Sunday, 20 September 2015

Increase in speed

Sunday 20 September.

Tonight we are in a wide bed and have access to a shower with running water. All the lights are on and the TV is going but not necessarily being watched.

Tomorrow we catch the flight towards home. Farwell Northern Summer 2015.

PS. An Indian summer is predicted for the next couple of weeks

Friday, 11 September 2015

Home at Furness Vale

Friday 11 September. 5 1/2 miles.

In to Marple this morning to buy the last few things on my DIY list. Diana did her favorite Marple, Charity shop. Made it back to the marina by 1600 to a welcome from members of the Furness vale Boat Club (FVBC) and others on the Marina. Tonight was the first FVBC meeting of the winter which we attended to hear stories of others travels. Once again we had done the most miles and been away the longest this summer. I received devastating news. the local chippie closed down a month ago and I had been looking forward to a couple of their meals this week. It was one of the best we have tried in England. I wonder what will close next year as the Post office/corner shop closed last year while we were traveling.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Top end of the Macclesfield

Tuesday 8 September. 8 1/4 miles.

Headed off north with a stop at Macclesfield. Diana wanted to go to a couple of the larger chemist chains to stock up on product to bring home. I checked out a DIY to start filling the list of what I need to get Molly ready for winter. Carried on to Bollington for the night.

Wednesday 9 September. 3 1/4 miles.

Walked into Bollington. Wanted to go to the butcher there. Before that we climbed the 500ft up to "White Nancy" A great lookout where we could see almost all of the area we covered last year and across to Wales this year. Walked down again to see the butcher. Sorry, half day Wednesday. Had a late lunch at a cafe we have passed before but has always been closed. Very nice. They have a gold award for their sandwiches. Back to the boat via a Charity shop. Moved on up to Higher Poynton for the night.

Thursday 10 September. 4 miles.

Caught a bus to Poynton. Only 2 miles away but up hill all the way back. Diana had heard she would find the best Charity shops there as it was on the edge of the "footballers triangle". I didn't look in too many so can't comment but I did find the best small town DIY shop so far. Found a number of goodies that were on my list. We also found a place to mix the paint to match across the back of the boat. It has been bugging me for the last 2 summers. I hope to get it on this coming week. Moved on to Marple, where the second best DIY shop is although there aren't many things on the list now. There is an old Cinema here so went to the movies tonight. They still have an interval with the ice cream girl moving through the theater. The movie was "45 years". Not bad but wouldn't put it on the must see list

Monday, 7 September 2015

Top of the hill

5 September, 8 miles, 1 lock, 1 tunnel.

Away from Stoke after a quick farewell to Peter and Jennifer. Arrived at the Harecastle tunnel entrance with the expectation of a bit of a wait. As we pull up the lock (tunnel) keeper arrives to give us the briefing about the transit, A little more detail since last years incident when a bloke fell of the back of his boat and drowned. How long before we go? your on your way now. Took a few minutes to set the boat up for the trip and we were away. 40 minutes later we were out the other side into sunshine. Turned up the Macclesfield canal and motored through delightful countryside to Congleton. Wandered around to Marian & Alan's where we were invited for tea and to use the washing machine. Back to the boat for a not to late night. The autumn evenings are starting to get a bit cool so the heater was run for an hour or so before bed.

6 September. 0 miles.

Went down the hill to the town centre and their Sunday car boot market. Not a lot there but a big variety. Diana picked up some Art Deco stuff and I picked up a couple of prints. After lunch and a bit of food shopping I left Diana in the Charity shops and went back to the boat to do a bit of maintenance. Walked to the bowling club where Alan was in a competition and Marian was making cups of tea. At the completion of the bowls we picked up Diana and went to the Young Pretender. A boutique bar/restaurant. They have award winning pies which are something special. This was our second visit and I expect it will be a regular stop in Congleton. Alan & Marian's son, John and Grandson Harry were also there. We have heard a lot about the family so it was great to meet a couple of them. Back to the house for tea & coffee before returning to the boat.

7 September. 5 1/2 miles, 12 locks.

A beautiful day. Set of mid morning and stopped for lunch at the bottom of the locks. Nobody was coming down so thought we had better start. I went to empty the first lock and was pleased to see a boat a couple of locks away. We waited for them to come down so we could go straight in. This set the trend for the rest of the day except for 1 lock which we had to empty. Part way up we chatted to a couple who were at the next table when we were having coffee yesterday. A bit further up we got chatting to a couple walking towpaths. They opened gates for us and generally made the day easier. After the top lock we stopped for water and they walked on. On their way back we offered them a cuppa tea which they willingly accepted so we had a good old chat on the towpath  for an hour or so. The weather remained nice so we had dinner on the towpath as well. "Top of the Hill". We are now at the same height as the marina so no more locks this year.

Friday, 4 September 2015

These Potteries have us in their grip

Friday 4 September. 2 miles

We are off, heading to Congleton hoping to make it in time for Fish & Chips with Marian and Alan. Well that didn't happen. Moored up outside Burleigh Pottery and went in for coffee. Left Diana working her way through the factory shop while I did a couple of jobs on the boat. Cut off time to get away is 1400. This will give us plenty of time to get through Harecastle tunnel if we just miss a northbound convoy. As we pass Westport Lake I spy a familiar boat belonging to a couple from Tasmania. Pull over and chat to Peter until Jennifer arrives back from the charity shops in Tunstall. By this time we wont make the tunnel tonight so socialise some more. Great to catch up with friends we only see occasionally. Maybe Congleton tomorrow!

Thursday, 3 September 2015


Wednesday 2 September. 5 miles. 6 locks.

Set of on a 30 minute walk to "World of Wedgwood". We were here back in 2015 and the route was almost direct to the museum/factory. Since then the place has changed hands and a developer is building a large estate of quality housing so we have to walk around this to get there. Talked to the reception about the changes. The Museum is the same. The Factory tour is booked until 1200, that's a bit late and once again we are in the potteries during factory close down week. So we decide to do the Kiwi thing and look around all the free bits. Their new display area is brilliant. The designer of the whole complex has shown off the quality and elegance of the Wedgwood name to the highest standard. The place has only been open 2 or 3 months so there is a lot still to be done around the fringes of the complex. Will visit again in a couple of years. Had lunch on the move as we continued north towards the Macclesfield. The last few locks took longer than expected so cut short today's journey at Etruria. While we were in the top lock I stuck my nose around the corner and saw a couple of spots to moor. Turned the corner and decided stop for water. So while there two boats appear from nowhere and grab my spots. That turned out to be a good thing as there was a boat "Whio" flying the NZ flag so asked to Breast up, which we did. A very social couple of hours with Don & Val from Auckland who are in their 3rd year of no winters.

Thursday 3 September. 0 miles.

The day is a bit grey and cold. Lunchtime before we are organised. Take a walk to Stoke to visit the Portmeirion pottery. On the way we see a sign for the Spode Visitor centre. It is closed but we wander in as the door is open. Get some funny looks but after we say we have come from NZ to visit we are invited to have a look around. One of the Trustees of the preservation society takes us under his wing and explains what they are trying to do. Turns out he retired a few months before the receivers moved in. He was their top engraver so got a very good insight into that side of the operation. Most impressed. We did get to Portmeirion but it was just a factory shop. I had thought we had been to all the potteries but we seem to keep finding more. Diana has at least 2 to visit next time we are passing.


Monday 31 August. 5 boat lengths.

Wet, Wet Wet. Mid morning took a walk down a muddy towpath to see if there were any moorings closer to town. No but there was a concrete path a bit further along. Lunch on board then with a bit of a break in the weather wandered into Stone. Had a coffee and used their internet. Rachel rang to see where we were as they were looking at the option of a night with us. Did some food shopping then back to the boat to see where they could park their van. Moved the boat down to the area of sealed path and found a carpark about 100 yds away. Rang Rachel with the details and they turned up after 6. Spent the evening on the boat chatting about where they had been and done before they went back to the van for the night,

Tuesday 1 September. 4 1/2 miles, 8 locks.

Rachel & Trevor joined us before breakfast before they headed off to Liverpool. Better weather today so after watering and a Pump-out we joined a queue of 3 to start up the locks. A good day as there was traffic the otherway emptying locks for us. Still passing through places we have seen before but have to look back to recognise a lot of them. Going to have a look at the new Wedgwood World tomorrow so moor up opposite the factory

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Sunday is Roast day

Sunday 30 August. 7 miles, 3 locks.

Still cruising up the Trent valley towards the Macclesfield canal. Stopped so we could go to the village of Salt. Why? Because it is Sunday and the "Holly Bush Inn" is there. Reputed to be the oldest Inn in Staffordshire, dating back to the 16th century. A quaint thatched roofed black and white. Nice roast but not a patch on last Sunday's in Willington. Other than the Inn, the church and one row of old cottages the rest were 20th century plus. Have moored up tonight a bit out of Stone. Being Bank Holiday weekend the place is full. The upside is that there was enough traffic on the canal so at every lock there was a boat to come down and empty the lock for us.


Saturday 29 August. 11 miles, 3 locks.

A day of cruising through the Trent valley. Passed through Handsacre, Armitage, Rugeley with a stop for lunch at Wolseley Bridge. Took a walk into Little Haywood to look at an Abbey but you couldn't get passed the front gate. Moored up for the night a couple of miles passed Great Hayward.