While plastered…

In mid-July Boatwif’s fractured right wrist brought Cleddau-cruising to an abrupt halt.

Incarcerated back in Bedfordshire in a self-inflicted lockdown Boatwif and the Captain reverted to gentle local walks. Crops had continued to grow,

    some had been harvested   and hay bales were on the move…    

A new footbridge now connects two local paths,     a plant beside the church’s north porch has sprouted eye-catching colour   while up in Kempston Wood the undergrowth has fallen flat, dying back, to regain vigour next spring…

In the garden the vine foliage provides comforting shade – and the grapes have swelled.

The country has been urged back to work; local pubs have created new outdoor spaces, this one employing a Sunday singer too.

Deprived of watery views various boating exploits along the Great Ouse from two years ago were recalled, first at Willington Lock and then at Great Barford.  A flat-bottom fishing platform bobbed at the base of the Willington weir     where two years ago parent swans were teaching youngsters how to climb the flow.  Great Barford,      scene of a towpath dinner with the Cal Guys in 2018, was busy with swimmers, kayakers and paddle boarders. 

Land-based the Captain devised another project. Keen on flags he sourced a flagpole, a flagpole holder and worked out how to mount them.

  Corrected   Success!

This sentiment, displayed on the covered terrace at Danish Camp, summarises perfectly the longing felt by socially hungry friendship groups: Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often

Two garden gatherings provided opportunity for some socially distanced chatter and an excuse to talk, to laugh – and to fly the boat bunting. Captain-cooked Welsh cakes required the Welsh dragon bunting, of course…

 

Then after nearly a month of left-hand only living, there were mutual cravings for a change of scene… To the boat, to the boat!

Up the M1, a satnav dispute endured about the route past Chesterfield and over the Peaks… The road passes an intriguing sign: Tideswell, Cathedral of the Peaks, must inspect it one day…

Never before had the marina car park appeared so full or there been so many unoccupied jetties… Had there been a mass convoy of narrowboats heading north into the Derbyshire hills or south down the Macclesfield Canal… ?

Cleddau has gained a new watch keeper, it seems. Halcyon Dawn’s owner caught this moment, a heron posed on the stern.

On Tuesday the Captain set to and swabbed ten months’ worth of dust and grime from Cleddau’s roof and starboard side.   It’s not a fast job…

To wash the port side the boat needed turning – and a short evening cruise to High Lane and back, aided by the Cheshire Three, provided the solution…    

Reversing back alongside the pontoon in calm and windless conditions was, for once, well – a breeze!

More washing and swabbing. Some polishing.

Then, early afternoon on Wednesday, the engine was fired into life. Cleddau was turned south and following a (tickover only) hire boat she chugged slowly to a shady spot opposite Lyme View Marina. The Cheshire hill country is very apparent here; a gentle uphill stroll involving a stud, stiles,  young beef cattle and some interesting farm buildings  certainly met the change of scene requirement…

Onwards. Here was Bridge 21 – remember being stuck here last September when a hefty portion of tree had blocked the bridge hole?   And look, the tree lies there still on the bank, a little hidden by grass now… 

A further three miles south is the little mill town of Bollington and right opposite Clarence Mill are three new mooring bollards, created after the major canal leak repair last winter.

In the heat wave it proved a mercifully cool and shady spot. But why was there a surveyor with a theodolite right outside the boat on Friday morning…?    Measurements are being taken regularly, is the answer, of the huge structure of Clarence Mill across the canal. The centre of the building has dropped by about an inch (25mm), the canal leak having undermined the front wharf side wall… For those who know the building the tower is being closely monitored too…

A Café Waterside breakfast

at Clarence Mill fuelled a morning’s walk (the towpath to Kerridge, a climb through fields towards the ridge, a slim-line stile,   a tree-lined track, stunning views back towards Adelphi Mill    and distant Manchester before a drop back to the towpath).

Then onwards, another three miles, past Kerridge, to arrive at Macclesfield.

The landscaped gardens at the new retirement apartments look a treat –     so beguiling were they that the opportunity to moor opposite on the usually occupied floating pontoons was nearly missed! 

So this trip’s southernmost destination is almost reached – there’ll be a walk later to join a socially distanced feast, overseen by Techno Son-in-Law /aka BBQ chef. Though not a towpath dinner, there’ll be some excellent garden grub…

Miles, including to and from the High Lane winding hole: 10

 

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3 Responses

  1. Kevin Too says:

    Oh Sue, such a nice flag pole, just a shame the flag is upside down
    https://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/resources/union-flag-faqs#:~:text=A.,Flag%20nearest%20the%20flag%20pole.

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