Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Potteries


This is to good to be true, yet another good day I am waiting now for the canal to run out of water and be stranded because it hasn't rained for over a week, British weather eh either all or buggerall
but I am not complaining make hey whilst the sun shines and it has today
We had a lie in this morning and didn't set out until 08.00 because we were going for a pumpout, put on Diesel and Water when Noreen phoned the Marina yesterday they said they opened at 09.00 we got there for 08.45 always 15min early only to find a notice saying that they opened at 09.30 still everything now is on what we refer to as Canal Time (anytime) When we eventually got started I volunteered to help him do the three boats that had come in behind us. this time a helping had came in handy as we got a discount on our £125.00 bill Diesel is 90p a ltr I know the pump price is around the 1.25 but I am buying red diesel when we first came on the canal it was 35/40pence a Ltr  so much for progress
Leaving the service area at 10.00 the journey was a delight we travel through the heart of the Potteries some of the old factories are still visible the architecture and old wharfs are still very visible some even still in use though these days they are used as workers rest area's and dining areas.
Leaving the industrial landscape of Stoke on Trent behind you and enter the rural setting of villages of Trentham, Barlaston and Meaford were we are now moored up for the night.
Tomorrow we hope to make Rugeley were we will probably spend the weekend because its  a bank holiday  and we rarely move on a bank holiday Plus there are plenty of shops, good eating places and a very nice catholic church. Getting there we have to go through Great Haywood Junction this is were the Trent and Mersey canal meets the Staffs and Worcester canal joins to go south we carry on traveling East towards Rugeley
The canal at the moment seems to be full of Americans, Canadians and Australians  they must get good deals this time of year I love them, they all laugh at our boat name as it is a phrased used in their respective countries and when chatting to them they are in awe that we live on our boat and our desperate to know more about canal life. and always want photo's of "Real Canal People " I know its a bit twee but if you can make someone happy why should we refuse.
That's your Lot
God Bless

Best Lock keeper on the canal

200 year old Wharf, put to modern use

Hopefully building for preservation

A typical Staffordshire kiln
Hopefully it will be saved
The modern pottery though still in the same area
continuing to make a lasting Product

A cross over bridge were the tow path changes from left to right
This type of bridge let the horses change easily.
another by gone relic that people see daily but don't appreciate

Tuesday, 22 May 2018



Well what a great day started early as we had a fair way to go We had only done two locks and we caught up with another boat manned two great couples instead of slowing us down as they went through a lock they were setting ours for us we literally flew up the next few miles isn't it wonderful when a plan comes together. Noreen gave them a bottle of red for their kindness (the same bottle that was given us yesterday for helping another boat)  What goes around comes around
we all met up whilst waiting for our passage through the Harecastle this tunnel is one and half miles or 2.8 km built by Brindley in 1777 Telford designed and built another one in 1827 to alleviate the bottle neck that had occurred. the tunnel is almost straight but the height varies in some areas I have to bend down. The pics show the boats waiting to go through I have no idea why but it would seem that Buggerlugs always has to take the lead on these occasions ??
Having left the Tunnel its only a mile or two and you are on the outskirts of Stoke on Trent. Tomorrow we take on Diesel, Water and a Pump out, That should keep us going for a few more weeks
Bad night tonight TV reception is dreadful and Noreen can't get Holby City It doesn't happen often when we (I) fail to get telly it just so happens that its a coincident that is Tuesday and Holby
and it is a coincidence honest

Stay Good
The Tunnel looks a lot brighter than it actually is we are using three head lights
I get scared in the dark

As you can see Buggerlugs taking the lead again
The water here is the same colour as it is in Worsley this again is due the iron ore
in the tunnel

Monday, 21 May 2018

Well on our way

Well what about this weather I am fried to a crisp, covered in sun oil from 07.00 every day
We made The Anderton boat lift without any effort even pick up a couple on a hire boat who were struggling so we led them through the three Tunnels they seemed very relieved to be instructed and led. I suppose for the first time they can be daunting. We hung around Anderton for four days I know its only a 1 day mooring but it was very quiet and there was always a free mooring if it had got busy then we would have moved we were hanging around waiting for Mat to bring Mark but shift patterns were out so they couldn't make it However it enabled Maryanne to come over with Pippa and Zac whilst they were with us Silvia and Alan came over with their Daughter and Granddaughter so we had a great afternoon playing in the nature park . In the  evening Margery came over for dinner and the following evening we all went for a really nice diner all in all a really nice weekend. We also met people we haven't seen for years I hate it when people come up and say " Hi great to see you" and I am left wondering who the hell they are (that is because of the brain Damage) its one of the by products anyway most people see the look of wonder on my face and then elaborate on our last meeting thank goodness. Yesterday we left Anderton to face the trip up to Kidsgrove and the Harecastle Tunnel this trip involves some locks that boaters refer to as "Heartbreak Hill" I have no idea why as it is only a set of locks nothing difficult they are nicely spaced out and they all work well. Today we did half of them 14 out of the 30 we started at 07.30 and even then it was so hot we moored up at 13.00 as we were knackered not with fatigue but heat exhaustion ,, Again helpful annie (Noreen) assisted a young lady and her 85 year old dad he was driving she doing the lock  but like us they were also knackered they wanted to turn around and start their trip back to hire company but did not know how to turn the boat around As usual Noreen volunteered me to do it, the turning hole was a mile away and through two locks however above the first lock the pound was wide enough to take the 58 footer. they were very appreciative in the guise of two bottles of red.
The canal   is very busy with hire boats Scots, Canadians, Australians and Americans  
None of them know the etiquette of locks I may add that most of these boats have come from Back Prince Boat hire who it would appear are not giving  proper instructions to the hirers it just causes chaos with arguments and cross words at locks which you can do without After all we are all on Holiday

Tomorrow we are off to Harecastle tunnel that is the end of Heartbreak hill its plain sailing then through Stoke on Trent
God Bless

Pippa and Rowan      Great  day in the nature park

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Good cruise

Great Arthur along the canal
Woke up this morning it was bloody freezing but I started wear shorts three days ago so it's shortfall the way now no matter what the weather
Good cruising day today no locks and no swing bridges as we are now on the Bridgwater canal heading for Anderton our weekend stopover, that is if we can get a mooring as I have never seen so many boats about. But thinking about it logically if the Middlewich branch has a breach and Marple top lock  isn't fixed then the hire boats are a little limited into we're they can go on this trip we have even seen them in Liverpool and I was a first. Overnight stop in Lymm itsi always a nice stopover there is always plenty of boats in and always a some one we know Or knows us and of course a great little chippy and four puds now you know why boats stop here tomorrow we have the three tunnels and should've in Anderton by lunch
Keep smiling
Noreens new posh skippers cap

Monday, 14 May 2018

On our way


I know I have said it before but at last we are on our way.
What a glorious morning it was to start our journey and people waved us off maybe they were just glad to see the back of us? even Colin the 30lb Carp came to say bye well actually Colin was feeding off the algae on the hull when Noreen opened the hatch window and disturbed him he decided to do a large carp roll and splash it put the sh----- up Noreen she thought she was being attacked  by a mini sub.  Leaving Scarisbrick is filled with Sadness and Joy Sadness because we are leaving the friendship and security of the Marina and Joy because we are off to write another chapter in our continuing adventure. Thanks to everyone at Scarisbrick their hospitality is second to none Sarah, Danny and Wayne are full of genuine hospitality and care.
Today trip was only a short one edging ourselves in slowly managed to get a mooring outside Crooke Hall pub met two great people Mike and Barbara he has built his own 25ft Narrow boat said He got to 70 and realised he had always wanted a boat so he built one and its a little belter what a guy I just love the eccentric people you meet on the cut.
We are sat here at the side of the beer garden and Noreen has just observed that there are lots of people "Dog Walking" but they are not as they only walk to the pub sit outside with the dog SAT at their feet she has even noticed people arriving in the car so the only exercise the dog gets is from the car to the table. Yes as I said great to see the variety of extroverts and introverts and lazy sods you get on the cut
Weather today was fantastic tomorrow we are stopping over night in Liegh and catching up with great old friends Andy and Sue Andy use to work on boats at Fettlers good mechanic sadly now retired
OK no blog tomorrow as tomorrow night I am testing Rhubarb & Ginger Gin but using a ginger ale mixer  I will let you know how things evolve

God Bless


What a lovely Canal the L&L is

Blue bells covering the bank

Looking good outside the Pub

Saturday, 12 May 2018

ready to start this long awaited trip

Hi Everyone

You may be interested to know that the blotch on my neck was rather less important than the first doctor imagined, I mean I told that anything  that could live on my neck would have to be Bionic. anyway the outcome was I am free from appointments now (unless it changes in shape size or colour )
We leave Scarisbrick Marina Monday morning. We are about two weeks behind the original schedule, ( all my fault) then its a quick trip to the Anderton boat lift might go down the lift to Northwich to get another weeks shopping as you can moos outside Waitrose and the fishing tackle shop is only a 30 min walk away then its a straight run to Bristol via Oxford and Windsor, by my calculations that will get us there around mid June. However Noreens calculations and mine di differ in the fact mine don't have stop overs ?????? At the moment we have no stoppages or any type of hold up the only ones we know about are the Breach on the Middlewich branch that will not bother us as we will go down the Trent and Mersey
all other stoppages are not on my map

Keep an eye on the blog
speak soon

Big Al

Sunset from this beautiful Marina

Monday, 7 May 2018

May Bank Holiday

Well that's the bank holiday over and what a bank holiday great weather and a great place to be. as usual we find a marina or a secure mooring. Bank Holidays on the canal  are just the same as the roads, Busy ! not because there are lots of weekend boaters (who can be a little rusty at navigation) no it is just that it can get busy and I suggest that boaters like us who enjoy doing hundreds of miles in a season get off the water and let those who don't get the time to enjoy as much as we do. Get out on a less congested waterway. When we lived in Germany they had a system there that did not allow HGVs on the road between midnight Saturday until midnight on Sunday leaving the autobahn free for family days out Maybe we should try it here over bank holidays.
So we spent a very restful weekend Kieth and I fished most of Sat and Sun and he went home yesterday hopefully having had a rest and a little recovery period he certainly caught enough fish.
I believe this time he won I could say in my defence that I was busy taking care of his every need?
Today Kath and John came over for a very civilised Lunch in the sunshine, There is something special about eating lunch on deck with the sun bouncing off the water, with the ducks, Geese and boats sailing by very tranquil.
Tomorrow its off to the Hospital to see what they intend to do about this "Big Red Spot" on my neck, best outcome would be for them to sharpen their knife, cut it out and lets get on with sailing worst would be hanging around for more tests. Who cares what will be will be. I always say "don't worry about things that you have no control over"

So with a little luck we will soon be on our way continuing on our journey
Just a few pics of what lies ahead

Gentle Cruising

Wonderful countryside

Some times you do get traffic Jams


Saturday, 5 May 2018

Out Of Liverpool

out of Mann Island on to Sids Ditch

entering Stanley Locks and joining the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and home

Entering Mann Island lock 0745
Yesterday we left Liverpool yesterday at the usual time of 08.00 expecting to be met at the first lock which is Mann Island however the allotted time of 08.00 came and went without any sign of the lock keepers so in true bull dog fashion we did it ourselves all the way to Stanley Locks where we were welcomed by ONE lock volunteer who said he had started early as he had just walked his wife to work and he really wasn't expecting us. ANYONE deciding to do the Liverpool Link please ensure that you read the new "skippers Guide" and even though you may get a reminder text phone CRT to make sure you are expected Also remember that all the swing bridges are self operated all the way through to Stanley Locks

The trip out was a none event very quiet and a very easy trip we did however get some very decorative rope wrapped around the Rudder which was lucky for us as it could have been the Prop being the Rudder it was easy to get rid of stopped off last night at the Scarisbrick arms for a well earned dinner very nice piece of sirloin this morning we had an early start to arrive here in Scarisbrick around 9.30 and now we are well and truly settled in the Marina for the bank holiday
weekend and for my visit to the Hospital on Tues once that has been done we can then start our trip in earnest.
Our Kieth is already up on the fishing score he is 8. 3. in front I will have to bring my mo jo into play I am not having him beat me on my own turf . I would never hear the end of it

As we are here for the Bank Holiday I am not sure what we are up to but I will keep you posted

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Manchester Ship Canal


Yesterday was again another wet  Monday in Liverpool though we made the best of it as we awaited the arrival of Steph and Phil. I had prepared a large Thai meal for us that I believe went down well they stayed over in the camper, as this morning we were catching the 10.00 boat to Salford quays this entails traveling up the Mersey to Eastham lock that joins Mersey to the Manchester Ship Canal this is  a trip we intend to make one day using Buggerlugs; so I put todays expenses down to a reconnaissance. though to do the whole trip you require a pilot. However we would have to leave the MSC at Elsmere and join the Runcorn Canal; pleasure craft are not allowed on the MSC without commercial insurance
Today started not to bad Phil was taking us all through the tunnel to Seacombe as that was where the boat was leaving from However the van refused to start as the batteries were flat so Phil and I ran down to the boat dragged my spare Battery form the engine room grabbed the leads and hey presto we were making tracks Now that wasn't quite the end of it as the road was closed for repairs so after a detour and a few missed directions we made it with five mins to spare
The trip up the MSC was really good the commentary was lively and other than the wind blowing down the mike it was very educational. When we arrived at Media city we were transferred to coaches for the return trip to Liverpool ours broke down just near Pier Head so we got off and walked home (to the boat) luckily the coach infront had waited so Steph and Phil were able to transfer to that coach and continue through to Seacombe to collect the Camper.
My brother Kieth arrives tomorrow he is sharing the trip up to Scarisbrick we are pulling in there on Friday so I can pick up the car and get to my hospital on Tues next week I am having what is referred to as a small procedure. 
What a Day

Eastham Lock leaving the river Mersey and joining the Manchester Ship Canal

The motley crew I have to Travel with

Under the M6 everyone will recognise this fly over but not from this aspect

            This picture contains a fox on the marsh between the Mersey and the MSC    look carefully I believe that it has a goose in its mouth