Monday, 26 September 2016

Goodbye to Molly Rose for 2016.

Monday 19 September.

Day around the boat.

Tuesday 20 September.

Into Hazel Grove by Bus to pick up a rental car. A bit disappointed as we ordered the smallest car available and normally are given the next size up. Not this time. We drive around the corner to Visit Uncle John (Barry's uncle) for a cuppa and chat before heading off to Macclesfield to pick up the material Diana wants for the dining room curtains. A huge warehouse with a massive selection. I can see why Diana likes this place. We leave there with an extra 10kg of luggage to bring home. We take the road to Whaley Bridge which we have not been on before. Quite windy for a well used road with us stopping when we could to let the locals race past.

Wednesday 21 September. 4 miles.

Motor off past New Mills then turn around and stop to fill the diesel tank and empty the holding tank before travelling back past the marina to turn around before backing Molly into position for the winter. The afternoon is spent packing what we will travel home with. All this is put into the car and we move into the holiday let at New Mills. F & C for tea. We make use of the dryers to finish drying all of the washing.

Thursday 22 September.

I am back to the boat to finish putting Molly to bed while Diana completes drying all the washing. After I have removed all the domestic water, disconnected the batteries and vacuumed I return to pick up Diana and we put all the linen away and place the dehumidifier pots throughout the boat. This done we leave and do a couple of bits and pieces in the car. We realise we still need to return a couple of things to the boat and do this on the way to the Soldier Dick (pub) in Furnress Vale where we will have tea.

Friday 23 September.

All packed up and ready to leave. loaded the little car with cases, bolt of material, hand luggage and off we go to Manchester Airport. Drop off the car and take the shuttle bus to the terminal and walk to the railway station. We have about an hour to wait so have an early lunch which turn out to be a good choice. Went to the platform and when the train arrived we loaded all the gear in and found our seats. we had requested forward facing, a table, power and close to the luggage rack. we got 2 out of the 4 so ended up traveling backwards to Scotland. train not very full from the airport but after stopping in Manchester the train was full almost all the way. Once we settled into the journey it was announced they had a fault with the refreshments trolley so there would not be a service today. Three and a half hours later, in not that comfortable seats we arrive in Glasgow on time and just as Murray arrives on the platform. We take a cab to his place and settle in for the week.

Pilkies Derbyshire tour

Sunday 18 september.

Jim and Anne arrive at the Marina having driven down from Preston to take us on another of their tours. We head off southwest to Chapel-en-le-Frith then turn West and steadily climb through beautiful scenery to one of the high points of the Peak National Park. This area is known for it's Blue John  stone which comes from one of the caves and is not found anywhere else. There are some high cliffs with many paragliders soaring along the edge. We now descend down a steep winding busy tourist road to the beautiful village/town of Castleton. There is no where to stop and continue on to Heathersage and visit the tomb of "Little John". He spent his later years here. After a bite to eat we moved on to Eyam. Eyam is known for it's actions during the plague. The town isolated itself when a villager got the plague and had no contact with the rest of the country until there were no further cases, thus stopping the spread of the disease into surrounding areas. There is a National Trust house, Eyam Hall. Owned by one family for 11 generations. They still own the house and live in the village but have leased it to The National trust for a number of years. It is well presented with a lived in feel to the house and gardens. We continue with a walk around the village and then look for a Pub, after all it is Sunday. We have our Sunday Roast in the village of Foolow on our way back to the marina via Chapel-en-le-Frith and Whaley Bridge. The Tour finishes with coffee on Molly Rose before Jim & Anne return to Preston. Thanks to you both for a Great Tour.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Furness Vale

Wednesday 14 September. 8 1/2 miles. 

Nice day to be boating. Stopped at Marple. While moored up we were passed by the boat that moors next to us at Furness Vale. They were on their way home too. After some lunch we went into town to take a load of books to the Charity shop where Diana found a shirt for me. Needed some polish for the boat and dehumidifier crystals to leave over winter. A cup of coffee then back for the last few miles on what is a lovely canal, mainly because it is on the side of a hill rather than down in a ditch. As we approach the last bridge, that is the beginning of the marina, we pass our Neighbors who have moored up for the night. They wanted a bit more time on the canal before leaving their boat.Nose  into the berth about 1800 and hook up to power before settling in for the night.

Thursday 15 September.

Wash the top and pontoon side of the boat. When it is dry it gets a polish as well. The weather is ideal, although a warm day the sun is hidden by clouds in the morning and then passes behind some trees so the boat is not too hot to work on. Quite noticeable how low in the sky the sun is. Takes most of the day but did have interruptions from passing locals and boaters.

Friday 16 September. 2 Miles.

Bit of a sleep in after a busy yesterday. Rain clears late morning so a bit of patch up painting is done. This is dry by late afternoon so off we go the mile up the canal to turn around outside Tesco's. A bit of food to keep us going for the next few days. Then back the mile to the marina where the boat is now backed in for washing and polishing on the other side. This leaves just 4 more miles to do. We need to go a mile north to New Mills where we will get a pump out and fill the tank with Diesel then turn around and go back past the marina to Tesco's where we turn again to come back to the marina and back in which is the way we leave it over winter.

Saturday 17 september.

Wash the other side of the boat before we walk into New Mills to buy a bit of hardware. Diana stays to check out the charity shops while I return to the boat and set about polishing the second side. It takes all afternoon.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Into the top pound.

Sunday 11 september, 1 1/2 miles, 12 locks.

As we are getting ready to set off 2 boats come past so we know that there will be a delay going up. I am keen to move off to reserve our place in the que, and just as well because as we moved around the corner to the bottom of the locks another boat follows. The prospect of a slow climb up the locks is confirmed when taking to the boat ahead he tells me that they have been following the first boat and they have trouble getting their boat through bridges. there are few boats coming down so we need to empty all the locks before we can enter. We are fortunate to have a keen man in the second boat. He goes ahead to help the first boat and eventually figures out what their problem is and makes some helpful suggestions. He also opens the paddles on the lock he is leaving so it is almost empty by the time we get there. After about 3 locks Marion turns up to help which is much appreciated. Two and a half hours after we start we clear the last lock and pull over for a cuppa with Alan & Marion on the towpath. We say our final goodbyes and move on a short distance before mooring up for the day.

Monday 12 September, 4 1/2 miles.

Loverly day as we trundle through the countryside. Diana has an anxious moment as she is required to stop traffic to open a swing bridge. It is all electronic so no effort involved. Further on we reach another swing bridge which is normally open but it is not. Diana can't swing it so I nosed the boat forward and climb off the front. It takes a while to notice the locking system is broken, luckily it is in the unlocked position. It is unbalanced and very heavy to move. It looks like with the broken lock and being unbalanced it has been hit by a boat. Once we are through and closed the bridge again I ring the Canal trust to tell them what has happened. "Yes we know about that and waiting for parts". Further discussion is had about signage and a notice about the situation. As we are about to move off a hire boat comes steaming around the corner, I put my hand indicating he needs to stop but he thinks we are moored up until he sees there is a closed bridge in front of him with nowhere to go. I accept a few knocks and bruises are inevitable but being hit because of inattention is not that pleasant. When we get to Macclesfield there is room on the pontoon and as Diana is keen to see an antique dealer she has been told about in town we moor up for lunch. Diana heads off and I stay with the boat. About 1700 she has done what she needs to do and so have I. I then walk to town to pick up our pre booked tickets to Glasgow from the station, meet Diana and have a coffee and visit the chippy on the way back to the boat. We are staying the night.

Tuesday 13 September. 7 miles.

Away in the morning for a bit more trundling along on a warm sunny day. They are talking about a heatwave. Around lunch time we pull over at Bollington, eat lunch then walk into the lower part of the town for a change. Back on the boat for a few more miles before mooring up past Higher Poynton looking across at Lyme Park Keep. Beautiful evening on the towpath with drinks and nibbles. This lasted until the dark clouds move over with thunder and lightning followed by torrential rain which lasted for over an hour before the front passed. We expect a sunny hot day tomorrow with only 9 miles to go.

Saturday, 10 September 2016


Saturday 10 september. 4 miles

Picked up at 1030 and into Congleton market to buy some Oatcakes & black pudding. We have now discovered that Real Oatcakes (not supermarket ones) have a far superior taste and are eating them almost every lunchtime. Today is Heritage day and there are some places to visit for free. First stop is the Church where I take the opportunity to be a Campanologist. I Climb up a spiral staircase to the bell ringers level where I get an insight into the workings of the bells. At my request they give a demonstration of a 3 bells peel. When they have finished the question is "does anyone want to try". Too right I do so after a bit more instruction and under dual control I get to ring one of 8 bells in their tower. We look through the church, visit an 18th century bath house in a private garden, check out some old buildings we had not seen before, then return to the boat for Black pudding Oatcakes. When it was time to sail off we had an additional 3 crew members join us. Marion looks after her 5 & 7 year old great grand daughters after school and often takes them for a walk along the towpath where they are always asking to go on stranger's boats. They didn't know what was planned so too very excited little girls and their Great Grandma travel about 2 1/2 miles to the last bridge where they can get off. Alan has driven there to pick them up. As we approached the first bridge the girls notice their Grand Ma and Pa on the bridge. They have come on their bikes and follow along the towpath.

Friday, 9 September 2016


Wednesday 7 September.

Not a good day. Diana woke with a bad case of vertigo and nausea. After lunch it was a question of what and how much did she want to do. We walked to Tunstall to stock up on food and found a Lidl which helped improve Diana's day as she hadn't found one this year. We didn't buy much as their selection of chocolate was not as good as we remembered. By the time we got back to the boat it was too late for the tunnel so settled in for the afternoon with Diana sitting in the sunshine on a towpath chair. That evening we were surprised by a visit from our Congleton friends who knew we were at Westport lake but had not been there before so plugged in the GPS and found us 22 minutes later. Great to see them unexpectedly. Bedtime and when Diana puts her head on the pillow the world spins again. She spends most of the night trying to sleep in a chair.

Thursday 8 September. 8 miles, 1 lock.

Diana feeling better but far from 100%. Doesn't want to bend down to aggravate the problem. We eventually get away and arrive at the tunnel with boats emerging so not much delay before we pass through. Once in to the sunshine again we turn onto the Macclesfield Canal, climb the 1 foot of our only lock today and then stop for water. A short distance further on it is a lunch stop. As we approach Congleton we stop and talk to our friends son who is working on his boat and then to his and our surprise Marion turns up on her push bike a bit short of breath. Apparently bike riding is not a common event. Shortly after we are moored up At Congleton Wharf. We are invited to go out for dinner and join the family celebrate, grandson, Harry's 17th birthday. We have now meet 4 more members of the family. A lovely gathering and very good meal as well. Back to the boat for an early night. Diana managed to get her head down OK.

Friday 9 September.

A quiet morning with the chance to do some work on the boat. After lunch we are off, by car to the supermarket. On the way we call in to watch Alan in a Crown Bowls tournament. Always a fascinating game to watch with the uneven surface. By the time the bowls finish and we had done the shopping it was Fish and Chips back at their's. Must say I was pleased that the F&C shop had a new product. Mushy Pea Fritter. I first experienced one of these in 2010 on the Ashby canal and have been looking for one ever since. Back to the boat at a reasonable hour tonight.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


Tuesday 6 September. 7 miles, 6 locks.

Continuing north. First lock almost immediately after setting off and quite deep as well. Through Trentham with well kept properties on one side and overhanging trees on the other followed by open country until the bypass around Stoke joins us. This doesn't last for too long and we are then into the final 5 locks before we leave the Trent & Mersey. The plan is, up 2 to clear the rough bit then stop for lunch. What happened was, with the boat traffic coming the other way we kept going to take advantage of empty locks. Once at the top and with Middleport Pottery less than 2 miles away we press on and tie up outside, giving Diana a couple of hours at her "must visit pottery". 10 minutes further on we are moored up at the familiar spot of Westport Lake where we spend time on the towpath with .. you can guess the rest.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Continuing North

Tuesday 30 August.

Out and about on another Pilkington tour. Today they have found a National Trust Property near Ticknall. There is a limited choice today as normally Trust properties are closed on Mondays but as yesterday was a Bank holiday and they were open they choose to close on Tuesday. Calke Abbey is presented in a different way. The owner had traveled the world collecting artifacts, looked like he had a fetish for birds and animals. The taxidermist's of the area would have had a lifetime of work as everywhere you turned there were cabinets of stuffed Birds, Animals and trophy heads.  He turned into a bit of a recluse and the house has been left as it was when he left. It was in need of much renovation but the trust decided to make it watertight and stop any further deterioration. The house is presented as an example of what needs to be done to some of the properties they acquire. Once we had been through the house we spent some time in the large grounds which included a small church, a large walled garden, orangery and selection of sheds with much old hand machinery in them. On the way home we needed a Pub for a meal and ended up in Willington at the Green Man. Had had the best Sunday Roast there last year and although the place had changed hands the meals were pretty good. Back in Rugeley we had coffee on Molly Rose before Anne & Jim made the return trip to Preston, a couple of hours away.

Wednesday 31 August. 5 miles, 2 locks.

A day of boating through the countryside remembering last year on this section, to arrive at Great Hayward for a couple of nights to catch up. Generator out for 3 loads of washing.  Walk to the Farm shop and cafe. After tea we walked through the grounds of Shugborough Hall taking some interesting "fading light photos". Generally a quiet evening.

Thursday 1 September.

A no rush day. After lunch we went back to Shugborough to walk through the gardens that were closed last night. Still walking a few miles most days.

Friday 2 September. 5 1/2 miles, 3 locks.

Walked to the Farm shop for some bread and veggies. Filled up with water before continuing north at a gentle, no pressure pace. The locks are spaced well apart and once through the first one where we are second in the que the boats get spaced out as well. Had lunch on the move so with time to spare thought we would walk into Burston, which looked interesting in the book. As we approached we realised we had stopped here with Ray and Rosemary so decided not to. Well that was until we passed some other boaters who were walking back. They convinced us that it was worthwhile to walk a little further to where there was a nice pub. Yes the pub looked nice but that was all there was so back to the boat. It was such a nice afternoon and we are only an hour or so from Stone so we stay put.

Saturday 3 September. 3 miles, 2 locks.

Checked the forecast as soon as we got up. Heavy rain due to start at 1100. A quick breakfast and off we go anticipating to be in Stone by 1100. I recon we have time so pull into the Aston Marina for a pump out and then up to the first lock. I empty it and in we go. By the time we get to the top there are two boats waiting behind. I'm pleased we are in front as I guess they are all heading for Stone to beat the weather and moorings are going to be in high demand. On the approaches to Stone we pull over where we were this time last year with Rachel & Trevor. Diana goes to look ahead. She finds one spot and it is one of the best in town. We first found this one on our way south when Ray & Rosemary were with us. We take the chance that someone coming the other way won't get there first as there is a lock to do on the way. All good as we moor up just after 1100. Good plan, worked well. Pity the forecast wasn't accurate. The rain started just as we set off. Must say though, after 1100 it got a lot heavier. By mid afternoon the rain has eased so walk into Stone to the hardware shop and Costa's. As we get to the main street it is full of gazebos. Yes it is the monthly Farmers market and it has just finished. So into Costa's where we catch up on blogs etc. Home via the chippy and a quiet night onboard.

Sunday 4 Septemeber

It is Fathers day in NZ so a good reason to partake of a Sunday Roast. I wander off into town on the off chance the motor accessories shop is open. It is not. Diana turns up soon after as there are a number of Charity shops in town and she will have a look before lunch Only a couple open. Back to the canal for lunch at the Star. Meat was very nice but the veg were over cooked. Never mind a nice Fathers day lunch. Pottered around on the boat with a bit of painting to finish. Walked down the towpath a bit to get rid of the rubbish before settling in for the night.

Monday 5 September. 4 miles, 7 locks.

Busy morning on the canals. Early off the boat to see if I could buy a bit for the boat. Unsucsesful. Then we both went to do a supermarket shop before Diana checked out the rest of the Charity shops. The canals are still busy so we time our departure and join the que at the first lock. Not to much delay as there are boats coming down. Manage to fill the water tank at the second lock without loosing our place. Did one more before stopping for lunch at the bottom of the Meaford flight of 4. Trundled on with a short stop at Barlaston to visit the Big Boys Toy shop, unfortunately they ar now out of business. We have the option going on to Stoke and 6 more locks or stop at a familiar spot adjacent to Wedgwood factory. to enjoy drinks a knibbles on the towpath.