Saturday, 28 May 2016

Tiki Tour of the Lake District

Friday 27 May.

Murray is back to Glasgow and we are off to Preston by train to meet up with Jim & Anne, who last year took us on a tour of Wales. We couldn't get away too early as our rail pass is off peak. We were meet at the station by Jim & Anne who whisked us away to the Lake District. In the back of the car was a gift for us. A Wade pottery narrow boat. This will go nicely with the one they sent us last year which sits in front of the TV at home. OK I have done the bus trip through the lake district back in 1990. Must have spent all of 2 hours as we drove through and stopped in Windermere for a coffee. Today we get to experience the real Lake District. From the bottom of Windermere we head west and stop in a delightful village of Broughton-in-Furness. A bit different in that it reminded me of an English village with a feeling of a Welsh Village but not quite a Scottish Village. (Does that make sense?). Had lunch at the award winning bakery and they deserved it. We then travel further west towards the coast before heading north to the village of Ravenglass. Not much here but a extensive estuary where the tidal range is one of the biggest in the country.
Also at Ravenglass is the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. The trains run 8 miles on a 15 inch gauge track. Beautifully maintained steam engines pulling purpose built carriages up a valley and in some places on a 1 in 35 incline. The railway was originally 3ft gauge and used to bring iron ore to connect with the Furness railway main line. With the close of the line in 1913 a modelmaker bought the line and converted it to 15 inch. The round trip took about an hour through some lovely scenery. Good choice Jim!   Have a look at to see some of their engines etc.
Talking about scenery the next part of the Jim & Anne tour took us through a spectacular mountain pass. The Hardknott pass over the Cumbrian Mountains to Ambleside. I could not do it justice trying to describe the trip. The road is single lane but two way. The gradient is 1:8 in places. At some places you can't see where the road goes as you drop off the top of a ridge. Search Hardknott Pass on YouTube to get some idea. Scarry? not really for the passenger as so much time was looking at the geography and views. A pity it is not shown to more tourists. Bottom of the hill and we drive the tourist route down the East side of Windermere to Staveley for a bite to eat at The Hawkshead Brewery, Beer Hall. I tried a NZ Pale Ale they brewed. Not the best choice I think I will stick to the Real Ale's I enjoy here. Back to Preston for a cuppa at Jim & Anne's. I had been looking forward to seeing what they had done to their canal frontage since we first passed it in 2014. Looking Good Jim.
Back to the station by 2200 and home by midnight. A great day.

The Guided Tour continues

Wednesday 25 May

With a booking for the tour of Wentworth Woodhouse organised we were away at a reasonable hour. Arrived early enough to go to the Wentworth Garden Centre for a coffee. This place is a destination. The complex is within the walled garden of Wentworth house, An extensive selection of garden products and a gift shop with everything you don't need but would be nice to have. The restaurant was full both times we were there. Coach tour parties of the over 60's and mothers with young children seem to be the predominant customers. It looked like the restaurant was the main attraction.
The tour of the BIG house started with a brief history which brought us to the present day. The house owner is a London property developer who has been restoring one wing for his own use. The anticipated costs are more than he is prepared to front up with so it is on the market. As you walk through you see that all of the valuable artifacts have been removed leaving only the grandeur of the architecture to enjoy. A massive place and it will be a huge asset to the heritage of England if it can be restored. The real estate agents would describe it as "A doer upper". Well worth the visit and would love to be able to see it again in 10 years. On our return journey we took a different route over the Pennines and ended up in a line of crawling traffic. Eventually negotiated our way onto the ring road around Manchester back to Stockport and a familiar road to Furness Vale.

Thursday 26 May

Hit the road again heading South through Buxton to Kedleston Hall, just outside Derby. We entered Ashbourne from a different direction from last time we were there and it wasn't until we hit the main street I realised we had been before and then remembered there was a Waitrose around the corner. Stopped to buy a couple of loaves of bread then into the town center for a bite of lunch. As we left Ashbourne a wrong roundabout exit took us on the circular route to Derby. Road signs had familiar place names and we realised we were not far away from the Trent & Mersey canal where we were last year. We eventually made it to Kedleston hall. I found this the best of the three. Not as big, had all the features of the bigger halls, very light inside so it was easy to see the paintings and sculptures. Trip back was more direct and took us to the Fish & Chip shop for tea.
Thanks Murray for being with us and taking us to these places.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Old Houses

Monday 23 May,

Overcast morning . Up early, ran the engine for hot water and battery charge.  On the road by 0900. Drove to Chatsworth House near Bakewell. Arrived before the house opened so looked around the stables and retail part of the estate before going through the house. Took us about 2 hours. This is not National Trust but is one of the top stately homes to visit. There is not much to see from outside as they are in the middle of an extensive exterior restoration. The interior is extensive with all the rooms well furnished and a great collection of art work. Some rooms are in regular use by the owners, Duke & Duchess of Devonshire. Diana took many photos, a selection of which will be on her new blog site,

Tuesday 24 May,

Glorious start to the day without a cloud in the sky although a bit cool. Headed out through the Peak Forest National Park, over the Pennines into South Yorkshire and towards Sheffield. Wentworth house was the destination. This visit has been on Diana's dream list for some time. It is apparently the largest Private house in the UK. Is on the market for the bargain price of 8 million. Restoration costs are anticipated at 44 million so Diana is waiting for Lotto to fall her way. Well they only do pre booked tours. Next one is tomorrow so we will make the journey again. The day was not wasted as the scenery over the Pennines was superb with the numerous drywall stone fences, numerous lakes, rolling countryside and great views from the top. Had a short stop in Sheffield as we had not been there before.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sunday Roast

Sunday 22 May.

The day starts with the feeling of summer. With nowhere to go we are thinking of alternatives. Murray decided to come and visit from Glasgow and he is bringing his car so we can do a few things away from the canals. Most of the day we fiddled around with little jobs to make life easier. A gentle start to our holiday. Murray arrived late afternoon and after a good catch up we walked to the local pub for the first Sunday Roast of the season.

On the boat with nowhere to go.

Tuesday 17 May,

Arrived in Manchester after my first ride in a 380 around 1900 then off to an airport pub for a snack and sleep. The flight was mostly over cloud until we dropped out under a 4000ft overcast. Nice to see the green green grass of Home! after the desert around Dubai.

Wednesday 18 May,

Picked up the rental car. A Renault Twingo, very tiny and a bit short on power with 5 months luggage in the back. Set off for Stockport to sort out our internet. Got lost in the same place as last year (slow learner). We managed to get a reasonable deal on  a contract but it did involve a trip to the bank to change my address to a UK one so I had a post code. It was mid afternoon by the time we got to our holiday let at the New Miles Marina. This is about a mile down the canal from where Molly Rose is moored. We eventually got to Furness Vale and surprised Nick the engineer. He wasn't expecting us till Saturday. Boarded Molly to see the engine is not connected to the prop. We had a lot of prop noise last year so had decided to move the shaft back a bit. when they did this they found a leak at the back of the gearbox and were expecting a spare part that afternoon. Molly was looking pretty good after her winter of disinterest, Very dry inside with a few spiders and a bit of dust. Back to the holiday let then out for fish and chips. Watched an episode of Emmerdale which was not to much ahead of where we are at home. Coronation street is a bit different, many characters we had not yet meet and those we did know were in some different and interesting relationships.

Thursday 19 May,

Today the engine is being connected to the prop. lots of interesting comments being heard from the back of the boat. In the end the prop and engine are aligned and it looks like one of the vibrations that worried me last year may have been reduced. We have had an extra bilge pump fitted. The design of the boat is such that the outside rear steps drain into the bilges and this requires a mop and bucket to empty out, so after this being a bit of a pain during last years wet summer the steps now drain into a bucket that has an automatic bilge pump. We are hoping not to need it this year. "yeh right". Inside we are pretty much tided up with bags unpacked and stowed. New mills pub, "Pride of the Peak" for dinner then back to the let. Tried to licence the boat but couldn't because our address was different to what the bank had.

Friday 20 May,

Up early so we could get a load of washing done before we went to the bank to change the address back to our NZ one. Next off Tescos for provisions. Mainly bulky and heavy stuff as we will have to carry every thing from now on. The new bilge pump needs a bit of final work. 3 hours later after fixing all the leaks the job is done. We now have to wait for things to dry so we head off early for tea at the let and a bit of Telly as we won't have one for 4 months, GREAT.

Saturday 21 May.

Busy morning. Take the last of our stuff from the let and say goodbye to the managers. Lovely people who we will meet again. Back to Molly Rose and empty the car. drive into Havel Grove to renew our Rail pass, drop off the car then visit Uncle John. He had been thinking it was about the time we would call in. Catch the bus back to Furness Vale. There is a fair down the road in a farmers paddock so we have a look. It is very local with a few crafty stalls, a bit of food and some good and otherwise music. A heave rain shower had us sheltering in the face painting tent. The most interesting part of the day was to watch a rental van trying to leave the paddock. we gave up watching after  about10 attempts left a huge mud bath and several vehicles still in the paddock.
By mid afternoon we are settled into our home for the next 4 months wondering where to go!
From Furness Vale we can go a mile to the end of the canal at Bugsworth, nice spot or we go the otherway for a couple of hours to Marple Junction. At this junction it is 16 locks down towards Manchester. Cant go that way there is a damaged lock. Wouldn't want to, been there, don't need to do that again. So the other option is down the Macclesfield canal. That is the intention BUT about a day away at Bollington they have found a leak in the embankment and have drained the canal. So where does that leave us? We are going to stay put as Murray has decided to drive down from Glasgow and spend a week with us. Having a car available will get us to places a bit further away from the canal.

Saturday, 21 May 2016


I've just lost all I have written to cover the last 4days


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

17 hours in a metal tube.

Not as bad as it sounds. The trip from Auckland to Dubai was all in the dark and I guess  that helped. We settled on to the B777 a couple of hours after sunset. Had a nice (airline) meal. Watched a movie and got a few hours sleep. Woke at my usual 7.30 NZ time took a walk around the plane and turned on a morning movie. Got the chance to watch Star Wars. Still dark so some more shut eye. Woke again for breakfast, still 4 hours out. A few episodes of The Big Bang Theory before touch down just after 5am local time. Walked for miles to pick up luggage and an easy route through processing. Shuttle to the hotel and all checked in by 6.30. Not tired but the internal clock a bit confused with a 20 hour night. Interesting fact is we followed a 380 from Brisbane into Dubai. That aircraft left Auckland about 4 hrs before us. Would I do a long flight again? Yes Westbound, not sure about other way. Will let you know when we are back home.