Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Passing through Lymn

Its funny how you wake up some mornings and you know its going to be one of those days?
We left our mooring at sparrow fart this morning pushing on through Sale, Altringham, and Dunham and pushing on to Lymn now by some strange impulse I managed to arrive in Lymn just as one of the best chippies on the system was opening (what Luck) we found a mooring and had a lovely pie chips and peas for lunch. leaving Lymn I was hailed by another boater wanting to borrow a adjustable spanner I naturally pulled in more out of curiosity than anything else have spoken to the guy and looked at the job it was soon decided that it would require far more than a adjustable his shear pin had snapped and left him with no drive anyhow I shall not bore you with the details but nearly two hours later we managed to get him on his way having stripped the final drive made a shear pin fitted it reassembled everything and got him on his way.
Now unfortunately as you all know my recollection of names is useless (Ask Carrol) so it will come as no surprise that I have no idea what he or his young pal were called I have even forgot the name of the boat But! he does have my blog address so we may hear from him.
Tomorrow we are having Silvia, Marjorie, Alan and Geof over for a  curry night I think we may call it a Will and Catherine stag/ hen do well some one has to celebrate it.

Be Good God Bless

Big Al

That says "Do you know what you are doing"
In my element in the engine bay

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter Weekend

What a lovely weekend we have had, Friday I had a good day with the shop, the shelving I made to fit on the side of the boat work a treat giving the customers enough space to view without falling in, it also means that I do not have to anything on the footpath. I have had to go back to pound land to buy more hurricane lamps as I have sold all but one of the original ones the problem is you never know what is going to be a good seller and what you are going to be left with. Saturday we had Tom, Shirley, her granddaughter Grace and graces mum and dad which obviously made the boat a little full But in the afternoon our old friends Val and Mike came sailing past on Perfect day they pulled in and we had a great afternoon doing catch up. Mike and Val are a great couple and always have amusing stories of canal folk. We had to abandon them about 6pm as we were off to the Easter vigil we assumed that we would be back about 9pm however on our return we gave them a knock about 10.10pm we continued were we left off until the early hours. It was great to see them again but they pulled out at 08.30 this morning with an ample supply of Noreen’s Oat Cakes.

Today we were invited up to Mats he was providing the family Easter lunch and may I say what a fantastic meal it was, he must get it from me a better meal you could not have had if you had gone out and paid a lot of money very professional from the cooking to the presentation I am not saying that because he is one of mine as most of you will know praise of any kind from me is hard to get. Though I believe both Matthew and Maryanne are good cooks and it all come from the enjoyment they get from cooking. As we are like many families these days and geographically spread out it is really nice to all get together for a meal So here I must make a great thank you to Mat and Lorraine for providing such a fantastic day

Happy Easter to everyone

Friday, 22 April 2011


Hi Everyone
We have arrived here in Stretford and settled in with the Watch Tower Cruiser Club they are a great bunch of boaters of every kind there are big ones, little ones, Old ones, New ones, some have had cosmetic work some need cosmetic work, highly decorated ones and the downright knackered ones, and the boats are quite varied as well???
One thing they all have in common is their passion for Boats and Boating. The club as I might have said before is a little gem of boating history and a must to visit if you are passing.
It has been a long day today this morning I had to change the fan belts all thee of them unfortunately nobody warned me of the razor sharp ridges on the belt pulley I now have both thumbs with deep slashes in them + two fingers I just hope that they will be ok for playing the guitar tomorrow. Noreen took Dad to the good Friday vigil at church this afternoon it is a very solemn service and to be honest over my head so I elected to look after the boat, It also gave me time to set up shop, with it being a lovely day it encouraged lots of walkers onto the canal footpath which is great for the shop so I did some painting and sold quite a few items. But other that the selling which is very nice people love to hear about the tradition of canal art and canal history it is also nice to put many myths bed about the canal I also like to inspire kids to learn about their local canal and what a part it played in the history of their town.
I am sat here at the moment with a good glass of port the light is just starting to dim. A very slight drizzle has started fall settling the dust and making all those spring smells come alive, on the far side of the canal foot path there are some quite large hawthorn which are in full bloom, the smell is fantastic, the houses around here must be at least 2000 yards away but with the good weather lots of keen people have been mowing the grass, the two combined smells are wonderful, if one could only bottle it for cold winter nights.
That slight drizzle I spoke about has now started to become a storm so I will have to dash and batten down

Big Al

Monday, 18 April 2011

New Furniture

We have today finnished the fit out of the new Dinette our kid came over and drove me to pick up the cushions and it lookks great Kieth and I even tried out the bed and if it takes us two it will take anyone???
I think that Mat and I have made a good job of the dinette/bed and for quite a reasonable price.
As I said today Carol and Kieth came we had a very sedate grown up day with a bit of fishing thrown in
I even managed to get his car parked all day for £2.90 hows for Manchester.
check out the pics of the new dinette/double bed

Snug as a bug in a rug

Dinning Area

Big Al

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Another week gone by and we are still here in Castlefield Basin, We are still awaiting our new cushions to be made for the Dinette/ Double bed the company making them said that they would be ready by the weekend however it now seems they May be ready tomorrow. On the precept that they would be ready by the weekend Mat and Lorraine said they would stay over on Sat night but having now no bed on board they had to bring two inflatable beds to substitute for the now missing cushions, Mat did not get much sleep as one of them kept going down. I think he must have spent all night with the air dryer (and before you get the health and safety involved it was on cold) blowing up the mattress and when you have batteries for the electric system it takes no time at all to flatten them with household appliance's anyway alls well now. We have a busy week the only bad day for weather was Thursday when we took the boat up to Worsley for a pump out and Diesel It was freezing and damp and its a five hour round trip those this gave Noreen plenty of time to do the washing as we can only do it when the engine is running it also gives her something to do as there are no locks. We also had lots of visitors Maryanne came and helped us entertain Thomas on Sat whilst Mat and Lorraine got some uninterrupted shopping in. We also sat Thomas on sat night whilst they dined out though mat says how can you spend that much money and still be hungry he will never know. Maryanne is fine and still her usual self and still acting more her shoe size than age, taking her and Thomas out can be quite trying.(check out the pic taken in the museum

Friday we had two old school friends over (Margaret nee Taylor and her husband John Shaw) that I hadn't seen for nearly fifty years and the strange thing is that it felt as though we had never been apart isn't it strange how time can dull the memory and stimulate it all at the same time, we chatted for hours and now reunited intend not to let time separate such good memories. I think when we were in your early teens you must soak up every emotion known to medical science, all your hormones are running wild, every feeling becomes an experiment, and every experiment becomes an emotion (I am not talking drugs here, we never touched them, our life’s were confused enough without them) these make up the memories that last the longest and remain the strongest. After almost fifty years Margaret still has the Innocent charm of a fifteen year old in the early sixties, and John looks as though he could still run out for the first eleven, Me I fell into the abyss and saw the dark side, which has sort of dulled some of my opinions in life, even at fifteen I think my innocence had been sullied. We are having a reunion in May although I cannot attend as I will be in Worcester just my luck the only time I could get my own back on some of the scrotes I went to school with and I’m away which in the great scheme of things is about my luck. I wish them all a great night.

Our kid and Carol comes tomorrow for the day that’s always good for a laugh if he breaks anything I will take a photo

Time to go batteries are nearly flat

Big Al

                                                                   Barton swing bridge with the M60 in the background

The lighthouse at Patricroft

Maryanne and Thomas in the museum


Monday, 11 April 2011


Yesterday was such a wonderful day , not only did all my guitar playing go well in church, Noreen won on the raffle and I was given a new high vis jacket ideal for the back of the boat., its strange how you receive things when you plead poverty?? On returning to the boat we had Mat Lorraine Thomas and his little pal TJ? for lunch which was a nice surprise . As the Science and Industry Museum is just over the road we decided to take the kids. We went into the aircraft museum first the kids love it I on the other hand am a bit more reserved over the exhibits as I actually flew in a few of them and rode some of the motor bikes on show Ah well at least I was a wealth of knowledge. The two lads wanted to go on the moon rocket race simulator Noreen and I decided we would accompany them it was fantastic, travelling a breakneck speed, forcing others off the circuit, very similar to Noreen’s driving except there was no abuse from other drivers. If you are looking for a great day out with the kids try the Science and Industry museum Manchester its a good day out and free

The weather yesterday here was great in the afternoon every piece of grass was taken with people having picnics, wine parties, family BBQs, and all sorts merry goings on, and I’m sure in some hidden corners orgies were happening, however I was not allowed to go and look.
Today was a stark difference not only in the weather but also with the tasks we had on, first we had to go and get the car from Noreen’s dads this entailed my first voyage on a metro tram and may I say a very pleasant experience it was, it seems to be a very efficient service though not what I would call cheep. We then had quite a lot of stuff to buy to finish off some work on the boat. We also had to visit my brother who had been taken into hospital. He was in Tameside hospital after fighting our way through the Manchester Traffic up to Ashton it then took us half an hour to park the car I am sure the designers of the place did it in such a way as to deter visitors it is the most unfriendly hospital I have ever been too If the NHS want to save money pull the bloody place down. And why did they build a hospital on a bloody hill I needed oxygen by time we reached our kids ward. He went in with heart problems and now has a upset stomach. which apparently comes free with three day stay. It was well worth it though and I hope we cheered him up??
One other thing annoyed me today, in Stretford I saw a mini bus with the words Afro/Caribbean Welfare Bus, it was taking people to there club for the day which is great, and I applaud the community spirit which can supply such transport.
But what I want to know is could I run a bus which says White English Welfare Bus or would that be racial ????????????? I believe if we advertise racial segregation we promote it Just a thought.
I have just spent the last 20 mins looking for a rattling noise which just sounded like the central heating system leaking. I searched the boat checked the heating, I could not find anything wrong. Then Noreen went out for a fag and it was then she realised that the boat across the way had started its engine which had a very bad rattle, ever felt an idiot.
Speak soon
Big Al

Speak soon

Big Al

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Arrived in Castlefield Manchester

What a fantastic day we have had . The sail into Manchester was really good the sun was out the wind was calm and the canal quiet . As you navigate from Leigh through to Manchester is amazing you first traverse the open country now reclaimed from the once thriving mining industry which brought great prosperity to the canal owners, of course we all know that the Bridgewater was the first commercial canal in the country

Over 200 years ago. Having left Leigh and Astley you again pass some lovely open countryside through Worsley woods where I once did an awful lot of scouting at Middlewood camp site, under the M60 you then pass the famous Worlsey court house

Here the canal is a very strange ochre colour caused by the iron ore in the mines seeping into the canal, once through Worsley you soon pass though Apricot I am not sure if it is a suburb of Manchester or Salford though I think the later. After Patricroft you pass over the famous Barton Swinging Aqueduct this construction which at one time was one off the wonders of the industrial age swings the canal over the Manchester ship Canal so to allow ocean going ships to pass, even though now it rarely moves and would look better for a lick of paint it still remains for me one of the wonders of the water world.

Its then time to pass the Trafford centre on your right and the first industrial park in the world on your left that of Trafford park. Turn left at Waters meeting and pass the Old Trafford we passed at 2.30 and had some good crack with the 1000s of United fans they also run some quite large boat trips to the ground which today were full of screaming fans all having a great time As we pulled into Castle field basin we were greeted by the usual Saturday afternoon drinkers But as the sun was shining they were all out on the wharfs singing and merry making inst it strange how the sun effects the drinkers I think its great as I just watch the antics and wait for them to fall in and then watch the drunken mates attempt to get them out, I never interfere unless I see that the situations is getting out of control then I do my life saving routine (without getting wet)

We are here now and settled in, we have looked around for a place to park the car for the next 10 days or so but at £80 a week we have decided to leave it at Toms and when needed we will catch a tram to Stretford

Keep Smiling

Big Al

Three days in Leigh

Hi Every One

Well that’s the first part of the visiting over, We managed to visit everyone on the list or they visited us , If you are ever passing through Leigh one of the best moorings and relatively safe is 100 yards up from Butts Basin on the opposite side to the tow path there is a private edge and easy access to the main road and one of the best chippies 10 mins walk by turning right when you reach the road. Other than the first two days when we got absolutely soaked the weather has been good . Today we are off to Manchester the weather looks absolutely fabulous so we should have a good trip .

I am sorry that I cannot give any funny anecdotes but this was only a visit to old friends lets hope that the trip from now on will be more entertaining for you

Monday, 4 April 2011

First day

Hi everyone

Monday the 4 April the morning dawned grey and quite cold. The weather forecast did not look good neither did the sky line. Still we had decided to start our journey today and if you put it off just because of the weather you would never do anything would you . Having filled up with diesel, had a pup out and said our good byes to Alan and Danny with a blast of the Claxton we set off,

I new that the wind would be a the underlying problem for the day and it was, Rain you can cope with But wind is a different kettle of fish it tends to prevent you from going in straight line and getting Noreen on and off for the locks all becomes far more complicated than it should be. For the first hour the hazy sun tried to break through a milky cloudy sky we new it would not be long before it gave up and give way to the dark clouds that were amassing in the west and heading our way we were right, soon we were into high winds and driving rain we new from the outset that it was not going to be a good and soon enough we new why not only were we rusty in our boating skills but the locks were also very rusty. Even with the wind and the rain and our rusty boating skills we were still managing to make headway, that is until lock 5 where on leaving the lock with a broadside wind I managed to get us grounded by allowing the wind to throw the bow onto the far bank, it took us almost 30mins to extradite ourselves off the bottom the rest of the journey was; well all I can say is hard just a very hard slog. We eventually moored up at 15.30 at Dean Lock under the M6.

All the above sounds quite harrowing but now sat here having stripped out of our wet clothes, had a shower, dressed in warm clothes, a good fire blazing, a lovely Curry bubbling away on the cooker all the hassle of the days journey seems a long time ago. That’s the beauty of this live you are soon appeased and with all your creature comforts with you it never takes long to be (reet comfy )again.

It appears that the weather for tomorrow is the same as today so its just a case of getting the wet weather gear on again putting our best foot forward and getting on with it. Its more miles tomorrow but fewer locks with an early start we should be in Leigh before early afternoon .

Keep Smiling

Big Al