Boatwif Blog

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Previously unseen…

If calculated correctly this is the 15th visit to San Marcos. Though this Southern Californian city is familiar now, it’s still not necessarily easy to find your way about.  Whether on a shopping expedition, a school pick up run or a sight-seeing mission the US version of the Co-pilot app on the smart phone is a regular lifeline. With the app’s aid the Cleddau crew have managed to find their way to several previously new (to them) locations. “What, you...

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High School Marching Bands

It was as an 8th Grader in middle school last year that Cal Guy Snr began talking about Marching Band. Would he be able to join the marching band when he moved up to high school? What it would involve and how it would impact on family life no-one then knew… Marching bands developed over a century ago to perform during interval breaks at football games. After the first World War many veterans with musical experience became involved in music...

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The familiar and the less so…

The drive from LAX down to San Marcos can take up to two hours, or three, or four – it all depends on the traffic and whether you use the toll roads. Rental car allocated (a NEVADA plate again, curious)    luggage loaded and satnav set, it was time to get on the road. As on previous occasions Boatwif sat in the passenger seat (on the right-hand side of the car), hands round a bottle of water, teeth and buttocks...

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South west again – to 33° N, 117° W

Terminal 2, Heathrow: time for the not-Christmas-yet US visit (despite the Heathrow Christmas trees), time for the not-even-Thanksgiving-yet November visit to California. It serves many purposes, this November visit: a flight to the sun, a look at how another country operates, a seasonal celebration and some serious cross generational bonding… Heathrow is already in Christmas mode: much in evidence in the smart high-end retail outlets are classy gifts, fine edibles and jolly Christmas stockings. Conscious that the next day and a...

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South west for winter: Day 7

Day 7: Fine weather for a final cruise Middlewich to Aqueduct Marina, Church Minshull, 6½ miles, 1 lock It was Thursday morning when Cleddau cruised westwards away from Middlewich. This canal length (Wardle Lock at the eastern end, Barbridge Junction at the west), is about 10 miles in total, with four locks. It connects the Trent and Mersey Canal at Middlewich with the Shropshire Union Canal, which runs between Wolverhampton and Ellesmere Port, north of Chester. On a still and...

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South west for winter: Day 6

Day 6: Not speeding on a blustery day Wheelock to Middlewich, 6¼ miles, 6 locks Was Wheelock damned with faint praise in the previous post? In her search for items of interest in Wheelock Boatwif overlooked the very obvious: Barchetta  .     The old transhipment building on Wheelock Wharf     is now occupied by a fine Italian restaurant which serves simple pastas and pizzas between 5 and 7pm but offers a more extensive menu for evening diners. Despite passing it...

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South west for winter: Day 5

Day 5: Leaf drop day Hassall Green to Wheelock: 2 miles, 10 locks Away, away from the noise! The M6 is a constant presence at Hassall Green: when inside the boat cabin the traffic roar is just a faint and indistinct background sound, but outside the noise is inescapable. Down through Lock 57,    with just a wistful last look at what had been (until about four years ago) a delightful day and evening refreshment stop.  Locks 58 (a pair)...

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South west for winter: Day 4

Day 4: A numbers sort of day… Red Bull Services to Hassall Green, 4¼ miles, 13 locks Lock 44 lay directly ahead this morning.     It has a partner lock beside it. Between Kidsgrove (Lock 41) and Wheelock (Lock 66) many of the locks are paired side by side and during busy periods it is not uncommon to find both locks in a pair in use, one boat ascending, one descending. Today though, on a Monday in term time, boating...

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South west for winter: Day 3

Day 3: A gentle sort of day Biddulph Aqueduct to Red Bull Services Visitor Moorings, 6½ miles, 4 locks Not every morning needs to start with an engine being teased into life, ready for onward motion… Jaq, equipped with a Nicholson Guide, pen and coffee, arrived from nb Valerie, seeking local knowledge.     The combined efforts of three brains, three maps (her Nicholson’s, a much-thumbed Geo Cheshire Ring chart and the digital Waterway Routes) aided a bridge by bridge discussion...

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South west for winter: Day 2

Day 2: Downhill, on a dampish sort of day Bosley to Biddulph Aqueduct, 3¼ miles, 12 locks Rain-streaked windows at 8am is not the inspiring sight you want to see as you contemplate working a flight of locks. Via 12 locks the Bosley Flight on the Macclesfield Canal   lifts the canal 118 feet in just over a mile.  (View from the Top Lock). Working the locks requires muscle power and leg work from lock wielders, patience and accuracy from...

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