Thursday, 30 June 2011

Scenes that make you go Ahh

Trundling along without a care in the world, 6.30pm last Thursday evening, the sun was still out. All was calm and quiet except for birds a’ singing and swifts a’ swooping. Blimey I’m going all poetic…
 
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Is this a lock gate or a flower garden…?
 
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A tree with a serious trunk problem, and it’s still healthy…!
 
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Looking through the side hatch from where we were moored up, left…
 
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And right…
 
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Kestrel calling…
 
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And this was the point at which I took the photo of the silly spotty sheep – you know, the ones that broke the camera lens…

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

One man and his dog

But not in the traditional sense:
 
Well I think I’ve already introduced you to Tilly, but I couldn’t resist posting these. Let me set the scene:
 
If Tilly decides it’s time to take Mark the Spark for a walk and a poopsy, at the same time as Dave’s fishing off (well on) the end of the jetty. She comes bombing round here at the speed of light (from all of 3 boats away) and this is what happens…
 
Would you believe it…?
 
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Even maggots don’t bother her when she’s fishing with uncle Dave…
 
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Seen me…
 
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If Dave gets up off his fishing chair she goes and sits on it anyway…
 
Thing is, because Tilly thinks she’s a human, she also considers TT as her second home. We seem to be aunty and uncle. To think we once said we’d “never have a dog on this boat.” (Ha). But she’s an exception to the rule, or we must be going soft in our old age, or both…

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Hello Campers!

Anyway, going back in time to Saturday, a few of us decided to have a BBQ. It was still sunny then, not a cloud in the sky. So we each contributed a concoction of goodies, and several different types of alcoholic substances in readiness of a feast…
 
Dave and Mark the Spark put together a jig saw luxury BBQ stand, which turned out to be a workbench with a slab of concrete on top (where it came from I know not). Hence we had 2 tools put together by 2 tools. I never did find out what role the plastic children’s ironing board thing played in all of this but never mind…
 
The luxury BBQ on our jetty…
 
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Everybody turned up together, it was a “bring your own seating arrangements” thing. (As well as your own food and drink). So we set up the chairs down the jetty, got settled in with a snifter (that’s an aperitif – I think). The conversation flowed and the rain joined in about 15 minutes later... I mean the heavens opened good style… And everyone ran inside TT, it was still very warm though, so we piled into the lux con. It’s rather strange that there were hundreds of people here (well at least 12) and yet I got no photos of anyone or the food…
 
Abandoned chairs and luxury BBQ set up with disposable Tesco jobby’s on top…
 
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But we would not be defeated, so Mark carried on with the BBQ under an umbrella while Dave cooked a load of stuff inside. Eventually it was presented on lots of plates in the kitchen, it turned out purrfect, against all the odds.
 
Even the rain gave up after a while - but by that time all the chairs were soaked. Good job TT is a widebeam, comes in handy that when weather dictates the scene, we always end up on here…
 
Here’s Tilly Mint Drop the cutest dog ever, making the most of the fact that nobody was in the saloon, whilst at the same time keeping an eye on Dave – or even the food…
 
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I’m sure she’s more intelligent than we are…
 
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Much much later on a few of us ventured out onto the jetty and put the world to rights. But by that time we’d got no idea what we were prattling on about anyway…

Monday, 20 June 2011

Gorgeous odd bod ducklings

It looks like we’re into round 2 of the duckling season here, perhaps because the first one was a bit of a failure. We’ve only noticed 3 babes that have survived to be junior’s. There might be more, but if there is they’ve packed their bags and moved nest house somewhere else…
 
Unusually the yellow ones outnumber the brown one’s in this brood…
 
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Dave said he’d seen another mum with 3 yellow one’s and 2 brown while he was sat fishing last night. This little lot were hanging about close by, so that’s another brood with more yellow ones than brown. Strange that, perhaps by round 3 they’ll all be red and blue…

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Where we´re moored today

Well silly me, these are taken from our own mooring on the marina, there’s only the jetty that gives it away. Looks more like we’re out on the canal somewhere…
 
It was so sunny this morning, I couldn’t resist taking a couple of photos to show off the beautiful views we have from the boat while we’re not out on the canal…
 
From the side hatch…
 
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Front doors open, view across the bow…
 
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Behind the boat…
 
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We feel so lucky to be based in a marina that has such gorgeous views and totally defies the “boat park” theory. As we all know, there’s too many marina’s around the system now, many of which are half empty, but there still remains a waiting list for this one…Hardly surprising really is it…?
 
And then there’s the other majestic view of Parbold Hill to the left of us. Beyond the marina, the canal and the River Douglas. As I’m sat here typing, I can see its patchwork quilt of greenery that’s thick with trees on top, and there’s not a house in sight up there…
 
Sorta makes you go ahhh, especially on a warm sunny day like today…   

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Going to Germany for lots of reasons

We spent all afternoon yesterday searching online for decent priced flights to Germany. Would you believe Lufthansa had flights at £285 per person with 2 stops? I mean what’s that all about?
  • Do they hand out lucky bags with the plastic food on gold plates?
  • Do they do a world tour on the way there?
  • Perhaps they have an “onboard raffle” too…
We went with a cheapo airline instead, less than half that price each, we don’t mind “economy class” we’re common as muck anyway… Trouble is their flights over there aren’t every day, (perhaps they haven’t got enough planes to put one on every day or something).
 
So we originally had a week planned, but it meant either a wasted day because it’s an overnight flight, (so in effect we’d end up with just 6 days). Or the alternative was booking 9 days and effectively gaining 2 days – guess which one we went for…
 
Why Germany? Well it’s so we can go visit our soldier son and his family, which also includes seeing our grandson Ryan for the first time. For real rather than on Skype, or photos and videos. Oh wow, I, (sorry we), can’t wait to hold him in our arms, and that goes for his dad, our very modest British soldier too. We’ve only seen him once since he got back from Aghan…
 
The other thing is we’ve timed it so that it’s my birthday while we’re there, erm my 50th birthday that is, agghhh…! OMG have I really been on this earth for 50 years? Well almost, bear in mind though I’ve still got a couple of months left in my 40’s so no tittering please.
 
Thing is all my friends have got there before me, and they haven’t half taken some stick for that, so I’m going to get it all back x 100. It’s ok, I’m prepared for reparation, well I think so…
 
Liam and Maddy his lovely German wife driving the boat in 2008…
 
L&M visit 2008 (19)
 
Ryan posing for the camera…
 
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Tears are welling up – a few weeks till we get there, and counting…

Monday, 6 June 2011

When is a crop circle not a crop circle?

When it’s a crop square…
 
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I’ll leave you to ponder on that obscure photo of mine, yes, I do seem to collect them…
 
And here’s a lesson on how NOT to collect a passenger from the towpath, the boat still needs you to look the other way, and the passenger nearly fell in…
 
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“Picture window” views from the back of the boat taken in glorious sunshine on Friday. Most unusual to have the back rolled up, it´s usually too cold…!
 
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There’s a greenhouse effect which happens in the lux con, in other words it’s always about 10 degrees C higher in here if the sun’s out, despite the wind speed outside. Even so, being a couple of softy’s it’s not very often we have to roll up the back as well.
 
There’s three sections on each side so we usually just roll up the one’s you walk through, however, walking through the wrong side would involve falling in the canal. But we have little wooden doors inside too which remind you not to go that way. On Friday however, it was essential to roll the back up in order to breathe, phew it was HOT…
 
Little door closed, no go area…
 
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Little door open, zips down instead…
 
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Nifty eh…? No sides up today, it’s not so warm outside, but it is in here…
 
Our friends set off back yesterday after a week out on the Leeds Liverpool, and we’re setting off back to the marina later today :-(
 
Which means the whole of the lux con will have to be dismantled anyway because it’s too high to go under any bridges. At least we’re facing the right way and there’s no backing up required…

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Jellied eel anyone?

If you’re of a sensitive nature look away NOW…
 
This is what Dave caught yesterday afternoon about an hour before firing up the BBQ:
Double Ugh…
 
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It’s the biggest eel we’ve seen on the canal system yet, a fascinated gongoozler nearby asked “are you going to kill it?” So Dave had to explain (amidst me doing the “UGH YAK” thing) that he just cuts the line so as not to get covered in slime. Almost sounds poetic that, even if it did kill the appetite somewhat…
 
Fortunately our friends arrived and moored up after this spectacle, so they avoided any potential distress to the digestive system. Which for me conjured up a vision of eel steaks on the BBQ with slime dripping onto the charcoal. I know people do eat eels but surely they hang them up somewhere first till all the goo drips off…?
 
Mich posing on the front of their boat…
 
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Both visitors settled in nicely…
 
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Dave in full control of the BBQ, whilst battling with the WIND…
 
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Do not be deceived by these sunny photos - a howling gale set in for the duration, and then promptly disappeared as the sun was going down…
 
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Saturday, 4 June 2011

Views along the way

As we turned out of the marina we discovered the local swan family having a shower in the run off by lock 7…
 
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Just meandering along…
 
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I have to say I’m impressed with the good job BW (or contractors) have done on the Rufford Branch towpath. This section was very neglected and almost impossible to walk through a while back. There were reeds as tall as me on either side, and because it was so neglected it would’ve been impossible for a boat to moor up there. What a difference, it means the towpath looks this good all the way from the marina to the Leeds Liverpool.
 
BBQ heaven…
 
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Lily’s, Lily’s everywhere…
 
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After mooring up, we sat on the back of the boat waiting for our towpath pizza delivery to arrive. It’s called a “BW special,” you put in a bid for it and if someone further down the towpath bids higher then they get the goodies. Needless to say we went without, so we made some egg butties instead...
 
Later on on this was the wonderful scene that greeted us:
 
Going…
 
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Going…
 
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Gone…
 
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Glass of wine in hand, cheesy grin on face…

Friday, 3 June 2011

An easy lock, an average swing bridge and a troublesome lock

We set off about 5.30pm yesterday in GLORIOUS SUNSHINE and got lucky with the first lock out of the marina, three of our friends were taking their dogs for a walk. Not in a straight line or anything - they came at us from all angles. However they all sort of ended up in the same place at the right time. So they (and their dogs) did the whole lock for us between them…
 
Just in case you’re wondering – no, we hadn’t waited for someone to set off for walky poos - neither were any humans (or their dogs) coerced in any way. Dave felt obliged to help out which as you can see left me on the boat, in a lock, on my own, keeping it steady, well there’s a first for everything…
 
Dave and Mark the Spark waiting for the lock to fill…
 
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Afterwards, Spiderman jumped back on the boat which was a bit of a shame because I got carried away and set off through. I was doing alright too, but had to stand aside for the captain when he started with “No, let me do it.” I gathered that was a vote of no confidence, even though I personally felt very confident about it. So I told him he was a spoilsport...
 
I’ve taken a photo of the swing bridge with it’s own number plate before, but it didn’t come out very well so here’s a better one, sort of…
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R2 BEU
 
So if anyone owns the vehicle that belongs to this number plate, please hand it in to the authorities immediately…
 
The average swing bridge:
 
The one with it’s own ID that isn’t in the Nicholson’s…
 
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Tight squeeze for a widebeam…
 
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Oh my god, check out them “I’m a cool dude” sun specs, but don’t look too closely at what I’m wearing, or the fact that Dave’s chopped my legs off…
 
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The troublesome lock: That’s LOCK 6, it got us last time we came up here and did it again. One of the sluices is chained down hence there’s only one side will open (with the same force as Niagara Falls). So erring on the side of caution Dave opened it just half way…
Which made no difference to the outcome, and still caused a slam dunk…
 
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Of course THIS doesn’t help, a great big crack down the wall with water gushing through it at the same side. Didn’t notice that last time because we were too busy watching the bow go BOING on the other side…
 
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After the 180 degree turn in the unofficial winding hole that also isn’t in the Nicholson’s, then going through the lock backwards, I walked down the towpath while Dave backed the boat up nearly half a mile to where we’re moored.
 
Unfortunately I only had the crap cam with me because it fits nicely in my pocket, but the battery had run out so I couldn’t get any photos of Dave going round the bend, driving me round the bend, driving the boat round the bend backwards with delicate care…
 
He made it look ezee peezy, although to be fair the bow thruster took a hammering…
 
The backwards bend, taken from the side hatch…
 
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So here we are today, moored up in a gorgeous new place, basking in the sun surrounded by millions of fish doing the same thing.
 
We’re walking along the towpath to meet up with some friends soon for a meal at the pub, (where the Rufford joins the Leeds Liverpool). It’ll be double busy there on a day like today, so it’s a good job we booked a table in advance, he he…