Thursday, 29 July 2010

Begining of the arm looking towars Tesco and the town

End of the arm at Elsmere on the turning circle

We are here in Elsmere, we arrived yesterday and have met up with Maryanne and Gregg. We have managed to acquire the same mooring that we had last year, second one in on the arm this means I can reverse out instead of trying the turn around at the head of the arm. It has become very busy now that tesco's is at the top of the arm everyone comes here to shop its so conveinient. Noreen and I can't get use to the comings and goings the early boats start leaving as early as 6.30am and they are still coming in at 21.00hrs some go all the way down the arm just to shop which I feel is stupid as its very difficult to get past the moored boats and even worse to turn your boat at the end, when they could moor on the main line and just walk the 200yards to the shop. luckily its a 72 hr mooring though most only stay the one night, but that is norm as most boats are hire boats and the holiday makers only have a limited time to do what ever they want to do its mainly people like ourselves who have plenty of time to laze about who use the am as a rest stop rather than a shop stop.
This is our time to catch up Noreen is having a hair cut, I am busy polishing the boat and doing the repairs that didn't get done at Buxworth because of the rain. I have done very well on the paintings in fact I have no watering cans left I have sold out. I have to replenish my stock. Maryanne is taking me a car boot on Sunday so I hope to replenish my stock.
I was fishing this evening when kids on the boat next to us were intrigued with the concept of fishing so it finished up with lending all the spare rods out and showing dads daughters and sons how to fish we all had a great time and it really made us think about why we love this life.
Speak soon

Big Al

Monday, 26 July 2010

No lack of water on the Maccesfield Canal

Twin side by side locks on the Trent and Mersey at Kidsgrove

Thomas Dad and a Dragon at the Buxton Carnival

Hi Everyone

Buxworth basin is at the end of the Peak Forest canal; a terminus, dead end. At one time over 250 people worked there loading lime stone on to the barges from the adjacent quarries, or working in the many lime kilns that ran along the canal. The work was manually hard and living conditions like so many in the era 1800 were very basic.
However today the renovation is complete and Bosworth is now a quiet corner of Derbyshire were you can either admire the wild life or sit and imagine what it was like 200 years ago, I prefer the latter.
We spent a very nice weekend in Bosworth Mat Lorraine and Thomas came to celebrate my birthday and play postman with all the cards.9which I thank everyone) Saturday we all caught the bus to Buxton to watch the Buxton festival. However, this time the bus journey was quite uneventful nothing like the last time we came. The festival was great, lots of floats and fun though the weather was its usual temperamental self and waited until all the floats were in the middle of town when the heavens opened. I really felt sorry for all the kids getting really soaked, but it didn’t seem to bother anyone the show went on as if it was brilliant sunshine.
We had decided to leave on Monday morning and meet Carol and Keith in Marple, However on Sunday evening I was asked if on Monday morning I would paint the back and side panels on a boat as a commission, and you know I never turn work down, a quick call to Keith to change the venue from Marple to Bosworth and all was on track. The job only took 2½ hours so I was back in plenty of time for lunch Keith brought his sister-in-law and husband so we all had a very sociable afternoon.
Leaving Bosworth on Tuesday, we cruised down to Marple through some very heavy showers, moored overnight in Marple and now we are in Bollington. Tomorrow we will hit the first set of locks for Noreen lets hope her arms is fit for purpose and holds up. She is determined to do it so I have relented to let her try.
Nothing much else to report, the canal seems to be filling up but it is still very low so much so that this morning I had a hard job getting moving, overnight we seemed to have been sucked into the mud and the rudder had become jammed on something, but a lot of forward and reverse, rocking and swearing and we were off again. We are missing all our friends, the lack of water seems to have split everyone up, lots have just run for their mooring before the canals get closed but now with the influx of water we all may get chance to meet up soon.

That’s your lot

Keep smiling


Saturday July 24th

I am sorry for the lack of news but honesty this is pathetic it’s been almost a week now without Internet I am getting withdrawal symptoms.
So Far! We did the first lock system on our own yesterday, the Bosley flight all 12 of them Noreens wrist seems to be holding up, luckily we all the locks are down until we turn onto the Llangolen (tomorrow) so that means that I can assist in closing the lock and opening one of the gate paddles which makes live easier.
Today we have joined the throng of holiday boaters even though we started at 07.00 we still got caught by them don’t get me wrong they are ok and they are all happy and enjoying themselves but most are very slow But! Like us, they are on holiday and why should they rush, the only thing that really bothers me is the way the fool around in the locks it is so dangerous especially for the kids.
We are now moored on the Trent and Mersey having joined it at Red Bull Basin Kidsgrove were the a Maccasfield goes under the Trent and Mersey, we are resting up for the day, as we will be getting an early start tomorrow the hire boats don’t wake until 10 we will have done three hours by then and will be looking for looking for moorings
I hope that by tomorrow night we should be on the middlewich branch heading towards the Llangolen.

That’s it the going down hill is over; today we turned the corner on to the Shropshire canal. Since we left Bugsworth last Tuesday we have dropped nearly 1000ft through 47 locks over 60 miles , and now its all up hill towards Elsmere on the Llangolen Canal where we are meeting up with Maryanne. Today was a hard slog, the locks were quite a distance apart that means stopping and starting and you can’t get a rhythm going??? The canal is getting very busy now that the kids are off school, but it’s nice to see so many people enjoying themselves as much as we are. But some people idea of boating are very strange, they moor in the most ludicrous of places what we need on the canal is double yellow lines they moor in front of bridges, locks, bends, and even narrows, most accept your advice and move and even thank you for putting the straight but there are always the holiday experts. Being Sunday we had to cruise through at least three fishing matches again most of the anglers accept we have to pass but again we always get the niggley old sod who thinks the canal was built just for him.

Today has been a very busy day we had to take on water, diesel, Gas and have a pump out we also did 12 locks and cruised an extra 3 hours more than the schedule. All that through driving rain gale force winds and no oil in the gearbox, The rain was real Belthorn rain; sideways or right in your face, oh! How we love boating at least when the weather is bad its only real boaters who travel in it (or just the idiots, you judge)
In addition, I have been able to get on line and get this published.


Monday 26 July 2010

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Manchester to Buxworth

Under Piccadilly, all the paining in the world cannot hide the smell

One of the very awkward locks at the end of Canal Street in Manchester. Note the lack of gate beam, because of the lack of space the lock has to be opened and closed useing a winder and chains. ( not the things to be involved with on Canal street)

Going towards Piccadilly

Out in the open air Away from the city

Yellow Wagtail on the beam of lock 15 Marple (the lock goes under the main road)

Well we arrived in Manchester on Sunday evening after spending a very nice quiet weekend at Noreen’s dads, the whole weekend went very quietly except for me doing an engine service, this time I did manage to get the right filters and everything went according to plan.
Manchester or Castlefield basin is always a buzzing place to be, they had big scenes up for the world cup; Manchester having its fair share of Spanish and Dutch it was a fantastic atmosphere. In the afternoon, Thomas arrived and we all went to the MOSI (museum of science and industry) great time Thomas was awe struck with the planes and old cars but not too bothered about the Lego exhibition as he wasn't allowed to play with the displays. Sunday evening Danny arrived to help us through to Marple.
Monday morning arrived damp and drizzly, and a canal littered with dutch hats and rubber clogs from a very disgruntled Dutch supporters, so we set off to conquer the Manchester eight locks, as Normal they were a bitch I know I moan a lot but anyone who has attempted those locks knows what I am talking about, having conquered the eight it was time to face the Ashton canal under normal circumstances the canal is shallow but the locks are easy, so its not too difficult.
However yesterday everything was against us, the canal was very short of water and in places we actually had to tow the boat, in one lock there was not enough water to let me in the chamber so we had to tow it out and then get water down from the upper lock this process we had to repeat at every lock. We set off at 07.45 and moored up last night at 19.45 a very long day. Tuesday we tackled the Marple flight but we had extra crew as Rach joined us Monday night in Ashton we were going to moor in Ashton but there was a massive row going on between two boaters about mooring, something that is unusual; it was just that people had had a very bad day and tempers were getting frayed, we just moved on and found a quieter place to moor, after a hard day you can not cope with petty squabbles. The Marple flight was the same as the Ashton, the same happened here just not enough water to fill the locks. Because of the water shortage, traveling is becoming very slow and very hazardous job.
We arrived in Marple and wondered what to do next; we have just heard about the Leeds and Liverpool but cannot find out that 60 miles between Wigan and Gargrave are being closed. Not that it matters we cannot get there anyway if things get any worse we may have to find a mooring near by. We are meeting people all the time that are worse off than we are at least we are not tied to any time scale. Some people are trying to get back to get to work.
I am as normal very optimistic and hoping we get enough rain and water this weekend to get us moving again.
Its Thursday night and we are now in Buxsworth Basin we can hang around here for a few days and take stock of the situation do a few running repairs and enjoy my birthday.
All this sounds very daunting and dangerous but its not, it is all part of boating, we are still enjoying it and finding these little difficulties a new challenge. ???????

Keep smiling and when it starts pouring down this weekend please don't moan We really need the wet stuff

God bless keep smiling

Thursday, 8 July 2010

We are on the move again

Eureka Noreen's plaster is off

We went to Leighton hospital (Crew) last Monday and they decided to whip it off she feels so much better now its off, Noreen will be a few weeks yet before she is back to normal but we are getting there.
Tuesday we had Keith Carol and Danny over for the day, we had a great day us lads spent the day catching loads of fish and Carol and Noreen hit the shops. its always a great day with "our kid" So Wednesday we slipped our mooring and ready to leave the Weaver, the river had been a good friend over the past few weeks and we have really enjoyed it but now Noreen is free of the plaster its time to continue our wanderings, We set off at 08.30 and by 10.30 we had sailed to the lift risen up to the canal filled up with diesel done two loads of washing two loads of drying and filled up with water, it was one of those days when everything seemed to go our way and by 15.45 we had moored up the other side of Preston brook a real good day
We are now making our way up to Manchester then on to Bugsworth basin, we will spend a few days with Tom in Stretford then pick up Danny and Rach in Manchester to crew for us up the Manchester flight and then the Marple flight so stayed tuned this could be fun, the last time we did this trip it was chaos all the way.

Keep tuned all of you things will pick up from here on

Keep smiling

Big Al

Carol taking a well earned rest

Keith and Danny trying to catch bigger fish than me
Carols Fish (she refused to hold it)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Very Quiet

Thomas Flighing high

Hi All

Well this will have to stop because yet again we have had a beautiful weekend and I have nothing to complain about, which as you all know is one of the great delights in my life.
Yesterday we had Thomas it was also the Nothwich Carnival weekend including a fair ground
Thomas had a fantastic time going on all the rides that would take him I am afraid that a three year old does not the conception that "size does matter" but he had a great time, they also had the crowning of the rose queen which even now I am still attempting to understand what was going on there was last years Queen this years queen and next years prospective queens all with a dozen ladies in waiting I think every girl in Northwich had a had in it still it was very colourful as was the strongest man competition I was going to take part but I have a bad back at the moment and I was not going to show off in front of all those queens?
Today started with a trip to the car boot it was awful just utter junk I now believe that all the good stuff that use to be on the car boots has gone, I am always on the look out for brass items and things to paint but today was not my lucky day.
This afternoon we were invited out for Sunday lunch to Geoff and Marjorie's along with Silvia and Alan lovely meal great company and a great afternoon, its strange that with good friends you may not see them that often but you soon get into that easy relaxed atmosphere that only good friends experience. As I find with you lot.
Noreen is off to the hospital again tomorrow I will let you all know the outcome keep your fingers crossed for a good result.
We have been here that long that we have become apart of the community here at Northwich. People stop and say good morning and have a chat even the locals now chat to us as if we have been here years and it feels like it I can't wait to be on the move again Though no matter what I will have to go up the lift onto the canal on Tues as I have no diesel left.
I must apologise for the lack of news or interesting items to submit but it is very quiet here Northwich is not a hive of cosmopolitan thinking but I would call it quaint.

So that's your lot for now

God Bless