Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Back down the Maccie

I am just looking out at the canal at the bottom of the Bosley Locks just before the Dane Aqueduct and it has brought a flood of memories to me: not of being here twice with Olek just recently which occasions were in themselves lovely. But looking out at the smooth surface of the water with raindrops still on the windows and some spattering on the cut reminded me strongly of waterskiing on the Tongaporutu River in this weather. I loved waterskiing in the rain, yes it stung as it hit the face and body (no wetsuits for us), but it felt invigorating, and best of all, we had the river to ourselves! No-one else came out skiing in the rain – only the mad Booths. It is one of the things I remember most clearly about my dad was his ability to make it fun even if the weather wasn’t the best – and if I was having fun skiing in the rain, he was only minimally protected by the windscreen in the boat. He considered himself so lucky to have moved to NZ, to have a bach (beach cottage to the English – but basic, a no frills place), to have built a boat and to use it to take us skiing between mid high and mid low tide times and to go fishing - out to sea across the bar of the Tongaporutu River between mid low and mid high tides. Those two activities brought the combination of what he liked to do for relaxation – the energy of waterskiing (he had his last ski at aged 68 – dry start, single ski) and the opportunity to snooze, having dropped the longlines overboard, ostensibly rod fishing while unconscious!

I am now happy when people tell me that I am like my dad … except I wouldn’t bother with the fishing, I’d just curl up somewhere comfortable with my kindle! Narrowboats are better for that than jetboats – as the former come equipped with a bed! And I don’t mind boating in the rain, especially if David keeps furnishing me with cups of tea.

When I have finished this post, we will get on our way again. Today we are heading to Bridge 86 so we can walk to Little Moreton Hall. We eschewed the trip when Olek was with us as he was clear that walking around old buildings wasn’t his favourite, but playing football was, and climbing hills was pretty high up there too (boom, boom!) – that was when we climbed up Mow Cop.

Yesterday we left Gurnett Aqueduct and our nice mooring – scene of the previous joint D&M tantrum when there was plenty of space for at least 2 more boats if only people hadn’t left gaps sized 0.5 of a boat length. When we moored there at noon on Monday it was reasonably empty, but we made sure to moor up close to the boat in front of us, knowing that there would be others wanting to moor later in the day. And it did fill up. It is pretty much the last nice mooring till past Macclesfield. At Lyme Green we stopped and tied up but didn’t switch off the engine, while I scooted back to the service station to buy bread, milk and Jammy Dodgers, then on we went again. As I pulled off the mooring, Clive and Fran (on Sacramour) who had moored behind us (close up) at Gurnett came through the bridge, but David was already extended to his full height length (make sense?) in pushing the bow off so I kept going. When we got to the swing bridge I messed up offloading David and ended up across the canal so when I’d pulled the boat back to the towpath, I turned it into a piece of making up for having pulled out in front of them and sent them through first. We had to wait anyway as putting the bridge back to rights involves having the CRT key in place until it’s done. They did the electric bridge at Oakgrove for us and we were then in front again. After we stopped to fill with water before the locks they came past but had weed around the prop, were filling with water at the second waterpoint (there are 3 within 150 metres at the top of the locks – amazing) and were offloading their guests, so we were into the locks ahead of them.
Looking back up the locks from the third one down.

The sky to the right

And to the left

David checking if there's a boat coming up - does he need to close the gates or leave them open?
  David didn’t have to fill any locks and mostly didn’t have to open or close them for me as there was a succession of boats ascending towards us. That was a good thing as he is still not back up to full strength – his man flu is almost gone but has left him a bit washed out, and it is only a week today that he returned from NZ – we always find it is a week before the sleep patterns are re-established.
This woman and her companion (out of shot) are the slowest moving people I remember seeing between locks, and they'd only done about 3 by that stage. Maybe they were pacing themselves.

We were moored up below the locks for the afternoon by about 1pm, had lunch and then blobbed for the rest of the day – a nana nap for both of us as I gave up trying to stream Lewis (itv3) on the laptop as the wifi service here isn’t great. I was going to do Jamie Oliver’s beef kofta curry but, although I could replace the fresh coriander with ground, I found I didn’t have any coconut milk. Instead I made a sort of bolognese with the addition of red pepper, mushrooms and celery.

Later in the evening David disappeared to the stern of the boat with his bags of cables (about 5kg of our luggage allowance) and came back triumphant as he’d managed to do something technical to improve the wifi service. I on the other hand watched 2 semi soaps on TV and then went to bed …

This morning has been a leisurely start as evidenced by the fact that it is 9.50am, I am still in my dressing gown, David is just serving me with fruit salad, yoghurt and gf muesli. But my excuse is that the feather duvet is now back on the bed and it is difficult to get out of bed when it is so snuggly and warm – although I have been sitting at the dinette typing this mistresspiece.

Enough already. The engine is on to warm the water and when I’ve eaten I will shower and we’ll be on our way again. This is the life!

Update: We have decided to stay put today. We have no operable airhorn at the moment, so if we decided to go through Harecastle Tunnel, we wouldn't be allowed. And it feels a bit vulnerable not having a horn to warn oncoming boats at tight corners and bridgeholes. Importantly, I can not summon David to the stern when he is required (requests for tea, grab this rope, jump off now, more tea, etc). Steve, the electrical engineer is going to sort it out when parts arrive, so we are making haste slowly. Hence staying put. And in spite of what I said above re not minding the rain, we are no longer hirers with a tight timeframe ... And I am still in my nightie, but I have emailed friends, made lunch and blogged and updated said blog. So not totally inactive, then.


MaKuini Puarata said...

Kia ora, we have been enjoying your UK canal travels. I am a New Zealander based close to the Bridgewater canal, if you are heading this way, email me and perhaps we can meet up. xx Makuini

Marilyn McDonald said...

Kia ora, Makuini, Thank you for reading! We are currently heading south, so won't be coming up towards the Bridgewater this year. But maybe next year, if I can get David to break out and venture up to Manchester and Birmingham! We have two NZ couples who live in the UK now coming to stay for each of the next two weekends - one from Tauranga and the other from Auckland. Warm regards, Marilyn and David

MaKuini Puarata said...

Kia ora, Marilyn safe travels, we will keep track of you. Kind Regards Makuini