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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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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.

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

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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………..

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Wednesday 6th July 2016

I was up early this morning ready to leave Leeds no matter how much wind there was whirling around Granary Wharf.

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In fact when I pulled the blinds the water was a lot calmer, I threw a pillow over sleeping beauty, fed the cat & made some tea. We are advised to cruise from Leeds Office Lock (which is locked at 6pm every evening until 8am the next morning) right through to Newlay 3 Lock staircase (where the same rules apply) without stopping due to local resident problems with vandals & nuisance to boaters,this trip is supposed to take around 3 hours according to the NICHOLSON guide. It all sounded a bit scary but we were surprised as to how scenic & peaceful the trip was.

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Although I enjoyed Leeds, I wasn’t sorry to leave the noise together with the hustle & bustle behind, or the piped music emitting from The Hilton Hotel from 12pm – 12am everyday! At Office Lock the lovely gentleman who helps with The Yorkshire Tours boat was there again to help us with the lock, he let it slip that he had been reading the blog……Hello, kind Sir & thank you for your help & advice.  We now have to get used to still double but a lot shorter locks than the automated river ones. The recommended boat length for the Leeds & Liverpool canal is 57ft which we are, but some say you can do it in a 60ft. We are currently rising up through the country side which isn’t too bad although the locks are so leaky the bow does get a drenching, if coming down it would be me getting the drenching as did a hire boater that past us today! These locks have ground paddles which should be opened first by turning the handle on the top. The Leeds & Liverpool canal is the single longest canal in the country built by one company.

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From Office Lock in Leeds we then came across St Ann’s Ing Lock  just a shallow one at 4.5ft, then onto Oddy 2 locks (staircase of 2 locks) While I was waiting for Colin to set the locks I chatted to the owner of this beautiful boat that came into Leeds last night, he turned out to be the owner of Pennine Cruisers in Skipton & had built this for his family then another similar for a customer. what a cracker of a boat.

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This was the first time we had done a staircase but it seemed better than I had imagined, next was Spring Garden Lock this was a deeper one at 9ft,

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We cruised on past Armley Mills Museum. The Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills is a museum of industrial heritage located in Armley, west Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It includes collections of textile machinery, railway equipment and heavy engineering amongst others.

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Then past Kirkstall Abbey ruins. During the long wait for Kirkstall lock to fill my mind flashed back to the awful news a few weeks ago regarding the killing of Joe Cox the Labour MP for that ward & how travelling along here on a narrowboat you feel so removed from all that.

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Kirkstall Abbey

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Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery in Kirkstall north-west of Leeds city centre in West Yorkshire, England. It is set in a public park on the north bank of the River Aire. It was founded c.1152

Next was Forge 3 lock staircase. this one was manned by CRT staff & the gentleman on duty could see how apprehensive I was about this & reassured me with a gentle release of the paddles.  There were some “know it all” folk behind us wanting to just get in the bottom lock & do things themselves, they were told to wait! Just a short distance to the second set of 3 manned staircase locks & that was the end of bandit country apparently. “Have a great trip &enjoy the swing bridges” was the parting comment from the CRT man at Newlay locks. we are still amazed at how peaceful & pretty this stretch is despite the bad press.

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Just a couple of swing bridges, then a mooring at Rodley where there is a working boatyard who is a Vetus I mean Yellow Boat People agent ( if you have followed our blog since buying That’s D’riculous you will understand that!)

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Lovely houses right down to the canal as you get close to Rodley & finally a pleasant mooring with no hotel piped music………. just peace, with affluent neighbours across the cut.

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5 Miles   12 locks    2 swing Bridges   5 Hours

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday 6th July 2016   When we moored up yesterday outside the Hilton Hotel at Granary Wharf it took quite a few attempts as due to the new high buildings when it is windy that small area is like a whirlpool, eventually we got her in but when we got up this morning the wind was even stronger! There was no reasonable chance of me getting the boat easily off the mooring without being taken by the wind, the gusts were around 44mph, so we decided that we had been stuck waiting to come into Leeds for so long. We would have a day exploring the city.

 

This bridge spans the river not the canal & has some padlocks attached in memory of loved ones.

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We walked the short distance to the Leeds City Museum which is filled with 3 floors of exhibitions & a lot of history about Leeds, a gift shop & a coffee shop’ entry is totally free. We spent 3hrs wandering without worrying about being somewhere else!

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We wandered over to Millennium Square but instead of sitting in the deck chairs with a Prosecco in front of the giant screen showing Wimbledon we opted for a pint on the veranda at Weatherspoons!

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After that we wandered around the Merion Centre & found some wooden items for Colin to glorify with his wood burning & I found a couple of little gems a charity shop, in the museum was an Egyptian exhibition & some of the artefacts were Egyptian beaded jewellery mostly in turquoise & jade colours, I found an unloved piece in the charity shop with some lovely old looking beads in the same style & colouring, together with some real turquoise that I already have it’s inspired me to make an Egyptian themed piece. Picked up a couple of doughnuts from Gregg’s, yes I know, bit of a habit that! Couple of essentials in Morrisons then back to the boat, we noticed near to the station a lot of flower planters on one street corner all planted up with herbs, tomatoes & strawberries for folk to help themselves, what a great idea.

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We walked back underneath the station, it is a labyrinth of car parks, small shops & cafés, tunnels of water creepily flowing from the river the other side through to the canal at Granary wharf.

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There are 3 large black & white pictures at the entrance to one of the car parks depicting the canal in years gone by, I particularly like this one.

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We have quite enjoyed our couple of days in Leeds, not many boats have come through, but this was the nicest.

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Tomorrow the Wild West & Kirkstall!

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I was planning to do a really great daily blog of our new adventure but due to unforeseen problems from the start this has not been possible, however I am now going to do a long post to bring you up to date on our eventful first 2 weeks!

When I started typing this a couple of days ago I typed first 2 weeks now it has overlapped into 3 weeks! This is really not the start we had hoped for, however it is how it is & patience is not one of my virtues & is being severely tested at the moment……………..

Friday 10th June 2016

Diesel Full                2x33kg Full Gas bottles            Batteries Fully Charged

Water Full                Toilet Tank Empty

 We set off out of Saville Wharf Marina not intending to go very far it was just making that initial move to untie those ropes & lose any home base, it may sound silly but for us it was a huge step. We went down the short Dewsbury Arm & under the bridge turned left towards Wakefield & moored on the visitor moorings close to Thornhill Double Locks on the Calder & Hebble Navigation.

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.5 miles 0 Locks 30 mins

 

Saturday 11th June 2016 We had a peaceful night & on Saturday morning the weather had brightened up so we started our travels. After 4yrs of working manically most days running a Fish & Chips shop we didn’t want to go rushing off we just wanted to meander & chill while we acclimatised ourselves to our new way of life. We cruised along to Horbury & moored outside the Bingley Arms pub, It seemed nice & peaceful so we decided to make the most of the 48hr mooring & stay put for a couple of days & explore the village that apparently is famous for the song “Onward Christian Soldiers”. A lovely liveaboard couple moored up in front of us & they also had a cat, a lady cat! Trying to keep our bossy Bailey from entering the boat & tormenting her was quite a task but luckily they were quite tolerant of him!

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  In the afternoon the weather was still showery but we decided to have a wander into the village. Horbury didn’t disappoint, it had a great variety of independent shops & cafes & a few charity shops so we could have a hunt for any suitable 2nd hand jewellery for me to upcycle  &  wooden pieces for Colin to “Pyographie” (burning designs onto wood) these would be needed to add stock to the Roving Traders business we plan to embark on called Mugs Afloat, the main product being 10oz ceramic mugs, designed & printed by Colin or printed to order for  customers. The village had a DIY store & due to the bank being steep outside the pub we needed to use the gang-plank but we had not used it for some years & the underneath wooden rungs were rotten so we managed to pick up some suitable wood to renew these, along with a couple of pieces of recyclable jewellery & a few bits of food shopping. We had lunch at a very chique little café, they had a large seating area outside with blankets hanging over every chair in case you got chilly, what a fab idea. Lunch wasn’t too bad either!

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1.65 miles 3 Locks 2.5hrs

Sunday 12th June 2016  It was still rainy today so we decided to stay put, our younger neighbours went of on their bikes for the day & we decided to go for a decent walk along the towpath, it was wet & muddy so when we got back we opted to go for a pint, we sat in a covered area of the beer garden at the Bingley Arms feeling a bit sorry for the seemingly lonely donkey kept in a small enclosure, it had really sad eyes.

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Monday 13th June 2016 I think the problem on going with being Roving Traders will be not knowing if your next planned stop will be successful for trading, common sense tells me that too far out in the wilds is not good & as we were heading towards Wakefield & the moorings seemed to be fairly central we decided that the weekend would be the best time to stop there however it was only a few miles away along the River Calder so we made the decision to continue to wind down a bit & move just  about a mile to Cedar Grove which has 48hrs visitor moorings & 72hr pub moorings although the pub is still shut after the dramatic boxing day floods in this area.

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Tuesday 14th June 2016 Just chillin’ Colin was amazed at the number of Herons in one field adjacent to the canal, he counted 10 at one time, we think they may have been hunting young frogs as I was more marsh land than actual water. We had a wander up to small village with a PO, small shop & Fish & Chip shop. We were pretty stocked up with food so decided that if bread & milk were here we could linger for a few more days & head for Wakefield at the weekend.

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Wednesday 15th – Friday 17th June 2016  Now I’m hearing you more experienced lot saying, moving that slowly will not charge the batteries, we have enough experience to realise that & although we hadn’t moved much & wanted to chill we had still been doing the obligatory morning & evening engine running. We moved the boat along a few hundred yards to the Navigation pubs visitor moorings. we had a look at the big lock that would take us out onto the River Calder on Friday…..gulp! Oh my, the nerves are kicking in now!  We got talking to a chap who moors his boat at the boat club moorings here & he was telling us about the horrendous events of Boxing day night when the awful floods hit, the water that I was peering so far down to over the big aforementioned lock had risen & come up & over into the canal. They apparently lost one 57ft narrow boat that could not be kept off the towpath but managed to save 2 cruisers & a 42ft narrow boat by pushing them back as the waters receded during the early hours.

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We had a few walks with the dog in the woods on the non towpath side of the canal which take you up to the villages & back round to the canal.

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Friday 10th June 2016  When I got up on Friday morning I noticed a red low battery light showing on the inverter! Immediately I saw that Colin had gone to bed leaving a tablet, wi-fi controller & phone charging along with the laptop being plugged in & the fridge on!!!!! I was fuming & he knew about it.  We got going & made our way to Broadcut Low Lock & out onto the River Calder then into Wakefield. I was more nervous than excited with being on the river, remember the only river we had encountered before was the short stretch between Cooper Bridge in Huddersfield & Shepley Bridge in the middle of summer last year. This seemed a whole lot bigger & longer…..but we had more to come so I had to get my confidence. We made the decision to carry on through Wakefield in light of the battery warning light & visit Stanley ferry for lunch to seek some advice from the marina/working boat yard there.  We came off the river at Wakefield then back onto it at the big Fall Ings lock this was bigger, wider & faster river we went through Broadreach lock then came across the delightful Stanley Ferry.

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I walked up to the marina & spoke to Jules about the warning light & she said that either the shoreline in the marina for the past 3.5yrs had goosed the batteries or we had not run the engine enough while we had been chillin’ So as we had been travelling for about 2hrs we decided to leave the engine running while we had a bit of lunch then return back to Wakefield & hopefully get the first trading day in. So back down two stretches of the River Calder & 2 big locks it was. The moorings in Wakefield although in the centre have absolutely no footfall so once we moored up we could see it was a waste of time to even try to trade so we thought after the stress of the battery incident & the river we would go to Sainsbury for some essentials then the pub for a meal taking advantage of a voucher & special meal deal we managed to get 2 glasses of wine & two mains for £10.75 at the Ruddy Duck. We could see the boat from the pub & it was being attacked by a swan, this continued all night & all of the next morning until we left.

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9 Miles  6 Locks  6 Hours

Saturday 18th June 2016  We left Wakefield again & decided to pop into see Jules at Stanley Ferry Marina to tell her that her advice seemed correct & that after our long day yesterday we have no red battery lights now, unfortunately we missed her she was out of the office so we topped up the water & started making our way over the double viaduct towards Allerton Bywater, there is supposed to be a nice pub there to moor by. First was Birkwood Lock & then Kings Road lock both fairly easy, then was the large Woodnook lock taking us back onto River navigation, I like to pop off the boat before we operate these river locks to see where the landing wharfs are on coming out as some are a real tight turn onto a short pontoon amidst fast flowing water,  I thought this one was not too bad, I came out of the lock sharp right managed to bring her in beautifully to the landing stage jumped off  then realised that I was not strong enough to hold her long enough for ” I’ll saunter about closing gates, Colin” to get to me, I could not get the rope around one of the metal cleats my length of rope was diminishing along with the length of the pontoon, if I lost her now my HOME would be bobbing away down the River Calder……….as I turned around for the last time Colin was there, he managed to jump on just in time & we got her back to the pontoon with engine power. Oh wow! that better be a good pub tonight I was shaking!

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River exit/entrance for Woodnook Lock

 

We gathered ourselves & carried on past Fairies Hill lock which is now the entrance to a small marina it & the nearby Whitwood Wharf are no longer used for the commercial gravel boats that used to frequent the river, although some still used for other cargo can still be seen apparently.

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We carried on past Methley Bridge & felt quite small next to the big boats here. Little did I know that these were actually quite small compared to some we would encounter over the next week or so.

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We are now on river all the way to Castleford Junction where the Rivers Calder & Aire meet, we turn left and are on the Aire & Calder Navigation.

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I’m getting a bit more relaxed with the river now but still need that drink. We spotted a high embankment on the right with two boats moored, this must be Allerton Bywater, the bank is so high you moor on rings in the metal piling & climb off the boat via the roof! Nice pub, we ALL went……..What we didn’t realise was that a nightmare 2 weeks was about to start!

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On the way back from pub behind dog & cat!

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High bank!

 

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Hmmm, this one needs thinking about!

9 Miles   5 Locks   4.5hrs 

Sunday 18th June 2016  I expected to wake up feeling a lot more relaxed & ready to cope with the very big Lemonroyd & Woodlesford locks that we would encounter today.  As we were having a bit of breakfast a narrow boat went past looking rather curiously at us & we thought it may be a fellow boater that we were moored next to at Aspley Marina in Hudderfield but the boat seemed a different colour & the river being wide made it inconclusive to see who was at the helm. Still on the Aire & Calder we head for Lemonroyd Lock, again my nerves were kicking in as I had read about the vast size of this lock, as we approached it looked massive with a small lock landing to the left & a large weir to the right! The boat that passed us earlier was on the lock landing…..where was I going to pull in! We slowed, as much as you can on the river as we approached the vast gates opened so it was only sensible that we went straight in & the other boat followed, sure enough it was Irish Kevin & wife from Aspley Marina now CCing. We had never been in a lock this big & were unsure of the routine but Kevin was a star & showed Colin how to rope around the “straps” that are around the inside of the lock at intervals as it is too deep to have a rope secured at the top! We had a chat while Kevins wife operated the automated electric system all these Aire & Calder locks have. At the top it was a different place, calm waters, the pretty Lemonroyd Marina home to some quite fancy boats of all shapes & sizes.  We thanked Kevin for his help & advice & set off ahead of him to Woodlesford Lock….not quite as big this one!

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We kept a steady pace with Kevin behind us to Woodlesford Lock, I opted for the smaller lock landing on the right as the left side was also a water point & another boat was filling up, Colin now familiar with the automated locks jumped off to have it ready for both us & Kevin as he was coming up behind. Hindsight & experience are a great thing I am finding out……..I didn’t rope around the bollard I chose to hold the rope whilst waiting, however unlike manual locks where Colin always releases water in or out slowly as that is how we like to do it, the automated ones just do it! The by wash was not what either of us expected it wrenched the boat over the canal & the rope from my hands, Colin took a few minutes to find the emergency stop button, even then its on a few seconds time delay, in that few seconds my home was bobbing around in the robust bywash, luckily Kevin is more experienced than us & gentle nudged his boat alongside ours whilst his wife jumped onboard, reversed her out of the now slowing bywash & brought her back into the side.  I promptly wrapped the centre line around a bollard & Colin resumed the lock operation.

I knew Woodlesford was popular but when I had composed myself & looked up I was somewhat embarrassed at the crowd of gongoozlers I had gathered! Once calmer & in the lock we thanks Kevin for his prompt action, apparently he had rescued a fireman & his boat recently too so he said he was getting used to it!! He was heading for Leeds then over to Sheffield & Goole, safe trip Kevin……we salute you! We had heard so much talk about canal dwellers camaraderie & this was our first experience of it out on the cut/river up here in Yorkshire.

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Now through Woodlesford Lock & a bit calmer, the nerves won’t take anymore today. We moored up, enjoyed the view & had some dinner & wine! Think we might stay here a few days…………….

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4 Miles     2 Locks    3.5hrs

 

Monday 20th June 2016  This must be the proper start to our Roving Traders CCing life I thought as I layed in bed listening to the ducks nibbling at the boat looking at the sunshine streaming through the bedroom window, I think we will have a couple of days here then head to Leeds. I went through to the galley to make some tea…………Oh, no! red light on the inverter AGAIN,  its was light till 10pm last night , we didn’t put TV on, how can this be, nothing plugged in, we’ve even decided to adopt the habit of turning fridge off over night. We now realise that we have a serious problem! I remembered how helpful Jules was at Stanley Ferry marina so I phoned one of the mobile numbers in the Nicholson guide that stated that they do 24hr call outs, they are closed on Mondays but Jules’s other half Ed answered his phone, after a long chat of everything that had transpired over the past week regarding batteries & travelling times he was fairly sure that due to 3.5yrs in a marina on shoreline that they were goosed! He could not do anything or get us prices until Tuesday, so we sat tight & enjoyed some of what Woodlesford had to offer & it was so pleasant here. We kept running the engine if we needed to do or charge anything & waited for Ed to call us tomorrow.

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One of the permanent moorers

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Lockside

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Lockside

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Tuesday 21st June 2016  Ed from Stanley Ferry Marina phoned us as promised with prices for all different types of batteries, now if you’ve read our earlier blog posts when we first got That’s D’riculous we had a couple of the original batteries explodes when we moored at Aquaduct Marina, prompt action from the staff there & us the same weekend seemed to neutralise all the acid, we didn’t want that to happen again so the batteries that had just died were sealed lead acid, we now had a choice of liquid, sealed or a new type for us AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) sealed, they are more expensive but apparently , they have a longer life & can take more of a hammering. We decided to go for the Lucas AGMs, they were ordered & Ed said they would be in the following day.  Not really much to do with ourselves, so we walked to the village which has everything you need if you choose to take the full 14day mooring option here, as it is lovely & well worth a long stop. The village has a bakers, butcher, Co-op, couple of good pubs, Fish & Chip Shop…..which is very good! 2 Chinese & 1 Indian, Dominos Pizza, car spares aladins cave, , petrol station & a Lidl what more could you want!

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Gorillas in the mist trees!

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Elephants in the trees too!

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This guy was for real!

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Miles of giant hogweed along the river, luckily away from the towpath.

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Plenty of ducks here.

The mooring themselves are very pretty & you can walk from here up to Fishpond Lock about 3/4mile cross over then walk back along the other side. above are some photos of that walk.

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Wednesday 22nd June 2016  Ed phoned about 2pm to say the batteries had arrived & that he was on his way. yippee, He arrived with Kevin they fitted the 3 (yes only 3) of the supposedly super duper new kiddies Lucas 104 AGM’s, drop tested the old ones & as predicted they were goosed”. We parted with a vast amount of money but Ed assures us that these guys will be worth the money & should give us good levels of power usage & be easier to keep charged than a large bank of 5 normal type batteries. The rest of the day was spent watching the comings & goings a Woodlesford & breathing sighs of relief.

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We had power & could think about getting this road trip underway at last.

 

Thursday 23rd June 2016  We decided to stay put as we could stay 14 days here if we wanted to, we didn’t really but thought it would be nice to set up the Mugs Afloat shop for the first time as there is a fair footfall here & the weather was good, so that’s what we did. It looked really good, all the planning of shelving etc seemed to have paid off, it seemed to catch folks attention & we made 2 sales, not a lot you might say but it was a start. I’d heard some traders that are established say that they’ve had days of zero sales, so I wasn’t too discouraged. We needed to practice the set up & take down procedure anyway.

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As it was midsummer not much power was being used & we had run the engine for a good couple of hours on Wednesday as Ed said batteries arrive about 50-75% charged so we wanted to give them some input, we ran the engine again for a while today & all seemed fine.

Friday 24th June 2016  We had been stuck for so long now the prearranged plan to pump out & fuel up at Apperley Bridge Marina had gone out of the window so we phoned Lemonroyd Marina just back a couple of miles to find out if they had fuel, pump out & laundry facilities. They do have pump out & laundry but please don’t advertise it as they like to keep it quiet! However, Marie was fabulous & allowed me to catch up with my washing & to pump out, plus this little run gave the new batteries a bit of a charge. While we were there we spent the hour with chatting to a lovely man whose boat “Cos we can” was moored opposite the marina & had passed us the day before.  we were watching one of the big cargo boats that use this Aire & Calder Navigation trying to get themselves ungrounded by pumping gallons of water off the vessel, they hadn’t achieved it in the hour before we arrived or the hour we were watching however, they did come through Woodlesford Lock later that afternoon after we had returned.

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We were hearing all about the Waterside Festival in Leeds at the weekend & the lack of moorings so we decided to stay put at Woodlesford & go into Leeds on the train for the festival. The train station is just a few minutes walk from the lock runs every 20min or so & cost £3.20 return to Leeds Granary Wharf, perfect.

We spent the rest of the day watching some other big boats coming through towards Thwaites Mill & Leeds & a flotilla of the charity boats from Safe Anchor Trust at Shepley Bridge.

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4 miles    2 Locks (Same one twice)   1.5hrs

Saturday 25th June 2016  So today it is Leeds via the train from Woodlesford as the Leeds Waterside Festival is on & apparently mooring will be scarce but now that we are fixed we can relax & move off to Leeds in the boat next week.

We got the train about 11.30 from Woodlesford station only about 5/6mins walk from the lock & could see the canal & Granary Wharf as we pulled into Leeds station, it all looked very modern & clean. There were a couple of trading boats in Granary wharf, one covered in completely in knitted stuff, odd but very colourful!  The weather was fine & the wharf was buzzing, we watched a single hander move his boat through river lock & into the wharf basin whilst water taxis were nipping up & down laden with passengers going to & from Clarence Dock or Leeds Dock as I think it has now become known.

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The van that matched the “knitted boat”

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The knitted boat

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Leeds water taxi

We watched the Dragon boat racing & queued for ages to get a bite to eat at one of the street stalls, a Philly Cheese Steak & very welcome it was too as it was now baking hot in the sun, we found a seat amongst the crowds in the shade & enjoyed said food.

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“Pull”

We decided after a nice rest to wander back along to Granary Wharf & maybe grab a drink before getting the train back to Woodlesford. Just as we reached Brewery Wharf about half way, the heavens opened. We dived for cover at one of the pubs with a large covered veranda & listened to the music from across the other side, it wasn’t worth trying to fight our way to the bar for an overpriced drink so we just sheltered! 20 minutes or so later the rain eased & we walked the remainder back to Granary Wharf & the station. One of the bars had an all day deal “Pie & a pint £5” that’ll do for us, walked in, couldn’t move, couldn’t hear, couldn’t get to the bar, quick exit….forget that! Love the peace & solitude that the boat brings, no need or want to do noisy crowded places like that anymore.

Back on the train, popped to shops on Woodlesford for some supplies & wine, enjoyed a bag of chips on the way back to the boat, simple things please the most now!

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Monday 27th June 2016  We were planning to get on our way into Leeds today however when I got up this morning & went through to the galley to make some tea what did I see instantly……….yes you’ve guessed it, a bloody red light on the inverter!!! the light was red & the air was blue from my language, what could possibly be wrong now?  We phoned Ed from Stanley Ferry on his day off & he was more than helpful considering. we talked through different scenario with Colin making readings with his multimeter & the conclusion was that the alternator was not charging the new batteries, I was concerned that we may have done them some damage but Ed said they would be ok but we had to run the engine when we wanted to use any power, he was away for the weekend so couldn’t get to us till tomorrow. this was when we made some new friends at Woodlesford.  I have to put a massive thank you in this blog to John & Lizzie Mussett liveaboards on Smokeyjoe for their generosity in lending us a generator for the rest of our stay, we would have struggled without it, also to Carol & her husband long term moorers at Woodlesford on a gorgeous bright blue widebeam, sorry I can’t remember the name of the boat,  for offering to take us to the alternator place in Wakefield however Colin was not confident in removing ours so we decided we would wait for Ed on Tuesday.

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John & Lizzies SmokeyJoe

We had plenty of time on our hands just lately to discuss the solar panel issue, which in light of all the recent problems was seeming like a more urgent purchase than before, however with all the other expense the £1,ooo quote we had for two 165w panels with all the necessary bits fitted seemed too much to spend. We could fit one of these ourselves, couldn’t we? Found a fab company called Midsummer Energy whose MD lives on a boat himself & they were very helpful from the onset. We opted for an all singing, all dancing 245w Panasonic Solar Panel delivered with all the fittings & extra cable as requested for bang on £500. All we had to do now was get it to work!

Nothing else for it, getting so fed up now, Fish & Chips & more wine! Not quite as good as our were but very acceptable.

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Tuesday 28th June 2016  Ed came fairly early with Kevin & they took the leisure alternator off, we have twin alternators which was somewhat a benefit as we have been able to move with the starter alternator , but hadn’t realised that the other one wasn’t charging. The repair was booked in to be started today so hopefully tomorrow we should have it back or know if a new one is required.

We loved the old Corn Exchange building that now houses many independent, bespoke & designer shops, we browsed for a while.

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We also came across the big Leeds Market building & purchased a few bargains, reminded us of Dewsbury & our regular visits to the market there.

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It was a rainy, stormy type of day so we used the station & went into Leeds to have a wander around the city centre & see if any of the charity shops had any treasure! One did yield a gold coloured dragon fly on a chain, I had sold my big dragon fly necklace to Lizzie so I could make a lovely replacement with this one. No news for Ed.

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Wednesday 29th June 2016  We wanted to set up shop today as we couldn’t go anywhere but the weather was still windy & rainy & to be honest we were on tenderhooks waiting for some news regarding the state of the alternator. We heard nothing all day, so it looks like tomorrow………I spent the day trying to finish this post before you get too bored with our misfortune!

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Thursday 30th June 2016  Ed had left a message on Colins phone by the time we got up to say that repair was underway on the offending alternator & that they should have it back this afternoon & would come straight over & fit it.

The high point of today was that we spent a few hours watching an Egret in the river feeding alongside a Tern ducking & diving around it also fishing.

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We asked him to bring us a 15m length of 14mm rope as it has become apparent that one of our centre lines is too short, if you have been reading you will remember why. Also Colin needed some Sikaflex sealant adhesive to seal the roof mountings for the new Solar Panel, which had been duly delivered to the lock mooring today! I spent the rest of the day spring cleaning inside & out, particularly the roof ready for reshuffling to make room for the panel.

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A late message from Ed told us that the alternator company had trouble in finding all the parts they needed it won’t be ready until tomorrow, as soon as they have it back they will be over to fit it.

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Friday 1st July 2016  Colin decided that while he was waiting for Ed he could make a start on fitting the monitor & regulator boxes for the solar panel & I went to do a shop at Lidl in the village, luckily I met Lizzie in the shop so I could put a bit more in my trolley as I had the luxury of a lift back in her car rather than wrestling the wheelie trolley down the hill. She had become a great friend over this past week or so, as a small thank you we made a special edition Mugs Afloat mug for them with their boat on. When I came back a lot of the preliminary work was done but as it was still wet & windy we decided that the actual installation would have to wait. Ed had arrived with Kevin & the new alternator, well the old casing now no longer yellow with COMPLETE new insides, as apparently EVERYTHING was melted or burnt out & had to be replaced hence the delay. The job was complete & we parted with another vast amount of cash to Ed! Seriously he has been fab & helped us through a very difficult couple of weeks, we are a lot more experienced & wiser about batteries, alternators & solar panels.

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In the evening the weather seemed to be breaking so we had a walk along towards Fishpond Lock, it seemed very atmospheric this evening in a strange sort of way or was it just relief?

This time I took some pictures of the masses of giant hogweed lining the river bank running adjacent with the canal, I have never seen it in these quantities before, these photos really don’t show the extent of the growth.

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Saturday 2nd July 2016  The weather seemed a bit better today more broken cloud but still windy.  We decided that setting up the shop was not the best idea due to the weather plus Colin had to get on with fitting the Solar Panel which involved drilling holes in the roof…….. here go the nerves again! It took us most of the day to figure out how the telescopic legs needed to be places under the panel & the correct distances they needed to be bolted to the roof at. Hiding the wiring is also important to us as we don’t want cables running all over the roof causing a trip hazard or looking unsightly. So we embark on something we had never done before & just as light was fading around 9pm the job was complete all that remained was connection to the battery terminals tomorrow & hope it works.

Meanwhile we are tired & hungry so dinner & wine beckon.

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Sunday 3rd July 2016   Up nice & early to try & fill up with water but far too windy, Woodlesford is lovely but it is a wind tunnel. We had a good breakfast today, set up the shop as no rain was forecast then Colin set about drilling the final holes into the boat for the solar panel wiring he took the final step of connecting to the batteries , this done & connected  we stared at the monitor………yes! it was telling us something not quite sure what yet but it showed a smiley face which after the past couple of weeks was good enough for us!

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We didn’t sell much but had a lovely day talking to folk as they passed by & received many comments on how good our merchandise looked. a couple of people were interested in having personalised mugs made so I gave them cards & said they just had to email us, so we may still get some orders through.

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We had enough water to last until tomorrow so we decided that we would fill up in the morning before we finally left Woodlesford for Leeds. We returned Johns generator & both he & Lizzie gave us hugs & said they would miss us, our 2nd example of camaraderie on the cut, the best of luck John & Lizzie hopefully we will meet again!

Tomorrow I will start my blog on a daily basis, I have caught up with our horrendous first month as CC’ers but tomorrow will be a better day & the sun will shine I’m certain.

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Well this is it…..a pleasant weekend off but we don’t have to get up at 6.30am this Tuesday to go to Slaithwaite & start another week at the Chippy! We can all have a lazy lay in & Bailey the cat is loving it!

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We really need to get ourselves organised now as even though we have waited a long time for this to happen we still have so much to do. Finances have to be sorted & that is a very sad issue as we have worked so hard building up an award winning Fish & Chip Shop for the past 5 years but it has taken every penny of our savings & personal debts amassed just to survive will need to be cleared, so we maybe embarking on a life of freedom & Roving Trading but we start it more or less pennyless, which will surprise a lot of people! However that’s the way it is so forward we move…..

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We advertised the old Susuki 4×4 & surprisingly found a buyer instantly, confessed to him that it did have an engine fault that no one seems able to get to the bottom of but he still wanted it, so that was good.  We made a last trip to Slawit to get any post before the wheels went & say a few last goodbyes.

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Gordon & crew at Saville Wharf Marina did a service for us just to be on the safe side, so Friday will be the day of departure late afternoon & a short cruise out of the Marina & relax. we replaced gas bottles, filled water & fuel, pumped out the toilet tank waited for the rain to stop & headed off.

Quite sad as we had made a lot of friends at Saville Wharf, but no doubt we shall meet some again.

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The young couple who showed an interest in the business finally made an offer in January, a bit below what we wanted but we need a change & if we don’t get out on the canals this year I fear we will be getting too old & crotchety to enjoy anytime living aboard!

January merged into Febuary then into March a completion was agreed for mid April.

We email’d CRT at Leeds to see if we could pick up where we left off with our application for a roving traders Licence & Richard Delves was happy to do that so we completed the final application form, sorted the Insurance & every minute of spare time at the weekends now was spent making stock for Mugs Afloat & Gifts.

Even Bailey the boats cat was happy & relaxed loving his watery lifestyle.

We decided to give ourselves a break & took off to Ellesmere Port in May for the Open day at the  Waterways Museum.

Solicitors kept arguing, papers kept being sent backwards & forwards, our Traders licence arrived so did the completion date & promptly was put back by the buyers solicitor……..

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We had an unusual visitor at the marina in May, an ex oil rig rescue vessel converted into a home.

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Eventually completion on the shop came at the end of May. We stayed on for a further week to train & show the new guy the ropes. That’s the sort of nice folks we are.

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The nights started to draw in & the mornings were darker, it was such an effort to get up in the dark at 6.30am to go to the Fish & Chip shop in Slawit (Slaithwaite) to start another week & not get back to the boat until late Friday night.

We have been through so much turmoil whilst trying to run & build a business it is taking its toll, we have had 2 x 1 week holidays in nearly 4yrs & to be honest we are both knackered! Batteries get recharged Saturday to Monday when we can relax on the boat.

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Not much severe cold or snow this winter but the awful floods of Boxing Day from Hebden Bridge down to Horbury from the River Calder have left their mark on the canals in this area & numerous boaters have lost either their homes or hobbies. Boats were lifted out of the water then dropped on the canal bank, bridges were smashed by runaway boats not to mention the local business & homes completely engulfed by the waters. The River Calder at Dewsbury rose by approx  5  metres & we at Saville Wharf were very very lucky that it didn’t break its banks as the marina would have been swamped too.

It was a wet winter for the fishermen too, not that they seemed to mind they were there every Saturday without fail! We bought an Army Surplus ammo box for the hot ashes.

We had a springling of snow during our few days off at Xmas, then in January the new we had been waiting on for such a long time, one of the couples we had shown around the shop had made a preliminary show of interest with the agents.

Everything was now crossed, we could get it sold, we could get the Roving Traders Licence, we could be Ccing by the spring…….

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A Waiting Game…..

Well we have been given a spot at Saville Town Wharf, after reading about Dewsbury I am to say the least hesitant about our new mooring but we shall see…….IMG_1794

 

It is Autumn now & the weather is glorious so we are exploring the walk from the marina to the town centre & the renowned market. It is a lovely walk & surprisingly the market is absolutely great, lots of choice & great quality to boot!

Dewsbury Minster is very interesting & the tearooms are a delight, could be a regular Saturday lunch spot!

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I am surprised to say it but I like it here, everyone is so friendly, the marina folk are great, the pub & the café on site are well stocked & very amiable! much better than noisy, dirty Huddersfield, So that’s us getting ready for the winter although this one will have a touch of luxury……..mains hook up & water tap beside the boat! Colins’ chopping the logs, I’ve got a new pot…….life is good.

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I wonder how long we will be here…….somebody must want to buy a Fish & Chip Shop!

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