to knock off the price of a pint. Fair enough.
Will definitely come back again, and hopefully when the weather is better.It was dire.

Just harking back to the wonderful Caldon canal.  Sometimes one can be in the wrong place at the wrong time .
This was posted on Canal Forum, by a boat from Cambridge.

“Had by far the most unpleasant experience of my boating career last night.

We spent yesterday boating from south of Barlaston on the T&M through Stoke and onto the Caldon. Around bridge 14 we seemed to have moved out into the country, it was getting late, and starting to rain hard, so we found a deep bank and moored up, just past the railway bridge. Big Mistake. We subsequently found out the that largest council estate in the country is just across the valley: described as "Feral" by a Staffordshire PC.

As it got dark, the attacks started: jumping in the back deck, followed by pulling the pins and throwing them in the canal, serious verbals. Feeling very insecure we phoned 999. It took a lot of effort to get the police control room to understand where we were. They don't do canals well. Then we started to be stoned: serious stoning with ballast from the railway line. No sign of the promised police. When the windows started to come in, it became obvious that we had to get the hell out, and fast. Not easy on a narrowboat. In the dark.

I started the engine and got on the back in a hail of stones and set off. The inevitable happened and I took a rock in the face. It hurt, but I had the presence of mind to ham up how much and bellowed like stuck bull. That seemed to work and they ran off. Either that or they couldn't be bothered to transport ammo from the railway as we got further away. In retrospect I should have pretended to be half killed _before_ I was hit, but you only think of these things later.

We made it in the dark to the offside pub moorings at The Foxley, where the police eventually found us. We got a few flash photos, but they're not good, and don't really ID the hoody-wearing scrotes.

Damage to me is bust glasses, bloody nose, contusions and a black eye. Damage to the boat is lost pins, broken windows and serious paint damage. Add two lost nights sleep - we didn't rest well last night - and a certain amount of peace-of-mind.

The lesson for boaters on the Caldon is not to stop anywhere before you get to Engine Lock. I'll be contacting CRT and suggesting that they make this advice available at Etruria.

I shall be starting The Campaign to Nuke Stoke-on-Trent.

If anyone is around later in the week and fancies riding shotgun when we have to head back that way, it would be much appreciated.


MP.  “

This won’t stop us going back to the Caldon, but it’s so unfortunate that they didn’t’ meet Rob the Lock, he had already told us NOT to stop on Hanley park, as nice as it looks, and it does look a great place to stop, and to go at least as far as Milton. This is just before Engine Lock..  I really feel for these folks.

Anyway, making our way back to Marple Locks, we passed Peruvian Skies with Dick and Netty. Netty has found my blog, and more importantly, she rather likes the Daily Puppy. !!!!   Hi to you. 

Today, we are stuck at the top of the flight, due to some damage being repaired further down the locks.  Not a prob for us, but it is for the Bride to Be, waiting to come up the flight. !!!!  ooeeerrrr, they are getting married at 11am Wednesday in Macclesfield.  Well, they are not going to make it by narrowboat., that’s for sure. I do hope they can find another way. We looked at the map, to see if we could take them to Macclesfield, but we would not get back here in time for getting down the lock tomorrow.

The town of Marple seems nice. Some good charity shops, and strangely, I have not found time to have a mooch around them. !!! whats wrong with me ????

 must get Finlay some stabilisers !!!! Thats Mick back there, I bet you can guess why he is so far behind. !!!! 

 and I managed to get some dung for my rose bush ( Chris Frost !!!!! take note) 

 the bride to be is t'other side of this. !!!!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Bugsworth basin , on the pretty peak forest canal.   and its.................................RAINING heavily and steadily. !   Rats !    I wanted to do a bit of proper walking, not just to the pub one way and Tesco the other.  Oh well, perhaps tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Left the Lovley Caldon canal, but we will return.

Enjoyed the rest of the Trent and Mersey, through the Potteries, Fuelled up for 84ppl. Had a nice day and night at Westport Lakes. Whilst we were busy tying up ropes and securing Trundle, Finlay decided to clear off.  However, he was only down in the lake splashing about and looking for boulders to play with.
Sunday = Harecastle Tunnel and on towards the junction for the Macclesfield canal. Met a great couple called Dick and Netty on NB Peruvian  Skies. They are from our area, so it was nice to hear Linnolnshire dialect again,.   All those flaaat aaaa’s.

Monday. Mooched about Congleton and found bits and bobs. Tuesday on through Bosley locks.

 Well, we are really enjoying the Macclesfield Canal, we have had bbq’s, and the scenery is lovely.
The only locks on the maccie are Bosley locks, and they are so pretty and real joy to “do.”

When we moored up before Gurnett aqueduct, I found out by chance, that we were moored next to a business park that had a Homebase, poundland, Matalan. Etc.  Now that was very handy as our 5 month old winter pansies have just about faded, so off to Homebase and a short walk back to Trundle with new plants… PETUNIAS. Boring, I know, but we get lots of colour for the rest of the summer. More lettuce seeds have been set , also.

Mick then returned to do some man-shopping, and I looked out of the window to check that Finlay was still snoozing on the towpath, and watched and giggled, whilst a very pretty young runner, took a few pics of Finlay from various angles.  Like a good dog, he looked winningly into her mobile camera for her.  It’s the red spotty scarf that does it.

Glad we did what we need to do there, as the Macclesfield town moorings are as awful as they were 6 years ago.  Cramped, notices saying DO NOT RUN ENGINES DUE TO HOUSES CLOSE BY ,and  the moorings were close to those sort of pubs that advertise SKY football, and have used beer glasses hanging around on uncleared tables. Shame really,  didn’t entice us to stop, so off we went into the country.

5 year old batteries have given up, so we called into The Trading Post chandlery, for new batteries ( cor, Mick wallet is taking a hammering !!!), a new gas bottle,phew !, and we needed new rope for the life belt( and as Mick was a fellow RED supporter and was spending a fair few groats, the bloke let him have it ) for free, I should add.
Friday . will be a foray down the Peak Forest canal, for as long as it takes. Looking forward to that as we have been told how lovely it is.  I shall enjoy it as much as I can, as when we return, we will be off up The Marple flight of locks, then the Ashton flight of locks, before tackling the Rochdale flight of locks.  Crikey, my muscles are going to get some work !!!! 

 Bootiful Bosley Locks

" Shorn" the sheep !!!

 Blinking crocodiles are becoming a menace. This is the 3rd one I have seen since April. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

So we have finally left the lovely mooring.  Painted the side of Trundle, met Terry on Serendipity( super older boat), who has a range cooker, no less.  He came along with a loaf of bread that he had made, he always makes too much just for himself.  It was delicious with our curried parsnip soup, sitting outside in 75 degrees .  !!!

We are doing a Post Restante at Milton post office.  The first time we have done one. It means that when they receive something with this phrase on it, they have to keep it until a person collects and deals with.

Now I know you have all been waiting for the following news.  Airhead Composting toilet- the poo-part ---  emptying of.

Arrived at the Park Lane services , unscrewed the base and trotted off to the elsan. No problem…………so far.  Gave it a stir, and believe me it smelt like newly turned soil. !!! Honestly, it was amazing.  So I tipped the container  and the first donation flew into the hole and got stuck. ! flush, flush, bit more water and it eventually went.  Tipped in a b it more, got stuck again………..however this time Mick had to go find a stick to prod it.  Then the stick broke. So he went on got one of our old-fashioned heavy duty mooring stakes, and we started giving it a poke again.   Unfortunately, to no avail. Mick put more water with it, but it just kept on rising, and would not go down.We were still trilling on about how wonderful it smelt, but realised that we had caused a problem.  The nice young CRT man came to our aid.  We explained what had happened, assured him that it did  not stink, and offered tea/coffee with biccies.  He declined and said no worries, he would shift it.   Hm, Hm, an hour later and he had decided to lift the concrete lid outside and get out the rods, then some sort of suction pipe, he was also using his phone a lot perhaps asking what to do next ?
I went an apologised again, and said that we had learnt a lesson not to put so much in all at once in future. He said not to worry and he was finished at lunchtime anyway. Oh ok. So when we left, the door of the elsan was still open( not sure why, who doesn’t love the smell of newly dug soil ???? eh ?? ) he had gone, but so had his rods. !!!!

So all in all, we will be back to this wonderful waterway, but now its pastures new and heading towards the Maccie.   I wonder if Richard and Jackie Russell are about ??? Our  neighbours from Spain/. It would be good to catch up. 

 I know its  nature, but this  crow and his mate, tore apart a gosling right in front of us.  one parent bird was dead in the water, and little gosling escaped from under mums wing, and  " game over"

 There you go Gerry, BBQ Man mit vino rojo.

 1)Mick has turned to Islam and looking toward m ecca? 2) he's trying to steal that bench? 3) he's dropped a 5p coin?

 Guess !!!!! thats the elsan.


 4.30am.   dont ask.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Still here at Hazelhurst Locks. !

We did have a trundle down the leek branch to......................Leek.  Mick didn;t want the trawl into the town, so we had a quick walk, and came back to our fave " mooring of the moment".  Jobs to do.  More windows have been re-furbed and the paintbrush will make an appearance tomorrow. My bead making is coming on, and so are my muscles. !!!!!   Apparently I will need them for Rochdale.

Chatting to a lady passing by with her brown labby called  Maggie,( who just had to have a nose inside the boat, mainly to see if Finlay had left any grub)--- the labby not the lady.  On chatting it turns out she is a nurse, so I asked her if she would have a look at Micks problem !!! hee hee.  Poor Mick has got an allergy to something( I think it may have been some HOME MADE laundry gel, ooops ). She confirmed that it was an allergy and that he needed Piriton or some anti histamine tabs. so Mr Tesco is going to bring us some. and then we can stop calling each other Itchy and Scratchy.

When we were moored  down at Consall Forge, we met up again with a couple whose blog I have followed for years. We first found it way back when we were still living in Spain and trying to sell our villa . Sue's blog kept us going,during the years it took to get a sale.  Anyway, since we have been back and narrowboating  we have seen them here and there, not every year but when we do meet up its good to  have a chat.  This time we managed to get to the pub together for a beer or 2 . Sue's blog is very informative and knowing she was ahead of us I was able to get in touch with her for a postal code , so that I could organise my Tesco drop and shop.  Cheers Sue, friday twixt 13.00 and 14.00, and as we will be running out of water here by then, we will be well ready for a shower in the "wet room" at the facilities..

We understand its "Music Night" at the Hollybush pub, tomorrow night, so may go and have a look.

So the lambs are leaping, a moorhen family are hanging about for bread, and the weather is rather nice( say it quietly, though ).  Washing dried, and could be a bbq later.