Naked without waterproofs

Thursday 5th July: Bugsworth – Higher Poynton: 10.3 miles, 0 locks, 4 swing/lift bridges

Boating neighbours from last night were keen to demonstrate their cross-bed arrangement this morning – and since their boat had been a 2009 Crick Show (Milburn of Daventry) boat they were keen to show off its other features. Cleddau finally set off, cruising out of Bugsworth Basins, past Teapot Row and on towards where the good lifers keep “The Happy Pigs” – except the pigs are no longer there, but a pair of screeching peacocks are in residence.

A sharp right turn back onto the Peak Forest Canal, meeting there Sloe Gin. On espying the boat’s name yesterday the Captain had pronounced his own findings, back deck to back deck: “We found sloe vodka better, did some blind tastings.” (Some readers may have been participants!)

Cyclists and walkers and boaters all had energy in their greetings this morning: “I was wondering what that thing was in the sky,” said a female voice, pointing skywards at the sun… on her front deck a chap with bare chest and happy grin bent over, doing boat jobs – in the sunshine! A few days ago the Captain had mournfully uttered the words “A man needs some sunshine to feed his soul,” and now his soul could be fed. What elation not to be within arm’s reach of waterproof jackets and hats, not to have lower legs encased in gaiters.  Heads and torsos felt near naked without their customary waterproof shells! Boatwif’s soul was fed by the wide vistas, Kinder Scout (site of the 1932 Mass Trepass) and the Dark Peak. There was a canoeist at one point and the Captain’s retrieval of a boat whose stern had broken free. Familiar sights along this route give pleasure, Grandad’s Boat, the beautifully mown lawns of Furness Vale Marina, a heron preening, another scanning the water, hens in a canal side run, then the elegant bridge at Marple Junction.

  A couple of hours later Cleddau was tied up back at Higher Poynton against her pontoon.
             “Where have you been?”

“You went through that tunnel…?!”

“How many locks?” (*Stats fans can read an extract from the Captain’s log below).

Late afternoon there was time to drop into Macclesfield to see the Cheshire One. Bubbling and full of her Tuesday trip to a farm and the seaside (Wirral) there were tricks to be shown: a dog made from a pink balloon (her effort), and a penguin created by Techno Son-in-Law. What talent! Then came a special present for the Boatwif Granny: reading in Sunday’s blog of her admiration for a walker’s waterproof tent a purchase had been made – an all-engulfing navy blue poncho with hood, just right for steering duty in a rainstorm!

So the midsummer cruise has ended, a gloriously sunny day by mid-evening finished off with a thunderstorm and heavy rain. (Maybe that poncho will be in use sooner rather than later!)

*Extract from the Captain’s Log

Total distance: 85.68 miles. Total locks: 180  

10 moveable bridges; 40 small aqueducts or underbridges

14 tunnels.

Domestic Stats

Nights afloat:  24

BBQ / tow path dinners: 0

Use of front deck for refreshments /social occasions: 0

Totally dry cruising days: 3

Rainfall: considerable

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