Boatwif Blog

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Down to Liverpool Docks

Melling to Salthouse Docks: 11.75 miles, 6 locks, 4 swing bridges, 3 tunnels “Where are yer going?” So often along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal that question has been asked – and when the reply is “Liverpool,” the response is always: “Oh, yer’ll lurve it there.” On Sunday there was a short distance move (of less than three miles) from Lydiat to Melling, the last safe place in the countryside before the urban sprawl of Liverpool begins. A long stretch of...

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Water Road past Wigan Pier

Blame the shopping list… if it hadn’t been for the shopping list Wednesday might have seemed less dismal and less wet… In heavy rain the Captain had cast off from the towpath just south of Astley Green and continued north along the Bridgewater Canal. It’s not easy to describe a landscape when it is viewed from under a rain hat and an umbrella – the canal is wide, with towpaths or footpaths on both sides. Often the land either side...

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Tunnels, bridges and curious structures

Billinge Green Flash to Vicars Hall Bridge (near Astley Green); 40 miles, 1 lock Once past Middlewich the northern Trent and Mersey Canal has a character hard to define – is it rural – or is it industrial? Cruise past the flashes, pass the Marbury Country Park near Anderton    and the wooded areas north of the Anderton Lift, spy in the month of May great spreads of bluebells,     sniff the sweet smell of wild garlic – and this is rural bliss....

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About turn

How could it be that the ideal mooring about a mile from Middlewich, not once, but twice, had to be given up last Wednesday…? Mid-afternoon the boat had been pulled in, the Captain had threaded the stern rope through the mooring ring and tied it off,     Boatwif was still holding the bow rope when the Captain’s mobile rang.       Not so unusual – but news was of the O word. 150 miles away OfSTED had given half a day’s notice of...

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Boaters’ inspiration

For a number of years Sue and Vic of nb No Problem  have been an inspiration to the Cleddau crew. Sue’s blog is informative about a wide range of boating-related topics. Her guide to the River Nene was a huge help when Cleddau made her first trip down the river to the Middle Levels and the Great Ouse. Last summer it was Sue in person on the River Wey who gave so much help and encouragement about moorings on the...

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Over and Under

Water – when land-based you turn on the tap, use the washing machine, have a shower, and maybe use a hose pipe. Easy.  A water meter or electricity bill may cause momentary thoughts about financial costs but generally speaking accessing water in the UK is easy. The climate produces regular rainfall and voila! Open the tap and out comes ‘liquid gold’… It’s a little bit trickier on a narrow boat though. Each craft has a water tank (in Cleddau’s case...

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Crawling like tortoise…

Months of planning, weeks of boat preparation, hours of baking     and a stash of winter clothing – that’s what it takes to get to the start line for a Cleddau summer cruise. “When will you start?” so many have asked. You start when you are ready – and Monday saw an unexpected repair (fan replacement unit) of the Webasto central heating system, the washing and drying of the winter dust covers at Cheshire Mum’s house and the Captain’s attendance via...

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Just rehearsin’

You don’t need to hear the Captain’s voice at this time of year to know what he’s thinking: it’s When can I run away to sea?  Really that’s shorthand for pining  to be being back afloat, on the boat, on canals and  rivers. Last week fortune smiled – and the carrying out of one land-based obligation allowed for some boat-time… While Cheshire Mum and Techno Son-in-law flew off to Switzerland to ride trains up, down and round mountains (someone’s choice of birthday...

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When not waiting…

There seems to have been a lot of waiting around recently: waiting for trains, for buses, for officials, at clinics, for deliveries, for rain to stop, for grass to dry, for paint to dry      (yes, seriously, for paint to dry…),     for carpet layers to arrive… But during this last week the waiting game has been punctuated by two rather special (though non-boaty) events. On Easter Saturday in Bedford the Easter Story was played out in pedestrian areas, on the High...

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Retrospection and anticipation

There’s been a Grand Tour. The Cleddau crew’s recent ‘Grand Tour’ involved a fair mileage across England and out to West Wales. It was not so of course for the fine young men of wealthy backgrounds in the eighteenth century, who would tour the cultural sights of France and Italy to broaden their minds. This isn’t to say that the minds of the Cleddau crew weren’t broadened during their recent Away Days. First though, it was to Worcestershire, where the...