Saturday, 30 January 2010

dredging & edging

The other day, I read a boat blog that said they had spotted that rare sight - BW doing some dredging! I can't find which blog it was now, doh. Anyway, they are very busy along the stretch between Bollington and Macclesfield and I've been fascinated to watch how they are securing the canal edging. There's an orderliness about the process that I like:

First knocking in these great poles, attaching a sort of permeable plastic sheet (a dredgerman told me the name but I didn't hear right so looked it up afterwards - think it's called geomembrane), securing the outer row to an inner post and later, I guess, filling in-between with dredged mud. All very clever, I think!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

wheelbarrow joy

You can keep your flash cars - I have a beautiful new wheelbarrow! It replaces the rusty, falling-apart trolley whose wheels always locked perpendicular to the direction I needed to travel. Today, I moored up by a small field with a pile of wood in it. The cafe nearby said yes, it belonged to them and yes, I could help myself :-)
Other things I have so far transported in my wheelbarrow: a bag of coal when I was iced-in and got desperate, a big bag of dog-fud, my dog (though he jumped out again after a couple of wobbly meters. He clearly doesn't trust my barrow wheeling skills yet.)

Friday, 22 January 2010

No fanfare..

.. just a quiet leavetaking of New Mills. Thought I'd post a winter view of the fields by my mooring - the same view that I posted last June, when the fields were full of beautiful buttercups.

It was a good place to moor, with some wonderful walks and views. I'll miss walking along the river with my dog dipping in and out the water, retreiving sticks and stones. Some lovely memories...
Getting iced-in made me restless though and now, the ice finally melted from the canal, I'm ready to go exploring some more. Actually, the ice hasn't gone entirely, as I've found over the last couple of days. You round a bend in the canal and meet large patches that could be a thin skin of ice or an inch-thick. It's hard to tell until you're in the middle of it and are watching great sheets of ice piling either side and hearing the ominous crunching sound of your blacking being removed from the hull!

Sunday, 3 January 2010


Back on the boat after a really wonderful few days visting family and friends. When I got back, the boat looked lovely in white but there was a lot of snow in the stove (damn - kept meaning to get a new hat for the chimney) and the little wood I had left was wet. It was a bit of a shock after the comforts of a house and I was very reluctant to even take my coat off! I turned the sofa into a bed (goes into a double) and closed off the rest of the boat to try to keep the warmth in but mostly seemed to be burning fire-lighters rather than wood! Today, I gave in and bought some coal from a hardware shop (Roy and his family run a shop in New Mills that sells pretty much everything you need and are friendly and helpful in suggesting other places on the rare occasion they've run out of something). So tonight, I'm as cosy as anything and happy to be eating lentil and sausage stew cooked on the stove and thinking over the last few days ... mmmmm.
My plans for this year probably include giving up the mooring in the spring and exploring a bit further north. I'd like to visit Hebden Bridge boat buddies, although the thought of getting me and my roof tat through 'the highest, longest, deepest canal tunnel in Britain', terrifies me. Sounds like I should defiitely give it a go then!