Wednesday, 26 December 2018

christmas afloat

Christmas on the Cut

Be it Narrow boat , Wide Beam, Tug or Cruiser we are all boaters together

If Moored in a marina, Canal Linear, or anchored in the bay they all give the same experience of Peace and Tranquillity. Its rather fitting that at this special time of year as the Canal communities come together to celebrate the Peace of Christmas.

I find that living on the water brings you closer to the natural world, the changing of the  seasons and the elements. It makes for a very interesting busy life. coal, gas, water, pump out, diesel it all mounts up and  Its all part of the wonderful tapestry  we have accepted to live. With the added pleasure of sharing it with other like minded people. So though this season of peace, friendship and good will to all men (and women)  seems so appropriate in such a Idyllic  situation as a BOATER.

Our Christmas season always starts with a community carol service, really organised by Radio Lancashire who have a programme of carols any group can take part be it Pub, church, club, cafe, all you do is register the group, they do the advertising print the carol sheets  etc its starts about 7 till 8 each location is mentioned and many are visited by roving reporters its a great night carols are sung to the music of the salvation Army band over the air waves   when the whole of Lancashire sing Christmas. Our venue for the last few years has been the Coffee shop Scarisbric Marina, who go all out with mulled Wine and mince pies with an open invitation to all boaters in the area, its a great time for exchanging gifts and cards and catching up on the tow path gossip.  It is also a good time for me as the local rep to make sure all our members are set for the onslaught of winter, also to see if I can help in anyway This has now become our prelude for all the Christmas festivities may it continue for years to come.

This is our 11th Christmas on the boat except for one year in Australia when we went to Australia to have Christmas on the beach which though interesting was not really  how I see Christmas it may be OK for those in the antipodes’ but not for me. I prefer Icy winds, frost clinging to the tress the crunching of grass under your feet  all making a magical winter wonderland and sitting on a cosy boat with a blazing log fire and a good G&T safe snug and very comfortable what else could one ask for

Christmas has actually now passed all presents dispatched  all visiting  done and all visitors gone home, all without any mishaps. Lots of boaters go away for the period and we get many visitors so the Marina does get quite busy with the comings and goings. Everyone has made an effort with the boat dressing and lights it really looks like a  fairy land Father Christmas was very pleased. From the main road it really does look a very Joyous place

You like me will have been asked a thousand times “why do you live on a boat ?” I find it a very difficult question to answer, I normally say you have to experience it first then you will know. However sharing this festive season together may go a long way to explaining the reason why

God bless you all may your God be with you.
Early morning frozen mist

Cedric emerging from the mist for Breakfast

all lit up

for Christmas

Frozen up

our pet Robin

only one day of snow but a heavy one

Thursday, 18 October 2018



Well things on the waterfront are going along very smoothly, in fact too smoothly. We went to a Funeral last week there is nothing better than a funeral to bring you down to earth to bring us back to reality and our own vulnerability Carol was a dear friend and we cant afford to keep loosing them. the service was a very nice one not rushed, I go to quite a few these days and I am finding some are on a mission and are too rushed. personally I am never sad at funerals (except Children's)  most people have had a good life we all have to go we know that in most cases they have gone to a better place I believe that and it gives me a sense of peace. What you believe is up to you most people think I'm bonkers about a lot of things but I'm a happy bonkers.

At last I have completed all the items I am taking to the Christmas fare at Salford Cathedral raising funds our church, if I sell everything I should raise about £300 keep your fingers crossed. But now  I have time to do all the jobs I had promised people I would have done before the real bad weather sets in, I have even had time to do some serious fishing

I don't why its always me but I had to go and see my GP last week its a big practice so you never know who you are going to be faced with last week was Dr Poo now I know it sounds funny but with what I went to see him about made it even more hilarious I do have a sense of humour I almost choked trying not to laugh but I controlled myself as I am not that rude. I'm  just glad they have no GPs called  Funeral.

Other than the above everything is going on great, I am absolutely bored stiff Brexsic at first it was a bit of a laugh listening to the MP slagging each other off then the ridiculas ideas they came up with not just our MPs but the EU ones as well they are just scared we will just go and take all our money with us I find the whole thing extremely childish, if we in our jobs acted like that then we wouldn't last the week, and we all know that. the other thing that is really bugging me is Christmas advertising there is so much of it especially on Kids tv that by the time that Christmas comes around they will be so accustomed to it that there will be no surprises left. I have loads of other Grumpy Old Man Stuff
maybe I should just do a whole blog of it ????????? Some things that I am liking are The weather isn't it barmy, my Grandchildren all growing up so fast and beautiful. Our life style and how happy I am with it, The way I wake up every morning  (and not feeling surrounded by wood). and just how good life is. I know its not fare, its not Just, its not as what some people want but maybe they want to much.

I have added a few Pic

God Bless

06.30 Sun just rising I love that time of day you just know there is a God

Then you get this,  F9 wind boat getting tossed about like a cork in a bottle and you know there is a Devil

Serious Fishing 4lb Tench a beautiful fish caught off the boat
Not everyone can fish in their slippers


Saturday, 13 October 2018

Hi everyone

It looks as though I owe an apology to you all, Yesterday one of my best friends who we haven't seen for some time told me off for not keeping up with my blog, However it gave lots to catch up on.
Since our early arrival back in the Marina due to the canal system " up er inth north" drying up over the summer very little has happened. In fact the Wigan Flight is still closed but we hope it is opening on the 20th of this month We will then be able to get John and Kaths boat back into the Marina as at the moment its still above the Wigan flight. we have a few boats here on the marina await the flight to open as they have their moorings beyond Burnley I expect they will be glad to get home. That could have been us being stuck somewhere waiting to get back here.
I have been keeping myself busy making wooded items for the Christmas fare As this year it is being hosted by the Cathedral it is a bigger affair as all proceeds are split between our church and the Cathedral we should raise a few bob However if you have anything to spare the Parish of St Joseph's is desperate. the floor to the left is slowly sinking unfortunately its where we have the choir and my music stand is now on an angle of about 30% I ok I was taught to play in folk clubs and pubs I was always on a 30% angle. So we are looking for about £30.000 to put it right otherwise wet rot will do what Hitler couldn't ..
I have also been asked to do a small signwriting job just five letters (Mc Bee) with a comic bee underneath. I have realised that my days of signwriting are just about over I know the boat was still in the water and that's never easy but straight lines are not easy anymore,, its good to know your limits its better to say NO than being embarrassed doing a crap job.  
As I have said we are not doing a cruise next year instead we are of to Australia. we still as yet haven't decided when we go. I suggest we go early around May come back in July then we will have the good weather in late summer to do all those jobs on the boat  that will avoid working on the boat through the April showers and having to rush the jobs because we have a flight waiting. That's my way of thinking .....?????

We have just been hit by the first storm of the Autumn it is a bit of a lively one, I think I have sorted all the problems out as we haven't lost anything nothing blown over or off the boat after 10 years on the Marina and five years in this mooring at last I have got it right.
The Autumn her is a wonderful season all the fields are harvested and are being prepared for the next crop. I call this part of West Lancashire the big sky county it reminds me of the Fens in Norfolk we lived there for 6 years the sky is just so wide open. wild life here is abundant we have everything from Deer to Voles   Buzzards to Jenny Wren. we are honoured every morning by a Skeen of geese giving us a formation fly past.

The children and Grandchildren are fine Pippa our Four year old (going on forty) has just started school in Nursery class on Mondays (our day for sitting them) I walk her to school on the way she is always telling me how it could be better organised?  just like her mother and her Brother Zac   all he wants is food any type, flavour, consistency, doesn't care just keep feeding me yet he never gains and ounce he is also hard, he will fall off his chair (low Chair) stand on rough stones in bare feet, bang his head and just laugh he really worries me. though he does like a cuddle up and a book.

I am still my own self and getting very very annoyed with the commercial aspect of Christmas WHY is it in the shops already along side Halloween and Bombfire night the little kids are so confused and the bigger kids are just milking it for everything they can. I think the government should tax these festivals very heavily and use the money for a overstretch and knackered grandparent fund

ok folks I think I have managed to get you all back in the picture and I will keep it going every time something exciting happens ????

God Bless you all


Sunday, 26 August 2018

Back in the home Marina

Well my last blog was in July since then I have been quite busy whilst on the Weaver we received info from CRT that they were going to close the Leeds and Liverpool canal from Wigan to Gargrave within the week. Now I know that when the Wigan flight gets closed the Pounds between Poolstock locks get very low in fact to low to pass so we left the Weaver on the next lift it only took two days to get from the Weave to the homeward side of Wigan. There was no way I was spend all of Aug stuck on the wrong side of Wigan. so after a week in at Scarisbrick we ended up back on our mooring in Fettlers a month early. This year has been a bit of a Guess where we go today with the stoppages and low water its a wonder we got back at all, Many of our boating friends are still maroon above the Wigan flight but it is expected that they will reopen the L&L very soon as soon as it does open we are to bring John & Kaths  boat  home to Fettlers its only two days, but at least we will be back boating .  Coming back early combined with this beautiful weather gave us the opportunity to, at last get the garden sorted also the marina has had all the trees in the garden cut back (no more Pigeons crapping on my boat )  plus a new jetty to come home to, now we even have a gazebo for those late summer evening with a  T&Gs. I have also started a new project one that was passed to me its a 50inch model narrow boat fibre glass hull and wooden everything else. the only problem being that the plans are for two different boats, this has meant scrapping all the plans and going it alone with the bits I have so far its not to bad instead of being a 50ft trad stern it is now a 50ft cruiser stern of sorts its loads of fun and Noreen says when this one is finished she is buying me another one as it has kept me out of her way for nearly a month so if anyone wants a model boat of large proportion let me know before I paint and name it.
Our baby sitting duties start on Tue and then Noreen soon gets back to work (only 2 days a week) As now I have no work on the marinas I am looking for volunteer work but it has to be flexible as I do have a few commissions due to start in Sept.

I hope you all had a good summer though we still have sept which looking at my almanac we are about to get a very nice one but don't go booking late holidays on my say so
Be good and look after yourselves. I was considering doing a weekly winter block what do you think is it worth it ???

God Bless

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Dashing Home

Hi all

We are on the Weaver and getting some fishing in as well as plenty of R&R However that was the plan it has all now changed. It is expected now that the Leeds and Liverpool is being closed from Wigan to Gargrave what they have not said and what I cannot find out is if the locks going through Wigan are to be closed. SO tomorrow we  have booked a passage up the lift off the Weaver then we head for home with any luck we should be through Wigan before any closures. I will miss a week on the Weaver Thomas is coming tonight and he was going to work the boat on the weaver now he will have to work it on the canal as a "flyboat man" luckily we have no locks until Wigan so we should make good headway
I am not sure what is going to happen but I will keep everyone informed
God Bless

Weaver is still a beautiful Place (maybe next year )

Tuesday, 17 July 2018


Well that's it heartbreak hill over and done with Noreen and I have only one lock to do (small 3 inch drop of the stop lock at Preston Brook before we get to Wigan.
We are now heading for Anderton  and the river weaver where we are looking forward to a lot of catching up with visitors.
The trip down Heart break hill was relatively easy everyone was helping each other and being very courteous which made the task so much easier not quicker but easier. Even when we arrived at Wheelock mooring where there was room for our 60ft boats moved back and forward to get us in, that's how boating use to be its very nice to see that boaters are getting back to the essence of boating and managing to leave all the rushing, panicking, stress and worry behind and just enjoying life
I had a great Birthday yesterday our Kieth and Carol came to help celebrate my Birthday and in true Hodgkinson  fashion Kieth and I had a frivolous  oaps afternoon in a gudgeon catching competition (Gudgeon are the smallest fish in the canal) but its something we use to do as kids and there is nothing in the book of living that's says sensibility comes with old age why should we be sensible and stoic just because we are showing a few signs of age our skin might be getting a few wrinkles but the rest is still ready to plays stupid games and LAUGH
After our competition we all went for dinner then back to the boat for bed time drinks I do believe that Kieth is getting a liking for the Port
Now as I said tomorrow we get to Anderton then Thurs we hit the weaver Thurs we have Matthew, Friday we have Maryanne and the kids and Sat Thomas joins us for a week the first of his big break before starting Big School. then we start the trip home the slow trip home
God Bless
Heartbreak hill on the Trent & Mersey canal starts as yo leave the Harecastle Tunnel and consists of 24 Paired narrow locks that means that every set of locks has two locks one on the right and one on the left it can get confusing to the first visitor to these locks but I always tell people to use the most convenient one. and always check what other boats are doing More confusion is caused by not all the sets have two locks as some have been filled in instead of being repaired probably in the 50s
Its a very unique system and works wonderfully well I can imagine when the canal was in full swing there was a system and it would have speeded up the journey of boats heading to and from the Weaver   

Friday, 13 July 2018

Relaxing few day

Hi Eeveryone

We have been moored up for a couple of days in Tixall wide, I am not sure what tixall wide is or was, its just a great wide opening in the canal its like being on a lake Its very popular with boaters who want a few quiet days to clean the boat down, knock off all the dust and do any repairs. which is what we did. we also caught the bus into Stafford, its an Arriva bus so one does have say a few Hail Mary's and carry your St Christopher as they can be a little scary, we went primarily to get some bait for fishing looking on the map it was only about a 1 mile walk to the shop from the bus station however these on line maps are not all that accurate are they? in fact it was a good half hour walk we eventually found the bloody place, only to walk through the door and here a voice shout if its maggots you want we have sold out (S----) was the only reply I could think of. Still it was a nice walk through the back streets of Stafford. Stafford is one of those towns that has a centre but that's all it has unlike Stone which is where we had dinner last night Stone still retains many of its old features and any new builds have been sympathetically built making it a very pleasant little town.
We are now only doing 4/6 locks and 8/10 miles a day as the canal in very quiet so we are taking it easy. though after Harecastle Tunnel we are on Heartbreak hill which is a bit of a gruel but its soon over its only 26 locks in 8 miles but to pro's like us its a doddle
We are now moored in Trentham where I had my big Birthday party last year. Tomorrow we will make the Harecastle Tunnel  and wait until Sunday to go through first thing. We are waiting on news of two locks that have been put out action by being struck by a boat they are at the moment still out of use we need them to get repaired soon.
Those are our very loose plans We don't really like plans as when they go which inevitably they do you have to start again planning. we like the more relaxed approach, I know when we need fuel water and pump out they do have to be planned within a few day. its not that we are laid back we are just very relaxed.

Tixall wide in the morning mist

Tixall hall no derelict