Monday, 27 August 2012

Selsey for 2 weeks.

Leaving ‘Chance’ at Swanley marina we had a great journey home last Thursday.  We were hoping the Bank Holiday traffic would hold off, which it did, and we covered Nantwich to Selsey in 4 hours with no hold ups.  We’re now home for two weeks for James to see his specialist at St Richards Hospital in Chichester and to attend a couple of special events. 

Selsey held its annual Carnival this Bank Holiday weekend and we found ourselves helping rather than watching.  Neil, a friend and local business man, had a float in the carnival procession and asked us if we would help distribute leaflets and sweets to the crowds.

The Carnival procession took place yesterday and it was a great day for it – the sun was so hot at first we were slapping on sun tan lotion.  The turnout of floats was brilliant, both in number and presentation. Here are just a few in preparation before the start:-


1st Selsey Scouts.


Selsey Operatic Society.


Here we are.  Neil’s company does a lot to support local charities and to draw peoples’ attention this year he asked his staff and friends to model these very fetching skin tight Lycra bodysuits!  We had our very own Catherine Jenkins lookalike (perched at her office computer) who sang Dolly Partons’ “Nine to Five” all along the two and a half mile route, and the float was equipped with smoke machine and confetti canons to keep us all amused.


The Cheer Leaders.


There was no cricket being played on this pitch this weekend.


As expected, a perfectly presented Royal Navy Float.


An RMS Titanic tribute float.


One of the leaflet and sweetie distributors!


No, we’re not on fire!


It was a fantastic turn out.  This was very much the case all along the route.


In the evening Neil very kindly treated the helpers to a meal at the pub and after we’d had our fill we returned to the cricket field where we enjoyed…………….


…………….a superb firework display.


Selsey has its own firework factory so we are always treated to a really good display.  We have three displays every year: one for Lifeboat Week, one for Carnival and one in the Autumn.


After the fireworks some of us had a few rides on the Funfair – here’s James and another James about to test their digestive systems!

It was a splendid and successful day for everyone and we all slept soundly in our beds last night.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Homeward bound

For the last few days we’ve been retracing our footsteps on our homeward journey (which will be Swanley Marina on the Llangollen Canal) where we will leave ‘Chance’ while we go back to Sussex for a couple of weeks.  Here are a few pics. of the last few days:-


Tunnels are always a little adventure – this one is at Preston Brook, which marks the end of the Bridgewater Canal and the beginning of the Trent and Mersey.


One of our moorings near bridge 211.  A lovely BBQ provided by Lyn and Chris on nb Niamh.


Our next mooring, arguably one of the finest on the canal system, was on the large “flash” to the south of bridge 181.  Acres of open, peaceful water with lovely views. The crew always seem to be resting!


Nibbles before dinner on board ‘Chance’.


Late evening on the “flash”.


Onward we go with nb ‘Niamh’ leading - the canal is getting very narrow in many places due to the reeds growing across.


Back at Middlewich we go back through The Wardle Canal (the shortest one at about 150feet long!)  Nb ‘Niamh’ is just entering Wardle Lock.

We travelled the whole length of the Middlewich Arm today and are now moored outside the Barbridge Inn.


A very busy place!  Nb ‘Niamh’ in the foreground on one side of the canal and ‘Chance’ on the pub moorings opposite– the only two places left.

As this is our last evening together we are all having dinner in the pub tonight.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Magic Manchester

One thing we didn’t mention was that James went to the Egyptian Mummy Portraits exhibition at the John Rylands Library in Deansgate yesterday.  Well worth a visit if your into that sort of thing.

We had a great evening yesterday with dinner in an Italian restaurant and then on to some bars and clubs.


James enjoying a drink in Canal Street.

Today we left Manchester but not before having breakfast in Weatherspoons  - they do a vegetarian version for James.

A quick shop at Tesco metro in Market Street and Carluccios in Picadilly train station and we were back at the boat and away by 10:30.


Leaving Castlefield.


Oscar on duty during the journey!


Watersmeeting – where the Bridgewater Canal divides towards Wigan (right) or Preston Brook (left) where we want to go.

After a predominately wet trip today we arrived at our mooring site at 2 o’clock in Lymm (lucky to get a space again!) to meet back up with Chris and Lyn.  As soon as we tied up the rain stopped and the sun came out.  We were joined by a Steven, a friend who lives locally, who we haven’t seen for a year.  Chris and Lyn came on board for afternoon drinks and soon after that Mark and Corinne of ‘Narrow Boat Build’ blog came to see us.  They knew we would be in Lymm today and we were delighted to meet them again.  After introductions where necessary we all had a great couple of hours.  


Corinne, Lyn, James, Mark, Chris and Steven.  


Corinne, Lyn, James, Chris, Oscar, Doug and Mark.

Later in the evening we enjoyed a very good Chinese takeaway on board ‘Chance’ with Lyn and Chris.  Another great end to the day.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Media City

Last night we started our night out with a drink at The Wharf, which has reopened in Castlefield after being closed for many years.  It has a great atmosphere, a nice outside terrace, where you can eat, and a restaurant upstairs.  We were really impressed with everything about this place and its only been open 6 weeks!


James enjoying his pint at The Wharf  - you can just see ‘Chance’ moored in the background on the right.

We went to Media City today which was a first for us.  A quick walk around the block with Oscar and we were able to take a photo of our mooring here in Castlefield.


‘Chance’ at Castlefield – and then it was off to Media City by tram.


The Imperial War Museum at Media City


James in front of the new BBC television centre.


The Lowry Centre……..


…….and back to Castlefield and The Wharf.  We are going out again tonight and making the most of this great city.  Firstly we’ll have a meal and then onto some bars.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Manchester for the weekend

Yesterday evening we all went to the Italian restaurant in Lymm for our first meal “out” this week.  The afternoon had been very hot and we spent most of it sunning ourselves on our respective rear decks and talking to the passers by.


Chris, Lyn and Doug by the Lymm village pond on our way to the ‘Italian’.


The same three ‘partners in crime’ enjoying the meal.  A really nice end to a lovely day.

Today Lyn and Chris on nb ‘Niamh’ stayed in Lymm for a chill-out weekend while we headed on up the Bridgewater Canal towards Manchester.  An uneventful three and a half hours got us to the outskirts of the city.  The Bridgewater Canal is deep and wide with solid edges on both sides so we could open ‘Chance’ up a bit on some of the stretches and made good progress.  Although the weather forecast was for heavy rain we had a completely dry run right through, even with some sunshine at times….


Although not football fans we had to take this picture of Old Trafford – the canal runs too close to get a better shot.


We pass Pomona Lock which takes you down onto the Manchester Ship Canal.  To make that passage you need to book in advance through the MSC authorities.


Anyway, on we go and the city centre gets closer – some of the lovely old warehouse buildings are still in need of some TLC.  On the right is an entrance to one of the old wharfs feeding the warehouses in the industrial heydays – there are many of these along this stretch.


Oscar was wild with enthusiasm(!) as we got closer to the city.  When we came to Manchester last year we never thought he would see it again – oh ye of little faith.


There are some wonderful old bridges on the way in (and some wonderful graffiti!)


Entry into the Castlefield Junction and the basin where we’ll stay  for a couple of days.  When we turned the corner and gently cruised into the basin we were amazed to find that the exact spot of our mooring last year was empty and waiting for us - and the sun came out as well.

After tying the boat up we took Oscar for a short walk then, leaving him on the boat, we took a walk up Deansgate  for lunch at Pesto, where the rain stayed off just long enough for us to eat outside.  It rained gently for about an hour, which was very welcome, as it has been so humid today. It is now dry and very pleasant – just right for a evening out “on the town”.


Doug enjoying our al fresco meal at Pesto in Deansgate (highly recommended).  The architectural gem of the John Rylands Library building in the background.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Two days to Lymm.

We started our journey yesterday in very high winds.  Normally a a bit of a killer to narrow boating, especially where locks are to be negotiated – but we had no locks so that was a bonus!


The crew was quickly set to work at splicing a repair to the rope which holds the rear fenders on.  He’s a dab hand with a Fid! (the name of the tool you use to splice ropes).


Our pretty route along the Trent and Mersey Canal is broken occasionally with a bit of industry – this time it’s the Brunner Mond chemical works.  Our trip, right through the middle of the complex, was soon over and we were back into more a scenic environment.


Down the cut from the modern chemical works we come across on the old Lion Salt Works which, thankfully, is now being saved from total collapse.  These works were the last to produce salt by the evaporation of brine in open pans and are now destined to become a working museum.


There are 3 tunnels on our route and yesterday we passed through two of them.  This is the entrance to the 2nd (Saltersford) tunnel which has time slots from each direction so that boats don’t meet in the middle!  We were lucky and could proceed without having to wait for the right time.

We reached our planned mooring after bridge 211 at about 1 o’clock, having enjoyed most of our trip without the forecasted rain.  The last hour had been slightly damp but………


……. it soon fell out of the sky after we’d moored up and were safely indoors!  Lyn and Chris on Nb Niamh joined us for dinner in the evening on Chance.

Today we started early to get through the Preston Brook Tunnel on the 9 o’clock timing.  However, no sooner had we got to bridge 211 than we were flagged down by a Canal Trust chap because a tree had come down across the waterway.  Part of it had been cut and shifted by someone whose boat it had fallen on(!) but the rest lay across our path.  This could have been a long job or Doug could “persuade ” the Canal Trust chap to let us through if we got some of the offending debris out of the way.  We were through in five minutes!!  With that little hiccup out of the way we also got to the tunnel on time as well.


Entering the Preston Brook Tunnel – a bit strange going under the houses.


The delightful leafy glades at Moore.

We stopped at Stockton Heath to do a bit of grocery shopping and called into Thorne Marine for an engine air filter and water and were back on our way towards Lymm where we are now moored for the day.  Our friends, Chris and Lyn on nb ‘Niamh’ left last night’s mooring later than we did and, unfortunately had to wait a while for the tree removing crew to do their job.


This is our mooring at Lymm this evening – the photo was taken from the rear deck of Chris and Lyn’s boat.  Luckily they made it through the tree problem and managed to get a mooring at this very busy spot.


Photo of the tree removal operation that closed the Bridgewater canal courtesy of Chris and Lyn (who had the forethought to take one!)