Tuesday, 28 November 2006

The protest.

All across the system narrow boaters have been blockading the canals in protest at the swingeing cut in funding. I know this is supposed to be making a point but who is it inconveniencing. Other boaters so what is the point?

Now if we put a load of boats on flatbed trailers and then craned them on to the M25 the government might just be induced to listen. Stopping a few perceived 'rich' narrow boaters from having their leisurely fun is hardly going to cause an upset, but I will if I am in the locality, participate. Solidarity rules!


The Crimbo lights of Market Drayton are up ……..and down……. well some are. Monday on my way to the library the High Street filled with emergency services vehicles. It is the norm in towns like this to string the Crimbo lights across the street on steel wires. Some stayed up and others came down. One of the strings attached to a disused shop fell down bringing with it a large part of the upper story of the shop which crashed down onto the pavement. Luckily no one was hurt, had it been a Wednesday, market day, the out come would have been disastrous. Of course me being me hadn't taken my camera with me so a pic of the devastation is no going to be seen here but I do have a pic of the hole in the shop front.

Click for larger image

I must be somewhat lucky. There are two routes to the library from where I was, I took the safe one. Somebody up there likes me! Despite falling masonry I quite like MD it has a nice friendly feeling to it.

Tuesday 28 Nov

Two comments about the TV.
1. The new John West advert is wicked!
2. I'm a Celebrity! Who is Matt? What has he contributed? Why is he still in the camp?

Bored now.

Monday, 27 November 2006

And November is drawing to a close

Friday 24 Nov

Market Drayton is a very nice place. Lots of pubs, more than really seems necessary, but who am I to complain. I enjoyed a coupe of glasses of white in the Crown to wash down my allday breakfast. Novel but nice.

I collected my laptop from the boat and got myself connected via WIFI at the library. A chat with one of the after school club kids ensued and he wanted to know all about the site and how to get his own. His sister was a right po face. They were told to stop bothering 'the man'. I didn't mind. In fact I was finished with my page and returned to show the lad how to get his own. Today kids are forever being told to be wary of strangers. It is nice to be able to do something that doesn't make them scared.

Saturday 25 Nov

A trip down the Shroppie bought me to the Wharf Tavern. What a nice hostelry. Shame the bar staff are all po faced. No one smiled, well not in my direction. I took the opportunity to order Christmas dinner which will be devoured next Saturday the day before my birthday. The towpath here is very muddy.

Sunday 26 Nov

A trip up the Shroppie to the source of my biggest problem. At bridge 45 the canal is closed. Not just a barrier across but a few tons of rocks in the bridge hole. I aint going nowhere. I will return to MD for a well earned rest. I will have to do that which I do not wish to do, stay in one place.

Well here I am still in Market Drayton, I will be for some time. I could go back'ards but what is the point in that? It would mean going down about 40 locks to divert away from the Shroppie and down the T&M. No, I will bide my time and take this opportunity to rest my leg, which is still giving me problems. At least in MD I will be near a good shopping centre and a boatyard.

Friday, 24 November 2006

Action Heron

More in November

Tuesday 14 Nov

Eberspacher arrived about 12:30 pm. I gave him the rundown on the problem. He looked at what I had and came up with a solution which I cannot mention at the moment, but in time I will reveal all.

At 2 0'clock I was on my way towards Middlewich. Arriving at the bottom lock (75) a guy asked me where I was heading. Of course I said, "Anywhere". I mean I was pointed at the lock it was obviously where I was heading. He should have said, "You wont get through there". Lock 75 is scheduled for maintenance from the 4th to the 15th of December. Unfortunately the bottom gate leaks so bad that the water comes out faster than it goes in and doesn't reach a high enough level to open the top gate.

How I will proceed from here I do not know. Tomorrow I will contact BW and see what they have to say. If they don't have a solution to the non-filling lock I will have to back-track a few days, but not till the weekend. Still at least I get to do three tunnels again, cool.

Wednesday 15 Nov.

A chat with BW says "It takes time to fill".

So I set of, fortunately for me some one was coming down and they left the gate for me. It took a while, but did fill. This and the next few locks are all narrow locks. Easy to work because the gates are small and easy to push, but them locks is deep. Coming out of Middlewich I learned a valuable lesson. "You never know you are going to need something until you need it". If you have guessed that I have dropped my windlass in the lock then you will know that I needed a magnet, and coincidently a side fender. Fortunately there was a chandler back at the last bridge.

Bloody hell it's windy tonight. I have moored at Minshull Lock. For two reasons, one it's cold dark and two there are proper bollards. I need to tie up solid tonight.

Thursday 16 Nov

This morning I passed Onion Bargee and a few other boats whose name are familiar. I am now on the Shroppie, full steam ahead for Chester to meet up with Daughter Dannie and her children who I haven’t seen for nearly two years.

There is a very picturesque double staircase lock at Bunbury. However it is spoiled by the operation of Anglo-Welsh boats. They have boats moored tight between two bridges, and they are three deep leaving only a small channel to pass. I realise that 'in season' this would not necessarily be the case (most of the boats will be out most of the time), but I always thought that mooring right on a bridge hole was forbidden let alone doubling up.

Friday 17 Nov
I dropped down the five locks into Chester and moored up right in the centre of town. What a nice town Chester is. The Crimbo lights are up and it feels seasonal. The only thing to spoil it was some drunken son of Chester decided it was acceptable to jump upon the boat and tap dance on the roof at 10 o'clock at night. When I opened the side and said, in a very controlled voice, "Hey steady on there are kids in here". The resident ass hole of Chester wanted to fight me albeit from some distance away. I moved the boat across to the other side away from the Frog & Nightingale, the apparent source of the drunk.

The girls hadn't changed, but, Harri Morgan had grown up a lot. Can you believe it I didn't take any pictures? Sleeping 2 adults and three children in my boat is yet another problem. I popped out to an outdoor shop which was luckily having closing down sale and bought a blow up doll bed and a sleeping bag. So that was me sorted the rest all nestled down in my bed.

Saturday 18 Nov

The fire went out in the early hours so the boat was quite cold in the morning. I don't think the girls enjoyed the boat or the cruise, but Harri thought it was great. I think he will be a regular visitor when he gets older.

I am having a trouble being green on the boat, where do you put all the recyclable stuff. I barely have enough places to put what little I have without finding space for plastics, cans and glass. I don't know. On the same subject 'green'. I heard the most absurd 'green tax' ever proposed. In order to encourage people to buy energy efficient lamps the government are proposing an increase in the tax on ordinary lamps to make them less attractive. Now I may not be the sharpest tool in the box, but would it not make sense to reduce the tax on EE lamps or am I being a bit naive. Surely to make people use the alternative one should make it more attractive, cheaper not make the lesser of the two dearer. Am I being naïve? Yes probably.

Sunday 19 Nov

So Tom Cruise has married again. What's the big deal? It must have a slow news week. How many more times will we have to have these 'celebrity' weddings? It just personifies the throw away lives we all seem to want. It doesn't seem to say much for Scientology. What makes me mad is when the news reader says, "And now for the story the whole world is waiting for……", I hate to say it, but the majority of the 'whole world' is more worried about where their next meal is coming from and not what mega rich so called star is doing with money that would feed thousands for months.
Monday 20 Nov

I overnighted just before the bridge that marks the edge of Anglo Welsh world. You may remember that I commented on them earlier. What is really annoying is that the BW water supply is blocked by AW boats. OK I was able to fill up a couple of miles down the way but that is not the point. A couple of live aboard CCer's on the nb Lindesfarne came to join the fill-up queue and also complained that they have never been able to fill up on that stretch. There is a placard at AW's saying, "NO MOORING FRIDAY SATURDAY OR MONDAY. So if you are on the Shroppie and think you want to fill up with water at the bottom of Bunbury two rise think again! I imagine that during the holiday season that the water supply is vacant, the boats all being out on the cut. There is a water pipeline at the top of the rise but I have it on good authority that BW say it is not suitable for drinking.

Anyway here I am at Nantwich. The basin is full of boats, I moored at the diesel point and went to the Chandlers to buy smokeless fuel at £7 a 20 kg bag. I had paid only £5.25 for 25 kgs two weeks ago. Why the difference? As it happened the bags turned out to be 25 kg. Shhhhh don't tell them.

Yesterday I dropped my GEO Projects map in the canal as I came out of a lock and it promptly sank. Not a problem I will get a new one in Nantwich. Would you believe it Nantwich Chandlers do not have a map of the Shroppie! Doh!

Tomorrow the Eberspacher man will come and sort out the heating and if I am lucky Keith will come from Ledgard Bridge to service the engine and do a little job of fitting fair leads to the side rails level with the centre ring fitting. The proptector should also be fitted. I had asked for this months ago while still in Saudi.???????? If all goes to plan I will have curtains as well, that will be a novelty, not least for dog walkers who will no longer have to glimpse my arse through the windows!

Tuesday 21 Nov

The Eber man, Peter, turned up. My Hydronic 10 unit is now a Hydronic 5. There were a few problems with the installation. Relatively minor points, but those points have a major effect on the operation of the heating unit. I will in due course give a run down of the performance and detail the solution to my problem. For now it will have to suffice that the Hyd 10 is too big a unit for a 58 ft boat. Peter was with me from 11 am till about 4 pm and when he left I had heat!

I moved the boat down to the Aqueduct to spend the night, giving me less distance to walk to the library.

Wednesday 22 Nov

I set out about 10 on my way to Audlem there will be a stoppage there but a call to BW tells me it is postponed until 30 Nov so I will be able to pass through.

I made the first three locks at Audlem and stopped at the Shroppie Fly. Cute barmaid in there, Aussie I think. I was a little disappointed that there were children in the bar at 10pm. One, about 6-7 years old was playing Pool. Good though he was, he should have been in bed.

There are twelve more locks to the top. If I am lucky I might make the top in one day, but that being said I will have only travelled a mile and a bit.

Its pissing down now and I am off to bed Goodnight!

Thursday 23 Nov

By 'eck that were 'ard werk. 14 locks today up from the Shroppie Fly. I think I did manage to half empty a pound. OOPS!

Watching Question Time tonight. Esther Rantzen looks hot, am I getting old? She must be 3 times as old as my normal eye candy. I think I need a rest!

Woo Whoo

Market Drayton Rocks

Not only is it a nice place but the library has WIFI how cool is that?

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Sorry running out of time in the Libary......

....but will be back soon

More travels in November

I left Sale late due to a boat race event taking place on the canal; some people can be so inconsiderate. Don't they know I am on a mission

Anyway I eventually got off around 3 ish and continued on my merry way. Wanting to get a fair distance away I kept going until 6 pm. The tunnel light is getting well used.After an hour or so of driving rain I was ready to stop. I found a mooring place right outside the Barn Owl Inn. When I say right outside I mean just that, I stepped off the back of the boat and into the bar. Pleasant pub, but considering it was Saturday night surprisingly empty and there was live music on too!. I ate well at the pub and had a few beers before returning to the boat by which time it had stopped raining.

Sunday 12 Nov

The morning was bright and brisk. I set off for Lymm, passing nb Midnight on the way . Midnight belongs to Peter Corbett better known as Mathew the hand of SOOTY. Though I didn't see Peter (like he would be waiting for Maffi to appear) if he is half the man his father was he will be a really nice guy. Lymm is a nice place. Peter has a cottage near the bridge.

I had planned to stop at Stockton Heath, but continued on towards the tunnel at Preston Brook, past the huge Laboratories at Daresbury. What they do there is anyones guess. Near Preston Brook I turned up the Norton Arm towards Runcorn but changed my mind after a mile and reversed out. Back on the main line I proceeded in the dark. I was soon confronted by a pair of what I thought were security lights. I decided to err on the side of caution and moved over only to be passed minutes later by a nb with only inches to spare. Looking for a pub to moor up by I battled on. I will just go through this bridge I thought. This 'bridge' turned out to be the tunnel. This is my third tunnel and I love 'em. What a trip. I moored on the other side in the pitch dark, neat trick. In my life I have probably seen only three Kingfishers and then only fleeting glances, but since being on the boat sightings are becoming common place. Today I had seen three including one so close I could have reached out and touched it. Of course as Sod's law would have it I was too late with the camera.

Monday 13 Nov

Up with the larks I found ii had moored about 50 yards away from the first lock on the Trent and Mersey, or was that the last, whatever! The rise was about three inches.

The wind picked up and I managed to hit the bank whilst talking to Keith from LB and again at the eastern end of the Barnton tunnel I bounced off the bridge, but fair do's the canal does do a sharp left hand bend there.

I passed through some great looking places including Salterford and Barnton tunnels (two more ticked off my list, the Winnington Swing Bridge on the River Dee and the Anderton Boat Lift. I over nighted in Northwich bang outside the Old Broken Cross pub. Can I pick 'em or can I pick 'em.

I had my meal and a couple of pints and returned to the boat to attend some 'paperwork'. Blue flashing lights appeared and drew my attention. Me being a nosey kind of bloke I went to the window. An ambulance drew up by the boat. The driver asked if I was alright. to which I responded in the affirmative. I think someone made a prank call on the strength of my being moored outside a pub. Such a waste of resources.

The Eberspacher engineer will be here tomorrow.

Sunday, 12 November 2006


Evrywhere on the cut there is Graffiti. Some seems to point at the perpetrator.

Saturday, 11 November 2006


Well this connection has been the first real WIFI I have encountered since leaving LB. I have taken the opportunity to catch up on all the bloggs.

Some people have been so busy. Makes me feel like I am shirking. I don't know when I will get another connection as good as this. Watch this space!

My travels so far

Sunday 22 Oct
Well the curtains will not arrive until Wednesday so I will leave Mirfield today. I will give Gary my daughters address in Denbigh and will pick them up from her at sometime in the not too distant future.

Candy came for the half term holiday. Not really a boaty person but she is trying. We set off from Mirfield after lunch on Sunday and made our way to Broad Cut Lock on the Calder & Hebble where we over nighted. The trip started well but soon deteriorated into intermittent rain and drizzle, by the time we stopped at about 6ish we were wet through and ready to give up. I'll give Candy her due she did all the locks.

The stove works well and soon warmed us up and dried our wet clothes. I think we had sausages bacon and eggs for tea which was getting away from my healthier LS, but welcome nonetheless.

There is enough hot water for two showers and all the washing up. The night was spent watching Ant & Dec (not my choice).

Monday 23 Oct

We awoke very early on Monday, but were unable to set off until after 7 AM when the sun rose. The landscape was vastly different from the desolation we had seen yesterday. Arriving at the Aire & Calder we were locked through the quite substantial lock by Jarvis the LK. Candy took the opportunity to learn from the old master how it was done. We got stuck at the next lock, Kings Road Lock, on the Aire and Calder coz I didn't have a BW key, doh! I am sure now that Jarvis said something to me about it but being hard of hearing missed all that. A quick phone call to BW at Castleford and a key was winging its way to us. On that I cannot fault them. With the key Candy had an easier time of the locks. I was very surprised by Castleford Junction. A very nice area. Stopped in at the BW office they were all very helpful. I suppose they wanted the payment for the key. Castleford is a nice town, in a northern sort of way. I saw a Great Crested Grebe this morning.

Nice view of the junction

Tuesday 24 Oct

I finally paid my licence for Milly M and am now legal. We set off along the Aire & Calder towards Leeds. Some of them locks are a bit on the big side. Six Milly Ms would fit with room to spare. We stopped off at the marina near Lemonroyd Lock to visit with Dawn, but alas she was out visiting her mother. Needing to reach Wigan before the locks closed for maintenance we set off again after about an hours wait. Sorry Dawn had to press on. From Lemonroyd Lock we made it to Leeds centre and moored over night in the Clarence Dock next to the Royal Armouries museum. I still have no idea where we went that night but we did have a meal in the No 1 Oriental restaurant. All you can eat for 8 quid, and we did eat a lot. Not because it was there, but we were hungry and you know what it is like when you eat Chinese food, ten minutes later you need more. One thing I must remember, I am not in Saudi any more, huge tips are not necessary, 10% max.

Wednesday 25 Oct

We went shopping in the city centre. Can you believe a big city centre shopping mall doesn't have a toilet? Well I can and do coz they don't. We wandered around for an hour or two and bought nothing. I did learn something I never knew before. In a phone conversation with my eldest daughter I mentioned that I was in Starbucks, she had never heard of Starbucks. I find myself asking where I went wrong.

We left Leeds about 1-ish heading towards Shipley. Them two rise locks are a bit of tricky fun aren't they, and the three rise very tricky. Good job BW staff was on hand to help with the triples. It rained most of the afternoon, we were sodden when were advised by a BW Lengthsman to moor overnight in the Aire Valley Marina. It is probable that enjoyment in the boating world is indirectly proportional to the quantity of water falling out of the sky. On bright days we were fine, on rainy days were argued a lot, culminating on Thursday with a blow-up and a walkout. However Candy being Candy returned later with ciggies and we went out to dinner.

Thursday 26 Oct

Shipley to Bingley was a short hop through a few bridges and up the three rise prior to the 'big five'. Can you believe the coffe shop at the top was closed! If you have done the five rise I cannot tell you anything you don’t already know, if you haven't I cannot do it justice. I would suggest if you want to do it, you do it soon. It leaks like a sieve, but nonetheless it's a blast. It was in the fiverise that I met Charlie (Charlotte). Cute as a button, six years old. Her parents let her ride up the first lock in the rise on the rear deck.

Friday 27 Oct

A mile or two before Silsden I seemed to lose steerage and power. There appeared to be lots of action at the stern but little forward motion. In fact my side fenders were making more wash than the bow. All sorts of things went through my mind, but not the right one. We stayed at Kington over night and met the owners of Pysorf, nice people.

We left about 10 on Saturday. By the time we neared Skipton I had to stop at a boatyard and investigate the weed hatch. To my delight and dismay I discovered ropes, a tyre and heavy duty plastic around my prop. Delight because I now knew why I wasn't going anywhere fast. Dismay because I had to spend an hour or more with my arm in the canal, and it was bloody cold. Oh the joys of boating!

Once again under power, the difference was amazing and we proceeded apace. In Skipton we stopped at the BW station to fill up with water, but never did. The water tap was less than a foot above the top rim of the Elsan bowl. I decided to look elsewhere for my water. What are BW thinking of? This is most unhygienic. It would take little more than a hour to move the tap. £10 of bits would do it, yet it has been this way for years. BW are you reading this? It needs fixing!

Sunday 29 Oct

Skipton is the first canal town we have come across. I spent many hours just standing on the rear deck watching, it is very busy. Allybsc from the 'Canal World Forum' stopped by in the morning. She was looking for another mooring for her boat Taurus. In the afternoon we went to visit Skipton Castle, that’s a cool place. Mary QoS was once imprisoned there.
Candy will be leaving tomorrow. While I will be sorry to see her go I will relax more. She is such a negative person. Me being something of a negative person as well it is not good for either of us.

Monday 30 Oct
Candy left all emotional as usual. The bus left for London at 11:15. Just after 12 I was on my way.

My first obstacle was a swing bridge. I had been somewhat wary of doing this but shouldn't have worried. The whole manoeuvre is just an engineering exercise. It needs thinking about but is not insurmountable. Swing bridges usually pivot on the off-towpath side, this is a problem. However the difficulty depends on whether the bridge swings towards the boat or away. Away from the boat it is a case of arranging ropes to be where you need them when you need them. Tie the bow rope to the bridge, cross the bridge and open it. The bridge will pull the boat in the right direction. Once open the boat will be in a position to untie the bow rope and haul on the centre rope which has already been positioned on the forward corner nearest to the bridge. Before the boat is past the end of the bridge take the stern rope and tie it to the same end but the opposite side as the bow rope was. The boat will come to a halt on the tension of the rope. Return to the working end of the bridge and close it. This will have the effect of pulling the boat back. Close the bridge slowly or the boat will crash into the bridge. With the bridge closed don't forget to retrieve the BW key or you will find yourself having a long walk back when you remember, as I did.

Depending on the location of the bridge it may be possible to moor up on the pivot side. This makes the job easy in as much as you can drive the boat to the bridge, open the bridge, get back on the boat and move the boat past the bridge, moor up again then return to the bridge to close it. Not many bridges are like this in built up areas, but many are in the country.

I really must make a set of diagrams showing how I did it in case someone else wants to know. I am sure the likes of Nigel Carton are dab hands at this coz they do it all the time. The trick is to take it one step at a time. Walk the job without the boat. Go through the motions and assess the procedure. Reassess as necessary. Tie the ropes so they can be easily removed by pulling on the free end. Doddle.

Tuesday 31 Oct

Today I got woken by some very raucous ducks at the BW station at Greenberfield north of Barnoldswick. Once up and about filled up with water and spotted a very unusual bird. About the size of of a sparrow. Black head red eye yellow back and red/brown underparts, Certainly not in my bird book. If you know what it is get in touch.

Stopping at the Marina shop through B'swick I topped up on important things like smokeless fuel for the old Squirel stove and side fenders which I seem to be losing, three now. The people there are really great, very friendly. Further down the L&L I came to the Foulridge tunnel. WOW faaaar out! 1660 yards of hand dug tunnel straight as a die. Before you enter the void you can see the other end. What a trip!

I continued on to the Barrowford lock system and stayed the night halfway down. Barrowford was very quiet. The morning saw a very heavy heavy frost, bloody cold. The fire went in to warm up the boat and stayed in all day. The fuel I bought at B'ford was like the othe 'nut' stuff, but a lot bigger. All I had to do was put a couple of large nuts on the fire every couple of hours and that was enough to keep it going all day.

Wednesday 01 Nov

I am beginning to lose track of time now. One day seems to blend into the next. I have no idea where I stayed this night.

But I do know that on Thursday I went through the Gannow Tunnel 559 yards a pigmy by Foulridge standards. I overnighted at Hapton where I filled with diesel.

Friday 03 Nov

From Hapton there were three swing bridges the first of which was permanently open. At the second I duly tied the bow to the bridge and as I pushed the bridge open the rope came adrift. There was my boat in the middle of the canal playing hard to get. It took an age to slowly drift to the side where I could get hold of the rope. The next bridge I stopped to answer a call of nature. By the time I emerged to 'do' the bridge a BW worker was there asking if I was going through. He volunteered to work the bridge for me. Never being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, or the other end for that matter, I gently coasted through. I stayed the night in Blackburn at the Eanam Wharf. I hadn't realised I was in the middle of Blackburn and expected there to be a bit of trouble, but the night passed quietly, well quietly if you consider there was a pub right on the wharf. Fortunately they closed at 12 on the dot.

Saturday 04 Nov

Coming out of Blackburn there are 6 locks. These are some of the hardest locks I have had to work. The canal is filled with garbage. It is by far the dirtiest stretch of canal I have encountered so far. And there is yet another two different versions of locking gear. I had to delve into the weed hatch again to remove several grain bags which I had picked up in the second lock.

Garbage had been lifted out and collected on the bank, unfortunately the yobs had chucked most of it back in.

The bridge at the top lock is very shallow and stopped me dead. I was lucky to get off quite easily and took a run at it, probably not the best idea but it worked. I crusied uneventfully after the locks and moored up at the BOATYARD public house for the night. Surf and Turf was good, far too much food on the plate. I watched the fireworks for a while. Now I am writing this. I had planned to not cruise on Sunday but I don’t think I want to stay here too long, so Monday may be my day off instead.

Sunday 05 Nov

There are six locks ay Wheelton which seemed to take an age to get down. That done I plodded on to Adlington. The last two or three miles I had to do with the tunnel lamp on because I stopped to help another boater who had a flat battery. I moored right in front of the bridge. Adlington is a small town with lots of character. Mobile phone coverage is limited near the bridge and I had to stand on the bridge to talk to people on the phone.

Monday 06 Nov

Before I left Adlington I bought a broom to sweep the roof of the boat. Coffee at the marina was supplemented with by a pleasant conversation with some young people with Downs Syndrome and other learning difficulties. The boys wanted to talk to me about football (not being a fan I couldn't help there) and the girls wanted to talk about boyfriends ( I couldn't help there either). Nothing ever changes when it comes to boys and girls irrespective of what life throws at them. From Adlington it was only 5 miles or so here to the top of the Wigan Flight, where I will stay over night before starting on the decent in the morning.

Tuesday 07 Nov

I inspected the top lock this morning only to find the top gate paddles out of commission. BW informed me that there would be no problem going down 'just use the sluices'. While I am plucking up the courage to get started a chap turns up on his bicycle. It transpired that he had responded to my request for help down the flight posted on the CW Forum. Steve Fahey was a great boon to the trip and had he not shown up I would probably still be coming down now. Many thanks Steve, I hope we meet again some day when I can be of service to you. Steve's boat is moored on the Bridgewater and he will be taking part in a blockade today to protest the huge hike in mooring costs this year.

Wednesday 08 Nov

Here I am at the mooring outside BW offices in Wigan, still no call from the boatyard. I might have to move on if they don’t respond soon. Called Gary they will sort out someone to come out soon. That will be nice coz they will bring my curtains with them and I can stop hanging towels up at the windows. I will continue on my journey in the morning.

I went into town to do some shopping this morning and on my return I had not been on the boat long when I heard voices outside. Me, being a nosey sort of guy popped my head out of the hatch. There I saw a man and woman in their fifties looking at the canal. I struck up a conversation and discovered they had seen Milly M in Skipton. They were thinking about a boat and were going to have a four day taster back at Skipton. Both Curtis and Ruth were a real nice couple, very interested in the boat and I invited them aboard to look around. Curtis reminded me of a friend I had in the RAF many years ago. I hope if they ever get a boat I see them around the system.

Thursday 09 Nov

I left Wigan early and met up with Steve again before I reached the first lock which is just as well because with the rebuilding of the bridge I would have to walk from where I moored about a 1/4of a mile through the industrial estate across a main road and through the construction site to open the lock. Steve not only 'did' the lock, but also bought me a copy of a stoppage notice that I had not seen on the Bridgewater Canal.

I arrived in Leigh with an armchair wrapped around my prop. I took about an hour and a half with my arm down the weed hatch. That was one reason I now dislike Leigh. The other was all the doggie doo doo on the towpath. The stoppage was at Astley. I arrived expecting to wait until Saturday before I could get through, but a friendly guy arrived and asked if I was ready to go through, ofcourse I said 'Yes'. I continued onto The Miller, a public house near Worsley where I spent the night.

Friday 10 Nov

Kinda pointlessI suppose. I haven’t seen a lock since early yesterday and I won't see another for 30 miles or more. I have been fishing, not in the water but in the trees. Many fishermen lose tackle in the trees and eventually these will end up in the water and could be harmful to wild life. I see lots in the trees and retrieve them. I can see a piece of fishing line at distance of about fifty feet. I am getting quite a collection.

I am getting a bit disappointed with the body count. Alan who writes for Narrowboat World seems to find a body every week whereas I have not found one, unless you include the Badger and the Cygnet.

I am in Sale for the night. This cheeky beggar came tapping on the hull for a feed.

Saturday 11 Nov

A quiet night in Sale included a visit from the police looking for nb Ruby Anne. I met up with Liam at the Sale CC. What a nice bunch of people, they even fed me. Many thanks to all at SCC dispite getting a bagged prop when trying to leave. Another spell down the weed hatch, that makes 5 now, it's getting a bit monotonous.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Just to say.....

It is just a tad bit difficult to get to a WIFI connection. I am presently at Wigan outside the BW office. I am waiting for LB to turn up and fit the proptector. The curtains should be here then. The Erbspacher is still playing up. I am waiting for a call about when they are going to come and fix it.

I did the Wigan flight in 3 1/2 hours on Tuesday with the help of a guy called Steve who is a lurker at the CWF. Had he not showed up I would probably still be coming down the flight. I am indeed most indebted to him for his assistance. Today he is taking part in the blockade of the Bridgewater Canal in protest over the huge hike in mooring charges. I wish him and the other boaters much luck in their endeavours.

My Laptop has gone tits up so I cannot now add all the write ups for my travels, but will do as soon as is possible.