Saturday, March 27, 2010

Home alone

I have been looking after Molly and myself for a week now. The bird feeders have been refilled a few times as the birds seem extra hungry at this time of year! Fat balls, peanuts and seed all going fast. There are 4 to 5 birdies seen at any one time as I sit and watch while reading.
Been getting up early with the sun but what does it matter. The clocks go forwards soon. Moving time does not change the fact that the days are getting longer. It just resets our time to nature’s time.
I have been concentrating on upgrading our website so pages and pictures are changing. Pictures have been added to all the chapters in our book ‘Living on a Narrowboat’. Also some new pictures are to be added to the canal pages.
Molly does not let me forget to take her out for a walk twice a day. Just one way or the other down the towpath to a bridge and back.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Somewhere on the branch

We’ve got the jobs done, new lamps for old. Anyone want some old lamps? A few days got us back to Middlewich this time to get more water and provisions for the next week. Ann is to go home to see the grand children while I look after Molly and myself. A taxi to Crewe and two trains getting Ann down south. Plenty of boats are moving up and down, some fast n some slow. Last Sunday we had a good roast lunch at the Venetian Cafe.
Some repair work is going on at Bridge 11 and I wonder if the same is happening down on the Oxford canal.
Aqueduct Marina
And Molly is trying not to fall in.
I will have plenty to occupy my mind trying to update and improve our web site. Not forgetting to take Molly out and feed our faces.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New lights

We got to Venetian Marina and booked a mooring for the boat in April. Got some diesel and found the other facility some distance from the boat. They do not have a water tap here so we will have to go another mile to Barbridge. The chandlery here had some LED light units on offer. I was assured that they were regulated so would be ok in the boat on the 12 to 14 volt supply. They were MR11 units that directly replaced the halogen lamps as found in some nice switched brass lights. We tried one and found the light similar to our twin florescent units.
Went off to get water at the end and on our return saw this couple sitting on the edge of the canal enjoying the sunshine.
No chance for us to relax for now we have two jobs to get on with! Fit those lights and paint the other side of the boat.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Turn on to the Shropshire Union

Well the Middlewich branch really, but not yet! It was quite tricky being a tight turn under the low Wardle Bridge.
We are on the Wardle Canal first, which is a boat length to the lock, the shortest canal on the system. Up a couple of locks then about four miles to Church Minshull where we found the Visitor Moorings provided by the Canal Trust. They ensure that the grass is cut and the mooring is deep enough. Many of the moorings even have picnic tables and barbeque sites. Only 48 hours to stay but the canal is usually shallow at the edges anywhere else!

Up and down the sloping path,
We walked the Weaver Way,
To find a posting box,
And sent our mail away.

But sadly Church Minshull is not much with narrow busy lanes, the traffic rushing by despite the narrow river bridge. After just one night we moved on past the Aqueduct Marina and up Minshull lock.
We had to pass the next Visitor Moorings because the trees prevented Sky reception. Had to move on and stop on a shallow edge beyond the trees. While there a few days I got around to painting the lower sides of the boat. Just enough to cover up the winter scars!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Planning public transport

Geography is a subject to get to grips with. We need to know where roads, places, bus routes and railways are in relation to canals. Our canal maps concentrate on canals and do not often show what may well be a useful station for bus or train. Get hold of a road map to find that canals and railways are almost invisible! The internet and ‘Travelline’ is very helpful in finding the detail to get from one place to another.
Sometimes just moving the boat to a different location will make a land journey so much easier. Two bus trips, two train journeys and a taxi could change to just one bus and a train to get from a to b. If we need to leave the boat it is best in a marina where it will be safe but not all marinas have temporary short term moorings. Getting away in the winter is even more difficult when boats stay in the marina!

Keeping Britain tidy

Mooring at Whatcroft
Canals do need respect and support.
We have filled no less than six plastic bags with assorted rubbish. It was all strewn over half a mile of the tow path. Glass bottles, cans, plastic bottles and bags so disgusting and untidy we just could not leave it lying there. “Very public spirited of you” said walkers as they passed by. “Well there are plenty of bottles and cans which had contained the spirit!” we said. On the way back to Middlewich we could have filled several more black bags! We knew that there was a recycle centre near bridge 173 on the T n M which is where we got rid of all those bottles and cans.


We stayed for a long weekend. Seyella was not far away so we spent some time with Geof and Margaret exploring the surrounding countryside.
There are many paths through the Silver Birch woods and down along the river Weaver.
We were almost encouraged to take the boat down on the lift but decided it could wait till later. Salt is an abundant raw material round here first discovered by the Romans. At one time much of the salt was transported up and down the river Weaver and up on to the Trent and Mersey canal. Salt is a molecule made from the two elements sodium and chloride. A few factories are busy processing the stuff here.