I’m back in Suffolk for a few days while Eric stays on the boat ploughing on with the wiring, he assures me it’s almost complete. What do I miss most about this beautiful part of the country? My friends, the seaside and gardening, so I have enjoyed two glorious days.
It wasn’t quite bikini weather, more like keep the thermals on, but it was sunny. Aldeburgh was beautiful as always. The sea is brown and murky from the North Sea shipping lanes but the pebbles were crunchy underfoot and the Victorian houses desirable and unaffordable. Of course not that I took much notice, I was too busy catching up and eating cake with my best friend.
I don’t miss going to work these days but I did have some amazing colleagues, who will always remain friends whether we’re on the same pay roll or not. My visit coincided with their
team-meeting lunch out so I was included. And I think they chose the Maybush at Waldringfield deliberately for me thinking I might arrive by boat, sadly Firecrest isn’t really suited to the Deben Estury
After all that good food and company I did get out for an afternoons gardening although Heather is doing a great job without my help.
Two days just isn’t long enough to do all the things I want to do and see the people I miss. Although I hope I won’t feel the need to give Eric space to work on the boat again, there will be a next time. And to quote Arnie…..”I’ll be back…..”
Especially for Lawrence, one of our Braidbar friends as his boat Elizabeth Ann was launched today.
Lovely looking boat, Lawrence, some great design features, an exciting few months ahead as the Braidbar team work their magic. Thanks for asking us to share your special day. It bought back happy memories of our launch.
Ok so I maybe I am a bit to blame but I got myself well and truly caught out today, stranded on the wrong side of the canal while Eric cruised away without me.
Being bank holiday Monday the canal was the busiest we’ve seen. We set off nice and early from Bugsworth back along the Peak Forest Canal. I knew there was a boat behind us but obviously as we got to the swing bridge first I was the one to open it. And being a kind person I waved the following boat through, and the next and the next. In all 7 boats went through before I was able to close the bridge, and Eric, not realising I’d got stuck, had cruised all the way to New Mills before he pulled over to wait for me, Good job I can walk faster than a narrowboat and it was only a mile further on. Of course the up side of playing narrowboat leap frog is that we were no longer the first in the caravan and the following three bridges were opened for us.
Swing and lift bridges are typically found on farm land where it isn’t appropriate to have a proper bridge. You either need a windlass or a key to operate them and, unless you fancy swimming across the canal, you need to close them I order to get back onto the tow path.
We made it back to High Lane in time for a late lunch and the grey skies and rain of the bank holiday have lifted, ready for another interesting day tomorrow.
We made an early getaway for the bank holiday weekend to take advantage of the last of the dry weather for a few days. Travelling north this time.
Evening sunshine certainly brings out the best in a dark grey cloud.
We’ve moored up at Marple, by the golf course,
Looking straight towards the setting sun
I’ve been advised that the best views around were from the Bowstones. So once it stopped raining I donned my boots and set off up the hill and down the dale and back up the next hill more or less following the boundary of Lyme Park.
The Bowstones are two carved Saxon pillars that are believed to be the shafts of two stone crosses. Sadly although their history is legendary, they are dwarfed by the scenery around them.
Looking back towards the canal to the west and north it feels like the whole world is stretching out before you, I think to my left is Chester and the north wales mountains then as I span round to my right it takes in Liverpool Manchester Stockport and to the northern reaches of the Peak District. It wouldn’t surprise me if the mountains in the distance were the Lakeland fells but alas it is all too vast and hazy for me to capture in a photograph
Then to the east I could see out towards New Mills and beyond into the central Peak District
Along the way I stopped to chat
We’re back at our Braidbar Base and whilst we were filling up with water our favoured mooring spot in the wides was occupied by someone else, but no worries we’ve moved down a bit and now have this amazing view from the bow. And in the evening the sunshine makes it glow.
This Weekends cruise has brought us about 5 miles south to Bollington.
We came though here in March on our way to Macclesfield and I snapped a view from the canal. As we’re moored in almost the exact location I was able to go and have a look from below. This is one of those times when I am in absolute awe of the people that built the canals. We are moored up there on the aqueduct, and we’d never guess, and neither would the town below know it was a canal going over them.
A lot of the country has been enjoying blue skies all week but the clouds only dispersed on Friday here in Cheshire so Saturday was the first time we completely removed the cratch covers from the conservatory, I sat and drank pink fizz while Eric polished the portholes. Win win, I’d say.
Bollington has some pretty parks but Daisy’s on a lawn are hard to beat.
Just beyond Braidbar is an area know as the Wides. The canal channel only runs down one side and is a popular mooring spot, but you venture further out into the mere at your peril, for there be dragons and all manner of dangerous creatures. I think the only thing I haven’t seen yet is a crocodile. Maybe tomorrow.
But although it looks tranquil and idyllic, the geese seem to have other ideas and at this time of year they are fiercely territorial, they all look the same to me but they each seem to have found a soul mate and paired off to build their nests and do whatever geese do in the spring. It seems to me that attacking other geese and honking 24 hours a day. Ah well I guess I did choose to live on a boat so what can I expect.
This is ‘our’ goose, he likes to hang out outside our conservatory in the hope that I’ll feed him.
His missus is sitting on their nest on the far side.
I’ve seen the kingfisher flitting up and down several times but it’s a bit too far away to see it perched. And I reckon there must be perch in the water as well. In the evening we sit and watch the fish jumping for flies and there’s some whoppers out there.
Laurence came for lunch today, so did someone else from the foot prints left on the roof.
We set off from Braidbar for our weekend cruise aiming for Marple, but I spotted a pleasing view just before we arrived. Eric dutifully pulled over and we tied up. It was only then that I realised it was the identical spot where we had moored when we took the Braidbar hire boat out in 2014.
I could hear the cows but couldn’t see them until I went for a walk and saw they were housed in one of the sheds.
From our mooring here we can look right over to the sprawling conurbations of Stockport and Manchester.
And finally, we had an enjoyable afternoon on Thursday when we saw Jo bringing her newly launched hull into the yard at Braidbar. We remember that overwhelming sense of excitement seeing Firecrest for the first time in her raw naked state and and I wonder if we’ll ever loose that. It shouldn’t be too much longer before we’ve ticked all the boxes and can begin to travel freely.
It’s been a week of contentment, enjoying the peacefulness. Early mornings when it’s all still are magical. And so is the excitement of emerging from a bridge.
Or looking down into a valley, this is Bollington and when we stop here I’ll try and get a view looking up from the valley below.
On my walks I’ve seen a pair of greater spotted woodpeckers and a cormerant to add to my new bird spotting hobby.