Macclesfield Treacle Market

Macclesfield used to be known as Treacletown because of an accident centuries ago when a horse cart toppled over and spilt its cargo of treacle all over the cobbles. everywhere was sticky but the local poor quickly scooped up what they could and had a feast.

The treacle market is a monthly celebration of real good food and arty crafts

Macclesfield has a fascinating history,  We had to climb the 108 steps, which apparently where mentioned in the doomsday book. The legend is that if you can run up without getting out of breath you can make a wish and it will come true. I wish I were fitter.

Once we got our breath back it was a lovely atmosphere.  The stalls were set around the 14th century church, st Michels,

And the Butter Market town hall

There was loads to see

Packed in like kippers

It was a glorious warm day

With buskers and entertainment

I’m not sure this stall held only local specialities

If we go back next month I must remember not to go shopping the day before cause there really was an abundance of delicious produce to buy. including sticky treacle pudding.

As we’re discovering when you think of places to visit in England, Macclesfield might not be your number one choice but it really has a lot of character and a proud history. On 13th April, they are holding the potato riot re enactment and feast. See you there?


Weekend wanderings

Please forgive the lack of posts for a whole week. I’m just too busy enjoying myself and Eric’s too busy working…… Oh and at long last, the sun’s been shining.

At least I know Eric hasn’t been off cruising without me as he’s was still hemmed in by 2 other Braidbar boats, the Mary Sunley which is the community boat, Sunflower and Trading Posts day hire boat.

I had a week in the Lakes eating cake, playing scrabble, dodging the snow and counting lambs. Sadly non of the lambs were in within photo range. But once I got back to Firecrest, the sun emerged and so did the wildlife.

Once Sunflower was taken back into the yard, the swans were able to come and say hello

We set off for a cruise downstream This weekend, along with all the other boaters enjoying the sunshine and came across this sight, at first I thought it was a sculpture.

But then as we cruised past, we realised it was a very confident heron, not at all disturbed by our passing boat.

And we came across these Jacob Sheep that had escaped from their field and were enjoying the canal side vegatation

After a beautiful days cruise our mooring wasn’t the prettiest, but the sunset was still very pretty. More adventures planned for tomorrow.

Change of scene

I’m taking a few days away from the boat so that Eric can work without distraction. No photos but Braidbar have double breasted one of their boats in build against Firecrest which means until they move it Eric can’t go cruising. And I’ve arranged to have a week of rain so he won’t be tempted to go walking. I’m staying with Mum in the Lakes so I’m not too far from water as there is a river running through the garden. Pity it’s not suitable for narrowboats to moor in.

Sadly the rain has come with me so I’ve spent the afternoon on the sofa knitting up the wool that I bought from Wiseheart studio. And I’m making a shawl known as the hitchhiker.

Feeling more like summer than Spring

We woke to find the most perfect of days, the water was still and the geese were still sleeping off their late night shenanigans, even the dawn chorus didn’t disturb us. So we sat in the conservatory drinking in the tranquility with our morning cuppa.

Its been the first time we’ve rolled up the sides but the day just got warmer and I sat and basked as Eric got on with the ‘wiring’ although he did keep coming to join me.

The waterfowl didnt miss the opportunity to come looking for food but soon went to pick on the walkers who are more gullible than the boaters

The sky stayed blue until the sun went down

What’s been interesting for us as new boat owners is that the heating hasn’t come on at all all day, even now as I’m writing this at 9pm. This all bodes well for a really economic boat.

Wet felting workshop

“… do know there’s one place left on Sunday’s workshop, don’t you……” Well it would have been rude not to take it wouldn’t it….so having established that I didn’t need to take any equipement other than myself, I ventured forth to learn how to “wet felt”.

Broadly speaking, felting is a textile process of matting and compressing fibres together to make a dense fabric. It’s a technique that’s been used for millennia and of course it is commercially and economically manufactured now. So hand made felt is considered an art form which can be both practical or decorative. And the nice thing about it, is that it’s not difficult so ideal for a beginners workshop.

(And yes there is a dry felting technique, it’s called needle felting and in my opinion is a lot harder)

Everything at Wiseheart studio starts with home made cake and today was no different, Annie kept us well fuelled throughout the day.  Kate had everything prepared for us to make our first piece of felt and talked us through the process, within the hour we’d made two beautiful flowers.

Kate showed us how to layer the fibres, add highlights of colour and sparkle, and how much water and soap is needed.

Having encouraged the fibres to ‘stick’ together we then had to agitate them to compress and shrink them into a dense strong fabric by rolling the fibre mat up in a sushi roll mat, (I’m not sure sushi rolls were available when felt was first made but never mind)

I’ll embellish my ‘Derbyshire dale’ with some embroidery once it’s dry.

I had enough time to play with a few more colours and made a small piece of fabric that I can use later, probably to make a book cover.

It was a brilliant workshop and just to add the icing to the cake we were given a goodie bag full of fibre to encourage us to do more felting at home.

A week of visitors

We thought that Bugsworth Basin would give us the opportunity to make really good progress with the dreaded wiring, and to a certain extent we have. But oh boy have we had a good week here. We’ve made so many friends that poor Eric has had to keep his work area neat and tidy as we’ve kept inviting people to look at the boat.

I’ve managed a few nice photos of the inside of the boat, particularly the saloon and conservatory.

and while I was doing the vacuuming indoors Eric set to with the mop and bucket.

We met up with a local couple who drive an electric car and of course we had to compare our batteries. After a short cruise we agreed that the one thing we had in common was that no one can hear us coming.

We spent a day with Ian and Joy whose electric boat is due to be completed soon, and as both their boat and ours use the same motor, they were encouraged to see and hear how pleasant it is to cruise an electric boat.

On Friday, family came for the day, and as they have been listening to us talking about our boat for the past  5 or so years, it was a real pleasure to show off Firecrest and a reality at last.

And finally having imposed myself upon Wiseheart Studio’s hospitality all week, I thought it would be nice to invite Kate Annie and Martyn to see the boat. It was the first time we have sat in the conservatory in the evening and it certainly won’t be the last, the only thing I’d forgotten, was to get in a bottle of ‘chilled white’. Although I don’t think anyone minded and I suspect that Kate Annie and Martyn were as impressed with Firecrest as I have been with Wiseheart studio.

I wish I’d thought to take snaps of all our visitors, we’ve had more smiles on board than a school photographer gets to see.





Bird life

Leaving the Canada geese behind, I was on my way to … Well my second home for the week, Wiseheart Studio for more knit and natter and for a change it was gloriously warm and sunny. The bird life was out in force. I never realised just how many Robins there are hopping about. I guess we’re all familiar with the single one that’s made its teritory in our own back garden but once you start walking through the the countryside with no physical garden boundaries it felt like a Robin invasion was taking place, not that I’m complaining, they have a very sweet song. Funny how I’d never considered how many Robins there are.

And I confess to getting very excited when I saw this little gem flitting amongst some ivy. But alas, it’s a Goldcrest not a Firecrest. An easy way to spot the difference is that firecrests have a white band above their eyes. They are have a paler belly.

And finally I heard this fella, before I saw it. It’s a Nuthatch. They are quite a big little bird almost like a small woodpecker. There is a footbridge that I use on my daily walk and it elevates me to the top of the tree height so it’s interesting to view the wildlife from a different angle.

Sadly I can’t take credit for any of these photos but have to thank mr Google for them.

Of course I shouldn’t leave without sharing another photo from Wiseheart as I have enjoyed a fair bit of knitting and spinning in their company.




Bugsworth Basin

Bugsworth Baisin is the head of the navigation from Buxworth to Dukinfield on the 14 mile Peak Forest Canal.

 Built in the late 1790’s for the transportation of limestone and gritstone from the higher quarries. It became a hub for the preparation of lime in the 19 kilns and the import of other goods for the local mills and businesses to and from Manchester. At one point over 600 tonnes of limestone was passing through the basin every day and it was the largest inland port in England, and all with horse drawn barges. It was closed in 1927 and fell into disrepair. Thankfully a dedicated team from the Inland Waterways Protection Society set about restoring what was left in 1968 and the basin was opened for navigation again in 2005. The Bugsworth Basin Heritage Trust continues to maintain and improve the facilities and environment for both those on the water and the land.

This is where we are moored. The arches are the remains of one of the buildings

Warm welcomes

We’ve been welcomed with open arms here and so enjoyed this area that we’ve asked permission to stay a bit longer. Bugsworth Basin can get crowded in the summer but at this time of year the rules are relaxed and common sense and a donation prevail.

Erics been keeping busy while I’ve walked into Whaley Bridge most days.

My highlight being a fantastic wool shop, which is hardly the best way to describe the WiseheartStudio Run by Kate and Annie, Wiseheart Studio is an independent textile studio and yarn shop that feels more like being welcomed into someone’s front room than a business venture. Whilst the stock isn’t the most extensive, it is all special and so very tempting. Much of it from local independent spinners, dyers and artists which are displayed on the Welsh dresser, sideboards and the coffee tables. (And yes I did buy some, if only to make Eric a better wooly hat) The comfy sofa is draped with crocheted blankets and the walls adorned with local artwork Homemade cake is served on an assortment of China plates, and there are knit and natter groups running most days. And upstairs is the Pear Tree cafe which is equally inviting. I can see me wanting to return here frequently.

The Basin has a warden called Pavlo who has taken under his wing. There’s a shallow area in one of the winding points and we managed to run aground. Pavlo came to our rescue and helped pull us off with his own boat. We were mightily embarrassed but Pavlo and his mate Mark were brilliant and reassured us that they have to pull someone off at least once a month. I made them cake to say thankyou, and then Pavlo who keeps chickens gave us some freshly laid eggs. Yet more kindness

I’ve been taking advantage of the space here at Bugsworth and having some ‘driving lessons’ I’m still very unsure of myself when it comes to steering a 60 foot boat, but everyone assures me this time next year I’ll wonder what all the fuss was about,min the mean time I still suggest you give me a wide berth.

And finally today’s weather report, more rain, more mud and even some snow. But I’m hoping for sun tomorrow.


All boaters suffer with condensation at some point and we’re no different. Most of the boat is ok, we’re both well ventilated and well insulated, but the ‘conservatory’ at the bow has a lot of exposed metal and doesn’t have the double glazing that the rest of the boat has. In the mornings I can usually wring out two mopping up cloths before I give up. All gadgets and gizmo’s have to earn their right to storage space on the boat and we’d decided not to bring our trusty Karcha window vac with us. But enough was enough and as luck would have it Tesco had just one left reduced down from £39 to £14 so it was a bit of ano brainer. Ha, this morning the temperature had risen and not a drop of moisture to be seen. It seems that the threat of being sucked up was enough to beat the condensation into submission and the problem is solved.

I feel very British right now cause I am becoming obsessed with the weather. The early morning drizzle soon turned into heavy rain and as it didn’t show any signs of easing off I decided it was time for me to test out my gold plated waterproof trousers. I’m happy to report that I walked for over an hour and stayed as dry as the conservatory. I’m quite content trudging along in the rain, just so long as I can step around the puddles and there’s no mud.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring.