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.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Painty Pip Day. 13th August

Wyre Aqueduct to Wyre Aqueduct

The weather has been on my side today. Sunny, but not too hot to be painting.

Before breakfast the fertan was washed off the port side of Oleanna with the hope that by the time I’d finished my bowl of cereal it would be dry. It however needed a bit of encouragement. Once the curved ends of the Epifane were masked I could apply a coat of paint. It goes on so easily, just a shame I needed to be on my hands and knees to do it.

P1110081smP1110078smWith there being a winding hole on the other side of the aqueduct it seemed silly not to make the most of a dry day. So whilst Bridget and I stood guard at our mooring Mick pushed off and winded Oleanna, bringing her back to the same space for me to start on the starboard side.

P1110083smI have been allowed out for much of the day. Below the canal there is a large area of grass, all neat and fairly useless to find friends in, they tend to see me coming! But amongst the short short grass there are areas of sand. These are very good for digging in, deeper and far bigger than my box on the boat. Every now and then some people walk along with sticks and balls. The balls are hit high into the air before they reached the grass. I like chasing balls, but I decided to watch from the trees instead. They kept hitting the balls until they fell into a hole. Well that needed investigating. I can fit far more than my arm into the hole, in fact most of my head fits in there. But it is quite boring, no friends live in it and it’s not very deep. So it was back to watch the world go by on the canal and keep an eye on that Max.

Max sometimes stands on the back of his boat and looks at me. I stand on my boat and look back.

They went out for a walk earlier, so that gave me chance to check out Max’s boat. I had to check all of it, the cat walk is black like mine, but only wide enough for cats, so why has he got one?

P1110087smWhen we came up the link the other day there was a lot of overhanging trees. We suspected that Oleanna hadn’t got off without being marked and once she was turned we could see what damage had happened. A scratch from front to back. After I’d sanded the gunnel I gave the whole side a wash down, hoping that the mark would disappear, but sadly it didn’t. Is it worth getting the T cut out to try polishing it out? We will leave it until next month so any damage on our return can be dealt with at the same time.

So with a coat of paint on both gunnels most of the day was gone. My back and knees now ache and I suspect I won’t be moving much this evening. If the weather stays good I might get chance to get some Woodskin on the cratch before the covers arrive, but the forecast for the week ahead has a lot of rain in it.

0 locks, 0.47 miles, 1 wind, 2 gunnels looking good, 11 complementary comments before it was painted, M6 builder, 2 stare offs, 1 friend, 2 sand pits, 1 hole, 6 balls, 1 woofer with a catwalk, 2 aching knees, 1 aching back.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Pootling On. 12th August

Bilsborrow to Wyre Aqueduct, Garstang

A drizzly start to the morning but the day gradually brightened up. Bridget came past walking Max as we were having breakfast and asked if we’d like a paper getting. A very efficient papergirl she was too delivering our Saturday paper to our hatch.

P1110013smWe emptied tanks and got the rubbish ready and pushed over to the service block to deposit all our waste. A Heron sat at the end of the 24hour moorings and gradually nudged up as we pulled in, giving us room but never taking his eyes off the water.

P1110038smBlackbird took the lead this morning as we finished off our chores. Drizzle came and went as we pootled along. We were surprised at the number of boats moving, but then we are on a large pound with no locks at a weekend.

P1110023smP1110028smA large chicken farm on the off side had cockerels competing with each other as to who’s crow was the loudest and most elaborate. Each pen had it’s own shed, it looked somewhat like a chicken housing development. Each pen had a different breed in it, from your Cochins to your pompom headed Polish chickens they were all there.

P1110043smWith the company of the West Coast Main line and the M6 for much of our journey we decided to carry on to Garstang. The moorings by the Wyre Aqueduct had plenty of space so we pulled in, both boats nudging the side. So far it seems that at visitor moorings you’ll be able to get into the side, but elsewhere a plank will almost certainly be needed.

P1110057smWyre Aqueduct designed by John Rennie and built 1797, has a single span which curves very pleasingly over the peaty river below. We walked into town along the river for an explore and to sus out where might be good for a pint or two this evening.  A small market town with plenty to look at, lots of shops, charity shops and pubs. I called into a sewing and craft shop to see if they had any double ended knitting needles. Once I’ve finished my current project I want to have a go knitting with four needles and see if my missing little finger inhibits this. Sadly the lady didn’t have the size I was after, I do have the correct size but wanted the next size in case my gauge wasn’t right. I did however get a ball of wool, so will see what happens. If it works then I’ll have another Christmas present ready.

P1110065smP1110067smBack at Oleanna I set about prepping the gunnels for a touch up coat of black. If the covers get fitted this week it would be good to have pristine gunnels before they add all the fixings, this will save me having to paint round them all which is just plain boring. So Painty Pip got ready and sanded down the Epifanes on both sides of the bow and then carried on down the port side. After the dust was washed off I applied some Fertan to the bits of rust. This was left to go off and weather permitting I’ll get a coat of paint on tomorrow.

P1110074smP1110078smThis evening we wandered into town for a beer or two, or three. First we tried The Wheatsheaf which was busy but had seats. After a while a lady started singing to backing tracks which meant that the general noise level of conversation had to increase. So we decided to move on and see if we could find a quieter pub where we wouldn’t have to shout at each other and pretend that we’d heard what was being said back. Next we tried The Eagle and Child. The smell of disinfectant as we walked in was strong, the choice of beer was poor, especially as all they had was Guinness or Lagers so we turned round and tried elsewhere.

The Royal Oak Hotel came up trumps with a choice of beers and no entertainment. Maybe we should have started the evening here. We’ll know next time.

DSCF7114sm0 locks, 5.01 miles, 1 empty yellow water tank, 1 empty bucket, 27 breeds, 5 pompom heads, 1 aqueduct, 50gms wool, 0 3.75mm needles, 1 floral phone box, 2 holes of golf, 1 gunnel prepped and ready to go, 3rd pub lucky.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Thatched Fakery. 11th August

Swillbrook Bridge to Bilsborrow

Last night before going to bed we stood out on the back of Oleanna to see if we could spot any of the Perseid Meteor Shower. The sky was clear but we got a touch too chilly to carry on and didn’t spot  a thing. Tonight I doubt we’ll be able to see the sky for cloud, as drizzle has been on and off for most of the day.

Yesterday I’d bought some big field mushrooms in the market so we had these in a white sauce on toast for breakfast. They were yummy and made a nice change to the usual cereal.

Blackbird moved forward to fill with water and then nudged back so that we could top up too. As our tank filled I gave the port side windows a good wash. They had all been covered in a layer of spray when we crossed the Ribble and it was very hard to see through the front windows. Mick popped to Pendle Marine to see if they had a fuse for our bow thruster, but the chap said he’d not seen one of those for years. Maybe he just tends to see cruisers, we’ll try somewhere further on.

A plan was hatched for the day, to cruise up to Bilsborrow where we could explore the thatched village under umbrellas if it continued to rain. Storm walked ahead with Max whilst we brought the two boats.

P1100953smP1100973smMost of the bridges that we’ve seen so far have a hint of Macclesfield Canal bridges to them. They don’t quite curve in at the bottom like the Macc ones do, or spread as far. Instead the towpath side wall has been chamfered at an angle, maybe to reduce wear on the stone from ropes. The tops of the bridges up to today have been angled with a point at the top, now the design has changed to a more standard gentle curve.

P1100975smWe pootled along the four miles, very few places looked like you’d be able to pull in due to the amount of vegetation. A couple of gaps presented themselves close to Roebuck Bridge but we carried on to be greeted by Storm and Max stood by Owd Nells where there was mooring with rings. Children were feeding the mass of ducks which we managed to avoid squashing as we came into the side. It was very busy here, so we decided to nudge up a little further so as not to be directly outside the pub. Bridget had pulled in before the bridge which was a much quieter option as there is a kids funfair just down from us.

P1100979smP1100983smAfter lunch we decided to have a look round. Walking up to the next bridge and crossing the canal we found a shop for Saturday newspapers and then carried on up the hill to have a look at the church of St Hilda. Built 1926-7, with money left by Miss Sarah Jane Salisbury who died as a result of an accident at Brock Railway Station (long since closed north of Bilsborrow).


The church sits squatly in immaculate grounds, the flower beds are so full there is no air to breath between plants. The interior is simple stone and oak with only two stained glass windows which are in memory of two former vicars.


The village has three pubs, one reopening next weekend. None of them drew us inside. Back at Owd Nells we had a look around. Basically there is a restaurant/pub with various out buildings which has all been made to look Olde Worlde. Fake shops back onto the pub with window displays of plastic fruit and veg, but these are just doorways into the kitchens. Most buildings are thatched, one however has every type of roofing known to man. We’d been expecting a small village of thatched cottages a bit like Stoke Bruern, but here it is all just fake similar to Spital Farm on the way into Scarborough. Bridget suggested that maybe we’d found the location for my 50.5 birthday do. It has moorings, accommodation, space for a big barbecue and if we asked them nicely maybe they’d let people camp on the bowling green! Strangley enough the hunt continues for what might become a 51.5 birthday do.

P1110008smThe lure however of a chilled medication parlour pulled us inside. Here we stood in line whilst it took forever to serve the people in front. Eventually we got to the head of the queue, the price was reasonable and our single scoups would have been classed as doubles elsewhere.

It was nice of them to move the outside to a cat fun fair, just wish everyone would leave me to it. All those inflatables needing to be clawed.

DSCF7114sm0 locks, 4.38 miles, 1 swing bridge left open, 2 full water tanks, 1 rocket, 1 life boat, 1 grey day, 32 ducks about to get pressed, 1 fake village, 1 scarily immaculate church, 4 chilled medication cones, 4 x £2.20 = , 1 dog 1 cat eye contact made, 3 deflating castles.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Preston Revisited. 10th August

Salwick Moss Bridge to Catforth Visitor Mooring

P1100874smWaking as the sun rises has it’s advantages especially when the side of your boat looks out across the Lancastrian Serengeti Plain. Steam rising off the canal and the field opposite covered in dew, what a beautiful sight.

A slow morning putting things back in their proper places. The shower was emptied of tyre fenders and the hose, plants went back outside and the anchor was stowed as we won’t be needing it for a month.

P1100882smP1100887smWe moved along a few bridges under the M55 where there was a perfect place to paint gunnels. I’d like to get a lick of paint on Oleannas before her covers are fitted, but today wasn’t going to be the day. Most boats up here seem to be cruisers so far, lines of tuperware filling up the moorings.

P1100889smAt Catforth Visitor Moorings we managed to get reasonably into the edge, well the bow did and there was space just before the water point for Blackbird. From the village a bus goes into Preston every two hours so after lunch we made use of the service. Storm wanted to check out Preston Bus Station and I wanted to get my phone into an EE shop to be mended.

P1100895smFor two thirds of the journey we had the bus to ourselves. Taking about twenty minutes we crossed over the canal twice and the route went by the basin, although we couldn’t see it. Hopping off the bus we headed in different directions, Bridget and Storm towards the bus station and us to Fishergate where the EE shop was. On the way we passed the outdoor market which pulled us in. Most of the stalls were tat but there was one where you could buy a whole box containing 176 matchbox vehicles for £100. The same chap had a box of buses too.


There was a line of K6 phone boxes just up the way. Most had TO LET signs in the windows. Two had been used at some point as they had a lot of electrical boxes fixed to the back walls. The final one actually had a telephone still in it. Of course Mick had to check that it had a ring tone, but at 60p he refrained from making a call.

P1100943smAt EE I explained that my phone was being stupid, the lady didn’t even bother trying to charge it, instead she took the Sim card out and filled out a request for it to be mended. My phone may be gone for 14 days, but I have been given a temporary one (Mend and Lend) to keep me going. Before we took it into the Trafford Centre Mick had done a back up to Google, so we should be able to set it up with everything my phone had. Except we have run out of data for the month as we updated our old PC and then Windows 10 decided to do a very big update on our laptop.

P1100920smP1100922smWe then had a wander around Preston, taking in the sights. In my days working for Hull Truck we opened two shows at the Charter Theatre which is in the same complex as the Guild Hall. The last time I came the staff were about to be laid off as the venue was closing. Outside everything on the ground and first floors has had a revamp, the concrete having been clad with wood. But above this everything is still the same. The entrance used to be through a dated shopping centre with charity shops, pound shops and a cheap butchers. Now a smart restaurant fronts the arcade and a few smart shops guide you to the escalators taking you up to the theatres. Posters suggested that the Charter Theatre was open again, that’s if it ever closed. I had a nosy around and we returned back to street level from the balcony.

P1100911smP1100913smAcross the way is a Victorian arcade with it’s smart front doors, tiled floor and glazed atrium. I had never had time to appreciate it when I was working here so it was good to be able to look around. Mick considered buying himself a Tilly hat to replace his ancient baseball cap, but they were far too expensive.

P1100916smP1100926smP1100928smP1100936sm.A fruit and veg stall in the indoor market provided us with what we wanted for tea tonight before we walked to the bus station to meet back up with Bridget and Storm.

DSCF7114sm0 locks, 1.55 miles, 2 jauntily moored boats, 1 boat back to normal, 2 buses, 1 wander around memory lane, 176 diddy cars, 6 K6 boxes, 60p to make a call, 1 blue and white phone, 1 theatre tarted up, £40 for a baseball hat! 250gramms cashews, 4 flat mushrooms, 2 courgettes, 1 revamped bus station, 1 cat walking to cat walk.