Sunday, 22 December 2013

NB Gracie - Our First Christmas Aboard

Five weeks - where has the time gone? 

Our turn from the Macclesfield Canal onto the Peak Forest Canal, six weeks ago - since then, we had 10 days without power due to the starter motor breaking down and it having to go to Stoke to be mended in a specialist machine shop - we joined RCR (the AA of the canal) who managed to fix it for us but of course it still cost money! We had 2 weeks in Strines, about a mile outside Marple; which meant we weren't too far from the Elsan Point)to empty the toilet) and water. The downside was no electricity and therefore no pump to pump water out of the tank, so we (well mainly Chris) had to walk to Marple every two days for water). Once fixed, we winded and went to Marple for the weekend, whilst there, Father Christmas arrived

On the Sunday, the coalboat, NB Alton arrived and we got coal; after which, we set off for Furness Vale (about a four hour trip) - to get there, you do two lift bridges and 2 swing bridges.  We went through the first lift bridge OK, the coal boat had gone through not an hour before and it wouldn't lift! I shifted some leaves and mud from around the hinge, but it still wouldn't move - by now, Chris had arrived on Gracie and another boater arrived and gave me the number for CaRT (Canal and River Trust) for them to come; we moored up; Chris made tea and we waited. Then someone else arrived and we walked to see if there was anything we missed. One of the chains was a bit loose, so Chris jumped up and down on the bridge and lo and behold, it started to move! So after half an hour, we were once again on our way - I spent five minutes getting a huge dollop of mud out of the hinge though. So onwards; by now it was starting to get late and there was the most glorious sunset; but we were not quite at Furness Vale Marina nor at the last swing bridge at the start. Just before, are some good moorings and there was a space, but Chris said we'd keep going - I was walking the towpath with the dogs; we did the last swing bridge and by now the sun had set. We have a favourite mooring quite near Furness Vale Train Station (About a five minute walk away) and we got there as it was going dark; in fact Chris couldn't see me it was so dark. We moored up and I started to make tea when NB Alton passed us - Nightboating on the coallboat!

We decided that if we could, we would go up to Whaley Bridge for Christmas and New Year (Bugsworth isn't open this year as they have drained it for repairs) and all week, Chris had been walking up to the Basin to check (taken at the beginning of November)

SO we set off on Friday - the dogs love cruising

and we do too. 

We winded and got water and slotted in right behind a friend's boat; who is away for Christmas and so it is good we are here - we are debating getting a mooring along here and will investigate that.

We have been trying to get to Stockport all weekend to deliver cards etc; however, wahing in a twin tub takes time and then the coal boat arrived just as we were getting ready to go on the train, ne and Ann-Marie McGuigan from NB Alton gunnel dancing with the coal and a bottle of ale called "Gunnel Dancer"!

So may we take the opportunity to wish all a very Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year and we haven't a tree - just a Spacey Gracie