Boatwif Blog

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Time to go

A three night mooring at the Bridgewater Marina at Boothstown (on the Leigh Branch of the Bridgewater Canal) had been a very positive experience. On arrival the manager (Dave?) had pointed out which pontoon to tie up to with the words: “There it is, all ready for you, with electric hook up and water.” His tone was similar to that of a proud B&B owner who’d say, “Your room’s all ready for you, top of the stairs, fresh towels on...

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A new garden from an old…

Something had been going on at Worsley when Cleddau passed in 2019 en route to and from Liverpool – but what? Over time realisation dawned – perhaps the excavations weren’t for a new housing estate but part of the RHS Bridgewater Garden project,  a bold new venture for the Royal Horticultural Society co-funded by the Salford City Council and landowners Peel Group. On arrival at the Bridgewater Marina at Boothstown on Friday residents claimed that the newly opened garden was...

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Tales of the Unexpected

Middlewich (Trent and Mersey) to Boothstown (Leigh Branch): 43 miles, 3 tunnels, 1 lock Before leaving the teeming hordes of boats and people in Middlewich on Sunday there was a stroll to the towpath stretch above King’s Lock to view the floating traders.  Fairies and wizards     were in evidence – plus a periscope sextant   and plenty of cushions… There were songs of praise emanating from a Community Church in a garden opposite the old Middlewich Boat Centre and...

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Back to boating…

Home moorings to Middlewich: 37 miles, 48 locks Cleddau is heading south (down the Macc), then north (down the Trent and Mersey) then east and north again along the Bridgewater Canal. No new waters and no great adventures are planned, but all being well there may be a new terra firma location to visit… In previous years exciting watery trips (crossing the Ribble and the Wash, cruising down the tidal Severn, doing the tidal Thames) have been enjoyed alongside the...

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Feasts, treats and reunions

Of all the many Boris announcements these past umpteen months none was greeted with more enthusiasm than this one on June 28th this year: The 30-person limit on weddings will be removed in England from June 21, despite step four being delayed. That means there will be no numerical limit on either receptions or ceremonies – either indoors or outdoors. Instead, capacity limits will be the highest number of people venues can accommodate while still being Covid-secure. Yippee – WhatsApp...

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When you can’t help but read it

Conversation during childhood breakfasts was not encouraged: there were four girls to be got out of the door and dispatched on their way to school. There’s a lingering memory though of cereal packets and sauce bottles on the kitchen table that provided reading practice during those time-pressured meals. Is that the reason that words, either singly or in phrases, still tend to draw Boatwif’s eye? Canal and River Trust estimate that there are over 34,000 narrow boats on the UK...

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We thought you’d gone for good…!

“We thought you’d gone for good!” said a mooring neighbour at Victoria Pit the day after Cleddau had returned from her Round Britain Round the North West / North Midlands travels… Well, the boat had been gone for 42 nights… (Map 1 is the northern area covered, map 2 the southern area covered. Red arrows indicate outbound route from Vic Pit; blue arrows the inbound route from Stourport-on-Severn).      On Sunday evening about a dozen boats were moored at...

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Familiar places, familiar faces

Sometimes, however early you start, you are not ‘the early bird that gets the worm…’ There were lots of other boats moored between Barlaston and Wedgwood on Thursday evening, the majority with bows pointing northwards, towards Stoke-on-Trent. As the Captain untied the ropes at 0810 on Friday morning to head the quarter of a mile or so to Trentham Lock a big boat chuffed by. Cleddau cruised under Bridge 104 at Wedgwood – and all three of the boats that...

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As is customary…

While moored at Tixall Wide for a couple of days there were some customary things to be done…  A stroll through Great Haywood for instance. There are usually some decorative features in this well-cared for village. The Clifford Arms pub draws attention to its beer garden with crocheted strands suspended from the garden railings,    while further up the street the wicker baskets of two bicycles clamped to the walls of a cottage are bright with summer bloom. It was...

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Signposts ticked!

These final downhill miles of the Staffs and Worcs Canal have been completed in two hops, first from Penkridge to Stafford and then from Stafford to Tixall Wide, from where it is a 20 minute stroll beside a last watery mile to Great Haywood Junction. It was still half term week and there were many hire boats about. With the sunshine the holiday mode had set in; at Penkridge Lock two crew members (mother and teenage daughter) worked their locking...