I cannot resist one further post on the subject of our recent canal trip. Surprisingly, the most memorable night of the trip was the one that promised the least. Obliged to moor at the bottom of the Frankton flight in order … Continue reading →
11th October 2014 (a little delayed post due to O2’s 3G dead zone) As I write this we have been out from Overwater for just over a week and so far, for once, we have stuck to the schedule. Sunday to … Continue reading →
The weather has turned in the UK, neatly timed with our maiden voyage on the good ship Oakmere. This has been a long time coming – first seen at Overwater over a year ago, it has been an impatient wait to complete the share swap from our previous boat, Winthorpe.
It is a glorious boat with a dedicated engine room, something even the beloved admires. It also has traditional controls – engine speed is managed by a small brass wheel and forward/backward gears by a push-me/pull-you brass lever, not unlike the gearing on a 2CV :-) . I have used this system just once before on the Northwich Trader, Florence, so it was a challenge to exit the marina without any embarrassing collisions – mission accomplished.
The trip down to Nantwich was completed under blue skies but this morning Autumn has kicked-in with a vengeance. There are many good things about the new boat, best of all, the full width bed that pulls out from under the tug deck; when the wind and rain is attacking the cabin sides, it is just too tempting to hibernate. Next stop Wrenbury if we can ever be persuaded to emerge.
(Apologies to followers, I am only posting for the next two week due to the limited availability of a decent 3G signal).
In parallel with this blog I have another compulsive disorder called Blip. This is a mini-blogging site designed to encourage a post/photo per day. My written input is very limited, I struggle with a picture per day and sometimes I cheat … Continue reading →
Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime – I could write an extensive piece on the things I don’t like about cruising and cruise ships but it does have the occasional upside. We had been at sea for six days, crossing the Atlantic, when we set the early morning alarm to ensure we didn’t miss the entry into New York. Drawing back the cabin curtains we found ourselves easing up the Hudson to Pier 88. This dark September morning Manhattan shone like a jewel across the river; it was one of the most magical travel experiences I have ever encountered. It has to be the best way of arriving in the city.
When we left two days later nighttime was drawing in under thunderous skies – it is also a very impressive way of leaving New York.
From the same trip as the previous post, this is ‘Chocolate Charlie’ on his narrowboat, Mendip, moored near Preston Brook in the Spring of 1977. Charlie Atkins aquired his nickname from the cargo he carried for much of his working life – chocolate crumb from Ellesmere Port to the Cadbury’s factory at Bourneville, Birmingham.
This is another strong face which has endured a lifetime on the cut – it is deeply lined and reminds me of the poet, W H Auden:
Comrades, who when the sirens roar
From office, shop and factory pour,
‘Neath evening sky;
By cops directed to the fug
Of talkie-houses for a drug,
Or down canals to find a hug
Until you die.
W H Auden – A communist to others – 1932.
(I feel sure Charlie would have come up with something more cheerful).
In his final years Charlie also became a minor celebrity – the revival of the English canals sparked an interest in the dying breed of men who worked the system. He is also remembered in song:
These image are from the archive and show the lock keeper on the Rochdale Canal in the centre of Manchester in the Spring of 1977. Those gnarled, strong hands look as though they have endured a lifetime on the cut (Travel Theme: Strong & Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance).
In those days the Rochdale was still in private ownership and you were obliged to pay for the descent along the short stretch of canal which links the Ashton Canal with the Bridgewater at Castlefield. There was so much water flowing down the Rochdale that it cascaded over the back gates and made the process of emptying the lock a long, slow process. When I passed this way again in 2008 the lock keeper and the house adjacent to the top lock were gone but, the plumbing remained a problem.