Sing out the old…

Christmas for the Cleddau crew was well and truly heralded by carols: two Carol Services back in Bedfordshire, outdoor community carol singing on Christmas Eve at Bollington in Cheshire,   CB-00   then after Christmas morning presents a 295 foot climb up to White Nancy   CB-02    to hear some of Bollington’s brass band play carols at midday.

        CB-16        CB-03

Then followed Christmas lunch…
It’s been a good year end to a very good year: reunions with friends various  and old schoolmates , a Spring week in Lincolnshire  , three trips to Pembrokeshire, four months afloat on Cleddau, a sea crossing across the Wash  , a Thanksgiving visit to Southern California  – and, unplanned on September 17th, a broken wrist!   Blog A01   (As for the wrist, recovery is progressing well, aided by sessions on this Primus machine at the Bedford Hand Therapy Clinic  CB-15 ).
Now the Cleddau crew are back afloat, braving chill temperatures, braced to complete the 2014 Summer Cruise, so abruptly curtailed by the Wrist Saga.
From home moorings at Victoria Pit at Higher Poynton  CB-14     it is a four mile lock-free cruise to the top, or northern terminus, of the Macclesfield Canal. Turn right there, join the Upper Peak Forest Canal and cruise on a further six miles to its terminus at Whaley Bridge – or take a left fork ¼ mile before the end and head up into Bugsworth Basin. That is the plan now – and that was the intention then, in September, just to complete a great summer of boating…
“How do you prepare for a winter cruise?” some may ask. Well, return bedding and towels to the boat (and bring along a fleece over-blanket too); refill the water tank; stock up on fresh food; check coal, kindling and log stocks (thanks for the latter to Techno Son-in-Law); check weather forecasts and, if necessary, raid the stocks of thermal long –sleeved vests at a convenient supermarket; light the fire; dig out the electric fan heater from under the front deck; put filled hot water bottles into the bed… then peel off clothing layers off as the cabin temperature rises…
It was a crisp and bright day on Sunday, good for a walk over the canal,  CB-05    on ice and frost, through mud and snow, up into Lyme Park. Here was real snow, (not Legoland California manufactured stuff!)   CB-06   The Cheshire Plain below seemed snow-free   CB-07   but the hillsides of East Cheshire, bordering on Derbyshire, were white covered. Couples, families and walking groups crowded the Lyme Park footpaths, there were shrieks of delight from the tobogganing slopes  CB-08   and an angular snow creature sat firmly in a snow field.  CB-09
Monday dawned colder, greyer, the canal covered in ice. This was no day for cruising. A mile or so away along the Middlewood Way is Jacksons’ Brickworks,   CB-11    a once industrial site now managed for wildlife conservation. All life here must be in hibernation – or have emigrated. It’s a frozen world   CB-12  and after a hot fruit punch at the canal-side Trading Post the Cleddau crew retreated back on board.  CB-13
Will Tuesday be another ‘floating cottage, ideally placed for winter walks’ sort of day – or will it be possible to do some motoring through water? Only time and a morning weather assessment will tell…

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