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Tuesday 16th August 2016 

Barrowford is lovely but the “towpathers” are mainly joggers or dog walkers so we decided not to trade but to have a day doing something for us & we liked the pretty town so we ventured across the sheep field again, past the pretty flowers , along the river to the Pendle Heritage Centre.

This is the old Toll House at the bridge just before the Heritage centre.

The heritage centre occupies Park Hill, a two-storey former farmhouse which has a 1661 date stone but was developed over an extended period between the 16th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The centre has an 18th-century walled garden and woodland walk, and houses the Pendle Arts Gallery.

Park Hill is an old farmhouse that has been restored using traditional building techniques to provide visitors with an insight on how the house has been developed and adapted from the 15th century.

I found the explanation of the holes in the wall of Park hill fascinating & any of my acquaintances  from Golcar & Holmfirth will probably already know about these as they appear in buildings there.

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We walked around the walled garden, picked some of the purple pod peas & enjoyed them as we wandered. We looked at the timber framed barn, a massive barn, the main arches made from a suitably bend log, split in half to form the arch. You can see the stables too.

One thing i did notice in the exhibition was the beautiful handwriting in some of the old documents. I wish I could have handwriting like this & that we still taught good handwriting to kids.

 

The Pendle Witches

The rest of the exhibition is dedicated to the story of The Pendle Witches. The trials of the Pendle witches in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history, and some of the best recorded of the 17th century. The twelve accused lived in the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire, and were charged with the murders of ten people by the use of  witchcraft.   It was a time when witchcraft was not only feared but also fascinated those from common village folk to King  James I  who had been greatly interested in witchcraft even before he took the throne in 1603 The scepticism of the king became reflected in the feelings of unrest about witchcraft among the common people.

It is important to understand the background to the events of these trials. Six of the eleven “witches” on trial came from two rival families, the Demdike family and the Chattox family, both headed by old widows in their 80’s, Elizabeth Southerns known as “Old Demdike”and Anne Whittle “Mother Chattox”.

Old Demdike had been known as a witch for fifty years; it was an accepted part of village life in the 16th century that there were village healers who practised magic and dealt in herbs and medicines. The extent of the spate of witchcraft reported in Pendle at this time perhaps reflected the large amounts of money people could make by posing as witches.

The story began with an altercation between one of the accused, Alizon Device, and a pedlar, John Law.  Alizon, either travelling or begging on the road to Trawden Forest, passed  John Law and asked him for some pins (it is not known whether her intention was to pay for them or whether she was begging). He refused and Alizon cursed him. It was a short while after this that John Law suffered a stroke, for which he blamed Alizon and her powers. When this incident was brought before Justice Nowell, Alizon confessed that she had told the Devil to lame John Law. It was upon further questioning that Alizon accused her grandmother, Old Demdike, and also members of the Chattox family, of witchcraft. The accusations on the Chattox family seem to have been an act of revenge. The families had been feuding for years, perhaps since one of the Chattox family broke into Malkin Tower (the home of the Demdikes) and stole goods to the value of £1 (approximately the equivalent of £100 now). Furthermore, John Device (father of Alizon) blamed the illness that led to his death on Old Chattox, who had threatened to harm his family if they did not pay annually for their protection.

The deaths of four other villagers that had occurred years before the trial were raised and the blame laid on witchcraft performed by Chattox. James Demdike confessed that Alizon had also cursed a local child some time before and Elizabeth, although more reserved in making accusations, confessed her mother had a mark on her body, supposedly where the Devil had sucked her blood, which left her mad. On further questioning both Old Demdike and Chattox confessed to selling their souls.  Also Anne (Chattox’s daughter) was allegedly seen to create clay figures. After hearing this evidence, the judge detained Alizon, Anne, Old Demdike and Old Chattox and waited for trial.

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The story would have ended there had it not been for a meeting held at Malkin Tower by James Device (Alizon’s brother), for which he stole a neighbour’s sheep. Those sympathetic to the family attended but word reached the judge who felt compelled to investigate. As a result, a further eight people were summoned for questioning and then trial.

Nine year old Jennet Device was a key supplier of evidence for the Pendle witches’ trial which was allowed under the system from King James; all normal rules of evidence could be suspended for witch trials, someone so young would not have been able to supply key evidence normally. Jennet gave evidence against those who attended the meeting at Malkin Tower but also against her mother, sister and brotherer son John Bulcock, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, Alice Gray, and Jennet Preston.  Many of the allegations resulted from accusations that members of the Demdike and Chattox families made against each other, perhaps because they were in competition, both trying to make a living from healing, begging, and extortion.

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The trials were held at Lancaster between 17th and 19th August 1612.  Old Demdike never reached trial; the dark, dank dungeon in which they were imprisoned was too much for her to survive & she died there in the arms of her daughter.

After all that we had a coffee in the centre’s coffee shop & wandered back across that sheep field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday 13th August 2016

According to the weather forecast the wind is supposed to have dropped & no rain is forecast………well, it’s still blowing a hooley & it’s pouring with rain. I’m putting it down to the fact that we are at the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal & on the Yorkshire Lancashire border.

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Even the cows are still laying down, looking very content though.

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When we walked down to have a look at the moorings by the tunnel yesterday we spotted some good firewood from a tree fallen on the opposite side of the canal, it must of fell right across as big logs were in the undergrowth down by the dry stone wall along the towpath side…….todays job! A lot of the logs were far too big for our tools but we added some to the winter stock pile. Why is it when you are new to this, you know you are not breaking any laws & not on private land but you feel guilty? I could never be a real criminal!

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This metal plaque on the towpath of the Leeds Liverpool Canal explains how wooden rollers protected bridges from the tow ropes used by horses when towing the canal boats.

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The sun eventually came out after lunch, we had gained a few logs & moved down to moor at The Wharf just before the Foulridge Tunnel.

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Café Cargo is well worth a visit & if you are a trader gets very busy. It is quite wide on the wharf as is at a winding hole, so plenty of room.

We decided to trade tomorrow, Sunday as the weather is supposed to be much improved.

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So this afternoon we took a short walk to the village.

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The plague below explains about the water trough situated outside the village hall that faces the village green.

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It has a pretty village green, just up the steps is a Butchers, Café & Chinese T/A & Florist.

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It turned out to be a beautiful evening after the rainy, windy start.

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Sunday 14th August 2016

We awoke to a lovely warm, still, sunny morning, ideal for some trading.

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We set up the shop, not expecting too much but were pleasantly surprised. we had a rush on “Touch Wood” Key Rings & sold quite a few mugs, one Witchy mug going to Japan to back up the story of the Pendle witches! another going to Spain to remind a lady of home Lancashire. As we were on the border we hedged our bets on stock, whilst Caley the dog supervised all day.

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Tomorrow will be a challenge as I hate being underground, I get very panic stricken & we have to go through the Foulridge Tunnel, but tonight a glass of wine will do after a successful & enjoyable day.

1 Mile    0 Locks     0 Swing Bridges      30 minutes

 

 

 

 

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July 2012

7th July & a weekend trip to the marina stopping Friday night at the Travel Inn at Huddefield North, which sits right on the banks of the River Colne & the water level was very high due to the recent downpours of this horrendous summers weather.

Good nights sleep as always in a Travel Inn, just like the ad says, thanks Lenny! we set off for Salithwaite to have another look at the Fish & Chip shop. our heads have been buzzing since the last trip with ideas & possibilities. Met with the owner again & struck a deal agreeing to pay holding deposit on Monday when back in Scotland. this is it we are doing it! These premises apparently have a chipping machine that produces Crinkle Cut Chips, I’ve never seen that in a Fish & Chip shop before!

If we can produce this as a take away I’ll be very happy, better get Colin booked up on a Fish Fryers course!

Had a look at the possible house available for rent in the village seems ok, not up to our usual standard but have been spoilt in Scotland for space & rural aspect of property.

It has an enclosed yard area for the dogs so we will know they are safe & not locked inside when we are working at the shop, plenty of space inside too, we can make it home. Contacted agents to say we want to go ahead.   Here comes mega amounts of form filling & outlay just to rent a home!.

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Monday 9th April 2012 ( Easter Monday)

Macclesfield Canal, Hardings Wood Junction to Nowhere!

Easter Monday & the weather forecast was awful, we had no reason to rise early as we were not going anywhere today due to re-occurring drive plate problems & we needed our second replacement within a year but due to it being Easter Monday no supplier were open, so we had to stay put until tomorrow. We looked out of the window around 9am & this is what we saw

The rain lasted until 4pm, but we decided to get some DIY tasks done to make That’s D’riculous more comfortable when we embark on liveaboard next year. So I set Lochaber to work

I managed to find a tilting bed desk that I can use for a book or my ipad during the long dark winter months cosied up in bed, but as with everything on a narrowboat storage & accessibility is paramount, as I folded flat we decided that storage near the bed on a vacant piece of wall space was the best option.

Perfect, job done, next! a couple of pictures to be hung, lochaber has had enough now & the rain has eased so time for a walk with the dog.

Now folks I don’t want to come across as a moaner or a killjoy but, on the right is what we do on the left is what everyone else seems to leave behind on this stretch of towpath! If you want the pleasure of a dog….PICK IT UP!

Apart from the offending dog pooh at regular intervals along the towpath, it was also very muddy due to the amount of rain that had been falling all day, but we had a nice walk up to Hall Green stop lock

Then past a beautiful house complete with large weeping willow & own Narrowboat, not envious at all, really.

We carried on as far as the swing bridge (90) & met a local who told us that a badger set had been spotted on the opposite bank & that the rabbit population was coming back in this area after a heavy dose of “mixi”.

Easter Monday 0 miles, o hours, 1 lock by foot! 

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Sunday 8th April 2012 (Easter Sunday)

Trent & Mersey, Rhode Heath to Macclesfield Canal, Hardings Wood Junction

The weather forecast for today was not good, very cloudy & light rain most of the day. That however was the least of our problems at the moment.

Anyway, we decided that nothing was going to blight our Easter week.  We left Rode Heath around 10am this morning after the rain had stopped, there are 12 locks between Rode Heath & Hardings Wood Junction all relatively close & we were fairly lucky most seemed to be set in our favour.

This is looking back from lock 45 still on the Trent & Mersey heading towards Kidsgrove, the rain had stopped but the sky remained overcast although it seemed warmer as the wind had dropped today

Any of you who have had a look around our blog so far will have read about the unexpected drive plate problems we had on our first real trip with the boat last year

This is the offending object once removed & once it had been replaced  she was running really well & alot quieter, however at about the same amount of running hours again we are hearing the familiar sound worsening every day of a potential drive plate collapse! We have made it from Aqueduct to Hardings Wood Junction & met a nice couple with nbAdventurer Joey & Carol who also have problems but theirs was in the form of a leak. They recommended Tony at Red Bull Services Ltd. His workshop is just between bridges 97 & 98 at the junction as you turn to go up the Macclesfield canal.  This is Tony’s place.

It can be spotted from the lower Trent & Mersey as you come into Kidsgrove before you turn onto the Macclesfield & go across the viaduct.

Although this will solve our problem & get us on our way it means we will not get to Bugsworth now this week, probably not even Marple, I think Bollington may be the limit if the weather allows. The other issue that is concerning us is WHY we have got through 2 drive plates in only 130hr running time. The suppliers were I have to say very unhelpful in the first instance saying that the whole episode was our fault as we must have hit something very hard, categorically not! I kept all the emails between us & them & I am determined this time to get some answers. I will keep you informed as to how it goes.

This is The Red Bull Pub at lock 43 as you come into Kidsgrove, quiz night on a Wednesday, good meal deals . I made a note of the pub so if the weather is as bad as predicted tomorrow & we are obviously stuck then it may be a pub day!!

We pulled into the 48hr moorings at bridge 97  & walked over to see Tony, obviously it is Easter so no parts suppliers open till Tuesday, but he is happy to take the drive plate out & replace if necessary once he can get a spare on Tuesday.

After speaking to Tony we decided to have a stroll into town as we needed some jam to go with the scones I had in the bread bin! On the way over the aqueduct we saw nbGemima Puddle Duck coming into lock 41, the light had somehow highlighted the rusty colour of the canal water. This colouring is caused by the iron ore from the tunnels.

Harecastle Tunnel is made up of two separate, parallel, tunnels described as Brindley (2,880 yards) and the later Telford (2,926 yards) after the engineers that constructed them. Today only the Telford tunnel is navigable. The tunnel is only wide enough to carry traffic in one direction at a time and boats are sent through in groups, alternating northbound and southbound. Ventilation is handled by a large fan at the south portal.

South portal of the Brindley Tunnel

The Brindley tunnel was constructed by James Brindley between 1770 and 1777. Brindley died during its construction. At the time of its construction it was twice the length of any other tunnel in the world.

To construct the canal, the line of the tunnel was ranged over the hill and then fifteen vertical shafts were sunk into the ground. It was from these that heads were driven on the canal line. A major problem was the change in the rock type which ranged from soft earth to Millstone Grit. The construction site was also subject to flooding regularly, a problem which was overcome by the construction of steam engines to operate the pumps. Stoves were installed at the bottom of upcast pipes to overcome the problem of ventilation.

The tunnel had no towpath, and so boatsmen had to “leg” their way through the tunnel, lying on the roof of their boat and pushing on the sides of the tunnel with their feet. It could take up to three hours to get through the tunnel. The boat horses were led over Harecastle Hill via ‘Boathorse Road’. A lodge (Bourne Cottage) was built by the side of the squire’s drive at the point that the boat children crossed it, to prevent them straying up towards Clough Hall.

The tunnel was twelve feet tall at its tallest point and was nine feet wide at its widest, which proved to be too small in later years. The tunnel suffered subsidence in the early 20th century and was closed after a partial collapse in 1914. Inspections of the disused tunnel continued until the 1960s, but since that time, there has been no attempt to investigate the interior of the tunnel at any significant distance from the portals.

The gated portals can still be seen from the canal, although it is no longer possible to approach the mouth of the tunnel in a boat.

In recent times, water entering the canal from the Brindley tunnel has been blamed for much of the prominent iron ore (responsible for the rusty colour of the water) in the canal, and there are proposals to install filtering (possibly using reed beds) at the northern portal. Telford Tunnel

South portal of the Telford Tunnel

Due to the amount of traffic and the slow process of legging, the Harecastle Tunnel was becoming a major bottleneck on the canal. It was decided to commission a second tunnel to be built by Thomas Telford. Due to advances in engineering, it took just three years to build, and was completed in 1827. It had a towpath so that horses could pull the boats through the tunnel. After its construction it was used in conjunction with the Brindley tunnel, with each tunnel taking traffic in opposite directions.

Between 1914 and 1954 an electric tug was used to pull boats through the tunnel. In 1954 a large fan was constructed at the south portal. While all the boats are within the tunnel an airtight door is shut and all the air is pulled through the tunnel by the fan. This allows diesel boats to use the tunnel without suffocating the boaters. Today the journey takes about 30–40 minutes.

In the late 20th century, the Telford tunnel also began to suffer subsidence, and was closed between 1973 and 1977. The towpath, long disused, was removed, allowing boats to take advantage of the greater air draft in the centre of the tunnel.

A series of smaller canal tunnels are joined to the Telford tunnel. These tunnels connected to coal mines at Golden Hill and allowed both the drainage of the mines and the export of coal directly from the mines to the canal tunnel without the necessity of first hauling it to the surface. Small boats of ten tons’ capacity were used in this endeavour.

The Ghost of Harecastle Tunnel – The Kidsgrove Boggart

According to legend a young woman was decapitated in the Telford Tunnel in the 1800s and her body thrown into Gilbert’s Hole, a coal landing stage within the tunnel. The man had hacked the woman’s head from her shoulders with a piece of slate until it was removed.

It is believed that she now haunts Harecastle Tunnel, either in the form of a headless woman, or a white horse, and her appearance used to forewarn of disaster in the local mines. Some boatmen took long detours to avoid the tunnel, and today the tunnel keepers relate tales of occasional mismatches in the number of boats going in and coming out. Such tales are, however, fanciful, as any such discrepancy would result in a major search operation.

In fact there is no record of any such murder, and the story seems to have been inspired by the murder of Christina Collins in similiar circumstances near Rugeley. The association with another canal ghost ‘Kit Crewbucket’, who haunts the Crick Tunnel, would also seem to be spurious.

So that has given you a history lesson on this area which I hope you have found interesting, we love finding out about the history of the places we visit, it somehow seems to give the visit a purpose other than just a stopping place for supplies etc.

We will be moored up until Tony replaces the drive plate on Tuesday, hopefully,  We are up above the Trent & Mersey on the Macclesfield overlooking the scrap yard, very picturesque! It’s not too bad the yard is lower down so it is not visible from the windows.

Lochaber has cooked a curry, Murgh Makhani from the Co-op it was delicious & more so cos’ Lochaber doesn’t cook often! oh, more wine I really must go!

Today 5.5hrs, 14 locks, 4 miles, 1 knackered drive plate

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Easter Saturday 7th April 2012

Trent & Mersey, Wheelock to Rode Heath

We awoke to the sound of rain pitter pattering on the roof of the boat, but it looked as if it was going to brighten up so we took time having a good breakfast before we set off. By about 10.30am the rain had stopped, the wind was light & the temperature seemed warmer than yesterday.

So we said cheerio to Wheelock, the place where last year we had to call out boat engineer Niel Coventry to replace an absolutely shattered drive plate. The story of this is on the post headed…Hooked! Now we start following the dream.

I had the incident from last year on my mind & at times thought the same problem was re-occurring due to the noisy knocking from the engine compartment, then on the other hand was it just my imagination? I decided to just carry on & see how things evolved, at least this time we know what it is, last year we didn’t have a clue what the problem was & had visions of engines blowing up, gear boxes crunching etc.

At locks 62 & 63 we came across Spey & Chance 2. This is Spey leaving lock 63.

This is the butty following, coming out of lock 62, we had to wait a while as she got stuck & needed some pushing to get her through.

At lock 60 we came across another fisherman with all his gear right on the lock moorings! We like the double locks on this stretch, it makes things much quicker when they are both working.

The rain was still holding off & only a fleece was needed today even the gloves came off! This is the view looking back from Pierpoint Locks

This is lock 54 on the Trent & Mersey still heading for Hardings Wood Junction, inside that huge willow tree is a super tree house! Have a look next time you are there.

We carried on towards Rode Heath as we have stopped there before & it is quite pretty nestled in amongst the village houses, the pub The Broughton Arms does a decent meal & a good pint of real ale & there is a small village shop.

There was a swan on its nest directly opposite our mooring & a large wild meadow towpath side which sloped down quite sharply as it used to be old salt workings & was then turned over to natural wild meadow when the salt mining stopped.

Lochaber is worn out today as he has done 14 locks, not bad for a man with a heart condition! Even Caley the mad spaniel is settling in to boat life this trip. The drive plate was not sounding great when we stopped, but tomorrow’s another day & we’ll take it as it comes.

So, off to The Broughton Arms it is!

Today 5.25hrs, 14 locks, 4 miles, dinner in the pub! 

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Friday 6th April 2012( Good Friday)

Middlewich Branch, Aqueduct Marina to Wheelock

Awoke about 9.30am still quite tired as we didn’t arrive at Marina until around 12.30am last night, we never manage to get off work early on Thursdays only Fridays!

Anyway, we are here & it is Easter weekend so we are thinking that the waterways will be busy, so a bite to eat, the rest of the stuff unloaded from the car, a top up with diesel & a pump out now we are ready to cruise.

Just out of Aqueduct Marina & this Canada goose was just posing for a photo.

We were making the most of The Middlewich Branch being fairly quiet as we knew that Middlewich itself would be busy & I would have to negotiate the dreaded bridge immediately after Wardle Lock that crushed my new chimney pot when we first moved That’s D’riculous to Aqueduct marina.

The cattle all looked well fed over the winter & happy to be out in the open again, the farmers are all busy getting fields ready for this years crops.

We love the way the cattle meander across the canal on this stretch by using the bridges, they seem to do it without a second thought & as you can see from the one having a sneaky peek over the top of the bridge at our nb going through I think they enjoy it!

Off the bridge & on to the milking shed girls! this was just before Stanthorne Lock. We carried on towards Middlewich & the canal didn’t seem too busy at all.  When we reached Middlewich I looked over to Wardle Lock Cottage as I was entering the lock & thought about the old lady that Jo, Working Boat Woman had mentioned on her blog recently as she had passed away.

Through the lock & under the bridge & the chimney still in tact! Very sharp right into Kings Lock, do we stop at the pub for a beer? would have liked to but must push on whilst the weather is ok as the forecast for Easter Sunday & Monday is terrible, with plenty of heavy rain!

Just past kings Lock the canal was FULL of swans, in fact I have never seen so many swans together, a mixture of young & adults.

As we approached Rumps Lock there was a fisherman with all his gear & umbrella right on the lock moorings, plenty of space elsewhere why do they have to be so close to the lock entrance?

The canal along this stretch from Middlewich to around Paddys Wood  is not very scenic a lot of industrial areas some now unused  but the Salt works is still quite busy by the look of things.

On towards Wheelock the canal starts to get open & scenic again. We spotted this huge broken tree that must have come down in a storm sometime.

We arrived at Wheelock around 6.30pm, a good first day, will sleep well tonite. walked along the towpath to the Italian Restaurant right on the  canal opposite The Cheshire Cheese pub & got a takeaway pizza, delicious!

Aqueduct to Wheelock 6 hrs 15mins, 7 locks, 10 miles, 2 pizzas!

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Aqueduct Marina

Friday 17th February 2012

Well, we made it this weekend, arrived at Aqueduct marina around 2.30pm, after stopping at Uplands Marina in Northwich to pick up a very handy piece of steel work Nick Bancroft of NB Marine Services had made for us. As you can see from the inside pics of That’s D’riculous on the Buying a narrowboat page nothing really divides the kitchen area off from the main area of the boat, that seems fine but when in use we found that any splashes from the cooker top were settling on the woodburner! Not great, so Nick had a simple stainless steel angled plate made for us to stop this & it actually masks any cooking pots as well, we like it & think it was well worth having it made to measure.

The weather was overcast when we arrived but dry so we set about storing the logs & coal away, making up the fire & plugged in the new heated blanket to air the bed. Now, that blanket was money WELL spent the bed was toastie & completely aired by 10pm & seemed to hold much of that warmth all night. That all done we put sausages in the oven & opened the wine! So glad just to be afloat again!

Saturday 18th February 2012

Awoke to the boat rocking gently in the strengthening wind & rain tapping on the roof, tea & toast & back to bed with that great new blanket switched on & a catch up with fellow #boatsthattweet. Blue skies above the low clouds, maybe it will break soon.we had an unexpected visitor as a good boatie brunch was being made.

This Aqueduct Marina’s dog in residence Jack & he belongs to marina owner Robert Parton. I got a paw shake in return for half a sausage….bless!  A few more cups of tea downed the rain has stopped & the sun was out, time to take our other dog (Caley the Spaniel) for a walk. Half way along the towpath  the sky darkened & the hailstones rained down on us! a couple of all-weather boaters on the move, by the time we got back to the marina it had passed & the sun was out again, time for a piece of delicious cake & a cappuccino in The Galley coffee shop.

“A dogs life”, this boating lark!

View of the marina from The Galley Coffee shop

So, this is my first blog entry from the boat on the new laptop which will accompany us when we move aboard. I think it is as good as previous blogs from the home computer, but need more practice to find my way around this one & get competent without a mouse!

Sunday 19th February 2012

The weather was pretty awful most of Sunday, we had heard the hail stones during the night & awoke to a very icy walkway & brrrrrr it was cold, nothing for it but to make tea & toast & return to the all-encompassing warmth of the wonderful new blanket!! This is becoming a habit! A quick catch up with #boatsthattweet & the chance for me to tell you a little story.

Charlies’ Story

Charlie is Aqueducts’ resident swan, he was made known to us when we first arrived last year by Robert’s young son who was very sad because Charlie didn’t have a friend! Apparently Charlie was always on his own, he is  very friendly it’s almost as if he gets to know his boaters & always comes to greet you when you arrive even if it is, like us, sometimes 11.30pm & in the dark….Charlie still appears to say “hello”. Now, you might say, that could be any old swan, No! we know its Charlies cos’ he has a broken beak!

We wondered if it was because of Charlies broken beak he didn’t have a mate, but I don’t suppose swans are that vain really!

During the summer of 2011 Charlie appeared to have a lady friend but she had cygnets in tow & although he tolerated her he wasn’t keen on the young ones, however she stuck around, the youngsters have gone their own way & Charlie seems to be “all loved up” We are all so pleased this “swan song” has a happy ending!

The Marina was so still after the storm on Saturday night the water was like glass. It was beautiful & unusually peaceful.

Time for the usual coffee & scones in The Gally before we start the long trek back to Scotland.

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We had decided that we would spend Christmas aboard, even if we could not get out of Aqueduct Marina we would still at least be on our nb. Christmas 2010 we spent on our old nb Tin Lizzie & I came down with a very severe bout of swine flu so I don’t have very good memories of that Christmas holiday time, however I had made up my mind that 2011 was going to be much better.

We had eaten at The Verdin Arms just outside Middlewich during the summer & really enjoyed the food & the hospitality. The Christmas menu looked very inviting so we book in October & mouths were watering from then on.

Verdin arms menu

As you can see it wasn’t a big menu claiming to be anything fantastic but fantastic it was! The Feta cheese, chorizo & apple starter was really unusual & delicious. Two bottles of Rose bubbly were sunk & a great lunch was had by all, as you can see from the photos of “the other alf” & daughter. I was taking the photos trying to get familiar with the new camera I treated myself to!

Back to the marina, light the woodburner another glass, telly & feet up!

 

Boxing Day 2011

We awoke to a glorious Boxing Day morning so nothing for it but to start that engine up & go for a run up to Nantwich. So mild for time of year especially compared to last year, but it did start getting a bit chilly after a couple of hours at the helm so it was hot toddy time! Now that’s a whole lot warmer, time for another before we moor up? absolutely!

Another 3 glorious days were enjoyed before the New Year storms set in & we had to go back to Scotland.

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Please let me give you some history to bring things up to date.  January 2012

We have spent the past year & a half falling in love with the canals & its people, most of that time has been learning how to handle a narrowboat properly & courteously, making the most of limited space & learning the etiquette of the canal world. During the next 12 months we are preparing to pack up our rented home, we have already sold our house & move on board fulltime. Since joining the boating community on Twitter we feel closer & more a part of the life style will be embarking on, therefore we think it is time to start our own boaters blog!

Our first nb was a 30yr old 42ft Cruiser style Minden boat called Tin Lizzie. We purchased her in August 2010, explored quite a bit of the Trent & Mersey & we loved her! Now we were hooked!

Moored just south of Rugeley on T & M by Lochaber & Cornish

We both bought & sold Tin Lizzie via New & Used Boat Sales based at Mercia Marina. They were very helpful when we first looked at Tin Lizzie & although we were doubtful of an older boat as a first investment we were assured by Doug, who is not a salesman as such more of a mine of information & recognised face within the boating community (who does all the practical & important things at New & Used), that she was a good solid nb from a sought after builder, Minden & that when we came to resell her we would not have a problem. Every time we visited Mercia Marina Doug was always around with friendly help & advice for the novices! He taught us a lot & we won’t forget that easily. I hope when we become liveaboard & start moving around more that we can go back & say hello.

As you can see she is alot more traditional inside than the new investment, traditional seems a lot cosier somehow.

 

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug was right when we decided to put Tin Lizzie back on the market in May 2011 they hadn’t even got the photo in the ad before we had a buyer!! I hope we pass her & her new owners sometime as I would love to see how she is fairing, although we now have a new build the older nb’s have far more character & soundness about them, although the tech side is not so good.

We explored a fair bit of the Trent & Mersey with Tin Lizzie & I have put some of our favorite photos on this page.

Below are a couple of pictures of Mercia Marina which I believe is one of the biggest in the country now. It is also the base for the Shakespeare Hire Fleet.

 

 

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