Friday 29 June 2018

Shipley to Castleford and back home...

Having left Shipley late afternoon, we plodded on towards Apperley Bridge and spent a pleasant evening opposite the marina.  On route, we came across a wide beam hire boat moored right on a bridge landing - with the bloke sat fishing and the lady having a cuppa...  I told him what a pillock he was for mooring in such a stupid place, suggested he might be better off moored 30 foot further down from the bollards and although I wasn't really listening, picked up something about a leaking bow thruster and awaiting an engineer.... we chugged off and left them to it.

When we tired up for the night in Apperley Bridge, the chap shortly pulled in opposite and returned the boat to hire base -  HAVING had a chat, I appologised for my directness and whilst he HAD still been moored like a twat  badly moored, as a hirer in a scary situation he could be forgiven... I even suggested he'd might be better off in future coming for a break on 'Ellis' with us lol

After a quiet night there, we set off bright and early for Leeds - intending to moor for a couple of nights in Granary Wharf... WHAT we didn't know (but subsequently found out from the lockie on the "Rough locks" was that there was a waterside festival taking place IN the wharf and no mooring...  ADD to that the chaos of canoes everywhere AND quite a strong wind, it made passage through and on to the river quite challenging.... ALL of course with 1000's of eyes watching us.

Luckily, a chap who was to cast off and had arranged with the CRT staff on duty for the to set the lock for him, shouted over that Eddie and I could have it and he'd follow on later....

It was still hard for our crew to fight their way through the crowds and leap back on to the boats but we made it and continued our journey downstream.   We tied up for the night in Woodlesford and took a walk to the local Lidl to restock the larder....  The heat being unbearable.

We'd not intended spending more than one night there until someone remembered the footie was on so we delayed our departure 24 hours and then headed off to Castleford .  We found shade in the visitor moorings (good for the temperature but not so good for the solar panels)... ALSO not so good for the ears as it appears the chap on the green wide beam there STILL runs his generator until 11-11.30 each night... well I say each night - we've only been there twice before but on each occasion he did the same.  I'm all for live and let live but it REALLY is anti-social.  I'll leave it for someone else to complain to CRT about him though as our solution was to move on the following morning.... a shame really as whilst NOT the most glamorous town, it is home to plenty of amenities.  Hey ho.

We're now back on our home moorings for a few days to catch up with chores, attend medical appointments and (hopefully) visit familly, before we begin our trip over the Rochdale to Manchester (and now back the same way thanks to that breach on the L & L.    Water levels ARE a bit of a concern now though as what with all the (lovely) driy weather AND the fires on Saddleworth moor, we've not idea if the canal will be deep enough or not.

We'll find out the hard way I suppose.

Until next time...

Sunday 24 June 2018

Kiwi gifts, leaky locks, fledging Jays and sleepless nights...

Hey up,

Time keeps getting the better of me these days - it's hard to keep up with admin tasks such as tweets,Facebook blogging and boating forums... ESPECIALLY when the weather is good - as it has been for what feels like forever.

ANYWAY, as some of you'll remember, our most recent guest was From New Zealand - a lovely lady who we nicknamed "nana" - she took it well...  in fact, she sent a text message to say she'd safely arrived back at her son's in London and signed off "Granny Kathy".

Before she left however, she presented us with this tatt delightful gift - some kiwi wine glass identifiers... they'll come in handy when Sally's around lol

btw - the term "tatt" was hers not ours... we're quite touched she'd brought them all the way with her!

So then, on my last update, we'd been moored in Skipton for a couple of days so Kathy could explore the Town/Castle and for us all too go out for dinner.  On leaving Skipton, we first had to fill with water and have a pump out - on this occasion, we used Pennine cruisers - it still worked out cheaper than the CRT self pump out cards and I'm beginning to wonder why we've not been using boat yards all along!

 Btw - Pennine are a really helpful lot - the boss man (Ian I think he's called) is an old school grafter  - only last Sunday, we came across him removing a broken window from one of his hire boats that had been carelessly smashed by the hirers on a swing bridge - quite nicely natured about it when I'd have been bollocking admonishing them.

Once complete, we plodded on to East Riddelsen -planning a visit to the hall ... alas, the opening times didn't work so after a night there, our next stop was to be the outskirts of Saltaire once we'd gone down Bingley 5 and 3.  The locks there are getting leakier each time we pass through - sharing with Memory Maker (60 ft) meant that poor Eddie got quite wet when backing up to the cill in order to get the gates open... I've never been so please at being 3 foot shorter!

Suffice to say, he had a number of showers that day!

No matter, he'd dried out by the time we got to the outskirts of Saltaire (above the lock) where we tied up for a peaceful night.

With Kathy's next day departure in mind, we moved down the lock and spent our last night together opposite the church... a place which whilst nice, doesn't get any easier to "fit" in thanks to all the rocks at the waters edge.  After MUCH broddling around with our measuring stick *read boat hook with a bit of tape on it* we found a bit and tied up... under trees so the boat was cool but the solar panels couldn't do a lot - it was only for one night so we weren't too bothered about that...

THAT was until whilst sitting out in the evening sun with a glass of wine than I heard a splash by the

side of boat - upon investigation, I found a fledgling Jay, struggling around in the cut ... bad timing for the poor thing as he/she ended up amongst a family of geese that didn't take well to the intrusion...
I rescued it with the fishing net that lives on the roof (thanks mum and dad) and put it in the bushes away from the path... hoping "mum" would come and find it....  about 3 minutes later there was a nother clonk - this time on the roof of the boat and this little fella/fella-ess had appeared...

AND of course no matter how gently I tried to encourage it to flutter off towpath side,  it too, dived into the canal and needed rescuing...  There was going to be limited sleep that night I could tell - I had no idea HOW many more there were in the tree hopping around ready to dive bomb the boat.

Having fished it from the water, I picked it up and took it to it's sibling - during the lift it cried holy hell and a parent dived down at me... still, at least now the parent knew where they were and before long were bringing them food.

I had a restless nights sleep - imaging even knock, clonk, groan and splash was another bird in danger... which of course resulted in me nipping out of the boat several times to check.  AS predicted, about 6.30 I became aware of splashing and banging between the boat and the canal and and another one (I suppose it could have been one of the previously rescued ones having another dip) needed fishing out.

Anyway - we set off and chugged on to Shipley to drop Kathy off at the station to catch her train to London.

Not long after she'd gone did I get a phone call from CRT to say that our booking to go into Liverpool for a week in July was going to have to be cancelled - the breach at Melling being the cause... the repair likely to take longer than 6 weeks... I won't lie, I'm bit irked by this... it's a hole...  a man in a digger and a big pile of clay could fix it in a couple of days max - especially given originally it'd have been a navvie and a wheelbarrow.

Still, at least CRT gave us over a months notice.  We're going to have to change our plans now.  Hey ho.

Until next time..

Tuesday 19 June 2018

World cup fever and New Zealanders...

The two are NOT strictly connected.

So then - since my last missive, embarked on our next leg of the journey with a new guest onboard... a charming lady from New Zealand.  AS usual the UK train network did it's best to bugger things up and the poor girl missed her connections (like we did the other day) and ended up arriving later than planned.

NOT the end of the world it just meant a bit of a later day boating to get to where we planned on being.

Once safely on board and a quick celebratory drink downed sipped, we set off up the Barrowford Locks.  We'd spent 24 hours in Burnley (Nelson) near the Asda and were quite surprised how quite (apart from a blooming howling gale) the spot had been.... we'll certainly stay there again.

Once up Barrowford locks, we chugged through Foulridge tunnel and then went down Greenberfield locks before retiring for the night. 

The weather has changed now and we've been having intermittent showers and gales - typical British summer I suppose but not the most pleasant boating weather... hey ho. 

It must have been Saturday night when we arrived in Gargrave and moored up for the night in the main pound.... a pound that is forever dropping during the night... SO much so, that by morning I had to get up early and push the boat away from the side to correct a rather nasty kilter.  Even that wasn't enough so in the end I decided to walk up to Anchor lock and run some water down to top it up....  an idea which proved very welcome to some hire boaters who were nearly on their sides - not knowing what to do about it.  As I was doing this, the lockie from the Bank Newton flight appeared and said thank you ... he's a smashing chap - Talk about the right person for the job - Richard I think he's called.. in fact, when I've finished here, I must send crt a email complimenting his work ethic.

We went for a lovely wander around Gargrave on Sunday morning and found the stepping stones across the river we'd not seen before.  PRIOR to that on Saturday night we'd Tried going out for tea only to find every pub chocked and not a chance of eating... even the Indian was too busy.  Not to worry... we muddled something together on board and had a few drinks followed bv a  game of Rummikub (again)... I'm SURE Andy's addicted.

The following day, we chugged along and tied up for a couple of nights in Skipton - partly so we could explore the town a bit more and also to meet up with our friends Sally and Lee (think back to Wine Wednesdays) who were stopping off on route back from their wedding in Gretna Green.

We ended the night in the Black Horse in the town centre, watching the football would you believe - TALK a bout namby pamy players... I don't watch the game as a rule and was amazed at how much time is wasted when over paid softies pretend to be hurt.  They should try misfooting and falling between the boat and a canal bank some time...

Today, we've chugged on to Keighley (well Riddlesden) in preparation for going down Bingley 5 and 3 tomorrow.

Until next time...

Thursday 14 June 2018

Where were we?

SO - ignoring my left foot for a moment, I'll update you on where we've been of late.

AS already said, we had a few days break and took the opportunity get a cab back to Appley Bridge to rescue the car we'd abandoned there the other week and take it back home - using the "open return" train tickets to get back to Wigan... WHAT a pa lava that was - Northern rail STILL experiencing delays, cancellations and resultant missed connections.  The journey back from Wakefield was a nightmare - Still, it's done now and the car is where it should be back at base.

Having bobbed around at Addlington for a few days in the sunshine, we had to return to Wigan Top lock to collect our next guests - our FIRST Aussies. Having filled with water, we spent a night on the 24 hour moorings right on the entrance to the lock.

Not long after we got there, a boat pulled in where we had trouble the other day and I could see the chap having trying to pole it off.  Being a nosy so and so  all round good egg, I went over to see if I could help.  Whilst trying to push them off the shelf by rocking and leaning, the gap got ever wider until such time as I had no choice other than to "jump on board" to avoiding going in.  This left the chaps wife and I on his boat under our own steam.  She wasn't comfortable at steering so I took the tiller and executed a perfect turn and then reversed it into a mooring on the other side of the lock.

We got chatting as they tied up and as we had a few hours spare the following morning, I offered our help to work them as far down the flight as we could until about 10am.  They were very grateful and the following morning we did just that. - it just about killed me lol.

We managed to get them about 3/4 down by 10am when we decided it was time for us head back up to prepare for the Aussies... along with a nice bottle of wine as a "thank you" from the boaters.

Once loaded up with guests, we set off planning to get up Johnson's Hillocks before mooring for the day.  The original plan was to catch up with Eddie and Wendy on their boat (Memory Maker) and we'd work up the locks together... somewhere along the line a certain ginger idiot I'd got muddled and thought they'd already gone up the locks.. SO, when asked by a single hander if we'd share the locks I'd agreed - much to the annoyance of Wendy...  it all worked out in the end as our crew went back and helped Eddie up anyway... however, because I was jumping on and off the boat quite a lot to close gates and padddles whilst Andy went back and forth setting the locks, I slipped on one occasion - dunking my left foot into the water and banging both it and my right knee on the boat - I hoped no one had seen but of course there were a group of gongooozlers that clocked me - oh well... I STILL don't count it as falling in because I only got wet up my knee!

By the time we'd moored at the top (we had to double breast as there was only one space available) we decided we all go out for tea - alas the pub there had other ideas and had stopped serving at 7pm.... WHAT is it with pubs over here having rubbish serving hours.

Next day, we chugged on, stopping for a look around Withnell Fold

It turned out to be quite an attractive gathering of houses - built for workers in the paper mill on the canal side.  Not a lot to it but a pleasant walk along with old set of "stocks" and a Methodist church.  

Chugging on, we ended the day around Norden  as far away as we could get from the motoroways... not the widest of tow paths but enough to set up camp and chat to passers by.

Marnie and Wayne (the Aussies) settling themselves into boating life VERY easily...  especially the alcoholic "convivial side"...

Next day, we headed off towards Burnley and spent another night doubled up on the 24 hour moorings at Rose Grove - we'd stayed there on the way out and noted 2 boats STILL there... taking the proverbial out of CRT... Thing is, they have an office and depot yard there yet STILL don't do anything about it... Continuous mooring IS a problem and needs to be tackled.  It's a debate I won't get into  here - suffice to say, there ARE guidelines and if they were enforced, it would be a lot fairer for everyone.

After a quiet night at the services, we filled up with water, did some washing and I nipped to the post office to see if they'd kept the countersunk screws I'd had delivered via the Post Restante service at the beginning of May - I expected them to have binned them by now but no, the lady smiled and handed the envelope to me as soon as I went in.  That's a good (free) service.

Setting off the rudder was feeling a bit wobbly so I pulled in before the Gannow Tunnel and went down the weed hatch - to be fair that's only the 2nd time since we GOT the boat...  as predicted however, this lot was well and truly clogging the prop/rudder..

On route to our current mooring, we stopped off briefly at the only canal-side "oil disposal point" we've seen so far to empty the oil containers from my last service.  

The final night with the Aussies was spent eating, drinking AND of course playing the (now ubiquitous ) Rummikub - Marnie took  a while to get the hang of it... she has the same approach to it as I do - ie, I don't care if I lose.  Wendy and Eddie came after dinner so Andy palled up with Marnie and Eddie gave me a bit of help.

The Aussies left us this morning so today has been a day of laundry and cleaning the boat as tomorrow, we have a new guest - this time from New-Zealand.

Even though we've been busy, the boat does feel quiet and rather empty today - it appears I DO like people after all lol.

Until next time...

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated....

More later but I'm still here... just like Mark Twain was.  I''m hobbling a bit but being a brave ginger person  super hero, none the less.

Thursday 7 June 2018

Who stole the water?

'morning/evening/afternoon - *delete as appropriate.

Well, sitting on the towpath sunbathing whilst umpteen thousand women dressing in pink go shuffling Running passed is not as relaxing as you'd hope...To give them credit, they were all in good spirits, managed to avoid our chairs, whirlie gig and dog bowls AND more importantly they were raising money - fair play to them.

Once normality had returned, we took a walk right around the flash - in the midday sun.  Of course I hadn't received the memo that we were going ALL the way around and into Morrisons on the other side before setting of - ergo, I'd not put any sun cream on... suffice to say on return (some 6 miles later carry shopping!) I was a little bit pinker than is good for a ginger person.

No sulking took place - honest.

We'd arranged with the boat behind to share the Wigan flight on Tuesday, (incidentally that was my birthday and I'm pleased to say that FINALLY it was one with no cards) so we agreed to leave our moorings Monday afternoon, fill with water at Plank lane bridge and then get as close to the bottom lock on the Leigh branch to ensure we'd get to the bottom of Wigan by 8am when they unlock the gates.

The water point at Plank lane lift bridge is RIGHT on the 24 hour visitor moorings!!! bonkers.  It's OK though as we've 3 long hoses so were able to get attached - right after a woman moored on there did a very good bit of reversing off and turned into the marina.

Once full, we chugged on as far as Scottsmans flash (I think) and tied up for what we'd hoped would be a quiet night... 

Alas, a short while later, a large group of neanderthals young people having fun, decided to begin jumping into the water ahead of us... which in itself wasn't a problem until one of them came asking for a light for "his dad's cigarette" - Andy is not very good at keeping the peace in that type of situation...  and made an enemy - admittedly he was pre-pubescent but he walked and talked like someone with gonads bigger than Andy's former poorly one (which btw, is now resolved)...

We decided that rather than sit on the towpath and aggravate things, we'd watch a film and leave them to it.   I must admit, that when we came out early doors to set off the following morning, I was amazed to still have ropes/pins lol.  

ANYWAY - Tuesday morning, off we set, having read on the CRT notices that lock 1 is LOCKED to save water until 8 and aware we'd still have to get to the bottom of the Wigan flight as soon before 9 as possible in order to get in.

AS we chugged in to the chamber at lock 2, I could see Andy ahead gesticulating we had a problem...

Upon inspection, we came across this:

Some bugger had nicked all the water in the pound above.  Andy went on ahead to see if there was a CRT chap at lock 1 about to "unlock it" and then refil, whilst I phoned the CRT emergency number... which btw, makes it clear they don't want to hear from you unless life or property is in danger... pondering whether wanting to kill someone would count, I STAYED on the line and spoke with a chap who promised to get back to me once he had someone on the way.  To give him credit, a few minutes later he DID call call back and said a chap was coming to help balance the levels.

By the time he'd arrived we'd got enough water in pound to gingerly chug up the middle and into lock 1 - it was my old friend (the chap I had an altercation with a month back at the broken, battery powered swing bridge)... he WAS pleased to see me I could tell.  ANYWAY - we entered the Wigan flight as the 2nd pair of boats at 8.50 and exited 13.10.... not bad timing given we din't rush.  We did have some help along the way too by the lockie and members of the facebook flight crew.  If any or you read this drivvle, THANK YOU... your help is much appreciated.

We HAD planned to spend a few nights at the top but upon arrival there were already too many boats around - and more importantly, too many boats around the bit you can get in without being stuck on the shelf ... ergo, we chugged on for a while to just outside Adlington where we'll use as  base to get the car back from Appley Bridge and take back to Wakefield before the weekend when our next guests arrive.

We've tied up in quite a nice place with nothing obstructing the solar panels and only a short walk into town.

Until next time...

Sunday 3 June 2018

Change of Scenery and a trip on the Leigh Arm to the Bridgewater

The trouble with liking somewhere is that you can linger a little too long sometimes - on THIS occasion, we sat out the bank holiday to avoid the hoards speeding around and explored the local area a bit more.

I can't recall HOW we found out about it ... probably from chatting with another boater, but apparently there is a circular walk that would take in a place called "Fairy Glen" - off we set, following trusty Google maps on our phones.

It's actually quite a nice little woodland... obviously special to the locals as the floor was scattered with 'Fairy Dust'...

The rumors of a spectacular waterfall however clearly had been exaggerated

I'm sure if it rained for 40 days/nights it might look spectacular... but on a lovely sunny day after a dry spell, 'nice' just about covered it.

On route back to the boat we also spotted a terrapin sunbathing on a log by the canal... you'll have to squint to see it as I only had my phone with the digital zoom ...  it IS there, honest!

Back on the boat, a new plan was forming to deviate from our planned route (straight back to Wigan) and take a detour on the Leigh arm for a few days.  This turned out to be a good idea as the following morning when we set off, the sun was shining yet again.  

On route back through Wigan, I noticed a very handily (not) located mooring bollard at a lock landing...

That could cause problems if someone actually used it... 

Once through Wigan, we made the turn onto the Arm and set off on new waters again.

We chugged along for an hour or so and then came across our first electric lift bridge at Plank Lane

It has restricted hours of operation - ie, can't be used during the morning and evening rush hours... we'd timed it just right mid afteroon and before long, we'd moored up for the day overlooking Pennington Flash on the outskirts of Leigh.

A bit later on, we walked along the towpath into Leigh for a nosy around... I even had a (long overdue) haircut.  Next morning, in need of water, we chugged on through Leigh and to where the Leeds & Liverpool joins the Bridgewater canal...

I can't recall exactly WHEN it happened but the water soon became "ginger" in colour ... a definite improvement of course ;-) 

We chugged on in the sunshine for a while.

Once over the Barton aqueduct over the ship canal, there was just time to go passed the entrance to the Trafford centre before we turned and headed back to Boothstown for the night.

We've decided we quite like the place.  The marina there sells diesel at 74p  pumpouts are also good value...AND there's a Green King pub (newly refurbished) with reasonably priced meals and rings to moor right outside should you wish to... we opted for the towpath on the other side a little farther away from the rowdy potential of a busy summers evening.

Today, (Sunday) were back on Pennington Flash awaiting the arrival of the race for life runners planning to run down the towpath about 11am which we'll cheer on as they pass the boat.

Until next time....