Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.
I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!
Saturday 30 June 2012
The morning started as always with a cup of tea. Marmite was on the rampage because of no food in her dish. 8.10am we were up and Paddy and I set off down the towpath, Paddy managed to find places to get down to the river, not that he will ever go in, because he does not do water. Back on the boat it was time for breakfast, the generator went on to charge the batteries as well. After breakfast I got on with tidying the back cabin, because the rag rugs needed shaking and the floor swept. The stove was blacked and the brass polished. I do like a tidy back cabin. I also made us a coffee, which I drank whilst chatting to Alan and Lin NB Farthings Hook, they were leaving to head for the lift, as they are going up in the morning, so after a nice chat we said "goodbye". I am quite sure we will see them again.
We decided to go off for a stroll as the sun was shining and it was feeling nice and warm.
We walked along the towpath back towards Saltersford Locks and took a right up a footpath, which lead us to Salterford Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey Canal.
From above the tunnel entrance.
From the canal we walked up another footpath and found ourselves in Barnton, which has a couple of useful shops.
Along the way we spotted this air shaft for Barnton Tunnel.
Following the road, it took us down beside Barnton Tunnel and back on to the Trent and Mersey towpath.
We could hear a boat coming through Barnton Tunnel, so sat and waited to see it poke its bow out of the portal. We knew there was a boat in the tunnel, because we could hear the bow thrusters in action.
Having seen the boat come out of the tunnel, we made our way back towards Saltersford Tunnel.
We could just seen the River Weaver from the canal towpath.
Back on the River Weaver towpath, I spotted someone at Saltersford Locks that we both knew, it was Roy and his dog Thomas off of Gerald No13, so we walked down to the locks to say "Hello".
Whilst chatting to Roy, some boats from the Acton Bridge Boating Club arrived to come up through the lock.
Who ever gets there first, buys the beer.
Having seen the boats leave the lock, Roy, Thomas, Keith and I walked back along the towpath to our boat, where we parted company with Roy, we will see him again in a couple of days.
Lunch was made and then the heavens opened.
Right now the sun is trying to come out again, but the sky does not look happy, so we will probably have more rain. TV is on and I am now going to put my feet up for the rest of the day ;0)
Friday 29 June 2012
Travelled 5.3 miles, passed through 2 locks in a time of 1 hour 52 minutes.
With no TV signal, Keith and I went out for a walk. To the left I walked down to the viaduct.
Giving me a great view of the boat below the locks.
There is Dutton Farm Park, if you want a decent walk and see some of the flora and fauna, Keith and I then walked up past Dutton Locks, where there is an interesting read on the locks information board.
Unfortunately the Dutton Locks website no longer exists.
We walked past the sunken boat 'MV Chica'.
MV Chica was a wooden sail powered cargo boat, built in 1894.
The 'MV Chica' has languished at Dutton Locks since one dark night in March 1993 when she allegedly, without it appears any outside assistance, sank at her mooring. An interesting piece has been written about her. READ also READ. Both pieces show that the 'MV Chica' had an exciting life. So it is sad to see her as she is today.
Our walk lead us along the towpath, we then turned left on to a footpath, which took us away from the river.
We followed the footpath across fields.
This calf decided that the horse needed a wash.
It took us to bridge 211 on the Trent and Mersey Canal. From the bridge you can see Dutton Locks and Acton Swing Bridge.
The sun was beginning to set and after enjoying a stunning view, we did an about turn and walked back down the foot path.
It was very atmospheric with the sun going down over the Dutton Weir.
Dutton Viaduct at sun down.
Just as we got back to the boat Richard pulled into the lock mooring on Pangur Ban another Roger Fuller boat.
My day ended with watching a DVD and then retiring to my bed, where the new pillows were waiting for me.
A new day and the sun was shining. Three boats went up through the locks early, these included Pangur Ban, we followed sharing the lock with Camelot II.
I waved farewell to 'MV Chica' as we passed her by.
By the time we got to Acton Swing Bridge we had caught up with Richard who had stopped for water.
We were one of five boats in Saltersford Lock, we breasted up with Richard and Camelot II came alongside us. I had a lovely chat to Keith the lock keeper whilst we waited for the lock to fill.
We left the Saltersford Locks and made our way to the Barnton Cut moorings, where Richard moored in front of us. He very kindly invited us in for a coffee and a chat. With us both having Roger Fuller boats, we had a lot to chat about. Richard has only had the boat since Christmas and so is still getting to know her. It is always lovely to meet new boaters and especially those who have Roger Fuller boats. After time spent on Richard's boat, it was time to say cheerio and to head back to Hadar for some lunch.
As I type this the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. I have some washing hung out to dry on the back counter. I am now going to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.
Thursday 28 June 2012
I feel so lucky to be pootling along the watery highways and byways of this amazing canal and river system of ours. To do what I do is a privilege, I do not take the waterways for granted because a lot of people, put in a lot of work to bring the canals to life. Many many moons ago, many have given their lives so that I may have my way of life and I thank them all. My hope is that I can continue to live this life for the rest of my days, but I often say to people you never know what's around the corner and so I make the most of everyday.
When we had our boat built, we had it built with old age in mind, we both considered the fact that we both want to see our days out on the boat and so had a washing machine and a fridge freezer fitted as well as the extra saloon room, we also have the option to move into the hold if we want to, but as we are both more than happy with the room we have now, I doubt that will ever happen, after all it does hold all our coal. There will come a day, when we can no longer physically move the boat, or I can no longer do the heavy lock gates, either because of old age or ill health we will then have to find a mooring somewhere. Both of us have said we will not go back into bricks and mortar, but one should never say never. We know a lot of mature people who have lived on their boats for a lot of years and will continue to do so for as long as they can.
Whilst writing this posting it got me thinking. Yeah I know that is not a good thing to be doing, but it did nevertheless.
As a woman on your boat, do you know how many gallons your water tank holds???
No asking the old man, be honest do you know?
Not only that do you know approximately how long a full water tank lasts on your boat, what with washing up, showers and doing the laundry, if you have a washing machine?
See I know that our water tank holds 150 gallons and we can make it last as long as 3 weeks if we have to, but we usually fill up every 2 weeks and sooner if we see a water tap.
It was just something that crossed my mind, as my fingers wandered over the keys of my keyboard. Mind you with so many of the letters missing on my keyboard, I am amazed I actually know which letters I am typing half the time.
Also another question for you as a woman on a boat. If your partner, husband etc falls ill whilst your cruising, would you be able to take over the tiller, in order to get you on to a mooring and seek help?
More and more I am hearing from women that they do not know how to steer their boat, they say it is their partner or husbands thing, so they let him do it. This is not the way to go ladies, we need to know how to steer the boat and how to moor it up, because the worst could happen. If your at all worried about being taught by the other half, then go on a helmsman's course. The instructor will show you everything you need to know and it may just save a life. Keith has taught me all I need to know, but then he is a patient man and is a great teacher. I do realise that not all men are the same, after all they say it is never a good thing to let your partner teach you to drive a car, as it is to stressful for the both of you, so maybe it is the same with a boat. You must decide on that one LOL. Just something to think about though.
Since I have lived aboard and continuously cruised, I have found that it pays to be an engineer, plumber, electrician and carpenter, if you have a small amount of knowledge on all of these things it will save you a small fortune. I even went on the course to learn how to change the packing in the stern gland, one day it may come in handy, well that is if I am still agile enough to get down there to do the job.
Being a woman on a boat means getting stuck in, especially if you live aboard, but even if you do not, it is worth learning about your boat, after all it took two of you to save for it and two of you to buy it, so why not make it two of you that steers it, and does all the maintenance. Know your boat from one end to the other I say.
Ok so back to my rambling about my life afloat. I never in a million years could have imagined that I would be living this life. I had never seen a canal or even been on a narrowboat until I met Keith, but for me it has always felt like coming home. I love getting my hands dirty. I don't mind getting wet, as long as I am not cold. I am happy to cruise in the Winter when the canals and the towpaths are frozen, that is baring in mind that we are not frozen in, in the first place. I put all of this down to the fact that I was born and bought up in farming, so was used to getting up early, getting wet, cold and had to do a lot of hard work. All that has meant I am as happy as a boater can possibly be and feels so lucky ;0)
We were settled on the 48 hour moorings, but Alan and Lin moved to the other side of the swing bridge to try and get a TV signal, I think Alan wanted to watch the football. Keith had found out the right direction to get a TV signal and so the aerial went up and hey presto we had the ITV channels and Film4 so that would do for us. The down side to these moorings is the noise from the road.
The Chester Road is a very busy road, so if you do not like road noise this is not the place to moor. It did however do us for the night and once I was asleep, I never heard a thing. The other thing which we could not ignore was the smell. Coming down the river a farmer had been muck spreading and the smell was extreme to say the least. Now as a girl I grew up in farming, but the smell was more than my nose could cope with. Because it was so warm, we had to have all the doors open, so therefore put up with the smell, in a hope it would dissipate during the evening. Even with the doors all shut later on, it was still getting into the boat. It was a smell to definitely clear the sinuses. The local rowing club was out in force with single and paired boats rowing up and down the river. They are quite a joy to watch as they put in all that effort. After dinner the TV went on and we watched Flim4 all evening. First up was "My Super ex-girlfriend", which was rather boring. At 9pm it was "How to lose friends and alienate people" with Simon Pegg, which was much more entertaining, but I failed to watch it to the end, because my bed was calling.
Woke at 7am to hear a man shouting instructions and waves slapping under the back counter. The rowers were out early getting some early training in. Now wide awake, I got up and made us a cup of tea and turned the fridge and freezer off because the red warning light was flashing, which meant the batteries were dying, we had not run the generator last night and so the batteries had got low, which is no big problem because at 8am the generator went back on and all was well with the battery bank once more. Paddy got his walk around the small piece of green area we have by the boat, I did not fancy walking him a long the busy road. Back on the boat, mog and dog got their breakfast and then I had mine (I know my place). After the generator had finished charging the batteries, we locked up the boat and set off into Frodsham.
At Frodsham Bridge we watched as Loach was being filled with grain. Just behind her it looked like the James Jackson Grundy, which had been at the River Festival.
The walk into Frodsham is about 15 to 20 minutes and is partly up hill, but it is a gentle slope so nothing to strenuous.
Frodsham is quite the little gem and much bigger than I expected. The town is of Saxon origin; its 11th-century church is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The town has a long history.
Trinity Methodist Church was built in 1873 and was financed, soley, by Thomas Hazelhurst on a site given by his brother Charles.
Public donations from the people of Frodsham saved the 120ft tall spire from demolition in the late 1970's. The church ruins were consolidated and apartments were developed by Charter homes in 2004.
Frodsham was established as a free borough around 1230. Long narrow burgage plots of one acre were along what is now the high street and people were encouraged to earn their living through trade. The Black Death affected the town badly, but the market got going again in 1661 and the currently market run every Thursday keeps those rights alive.
Along the main street there are lines of trees both sides, these were planted in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
We walked up and down the market stalls and stopped at Nick's stall where he was selling meats, pies, bacon, cheese etc. We bought.
Two packs of meat, a large pork pie, and four large spring rolls for £4.50, which I think is an absolute bargain. I could have spent more money, but the fridge is now full to bursting point. On another stall, we bought a couple of new pillows, because ours need replacing and I am ever hopeful this will help with Keith's breathing issue at the moment which is making him snore.
I just loved this, stamps one side.
Phone box the other.
The Bears Paws (what a great name), was built as an inn in 1632, it used to have the name The Lions Paws (still a great name). The inscribed headstone over the entrance bears the coat of arms of Earl Rivers of the Savage family , the crest being a bear's paw. The addition of a post office room saw the name changed to "Bear's Paw Hotel and Posting House" in the 18th century. The name was later changed again with the arrival of the railway to the "Bear's Paw and Railway Hotel". Listed Grade II The old sandstone building was built during the reign of Charles I, an original lintel hangs above the main entrance inscribed with the date 1632 A.D. Apparently the pub has retained original features such as an old oven, low ceilings and beams. There is also a Priest Hole hidden at the rear of a cupboard next to the chimney. That is one to visit another time.
We by now were parched so got a coffee in The Cottage Tea Ship, where for a cup of decaf coffee it was £1.50. After a sit down and our coffee, we wandered around a little more, before making our way back to the boat.
Back at Frodsham Bridge, the James Jackson Grundy was being loaded with grain. The Sutton swing bridge was being swung as we made our way back to the boat, but as we later discovered nothing came through, it was just BW and the maintenance guys checking it worked. When we got back to the boat Ian and Karen off of NB Tacet were taking a photo of the boat, they had got back to the bridge to see if anything was coming through only to be disappointed like us. We had a quick natter, before we said cheerio and were back on the boat. I made us some lunch, put our goodies in the fridge and then we got the boat ready for the off.
12.45pm we left our over night mooring and headed down river and who should be coming up river.
Alan and Lin on Farthings Hook, were on their way back up river, we had seen them in the town earlier.
We passed by the Rowing Club.
A Buzzard was sitting on the road sign.
This part of the Weaver is very industrial with the chemical works and in fact we were not actually on the river, but on what is called the Weston Canal.
We passed by Weston Marsh Lock which takes you down on to the Manchester Ship Canal.
Whites Swing Bridge was as far as we could go so we had to wind. I like the little church. It is Christ Church built around 1841 at Weston Point and was designed by Edmond Sharpe, a distinguished Victorian architect who designed three Watermen’s churches, sited along the River Weaver – Holy Trinity at Castle in Northwich, and Christ Church at Winsford. The church is no longer in use, which seems like a real shame. The church is the only remaining building from that time still standing. Sadly thieves have stolen the church furniture, including the font.
The winding hole is in front of a disused lock, which used to take you on to the Runcorn & Weston Canal, which is now of course abandoned.which leaks so much they have put stop planks down to stop the water leaking through. We winded at 1.30pm and began our way back from whence we came.
Mrs Tufted Duck and her babies.
At the Devils Garden there was no room for us to get in, so we decided to carry on to Duttons Locks, which was no big deal, we will stop there another time.
3.15 all moored up, we walked up to chat to the lock keeper.
The dark sky was about to throw lots of rain at us as we spoke to the lock keeper, so we all dived for cover.
See what I mean.
As I type the sun is back out and it is looking like a lovely evening. Dinner is in the oven and no TV signal, so not going to be watching the TV tonight.