Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Just in time!

Tuesday was nowhere near a wasted day.  Expecting the delivery of the new chairs, James stayed on the boat for the delivery while Doug visited the nearby YHA to do the washing.


After some confusion by the delivery driver that we were a business premises (and that narrow boats weren’t on his list of delivery destinations) the said chairs arrived during the afternoon and we set to with their assembly.


Half way through the job and one chair looking good.


Second half of the job ……..


……. and we were soon enjoying the comfort that we’ve been accustomed to.  We should say that the chairs were purchased from the same supplier (Oriental Leather) as we used before.  They have been excellent in their service and remarkably good value.  The first chairs were 3 years old and still in good condition but the new ones (same model but uprated) are very nice indeed (and the leather matches exactly with the L-shaped sofa).


To complete a good day we had a visit from friend Justin, who we first met during our week in Sitges earlier in the year.  It was first class to see him again and we had much to chat about.  Thanks for bringing a bottle of wine to aid our dwindling supplies Justin!


As none of us had eaten much during the day we all walked the few hundred yards to The Wharf where we enjoyed a very good meal.  A point of interest here is that this ‘establishment’ was used for the inside shots of  the ground breaking series “Queer as Folk”. (it’s changed a bit since those days Justin says).


It was another quick walk back to “Chance” for a final nightcap before Justin left.  The giant Beetham Tower, still dominating everything around it,  looks good at night.

It was a grand day – with the chairs arriving “just in” time for Justin’s visit.  Thanks for your company, and your amazing and very entertaining humour mate, it was good to see you.  Catch up soon!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

“Tales from the City”

Sunday was shopping day with vast quantities of foodstuffs being lugged from Aldi in Manchester’s Arndale Centre. After that it was on to some toilet maintenance (yes, they occasionally need attention like most things boaty) in the form of a new non return valve – it’s not very nice to get your ‘black water’ retuned to you!


The day ended rather well when Les and Chris came aboard for drinks and, when someone suggested a takeaway, we all settled down to a nice Chinese meal.

On Monday we took the Metrolink to Media City where we picked up a few bargains from the Lowery outlet centre,  ……..



…… then walked around a bit and found the Blue Peter garden (with Petra’s bust on a plinth in the corner).


Most of this very futuristic looking complex is now complete and looks pretty good. Viewed from the BBC side of the water the Lowery Theatre is left of centre and the Imperial War Museum, with its odd shaped tower, on the right.


Crossing the footbridge and looking back the BBC Centre dominates to the left – and it’s all is very clean and tidy.


A quick trip up the tower of the Imperial War Museum (£1.80 for the two of us) to view the now finished Coronation Street set was an immediate disappointment for Doug as they’ve  built a gigantic brick wall to stop the likes of us doing just that!


From the other side of the tower however, on clear day, you get a good view of the centre of Manchester and the Pennines beyond.


The landscaping has just been completed and the approach to the ‘beeb’ will be quite impressive when the grass and trees grow a bit more.


We walked the two miles from Media City to the Trafford Centre where we had some late lunch at Pesto.  It’s all very “Las Vegas”, with a great tonnage of marble and painted ceilings with the outlook from our table a pleasure.


The Great Hall has, as its centrepiece, a mock up of a ship’s bridge and foredeck (including swimming pool) and a star studded night sky for the ceiling.  You can sit and watch TV if you want!  Although it’s all very impressive, we didn’t want to watch TV and had really just come for the walk and some lunch.


Deciding not to walk back, we got the bus from the equally impressive bus station at the Trafford Centre back to “Chance” in Castlefield basin and a well deserved cup of tea.  The skies look very threatening a good deal of the time at the moment but we’ve had remarkably little rain (for Manchester!).  We hope it will continue.


In the evening we had a visit from blog reader Dave, who travelled from his home in Liverpool (with a bottle of wine!) for a very enjoyable evening together. It was good to meet you at last Dave.  Our other swivel chair found a new home at 11 o’ clock last night (!), after Dave had left, and we are now awaiting delivery of the two new ones.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A few days “Summer Hols” in Manchester.

As planned, we left Lymm at 6:00 yesterday morning (as silently as possible).  Not sure whether, as we passed by, we woke Ian and Irene on nb “Free Spirit” but we see from their blog that they very quickly (and sensibly) took up our place in the centre of Lymm.


Our early start was given an extra boost as we were treated to a fantastic sun rise over Manchester.


There are a few very splendid and majestic buildings on the journey into Manchester and (apologies for showing it again!) the Linotype Works of 1897 is one of the most interesting.  It’s an old cotton warehouse with the most amazing details but sadly, the best side is now blocked from view by a new housing development.  


Adjacent to Sale bridge is the very inviting looking Kings Ransom pub with it’s floating barge extension.  At this time of the morning the staff were busy cleaning the glass around the barge in preparation for the crowds who descend on this popular eating and watering hole.


The two and a half mile dead straight section of canal through Sale seems never ending (on hot days you can see mirages in the distance!)  but once it’s over the junction of ‘Waters Meeting’ is soon reached.  Turn left and you’re on your way to Liverpool but our choice was to turn right for Manchester.  After another two and a half miles, past the vast Man U stadium and Pomona Lock (which links the Bridegwater with the Manchester Ship Canal)  …….


……. and under the little, and intriguingly named, Throstle Nest Bridge (where Doug is having a little daydream!) we’re almost there.


The city’s giant Beetham Tower dominates the skyline as we pass the the Metrolink tramline on its way to Eccles, Salford Quays and Media City.


Don’t laugh but we get excited when we reach this point, where the lovely, and newly painted, wrought iron bridges and old warehouses tell us that Castlefield Junction is just round the corner …….. 


…….. and our favourite mooring is waiting for us! Well almost. In fact, blog reader Andy on his wide beam boat “Just Chillin’” was in ‘our’ space but, after a very nice meeting with him, he was scheduled to leave in the afternoon and we moved into his space, with “Eleventh Heaven” behind us.  We’ve also had our first meeting with fellow bloggers Ray and Diane on nb “Ferndale” who are moored in the basin as well.


Thank goodness for Facebook!  As soon as Doug mentioned that we’d arrived in Manchester we had a reply from Alison (we first met in Soho last year) who was also in the city with her friend Viv.  As they were literally just round the corner they were soon on board “Chance” and enjoying a glass of wine with us.


After they’d been to see Ant and Dec on tour with the ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ they met us in G-A-Y in Canal Street for a few drinks on the roof top terrace. (After several attempts by intoxicated punters to take a photo of the four of us, the best turned out to be this one with James and his eyes shut!)

Well, after only a few hours, this great city is trying to ‘out-weird us’ with bloggers, readers and friends old and new – and a 2 o’ clock return from a great evening out with Alison and Viv.  The bubbly and lovely Viv we hope very much to see again and Alison’s wasn’t our only Facebook reply so we should have a great time over the next few days!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Social whirl in Lymm.

Yesterday evening (Wednesday) we had dinner with Les and Chris on “Eleventh Heaven” ………


…………  the sunset was stupendous ……..


…… and so was the fish stew!  (Les was asked to get a bit closer for this shot – so she did. )


This mornings’ journey started dry and, having moored just outside Moore, it wasn’t long before we were passing through this delightful village with its’ quaint character houses with big chimneys ……..


……… and its peaceful tree lined canal ……..


…… and sturdy brick bridges.


Both “Eleventh Heaven” and “Chance” were in need of ‘black water’ pump outs so we stopped at Thorne Marine in Stockton Heath.  What appears to be a very ad hoc arrangement was actually an excellent service.  Apart from the downpour throughout the whole event (and having to turn “Chance” round because the pipe wouldn’t reach!) all went well and we continued our journey to todays’ moorings in Lymm.


Pauline and Neil popped in to see us mid afternoon – travelling by car rather than arriving on nb “Waterlily” this time.  Bringing wonderful home-baked scones with clotted cream and jam, we had a delightful unplanned cream tea ……..


……. before they made off with one of our chairs!


Actually, we’re about to replace the swivel chairs with new ones and they’re taking one for their boat.  Here we are, waiting for Pauline to bring the car round. 


Back to the boat and friends Lyn and Chris (from nb “Niamh”)arrived and, like Pauline and Neil travelled by car, for an  afternoon get together.  As a delightful surprise addition to our little group, Ian and Irene on nb “Free Spirit” called in for a chat and a cuppa.  They’d  had quite a journey today as they’d come all the way from the top of Manchester’s ‘Rochdale Nine’ flight of locks, arriving in Lymm mid afternoon.  Ian, Irene, Lyn, Chris and James enjoying a glass of wine and not the cuppa that Ian and Irene had expected. (and there’s so much more room with only one chair!)


We ended our day by enjoying supper (from Lymm’s very good fish and chip shop) with Lyn and Chris before they returned home.

We’ve had a terrific day in Lymm today – delighted that so many friends travelled to see us. We shall sleep well tonight ready for a very early start tomorrow with nb “Eleventh Heaven”.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A Three Tunnel Day

The weather forecast for today was to be relatively good but the skies looked a bit full as we left the flashes at 8:30 this morning.


This was our morning awakening view – things couldn’t be much better really


Not far along (and we can’t remember quite where) we came across a new marina under construction.  For ‘non boaters’ this is what it looks like without any water.  The pontoons are incredibly long in some case – maybe six or seven boats long.  It’ll almost be like linear mooring!


Travelling through the village of Broken Cross, and past its canal side pub of the same name, ……..


…….. we soon passed through the middle of the giant Brunner Mond chemical works.  As an engineer James got a bit of a kick as we pass this conglomeration of steel and belching steam.  The threatening sky is about to deliver its payload ………


…… and, as usual, James gets left alone to steer the boat!


We negotiated three tunnels in fairly quick succession just after passing through Anderton. For non-tunnel geeks once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all but here goes anyway:  This is the slightly wiggly Barton Tunnel …… 


…… this is the really wiggly Saltersford Tunnel, which can only be negotiated at specific times each hour (so you don’t have the embarrassment of having to reverse when a boat is coming the other way) ……


……. and this is the Preston Brook Tunnel (also timed) and, when you get to the other end, you’re on the Bridgwater Canal.  The Bridgwater is deep and wide and hard edged on both sides so it provides easy and speedy cruising.


So easy and speedy in fact that we soon reach our evenings destination and moor up just outside Moore.  So as not to waste the afternoon, Chris decided that Doug could do with some splicing and general rope-work tuition and they both enjoyed an hour or two in the cratch of “Eleventh Heaven”.


After that Chris got himself talked into a couple of jobs on “Chance” (!) before being able to relax for the rest of the day.

We’re all going to eat on board “Eleventh Heaven” this evening with Les providing the main course and Doug making desert.  James and Chris are definitely looking forward to it!