Boothstown Basin to Castlefield
Just as we were about to push off this morning a boat appeared around the bend behind us, that dilemma should we give Oleanna a big shove and get moving or cling onto the ropes and wait for them to pass. They were quite a distance behind so I urged us to get a move on. It turned out to be the right decision as they were much slower than us. We’d got the hose out and were starting to fill the water tank long before they passed us at Worsley. It was a hire boat having some training before they were sent off on their own.
As we approached Parrin Lane Bridge I messaged ahead to an old work friend who lives right by the M602 fly over. Today she and her husband were suffering with lurgies so we wouldn’t get chance to meet up. Last year when we passed they had just bought their house and it was moving day, on our way to Liverpool a couple of months ago Cat was on a hen weekend. Today we got a wave from Kevin, but Cat had had to pop out, so we even missed a wave from her this time. We now know where we can stop, so next time hopefully we’ll get to see each other.
Another mile on and spotting some rings we pulled in. This was close to a fishing tackle shop, no Mick hasn’t taken up a new hobby after seeing yesterdays catch, but he wanted a pair of waders. Wearing these he hopes to be able to unblock the bow thruster and save us the cost of lifting Oleanna out of the water. Photos will be taken.
The skies were starting to get darker, so we decided to have a late lunch and press on to Castlefield. Barton Swing Aqueduct was open for passage so we followed another boat across and made our way gradually to Waters Meeting where the canal branches off towards the centre of Manchester and the bottom of the Rochdale Nine. It was a damp three mile cruise. After all the containers at the Freight Terminal there is Old Trafford Football ground. Behind the dark glazing of the new Hotel Football people waved to us from the dry. Past Pomona Tram Station, the flyover that we’d seen being painted is now covered in graffiti. Then the final approach to the basin with it’s criss crossing rail bridges and red brick buildings.
It looked like the arm would be full as there were so many boats moored by the bottom of the locks. But as we rounded the bend we could see gaps. The first one is now a permanent mooring, but on the car park side there was plenty of space. So we winded and found ourselves suitable rings to moor up without leaving git gaps.
Being in the centre of the city we decided that we’d go to the theatre. After checking to see what was on where, we opted to go to HOME and see People, Places & Things.
HOME opened a couple of years ago and we’d never been. A warm inviting building tucked away behind the railway only a few minutes walk from Castlefield. Their ushers could do with a bit more training, knowing where seats are (as most of their audience does) might help. Our seats were on the end of a row in the circle, however this was a problem with a lady who followed us into the theatre, well it would be to her husband! It turned out that when they booked their tickets the end three seats were not being sold, he always wants to sit at the end of a row. But as the theatre filled up it looks like the end seats were released for sale, why not if people want to see the show. As far as I’m aware no Box Office will be aware of why you chose particular seats in the first place, so they don’t automatically move you.
Mick offered to swap seats, no problem to us, we’d end up with better sight lines. This took a bit of convincing, but eventually she got the hang of it. Then her husband came in and we waited to be accused of sitting in his seat. Instead of saying Thank you, sitting down and enjoying the play, he complained to the usher that he’d been told the end seats were not going to be sold. One of those moments were you just want to say, “Well they have been, someone has kindly swapped so you are sitting where you originally wanted to. Sit down, shut up and I hope you enjoy the play, Sir!” Instead the usher kept pointing along the row not taking any note of what was being said.
But what of the play? Written by Duncan Macmillan, Designed by Bunny Christie, a Headlong and National Theatre production we were in for a treat. It turned out that we were seeing it on it’s first preview before a tour (cheap tickets). Two years ago the play got five star reviews, played at the National Theatre and in the West End. The reviews were well deserved and Lisa Dwyer Hogg must be exhausted after giving such a performance. She plays the part of Emma, an actress, who to get her through modern life has taken to drink and drugs, she has ended up in rehab. First she has to admit that she has a problem, but to her she is not the problem, everything else is! Emma ends up practising/rehearsing for real life. As an actor you always know where the play will take you, yet Emma has no idea what consequences telling the truth will bring.
A great production and reassuring that even a NT production can still have that actor who pulls scenery into position until it will go no further! I could feel the designers wince as a bathroom sink wobbled away. He’ll manage to put the truck on it’s mark without hitting it, one day.
0 locks, 8.54 miles, 1 full water tank, 1 waving Kevin, 0 Cat, 1 aqueduct crossed, size 10 waders, 1 puncture repair kit, £110 saved, 1 left, 1 wind, 3 raining miles, £10 tickets a bargain, 13 strong cast, 2 nearly free chilled medication tubs, 1 cracking show, 5 doubles, 1 wobbly bathroom sink, 1 outside not worth sniffing!