Whatever the weather

We’ve had a whole years worth of weather today, and it all started when I got up to make an early morning cuppa and saw there was ethereal  mist rising from the canal so I threw on some clothes and rushed outside to take photos.

And then again this evening after tea, whilst I was sheltering inside from the snowstorm I realised the light had changed and there was a complete rainbow outside the boat, it even had a reflection.

We’ve had,warm sun, followed by rain, snow and gales during the day but I wasn’t venturing out to capture any of that for you.

 

Oh I do love to be beside the seaside

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…..”

 

An exciting day

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.

Stranded

Stranded

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.

Away for the Bank Holiday weekend

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

 

 

 

 

Bowstones

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

And frolic

New mooring

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.

Bollington Aqueduct

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.   

 

The Wides

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.

 

Battery Charging Day

Having had a cup of tea at 5:30 am because we woke early, come breakfast we had no 240V power – oh well no coffee.

Opps – we had run the batteries flat and the Inverter had powered down as it should.  I knew the batteries were low, but declined to run the generator the afternoon before because our neighbours were enjoying the sun and the peace fishing off the bow of their boat, and I thought we would do it today instead, and let them enjoy their afternoon.

We ran 3 cells out of 32 – 100% flat – opps not the best thing to do for longevity, but once in a while is OK with our batteries, but something I intend to ensure does not happen again.

It has given me the chance to check the state of all the cells, and assess the state of balance, and we now have a fully charged battery, and I have lots of measurements for each cell.

I am installing electronics that will monitor the batteries all the time, and will eventually start the genset automatically if they get too flat, but I have not installed that yet – ironically I was going to make a start today.  This will also keep an track of exactly how much power we have left.

Normally it is best to keep LiFePO4 batteries between 10% and 90% charged.  The normal practise of charging Lead Acid batteries to 100% and float charging them is a really bad thing to do to Lithium Batteries, so I have been very careful not to charge them too much.

Still it has been a nice day – and we have a nice view over the wide’s – with pairs of Geese being very territorial, and chasing the swan away.