Monday, 29 June 2009

Marking Time!

Although Derek had hurt his back sometime over the weekend he still made the decision to go down the Marple flight of locks on Sunday.

Macclesfield 081 Lockside Mill at Lock 9 of the Marple flight.

We did the flight in 2½ hours, (an average of under 10 minutes a lock) not a bad time considering but all except one were set in our favour for a change which helped. We changed over at each lock so we both had an equal share of the work, we have not done this before but it worked well. You had a break of one lock to recuperate ready for the next alternate one.

Macclesfield 078 No, not the Chirk Aqueduct but the very similar Marple Aqueduct and Railway Viaduct.

However this has not helped with his back and we will have to sit it out and hope it improves before we head down the final locks into Manchester. Apparently these are very heavy and the maintenance leaves a lot to be desired. So with my lingering shoulder injury (it is now 7 months) we are a right pair.

Portland Basin.

16 Locks, 9 miles, 4 Tunnels, 1 Lift bridge. 

Peak Forest 090Lock 2 Marple Flight, only 14 to go

With the idea in mind that Sunday would see more boats on the move we set off down the Marple flight. The first few locks were set in our favour and we did pass a couple of boats ascending the flight which made things easier. Near the bottom of the flight some of the locks were leaking so by the time we reached them they needed a top up.

Peak Forest 095 Half way down, notice the depth of the locks, 214 feet over 16 locks

Going down the flight we were also assisted by a local family where the parents were educating the daughters as to what canals were all about and how locks work. Other assistance came from the crew of a day hire boat who had left the boat at the bottom of the flight and walked up to Marple. They felt that they should at least attempt to do a lock or two even though it wasn’t their boat. They all enjoyed the experience.

Once off the flight progress was not much quicker due to silt build up in the bridge holes and continually having to reverse thrust to clear the propeller. At one point coming through an industrial area the engine faltered and nearly stopped had I not flicked it out of gear. A quick reverse thrust and a hunk of carpet floated to the surface, I thought I had cleared it but the engine was still labouring so we pulled into the bank. In the course of manoeuvring into the bank I must have cleared the rest of the obstruction because when I went down the weed hatch I was only rewarded with some string, rope and plastic.It remained like this all the way to the end of the Peak Forest Canal.

Peak Forest 098 Woodley Tunnel, the sign says its a two way tunnel, Yeah right

At Portland Basin we turned right onto the Ashton Canal as our map book showed the visitor moorings to be there. As we passed the moorings we worked out where we would moor and then carried on to the winding hole which involved going through the tunnel beneath the ASDA supermarket twice, once each way. Just as we were preparing to pull into the moorings a gentleman on a boat on the permanent moorings opposite told us to moor in front of the first boat on the permanent moorings as we would be safer than on the towpath side. This we have now done but the downside is that we cannot get a TV signal from either the satellite or aerial, apparently its a common problem here.

Peak Forest 101 Asda Supermarket Tunnel on the Ashton Canal at Portland Basin

1687 locks, 3542 miles, 66 Tunnels, 50 swing bridges and 52 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Old Acquaintances - Snecklifter

Peak Forest 088 Mike and Liz (original owners of Nb Snecklifter) with Derek at Marple

A few days ago we were contacted by Mike and Liz Holloway ex owners of Nb Snecklifter as we are currently within an hours drive of their new land base. They duly arrived as arranged this morning for a cuppa and a chin wag about what’s been happening on the cut and catching up on our adventures and plans.

After 6 and a bit years on the cut they sold Snecklifter but Mike still has that hankering to get back on the water even just for a short while every now and then. It was great to meet up with them again and to see them both looking well.

Late this afternoon while writing the blog the diesel boat Alton came cruising by so we hailed them in for diesel. We only took 45 litres but that means we are all set to get through Manchester and beyond.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Marple for visitors tomorrow!

0 Locks, 4½ Miles, 1 swing bridge and 2 Lift bridges.

Peak Forest 084 After saying our goodbyes to Paul and Lynne on Piston Broke who we will possibly meet up with again at Rugby in the winter, it was time to head off. Today’s journey was far more enjoyable than the journey to Bugsworth Basin nearly a week ago. On that day it was misty and cloudy and we couldn’t see a thing. Today was fine and clear and the scenery and views across the hill’s and dales was magnificent. For anybody who hasn’t visited this part of part Britain we can personally recommend it.

Peak Forest 083 Moorhen alongside it's nest. The chicks have already fledged.

While talking to Paul and Lynne an elderly gentleman hobbled past us, I say hobbled because he looked as if he had leg and hip deformities probably since birth. He had a hikers pole with a ‘V’ on the top and all down the pole were little shields of places he had visited. By the small amount of pole not covered by these shields it appeared that he had done a lot of hiking. Any way by the time we cast off he would have had a half hour head start on us. After a while we again sighted him but due to having to stop for the lift and swing bridges it took us quite a while to catch up to him. Eventually after about 3 or more miles he finally stopped and sat down for a rest. As we passed him we congratulated him on his effort because he probably still had several miles to go before he would find a bus or train to take him home or heaven forbid retrace his steps. 

1671 locks, 3533 miles, 62 Tunnels, 50 swing bridges and 51 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 26 June 2009

Furness Vale.

0 Locks, 2 miles. Now moored at bridge 30. Upper Peak Forest Canal

We had all good intentions of leaving Bugsworth Basin yesterday afternoon however the arrival of Paul and Lynne on Nb Piston Broke changed all that because after we had had a cuppa and a chin wag it was getting too late in the day to move, an executive decision was made to leave first thing this morning.

Furness Vale 004Paul and Lynne moored at Bugsworth Basin. Gypsy Rover is in front.

Bugsworth Basin has a lot of interesting walks with plenty to see which makes it an ideal place to delve into the history books so to speak. However the down side is that unless you are a heavy sleeper or deaf you are lucky to get 5 hours peace and quiet at night.

Talking to Paul about the name of their boat he pointed out that Piston Broke does indeed have a broken piston but it’s mounted on the roof and came from a WWII Spitfire. Paul has rigged it up with blue LED’s inside it and rechargeable batteries connected to a small solar panel so at night time it lights up. What a neat idea.

We learnt of these current moorings from Paul and Lynne and they have followed us down with the intention of staying a few days whereas we will have to head back to Marple on Friday. This afternoon we all enjoyed a walk up into the village of Furness Vale to see what shops there are and have a look at the railway station.

Furness Vale 030Despite the headboard this train was the Buxton to Manchester train.

Furness Vale 033Station road Furness Vale. The old hall is now apartments with half of them empty.

The latter only consists of platforms with modern bus shelter type canopies and no ticket office. There is also a small signal box operating 2 points, 4 signals and the railway crossing. A similar sort of set up that we saw near Hawkesbury Junction which was due for closure at the end of May.

Furness Vale 072 New Mills railway viaduct, Northern Rail.

1671 locks, 3528½ miles, 62 Tunnels, 49 swing bridges and 49 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 25 June 2009

More Bugsworth Basin Photos

Peak Forest 023Boatmen used these steps but Occupational Health and Safety frown upon their use now.

Peak Forest 025 The pole was a crane that was used to load paving and building stone up to 5 ton per lift.

Peak Forest 034 Man made weir on the River Goyt, Buxworth.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Well Dressing in Derbyshire!

Today we walked the towpath back to the junction and then walked the towpath to Whaley Bridge. There is not as many moorings available along this stretch of canal and it is heavily covered by tree’s.

The canal basin still has the original railway/canal transhipment warehouse built in 1832 with the dockway for the boats in the centre and a railway line on each side affording all over cover for loading and unloading.

Peak Forest 052 Whaley bridge canal/railway transhipment warehouse decorated for a forth coming festival.

Alongside this building was a temporary marquee with a sign about Well Dressing on a huge banner, inside were 12 ladies busy doing some Well Dressing pictures. This craft is peculiar to Derbyshire and dates back to the Celts and involves the use of clay as a base with pictures being made out of stones, flowers and petals. It takes these ladies about a week to make the pictures and they only last about the same length of time. It is a fascinating art and one that would take too long to explain here.

After this little interlude we walked up into the village where we found an historic plaque about the Goyt Cotton Mill that had been a major employer in the district. The mill has now been replaced with pensioner bungalows but the old mill workers cottages are still there. It was also fascinating to trace the old railway sidings that supplied the mill and nearby gas works also long gone.

Peak Forest 057Yours Truly reading up on the history of the Goyt Mill, now a pensioners village.

Peak Forest 058Mill workers cottages adjacent to the old Goyt Mill site. No excuse for being late to work.

The village was very picturesque with most of the buildings being built in the 18th and 19th centuries. One amusing sign on a building stated “Don’t park on the footpath or you could finish up in my cellar” Fair enough warning I would say. Due to the typical British summer we found ourselves having to take shelter on the railway station as despite the forecast we had a couple of real heavy downpours. After spending the best part of an hour on the station platform and watch 2 trains thunder through non stop we had to make a run for it between showers. The station was also interesting in that even though it is in full time use it has a local “Friends of Whaley Bridge Station” society. Perhaps Network Rail only want bare platforms which are cheaper to maintain which we have seen at other stations around the country.

Peak Forest 056 This was a railway siding leading to a gas works and cotton mill, now long gone.

This evening we spoilt ourselves with drinks and dinner at the Navigation pub (once owned by Pat Phoenix who played Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street) at the end of the basin. The pub has a very much canal/narrowboat theme with many colourful artefacts' and interesting photo’s all around the walls.

Unidentified Duck! Anybody any ideas?

Peak Forest 043-1

Can anybody confirm the identity of this fella. We suspect it is a Merganser?

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Bugsworth Basin.

0 Locks, 6 Miles, 2 Swing bridges, 2 Lift bridges. Now moored Lower Basin.

Had the sun been shining I feel that the scenery along the Peak Forest Canal would have been more than equal to that of the Llangollen Canal. Unfortunately we were shrouded in mist until mid afternoon by which time we were well and truly moored up in the Lower basin of Bugsworth Canal Basin.There is so much choice as to where to moor in the basin its unbelievable especially as there are only about 8 boats in the whole basin.

Peak Forest 029

We had a quick look around this afternoon and finished up walking the Peak Forest tramway trail which runs for 1.26 miles from the basin. We ran out of time and didn’t complete the hike but we reckon that we walked at least a mile before retracing our steps. What amazed us was that even though we were virtually out in the country between a couple of small villages there were two huge factories. One used to produce paper but is now a plastics factory and the other is presently derelict but looking through the smashed windows we could see modern air conditioning ducting and stainless steel fittings so it hasn’t been out of use for that long.

Reading through a pamphlet about the basin this was one very large and busy operation with Lime kilns, warehouses to keep the lime dry, Gritstone from local quarries as well as coal, farm produce, cotton in raw and material form, Vitriol, Dyes, foodstuffs and paper. The tramway walk we did today brought Gritstone down from the quarries 1½ miles away and took coal back up to the paper factory and then carried on empty back to the quarries. The tramway would have been a hair raising experience as it crossed 3 roads and the wagons used were very basic with no proper brakes and a rake of these wagons would weigh in excess of 20 ton’s. From the quarry it was basically down hill using gravity for propulsion with one man and a boy to control the load and the method of braking was to throw a hook and chain through the spokes of a wheel to literally jam it as the brake. Not  a very safe practice I’m sure. Once empty a team of horses would be harnessed to take the wagons back to the quarry.

Peak Forest 013Gypsy Rover moored in Bugsworth Basin

Tomorrow we will investigate the area more thoroughly and see what other gems there are to find around here.

1671 locks, 3526½ miles, 62 Tunnels, 49 swing bridges and 49 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 22 June 2009


0 Locks, 4 Miles. Now moored at bridge 2 Macclesfield Canal.

With a slight improvement in the weather we decided it was time to head off again towards the Peak Forest Canal. For a week-end it was surprisingly quiet on the water with only a handful of boats on the move. The view across the valleys from our high vantage point, this is the highest pound on the canal system, was amazing with the occasional glimpse of high rise apartment buildings in Manchester in the far distance. Along the way we picked up this hitchhiker, pretty little character.Macclesfield 074

We moored before bridge 2 in case there were no moorings available further up. Upon investigation it turns out to be a wise choice as the moorings between bridges 1 & 2 seem to be a well trodden path between a housing estate and the pub and even local boats were avoiding the area. I wonder why?

After lunch we walked down the Marple flight to the aqueduct and railway viaduct which run parallel less than 100 yards apart. By one of the locks we found a couple fishing in the lock with a sea searcher magnet. Upon enquiring if the fishing was any good they said they had caught one windlass but there was something much bigger in there that they couldn’t lift out as it kept falling off the magnet. We stopped for a chat which must have lasted about half an hour but they were local boaters and passed on a lot of tips about where we are going.

On the way back to the boat we walked through a park by the town library and came across these fabulous carvings done out of old tree trunks. By this time we decided it would be too late to cook a meal so we found a Chinese takeaway and got fish and chips which were not too bad at all.

Macclesfield 082-1 A very interesting carving made out of an old tree trunk at Marple.

Macclesfield 084 

How's this for an ornate carving?

1671 locks, 3520½ miles, 62 Tunnels, 47 swing bridges and 47 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 20 June 2009

The former Higher Poynton Station

Macclesfield 068 The platform is now part of the Middlewood Way walkway and cycle track.

How the other half live.

0 Locks, 3 Miles. Now moored at Higher Poynton.

Overcast with occasional sun and showers was the order of the day as we set off this morning. There was nothing much to write about until we reached bridge 19 where there is a lovely old cottage built circa 1785. The very large grounds were impeccably tidy but instead of a Rolls Royce or Bentley parked in the drive there were no less than 2 helicopters just to pop into the office with. Nice if you can get it.

Macclesfield 064 No Rolls Royce cars here , just 2 helicopters for commuting to work.

A short while later we spotted about 20 Mallards which seemed to be all female but as we passed them I spotted one that was different and it had 4 ducklings with it. After perusing the photo’s later it appears to be a Mandarin duck but as we didn’t see a matching male the ducklings may be Mallard crosses.

Macclesfield 057-1 Mandarin duck with ducklings which may be mallard crosses as we didn't see a male mandarin.

As we approached Higher Poynton we knew that there were moorings here and also that Les on Nb Valerie could be in the area. As we slowed to pull into the first available mooring we spotted a Green boat a couple of boats ahead with somebody standing on the bow waving, sure enough we had found our friend Les. While we moored up he put the kettle on for a cuppa and a catch up on all the gossip.

This afternoon we walked along the towpath and visited the Nelson Pit information centre which is set up at the site of an old colliery and gives the history of the mines, canal and railway that used to be in the district. Braidbar boats are now resident in the old transfer basin where coal was hauled from the mine and loaded directly into barges. In it’s hey day a barge would pass by this dock every ten minutes and we think the canals get busy now. I don’t think so some how.

1671 locks, 3516½ miles, 62 Tunnels, 47 swing bridges and 47 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 19 June 2009

Mooring’s, Where?

0 locks, 7½ Miles, 1 Swing bridge. Now moored at bridge 25.

With a greatly improved weather outlook we set off this morning but only got about half a mile when the engine had a sudden change of tone and began labouring badly. Only thing for it was to pull in and a visit down the weed hatch. Well we only managed to get the bow in sufficiently for Dot to make land fall and secure a couple of ropes. Ten minutes later a 2 ft x 2 ft carpet square  was removed and disposed of where it would cause no further problems.

Macclesfield 048One of the unusual turnover bridges on the Macclesfield Canal

At Freedom boats, (very friendly bunch), we pulled in for diesel, a replacement gas tank which ran out a couple of days ago and a few bits and pieces. The visitor moorings were full so we pushed to Adelphi Mill where there were moorings available but Dot was concerned about the noise coming from the building and would it go on all night? With this concern we carried on to Clarence Mill but there no moorings available when we arrived. Nothing for it  but to keep moving. We tried various other places but they were all too shallow. A passing boater told us that good moorings could be found between bridge’s 24 & 25 which is where we are now but we are sat firmly on a muddy bottom, at least we are in against the bank.

Macclesfield 053Clarence Mill in Bollington

We are really out in the country here, needless to say our internet connection although 3g is erratic, so fingers crossed we will stay connected long enough for this to upload.

1671 locks, 3513½ miles, 62 Tunnels, 47 swing bridges and 47 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Tut, tut, Tesco’s

Our Tesco delivery was scheduled for between 9am and 11am this morning. When we got the phone call from the delivery driver to confirm our position we were told “I’m not delivering to the boat, I’ve been told I don’t have to”. Excuse me!

I went and met our not too friendly driver at the arranged meeting point and told him that after having had at least 10 deliveries previously, where they were all delivered to the door so to speak, this was the first time we had found a problem. It is Tesco’s policy to deliver to the fridge door I believe.

The problem turned out to be that initially he had not been provided with a trolley or barrow and secondly he had no computer, everything was by the old printed matter method. Oh dear, how sad.

I grabbed the first 2 baskets and strode off towards the boat which was less than a 100 yards along the towpath, ( the photo below shows the distance, he parked by the footbridge) no further than what he would have to walk to some houses. By the time I reached the boat the driver had had second thoughts and followed me with the rest of the delivery. We have contacted Tesco’s who promised to ring us back but as of yet no response.

Due to the inclement weather we opted to stay put today and hopefully conditions will improve tomorrow and we will be under way again.

Macclesfield 032Royal Oak electrically operated swing bridge on the Macclesfield Canal

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Change of Altitude.

12 Locks, 3 Miles, 1 Swing bridge. Now moored bridge 49. Oakgrove.

It was an early start this morning as we ascended the Bosley lock’s lifting us 118 feet up towards the Pennine’s. The main reason being to avoid any congestion and keep ahead of the weather. As it turned out we managed both only meeting 3  boats between lock 6 and lock 1 which sped things up a bit and moored up while it was still fine. As it turned out the weather stayed fine all day.

Macclesfield 028Lock 12 Bosley locks, Macclesfield Canal. The steel bridge is the old Churnet Valley railway line now closed.

At the top lock we took advantage of the new facilities block. The pump out machine was at the back of the building which meant I had to reverse down a short arm which is actually the feeder stream for the canal from the reservoir situated a couple of miles away.

Macclesfield 029 Bosley Locks Macclesfield Canal. Out of one into the next.

We have been told that moorings in Macclesfield are pretty scarce and as we need to replenish the pantry again we opted on a Tesco delivery in the morning where we are now as the driver can get within a 100 yards of us which will, make for an easy delivery.

1671 locks, 3506 miles, 62 Tunnels, 46 swing bridges and 47 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

One aqueduct to another.

0 Locks, 3 Miles. Now moored at Danes Aqueduct.

Well there isn’t much left to investigate around here so we opted to move on before threatened rain and thunder arrived. I think the rain may have arrived early as we were awoken early this morning with heavy rain hammering down on the roof.

After a couple of weeks in the urban/industrial scenery of the Potteries it’s a real joy to be meandering through some very scenic rural back waters. Rolling green hills and dales as far as the eye can see with an occasional railway viaduct thrown in, but even these have a certain charm which doesn’t make them look out of place.

Macclesfield 010 We needed a wide angle lens to get all 21 arches in but it gives you the general idea.

Where we are now moored is similar to our previous mooring with lush green valleys spreading out on both sides and just the sound of the bird’s to keep us company. There has been the occasional boat pass by but in general it is very quiet. Who need’s city life?

Macclesfield 027 Gypsy Rover with the rolling hill's of Cheshire.

While sitting here writing the blog a thunder storm has sneaked up behind us and just rattled the boat with a huge clap of thunder immediately over our heads. The skies have just opened and the rain is making quite a racket on the roof. The weather girl got it right after all.

1659 locks, 3503 miles, 62 Tunnels, 45 swing bridges and 47 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 15 June 2009

Exploring the countryside.

This morning was spent down the engine 'ole servicing the engine and having a bit of a tidy up. Everything is tickety boo in that dept so we are all set for the next 4 month’s or thereabouts.

As it was such a lovely day we walked down to the old Biddulph Railway Trail which used to be a branch line of the North Staffordshire Railway carrying predominately coal and sand between Brunswick Wharf, Congleton and the Potteries (Stoke on Trent). There wasn’t a great demand for passenger traffic so this ended in 1929 and the line finally closed in 1968. It has now been converted to a National Cycleway.

Congleton 032Congleton aqueduct over the former North Staffordshire Railway, Biddulph branch line.

Along the way we found a couple of holes that had been dug by a Fox or Badger which turned out to be a Bumble bee nest. The reason I suspect a Badger or Fox was because the ground was hard and stony and would have needed good claws to have dug such a large hole. Looking for food perhaps?

Congleton 034Wild bumble bee nest which appears to have been attacked by a fox or badger.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Pushing on.

1 Lock, 6 Miles. Now moored at Hightown Aqueduct.

We had no plans on doing much today but after a walk up to Tesco’s and a visit to the local caravan and motor home chandlery. We decided that it was too nice a day to stay where we were so we pulled the pins and set off.

Congleton 004 Macclesfield Canal, Congleton. One of the few swan families seen this year.

Surprisingly there were not that many boats on the move so it was a pretty hassle free trip. At Hall Green lock, which only has a rise of 1 foot, we replenished the water tank as we are not too sure on the frequency of water points here in the North.

As per usual we were the first boat to moor up here but we have now been joined by 3 other boats. Mind you this is a very scenic mooring with a valley spreading out on both sides of us and on our left is a railway viaduct on the Manchester line. I have been watching what trains are using this line and thought to myself, “ Wouldn’t it be great to see a steam train travel over this route”. Now that would something really stunning. Dream’s are free.

Congleton 009 Local commuter train about to stop at Congleton.

After lunch I thought I had better take a peek down the weed hatch as I had been hearing something flicking off the rudder all morning. Well what a dog’s breakfast, plastic, knickers, packing twine, mooring rope and a hunk of electrical wire. This little lot took some shifting but half an hour later the prop was all clear once more.

Congleton 011

What a bird's nest. Twine, wire, knickers, plastic and mooring rope in that little bundle.

1659 locks, 3500 miles, 62 Tunnels, 45 swing bridges and 47 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Time to go, we’re nearly out of water.

0 Locks, 4 miles, 1 tunnel. Now moored at Red Bull Aqueduct.

Having been at Westport Lake for over a week where there are no facilities our water supply was getting extremely low so today was the day that we had to move on. It was only a short trip up to the Harecastle Tunnel where we replenished the water tank while waiting for our turn to enter the tunnel. While waiting the BW guys asked us if we would mind being the tunnel post and take a delivery through to the guys at the North end, which we willingly agreed to as it was only a small parcel.

kidsgrove 001Southern portal of the Harecastle Tunnel. You can see the forced air fans on the roof.

The tunnel is starting to get busy now with 4 south bound boats and we were in a convoy of 3, while another 3 were waiting when we emerged at the northern portal. As we emerged from the tunnel called out to the BW man that we had tunnel post for him and he came down onto the BW work boat and collected the parcel as we passed by.

kidsgrove 003The disused Brindleys Tunnel at Harecastle showing signs of recent flooding. kidsgrove 007Northern portal of the Harecastle Tunnel. Brindleys dis-used tunnel is just visible behind the car.

Now that repainting the cratch lockers has been completed I can now put things back where they belong and have a bit of a tidy up.

1658 locks, 3494 miles, 62 Tunnels, 45 swing bridges and 47 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 12 June 2009

An Interesting Moorhens nest!

Stoke on Trent 037Unfortunately no sign of any chicks though

We spotted Narrowboat Marmaduke moored in front of us this morning when we wandered into Tunstall to restock the pantry before heading through Harecastle Tunnel tomorrow and onto the Maccesfield Canal.  No sign of Pav or Cathy and they were gone when we got back,  Sorry we missed you guys, maybe another time.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

What a s##t of a day.

We were all organised this morning for our trip to Rugby for our 6 monthly doctors appointment. We arrived at Longport station in plenty of time and duly caught the train to Stoke on Trent where we had to change trains.

At Stoke on Trent we checked the departure board and the 12.54 to London via Rugby was on the board so all was well, or so we thought. Five minutes before the train was due to arrive it suddenly dis-appeared off the board. What’s going on we asked at the office? Sorry we had to cancel it due to shortage of trains came the reply. We need to be in Rugby by 3pm or thereabouts when is the next train? After checks on the computer and ringing train control the best offer was a train that arrived in Rugby at 3.17pm. Even this arrived in Stoke on Trent 10 minutes late but all due to the driver, he was only 2 minutes late at Rugby.

We had already rung ahead to warn the surgery that we would be late and they worked around the problem. As the train back to S.O.T wasn’t until 8pm we decided to have tea in town. Bad decision, 2 pubs no grub after lunch, 1 restaurant closed, and the place we finally settled upon was a case of going through the menu to see what was or wasn’t available and English wasn’t his first language. Get the picture?

Thankfully the return journey went without a hitch and we were soon back aboard with our feet up and a cuppa to hand.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Stoke on Trent 028Mother Town of the Potteries in days gone by.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

When is a duck not a duck?

When it’s a goose of course, thanks to Paul on Waterways Routes we have our answer from yesterday.  The Red Breasted Goose is a rare visitor from the Arctic region, that's why it never appeared in our book presumably.

Can you identify this Duck?

IMG_0034 We are at a loss any ideas


After checking our book on birds and the internet we are still unsure what it is!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Rain stopped work.

I managed to get the first top coat of paint on this morning but wind and rain have effectively halted any further progress. Hopefully the small amount of water that has crept into the cratch won’t have done much damage.

As we had so many photo’s from the recent Etruria Festival we couldn't post them all so here are a few more for you to peruse.

Etruria 053Radio controlled fishing boat and container ship on the Caldon canal during the Etruria Museum festival.

Etruria 064Miniature steam traction fairground engine.

Etruria 066 Miniature steam traction engine.