Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fishfinger Sarnies are Just Yummy

Bottom Bosley Locks to Congleton to Scholar Green to end of Macclesfield Canal; onto Trent and Mersey and now moored at Red Bull Services pointing north.    Plan now is to go up the T and M to Middlewich; across Middlewich Branch onto Shropshire Union and turn south to bottom, then to Great Haywood onto the T and M again down to Trent Lock at start of Erewash Canal.    We are booked into our boat builders (John and Mick of Kingfisher Narrowboats) from Mon 8 August for several jobs including bottom blacking and solar panels fitting.   

Last Sunday was first Sunday since I have known Dai (7 yrs) that we didn’t have a “proper Sunday dinner” - had fish finger sarnies instead !!    It was so so hot that we thought we’d break a tradition and have salad instead.    Yes, you guessed right - no salad to be had, hence the fish fingers on squotchy white sliced bread (well, it has to be that sort of bread, our normal homemade bread just doesn’t do it !!).    Yes, I did say “so so hot” - wonderful sunny Sunday.     Not hot and sunny since but it was a lovely Day!!

We were actually in Congleton so walked down to the town where they had their annual Food and Drink Festival on the same Sunday.    Lots and lots of stalls in the streets and it was heaving with people (moaning about the heat!!).   We could have spent a fortune but settled on three types of coffee beans and a big pork pie.    Also had coffee in Costa Coffee - what a treat to have an iced mocha !!!

You’ll all be delighted to hear that the new batteries are settled in nicely.    Last Saturday was first day since we have lived on Jandai that we didn’t have to run the engine for electricity at all.    If we are now not moving for the day it only takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to charge them up instead of the 4 hrs previously.

Had our first medical emergency today - Dai woken up in night with raging toothache so this morning he trundled off to find a dentist.    Luckily nearest town to here is only about half a mile away - Kidsgrove.   First dentist he went in only did NHS work and not taking on any new patients and no private work at all.   Second dentist however was great and pulled his tooth this afternoon as it was past redemption.   That’s great service but then, of course, when you’re paying privately, most things can be done quickly.

Since last blog we have done …  11 miles and 3 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1298 miles and  1065 locks  

The heron and ducks liked having the pound drained !
Tasty delicacy of crayfish for dinner  just for a change

Broken paddle at Lock 15 on the Marple Flight.  
Emergency repairs got it sorted in a couple of hours

Pounds drain incredibly quickly when a lock fails

No stress up here !
Tubs of lettuce; sage, thyme and pansies on Jandai's roof

I'd definitely recommend watering your pansies with canal water
proof is in the pudding as they say!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So - it’s all downhill from now

….. Because Longest Day was yesterday 21 June but I’m not going to harp on about summer cos we had it in April and so that’s that ……

Not a lot to report this week if I don’t go on about the rain, drizzle, more rain, more drizzle …..

Came back up the Peak Forest Canal to Marple where - glory be - we managed to find a mooring!!    Then on to Higher Poynton where - not totally unexpected - we couldn’t find a mooring.    So on to Bollington where we spent a couple of days.   Next overnight was Gurnett Aqueduct and today we have come down the 12 Bosley Locks - rain gear on, rain gear off, rain gear on ……..

The mooring at bottom of Bosley Locks is one of my favourites so we’ll probably stay here a night or two and, who knows, it might be a lovely sunny day tomorrow!

Since last blog we have done …  12 miles and 12 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1287 miles and  1062 locks

oh dear, can't upload any photos cos internet access not good enough ---- will post when I can cos lovely photos of drained pounds in Marple Flight; my pansies, lettuce and herbs in full bloom on roof; ducks asleep on roof; ducks catching fish (yes, really, a duck catching a fish)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Batteries and Basins

Battery mania continued ----- but sorted last Saturday when I spent 2 hours trundling 6 new batteries and 6 kaput batteries up and down the towpath and - the worst thing ever! - up and down a cobbled bridge!!   While Dai did the change over.    My right arm is now 6 foot longer than my left.    And I got into trouble for sheltering in the boat when it rained --- “I need the next new battery NOW” never mind getting wet.     And, yes, everything worked afterwards (oh ye of little faith, I hear you call !!) ---- in fact, we are now only having to run the engine for just over a hour a day to get hot water.,    I know they will start deteriorating but we should have some months of joy from charging when stationery ---- surely!!

Found a super old fashioned butcher in Poynton - his meat was probably the best we have ever had.    Bit of a walk to get there but, hey, well worth it.

Had a few good pints in the Boars Head at Higher Poynton - the food looked good but we didn’t try it.

So, this week we have moved from Bollington up through Higher Poynton (always a big gamble whether or not you’ll get a mooring there --- we managed to get on the end amongst the trees so pretty dark and gloomy but then the next morning, the boat in front moved so we were able to pull further up out of the gloom) to Marple and onto the Peak Forest Canal.    Very beautiful but very shallow and hit/miss where you can moor because regulars know where you can get into the side and those places usually occupied.    Not that it’s a problem cos Bugsworth Basin holds loads of boats and its lovely mooring there.    Very quiet at the moment - mind you there was a Gardiner Rally here last weekend so think everyone rushed to get there for that and now they’ve all gone.

Funny weather this week - cloud, showers, one hot sunny day and today it’s very warm but dark clouds keep passing over and we’ve already suffered one downpour (while Dai and Foxxie were out taking photos round the Basin).

Since last blog we have done …  13 miles and 0 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1275 miles and  1050 locks

mooring at Higher Poynton

just one of the splendid views from the Peak Forest Canal which is 500 feet above sea level

Let's all jump in the canal !!!
There were several groups of schoolchildren canoeing in Bugsworth Basin

This is the one basin (middle of 3) in Bugsworth Basin which is not open --
wonder if this stone is the reason why!

Another group of children in the Basin - this time on a Super Raft

Info board set into the ground at the entrance to Bugsworth Basin by the Wharf Master's House

Love this weather forecasting stone!!

another piece of very interesting info in the Basin

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Battery Madness

Good weather for ducks!!    The wind seems to have gone and now rain showers are the pattern today and last few days - with Missy Sun poking out for minutes just to remind us she is there ---- somewhere!!

Not moved very far this week ---- left Congleton and had a couple of days at bottom of Bosley Locks, then up the 12 locks to Bollington where we’ve been since Sunday.   Am always surprised there isn’t a mooring time restriction here - not that we’ll be staying for 14 nights but could if we wanted!     We like Bollington and Foxxie likes the big playing field just down the lane!     

The beer at The Vine is just as good as last time we were here and, in fact, Bollington Brewery have just opened their second pub - this time in Macclesfield so obviously other folks like their brews too.

Had fun and games with the batteries this week.    We have 6 batteries for the main bank (plus one for the starter motor and one for the bow thruster)  - and suddenly they were not holding their charge.     Charged up ok but dropping like a stone after switching the engine off.     After several consultations with other boaters and the loan of a hydrometer, Dai ascertained one battery was completely kaput and the others were on their way out!     More consultations led to Dai disconnecting the whacko battery.    Hey presto - yes, after charging again the five remaining batteries were good.     For some time now Dai has been saying he’s getting sealed batteries next time as topping them up with distilled water is not one of his favourite jobs (nor mine as my ears are terribly assaulted when he does).   We phoned a nearby chandlery but they wanted £100 per battery - lordy lord!!!    So we called into the nearby car garage and asked them for price of normal batteries ---- £89 each.    Do we look as though we have grass growing on our heads or what!!!   We just hope the 5 batteries keep on going till we can get a reasonable deal somewhere!!

Kevin commented on last week’s blog asking for recipe for the mint aero cake I baked last week in honour of Amy’s visit ------ just a normal sponge cake, then I added several heaps of that Mint Aero hot drink powder (do not like it as a hot drink as the powder just won’t mix properly and you end up with a mouthful of undissolved powder - yuck).   So added after the flour --- sorry, can’t be precise about how much mint powder but I would guess about 3 heaped tablespoons).    Then I added 2 of the small packets of Mint Aero Bubbles chopped into quarters.    Normal butter cream icing with some peppermint essence to sandwich the two sponges halves together and on top for the 3rd packet of Bubbles to stick to.    Must admit I wondered if I had gone OTT with mint flavouring but hadn’t - it did taste very very nice!!

Since last blog we have done …  13 miles and 12 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1262 miles and  1050 locks  

sorry, no photos this week ---- not managed to take any between the rain storms

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mint Sponge and Purple Hair

This week we left Rode Heath and went onto to Red Bull and onto the Mac, mooring today at Congleton so have done with Heartbreak Hill !!    We came up the Mac last August - love this canal as its so peaceful with lovely scenery.    We plan to turn down the Peak Forest Canal into Bugsworth Basin - another favourite place.

Lots of wind and rain/drizzle but yesterday/today the sun has been out now and again - forecast is for it to warm up over next few days with sunshine, so here’s hoping ---- our tans are now fading fast.

Amy came to visit on Sunday and stayed until late Monday - just great.    Her friend Stephen brought her in his car.    I baked a bakewell tart and chocolate mint aero sponge cake (which Amy decorated) and Dai cooked a huge Sunday roast dinner.  Lots of drinking, talking, discussing, eating throughout the two days ….. And lots of hugs for me and Amy!     You will see from the photos below that Amy has changed her hair from pink to purple ----- just as much fun but somehow more sophisticated!

Since last blog we have done …  7 miles and 10 locks
total since Setting Off ….. 1249 miles and  1038 locks

let me on .... let me on too
(unfortunately I only spotted this family when they'd gone by -
would have loved to have got a closer shot)

Amy with her work of art !  
(well, the cake is my work of art but the decorating done by Amy)

Loved this interesting garden