Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Winsford Top Flash.

Having enjoyed a genuine bank holiday yesterday, soaked to the skin, we moored above Winsford Top Flash,

you can't get a much better view than that from your kitchen windows.
We sat today out as the rain came and went and the wind steadily blew.

Black clouds over the railway, it's only just across the field but with the modern trains it's not at all intrusive.

It's definitely a most pleasant mooring, although tonight we have company on the moorings, last night we had it to ourselves.

Moving back tomorrow so we can shop and then head off up the T & M, have to watch the timing, don't want to be at Stoke during half-term or at the weekend.

Watch this space.............

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Middlewich for the weekend.

Well we've had a great weekend, smashing night at Mick and Joans fortieth anniversary bash last night and a good old brunch today. Met family we hadn't seen for thirty years and some we hadn't met at all. Thanks to all for a good time.

The Kings Lock has had a make over, still smells of fresh paint, now got wide screen t.v. but no dart board. Let's hope they've read the market correctly.

Traffic is building up at the junction, rather glad that we will be clear by the time the season really starts.

Plaque on the junction bridge, the Trent and Mersey built the Wardle Canal, basically so that they could control the tolls at the junction. Business is business, even in 1829.

This is one of the original stones marking completion of the canal.
Off out to the country tomorrow, can't handle too much of the urban high life.

Watch this space............

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Moored in the Cheshire Flashes, weather not wonderful.

Gawd blimey, what a day.

04.30, don't ask what I was doing up at that ungodly hour, it's an age thing. The air was perfectly still and it looked to have the makings of a perfect day. By 06.00, when I woke fully to the reality of another day, the rain was horizontal and the cut was being whipped into waves worthy of Cape Horn.

Damn, just missed the Flying Dutchman passing. Anyone from the south-west will know what "One foot and clean", means.

Moored here in the Cheshire Flashes you could almost think yourself on the Norfolk Broads, wide waters and reed beds.

Even the wind and rain couldn't spoil the beauty of it, open farmland and just the noise of the wind hissing through the reeds and the small birds calling.
Tomorrow it's back to Middlewich for "A bit of a do".

Watch this space............

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Anderton and back (Almost).

This morning the wind had dropped so we set off for Anderton. Pump out, water and we were out of cards for the B.W. pump out machines. The shop at the boat lift is one of the few places where they actually stock them.

The remains of a working boat at Billinge Green flash, there may be others still below the surface of the flash but I don't think this one will last much longer, bits of the cabin were flapping in the wind as we passed.

Brunner Monde was pumping out quantities of heavily salted vapour which fell on us like rain, my specs were well splashed with the salt, well I hope that's all it was.

Northwich Victoria F.C. if you look carefully you can see all their silverware behind the window. The ground is right next to the cut. I think they generously allow some other club to use the ground for their reserves.

There doesn't seem to be a lot happening at the old Lion Salt Works although it is forecast to re-open in 2013.

We spotted a family of Shelducks, this was the only one who stayed still long enough to get his image immortalised on this blog. I can't recall having seen them, with young, on the canals before. But Jill

got this photo of a heron, she still isn't satisfied with it.

Anderton Boat Lift, we didn't stop long, just bought the cards, winded and headed back. We have a family anniversary party to attend this weekend at Middlewich so we intend sitting out in the wilds until Friday. If that wind drops a bit I might even get a bit of fishing in. Still haven't got round to cleaning the chimney, can't do it in the wind, soot goes everywhere, so much to do, so little time.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Rainbow on a blowy day.

Sometimes things just come together, camera and subject just happen to be there at the right moment.

After sitting out two days of wind and rain

the most perfect rainbow I can remember

appeared in the midst of a heavy shower. It is actually a double bow but as I still haven't got my DSLR back I had to use my compact and it doesn't quite have the scope to catch it all, but it does ok.
Apart from that there really is nothing else to add, read two books and lazed, good way to spend the time.

The wind is now dropping,

Watch this space.............

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Will the world end today? Hadn't better, it's Jill's birthday.

Wardle lock, the end of the Shroppie

and the start of the Wardle Canal, all one hundred feet of it, claimed to be the shortest canal in the country. The locks around Middlewich need a visit from the lock fairy, Stanhorne lock has only on working top paddle, neither of Wardle locks top paddles will raise fully and Big Lock has only on top paddle in operation, it's going to be fun when the season really starts.

The old wharf buildings at Middlewich are still standing sadly empty and for sale, if something isn't done with them soon they will have gone beyond redemption and the land will probably go for canalside des. res.'s

Despite the best efforts of the locks to delay us we moved on yesterday, this is Armadillo moored at bridge 176, Trent and Mersey Canal, another favourite spot.

What is it with us and ducks? She sat on the front and glared at us until we fed her, I've never been mugged by a duck before. Having consumed a large slice of wholemeal she gave us a look that said "I'll be back," hopped into the water and paddled off with never a word of thanks, an ill mannered duck to say the least.

In keeping with our fitness regime we set off for our daily constitutional and there was this cinnabar moth sunning itself on the towpath. I just can't resist taking pictures of anything as striking as this.

The towpath is just a strip through the burgeoning growth of butterbur and hogweed

whose delicate flower heads surpass the finest lace.

Cast in Stone, the place not the material, in1819, one of the original cast iron mile markers, looks as though it could use a bit of t.l.c. if it is to last another two hundred years.

I shouldn't be let loose with a camera, imagine how much it would all cost if I was using thirty five mill. film, thank goodness for digital technology.
Finally, is this a unique sighting? Have B.W. decided to go for a more colourful cut?

Yellow netting, just as we were getting used to everything being draped in orange.

Harold Camping, radio evangelist of Nowhereville, U.S.A. has forecast the end of the world for today, starting in New Zealand, what have the Kiwis' been up to that they get first dibs? But do you know what? Down the bookies I can't get decent odds on it not happening, do you think they have some insider information, perhaps it has been postponed and only the bookies know.
On a more cheerful note, it's Jill's birthday today and she has been cooking chocolate muffins as a treat. I offered to cook dinner but she won't let me, says I make too much mess. Well I offered.
Tomorrow's weather is looking a tad breezy so it's bridge 176 for another day or two.

Watch this space............

Thursday, 19 May 2011

An encounter with Saturn.

This morning we were getting ready to set off when a motor and butty hove into view, nothing special it seemed until they drew level,

the butty was Saturn, the last surviving Shroppie fly boat, built about 1906 she was used to carry perishable goods at speed, notice how fine her hull is compared to a normal narrow boat.

These boats worked non-stop, day and night, to their destination, crewed by the pick of the boatmen and with priority over other traffic. She was probably the ultimate development of the horse drawn narrow boat.

Jill even got to peer into her back cabin. As these were not family boats their back cabins were not as elaborately decorated as those, they lacked the feminine touches.

Actually there is little left of the original boat, perhaps just the iron knees and the question arises is she a restoration or a replica? I look at it this way, if she had remained in service instead of laying derelict parts would have been replaced as they wore out so by now all that would be left of the original would be the iron knees ergo she is still the original boat, just that years worth of repairs were all done at once. Faultless logic.
Once they had passed smartly through the lock we followed on and took a gentle trip down to Middlewich. It is lovely countryside but as a photo' of one field looks like any other I didn't bother.

Just took one of this delightfully Dutch Gabled cottage at Church Minshull, it must be one of the most photographed canal side cottages anywhere, but it is very pretty.
Now at Middlewich, shopping tomorrow, good old Tescos, and then? Who knows.

Watch this space..........

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Another day at Cholmondeston.

Once again I spoke too soon, when I wrote yesterday's post we had the moorings to ourselves, about 1600 the world went mad and in the space of an hour we had been joined by another ten, yes ten, boats. Several of them seemed to be travelling together and all were heading in the same direction as us so we decided that another day here would not go amiss, we do hate travelling in convoy. The decision proved to be a wise one, they started queuing before 0900 and at 1030, when we went for a walk this was the scene above the lock,

the overnight moorers having been joined by arrivals from the main line, oh how they were enjoying themselves. So we strode out along the towpath, reassured by the met. office's forecast of any rain being gone by 1000, and soon came upon these chaps,

busily decimating the towpath plant life and cleverly directing most of the cuttings

straight into the water. We passed them just beyond the footbridge, one complaining that they had to go further than they had been told whilst the other peered gloomily into the fuel tank of the mower. Nice to see people happy in their work.

Just a couple of photo's

to remind fellow sufferers from allergic rhinitis, that's posh for hay-fever,

that it's time to get out that nasal spray, anti-histamines, shades and a large box of tissues because these evil plants are now chucking pollen in all directions.
I am a great admirer of witty boat names and although I have seen several with variations on this name

I thought the art work on this one was outstanding. My favorite though was one seen a while back called "Slow Djinn" with an Aladdin's lamp with a series of Z's issuing from it.
We walked as far as Aqueduct Marina and as we turned for the homeward leg the skies darkened and the rain, that the met. office had forecast to be long gone, arrived.

It did seem a long walk back as the rain trickled down our necks, the freshly cut grass clung to our boots and the mud splashed up our legs, but someone seemed content with it all

as he sat atop the hedge proclaiming his territory.
We intend moving tomorrow.

Watch this space.............

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

We reach the Middlewich Arm.

Defying wind and rain we set off yesterday forenoon, heading south for the Middlewich Arm,

a last farewell to Beeston Castle and to the Shady Oak. We had a meal with friends there on Sunday and it was, frankly, well below below the standard we have come to expect, pity.
Shortly after setting off we negotiated Beeston iron lock

unusual in being built of large cast iron plates. Originally there was a double staircase lock here but, owing to the fact it had been built on running sand, in 1787 the lower chamber collapsed. Eventually the canal was rerouted, the staircase done away with and the two current locks built. The lower one built of iron to prevent further collapse. It seems to have worked as it is still there although B.W.'s signage suggests there may be some minor problems.

It seems that the sides are bulging slightly but I must admit to having, in the past, been through with another boat and encountered no problems but I am now older and more nervous and wouldn't try it again. You are quite right, I have no sense of adventure.
The canal from the outskirts of Chester to Bunbury is one of the most attractive stretches on the system,

the approach to Tilstone lock is typical, the scenery alternating between wooded hills and open farmland. The locks on this stretch are much better than those from Christleton down to the city, coming up those is a nightmare, each one seems to shoot the water in from different directions, intent on hurling you around the chamber, we have yet to work out in which order the paddles should be opened.
We stopped at Calveley to top up with water and get rid of the rubbish, as usual at this time of year

the supports of the canopy are being put to practical use by the visiting swallows who zoom in and out regardless of human presence.

Now tied up just above Cholmondeston lock on the Middlewich arm and we have the place to ourselves, lovely. We even have our own duck who has taken up residence next to the side hatch, he seems to be going into eclipse plumage although it's a bit early, Jill thinks that it is possible the missus and kids have worn him out which is why he looks so shabby.
Probably moving on tomorrow.

Watch this space..........