Friday, 29 June 2012

Hi Folks

Wednesday 27 June

Keith and Carol arrived safe and sound on Monday after unpacking settling in lunch then it was straight down to the serious stuff, Fishing, The weather was good but the river was running very fast the conditions were not that favourable for a good fishing session however we persevered and won our true reward in both of us getting a good bag of fish, we had already decided that Tue morning we would take a leisurly sail up to Nothwich neither Keith or Carol had ever seen the river from this angle and its many interesting historic features on arriving in Northwich we were lucky to get the end mooring many  boats were still moored from the weekend festival they all seemed to be awaiting time to get off the river via the Anderton lift. Carol and Noreen hit the shops Keith and I hit the fishing I am not sure why but we hit the Eels I must have caught 25 Keith the same I have never seen as many they (that is the ecologists) say that there is a shortage of eels and that they will soon become an endangered species, all I can say to them is get yourself down on the weaver it has thousands of them. Wednesday we decided to start back to Windsford staying overnight at a nice little spot were the fishing looked good with plenty of open water a nice grassy bank bordered by woodland and ideal spot by lunch the sun was scorching it was in fact too hot to fish we were baking, I have been after an Eel to top 3lb as that is my biggest on here so far so I set a rod up purely with that in mind I left it quite secure at the front of the boat as we were all on the stern when Noreens cries of woe were heard she had seen the Eel rod twitching and as nobody else was there decided to strike.
In her bewildering none fishing terms (lift it up) you guessed it she caught a 41/2lb Eel
Ok Keith landed it I netted it but in all fairness Noreen caught it, so Now I have her record to beat as well as my own. After dinner we all sat enjoying the evening air I decided to start a game of I-Spy However the rules became an entangled web of mischief, and idiotic childish  behavour
One of Noreens was something beginning with TA which concluded as Tropical Attire We have no idea were it came from only to say thats how the game continued in pure lunacy.
Its now 22.00 and its only just started to cool down I expect that we will pay for today’s heat in tomorrows storms

Friday:   I was right about the weather its turned again and  yesterday we got very wet Again, however having Carol and Keith here for the last week has been great, Last night we went out for a celebratory dinner not celebrating their departure but the excelet week we have had travelling, fishing, and just having a good time Keith won the most fish Noreen won the biggest fish I came a good second on both accounts As we moored up yesterday we were treated to a rare sight as a Mink came swimming past  (see photo) with a huge Eel in its mouth taking it back to feed its young quite a rare and spectacular sight. This morning our guests  left dropping Noreen off at her dads on the way. I am left wondering how we get the boat back up the onto the canal. I have just phoned and grabbed the only free passage up the lift tomorrow but it goes at 12.10 we have to book in by 11.40 which is leaving it a bit tight we will get an early start but I am worried about the New Bridge swing bridge as coming down yesterday we only just got under it with 2 inches to spare now with the amount of rain we have just had and the North West in general the river is still rising if we have to wait for the bridge to be opened we will miss our slot on the lift so we can only hope

One thing in our favour is that we are going with the flow and the wind is NNW so I will be wind and flow assisted.

We have now a couple of weeks off before our next guests arrive just enough time for some long awaited repairs, painting and cleaning lets hope for the weather.

Speak soon Big Al

Lunch by the Boat at Dock House a very nice place

The Mink running off with a big Eel very rare sight

Some of the working boats moored up at the BW Yard
left over from the Boat Show

Carol in her TA which is I-Spy talk for
Tropical Atire

As you can see we did have some very nice weather

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Back on the Weaver

Here we back down on the River Weaver, we arrived here last Sunday,

The Weaver to me is like mums apron it is always a place of comfort and safety I always feel at home here, I have no real reason for saying that, as a lad I use to come here fishing with my Dad but other than that I have no real connection its just a feeling.

We came down the lift onto the weaver early because of the river festival held this weekend in Northwich this means boats coming down the lift all week and the lift being fully booked, of course if you wanted to moor in Northwich beyond yesterday you would have had to have booked and paid, we cheated by getting in early, mooring in Northwich at Town bridge seeing all our friends who were attending the festival and leaving yesterday morning for the quieter mooring up river at Dock house Caravan park I know that sounds odd for a boat but its a beautiful spot. BW authority ends at Winsford bridge, before the caravan site if you continue then you are no longer the responsibility of BW 200 yards beyond the bridge the river narrows for about 300yards then widens onto the Winsford Flash the site moorings are very close on the port side, for those who are not familiar with the flash it’s quite a treacherous water for narrow boats its depth, though in places up to 15ft it is unreliable and many boats have gone aground; however I always moor here at the caravan park the moorings and good and the water mainly deep as long as you proceed slowly and with care everything is fine its the boaters who coming onto the flash see a mile or so of open water before them, open the throttle and find themselves high and dry on a sand bank.

There is a strange collection of craft moored here there are another two narrow boats some nice river cruisers and a few sailing boats with a smattering of dinghies. We are primarily here awaiting our Keith and Carol who join us on Monday its also a good place to get a train back to Manchester the station is within walking distance about a mile tomorrow Noreen is catching the train to visit her dad I will walk to the station with her and then continue another mile to the fishing tackle shop

We had three good days in Northwich the weather was really good we met many friends from the Cheshire and North Wales branch of the Inland Waterways Association who are helping organise the festival I attend their meetings in Elsmere Port when we are back on are permanent mooring. The sail down here yesterday was fantastic the sun was shining the wind very light and no traffic. We are now settling down to await the arrival of our kid then we have a week of very serious fishing, I have already started to cheat by loosing one of our kids rods he in his wisdom decided to leave it on board, today I was short of one so I thought I would borrow it having tackled it up cast in I left it for two minutes whilst I went for a brew on my return I saw the rod being towed out to the middle of the flash by a DUCK I tried everything to get it back casting over to try and catch the line offering bread as a bribe to return it but to no avail by this time it had gathered a number of its friends for a fun day out and they were heading to the opposite bank to effect any type of rescue meant me Running out of the caravan park carrying many implements to retrieve the rod (if I ever caught up with it), to get to the opposite bank of the Flash you have to leave the park cross a car park over a round-about of two main roads, gallop through a thicket (not easy in shorts) then run along the very deep muddied shore line. I eventually caught up with the hijacking duck it was about 40ft out in open water by this time I was very concerned for the duck, I thought it must be caught in the line, my feelings of concern were soon reverted to anger as the bloody Duck took one look at me (wet, cut to pieces by thorns, carrying an array of poles, and other implements’ for recovery ) I am sure it laughed and flew off unharmed and greatly amused, leaving our kids rod to sink into 10ft of dark muddy water were it still remains for some future archaeologist in a thousand years to uncover it and make up a story of how it got there???????

Keep Smiling

Big Al

The Majestic Buggerlugs

Three of the many Working boats ready in place for the festival

one of the few boat yards

Friday, 15 June 2012

wet wet wet

Eeeeee by Ek What grand weather we are having at the moment

I know being boaters we are expected to be more resilient to inclement weather than all you softy land lubbers, But quite honestly I’m fed up of being wet.

Fantastic news though that the hose pipe ban has been lifted we can now all rush out, water the garden, wash the car and fill the kids swimming pool ?????? My skin has become a very nice brown colour its the colour of rust.
At Barbridge junction we split from Orion, Kath and John continued to Chester as were vered off on the Shropshire link to Middlewhich, They are being collected near Christleton and going home for the weekend th
Today we traveled up from Barbridge to just before Anderton, as things were quiet and traffic light
nobody but us were stupid enough to travel though torential rain and gail force wind, anyway though this tranquility my mind started to wander, I started to think of our fore fathers who originally built these wonderful waterways and just what a great sense of humour they had. They must have sat there eating their big cheese butties chatting with their mates saying I bet you in two hundred years time boaters will be coming up and down here in their big fancy boats with big fancy engines no horses, on something they will call a holiday, And actually enjoying themselves. So what we will do is every time the canal bends to 30% or more we will build a bridge so nobody can see on coming traffic, that should cause chaos and make us remembered. So thats what they did. Now today because of some canal surveyors drinking too much cider with their lunch 200 years ago we now have to run the gauntlet every time we pass through a bridge which there are thousands. To avoid two boats crashing the rules say that you should decide who is the nearest to the bridge,  that boat takes the water and the one furthest away waits now that system works IF YOU CAN SEE THE OTHER BOAT but if you cannot see the other boat then the potential for a head bow to bow colition on is magnified

Today that happened at every Bloody bridge luckily I avoided head on collisions but had numerous near misses But I bet those old surveyors were up there in canal heaven having a great old giggle

I have just seen the forecast for tomorrow but all I had to do was look out of the window its rain rain Rain and high winds with a bit of thunder. fantastic what a great day we will have
again I will say " A bad day on the cut is better than a good day at the office"

Stay tuned

Big Al

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Off the Langollen

That’s it we are now off the Llangollen hopefully I can now spell all the places we may visit ??? Two and a half days from Ellesmere to Barbridge which is just beyond Hurlestone junction where the Llangollen meets the Shropshire Canal.

The Llangollen at this time of year is really nice, the scenery is always stunning; but you have time to appreciate it more when your not having to concentrate on dodging other boats. In most places moorings are plentiful, and there are very few queues at locks and lift bridges if you time things right your cruising can be very pleasant The last couple of days have been nice as we managed to see the sun twice the canal seems to get wider and deeper as you get to the end or maybe that’s just a psychological thing as I always think the plane gets quieter towards the end of a flight Maybe its just me??????

The whole few weeks Down on the Welsh Borders were great. OK the weather could have been better but I did need sun block on a couple of occasions and rust cure on the others, having Maryanne close for visits was nice we don’t see enough of them so its always good to just be close, and she was a great help with the car and just making things happen she is good at that I have no idea where she gets it from.??

We are now unsure what is happening next Noreen is away to see her dad tomorrow we have a passage booked to go down the Weaver on Sunday Noreen is then hoping to get back to her dads on Monday staying overnight as Shirley has a hospital appointment on Tues Then the following Monday Carol and Keith join us for a few days, there is also a IWA north west region regatta on the Weaver over that weekend that I may attend even if its only to say hello to a few friends such as Jim and Helen who were with us last year in Stourport

It was Thomas’s birthday on Monday, he told me that one of his presents was a Chinook helicopter like the ones I flew in, in the OLDEN DAYS, out of the mouths of babes,?

So here we are again moored outside another pub having just moored up before another thunderstorm I am as usual writing and Noreen is watching the Tennis on telle Bliss

Speak Soon

Big Al

Friday, 8 June 2012

photo's of the Crick show

Noreen ready for the Big Sell

Every type of boat Possible

Mooring was at a premium

every colour shape and size

Crick Boat Show

The Crick Boat Show

We Went, we Saw, we Conquered

All I have to say is what a fantastic weekend, prior to going to the show I always considered boaters to be, well lets just say bordering on the side of eccentricity. Now I am convinced; we shared the weekend with the insane, the eccentric, the pure crazy, and something I have never been called before Bohemian, I quite like that. We were actually called Bohemian I was proud of that accolade.,

Everyone we met were really nice people whether wanting a mooring, buying a boat, buying canal art or just chatting about boats and boating. I took two nice commissions and even if the marina have a 5% take up on inquiries then we will have done a great job. Working with Danny and Lorraine not forgetting Bracken their terrier Now I’m in trouble for forgetting what type of terrier though I will redeem myself by saying she is beautiful and fierce ready to take on anyone or anything, working with them was great they made the whole weekend very relaxed they are also very generous. The hotel was wonderful and Noreen managed to get a two hrs in the bath every night. Even though the weather was wet and changeable everyone there had a good time and if they didn’t that was their own fault the only thing we didn’t do because of the weather was attend the on site nightly shindig with bands and booze, maybe next year I will take my guitar and we will have are own concert. We exchanged some good banter with the other exhibiters and made some good friends, we will stay in contact with many of them the whole weekend was about meeting people and in today’s language “net working” I have learnt an awful lot about boats and about boaters ??? I am still wondering about the people who came into the show and when you ask them have you a boat? are you looking for a boat or a mooring? and the answer comes back No no boat not even interested in boats (so why have you just paid £12 each to come in) those people made up my pure crazy gang,

It was on the whole a typical Hodginson weekend, the Car developed a very bad knocking on the nearside front wheel, The camera got wet and is now very sick, the sat nav gave up and the lap top was again hit by a bug But I can now report after being back here for just one day the car is back on the road, Gregg has repaired the lap top, Maryanne has loaned us another camera. And the sat nav is almost working it talks but refuses to give us a map. And anyway we are on the bloody canal no need for a sat mav here

Tomorrow we leave the Montgomery maybe stay in Ellesmere over the weekend the weather looks rough so we will find a safe haven after getting up the locks.

Speak soon

Big Al

very wet day

Thursday 07 June

Having listened to the weather forecast last night, before we cast off this morning we dressed in the appropriate clothing for a very wet and windy sail up to the locks.

But by the time we got to the arm to put on water we were all soaked through and ready for a change of clothing, when we left the rain was coming down vertical but by the timr we reached the water point it had decided to come at us horizontal so all we had managed to to keep dry was now soaked.

The system (if there is one) for getting boats up the last five locks going on to the Llangollen, is to get all the boats that are going up to moor and wait. however there are only three moorings for 15 boats the other 12 are stroon along the canal in weed beds, grounded in deep mud and generally P***** O** I have never seen anything as chaotic in all my life. But as I was saying to all the irate boaters “if you can’t take a joke you should not have joined up”

Now I am not the worlds best navigator or sailor but I can handle a narrow boat, some of the antics of these boaters were beyond belief. Because of the impatience, intolerance, selfishness and un -co-operation of these boaters It took us from joining the queue at 11.00 until 14.45 to do five locks not that they are difficult its just that nobody has a clue what is happening and to watch two boats pass each other in the pound was like watching two pregnant pigs doing a square dance I still maintain that the easiest way is to wait until the both locks are ready for the boats to leave, both have an empty lock to go into and then its a straight forward swap over. Boating is like anything else in life all you have to do is give it a case of looking at and just do it.

Having escaped the frantic escapades of the lock we headed for Ellesmere when arriving at Ellesmere it was the same old story no moorings, as everyone was going up the arm, doing there shopping at Tesco, then leaving so my tip here is, to block the entrance tell everyone trying to get in that’s its full and wait for one of the shoppers to come out, cheeky maybe but not as cheeky as taking up valuable mooring to do a bit of shopping.

Both boats were soon in a safe mooring and at last out of the bloody rain which was still coming down in stair rods. Both of us had to completely change Again, Having lit a fire, fired up the central heating, the boat now resembles a Chinese laundry with wet clothes, boots and hats and socks drying and steam rising. Its rather a comforting sight and feeling to know we are snug as bugs in a rug.

After all that we were greeted with good news Shirley rang and informed us that Tom was coming home tomorrow at last Noreen has arranged to be there for his home coming

I have a very bad cold and we thought it best if I stay away as to give him a bad cold now would be awful, and of course there is the cost you won’t guess the cost of a rail ticket and to double that I could get have a tank of diesel so I am staying here and cleaning the boat up and nursing my bad chest and runny nose.

Big Al