Friday, 14 November 2014

Upper Peak Forest and Early Winter Cruising

Another fortnight and we had a bit of bad news after our last cruise when we went to top up the diesel; tank filled a fortnight ago and when we checked, we had just less then a quarter of a tank, so someone had siphoned about 120 litres of diesel - a sad sign of the times.

We have moored near woodland adjacent to Swizzells Matlow sweet factory this week, in order to stock up on wood - Chris has been hard at work collecting logs all week and we now have at least three weeks supply - will go back there this week and get some more. It helps the coal consumption as we burn wood during the day and put coal on to keep the stove in overnight.

We cruised up to Bugsworth Basin today; there are two views of New Mills, Derbyshire above - the Upper Peak Forest Canal is probably our favourite - the views over the Peak District are spectacular and then you get to the end at Whaley Bridge  and get views like these.
 Upper Peak Forest Canal
 Sunset over the Basin
 Teapot cottages on the way into the basin
Whaley Bridge Basin.

We have worked out to be back up here for Christmas, when I have 10 days off and if it's OK, we might even go cruising - if it isn't raining or icy!

Have a good one everyone - Christmas will be here soon enough  

Friday, 31 October 2014

Late summer again in October

Half- Term for most  schools and my last week's annual leave before Christmas. The last of the holiday boats; some zooming by; some having lost the three day madness rule, ambling along. Then you have the boat movers, who seem to zoom allong anyways; especially between marinas. 

The weather has been glorious - we gently cruised down from New Mills to Marple, where we spent four days and then onto Bosley Services, where we got to at 4,30 pm and I finished all bar one load of washing by 4 am! 

The next day, we wtook the rest of the settee base out of the boat; scrubbed ad polished the floor with inseed oil. Looking at photos of gracie when we first moved aboard, you can see what last winter's rain and mud have done to the floor. WE did consider sanding and putting a seal on it; however, the dogs would slip, we would slip and the boat rocks - not an ideal combination, so scrubbing and polishing it is, until we find a good non-lip solution we like. This maybe when we redo the kitchen - We need another two cupboards, so are now looking for ideas on things we would like. 
We spent two nights at Gurnett Aqueduct. Catching up with Simba's friend Nanook,  an Alaskan malamute and then cruised down to Bollington, another favourite location for the boys. 

Off to Poynton and then Marple ready for work again Monday! 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Autumn Cruising

We have left the Peak Forest Canal for a while; we spent a lovely weekend at Bugsworth Basin and then returned to near Swizzells Matlow factory in New Mills to collect wood.

A hard week, due to an unexpected fee to recover Simba from the pound, but unexpected surprise via our ever present coalboat, NB Alton and meeting a FB friend for the first time helped.

We gently cruised down to Marple at the weekend and will stop a few days whilst Stella attends a training course in Manchester and then a cruise to Bosley Services awaits!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

World Inequality Day

On the day, millions are blogging about equality; here are my thoughts.
The elite thrive on inequality; they always have. These people don't know what it's like to work, but not have enough money for heating and food. Yet, if they spent just a little; it would make things better.
The UK changed in the 1980's; up until then, you could, if you chose to, be in a household with one wage because you could afford it. The Thatcher government changed all that. There will be those who remember the British Gas, the water companies,  the Electricity Boards being sold off - to whom? Hedge funds mostly for massive profits. Then of course, the council house selling; but not being able to reinvest. Housing bubble created in the 1980's meaning negative equity for many when the market fell.
Of course, there was also the idea the UK could be a service economy, when any economics textbook will tell you that a balanced economy is a thrd each of agriculture,  manufacturing and service. However,  this was the start of the money is God society; comedians made fun, "loadsamoney" was the catchphrase,  talk was of how much property had gone up, adverts telling you that you had to have the latest gadget. Communities decimated by the closure of mines, factories were the first victims; but all the government of the day would say was "Get on your bike"! Of course, there weren't that many cars, so they split all integrated transport up.outside London and in order to be able to get to work; you needed a car, especially if you lived outside the metropolitan areas.
The last new Labour government started the minimum wage, but  didn't repeal any of the anti-union laws; began PFI in the NHS and continued the inequality.
It is time for the inequality to end, fair wages and equal pay for work if equal value would enable this country to prosper. I wonder if any of the current political parties have the will to make it happen?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Summer into Autumn

We haven't gone far this summer. Due to failed engines, we were stuck in Whaley Bridge/Furness Vale for eight weeks,  including Stella's two weeks summer (well, that was advisory, summer doesn't happen in August anymore) holiday, spent on a marina awaiting a new engine.
Anyway, that is all sorted now and we are back cruising. 
We had a lovely weekend last week at the Steam Fair at Bugsworth,  meeting old friends,  catching up with gossip.  Simba had an unplanned overnight stay at Cheshire Dogs Home after going missing and being handed in. My phone had no signal, as I was in Glasgow, so phoned warden when I got back and a very chastened Simba was returned the following morning, after us paying a £91.40 fine.
That's the only problem with being on one wage; we don't have contingency money just at present, with an engine to pay for. However,  things will get better and we are getting set for winter, mooring near woodland, to collect fallen logs for the stove.
Still loving this life; even being without electricity had its own charm. The cats have a new lease of life and the dogs really enjoy going to new places, returning to old haunts. Just have to keep Simba near the boat!
A few photos and shout out to our coalboat, Nb Alton. The lifeblood of the canal, lovely people and have a in everyones lives.
Will try and do this weekly on!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Reorganisation on NB Gracie

After a fortnight in Strines,; time to move onto Whaley Bridge. We haven't been here since before aster, apart from the brief interlude for the Whaley Water Weekend, when we moored in Bugsworth.

We all like it here, we called into Bugsworth Basin to water up, change Eklsan and remove rubbish.
A glorious afternoon, Shiva in and out of eh cut, Simba shading himself and the cats enjoying hte sun.Then round to Whaley Bridge Basin,.

Next month is the anniversary of us moving aboard NBGracie and we always felt the settee was too big, so today, I moved it to vacuum behind and then decided to try and take it apart. Three hours later, all complete - another  foot or more of floor space and the ability to have a conversation circle. 
Next job is to get a single pine bed (or similar) and have boxes underneath for storage as well as resealing the floor, which took a battering t in the winter with all the rain.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Peak Forest Canal

We continued our journey down to New Mills on Sunday, where we will moor for the next fortnight. Stella returned to work (horror) and straight back into the thick of it!
We do like it here - we are moored adjacent to the Torrs Country park, a great place for the dogs to run around and generally enjoy themselves - the River Goyt is at the bottom, so an added bonus - a quiet week - working and catching up on much needed sleep!
Today was the New Mills Festival and Parade - great to see all the local schools and organisations taking part, although I noted the general lack of floats (liability insurance means that it  becomes too expensive) but two Brass Bands and a Pipe Band - then off to the River for a much needed swim for the dogs!
Fiona is now back in New Zealand and also back at work, so have purloined her photos for the one of me, Chris and her outside Gracie on her last day here. An emotional day for all of us (I actually managed not to cry, although she admits to crying as she went through passport control!)
Yesterday, I washed Gracie's curtains as well as washing the windows, so she looks quite tidy - I have to do a video for Fiona as well. However, I think that might be a before and after video as we are going to take the sofa out and redo the floor - a wet and muddy winter means the wooden floor is in desperate need of resealing now and we wnat to do the whole floor. Also, clean the carpet and maybe see if we can get a few offcuts to replace as that also took a hammering. We are also exploring getting a fitted automatic washing machine - make life a lot easier. Although, we have decided that taking sheets/towels to the laundrette once a month is reasonably cost effective. 
We seem to follow festivals around - the time of year - it is the Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival as well this weekend, a date for the diary next year and we are also thinking about doing the BCN (Birmingham Canal Society) Challenge on the second Bank Holiday in May 2015 - planning to get there and back will be needed to fit around working, but we reckon we can do it.
Just realised it is coming up to a year ago that we accepted the offer on the house and then reinstated the offer on Nb Gracie - that year has flown by!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Whaley Bridge Water Weekend first weekend in June

What an eventful two weeks; Fiona left us on the last weekend she was here, but came out to see us on her last day in England. We thoroughly enjoyed the time we had with her, travellers together.
Then it was time for her to leave and for Stella to return to work after ten weeks off. Mixed emotions on this, enjoy the job, but at the same time wanting to be on the cut all the time and travelling. But after two days, moved up to Whaley Bridge; we do like it up here. Lovely town,  friendly locals and for that weekend, a boat village opposite the towpath - bonfire and eating together on the Friday night and then mixing all weekend with that spirit was lovely. Seven boats, eight adults, five dogs and four children, a nice impromptu gathering.
Onto Stella's second week back at work, cycling to New Mills to get the bus is a peaceful way to start and finish your day; it's the bit in the middle that's manic!
But Friday came and as it was a lovely day, washing and housework. With not being on the towpath, the dogs potter up and down near the boat and it wasn't until tea time that I.realised Simba was missing. Those that know him, know what a friendly dog he is, like a big teddy bear; but has been known to take himself (normally,  with Shiva tagging along) for a walk. Anyway, called along the towpath into Whaley Bridge and asked everyone we met, but no sign. I have them registered on the dog lost site, but couldn't remember my password,  so posted his Photos on every group I could think.of and a FB friend, who is a volunteer with dogs lost put it up on.the site and posted, as I had done, on the Whaley Water Festival FB page. I tweeted to every contact I could think of and we kept searching with Shiva. He was especially interested around the vets, but I couldn't get through as they were closed. Finally,  attempted to go to bed about 2am, Chris saw dawn breaking and I was up at 7.30 to continue searching. Then my phone exploded with messages and phonecalls. It appeared someone had posted on a local page that they had found a chocolate Labrador in Tesco car park and had handed him into the local vets and the photo matched. Of course, we had to wait until 9am to phone the vets and sure enough, he was there. So off to the vets to get the errant Labrador. Then discovered,  he had lost his tag which had Nb Gracie & Chris's mobile number on it and although chipped our information was out of date.
In all the excitement,  we forgot to put the batteries on leisure use only and had the inverter (which converts 12volt to 240volt) on all night and managed to drain the batteries. Fortunately,  Nb Alton, the coalboat, came to the rescue last evening and along with coal & gas delivery gave us a jump start. We then.left the engine running all evening deciding that as we are on.our own and overlooking Tesco car park that it wouldn't annoy anyone and we could get the batteries charged up. However,  a new starter battery is required as well as a battery starter pack.
We then went into the Basin to listen to a free concert by a Pink Floyd tribute band - Roger Floyd, an enjoyable evening spent chatting and listening to the band and of course Simba, the local celebrity,  loads of people said they had shared the post and glad we were reunited.
So today, do a bit more washing and then off to the Canal & River Trust stand in the terminus building at the Basin as they are consulting on its future use. Off to get water, empty Elsan and cruise down to New Mills later.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Bollington Festival - working boats

We have had a lovely couple of days cruising down the Peak Forest Canal and onto the Macclesfield Canal. We moored just outside the village of Bollington and Fiona experienced the Bollington Pudding! (try it at the Plaice Restaurant on the main road to Pot Shrigley, past Clarence Mill).
Bollington has a festival for a fortnight,  this weekend was the Working Boat display and Nb Alton, Maria, Badger, Swallow, Joel were all there. Our followers will know Nb Alton is our coalboat and it was nice to see the working tradition still going.
It was also our goodbye to Fiona, who has gone to stay near her Dad's family til she goes back to NZ on Tuesday. We didn't get a photo, so a job for Tuesday (hopefully, Stella will have shifted the summer cold she developed overnight!) as Stella has to go back to hospital for them to check her wrist over.
We have enjoyed having Fiona with us and hope it is not another nine years until we see her again.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Day off in the sun

Fiona and I took ourselves off to meet her other sister, Zoe, today. A lovely day catching up on family news and a very nice lunch at The King's Ransom in Sale. Then we went into Manchester and walked to the Northern Quarter, sat and watched the world go by!
Yesterday, we travelled down from Bugsworth Basin to another favourite location at New Mills and went into Stockport to the market and to visit Chris's nephew and the fairy Garden!
Tonight, we had a salad and a serious chocolate cake for dessert!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Bugsworth Basin

Today we moved down to Bugsworth Basin, one of our favourite places. Tidying & cleaning day along with resting. We like it here, the dogs love it and it restores energy.
It was closed over the winter so the first Basin wall could be rebuilt. They have done a lovely job, except they have left a mudbank,  so we moored in the first arm.
Fiona winded NBGracie in the top Basin, a lovely big winding hole and Gracie turned beautifully.