Archive for July, 2016

Thursday 21st July 2016  When we arrived yesterday  we walked along the busy towpath in Skipton to see what other moorings were available as we wanted to trade here for a few days, just past the Ice Cream Tug there are 14 day moorings through to the next swing bridge, Brewery Swing Bridge.

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( There is a Wine Warehouse & a large Morrisons located just to the left of the Brewery Swing Bridge) just before the bridge you can look over the Aquaduct.

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Just past the swing bridge is another water point, then more moorings right up to the Herriotts Hotel where there is yet another water point & the large Aireville Park which is great if you have dogs.

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We got up this morning had some breakfast & I wandered under the Belmont road bridge to see if any moorings had become vacant, yes, a long stretch just pass the Ice Cream Tug was now empty so we quickly untied & made our way down to get comfortable for a few days, plenty of footfall, should be ok for trading.

Having secured a decent spot for a few days we decided to spend today exploring this busy little town.

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There is an abundance of independent shops, great pubs, cafes & restaurants. I have to mention The Beer Engine a micro brewery hidden just off the beaten track behind the Pennine Cruisers day boat hire. If you like Real Ales give it a look. The fish & Chip shop Bizzie Lizzies is excellent too, you can’t miss it overlooking the basin but you’ll smell it before you see it.

Bizzie lizziebeer engine

Skipton Castle  was built in 1090 as a wooden motte-and-bailey by Robert de Romille a Norman baron. In the 12th century William le Gros strengthened it with a stone keep to repel attacks from the Kingdom of Scotland to the north, the castle elevated Skipton from a poor dependent village to a burgh administered by a reeve. The protection offered by Skipton Castle during the Middle Ages encouraged the urbanisation of the surrounding area, and during times of war and disorder the town attracted an influx of families. It is now one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England and is open to the public.

Skipton became a prosperous market town, trading sheep and woollen goods: its name derives from the Old English sceap (sheep) and tun (town or village). A market stemming from its formative years still survives in its wide main street 4 days a week, although now it is a general market rather than livestock, In the 19th century, Skipton emerged as a small mill town connected to the major cities by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and its branch Thanet Canal, now known locally as ‘Springs branch’. The Skipton Building Society was founded in the town & Chocolate makers Whittakers are now based in the town,  established in nearby Cross Hills. Ida Whittaker began making chocolates there in 1903, taught by the wife of the vicar of Kildwick.

Below is a set of photographs from the start of The Springs Branch to the castle.




The trip boats used to go right up to & through the castle but Skipton wasn’t unscathed by the awful floods od Boxing Day 2015 & the heavy rains caused a breach to the castle wall so the trip boats can only go about half way up The Springs Branch now as far as the restored water-mill which is now a showroom for furniture & interiors


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We spent 4 hrs exploring the town & wandering the cobbled streets.


We enjoyed lunch on the way then watched some boating activity in the basin on the way back & later popped up to the bridge for some Fish & Chips, very delicious they were too.


We like Skipton a lot & are looking forward to the rest of our stay here & a few days trading.


0 Miles  0 Locks  0 Swing Bridges    0 Hours







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Wednesday 20th July 2016   The temperature was much more reasonable today & there was a bit of a breeze, so we headed off planning to stop in Kildwick for lunch then on to Skipton as we now needed water.

First we passed the picturesque long term moorings at the farm just near  Cowling swing bridge.  Lovely moorings with a pungent aroma!

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The canal is pretty here & the views across the valley are fabulous, this is the Yorkshire I had envisaged, rolling hills & quaint little communities nestled in the hillside with their history still profoundly visible although now much updated around the canal side areas.

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Kildwick is a very pretty village & the canal again seems to be above the road as we pass through.

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We are starting to see more boats now, especially hire boats & day boats, this family came towards us really pleased with themselves for their  boat handling & the chap said ” I did that well, was I on the right side?” my reply was ” Yes, you did that well but no you weren’t on the right side of the canal, lesson learned for next time!” they then promptly drove themselves straight into the bushes!

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We stopped for a bit of lunch just near Bradley. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through the village. The Bradley section of the canal was completed in 1775. Upon entering the village there is a swing bridge crossing the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.  On 22 April 2007, a Polish war memorial was unveiled by the canal, in memory of seven Polish airmen who died when their plane crashed near Skipton in 1943.

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Shortly after passing through Snaygill we arrived in Skipton. First port of call was the water point & rubbish disposal at Gallows Footbridge. The water points are immediately under the footbridge & its easy to miss them, there are 3 day moorings on the other side, as it looked busy on this lovely hot sunny day & not knowing what other moorings were available we just reversed over to the last slot on the 3 day & decided to have a look at what else was available whilst we walked the dog & got a much needed ice cream.


It is busy at the 3 day moorings with multiple water points opposite & endless hire boats, day boats & charity boats going up & down. There is a Tesco Express right beside the footbridge & the main town centre is just a few minutes walk from the water point side.

6 Miles  0 Locks     10 Swing Bridges     3.5 Hours




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Monday 18th July 2016   It is rather nice here so we decided to stay another day.

We walked back into the town as everywhere was open today. We dropped the rubbish off at The Silsden hire boat yard & dropped the laundry in the laundrette & the lovely lady said “no need to wait I’ll text you when its ready” so we went back to the boat & had a nice walk with the dog further along to the farm moorings & back.

We collected the laundry & got some chips then chilled for the rest of the day.

Looking at the temperatures forecast for tomorrow I don’t think we’ll go very far as I can’t deal with excessive heat & Colin has a heart condition & trying to push these heavy swing bridges in 30+ degrees is not a good idea.


Tuesday 19th July 2016   It was hot when we woke up today & as the day moved on it just got hotter & hotter! Inside the boat reached 32c at one point! Wowsa………tooo much heat,  wandered to the local garage to get some anti freeze as ours is quite diluted now & talking to another boater yesterday their water pump ceased due to apparently not enough anti freeze in the water to lubricate it, better asfe than sorry.

The heat wasn’t good for us today, so basically we did nothing but sit around, I actually slept a lot so I think although we’ve been out on the cut for 6 weeks now I am only just starting to really unwind & rest.

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Tomorrow onwards to Skipton.

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Sunday 17th July 2016   Lovely sunny day but windy,  Colin wanted to stop at Silsden for a look at the town but I fancied Kildwick so we decided to stop at Silsden for lunch then move on to Kildwick.  The canal is a lot narrower in places now & a couple of sharp corners on route today.

Approaching Silsden the waterside properties are all well cared for & some have pretty boats at the bottom of the gardens some have sheep!


As you get closer the canal is above part of the town.


This is looking left from the boat as we enter Silsden


The approach to Silsden, more mill conversions

After a bowl of tomato soup & some apple pie we walked into the town & it is well worth a visit, very pretty & relaxed, a lovely sitting area at the bottom of the main street with an area full of ducks.

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Silsden was mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as “Siglesdene”, and as the most important village in Craven.

Generally an agricultural area, industry came with the canal and the Industrial Revolution  The town hosted a number of mills none of which now operate in their original form. There is still industry in the town, some in old mill buildings and some in a new industrial estate between the town and the river. The town retains some manufacturing.

In 1911 there was a riot in Silsden when the police station was attacked. A very unpopular policeman had been too enthusiastic in his duties. Questions were raised in the House of Commons and it was reported in the national press. The policeman was removed from the town and no more trouble occurred.

During the 1940s a hostel was built off Howden Road, (now a housing estate) The hostel housed refugees and PoW from various countries and various camps. A plaque to commemorate this is located at the bottom of Ings way, at the entrance to the housing estate.

Colourful flower beds & numerous churches line the main street, this was the most impressive one.


The main street & the surrounding ones are full of lovely independent shops, 2 fish & chip shops plus other takeaways & a Co-op, we popped into The Kings Head for a real ale to find they had live music on a Sunday afternoon……perfect.  We passed a very understated but very busy Italian Restaurant which I would guess is the best eating place in town.  There is a laundrette opposite the hire boat offices. (I think there is an Aldi just down the hill away from the centre too)

The views from our mooring tonight are fabulous, but we have one wet cat, this is where he fell in!

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2 Miles    3 Swing Bridges  0 Locks    2.25 Hours


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Saturday 16th July 2016    We had a lazy lay in morning & decided we would just do a gentle few miles & head for the supposedly very nice wooded area below Carr Delph just past Keighley near Booths Swing Bridge (195).  On the way we looked out for any water points, there is supposed to be one by Stockbridge Swing Bridge in Riddleston but we couldn’t find it!  The views are getting a lot better now & the scenery is stunning.

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We came to the wooded area & had our pick of spots, very few boats here. Each side of the canal & well hidden are 2 golf courses you only know they are there as you hear the occasional shout of  “Fore!”

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A bit further along is a nice spot where the trees open up & the canal widens alongside a sweeping field with cattle in but beware right in the middle at the edge towpath side is a huge bolder under the water, we spotted it whilst walking the dog.

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Plenty to see here at this quiet mooring, geese all in a row patrolling the canal, heron on his favourite fishing spot & a very widebeam holiday boat came slowly along, guests sitting on the roof having a lovely time.  We think this area must of originally have been a quarry or the such like as there is a single mooring under this rocky section in the trees with big iron bollards which must have been for a cargo boat, probably to carry stone,  there are lots of high rocky sections throughout the woods.

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I cleaned the boat towpath side as she was splashed & muddy from the locks yesterday & Colin fitted a spare fender button to our exsisting fender over the rudder which had become squashed on our stern end mooring at Dewsbury & barely gave protection to the rudder, the small tyre has now gone & we look more presentable. We’ve noticed that the front fender needs replacing too, note to self ….keep a look out on the travels!

Tomorrow onwards through Booths Swing Bridge.


3 Miles   0 Locks    3 Swing Bridges   2 Hours

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Friday 15th July 2016  As we had managed to find a 24hr mooring & Friday was market day in Shipley we decided to wander into town again & have a look at the market, not a patch on Dewsbury, but we did manage to find a few more charity shops & got some real bargains for the jewellery making & wood burning.

We set off around 11am just a short cruise today as I had it in my head that we would tackle Bingley on Saturday.

As we were leaving Shipley we took a good look at any moorings as we had been told there was no overnight moorings in Shipley but there are,  just past The Wharf & before Saltaire as you go north. You are still within strolling distance of the town centre.

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We went past the impressive Salt Mill where the moorings near the permanently placed Ice Cream boat are really nice but not overnight.  It was getting a bit more scenic as we came to Hirst Lock, that was where we met Doug Flory with his mum & dad on hire boat Nutmeg,  it turned out that we would have their company for longer than we thought today….

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They stopped shortly afterwards for lunch but we carried on as we planned to stop near Bingley ready for the task ahead in the morning.  The scenery was a lot more open now & we wondered if this above a pipe bridge was a Troll cage!

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We were cruising along looking for a suitable spot for the night when we rounded a corner & wham………

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It was 3.15pm & although the photos don’t show it the entrance to the Bingley 3 rise is in an industrial area right next to the train line & not very pleasant.  I wandered up to the locks & made a note of the lock keepers mobile number  as you are not allowed to attempt the 3 Rise or the 5 Rise yourselves. We phoned & we were in time to get through today as they were waiting for Gary on Nutmeg who had phoned ahead during lunch.  The lock keeper put us through the 3 Rise which raises you 29 feet & we waited above for Nutmeg,  just time for a cuppa & a sandwich.  The 3rd photo above is the view from the top of the 3 Rise.

This is us waiting at the bottom of the 5 Rise it takes you up 60 feet.  If you can enlarge the first photo you can just see us nestled in the trees at the bottom, the 2nd photo is looking at the flight from that spot.

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Here comes Gary with mum & dad on Nutmeg, no turning back now!

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Quite a lot of leakage in the first chamber but the rest were not as bad as some of the smaller flights between here & Leeds.  We got chatting to Gary’s mum as she had ventured out now the rain had stopped & we found out she came from Norwich, I spent quite a few years in Norwich when my son was growing up so we had a bit of a reminisce on the way up which greatly helped my nerves!

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At the top we said our goodbyes, they carried on, we looked for a spot for the night & I poured myself a couple of Brandy Shandys & breathed a huge sigh of relief & felt good that we had accomplished the thing we had waited so long to do.


3.75 Miles   11 Locks    10 Swing Bridges     5.75 Hours





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Monday 11th July 2016  Well now, here’s a change…..it’s raining & the wind is howling!!! Really don’t like moving in strong winds but we must make a move. At  the first swing bridge the wind had me pinned to the bank I couldn’t push the boat off no matter how hard I tried, luckily a nice gentleman came to my aid & gave me a welcome push.

The scenery along this part is quite wooded which was good as we kept bobbing in & out of the gusts of wind in between the trees. As we looked across the field we noticed two huge bulls having a stand off, this went on for as long as we could see them.


It was only a couple of miles & a couple of swing bridges to Apperley but we needed to stop at the marina to top up with fuel & water plus get a pump out. The facilities along the L & L at the moment seem to be few & far between, I’m hoping it gets better as we progress.

It is nice place with a lot of new mews type houses built around the marina & surrounding area, it is peaceful with a park right along side the visitor moorings behind the trees ideal if you have a dog.

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The marina was not open till Wednesday due to staff holidays, so we decided to investigate the town as we do.

I noticed a lot of new building immediately around the marina but it all looked very smart,  the  left photo below shows some of the new housing but at the bottom is an old mill converted into modern flats very well blended in. The good array of shops Asda, Sainsbury, Homebase, Argos, Farmfoods, Kentucky & Matalan are just a 10 minute uphill walk from the marina.

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3 Miles    0 Locks    2 Swing Bridges    1.5 Hours


Tuesday 12th July 2016   Just hanging around today as the marina doesn’t open until tomorrow so Colin made some tarpaulin bags for the mug shelving from the big tarpaulin we have been wrestling with in the wind when we pack the selling gear away!

We walked back up the hill to the town,  we spotted a small wall greenhouse in Homebase, we had seen another roving trader using one & at 13.99 we decided to get one to adapt for my jewellery to keep it out of the persistant rain.  A job for tomorrow.


War Memorial Apperley

We also popped into the Post Office as we had a very special package to post………I will edit this with picture once I know it has arrived at its destination!

Colin thinks being moored here at night is like being moored in someone’s fish pond as the new houses have lots of lights along the canal.


0 Miles    0 Locks   0 Swing Bridges   0 Hours


Wednesday 13th July 2016  A better day, less wind, more sun & hopefully no more rain.

The marina opened around 10am so we moved across the canal & got pumped out & dieseled up.  After listening to other traders I was brave enough to ask for all the fuel to be zero rated & was met with no quibbles at all.

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We assembled the mini wall greenhouse & with some tweaking & hooks added to the top it’s ready to use next time we set up, will post a picture when its set up & full of stock.

It’s so quiet here on this canal you don’t really want to  move much or rush anywhere, we only saw 2 boats moving today.

0 Miles   0 Locks     0 Swing Bridges   0 Hours



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Thursday 14th July 2016   I woke up feeling more positive today, to be honest I have been really dreading tackling the Bingley locks, but as we get closer & are now continual cruisers it’s a bit like pregnancy……there’s no going back & you just have to get on with it & put your fears to one side.

It was a bright, calm sunny day for a change as we left Apperley, the first swing bridge was on a busy road & an electrical set up like the lift road bridge at Aspley in Huddersfield.  Then it was Dobson Locks a flight of two, less apprehensive than when leaving Leeds, we did them with ease, I was even relaxed enough to take a few photos.  We dumped some rubbish & topped up the water at the CRT services here, There is Elsan, Pump Out (you need a card & apparently these are only obtainable from Leeds or Wigan) & showers here too.

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Two more swing bridges both of which we cruised through as on coming crew had opened them.  Then we reached Field Locks a flight of 3, we timed it just right as this flight is manned for 1hour a day, 12-1pm we arrived at 12.40pm.

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The middle chamber here leaks really badly so our hold has had a rinse through & so has the front cratch!  Once leaving Field Locks the canal is really pretty & wooded with cattle & horses, we stopped in a shady spot along Bucks Wood for lunch.

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3 swing bridges later we arrived at Shipley, pre warned at the lack of overnight moorings we knew that the only overnight mooring was behind Aldi just past Dock Swing Bridge & immediately before the footbridge. There is space for one 57ft boat only.  For a town with all the ameneties you need & within a few minutes walk together with the Salt Mill it seems ridiculous not to have more overnight spaces.

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We had post to collect at the Post Office in town we  wandered off, as we do. A really good selection of typical town centre shops & plenty of charity shops for us to browse around.

Shipley is a market town, Monday is second hand goods & Fri/Sat is the food market.

Shipley was shaped largely by the Industrial Revolution and, in particular, the growth of the textile industry. Textile manufacture dates from pre-industrial times. As the name indicates, Shipley had a history as sheep grazing land, so wool was plentiful, and the River Aire was a ready source of water for powering water mills and cleaning processes. There was a fulling mill in Shipley by 1500 and two more by 1559.  Another mill was built by the Dixon family on the banks of the Aire in 1635. New Mill on the far side of Hirst Wood was built in the 1740s and by the late 18th century between 9,000 and 10,000 pieces of broadcloth were being fulled annually at Shipley’s mills. Much work was undertaken in workers’ which had ‘loomshops’ for spinning yarn. Home workshops were once a common site along the River Aire and often had external flights of steps. Examples can be seen in the cottages at Jane Hills along the canal in Saltaire.

The industrial era ended cottage industry. Providence Mill, one of the first steam driven mills was built for Denby Bros. in 1796.

The smaller mills gave way to larger premises which could combine all the processes of worsted production on one site. The first was Joseph Hargreaves’ Airedale Mills (demolished 1970s), Salts Mill (built 1853 and now a gallery and restaurant complex), an enlarged Well Croft Mill (demolished 1950s) and Victoria Mills near the canal… Hargreaves employed 1,250, Salt initially 2,500 and by 1876 total employment in the mills was 6,900.

The growth in textile production stimulated the growth of associated supply industries. Other local employers included loom makers, Lee and Crabtree, WP Butterfield’s galvanised containers and J. Parkinson and Sons machine tool makers.

The other major effect of industrialisation was the vast expansion in housing stock. Titus Salt’s Saltaire is an example of a model village, and Hargreaves had cottages built for his workers around the town centre and his mill. He built 92 back-to-back houses along Market Street and Central Avenue in an area which came to be called Hargreaves Square or The Square. The houses were built by filling in the old courtyards.  The population of the township grew from 1,214 in 1822 to just over 3,000 in 1851 to 10,000 by 1869.

(By DS Pugh, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12537809)

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4 Miles  5 Locks   6 Swing Bridges    5 Hours 







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Friday 8th July 2016  We decided to move the boat just a few yards along under the bridge to the end of the visitor mooring which was just outside The Tiny Tearoom as we thought the footfall to the tea rooms may  help to us.  We were just about to push off when I looked down towards the rudder as I notices how very clear the water here was & I spotted a length of blue nylon rope seemingly going under the boat, just as a precaution, tugged at it with the boat hook to find it was tight & attached somewhere.  Luckily it was not round the prop but had got itself firmly fixed to the upright steering rod that attached to the rudder!? On the other end was a rather nasty jumble of bent hanging basket brackets bundled together with jubilee clips, it took Colin balancing precariously on the plank, shoulder in the water with a saw to free most of the rope.  Feel lucky that we noticed it as it could have been a lot worse.

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We met Mark the owner of The Tiny Tea Room who advised us to stay until Sunday as weather permitting it would be busy on the towpath, his tiny tea room is so-called because it is tiny with only outside seating so they rely on the good weather!

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Unfortunately he wasn’t opening on Friday as important Banjo purchasing was on his agenda but we set up anyway. Plenty of folk going about in their lycra, running & cycling but not buying, its all good practice though.

Later in the day we decide to walk to Farsley as we were told there was a good array of shops & we weren’t disappointed although it is a good 30 mins walk from the canal, so supplies at the co-op, wine in the local wine bar sitting outside in the sun then chips from Croft Fisheries almost back to the canal when we remembered one of the Lock operatives at Forge 3 locks telling me The Barge was a good canal side pub so we couldn’t walk past, could we. A pint of Mild for me & a pint of Guinness for himself then back to the boat.


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That evening we met the local swan family, from 10 eggs they managed 5 cygnets.

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0 Miles    0 Locks   0 Hours


Saturday 9th July 2016  Well today started out as an absolute wash out & finished the same way! It wasn’t even worth contemplating trading so we decided to build a website using one of the free host sites available.  After a few hours of frustration we settled on Moonfruit. We are about 50% done up to now, so it wasn’t a complete waste of a day.



There is the indication of better weather tomorrow…..fingers crossed. Lets hope this sunset is right.

0 Miles   0 locks   0 Hours


Sunday 10th July 2016  We woke up to sunshine…..whooray!!!

Set up by 10am, we would sell something today! The Tiny Tea Room was open & lots of folk were about.  We did make some sales & had lots of compliments on the quality of our products which was very encouraging.

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Had some really interesting chats with people today & met lots of lovely dogs too, a 14 week old baby Bassett who kept tripping over her ears & a 4 month old Neapolitan Mastiff called Betty who was absolutely beautiful & already bigger than a Labrador & later in the day this guy………..



Had a lot of knicker wetting laughs today as we tried to rig up the new sun awning we purchased from Lidl to protect the stock from the rain in the future, but we gave up as the wind was having none of it, the rain came & went, then came & went, then came & went all day, we were exhausted by just covering & uncovering our products in the end when we were packing up & the heavens opened I just gave up & decided to shelter under the tarpaulin on the roof much to Colins disgust as he was trying to put the shelves away!

Rodley, lovely people, nice place, well worth a stop on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

0 Miles    o Locks     0 Hours


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Thursday 7th July 2016  I woke up at 6.30am today as I was thirsty & saw a family of swans floating past the window, nice start but I wanted a lay in so slipped back into bed for an hour or so, only for himself to suddenly say ……it’s nine o’clock, better get up! The batteries had run out in the bedside clock…….nowhere to be in a rush today so no matter!

We had a walk along the canal at Rodley

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It is very quiet here & the first time we have seen cattle grazing by the cut for quite some time.

This plaque was under the next bridge just before the swing bridge & I thought is was very apt for the canals especially the line that says….”Like all others, I have come to trade my wares” as we will be trading there tomorrow & Saturday.

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We popped over to see John at Rodley Boat Yard as he is an agent for Vetus The Yellow Boat People, our voltmeters needle has dropped off &  surprise surprise its a sealed unit so you have to buy a new one……£55 later…! At that price we were fitting it ourselves & we did, Colin also put the panel back on properly as the original had the screw holes drilled in the wrong place & and had blocks of wood behind the screws in the corners of the metal cutout, another bodge job…….I think we’ll rename her Bodgers Boat!


Too late to trade today but observing the foot fall we have decided to try tomorrow & Saturday, so took a 1.5 mile trek to Farsley the nearest town & found a good array of shops. including 2 hardware shops, butchers, chemist, Co-op, & much more…..milk & kitty food were needed to get through the next few days, had a glass in the local wine bar, a bag of chips (very good, from Croft Fisheries) wandered back to Rodley & had a pint of Mild at The Barge, yes I know not a ladies drink but I love Mild Beer!


View from the beer garden at the back of The Barge

New batteries fitted in the bedside clock!

Just in case anyone is wondering, the solar panel is doing a great job! Best investment so far.

0 Miles  0 Locks  0 Hours

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