Sunday, 20 August 2017

Storeys. 19th August


The rain came and went last night, but the wind stayed with us all night and has continued to blow for much of today. With a disturbed nights sleep and myself not feeling too well today, we haven’t ventured very far.

P1110409smFor much of the day I have continued with Mick’s Christmas present, all the individual elements are now ready to be sewn together, ends sewn in and then finished off. He still doesn’t know what it is! I’ve also had a go at knitting with double ended needles, but this needs more concentration than I could muster today. Then I had a go with a circular needle that Bridget had leant me, this was fiddly, not being able to tuck needles under my arms, but the circular bit was too long for what I wanted. So I’ll see if I can get hold of a shorter needle and see if that helps.

P1110415smThis afternoon we went for a little wander along the canal back the way we’d come into Lancaster. Almost straight away a building caught my eye. What is now White Cross Business Park was built in 1856 by the brothers William, Thomas, Edward and Joseph Storey. Sir Thomas Storey was knighted in 1898 and was the first Honorary Freeman of Lancaster, he was mayor four times. Storeys was founded in 1848, they produced oil cloth and table baize. By the end of the 19th Century they were one of the towns largest employers. In 1945 they started to produce PVC, becoming Europe’s leading manufacturer. They were bought out in 1977 and by 1982 the company had made huge losses resulting in the closure of White Cross Mill after 126 years on the 15 acre site which had boasted 2,200 employees in the 70’s. The site was bought by the County Council who spent fifteen years renovating it into industrial and office units.

P1110414smThomas Storey had interests in education and the social life of Lancaster. He helped extend the Mechanics Institute between 1887 and 1891 in commemoration of the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The Institute was rebuilt and then donated to the city as a technical and science school, newsroom, library, art school and gallery, it later became the Storey Institute and Museum. He wanted to give younger generations a better chance than their fathers had, so it was appropriate that his country estate later became the site of Lancaster University.

Thomas’s brother William had an interest in ship building. In 1862 he became a director of the Lune Ship Building Company, which had been formed by H.J Wilson of the White Star group.

Herbert, the oldest son of Thomas was born in 1853. He became the chairman of the Storey Company in 1913 and spent six years in the position. He continued where his father left off, donating more money to the Institute. But one of the major projects that benefited from Herbert’s generosity was the Westfield Memorial Village. Built as a memorial to the fallen from WW1 Herbert donated the estate of Westfield (sixteen acres) as a site for the development.  By 1955, 78 houses and six flats had been built, the benefactors were those who’d been maimed and disabled by the war. There was a  workshop so that those disabled could receive training and employment.

P1110422sm0 locks, 0 miles, 1 bad nights sleep, 4 pieces to become one, 4 needles bad, 1 feline helper, 1 slow saunter, 1 factory, 2 more good eggs, 1 happy couple missing, 1 ladybird boat.


Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Friendly And The Not So Friendly. 18th August


The forecast today started off being correct, we had showers. Not just light showers but down right dumping of loads of water showers. This meant we could check if our new covers were waterproof. At the stern we had a small puddle where the amount of water had been too much for the drain on the roof and at the front there were a couple of spots, nothing at all to worry about. A couple more showers came over, but then the day brightened up and stayed that way.

We were a little slower at getting going than Bridget and Storm and made our way to the Cathedral whilst they set of for the Castle.


In 1924 the Pope founded the new diocese of Lancaster, which covered the whole of Cumbria and most of Lancashire north of the Ribble. A Benedictine Monk from Ealing Abbey, Thomas Wulstan Pearson,  was chosen to become the first Bishop of Lancaster and St Peter’s became the Cathedral. A huge amount of work took place to mark the Golden Jubilee of the church in 1909, the addition of the triptych designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, new benches and doors, the walls of the church were recoloured. Looking high up the decorations are beautiful and on the walls of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel are wonderful murals. I tried to find out a bit more about these paintings but have had no luck.

P1110294smP1110318smNeither of us is religious, but we enjoy visiting churches and looking at their architecture. However today we both found a different atmosphere in the Cathedral. Mick attended St Benedicts School, Ealing and was taught by some of the monks from the Abbey. On entering the cathedral today his body language changed to uneasy. There was no welcoming feeling to the place, the stained glass didn’t warm with sunlight, the cream walls stayed cold. We decided that we far prefer Anglican churches.

From here we set off to walk towards the Castle.

P1110321smP1110333smP1110329smP1110335smAs we meandered our way through the streets we walked through what used to be the market, but is now a shopping arcade. In the paving slabs there is a trail of coins which at one point is taken over by weights. The faces of the coins have long since been worn away. Lancaster has many grand buildings. Leaving the centre we came across the grand City Museum and as it was free we decided to have a look.

What a comprehensive museum. Far too much to read, but very informative. Yesterday we’d wondered how Lancaster came to be and what it was famous for. The Romans built a castle here on the hill over looking the River Lune and through the centuries it’s position on the river meant that it was an ideal place for merchants. By the 17th Century it was a thriving port with merchants trading with the West Indies and the American colonies. During the 18th Century it enjoyed it’s Golden Age when all the fine buildings around the city were built. Furniture building with imported mahogany, clock making, ship building, stained glass, iron and steel engineering and coated fabrics such as Linoleum kept the town busy.

Wealthy citizens made gifts back to the town to help the poor and needy. The main benefactor was James Williamson Jnr who made his money from the production of linoleum, he became Lord Ashton in 1895. Williamson Park is named after him which is the most obvious of his gifts, we may have to visit there for the views from the Ashton Memorial. On the 14th May 1937, Lancaster received a new royal charter granting it ‘the style and title’ of a city.

P1110342smThe museum also houses the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum. We had a brief look inside here. However an exhibition remembering the anniversary of the White Lund explosion kept our attention. During WW1 there was a Projectile Factory and the National Filling Factory (White Lund) close to Lancaster. The Filling Factory did just that, it filled shells with TNT that were then transported to the front lines. Thousands of people worked in the factory which took over a large area between Lancaster and Morecombe Bay. On arrival the workers would change into a uniform that didn’t have buttons and were searched for matches, nothing possible of makeing a spark was allowed. On the 1st October 1917 a fire was discovered in the factory, explosions followed. Luckily for most they were on a meal break so not near the explosions, however twelve people died that night. An interesting exhibition, but the noise from the flame effects on the displays was deafening, I felt for the people manning the desk having to put up with it all day.

P1110402smP1110406smWe ended up spending too much time at the museum to manage the castle today. Instead we stopped off at Filberts Bakery that we’d spotted last night. There was plenty of bread on the shelves. Rye, Oatmeal and Sunflower, Sour Dough to name a few and one we’ve never seen before Roast Potato Bread (Italian). Well even though I don’t eat bread anymore we had to try a loaf. It is very tasty, although we were a bit disappointed that so far we’ve not come across a whole roast potato.

P1110387smFurther along King Street is Penny’s Hospital Almshouses. Through a gate is a courtyard with two large flower beds, flanked by six homes either side. At the far end is a small chapel. Built in 1720 by the executors of the will of William Penny who had been Mayor of Lancaster three times. During the day you are welcome to walk in and have a look. The front doors painted blue are reflected by the flower beds. King Street was widened in the early 20th Century so the two houses nearest the road were demolished, the screen wall was rebuilt, the chapel shortened and two new houses built keeping the twelve units. In the 1970’s the houses were refurbished with bathrooms and since have been used as they were originally.

P1110391smP1110393smThe chapel is simple, twelve chairs are placed round for the residents to sit on. There is an alter and a stained glass window. Simple yet far more welcoming than the cathedral this morning. Services are still held here every week for the residents, their guests and anyone who cares to join them.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 very wet morning, 1 dry bow, 1 dry stern, 1 cold cathedral, 1 hermetically sealed organ,  1 extensive museum, 1 jacket potato, 1 ciabatta, 2 mugs of tea, 1 carry mat, 1 potato loaf, 12 almshouses, 1 warm chapel, 12 chairs, 1 bored cat! 2 much to see in one day.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Covered And Catching up.17th August

Ratcliffe Bridge to Penny Street Bridge, Lancaster

No lying in bed with a cuppa this morning as Gary from All Seasons Covers was due with us early. He turned up a little after 8am with our covers over his shoulder. Then came the pram cover frame. Ray had been called away to a job in Liverpool so Gary was on his own to start with.

P1110157smP1110166smHe started fitting the pram cover first, frame then the top panel. More fixing points were needed which were riveted into the cabin roof and rear doors. Once this was looking good he then started to add the sides. A fixing to the top panel needed moving slightly and then press studs were added to hold it to the cabin sides. The bottom edge of the cover just about lines up with the red grab rail and therefore our C&RT number is still visible. With all the port side fixed he moved onto the cratch cover.

P1110176smYesterday we’d moored bang opposite the water point here, so instead of Gary having to balance on the gunnel to add all the fixings to the starboard side we pushed Oleanna across so that he could stand on terra ferma for the drilling. Mick had already moved into the pram cover by this point. As soon as the cratch was fully fitted we topped up the water tank, with a load of washing on. Just as Gary was about to finish Ray arrived on the towpath. He was the only one who would have managed to get a photo of the whole of Oleanna with her new covers, sadly I didn’t. Once the last fixings were in position we pushed back to the towpath.

P1110173smP1110180smWe have now lived without covers since April. In wet weather we’ve missed the extra protection that you get and somewhere to drip dry your clothes. But we’ve also now got used to not having covers. Oleanna’s cratch board is lower than Lillian’s so a stoop is all you can manage in there. Currently the flaps that roll up hang quite low when rolled up , this along with the bow lockers being quite high makes the opening quite small. We may see if the straps can be shortened and the press stud moved upwards which would give us another four to six inches. But we’ll live with them until we are back near Leigh and see what we think.

P1110189smClosing them up will take a bit of getting used to. Dropping the pram hood we decided to remove the sides. These can then sit on the rear hatch before we folded down the frame. At the moment our internet aerial gets in the way of the frame folding flat onto the hatch. When sitting on the back it restricts your view towards the bow somewhat. So I had a go at removing the aerial and this improved it, but we may have to move the bracket that it is fixed on as the frame also catches this. However this will leave a hole at the back of the electrics cupboard and will need self tapping screws, so we may get someone to do this for us.

Having said all this, with all the covers up she looks very smart and we are very pleased, so is Oleanna.

P1110191smP1110212smP1110218smAfter an early lunch we set off to catch Blackbird up at Galgate. As soon as we were under the first bridge our surroundings seemed to have a park like feel to them, slightly more grand than had been before. Were we suddenly surrounded by large grand houses? The canal meandered its way through lush grass and into a wooded cutting before we arrived at the junction with the Glasson Branch. Yesterday we’d decided to leave the branch and the smokehouse at the end for our way back south as a bit of a treat. Just at the next bend we could see Bridget, Storm and Max sat on the back of Blackbird, really hope Max hadn’t been sat there since yesterday waiting for us!

P1110220smThey had their pram cover down and sprang into action as we leap frogged them, the two boats now reunited and heading on towards Lancaster. We passed Galgate Marina where a quick photo of the diesel pump suggested that it is 98p a litre, I think we may be walking to the garage in Garstang where it is reported to be around 60p.

P1110235smP1110245smThe next stretch was open countryside again and along the towpath every now and again there would be a picnic bench and a gap in growth, maybe here would be a good place to stop for a barbecue on our way back, should we ever have an evening suitable. Then we were back into another cutting, over hung by large mature trees, the bridges taller and less hump backed.

P1110264smThe approach into Lancaster with it’s view of the castle in the distance and some rather lovely double fronted terraced houses was a bit of a surprise.  There is plenty of mooring as we approached the town centre, but only one gap showed itself and this was about six foot too short for us, Blackbird also tried and they were too long too. Everyone was obviously in Lancaster including two of the boats we’d done the crossing with. We carried on under a few more bridges and managed to pull into(ish) the side just before a stretch of mooring rings. I say before as along the stretch there was plenty of growth, buddleia and even small trees , so instead we hammered pins in and left ourselves with a bit of a stretch to get on and off.

P1110256smP1110265smA walk around later on and we found much to keep us busy tomorrow when it is meant to be raining for much of the day. A couple of pints at The Sun before before we returned to carefully negotiated our way back on board around our new covers.

DSCF7114sm0 locks, 8.3 miles, 2 new covers, 2 big pushes, £20 pocket money, 1 straight on, 2 boats reunited, 98p! 2 small for us and them, 1 bakers, 1 butchers, 1 crafty centre, 8 pints all round, 1 green box full of poison, 5 minutes of shore leave curtailed.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Lagging Behind. 16th August

Wyre Aqueduct to Dimples to Ratcliffe Bridge

Mick popped to the sorting office to pick up some fuses he’d ordered. Yesterday we’d seen one for sale for £12 at the chandlers, but our order contained four which including postage had come to just under £12. Bridget and Storm were ready for the off, we had yet to wind and we all needed the services just a short distance on so they went ahead as both of us wouldn’t be able to fill with water at the same time.

Pushing off we retraced our steps to Dimples winding hole. The Lancaster Canal certainly has made the most of it’s winding holes. This one had boats moored in it on the off side, yet we could spin Oleanna round without even worrying about getting too close. We then headed back towards the services.

P1110118smBlackbird had finished and on the water point was a cruiser, getting a wash. There was space for us to pull in too, so we disposed of rubbish and put our hose by the water point showing our intent. The cruiser was very dirty and was getting a very good scrub down by a chap and his son. We were able to use our hose when they weren’t rinsing the boat down and as both hoses could be fixed to the tap the flow could easily be changed from one side to the other. This did however mean that we were at the water point for a good hour and a quarter. We popped the washing machine on followed by the dishwasher to make the most of being there.

P1110127smThe chap with the cruiser had appeared on Barging Round Britain when they did an episode on the Lancaster Canal. He’d cruised John Sergeant around for four days and yet he only appeared for a few minutes on the programme, the rest had hit the cutting room floor. He sells boats up here and the one being cleaned he’d just got on a part exchange. A local lady came up to use the elsan on her mobility scouter, she asked him a couple of questions about the boat and said it would be ideal for her daughter. Within ten minutes the daughter was there looking round it, not sure if a deal was done but it looked like he wouldn’t have the boat for long. Eventually our tank made it’s boom noise and we were ready for the off again.

P1110134smWe pootled along thinking that we’d catch up with Blackbird at Galgate later today, hopefully before the rain started. We stopped for a bite to eat and heard from Gary at All Seasons Covers. Tomorrow he has a boat to see that we’d just passed and then another about half a mile further on at Ratcliffe Bridge, so there would be ideal for us to be in the morning. There was space for us near the bridge so we pulled up for the day. Gary said he’d come to us first thing so that we could be back on our way to catch Blackbird up.

P1110141smMick took the advantage of being moored early to see if it was just the fuse that had blown on the bowthruster. It worked! but only for a short time. He’s tried to get at what might be up the thruster tube. There are grills on the tube so he used his long pincer to try to reach inside, but this didn’t really help. Another fuse and it can be used for very short blasts, but really it still isn’t working. This may sadly have to wait until we can get her out of the water.

P1110147smI’ve decided to have a go at making my own spreads for lunch, hummus is getting a bit boring. Last night whilst cooking our pasta I steamed some broccoli and peas, which today I have zuzzed in the zuzzer along with some garlic and lemon juice. This will last me a few days, which I apologise to those I’ll be seeing as I think next time I make it I will halve the amount of garlic I put in it! It is tasty though, we’ll see what the carrot one is like in a few days.

P1110153smAnother boat pulled up behind and it turns out that Gary has been asked to quote for a pram cover on it. So we need to point it out to him in the morning.

In response to your comment this morning Duncan. Yesterday may have been the first time you have been mentioned on this blog, this now being the second. However you had six mentions on Lillian’s blog over the years, including a photograph, here are links just for you.

Jaye and Duncan leaving Scarborough, Duncan avoiding us, A quick mention, And another, Christmas lights, Last Goodbye.

DSCF7114sm0 locks, 5.69 miles, 1 wind, 1 rendez vous set, 1 blackberry pooh, 1 boat wash, 2 boaters with clean blood, 1 small clove next time, 1 change of plan, 3 boats lined up for the morning, 2 fuses now blown, 1 roll wallpaper ordered, 1 dodgy internet connection, 1 cat happy to stop early, 3 birds not so happy, 1 boat lagging behind.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Vampire. 14th 15th August

Wyke Aqueduct. Scarborough

The last two days we’ve had a trip to Scarborough. Dentist for Mick and another blood test for me. The nurse at the surgery smiles with glee when I roll up my sleeves, she says she likes my veins. This worries me.

We hired a car this time as it was only a fiver more than a van for two days and would give us some more comfort for the journey right across the north. So yesterday we headed east leaving Tilly with plenty of biscuits they nearly forgot! and an emergency key with Bridget. I did warn her that if Tilly stuck her paw out of the bathroom window and shouted to just ignore her, she tries this on with passers by for sympathy, but it doesn’t wash with us.


Which route to take? A66 and then down the coast, A59 or M6 then M62 across. In the end we opted for the A59 which gave us the opportunity to spot places we knew along the Leeds Liverpool Canal, passing signs for Bank Newton, Gargrave and crossing over the double bridge at East Marton instead of going under it. We left the drizzle behind us and soon had sunshine on our way to the coast. First stop was Sainsburys for some lunch  where we bumped into our friend Dawn and were invited round for a cuppa after we’d got various things out of the way.

IMAG0022smAfter the dentist we headed to our house to see how the builder has been getting on with digging up the kitchen floor. As we pulled up it was obvious that our tenants were going to be on hand as well. The work in the kitchen has taken some time and the builder, as builders do, hasn’t always turned up when he has said he would. Concrete has taken time to dry, a totally rusted through down pipe caused him to have to spend time on that. So our tenants have been waiting to get new carpets laid now for weeks. Here’s hoping that soon everything will settle down, water will stop finding it’s way into our house and we can stop spending money on it. Luckily when we had the two kitchens knocked together we got quite a few extra slate floor tiles which I didn’t manage to sell on ebay. So the builder has been able to replace the ones he’s had to take up, however there are a few chips on the ones next to where he’s working. It was good to be able to put faces to names of our tenants and hopefully we made the right noises to them. They are looking after the house and garden wonderfully, just a shame that the blue geraniums were thought to be weeds and have been cleared from a flower bed, they are however showing signs of fighting back through some gravel.

P1110105smNext port of call was to catch up with Dawn and Lee. We have stayed with them a few times since we’ve been living afloat. A catch up on gossip around Scarborough and hearing news of all our friends over a couple of cuppas, a better way to spend the afternoon than looking at concrete and digging out tins of paint. Then we moved on to visit Jaye and Duncan.

P1110101smJust about a year ago we were in Scarborough, for another blood test, and we happened to coincide with Jaye and Duncan’s final possessions going into a van. They were leaving Scarborough to live in Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. They have had a great year but for various reasons have just moved back. Two weeks ago they got the keys to their new house, which is actually old, an Edwardian semi. Now in a different part of town where large houses cling to the sides of a valley leading down to the sea, when I first moved to the town I coveted these houses. Some are storeys and storeys high with seven to ten bedrooms, however Jaye and Duncans isn’t quite so large.

IMAG0026_1smWe had a full guided tour of their lovely house. Many original features and with a bit of TLC and it will be a stunner. A bottle of fizz was opened to celebrate being their first over night guests. They hope to come and stay with us on Oleanna soon and be our first over night guests. There was a lot to catch up on, so we headed to an Italian restaurant, so that we could all concentrate on our news. Two more bottles of wine and a stagger back down the hill to their house. What a lovely evening, catching up with them. I have to say that as Duncan is an avid reader!

P1110096smP1110100smWaking this morning in a large bedroom where your toes don’t touch the wall opposite was strange. Not having to clamber over Mick and Tilly to get to the bathroom was also odd. The seagulls had managed to only be there in the background for atmospherics through the night which  was a relief. Both Jaye and Duncan were working people today, so we said our goodbyes and headed across town for my appointment with the vampire. A call into the letting agents to see if they could chivvy the builder along and then we could have breakfast.

IMAG0027 (1)smIMAG0030 (1)smDespite Mick living in this part of town for over twenty five years he’d never stepped foot inside Pic a Dish, coffee lounge and restaurant. We’d opened the door on  a time warp.Two people sat at separate tables with mugs of tea and some toast reading papers. This could have been any time since the sixties. There was only one breakfast to order in such a place, a two egg breakfast including tea and toast all for £5.25. It was exactly as we expected, good coffee lounge cafe food. No posh sausages with herbs, soda bread or field mushrooms, just straight forward breakfast. An hour before this would have been very frowned upon, but the vampire already had my blood, so no-one would know other than us.

With the car pointed westwards we started heading back to Garstang. A pause was in order for me to pick up some more of my morning tea from the Designer Outlet in York. We then chose to return by the M62 which was quite a bit quicker than the route we’d taken yesterday.

IMAG0036smMick had ordered some filters for the next service from Chandlery World which is based at the marina here, so we called in to pick them up. Easier said than done. Mick had had an email suggesting that they had been sent to us, to London, to my brothers, at our correspondence address. The ladies looked for them, but quickly remembered that a parcel for Mick hadn’t gone in the post yesterday, it had gone to the post office today. Phone calls were made and then one lady jumped in her car. We looked at just about everything in the shop before she returned. Our parcel had made it to the post office but hadn’t made it into the system. She was allowed to collect it despite not being the person it was addressed to. It even had on the label that we’d be collecting it.

Once the car was returned to Preston we visited all three supermarkets. Booths out of curiosity, then Aldi followed by Sainsburys to fill in the gaps. Tomorrow we will wind, fill with water and carry on northwards with NB Blackbird. We need to find a mooring close to a road so that our covers can be delivered to us on Thursday.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 day car hire, A59 pretty, M62 quick, 1 Tigger, 2 cuppas with Dawn and Lee, 4 chips at least, 2 determined geraniums, 2 tenants, 1 bottle fizz, 1 year in Grassington, 1 lovely house, 2 bottles, 15ft not 7ft room, 1 fabby view, 1 big thank you, 1 little scratch for blood, 1 week to finish please, 2 classic breakfasts, 2 douvet covers, 4 packs of tea, 1 wave to Daddy Fatso, 3 filters nearly on the way to London, 3 supermarkets, 1 happy Tilly.