Friday, 30 August 2013

The Scarborough Flyer flies past

At 9.15 this morning the Scarborough Flyer steam train crossed the bridge just behind where we are moored.

We heard it coming long before we saw it and it was a wonderful sight with the steam billowing out.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Quick Update

There's not a lot happening here at the moment. We've been clearing out our house ready for when we finally get a completion date. We accepted an offer on it almost 4 months ago and expected a quick completion as the new owners we eager to move in, but then their sale fell through so it all came to a complete stand-still until they managed to get a new buyer.

When we haven't been doing that we've been catching up with family and friends, making the most of the car before we finally get rid of it. Once we're free of the house we won't need a car. We don't fancy having to keep moving it with us as we travel around and it's actually cheaper to hire one as and when we need it than to tax and insure it and store it with a relative.

One job I've been meaning to do for ages was to black and polish the fire. It didn't get done last year and the fire was looking a bit neglected.

This polish is easy to use and doesn't smell. You just rub it on with a damp cloth and then wipe off any excess with a dry cloth.

It only took 10 minutes to do 2 coats.

If I'd known it would make such a difference, I'd have done it earlier. The fire looks like new again.

I've also been making jam. I made a batch of Blackberry Jelly but only have one jar left for us as I gave the rest away to friends. Now I want to make some more I haven't been able to find any decent blackberries so I made Apricot and Amaretto jam instead. It's lovely and I've stashed 2 jars away for us now before the rest get snaffled up by friends again. The bread baking is a regular chore as we never buy bread. The shop bought stuff is full of unnecessary ingredients and tastes like cotton wool. The only time we do buy it is if Roger wants some supermarket "cheapest" for fishing. He can roll it into bait balls whereas mine is too course textured to hold together.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Anson Engine Museum

Today we visited Anson Engine Museum at Poynton. We've been meaning to visit the museum for years but have never managed to time it right as it's only open at weekends and when we've been past in the boat it's always been closed.  We went by car and really enjoyed our visit. Lots of the engines were working and the smells and sounds were wonderful.

The first thing we saw was a "portable" generator, maybe just a little too large for a narrowboat?

If you want to read any of the blurb, just double click on the photo.

A brand new Bentley engine

As well as the working steam engines, there was also a craft display in the outside sheds.

Mushrooms growing on a log.

The blacksmiths works

complete with steam hammer

An early clocking-in machine

A printing press

And finally, one for the ladies....a beautiful quilt.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Up the Rochdale Nine

We left Castlefield late morning and had a reasonably easy passage up the Rochdale Nine. Our son and his girlfriend have come to stay for the weekend and James helped Roger work the locks which seemed easier than usual.

Katie had a go steering the boat.

Cute mooring mushrooms along the canal.

An "arty" shot of one of the bridges. I still haven't mastered my new camera but I'm having fun playing with it.

The only down-side of the trip was the state of the canal through Canal Street and under Piccadilly. The water was full of discarded condoms and there were rent boys "working" beside lock 85.  The CCTV is obviously not working and if they hadn't moved on when we got into the lock I would have called the police.  I'm not homophobic but this was just disgusting!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Astley Green Colliery Museum

On the way back to Boothstown on Sunday we stopped off in Astley Green for a lovely roast lunch in the Old Boathouse pub, followed by a trip to the Colliery Museum which is only a few hundred yards from the canal.

The pit closed in 1970 but the impressive pit headgear and winding house remain and are maintained by volunteers.

The steam winding gear is absolutely huge and in extremely good condition.

The Lodge was originally the pit manager's offices but now houses an excellent display of mining life.

The museum houses the largest collection of colliery engines in the country and there are hoppers and other railway items scattered around the site.

Some are on view but many are moth-balled, presumably for future restoration.

This wagon looked a bit past it to me, or maybe it's a pending project?

They also had a nice display of vintage cars. The yellow MG in the centre caught my eye.

If you're thinking of visiting the museum, they're only open between 1.30 - 5.00 on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Play Day

I was up quite early yesterday morning and so was this guy flying his microlight.

It was a noisy machine and he kept coming down low over the flash and canal and scared most of the wildfowl away so I gave up trying to watch and photograph anything and settled for coffee and toast and an episode of "Breaking Bad" instead. Have you seen this programme?  Last time he came to visit, my son gave me the past 5 series to catch up on and I have to say I'm hooked! I'm trying to limit myself to 2 episodes a day which I usually watch with my headphones plugged in while Roger plays his guitar or when he's outside fishing.

After lunch we took Chico for a walk around the flash.  There were some beautiful flowers and lots of fruit trees, although the apples aren't ripe enough to pick just yet.

If you're into foraging, there were lots of mushrooms peeping though the bark chippings.  They looked edible but as I'm allergic to mushrooms I wouldn't risk picking them.

This was the view from the other side of the shale pits.

We walked back along the towpath from Platt Bridge. It's locally known as the "yellow brick road" because it's made from imprinted concrete. It's part of the Route 55 cycle way and was very busy. Most of the cyclists slowed down and were friendly and polite, but you always get one lycra lout who thinks he's in the Tour de France!

There were lots of garden gates for Chico to have a sniff and a nosy. He once met a dog at a similar gate and he's never forgotten.

This is the towpath near our mooring.

It conveniently has compass points inlaid in the concrete which could be helpful if you need to set up a satellite dish.

While our evening meal was cooking (greek rabbit stew) I finally managed to set up the telescope which had been one of my birthday presents back in May.  It's amazing!  It can be used for watching wildlife or astronomy and the best thing is that it all packs into it's own backpack. Perfect kit for a boat.

Now that the microlight had gone, the wildfowl were back in abundance. There were swans, several herons standing in a group on the opposite shore, greylag geese, cormorants, great crested grebe, coots etc. etc.

We didn't have a spectacular sunset but the view was pretty good none-the-less