Sunday, 31 May 2015

When in Rome eat what the Romas eat!

Saturday 30 May, 1 mile, 7 locks, 6 op shops

One of the nicer days so far. Setting off mid morning we passed many boats. Mid term break here so lots of hire boats out. The good thing about passing boats where there are many locks is that they have just come up and the lock is full for us to go down. Makes for quick transit. Arrived at Wheelock for lunch on board. Walked the 1 1/2 miles into Sandbach. We have been here before and it has a quaint square with a variety of buildings. Has a nice feel. I spent a bit of time sitting in the square while Diana did the op shops. She only missed one. Went supermarket shopping at "Waitrose". Waitrose is significant, it is the only place we have found Vogels bread. We have tried the local breads but they are a bit airy and bland so sorry, if I can buy a good Kiwi bread I will and will always look for a Waitrose when we stop.

Sunday 31 May, 5 1/2 miles, 4 locks.

The pitter patter on the roof kept us in bed till after 8. Breakfast followed by a leisurely morning. Weather improved so after lunch, fill with water and head off Northwest. All but one of the locks were set and the canal depth seemed better than usual so we pushed the revs up a bit. Molly performed well. There has been a bit of wind today making the entrance into some of the locks a bit interesting and noisey. Found a good mooring outside a well known F&C shop just before the junction with the Middlewich branch canal which we turn off onto tomorrow. F&C closed Sunday.

Friday, 29 May 2015

How Fast

Friday 29 May. 2 1/2 miles, 7 locks.

Same old, same old today. We woke to the music of rain on the roof so there was no rush to put feet on the floor. With the new batteries there was no question if we should run the heaters. What a cosy place our little waterborne home is when it is warm. Rain eased about lunch time and it was quite a pleasant day. Off we go straight into a rising breeze which made a significant chill factor. As the day went on it started to get unpleasant so as soon as we could find a sheltered spot that was it. Lovely, peaceful & rural. Just after tea the local farmer decided to spray the paddock across the canal with effluent. although the wind had dropped and it was a beautiful sunset we chose to stay inside with windows closed.

Part of our journey today took us under the M6. We were doing 2mph they were doing about 5mph That's progress!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Aviation fix

Thursday 28 May, 2 1/4 miles, 6 locks.

We woke to sunshine which came and went throughout the day. Decided we would only travel in sunshine. Great idea, didn't work. We were moored up above a lock so thought we would wait until a boat came up and set the lock for us. This happened, sun was shining so in we went. Just as I started down the cloud came over and a cold precipitation started. I was surprised to find hail on the boat. Three locks later we pulled over, sun came out and we enjoyed a hot drink.

We managed the next 6 locks without rain but when the sun went behind clouds it was a cold wind. At lunch time Diana put a casserole in the oven which made the afternoon smell with expectations. I'm writing this before I have tried it.

One of the Red Arrows is missing.
On Saturday while touring with Alan & Marian the Red Arrows flew low overhead on their way North. My guess to the launching of HMS Elizabeth or to the parade of the 3 Queens up the Mersey to celebrate Cunard's 175th anniversary. They passed in front of us on their way south later in the day.
Today while moored up after the first 3 locks the Red Arrows headed North again, to return later. I'm sure I counted 9 this morning and only 8 this afternoon.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Friday 22 May. 7 miles, 12 locks.

Nice morning. First chance to wash the right side of the boat and give her a rub with baby oil. Filled up with water at the top of the locks and headed down just after noon with a bit of drizzle about. Late lunch at the bottom before heading into Congleton. Text messages back and forth as Marian was finding/reserving a mooring for us. Settled in before we joined Alan and Marian for fish & chips from their favorite chippy.

Saturday 23 May. many miles by car.

Alan & Marian collected us from the boat and we were off on another grand tour. The first stop was Cheadle in Staffordshire where we were taken to Pugin's Gem. A magnificent interior designed by Augustus Pugin who was also responsible for Westminster, Houses of Parliament. A short walk around Cheadle before we drove to Ashbourne where we had lunch. Another quaint market town with bunting across the street making it look very festive. Next town was Leek. We had intended to go here in 2010 but the tunnel on the Leek Branch of the Cauldon Canal was closed so we didn't get that far. Once again a walk around the town observing the Butter Market and the many and varied period buildings. Now time to head for home. On the way we called into the Yew Tree Inn. Hard to describe but it was as one expects an old english pub to look. In addition it was full of collected artifacts (junk). So Many grandfather clocks, guns, Victoriana, Pianola, Gramophones, penny farthing, swords, stuffed animals etc, etc. Had a pint and pork pie. Both very nice. Back to the boat for tea. Later on we walked to Alan & Marian's for the evening.

Sunday 24 May. more car miles.

We were picked up about 1130 and driven to Tatton Park, a National Trust property, near Knutsford about 4 miles off the end of the runway at Manchester Airport. The beautiful gardens included, Kitchen, Italian, Topiary, Conservatory, Fernery and others we didn't get to as it was a cold day. After a bite to eat we went into the big house to experience some more of the English Gentry lifestyle. Grand rooms with ornate ceilings and walls crammed full of paintings by Masters and other artists. Also many large portraits of family and royalty. On the way home we stopped in Knutsford for a look around. Another of those towns with a variety of architecture. The town is the centre of "The footballers Triangle" where more Champain per head of population is drunk than in any other place in the world. This status is obvious in the number of high class eating houses and the quality of cars parked in the street. The day was finished with a vist to "The Young Pretender", Local hostelry where award winning Cheshire pies were the main feature on the menu. Ham and black pudding pie with mash and peas was my tea. Diana's pie was cheese and onion with a salad. It is our intention to visit there again on the way home in September.

Monday 25 May.

Bank Holiday so we had a day off too. Sleep in, Cold day. Mid afternoon I joined Alan to watch a game of Crown Bowls at his local club. Joined Marian and Alan for afternoon tea and enjoyed Rhubarb crumble and custard. This had been made for afters on Friday but we overdosed on F & C. Back to the boat for tea and an early night.

Tuesday 26 May. 5 op shops

For a few days now we have been running out of power overnight. This happened a bit last year but this year with it being cold and having the diesel heater on a lot it was becoming a concern. I had a smart meter installed before we left Furness Vale and this has been giving me a better understanding of what was happening in the batteries. After lots of note taking and talking to Nick from TW Marine this morning we decided to replace 4 old batteries with 3 new ones.
That having been sorted we walked into Congleton and bought a few things for the boat. Had lunch and did a supermarket shop so we can be self contained for a few days. In the evening we returned to Alan & Marion's as they had offered the use of their washing machine. That made life just that much easier.

Wednesday 27 May. 7 miles, 4 locks.

Nick arrived and installed the new batteries. We were on our way just before lunch. A nice slow meander through the countryside in warmish weather with the sun poking through occassionaly. Took on water, drinking type, at the first lock then continued until we turned west on the Trent & Mersey Canal. After 3 locks light rain started so decided to pull over for a cuppa. Still here 4 hours later but it is starting to brighten. Hope tomorrow brings us sunshine.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

2 different days

Wednesday 20 May, 0 miles. 1 op shop.

What a bleak day it was. As Diana was walking down the boat the sun came out but she didn't get to see it as she was between windows at the time. Diana went back to the op shop but I didn't get off until late afternoon when the day improved a bit. I put the first of the silver ferns on the side at the front. It looks great. The other goes on when we moor up on the other side.

It is a Kiwi boat

Thursday 21 May, 7 1/2 miles, 2 swing bridges. 1 op shop.

When we woke the sun is starting to break through the clouds. By late morning it is feeling a bit like spring. We motor off the 3 miles to Macclesfield where we stop for lunch and walk into town. Just a few things to buy. Back on the boat late afternoon and we continue south through delightful country side. We remember why we do this and concentrate on these type of days. End the day sitting on the back, in the sunshine, with wine, cheese and crackers watching the ducklings , listening to the cows and lambs, occasional being reminded of the other world as we hear a train rush past doing 100 mph. Looking forward to Fish and Chips with Marian & Alan in Congleton tomorrow but first there are 12 locks, first this year.

Enjoy the evening Diana there are 12 locks around the corner.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

On the Mac

Sunday 17 May. 0 miles

Gary & List from Wellington and Zena from Napier called in this morning for a good old catch up. Zena left before lunch so that left 4 of us to go to the pub for a Sunday Roast. I have been looking forward to getting back into that habit. I am still waiting. On Saturday we had seen a pub in Marple advertising Sunday Roast. When we got there we are informed that they don't start serving them till next week. A bit of false advertising as the sign looked like it had been outside for a month or more. Never mind we had a pub lunch and enjoyed the catch up with List and Gary before they headed of to Warwick. Another evening with the heater on.

Monday 18 May. 3 miles, 0 locks, 5 op shops.

Cold and bleak in the morning so we aren't going anywhere. By lunch time the rain had turned to lite drizzle so off to do my hardware shopping and Diana the op shops. I later returned to town to meet Diana and do some supermarket shopping as we know the rest of the supermarkets on the Macclesfield are well below canal level. Late afternoon the day is still cold but has improved so, up stakes and head off. There was one heavy shower on the way so I spent a few minutes in the dry looking at the underside of a hump back bridge. Now moored up overlooking an equine centre where there is a bit of activity and the sun is shining.

Tuesday 19 May, 4 1/2 miles, 0 locks, 1 op shop.

Cold and bleak again. Sun pocked through before lunch so we traveled for 10 min to get some water, gas and a pump out. After lunch we trundled down to Bollington. Walked into part of the village for a coffee. By the time Diana had finished in the op shop all the cafes were closed so back to the Molly Rose coffee shop. Here for the night.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

In the slow groove

Saturday 16 May. 2 1/2 miles, 1 swing & 2 lift bridges.

Well we have certainly settled into canal time. Made it all the way to Marple for a late lunch. Diana's luck is holding. The 1st swing bridge needed her attention. 1 lift bridge is broken so was left up then at the next there was a helpful boater that had lifted the bridge for another boat and was still there when we passed, 3 boats later. No rain today but still cold. I'm really not used to wearing long trousers this much. Took a wander around Marple and remembered some of the shops I need to visit on Monday to buy some bits to tidy up the boat.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Off at a slower pace

Sunday 10 May,

Wet in Glasgow, so a slow start with Murray cooking a nice Brunch then to the Glasgow Museum of transport and Technology.
Good selection of cars but you couldn't see half of them as they were stacked 5 high up about a 20 meter high wall. They had the best selection of ship models I have ever seen. Understandable in the middle of a major ship building area.

Monday 11 May,

Spent the morning at the "Art lovers house". A 1902 design of Charles Rennie Mackintosh which was not built until 1989. Interesting and well worth a visit.
Cousins of Diana & Murray, Donald & Morag came for lunch and we had a pleasant afternoon in conversation. We had first Meet them in Napier in 2002.

Tuesday 12 May,

Off to lunch with Morag & Donald's daughter who lives in a 1700's farm house 45min from Glasgow. More chat and pleasant company.

Wednesday 13 May. Mystery Train Trip.

We were on our way before 10 travelling east. Ending up in North Berwick, the southern entrance to the Firth of Forth. They have a seabird centre there with live cameras on near-by islands where the Puffins and Gannets breed along with many other seabirds. Lunch was at the "Herring Bone". Best seafood chowder ever. If you are going that way call in. On the way home we stopped in Edinburgh as Diana had not been there before and Murray went to university there. Walked up to the Castle and then had dinner at Murray's regular restaurant from the past. As we were in Scotland I had Haggis. From Edinburgh back to Glasgow the train followed along the Union canal. Diana is hoping to organise a boat swap up here.

Thursday 14 May.

Fast trip back to Furness Vale to find Nick & Jim have done all the necessary maintenance and Molly is ready to go

Friday 15 May. 2 miles, 1 swing bridge.

Sun shining, Summer is on its way. Spent the morning getting ready to move. Removing the back cover, putting all the cruising ropes back on. tying on the fenders filling up the water tank etc. For some reason the canal level was down a bit and the boat was on the bottom at the back so we couldn't motor out. It didn't take to much effort to pull her out into the canal a bit and then slowly engage the engine. As we approached the swing bridge and Diana was making sure she had all the necessary gadgets, I see a boat coming the other way and the bridge was open We hope, an omen for the next 4 months. Moored up opposite some canal side houses. Walked into Disley, back to the boat for tea and it has started to drizzle. Well this is the English Summer.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

On the water

Saturday 9 May. ? milies

We headed off with Murray by car and then caught a ferry (first time on the water under power this season) to the Isle of Brute. We visited the stately home at Mount Stuart 
A magnificent home with grounds to match. Stayed fine all day. We are starting to get our walking fitness back after a few miles around the gardens.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Abandon ship

Thursday, 7  May. Heaps of miles, 0 locks, many tunnels.

We haven't quite abandond Molly Rose but we have moved off her for a few days. It has been a bit damp and we have decided this year that there is no pressure cruising when it is wet and cold. Murray, Diana's brother, who joins us for a week or so on the boat when we are here, has been keen to show us his new apartment in Glasgow. After a few days of considering the possibility we hopped on a train and arrived in Scotland last night. Quite different to pass through places we cruised last year. There is more to see of the UK than the few miles each side of the canal but at 200 kmph it is but a glancing look.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Back to walking .

Tuesday May 5. 0 miles, 0 locks.
Up at a reasonable hour to return the rental car to Hazel Grove. Bus in Stockport to see how we can improve our mobile wifi. Another mission. After an hour trying to establish an account with the phone company so we can go on a plan. It all fell over when we couldn't give them a post code. Tried the marina one. No go. Tried Murray 's in Glasgow. No go. In the mean time we have a pay as you go at more than twice the price. Not to bad at the moment as the marina has wifi.
The other issue we are trying to sort out is that Diana has lost all her contacts in her laptop and ipad making it very difficult for her to send out her daily photos. Best advice so far is to take a train into Manchester where there is a Mac shop. Another option is to go to the Trafford Centre where there is another Mac shop next to a canal. If we rush we can be there in a week.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Kite Flying

Monday 4 May.Bank holiday.  0 miles 0 locks.
Maybe summer has arrived? And then again it might be only for a day.
We heard there was a fly your kite day at a large National Trust property not far away so off we went. The entrance to Lyme Park is on the A6,   reportedly the busiest road in the UK. As we arrive at the gate to make a left turn there are signs up saying "park closed" with a number of people in fluro jackets trying to keep some order. We stopped to see what the story was. Of course there is no where to pull over so as we talked to the fluor jacket brigade about how we could get in traffic stopped. The car parks are full and also the paddocks. So where can we park? A shrug of the shoulders was the reply. With a bit of tooting from behind we moved on and took a side street where we managed to park and walk the 1/2 mile back.
The kite flying was on a ridge alongside a keep. Great setting and a nice bit of wind. About now I wish we had bought one or two from home. There were some small para foils for sale so we now have 2 kites on the boat.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Canals are filling.

Sunday 3 May. 0 miles, 0 locks
Looks like we may have arrived a bit early. Max temp yesterday was 7 °. Thank goodness we are connected to power with a small 2kw fan heater on almost continuously. The positive side is that the canals are filling up with water, especially the Peak Forest canal where we are. They had a major leak last month and Molly Rose had been sitting on the bottom for a while. All good now. Slept on last night. Great to be back and trying to remember where everything is. Visitors from Napier came aboard for lunch. Traveling from Harrogate to Stratford. That is now 5 from home that can relate to what we are doing.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Awake but not switched on

29-30 April. heaps of miles, no locks.

We are here and Molly Rose is looking in good shape. Quite dry inside but a bit cold so have had the heater on to help bring her back to life. Nick has been busy sorting out the list of maintenance I left him with, including a new Boat Safety Certificate. Like a WOF and good for 4 years. Wonder if we will need to renew it in 2019.
From Macau to Furness Vale. The day started with breakfast then a walk around Macau back to the hotel around 1300 for a feet up, pack up and check out at 1800. Ferry ride to Hong Kong Airport with a departure time of 0100. Been up 17 hrs. The 13 hour flight is one of those life experiences. So 30hrs later we are in Manchester waiting for the morning rush to ease up before venturing on to the M65 and A6. An hour or so with Nick on the boat before some shut eye at the B & B. Wake from that in the evening before back to the boat for an hour or so, visit the chippy and .end the day in a very comfortable bed.