Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Some more pics of the three days sunshine we have just enjoyed
Just to show its not always been gloomy??
We are really enjoying the trip

Moored up at Tixaal wide with another 20 boaters

Nice bream one of three that day

Noreen and Kath over the river Trent

Hold up in Tixall Wide

Second day off moored up at Tixall wide, yesterday was so bad we did not even attempt going out I have never known wind like it what a rotten day
Today dawned not much better, but as true Brits we put on our big coats and with those immortal words
“come on you are on holiday you WILL enjoy yourself. 25 min walk to the bus then a white knuckle ride into Stafford to explore. After our white knuckle ride on the Arriva Bus it was time to gather ones thoughts and have a short prayer for delivering us in one piece Where do they train these drivers? Or do they??
Stafford again is one of those unspoilt little market towns maybe because there is only one supermarket (that we found) the rest are proper shops only what you would find anywhere else but well sited on the main street. If you ever get the chance to visit take a walk around “The little Gem” St Chads just off the high street it’s a fantastic little place dating back a long  long time some of the stone carvings are pre Christianity really well worth a visit so are the town Gardens. After a very pleasant lunch in Weatherspoons in  converted really nice meal, we then faced the  trip back 17 miles of bone shaking hell on  a full bus I know I have no right to complain as I get on free but honest they could go just a little slower. Having dear old ladies finish up in your lap is one thing but grown men with a rucksack is quite the opposite???
Saturday What  a wonderful sunny day  as the day dawned  Bright, Calm, Dry   and Sunny so we decided to get some jobs done cleaned the boat inside outside top to bottom she is looking ship shape again
As I was Friday the busses were a bit rare so we decided to walk over to Lord Lichfield’s place Shugborough Hall  unfortunately he was out so we just had a look around his country seat, not a bad gaf but he had loads of people wandering around. I was amazed to find that the interesting places to see you had to pay for even though it’s a National Trust and we are members it only entitles you to the house and grounds because the NT have gone in with Staffordshire Life Museum the control the interesting parts such as the servants quarters the Kitchens and the Brewery It was a lovely walk I even wore shorts to celebrate the fact that the sun was out. So a little disappointed and yes I did explain to the NT guide t6hat these extra rules
should be put on  notice board at the entrance  otherwise it could be construed as false advertising, I am sure that they will take a lot of notice of me??????
On returning to the boat I had a hour’s fishing where I managed to catch a very nice 3/4lb Bream best this trip.
Sunday, we managed the locate a church in Great Haywood mass 09.30 nice church another to visit if you are that way inclined oddly enough in the queue for communion was me armed Plastered the guy in front Arm plastered  another guy with foot in Plaster one lady on crutches (looked like a replacement Hip another lady with her arm in a sling, it resembled the parable of the curing of the lame the priest looked very doubtful about his healing powers?????
Tue we set off for pastures new keep smiling

May your God Bless you all


Very nice part of the canal around Great Haywood
The Park in the centre of Stafford  very nice

The Hidden Gem (St Chads) Stafford a must even for those 
Skeptics??  just look at the carved Arch over the door

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Hi Again

We had  a  good day off on Monday as it happens the weather was bad and my arm really ached though the passed without incident and was very boring we needed the time out. Tues morning we were off again
We decided on a short day from Trentham just south of Stoke on Trent heading for stone only 8 miles and 9 locks this was to be my baptism of fire to see if being one handed would hinder me everyone agreed my handling of the boat was no different only using one hand?? However before leaving Trentham john was putting extra grease in his stern tube when his plunger rolled into the canal, we tried for half an hour to retrieve with no luck I suggested as we were not going far the answer was to take my plunger off using it to force the grease into John stern tube then return the plunger to mine that way we could still move and get a replacement en-route which we did though John was not amused at having to buy the whole unit over £50 I never did get the exact price as it was inaudible though the swearing, but we made  the necessary  repair.   We stayed the night in Stone which is a very pleasant Market town so as tradition demands the town has shops so lets shop: having done the charity shops so many of them and then Morrison’s for the late shopping whoopsies  we returned to the boats.  Wends morning dawned  cold wet  and windy but not undeterred we were off again on a short run hopefully to Tixall wide, Great Haywood  a very popular stop for boaters  10 miles and 4 locks, we ploughed on through wind, rain, and cold the wind was horrendous and had us all over the canal we covered the first 3 locks quite well but I was in front and not having seen Orion for at least 3 miles we decided to hold up have lunch  at the next lock and await their arrival. 2 mins into lunch we had a knock on the boat and a young lady saying “your mate on Orion  is a mile back with a broken  throttle” so with spare in my pocket off I go to find them which on a canal isn’t difficult is it, I located them almost mid canal as the back was to shallow to get right in, we soon found  that the cable wasn’t a broken  it was a dislocated throttle leaver, Kath had tried to chop some trees down with it and it had come out of its housing. John soon had it sorted  and  we were soon back on our way. Now! remember its  blowing a gale and I want to come off the Trent and Mersey onto the Staffs and Worst which means doing a 90 degree turn into a gale that is coming at you through a bridge hole at 60mph, OK we made it but only just after three attempts and a lot of swearing. That’s it we are now for a few day we are tucked up in Tixall Wide for a few days R&R
Sight Seeing hpefully

Look after yourselves

May your God go with You

A montage of Ceranic tiles made by School children 
Welcoming you to Stone

Monday, 20 May 2013

Here we go again

Well Here we go again
Since leaving Anderton the engine and connecting parts have been up to the standard  required by a very eccentric skipper, Noreen says I am a perfectionist I say I just need it right!!
The first night after Anderton we stayed just above Kings Lock John and I needed to visit the chandlers at Kings lock We had decided to do away with the temporary repair on Johns boat and have two battery straps made up. The guy at the chandlers could not have been more helpful, even though he was busy (getting ready for the Crick show) he stopped everything an made up the two straps yes a really nice guy and great service, he needs a mention. We shared the mooring with about 60 Swans I have never seen so many they all seemed to be last years fledglings as they were all loosing the grey plumage . After leaving Middlewich we set off again with the prospect of facing more inclement weather and heart break hill, this is the 30 locks that climb out of Cheshire into Staffordshire . These locks are strange as they take the form of two separate locks side by side ( those that are still working) with Kath and Noreen working in tandem we had soon completed the first 16 were we decided to spend the night at lock 57 or as we call it “baked bean lock” think about it.  The following day We completed the rest of the locks in record time but decided to spend the night in Red Bull and tackle  The infamous Harecastle Tunnel. Now here is were the tale takes a downward spiral, whilst waiting to go through the tunnel I was helping a boat butty up to John
As I was getting off I missed my footing and went A over T, trying to protect my feeble  frame I put my hand out, which I now realise was not a good idea as 13 stone landing on an already weakened wrist . As I had an audience I did a rather good impression of someone inspecting the gravel path. Having picked myself up dusted myself down and assured everyone that the path was in good order it was time to go through the tunnel. The tunnel was easy though my wrist had started to ache we managed the tunnel without incident ??  We all pulled in again for a lunch break I have no idea what happed but again I did a complete A over T with the exact consequences as the previous tumble now tripping once you could call irresponsible twice within an hour is pure stupidity, However this time I felt the pain but not wanting to complain we again set off luckily it was an easy run we even filled up with diesel and had a pump out 84p for diesel and £10 for the pump out that was a good deal. The next hour was completed in a certain amount of pain Noreen insisted that we pull in and find a hospital, which I agreed to do.
We had moored amid some very nice houses with very nice gardens going down to the canal, as it was Sunday tea time and not such a bad day lots of people were out and about, it wasn’t long before everyone had rallied to our aid telling us of the nearest hospital and giving us taxi phone numbers to cut it short by 7.00pm I was in A&E at Staffor
dshire university Hospital, having joined many queues Triage, Doctor, Xray, Doctor, Nurse and of course back to Doctor, leaving the hospital at 22.00 we considered ourselves lucky. I now have my arm in a plaster splint and will be so for the next 10 days were I will find another hospital to take it off. I wonder if I should write a book on the various hospitals within reach of the canal system  
On the whole things are going very well as usual meeting lots of wonderful people seeing wonderful sights and having a good time

Mat your God go with you
Big Al

Waiting to pass through Harecastle Tunnel

only a few of the Swans above Kings Lock

M6 as seen from lock 57 how nice to see the world go rushing by

I know how stupid this looks but honestly it was jusr an accident 
I will find time to be more careful because quite seriously I have had enough
of hospitals 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

As PREDICTED we left Manchester heading for Lymm in a gale force wind, however the weather man did say that things would get better ?? cruising along through Sale and Altringham we are reminded just what a sprawl Manchester has become I can remember when there was green between Sale and Altringham now they are just another district of a sprawling metropolis all these outlying districts are now connected to the heart by the tram, that hissing, twisting robotic like carrier of the blood of the city People Oh God am I happy that I got away from that drudge.
The cruise to Lymm was quite uneventful and rather boring as we have done that many many times, arriving in Lymm we were soon moored up awaiting the arrival of John and Kath as we had gone on ahead. After about an hour John was knocking saying that the next day he may have to go back as his inverter had packed up, after a discussion group we decided that the best course of action would be to give it a good coat of thinking about and decide in the morning, as usual after a good night sleep we both had ideas but John had been up since sparrow fart and thought he had found the fault all we needed now was to find a garage where we could get a Battery tie cable as neither of us knew the answer we just asked the first person we saw  and believe it or not he said follow me I have loads on my boat ready made up How lucky can one person get 20 mins later job done and we are again on our way now heading for Anderton except for the having to negotiate a dredger and mad drunks on a day boat the journey again was uneventful, Except as we came through Dutton I saw a boat in front heading my way, well he could have been if he wasn’t  stuck very firm to the bottom as I approached he skipper asked if we could give him a push off the sucken tree that had attached itself to the bottom of his boat even we buggerlugs in full forward and his boat in full reverse it wasn’t going away where  and after another 10 mins of trying everyone theories I decided to take the bull by the horns and take over as it was a very new boat and very well polished he was reluctant to try my Idea’s that was of course two standing on the gunnel starting a good rocking motion Noreen on the helm pushing his wife putting there boat in full reverse and there it was off the obstruction and going backwards like a bullet Noreen was cleaver cutting our engine and letting buggerlugs glide gently over it from, there on easy sailing except that the rain that wa forecasted for the evening had arrived early and I was getting soaked, As we arrived in Anderton  we found a mooing putting the boat in reverse ther was such a almighty bang and the engine cut dead after mooring and an inspection of the prop I found the prop was fouled up and Jammed solid I have never seen a prop that solid before I gave it my best go but after an hour in the pouring rain, hanging virtually upside down with your arm in the water upto my shoulder I gave up after all that’s why we are in The Canal River Rescue for. Also we had guests arriving in 45 mins We had arranged for Silvia Marjory, Alan, and Geof to come over for a curry evening in amongst everything else Noreen and I  had made a Buggerlugs Blaster. It was a great night and took our minds off what could be wrong with the prop a godd night with good friends and good food.
The morning came still raining it had rained for 14 hrs solid, I called the CRR at 8.30 they were here by 11.00 the two lads that arrived were great and soon got to grips with the problem as it was still raining the stripped off (top half) and after 30 mins pushing swearing, cutting , and more searing the eureka moment arrived as with one last pull it came free a bloody great big tyre and rope still attached. I shall not go into details only to say Canal River Rescue does what it says on the can.. They Rescue
Its at times that this when you realise your limits and can appreciate the agility and fitness of the youth.
Tomorrow we are setting off again we are only going to Kings Lock What could go Wrong.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

The offending Tyre
I admit not a good photo 
 I was soaked to the skin, P off But very relieved to have the boat back working

The repaired Breach at Dutton 
2.5million of our money it had better work??

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Manchester on a very wet weekend

Never worry about spending a wet weekend in the heart of Manchester
Here on the Castlefield Mooring it is always an education, Looking out of you window you are able to watch the whole world go by, I love watching people,  Any play write sat here you could write one script after another, I have sat in the cratch (front part of the boat ) were I was painting the people, the characters, the nationalities that stop and chat are so wonderful, Noreen says I will talk to anyone she is possibly right I have a few words in quite a few languages and love to say hello (you also get better sales)
We have had very few visitors I blame the weather our Keith and Carol came yesterday and we had a great
day just chatting. today after church we braved the weather and got the tram into Piccadilly, In the early 60s  Piccadilly was my work place, The Midland Hotel, the Queens Hotel, Piccadilly Plaza, and others but today when I stepped of the tram I was lost. I am not sure its for the better I use to love Piccadilly Gardens (as it was) but there you are the place was packed with shoppers, sight seers, United supporters and every Creed, colour sect and nationality it is all there, never mind Time Square, Trafalgar Square get to Piccadilly its just as good.
Tomorrow we are setting out early to Lyme stopping off at sale for a bit of shopping lets hope for a bit better weather I don't want this blog to become a weather report and I will try to stay clear of it  but it is a very important part of our day

God Bless All

Big Al

Castlefield 22.00hrs Sunday evening 
Dry at last  after three days of rain 
From the Galley Hatch

Friday, 10 May 2013

Into Manchester THE HARD WAY??


After such a wonderful start, yesterday and today has been horrendous. We spent two very pleasant days in Leigh (yes that is not a contradiction in terms) we managed to catch up will old friends and do a little entertaining plus being entertained, We also did a bit of Boat sitting as Kath and John nipped home John was finishing off a bedroom for his daughter ( just as we dads do)
We left Leigh yesterday morning in a force ten gale both John and I looked at each other with trepidation hoping one or the other would crack and decide it would be best leaving it until tomorrow but in true macho style neither would admit to being a whimp  so off we set we travelled a good two hrs almost sideways crab style until we reached the sanctity of Bridgewater Marina at Boothstown were we both willingly admitted defeat and called it a day, by the time we had moored up, got dried off and read the sign on the pub saying 2 for £10 that was us for the night I decided to go against the laws of nature and take Noreen out for a slap up Meal (2 for £10) Anyway the night was very good, When the Pub Quiz started we decided that Boothstown was not ready for the boating Egg Heads and John was already known to this group as a ringer so we all decided that we had had enough excitement for one day.
We awoke this morning to find that the gales had past we were left with a stiff breeze and light rain. As we were at Bridgewater Marina it was decided that I would take on and a pump-out pump out and John took on water and Diesel. Now here again you must know that I very rarely give compliments for service you are paying for (that’s in the cost) However Dave at the Marina is one of the nicest guys on the canal Helpful, Funny, Knowledgeable,  “A REET GOOD BLOKE”  Call in keep the independent traders going they need our support.
Having done all our purchases and readied the boats for the next haul we said our goodbyes and set off for Castlefields Manchester. It only took two hrs I never thought my hands could get so cold and my body so wet in such a short time,  Barton bridge had just opened so that was good timing, the cruise through Worsley , Patricroft, and Monton though not the prettiest places on the system were by any standards neat and tidy and even in such awful weather looked quite very nice, soon we were turning up at waters meet and were soon in Castlefields, once in the basin we politely asked everyone to close up and made enough room for our boats (I read the book on how to make friends and influence people) but when moorings are in such short supply it is ridicules to leave 30 ft between boats.
We are now here until at least Monday morning or until the sun comes out. Here we are within walking distance of church, Our Keith is coming tomorrow Mat on Sunday and everyone else who know we are here

Did everyone enjoy the summer we experience over the weekend I think that may have been it??????????

Keep smiling
PS the spots on the pics are rain drops there was plenty of them

Worsley Court House still an Iconic picture on the Bridgewater

Old Worsley has a grand tale to tell

One on the wonders of the waterworld 
Barton Swing Bridge

Peace and quiet in the centre of Trafford Park

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Today has been one of those really beautiful days, from 05.30 when the birds woke me up with the incessant twittering as we were moored under the M6 to the beautiful sunset over Leigh the day has been glorious. And quite uneventful except for admiring what a wonderful country we live in. Open country of suburban town stunning is the best way to describe it, I believe that with a well trained and inquisitive eye you can see beauty everywhere.
Here now I must state that I will apologise to Wigan  I did say I was not looking forward to the todays excursion through Wigan, past experience has taught me to expect the worst because from leaving the Douglas valley at Crook and entering Wigan in the past it was like arriving on a different planet. Maybe it was the avalanche of mail and emails I sent to CRT that prodded them into action ( I would like to think so but I doubt it) What ever,, other than the canal having a fair share of general disposable rubbish ( chip cartons, plastic bottles etc)  the whole place has had a makeover even the locks worked
Well done Wigan We will come again though to get back we have no choice but at least now I will not be dreading it I shall be looking forward to it.

We shall stay here in Leigh tomorrow and then into Manchester on Thursday

Stay Cool
even the sun couldnt cheer this old Girl up
Wigan Peir
Ince Flash veiwd from the canal
The unused lock at Dean lock Under the M6
This must have been as busy as the M6 that now towers over this 
momument to transport 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Well May bank holiday and the sun is belting down what a fabulous day. This must be the first May bank holiday in years that it hasn’t rained this has to be the hottest day of the year .
The day started early picking Maryanne and Steve and getting them back to the boat everything set for the get away. Then it started, First John’s boat refused to start after a few minutes tinkering we found it was just an ignition problem, that was soon sorted and we were off just. All the marina turned out to wave us off now I am not sure if they were wishing us well or just making sure we left But! We will be back. As we left two boats were turning around in the entrance to the marina that meant that they were in front of us for the first lock, this duo consisted of one single hander and one boat with just one working as the second had to keep going for a lie down, anyway they were so slow I could have picked the boats up and carried them quicker however it was a glorious day the banks were full of walkers, cyclists, pram pushers, grandma’s granddads, everyone was enjoying the beautiful weather. All in the world was good except for the two noddy boats in front of us who were now beginning to (despite the great weather) getting right up my nose eventually we arrived at the junction of the L&L the two boats that were causing the hold-up turned right we turned left Great now we can get going half a mile ahead we had a swing bridge on arriving we were informed that it had malfunctioned (in other words some numtie had tried to open it too quick and jammed the mechanism As four boats were waiting on the opposite side of bridge and behind John and I  were another six boats luckily we know this swing bridge if it fails you have to close everything down then start again from scratch on the second attempt it worked Someone did say that they had called the CRT but we were the last to go through the CRT had still not arrived.
The rest of the run down to Dean lock  was uneventful except for the people the place was humming with them and everyone was in such a good mood
Tomorrow we will tackle Wigan I hate that place Wigeners please I do not mean you just the bloody canal it awful you would think that they would sort it out as the CRT offices are alongside the canal anyway we will get a good early start and be through Wigan before the scrotes manage to drag their backsides out of bed
As days go today has been a good one a day you ar glad yo have a boat and are fit enough to be out on the water
Keep an eye for us

Big Al

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Hi Everyone

That long awaited day has arrived because tomorrow morning we are off. Come hell or high water (though the weather looks good) I never bother about the weather as far as I am concerned the weather is like life you play the cards you are dealt what ever will be will be
The Breach at Preston Brook has been repaired has been repaired, so that means we will not have to face going through Manchester and up the Rochdale 9 I was dreading those locks???? Then it’s a nice long leisurely cruise to Cambridge. I know we have had some nice weather in the past few weeks and the forecast is good until the end of June, my only fear is that by the time we get to Peterborough to cross country through the middle levels we will be in a drought with hose pipe bans and low water
I will be checking with the water authorities before purchasing my short term licence I am not parting with £290 to get grounded if the worst happens I will go up the river and cross the  wash ????????
Everyone has now booked there hols with our floating hotel and it looks as though we will be getting time to ourselves and plenty of fishing time. This time we are going out legal as Buggerlugs is now legally a trading boat with my painting and Noreen’s
Biscuits we are hoping for a bumper year

Here we are ALL jobs now done I even had time to renew all the fender ropes with ropes that I platted,  and headed with Turks heads they now look the business, as well as painting, blacking, engine serviced, new stern button and as you know a thousand other little jobs but we are ready to face the riggers of 6 months cruising ??

Keep an Eye on the blogg I will try and post every other day

See Yah

Big Al