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Sunday, 8 September 2019

Disingenuous blogging no more and Uppermill on the HNC to Huddersfield (via Standedge Tunnel)...

I'm ignoring you - I know that...  I'll explain in due course, meanwhile I'm going to race through this update as I believe I left you "the wrong side of the Pennines"... Sorry about that - REST assured  though, now we're back in God's own County  😀.


So then,  When my friends left I spent a couple of days down at the visitor moorings in Uppermill  - handy for the shops/pubs but NOT so handy for the sunshine...ie. TOTALLY in tree cover ... ergo, it began to get a bit depressing...  given all that's been going on of late, I decided it wasn't the best of locations to be killing some time.

With that in mind, I set off UP the locks - the plan being to moor in the top pound near the tunnel entrance at Diggle.

It was quite a slog to get up there - at one point Ellis got firmly wedged on either the bottom or something ON the bottom trying to get into a lock.  In the end (against crt advice) I had to run a bit of water down from the pound above, whilst at the same time leaving the boat on it's own in gear running so that when sufficient water found it's way under the hull, it floated and continued it's journey into the lock alone...  of course when that began happening, I had to quickly close down the paddle and leap on to the roof of the boat like a young thing (can't spell gazelle) to stop it before it crashed.

This went ok and after a few hours,  and at the top lock, I bumped into Fiona (and grand kids) - Fiona is a lady we met first back in Slaithwaite in March and then again at Anderton a few months ago... For some reason I keep thinking she's called "Ruth" but she's not!...

She (avec sprogs) helped me through the last couple of locks and I was soon up at the top and basking in glorious sunshine.


I spent a few days moored up here and did cleaning chores - futile ones such as cleaning the roof which would be getting messed up again going through the tunnel.  Still, it's nice to look nice.  I DID have the sense to avoid touching up any paint work though... 

The down side about being up there was that Tescos was now 2 miles further away... up a slope with heavy bags!  Hey ho.  The walk back and forth to stock up the boat for the next guest wore me out  did me good I'm sure.

After a few pleasant days up there, I began the trip back down in readiness to collect the guest from Greenfield station...  



A little bit annoyingly, it was here I discovered that with a bit of buggering about, I COULD have been moored outside the pub/near Tescos AND in the sun all along!

Hey ho.

The guest for this leg of the journey was Keith - a really well mannered chap and although quite deaf, we got along rather well... it gave me the idea to learn sign language... something I have tried in the past (at night school unsuccessfully - mainly cause I didn't "click" with the class room environment... too many bad memories from school I suppose)...

ANYWAY - once he was safely on board, we began our ascent of the locks once more so as to be at the tunnel entrance by 11.30 the following morning as instructed.

We spent the night a little farther back (thus avoiding SOME train noise) and then crept to the water point near the tunnel on Monday morning to fill up....



It turned out Fiona (not Ruth) and her husband (name now forgotten again) were also booked to go through that day too - along with a hire boat who joined the rear of the queue.  Once the fog had lifted, the sun came out and we were rather pleased to have a parasol to hide under whilst waiting...  this funny CRT chap suggested we "might" need to take it down before the entered the tunnel lol ... ONCE again I've forgotten his name but he was to be our Chaperone and he was thoroughly entertaining and informative throughout.  MY FEAR of tunnels has gone now... it turns out if (well in the case of tunnels anyway) IF you face things a few times, their power diminishes and (in my case) I actually quite enjoyed the trip though... 

It's impossible to take photos and steer through as the concentration required is SO intense from the moment you get in to the moment you leave... well apart from the little rests at the com points.



Once out the other end, the sun was shining and we had quite an audience as I skillfully moored up - ahem in the trip boat stop.... only to be "moved along" a few mins later when said boat returned...hmmmf

Having gone around the corner to approach the "moorings" at the top lock East, we managed to tie up (just) and on walking into town, spotted this sign


It fair made my blood boil as on THIS canal certainly, "mooring points" are few and far between and it's nigh on impossible to get into the side anywhere other than said points due to the VERY shallow water and rubble... so to suggest we leave 5 m gaps to allow fishermen space is ridiculous!

ANYWAY  - after a few deep breaths, I carried on with my wander and found a pub for bank holiday afternoon pint...

Next morning, we began our descent - knowing we'd probably have to go all the way to Slaithwaite due to the aforementioned mooring issues.

PLENTY of water coming down with us however - it did make opening some of the gates rather difficult but I kept roping in tow path walkers/cyclists to help as Keith wasn't really up to pushing too hard.

As we approached Slaithwiate (slowit) we met our first boat coming the other direction AND another helpful chap.


Mooring in the basin, we breathed a sigh of relief and collapsed in a heap lol


Looking at the forecast, Keith and I decided we'd stay a couple of nights here - mainly to sit out the next days rain... single handing in the rain is ok but not pleasant and as we had enough time we agreed not to venture out the next day... well apart from trips to Aldi and the Coop for treats.

Early the next morning, I felt a little movement and looked out to see the famous "Silver Fox" passing by on their way up to the tunnel...  


I wasn't fast enough outside  - well it was early and I still had my jim jams on!

It was nice to finally see the boat in the flesh and we exchanged a few early morning words of kindness as they began our yesterday, in reverse lol.

The following day, we pulled ropes, topped up the water tank and began our journey down to Huddersfield...

Single handing again today ( I have had help on and off through various sections) and of course today would be the day when I came across the most leaking top gates that were accompanied by only ONE working paddle on the bottom set and even that had one of those annoying restricted thingys on it - ERGO, more water was coming in than could come out!  NOT rocket science CRT -..perhaps take off the restriction until you mend the top gates? - JUST A THOUGHT from a "user"...

Anyway - after sitting in the lock for an age, some walkers came by and helped me force the gate open - the Spanish windlass currently being stored in the front locker...  





In spite of my moaning however, I'm STILL in love with the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and have replaced a trip over the Rochdale with a "there and back" on next years itinerary... which was instantly booked so I can't be alone in that sentiment lol.


After a night on-board in Huddersfield, Keith left and then I had a couple of days to shop, clean and prep the boat for my next guest - Pat... a Lady who came with us last year...  as a former boat owner, it's made for a very easy and pleasant journey down from Huddersfield... not always in the nicest of weather but still a thoroughly enjoyable journey.

MORE importantly for me, having her on board has given me chance to draw breath and "think" about the future.

You see, 2019 hasn't been the kindest of years to Andy and I - what with Joyce dying in January and the subsequent long and painful grieving process for me AND fundamentally differing views on how OUR relationship would continue - ergo, we'd long since agreed that as a "couple" we were no more.  

It's odd writing this down - despite knowing we'd grown apart for a long time ... wanting different things from life, when mum died, "dealing with it" got put on hold until I was in a better place... that place didn't really present itself and the stresses of "trying" to fix something beyond repair, became exacerbated when Andy too suffered bereavements...  When he first went off to visit family a couple of months ago, we both knew it was the 1st step to us going our separate ways.... for the most part, it's been a positive experience for us both.  

OK so it's meant I've been a bit busier doing both DARK and LIGHT blue jobs on the boat and with guests coming and going it's not always been easy but it HAS still been "fun" and more importantly for me, its STILL what I want to do.  At first when he left, I kidded myself he'd come back when he'd dealt with his own losses.   That was never really gonna happen - hence why the blog dried up.... 

If there is one thing I pride myself on - well apart from being a fabulous "super Ginge" , it's my sense of integrity and honesty... I don't lie to folk about who I am, where I come from or what I believe in... never have... never will.  The blog thus caused me a dilemma...  

Those who'e read through this from the start will know I bare my heart and soul quite willingly here... it's been a place to sort out "feelings" and sometimes reach out for help and support.  By doing so, I form a bond with folk who read it and as a blog reader myself, understand the energy that goes into following someones  journey.  NOT writing about it has felt wrong.  THAT said, because the dying throws of a 14 year relationship are not just about me, total disclosure would not be fair to Andy...  it's impossible to write impartially on the subject - ERGO, silence has been the best option.

FAST forward to the other night when Pat and I were talking (I'd filled her in on events) and she assured me that it's better to be open with folk and just put it out there... 

She's right of course - AND by "doing this" on my own (for the most part) for the last couple of months) I've discovered I CAN actually manage on my own and still enjoy and embrace sharing MY life with guests just the same as before... only with less washing up!

Boat life and travelling around the country with guests coming and going is STILL what I want to do and WILL continue to do until I can draw  my pension...  There are going to be times when the route dictates an extra pair of hands will be handy (bad English) and on those parts, I'm going to call on the offers of help from friends and "crew sites"... 

IT turns out when you learn to embrace all the good people out there, you look at the world through even better eyes and it's quite a revelation when you also learn (about yourself) to accept HELP offered...  rather than struggling on (as is I suppose the British way) to admit sometimes you could do with some support, is truly a humbling and learning experience...  which I'm finally learning to embrace.

Pat and I have had a blast on this trip - so much so, instead of sticking to the planned itinerary, we've made detours up the Dewsbury Arm of the Calder and Hebble navigation - for no other reason than we could  AND rather than turning left at Castleford and heading up the Aire to Leeds, we went straight across and down the Aire & Calder mainline  and then did the entire Selby canal too... just because we could lol. 

I did have a worry about folk who'd already booked to come along next year might not like the idea of it just being me... Pat has reassured me that I'm actually OK  and quite a good host - she didn't go as far as saying "fabulous" but it was implied...  AND whilst on board, has booked to come along on a LLangollen trip next year too so I'm gonna take that as further positive affirmation...

SO - that's that then .

Until next time - when I can go "back to normal" positing...

4 comments:

Mike Todd said...

Sorry to hear the down side of what you have told us but also delighted with the upside. At least you know what you want to be doing and have the chance to do it. Not everyone gets that blessing. Trust that Andy also finds himself in a good place.

Our path did not quite cross with yours - we've just completed Rochdale, Calder and Hebble, Leeds and Liverpool but not quite at the same time as you. We also started on the Huddersfield earlier but had to turn about - we'd not planned to go through the tunnel anyway.

Good to know that you are back blogging - missed your quirky take on things!

Ade said...

Ah well there’s a thing, glad your all good Mark, I had a sniff something was up. But if your both mutually cool with things full steam ahead.
Best of luck going forward and keeping your business afloat (pun intended) to 2020 and beyond.
Good update loads to absorb.
Cheers
Ade

The Little Lockie said...

Hey bud, I've told you before, you write incredibly well. That this blog was truly from the heart makes it even more special. Thank you.

Super Ginge "It's all about me me me me me"

Ellis "NO Daddy, it's all about me ......"

You are going to be just fine. See you soon x

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi there,
We have corresponded by email before when you were struggling with the loss of your mum and also finding it difficult to deal with how your dad was/wasn't coping.

From my pov, I always enjoy reading people being real in their writing - you have an admirable sense of self awareness, which is engaging all on its own!

Our boat is apparently too long for the L&L, so we have been looking at options for doing it. Perhaps I should be looking for us to come on one of your weeks! David is excellent on locks, I am a good steerer and a pretty good cook - so a good amount of sharing all round.

Big virtual hugs, super ginge,

Marilyn and David