Friday, 29 May 2009


This is Jim, though I think of him as Bird-Man. He was actually quite happy to be photographed but doesn't do 'camera smile'. Good for him!
Every morning for the last 10 years, he's done a circuit of the valley, feeding birds along the way. A group of pigeons meets him outside a pub for the first feed, then swoop across country to meet up with him as he rounds the towpath near my boat for a second feeding. Some perch on his arm.
Then futher on, the jackdaws gather and he carries different food for different birds. There's bread for ducks, pigeons and geese, seeds for little birds and dog biscuits for jackdaws, a couple of squirrels and my dog. In fact it looks like every tow-path mutt knows Jim and he seems to have time for them all.

Sunday, 24 May 2009


A lovely moment on the water today.
I was heading back to my mooring after visiting the water-point when I came across a boy sailing his beautiful model boat. I suppose he was 'driving' it really as it was remote-controlled. There were no other boats around and I slowed, then stopped to watch and cut the engine too. His boat moved so quietly! He made it dance up and away from mine, overtaking me, then back down along my sides.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Still blethering...

Ok, the 'flight' moment has passed and I find I still want to blog. However, I don't think this will be a boat blog anymore, as I'm on a fixed mooring now and will have nothing to relate. But I still want to write up some of the things that happen to me and about people I meet and to keep a record for myself. (If I'm on your boat blog-roll, you may want to remove me, won't mind!)

I had great help in getting near my mooring, from Simon on nb Tortoise. Without his cheerful energy, I'd have still been languishing back at Sandbach, waiting for the wind to drop. Anyone else thinking of inviting him aboard, do ask to sample his excellent apple crumble!

I had been going to spend a second night at Marple junction but changed my mind after some lads chucked a half-eaten pack of jelly on my solar panels. I darted out and chucked the pack after the escaping gigglers which wasn't a good idea cos my dog leapt after it and ate the lot before I could rugby-tackle him to the ground. No adverse reactions to the high sugar content, thank goodness, although I was sorry to see his poo didn't emerge in a beautiful jelly-mould shape as I'd hoped.

Anyway, I continued up the canal, managing one lift bridge well, then making a ridiculous mistake with the second. The boat was hanging well back from the bridge as I tied up the bow and started winching up the bridge with the windlass. Then I noticed the boat drifting gently forwards and that I'd left too much slack in the rope. Faster and faster I turned the windlass but it winched only a few inches at each turn and the boat continued drifting forwards until it crunched into the half-open bridge. Having broken one half of the glass-fronted cratch cover a year or so ago (when the gear cable snapped and unable to slow and stop, I hit a tree), I've now done in the other half.

My mooring is pretty and the surrounding landscape exciting - all plunging ravines and rolling hills. Makes me want to paint. Here's the view I have in front of my boat.

It's what I wanted of course. To have a base. To not be burning diesel just for the pleasure of travelling. But knowing I'm here in one place is also a bit scary for me. I immediately set out on a five mile walk as though to reassure myself that I can escape if I want!