Monday, 25 February 2013

A Cruising Day

Yesterday we walked the mile and a half back into Marple and had lunch at the Ring o'Bells. As usual the meal was excellent.

The big freeze hasn't materialised so today we cruised back to Gurnett. I've got more chemo this week so we'll need the car and Gurnett is a good spot to park it. We stopped off at Higher Poynton for lunch and walked down to the recycling centre to get rid of the used engine oil from the engine service Roger did the other day. Oil disposal is a major issue on the canals with places to get rid of it being few and far between.

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Forecasters were wrong AGAIN!

Yesterday, with the weather forecasters predicting another big freeze last night,  we decided we'd better go to Marple and fill the water tank. It's only about a mile away from where we're currently moored and was a nice short cruise in the sunshine. While Roger filled the tank I nipped into Marple town to refill the cupboards. It showed how out of condition I've become over the past couple of months as the slog back up the hill pulling a full shopping trolley had me absolutely knackered. Normally it would hardly have raised my pulse. We turned round at the junction and returned to our spot opposite the deer park where we've been joined by another two boats.

This morning we expected to be frozen in but the temperature hadn't even dropped below freezing overnight. If we'd known that, we'd have gone on to Bugsworth yesterday. Never mind, we'll stay here for a while longer, it's quiet and the dog walkers are well behaved hence the towpath is both poo and litter free.

This afternoon I decided I'd have to start trying to build up my stamina so we went for a long walk. Just after we set off it started snowing. It wasn't much but over on the hills towards New Mills it was sticking and the puddles in the fields were frozen.

We passed some lovely houses. This one was quite modest compared to some of the others!

It didn't feel very cold but there were icicles hanging in this tree.

We walked in a circle going towards High Lane and ended up at Ridge End at The Romper pub (now for sale) then cut across the back of the deer field back to the boat. Total distance was just over 3 miles, not bad to start with and hopefully I'll soon be back to walking our normal 5+ miles. Chico really enjoyed himself too.

I saw an advert for a porthole for dogs on the internet. If we could retro fit one in the boat Chico could watch the fish

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Frozen In

When we woke up this morning the canal was frozen right across and the ice was about 1cm thick!

It was another lovely sunny day so we walked into Poynton to do some shopping. It's only 1.5 miles and didn't take us very long to get there. There's a large Waitrose in Poynton that has this mural outside.

We gave Waitrose a miss (too expensive) and popped into Asda before going to the Farmer's Arms for lunch.

By the time we got back to the boat the ice had almost gone and then a few boats went past breaking up any remaining ice. It was too sunny to sit indoors so we decided to cast off and carried on to Lyme Park where we're now moored. It's a notorious mooring spot for lurkers but for once there are no other boats here.

It's a lovely spot, this is the view out of our windows tonight, complete with deer.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Another Glorious Day

The weather at the moment is certainly glorious! It was warm enough today to do without hats, scarves or gloves and we made the most of the sunshine by cruising slowly to Higher Poynton.

With views like this it's no wonder the Macclesfield Canal is so popular with boaters and walkers alike.

We're now moored at Higher Poynton, overlooking the playing fields. I don't particularly like mooring here but it was the only place we could find a space.

There are lots of passing walkers most of whom have dogs off the lead. Because they wander off oblivious to what their dogs are doing, there is dog muck all along the towpath. They don't seem to be too bothered about dropping litter either!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Spring Sunshine

It's been a gorgeous day. Blue skies and warm sunshine, although it was a bit parky in the shade.
I've not been very well for the past week so I'm ashamed to say we overstayed on the moorings at Gurnett but today I was well enough for us to move on.

To make the most of the sunshine I decided to drive while Roger stayed inside and played his guitar.  It's over 30 years since we first hired a boat and we've had our own boats for the past 7 years but in all that time I have NEVER turned the boat around. I'm not sure how this has happened as I share the driving with Roger and am a dab hand at driving through locks etc. When we left Gurnett this morning we decided to go to Bollington but we were facing the wrong way so had to go to the winding hole at Lyme Green to turn round. I could have shouted down to Roger to get him to come and turn us round but instead decided it was about time I did it myself. Now I can't understand why I've never done it before. I did a text book turn which reminded me of taking my driving test "turn the vehicle round using forward and reverse gears & try not to touch the kerbs". I took it slowly, didn't touch either bank and didn't need to use the bow thruster! Needless to say it was a brilliant confidence booster and I had a smile on my face for ages afterwards. And typically there was no-one around to see me do it.

Moorings in this section of the canal are few and far between as the Macclesfield Canal is in dire need of dredging, but after trying to get in at a few spots we finally managed it just before Bollington Wharf.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Coal Boat

It certainly looks like Spring has sprung. This morning was bright and sunny and for the first time this year the boat creaked and cracked as the shell expanded in the sun's heat.

At 9.15 the coal boat Alton arrived with our pre-ordered fuel delivery. We didn't need diesel or a pump-out but both these services are offered by Anne-Marie and Brian who are a life-line for boats moored out on the cut, away from marinas.

Anne-Marie seems to do most of the coal humping but still manages to make the boat look nice. Fresh flowers are always on the roof.

We refilled their coffee mugs before they set off. This trip they're accompanied by a student who is photographing their delivery round as part of her MSc.

Friday, 15 February 2013


This is the other side of the by-wash. It's normally barely a trickle but yesterday was a torrent. The level has dropped again overnight and it's stopped running again.

Spring is definitely on it's way. The Mallards are starting to pair up, the Canada Geese are back and the Snowdrops are starting to flower.  Soon be Summer.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Lots of Weather!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly our British weather changes. Yesterday it was positively Arctic. We had and inch of snow during the afternoon but then in the early evening this changed to rain which quickly melted all the snow. Overnight we had extremely strong winds and torrential rain which has raised the canal level by around 6". The by-wash opposite our mooring is now running at a fast pace when normally it's dry.

The towpath is also saturated and every time a cyclist goes past the boat gets splattered with mud. In typically British fashion today is warm & bright!

One good thing about bad weather is that I can quite happily stay indoors and get on with my hooky without feeling guilty. I've finally finished this coat for my granddaughter and will be starting the blanket later today. I just need to work out which variation of Granny Square I'm going to use.

Bad weather also means I have time for baking and I made these fruit bars yesterday afternoon. They're another variation on the flapjack theme and are absolutely delicious. If you'd like the recipe you can find it HERE

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Baking Day

We don't eat a lot of bread, usually only one or two loaves a week at the most, but I do bake it all myself. Today I decided to experiment and make a cinnamon & sultana loaf for toasting.
I made the main dough in the usual way. You can see how I do it HERE.

I left the dough to rise for the first time as usual

I used half to make a normal cob loaf but rolled the other half out on a floured surface into a rectangle about half an inch thick. I then brushed this with melted butter mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon.

I scattered sultanas all over it and rolled it up like a swiss roll, brushed some of the cinnamon butter over the top and sprinkled it with a bit of sugar.

I left them to rise again until doubled in size and then baked them side by side at Gas 8 for 25 mins

The cinnamon & sultana bread was very nice but it could have done with being a bit sweeter so next time I think I'll add sprinkle sugar over the dough before I roll it up.

It was also really nice toasted later.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

We're Free!

We've now left Macclesfield Marina and are free again. Well, as free as we can be for the next 6 months while I continue my chemo sessions in Manchester.

We're now moored on Gurnett Aqueduct and will stay here for the weekend before moving on.

I have to say it's wonderful to be back out on the cut. The evening bird song is lovely, the view is wonderful and even Chico is more relaxed.

I've been doing a lot of crochet while we've been stuck in the marina. I'm making a cardigan for my granddaughter which I'll show you when I finish it tomorrow and I've also made her a teddy.

This is the pattern I used  HERE but if you'd prefer to knit your teddy you can find that pattern HERE

My next project will be another blanket. This is what I've got in mind.

It's from a lovely fellow blogger who I've been following for a couple of years. If you're interested you can read her blog HERE It's also where I found the teddy pattern. I've just bought the yarn for the blanket from an excellent website COUNTRY CRAFTS They're very reasonably priced and the service has been excellent. With the demise of the local wool shop I'm sure more and more of us will have to resort to buying on line. It's not ideal as I prefer to feel the yarn and match the colours by eye but I've used Stylecraft Special DK before so I knew what I was getting.