Post archive

Wednesday 18.10.17

The Plan for this week 16th October to 22nd October 2017 is going ok.

After not leaving Anderton until Tuesday morning because of the threat of wind we then had two tree's fallen across the canal just to the north of Anderton.

The first one we got passed by the collective of 3 boats crews and a passer by cut enough of the branches off. The 2nd one was moved by Fountains contractors working for CRT.

This morning we are moored over looking Little Bollington near Dunham Massey and the plan is to get as far as Boothstown this evening, with a stop at the Trafford Centre and a voyage over the Manchester Ship Canal.

  So once we get to Abram near Wigan on Friday we'll be able to advise of where we'll be moored and open for the weekend. 

Capt Col 19.10.17

Day 103 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Clive Green To flash near bridge 180A T and M  Thursday

Day 103 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 12.10.17

Day 103 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Clive Green To flash near bridge 180A T and M  Thursday 12.10.17. 6 miles and 6 locks.

Mild, showers and sunny spells.

Well that’s it then, after leaving Middlewich on the  3rd of July we passed back through the town today and are now heading north up the Trent and Mersey canal towards our winter mooring in Burscough.

We left Clive green about 09.00 hrs and after dropping down Stanmore lock we met our mate Martin at Wardle Lock at the end of the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union canal.

Emma Maye at Wardle Lock 12.10.17.

The narrow boat Emma Maye waits for Wardle Lock 12.10.17.

Emma Maye at Wardle lock

 “Emma Maye” aka The Wool Boat waiting to descend Wardle Lock in Middlewich. This lock is the last lock on the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union canal before dropping down to it’d junction with the Trent and Mersey canal in Cheshire.

Photo image Cw 5014 Copyright Colin Wareing

Leaving Wardle Lock 12.10.17.

Leaving Wardle lock

The view from the back deck of narrow boat Emma Maye as the boat leaves Wardle Lock 12.10.17.

 “Emma Maye” aka The Wool Boat is leaving Wardle Lock in Middlewich. This lock is the last lock on the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union canal before dropping down to it’d junction with the Trent and Mersey canal in Cheshire.

Photo image Cw 5015 Copyright Colin Wareing

He and some CRT volunteers helped us through the last narrow locks for a while as we turned right at the junction.

Carole nipped off to do some shopping at Tesco and met us just as we were going down the big lock.

Then again a nice cruise to the flash near the railway bridge where Martin was moored in time for dinner.

I got chance just after dinner to get a picture of a train crossing the canal here. I’ve been after this picture for years, but there had never been any trains when we have moored here, so quite happy and a good way to finish off the 4 counties ring.

DB Cargo 66101crosses the Trent and Mersey canal on the Middlewich branch line 12.10.17.  

DB Cargo’s diesel locomotive trundles across the Trent and Mersey canal near Whatcroft Hall on the Middle railway freight only branch. It is hauling the 10.00 hours stone train from Downlow in the Peak District to Theale cement works in Berkshire.

October 12.10.17

66101 cross the Trent and Mersey

Image Cw 5013

I must admit that I will take my hat off to any one who does a daily blog, at times it has been hard work, and because I’ve also kept a physical diary ever since my horticultural days it seemed to be a case of doing it twice. Which will last longest, the written word or the typed up ones?

Colin Wareing 12.10.17

Day 102 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Clive Green Didn’t move  Wednesday

Day 102 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 11.10.17

Day 102 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Clive Green Didn’t move  Wednesday 11.10.17

Windy, dull, showers and cool.

We decided it may be a bit more work on Thursday and Friday to get to Anderton but it would be worth it not to have to move today.

So a good bit of computer work to working on the blog.

Took a picture of where we are moored and Carole knitting today’s row on her temperature blanket.

Put it onto Colin and Carole’s Creations Facebook page and started spreading around knitting and boating groups, it seems to be liked, by about 20.00hrs about 11000 people had seen it.

   Carole knitting her temperature blanket 11.10. 2017.

Carole knitting her temperature blanket

Carole Wareing knitting the row for the 11.10.17 into to her temperature blanket for 2017.

Carole is sitting aboard her narrow boat that she and her husband travel the canals of England and Wales in.

The temperature taken today on the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union canal near Winsford in Cheshire was 14C.

The blanket is being knitted on a 4mm circular needle using a double knitting weight yarn with 275 stitches per row.

Carole has recorded the outdoor temperature where ever she has been at approximately 08.30 hrs since the start of the year, and knits a row a day to represent this temperature.

Carole is incorporating two rows of black yarn to show the change of month.

Image Cw 5008 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations                           

Emma Maye moored Clive Green 11.10.17.

The narrow boat Emma Maye moored at Clive Green 11.10.17. Cw 5009

 “Emma Maye” aka The Wool Boat moored along the towpath of the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union canal at Clive Green near Winsford in Cheshire.

It’s a grey, cool and breezy day here, so because we don’t have to we’re not moving today!

Photo image Cw 5009 Copyright Colin Wareing  

Telly on the white aerial tonight.

Colin Wareing 11.10.17

Day 101 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Cholmondeston to Clive Green 7 miles 2 locks Tuesday

Day 101 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 10.10.17

Day 101 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Cholmondeston to Clive Green 7 miles 2 locks Tuesday 10.10.17

Showers to start then getting windy but bright.

A nice cruise, Carole sat on her chair on the back deck again.

A bit of traffic, mainly hire boats.

Moored at Clive Green, just off the 48hr moorings, on chains through the pilling as the hedge had been cut here.

I’d rewritten part of the Marple Wharf piece for Towpath Talk and resent it, and sent some pictures of trains from last week to Railway Mag.

Went for a wander up to the WCML taking picture of trains this afternoon.

We are now looking at doing a wool promotion for this weekend as it’s #Woolweek, but don’t want to advertise it too far before we are through the locks at Middlewich just in case.

 Telly on the white aerial tonight.

Day 100 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Audlem to Cholmondeston 11 miles 4 locks

Day 100 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 9.10.17

Day 100 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Audlem to Cholmondeston 11 miles 4 locks Monday 9.10.17

Sunny, showers, mild

A long days boating, well for us,

We knew we’d have to have the odd day like this to get back to base before the big lock at Appley is shut for maintaince.

So away after a bit of shopping in the co-op.

A few boats moving so a bit of lock interaction.

Moored on the embankment at Nantwich after noting the new housing and metal pilling just before you get into Nantwich.

There seems to be less permanent moorings along the embankment than there used to be, and more 48 hours ones. It may have been nice for some of them to be 5 day ones as well?

We had a walk into Nantwich to the bank, having dinner in the Street on the way, a new diner type place since last time we were here. It wasn’t too bad either.

Did the loo and water at the end of the embankment before keeping going round onto the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union canal and moored at about 16.45.

We moored where a group of towpath volunteers had been doing some hedge laying and it looked very nice.

Telly on the white aerial tonight.

Sent pictures and words from Marple to Towpath Talk.   

Colin Wareing 9.10.17

Day 99 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Boat in Audlem.  Sunday

Day 99 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 8.10.17

Day 99 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Boat in Audlem.  Sunday 8.10.17

Sunny light showers.

We moved down 1 lock onto the 48 hour mooring where it is a bit lighter.

Saves us being outside The Mill again on the 24 hour mooring again.

The Non League paper came from the newspaper shop in the village, though not good reading, SFC lost again yesterday 1-2 at home to Spennymoor.

Open 10-4, a few sales but not as much as yesterday.

Steve and Gill had dropped down the lock as well and where open so we got some lovely sheep’s cheese from them for dinner.

Went into the Mill and got a copy of volume one of the Historic Working Narrow Boats Today, havng bought volume 2 last weekend. Both are interesting in their own rights but are also a bit of research for a future project.

We did have a pint in the Bridge again before tea after some shopping at the Co-op.

Colin Wareing 8.10.17

Day 98 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Boat in Audlem, didn’t move. Saturday

Day 98 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 7.10.17

Day 98 of the FCR on Emma Maye.    Boat in Audlem, didn’t move.  Saturday 7.10.17

Dull rain later.

Open 10-4

Had a good day trading.

We were tired after all yesterday’s food and drink so didn’t even go for a pint tonight though we got the telly going a bit better for Strictly.

 Colin Wareing 7.10.17

Day 97 of the FCR on Emma Maye.Boat in Audlem, Burscough to Audlem Friday

Day 97 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday 6.10.17

Day 97 of the FCR on Emma Maye.    Boat in Audlem, Burscough to Audlem Friday 6.10.17

Sunny but cool.

Back on the train from Burscough Bridge on the 10.06 to Manchester Victoria on 150132.

Walk through Manchester to Piccadilly, with a bit of shopping on the way.

Dinner today was in the West Corner Diner on the corner of Hilton Street at the back of Piccadilly gardens which was a good find, we reckon we’ll be going back again.

175116  took us back to Nantwich as the 13.30 from Manchester.

Time for a pint in the Red Cow in Nantwich before the D and G bus back to Audlem via Wrenbury which turned into a school bus J

Had tea in The Bridge which was good, and good value.

Moved the boat back onto the 24 hour mooring to moor behind Steve and Gill Cookson on nb Periwinkle who are fellow roving traders who sell Lancashire products, Cheese and Chutneys.     

Colin Wareing 6.10.17

Day 96 of the FCR on Emma Maye. We’re back at base in Burscough

Day 96 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 5.10.17

Day 96 of the FCR on Emma Maye.    Boat in Audlem, we’re back at base in Burscough Thursday 5.10.17

Sunshine and showers.

A day away from the boat.

Carole was on a mini bus trip with the knit and natter ladies from the Farmers Arms to Abakan in Mostyn on the North Wales coast.

Carole had a good day out, catching up with what is going on and bought a bit of yarn and some patterns. They left about 10.00 and got back at 17.45hrs.

I had a day out on the train, despite the RMT union calling it’s members out on strike in the ongoing dispute about having the train drivers controlling the opening and shutting of the doors on trains instead of the guard.

Northern Railway still managed to run about 60% of some sort of service.

They ran a shuttle service from Southport and Burscough to Wigan, where I had to change to get to Manchester. So I left Burscough on the 10.34 train to Wigan formed of 150146 and 156466. It was then 142 043 from Wigan to Manchester Victoria. The plan was to change at Salford Crescent to change to a train to Manchester Piccadilly but as the train from Wigan was late arriving in Salford I went on to Manchester Victoria and walked over to Manchester Piccadilly.

Then the 13.14 from there to Marple, a recently refurbished 150220.

Northern Railways 150220 at Man Picc
















Cw 5006  Northern Railway 150220 at Manchester Piccadilly 5.10.17. 

Recently refurbished and repainted Northern Railways “Sprinter” dmu no 150220 stands in platform two at Manchester Piccadilly.

The train is will next work the 13.14 train to New Mills.

October 5.10.17

A wander up the Marple Lock flight to take pictures of lock 15, the 2nd from the top of the flight. There is a problem with the lock as the towpath side wall of the lock has moved inwards. The Canal and River Trust have thus had to shut the canal, and it looks like it’s going to be a big job to sort it out.

While I was there I was lucky enough to come across contractors repairing a length of towpath wall, and using a boat to transport materials from Marple Wharf to the work site. The point with this is that there is a possibility that the Wharf could have houses built on it.

Civil engineering contractors D G Mills are working for the Canal and River Trust to rebuild the towpath wall  along the side of the Peak Forest canal near it’s junction with the Macclesfield canal at Marple.

Here they are loading the work boat from a lorry with construction materials at Marple Wharf ready to take around to the work site at the start of the Peak Forest canal.

Could this be one of the last times that another canal side wharf is used for anything like it’s original purpose of loading and unloading boats?   

Picture taken on the 5.10.17.

Image Cw 5004 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations

D G Mills loading at Marple Wharf













So more pictures before setting off back down the locks to catch the 14.38hrs train back to Manchester, a pair of 142s, 049 and 003.  

Then from Man Picc to Salford Crescent on 156 471, 480 and 482 which was on it’s way to Blackpool North.  16.07 From Salford Crescent to Wigan Wallgate on 142062 before the final change to 156 466 and 150 146 again back to Burscough.

All for £5.95 return off peak return with my senior railcard. 

Colin Wareing 5.10.17

Day 95 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Audlem  Wednesday

Day 95 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 4.10.17

Day 95 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Audlem  Wednesday 4.10.17

Dull rain later.

Audlem, moved from the 24hr mooring outside the mill across the canal to the 5 day mooring on the opposite side of the canal. No rings here, so using the chain’s through the steel pilling.

Then back to Burscough.

Caught the 10.35 D and G bus from Audlem to Nantwich, cost us £5.80 for 2 singles.

Then The 11.20 train from Nantwich to Manchester Piccadilly. With the two together rail card and a anytime short return it cost us £22.80 for the pair of us, bought from the machine on the station.

Arrive train’s Wales 170011 was the DMU we travelled on.

Dinner was in a posh burger place on Piccadilly Gardens called Byron.

Then back to Burscough from Manchester Victoria at 13.46 on a 150.  

Colin Wareing 4.10.17

Day 94 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Audlem  Tuesday

Day 94 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 3.10.17

Day 94 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Audlem  Tuesday 3.10.17

Audlem   moved down 1 lock, onto the 24hr mooring outside the mill

Didn’t open and still the telly wasn’t good but did manage some computer work.

Send out e-mails  and facebooking the next BHG history meeting, tagging images in Alamy.

I’d scanned the page from Towpath Talk of the Ikon story and so spreading it around face book and twitter etc.

We went out to the Lord Combermere for dinner. I had a small fish and chips....good job I didn’t have the big one! I didn’t appreciate the one I had as we’ve been eating too much over the last few days.

This  afternoon I went for a wander with the camera, a bit more of a wander than I had planned, across the fields around the back of Overwater marina and back down the canal.

No telly tonight, so radio and cds.

Colin Wareing 3.10.17

Day 93 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Audlem  Monday

Day 93 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 2.10.17

Day 93 of the FCR on Emma Maye.    Audlem  Monday 2.10.17

Dry and windy

Audlem  Didn’t move

We have decided to stay in Audlem for the week and be open again here next weekend. We should still have time to get back to the other side of Appley lock before it shuts and we know that there are handy moorings here, on the off side opposite the mill which are 5 days, but have pilings.

So we didn’t move again today, will drop down the lock tomorrow.

More computer work....

We went for a pint in the Lord Combermere before tea, some ignorant woman wasn’t keen on moving out of the way for us to see what was on em. So thought I’d try some “Pope” not realising it was a “smoked” beer, wondered why it tasted of bacon.

Colin Wareing 2.10.17

 

Day 92 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Audlem  Sunday

Day 92 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 1.10.17

Day 92 of the FCR on Emma Maye.    Audlem  Sunday 1.10.17

Dull, Rain later.

Audlem  Open 10-4

By the end of it it wasn’t a bad days trading.

We had 4 customers, mainly yarn but some patterns as well.

I’d picked up the non-league paper from the little paper shop in the village.

We really need to be here longer to create a presence.

So a day of computer work, up loaded 8 images to Alamy of trains crossing the Birmingham canal navigations old main line. Trying an experiment in that I’ve uploaded them as colour versions and also the same picture as black and white.

 After we finished I walked down to check out the moorings below the Shroppie fly as we are now deciding if we can afford another week here, and trade again next weekend rather than move to Nantwich where we feel are about to far out of town.

We reckon it should be possible to be on the 5 day moorings opposite the mill and then move onto the 48 hour mooring on Friday.

It would mean we’d have two weeks of lot’s of miles moving to ensure we are back below Appley lock before they shut it for replacing gates on the 6th November.

 Colin Wareing 1.10.17

Day 91 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Audlem  Saturday

Day 91 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 30.9.17

Day 91 of the FCR on Emma Maye.    Audlem  Saturday 30.9.17

Dull, Rain later.

Audlem  Open 10-4

We had one person come for a look, twice, and she may come back tomorrow, and that was it.

We really need to be here longer to create a presence.

So a day of computer work, Etsy and pictures for Alamy along with Carole’s temperature blanket.

 Did some work for the Burscough Heritage group for publicity for the next history meeting which Phil had supplied.

Chippy tea tonight, which was nice.

Audlem was noisy today, some person on a boat, possibly a hire boat started the engine at 06.30hrs, the local towpath taskforce where laying stone and whacking it on the towpath and then to top it all a gang of teenagers where noisy on the towpath about 22.30hrs!

Carole managed to watch Strictly on the telly after we bent the black aerial away from the solar panel pointing it back towards the midlands.

 Colin Wareing 1.10.17

Day 90 of the FCR Below Adderley locks to Audlem

Day 90 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday 29.9.17

Day 90 of the FCR on Emma Maye.   Below Adderley locks to Audlem Friday 29.9.17

Rainy start then mild and sunny.

Below Adderley locks to Audlem  2 miles 11 locks

Didn’t get going until about 10.00 hrs after we let the rain dry up a bit.

Carole did ok down the locks despite her concerns about walking across the lock gate bridges.

A few boats locking, and a bit of accusations of people pinching locks, but didn’t affect us, just fun watching.  

Moored on the 48hr mooring below lock 11 of the flight. We were on the bottom a bit, the Shroppie shelf? After another boat left we were able to move back to be moored up to the Audlem visitor mooring sign were we are floating ok.

Dinner in the Shroppie fly, then later another pint in the Bridge after picking up supplies in the co-op.

We went and had a look in the Mill shop as well, and told them we are here for the weekend.  They didn’t seemed concerned, though commented that they have had a poor summer with not as many hire boats about.

Then after all the perceived stress of the locks, we had more with the telly again.

We are on the black aerial but that’s not great either.

 Colin Wareing 30.9.17

Day 89 of the FCR Market Drayton to below Adderley locks

Day 89 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 28.9.17

Day 89 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Market Drayton to below Adderley locks Thursday 28.9.17

Mild, sunny.

Market Drayton to below Adderley locks  3.5 miles 5 locks

Did all the moving this morning, after a misty start it turned into a lovely day.

Did the loo and water in Market Drayton

No problems doing the 5 locks, with me opening the offside paddle to start lowering the boat. Saved Carole an extra crossing of the lock gate.

Moored on the rings just before the 48 hour mooring below the locks.

After dinner we walked back up the locks to the farm shop /stall at the top.

They are not running the bricks and mortar shop to the same extent, but the lady is quite happy just running the canal side stall.

Not a great selection, but we got some sausages, eggs, bacon, tomatoes, spuds and a pork pie, putting money in the honesty box.

Cutting up some fire wood, and fitted the new mop head.

Uploaded a beret to Etsy.

Had to use the white aerial to get a picture here.

 Colin Wareing 29.9.17

Day 88 of the FCR Goldstone Wharf  to Market Drayton

Day 88 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 27.9.17

Day 88 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Goldstone Wharf  to Market Drayton Wednesday  27.9.17

Mild, dull, heavy rain later.

Goldstone Wharf to Market Drayton  4 miles 5 locks

A nice steady passage through Woodsheaves cutting, not as damp as other times, and we didn’t meet any boats coming the other way which was handy.

Stopped at the top of the Tyrley 5 locks and empted a loo, apparently the tap was slow so we’ll do it tomorrow in Market Drayton.

We did the locks ok, getting into a rhythm, and lay off Carole’s concerns about being able to cross the lock gates bridges, the issue being the stepping onto them and the width of the gap from the towpath.

Moored on the 48 hour moorings to the south of the “Talbot” bridge for 11.45.

Disappointed to find the Talbot pub looking forlorn, unloved and shut.   

So a walk into town, and dinner in the Crown, a Marston’s pub which had no cask ale on. Think that is a first. The dinner, faggots for me and Scampi for Carole was ok, but nowt special. Then a bit of confusion over paying, the normal credit card machine was absent and we payed via a pay pal card reader...no printout...hmm will have to keep a eye on the credit card bill to make sure the correct amount, £21.60  was taken.  

We think next time we’ll try a deli and a pint in the Joules brewery tap.

Quite a good market on, a bit far to carry veg though. I did get 9 pairs of socks for a fiver J

We just got back to the boat after a bit of shopping in Asda that is on the way back before it started raining, and it rained heavily all evening.

Colin Wareing 28.9.17

Day 87 of the FCR High Offlay to  Goldstone Wharf

Day 87 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 26.9.17

Day 87 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  High Offlay to  Goldstone Wharf Tuesday day 26.9.17

Mild, bright but misty.

High Offlay to Goldstone Wharf  5 miles

Again a nice steady cruise on a mild autumn morning.

 We sold some yarn to the lady from the “West Yorkshire narrow boat cooperative” boat that was moored in front of us last night, and also to a lady on the first set of offside moorings we passed.

Then a amble through the orange coloured fields of Staffordshire following a hire boat who was in no rush. We where moored up by 11.30hrs and then across to the Wharf at Goldstone for our dinner. The first time we’ve been there, probably won’t be the last.

Wharf Tavern Goldstone











Our review for Trip Advisor

Wharf Tavern at Goldstone Market Drayton 26.9.17

Rating excellent

Title  Lovely lunch

Once again unless you are a boater or know your way around some country roads you will do well to find the wharf tavern. But plenty of folks seem to and it’s worth the effort. 

We moored on the 48 hour moorings along the tow path on the opposite side of the canal to the Wharf on our slow trip around the four counties canal ring on The Wool Boat.

We walked across to the Wharf for our lunch on Tuesday.

 Service was good as was the food.

A bit of rum steak and kidney pie, stew with a piece of puff pastry, though a rich gravy and some nice veg and fries, the fries coming in a separate bowl for sharing between the two of us.

Carole this time plumped for crispy coated chicken with a selection of dips and a large side salad, which was very good.

A large glass of Pinot grigio and a pint of Joules IPA finished the meal off nicely.

All in all another good experience and we’ll be calling in again next time we are passing.

After returning from the pub we did a bit of work but the internet and phone not so good connectivity here.

The telly was on the black square aerial, but we could only get BBC channels.

About 15.00 I went for a walk back along the canal, to bridge 53, then up the lane before a divert across a stubble field on a public footpath up to  Cheswardine. There is a community shop here next to the Fox and Hounds on the high street. I’d needed some milk. Pity the pub wasn’t open in the afternoon.  A bit of a trek, but lovely quiet countryside, and down hill all the way back.

 Colin Wareing 26.9.17

Day 86 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Norbury Junction to High Offlay

Day 86 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 25.9.17

Day 86 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Norbury Junction to High Offlay Monday 25.9.17

Mild, dull, grubby and grey

Norbury Junction to High Offlay 2 miles

A nice steady cruise, moored on the 48hr mooring to the north of the Anchor Pub.

Had to retie a “West Yorkshire narrowboat cooperative” boat that was moored in front of us.

Work, finished off tagging the Alamy pictures and worked up and uploaded Carole’s latest wrap on to Esty. They have credited us with 50 free listings, so we’re going to try and use them up.

Watching the Roving Canal Traders AGM on Facebook, a interesting experiment.

It just has to be done.

The reason to stop here was to go for a pint in the Anchor.

Anchor High Offaly



















Olive is still running it, and still topping up the pints from a jug, but she now has got a lager on as well as Wadsworth 6 X.

Opening hours at the moment are 12 – 2.30 and then 7 -11.

No music, and only small so you have to talk to other people. Mal Edwards was in, and one of his farmer mates, and then it was boaters with the conversation ranging from boating, to butchers in Whalley Bridge, American NFL game at Wembley, and some chap who thought he could tell jokes.

But a good night again in one of our favourite pubs on the system.

Tried again tonight.

Colin Wareing 25.9.17

Day 85 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Norbury Junction.

Day 85 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 24.9.17

Day 85 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Norbury Junction.  Sunday 24.9.17

Mild, dull, rain later

Open 10-4

It wasn’t as bad as we feared it was going to be....we had 3 customers, and sold yarn. We had put the cards out, the whirly gig, and the display cabinet but no sales from these.

One of our customers was a repeat lady who had come over from Stone.

Carole knitting and reading.

I started putting tags to images that I’d uploaded to Alamy a couple of days ago.

Painting the patches on the boat with the navy blue Berger non drip paint that I’d used on the hatch lid earlier in the year which seems better than the Dulux weather shield I used before. It seems harder wearing.

Pint in the Junction Inn before tea, chatting with the lad of “Petrollina” who has been moored in Burscough for the last couple of winters.

 Colin Wareing 24.9.17

Day 84 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Norbury Junction.

Day 84 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 23.9.17

Day 84 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Norbury Junction.  Saturday 23.9.17

Mild, sunny spells

Open 10-4

This could turn into the first week we can remember since we started the business that other than when we are on holiday we have not taken any money in a week.

Norbury Junction generally is quiet, as not much noise, but also at this time of the year there isn’t many people about.

So no we didn’t have any customers.

Carole knitting and reading, I was labelling up the knitting needles boxes in the tool cupboard.

I started putting tags to images that I’d uploaded to Alamy a couple of days ago.

I even started to rub of bits of rust from the boat and repainting with iron oxide.

SFC lost again, away at Nuneaton.

We went for tea in the Junction pub then telly, strictly started again, though Carole says she’s not as interested this year.

Colin Wareing 23.9.17

Day 83 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Cowley to Norbury Junction.

Day 83 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday 22.9.17

Day 83 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Cowley to Norbury Junction.  Friday 22.9.17

Frustrating and annoying day.

Cool, and sunny this morning dull rain showers later.

Cowley to Norbury junction 3 miles.

Away about 09.00 hrs.

Stopped and did the water at Gnosall and Carole went and got some bread and milk. We were not sure if we could get any at Norbury, but they do have basic supplies at the hire base.

We have had a lady morddering us for ages about when we are going to be a t Norbury.  It now transpires that she is going on holiday tomorrow so asked what time we were going to be at Norbury today. So we decided to get there and be open this afternoon.

Guess what? She never turned up or told us she wasn’t coming.   

We would probably have been at Gnosall for the weekend, where we fell there would be more footfall. We don’t think we’ll do a lot here this weekend.

So lessons learnt...don’t arrange to go somewhere just for one person, they’ll have to come and find us, or we both miss out.

We again open to our plan, unless we get and agree a positive appointment.

So we spent the afternoon doing pictures of finished garments and up loading them to #fofriday on the web etc.

We went for a pint in the Junction pub before tea, then telly.

Colin Wareing 22.9.17

Day 82 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Wheaton Aston to Cowley

Day 82 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 21.9.17

Day 82 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Wheaton Aston to Cowley.  Thursday 21.9.17

Cool, rain showers, breezy

Didn’t move, open 10-4.

Wheaton Aston to Cowley just before Gnosall 4 miles.

Away about 10.00 hrs after doing the loo and catching up with my blog.

Filled up the boat with diesel at Turners at Wheaton Aston. This is a garage on the banks of the canal on the off side near the bridge and are well known on the cut as one of the cheapest for diesel, and today it was 58.9p a litre.  Filled it up with 121 litres.

Then off along the straights of the Shropshire Union, wet cuttings and breezy embankments, mooring up just about 12.00.

We passed two of the preserved narrow boats from the Ellsmere Port boat museum.  “Spey” was pulling the butty “Gifford”.  We passed them just as we both crossed the aqueduct over Wheaton Aston brook, and we suspect the canal leaks a bit here. Have the maintaince lads tried to stop it with a filling of clay along the bank side? Not visible from the boat and so we tipped towards the centre of the canal and “Gifford”...a bit of a shock and scare!

After dinner I had time to catch up on e-mails and uploaded 5 more images to Alamy.

We are moored near Cowley double road bridge, no 31, wonder what the tale is behind two bridges seemly built next to each other?

 Colin Wareing 21.9.17

Day 81 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Wheaton Aston the Shroppie.

Day 81 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 20.9.17

Day 81 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Wheaton Aston the Shroppie.  Wednesday 20.9.17

Sunny, mild and breezy.

Didn’t move, open 10-4.

Wheaton Aston is more of a weekend opening place with loads of publicity, as we didn’t have any customers today.

But I got the shelves organised in the tool cupboard and all the tools in there. They just need labelling up properly and then it should be easy to replenish the pot once we sell some.

I put a bit of the wooden ballast back into the bottom of the cupboards.

So a bit of reorganizing of the stock, so nothing alongside the bed now, which will give us chance to organize Carole’s project bags to clear the front step and we can get into and out of the wardrobe easier.

Went shopping to the Spar before tea and had a pint in the Rose and Crown.  

Colin Wareing 20.9.17

Day 80 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Hunting Bridge to Wheaton Aston the Shroppie.

Day 80 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 19.9.17

Day 80 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Hunting Bridge to Wheaton Aston the Shroppie. Tuesday 19.9.17

Cool misty start, then Sunshine and warm afternoon.

Hunting Bridge to Wheaton Aston the Shroppie, 4.5 miles 1 lock.

“The clock was loud tonight

Because we are away

From road and rail

And noisy people

With their noisy things”

Took a picture of Carole taking the temperature in the mist this morning and up loaded to social media.

Carole taking temperature 19.9.17












Carole taking temperature 19.9.17

Carole Wareing is knitting, a temperature blanket for 2017.

This morning we are moored in the mist on the Shropshire Union Canal to the north of Wolverhampton.

The temperature was 8 degrees c at 08.30.

Image Cw 4086 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations

So away a bit later than we have been doing, about 09.15.

A misty drippy cruise through the cuttings south of Brewood.

Following a boat that was a bit slow but we were still moored below Wheaton Aston lock on the 48 hour mooring opposite the Hartley Arms for 11.30hrs.

We went across to the pub for our dinner, which was quite nice.

Then an afternoon of boat work. Fitting the cupboard doors to the knitting tool storage.

Carole sat outside on the towpath knitting while I was cutting and screwing.

We slept better, not having made the fire up as much.

Colin Wareing 19.9.17

Day 79 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Wightwick to Hunting Bridge the Shroppie.

Day 79 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 18.9.17

Day 79 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Wightwick to Hunting Bridge the Shroppie. Monday 18.9.17

Cooler  Sunshine and showers.

Wightwick to Hunting Bridge the Shroppie, 6 miles 3 locks.

Away about 09.00

Easy and steady away through the locks.

Did the water after the stop lock at the bottom of the Shropshire Union canal at Autheley Junction. The water pressure was low, so a slow flow from the tap.

Moored a bit further along, near bridge 2 where there are a few rings which is handy for going to Morrison’s.

So shopping after dinner, a visit to the post office to post another gansey out, and a visit to the hardware shop for more bits for the tool cupboard.

Then off along the Shroppie out in to the country side, mooring on the 48hour mooring between bridges 7 and 8.

Nice and quiet and dark here, but I put too much fuel on the fire...a bit warm over night.

Colin Wareing 18.9.17

Day 78 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Open at Wightwick Sunday

Day 78 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 17.9.17

Day 78 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Open at Wightwick Sunday 17.9.17

Wightwick  moved above the lock.

Sunshine, heavy rain later.

Open 10-4

Never again J

Way  too much beer last night, didn’t  fancy walking up to Compton for the non league paper, will perhaps get one tomorrow.

We had another reasonable day selling yarn, and also sold 2 pairs of West Yorkshire Spinners socks. They are starting to sell again now the weather has turned cooler, the issue will be do we get some more in stock? They have gone up by a third and while they are now £12.50 a pair will be £17 ish next time.

It started heavy rain about 15.30, so we packed up then.

We then moved about ¼ mile back towards Compton, reversing up through Wightwick Lock before winding in the hole above it.

Chains onto steel pilling for the night and the telly set up on the black aerial.  

Colin Wareing 17.9.17

Day 77 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Open at Wightwick Saturday

Day 77 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 16.9.17

Day 77 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Open at Wightwick Saturday 16.9.17

Wightwick  Didn’t move

Mild sunshine.

Open 10-4

We had a good day selling yarn, selling 38 balls, quite a bit that is not now being produced, so will be replaced by something else.

Emma Maye and Bellatrix at Wightwick




















“Emma Maye” aka The Wool Boat moored along the towpath of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal at Wightwick.

We were open here from 10-4ish, on the 16th and 17th of September 2017.

We can’t guarantee there will be a former working boat passing when you are here though, this one is “Bellatrix” normally based in Greensforge further down the canal towards Stourport. 

Photo image Cw 4085 Copyright Colin Wareing

S F C are out of the F A cup already, getting beaten 0-3 by Bradford Park Avenue.

Tonight we were out with Di.

1st out to the Mermaid for tea, then a lift from Di’s brother to the Penn bowling club.

A Roy Orbison impersonator was on, and the beer was cheap....never again J Even got to dancing.

It was gone midnight before we got home.

Colin Wareing 16.9.17

Day 76 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Exploring under the M5 Friday

Day 76 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday 15.9.17

Day 76 of the FCR on Emma Maye. Exploring under the M5 Friday 15.9.17

Wightwick  Didn’t move

Dull morning  Sunshine and showers this afternoon.

Tired today, but had to have some fresh air from the boat this afternoon.

Did some blogging work this morning.

We had our dinner in the Mermaid and then I caught the 13.25 no 9 bus into Wolverhampton.

I had some train tickets to pick up from Wolverhampton station for a future adventure.

After that I caught a train to Smethwick Galton Bridge station.

I wanted to have a explore along the Birmingham canal navigations, known as the BCN, old main line.

It runs from Birmingham to Wolverhampton and for part of the way it runs under the M5 motorway.  At the moment and for a couple of years the M5 is being maintained, the concrete structure needs repair. To do this it is necessary to use a load of scaffolding.  I was hoping to get some pictures of boats under the elevated section of the motorway. Alas it was probably too late in the day for any one to get a mooring after travelling this bit of the waterway.

But it is a fascinating piece of temporary engineering and so I hope to go back for my pictures before the job finishes.

Scaffolding under the M5











The railway also crosses the canal under the motorway so loads of picture possibilities.

I walked along the canal to Oldbury and then to Dudley and Sandwell station for a packed 390 back to Wolverhampton and then the bus back to Wightwick.

Colin Wareing 15.9.17

Day 75 of the FCR on Emma Maye, falling in day...

Day 75 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 14.9.17

Day 75 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Thursday 14.9.17

Pendeford to Wightwick  3 miles 3 locks

Sunshine and showers.

Falling in day.

Away just after 09.00hrs.

After the reception we got at Napton narrow boats about empting the Elsan cassette the fella at Oxley Marine couldn’t have been more helpful. One could say a good old proper type boat yard.

Yes we could empty it down the man hole into the sewer from the buildings. “Just lift it off under the cone over there, there’s a tub of rainwater with a watering can to wash it out with, and please put it all back as you found it.”

So all done I went into the office to offer him some money, as we’d expect when it’s not a CRT facility, “sod off” was the response J   so a couple of quid went into coffee fund.

Then a stop at Compton after doing the first lock of the day to do the shopping.  Surprised to see a Sainsbury’s local had replaced what we remembered was a nice shop with loads of local produce.

It just proves how long it is since we came this way, it’s been a Sainsbury’s for 4 years. They allowed us to put a poster up for Wightwick this weekend.

We then followed another boat up to the next lock, Wightwick Mill Lock, and then waited for another boat to come up. Helped them through, and as the boat was leaving the top gate only just opened wide enough to get out.

We got in ok with Carole leaning on the gate, but then we couldn’t shut it. It kept stopping about 12inch short. We tried opening and shutting it a few times, then had a poke about with the barge pole.    

In the process of doing this and helping pushing the gate open with the pole it slipped and so did I. Straight in!

Panic, a bit but not too much, at least I didn’t get stuck in the mud on the bottom...the lock’s 9ft deep! So with the aid of getting between the side of the boat and the lock and Carole pulling I levered myself out. Took a while to get my breath back, then a case of stripping off my clothes down to the undies on the back deck. Could job there was no one about.

As I got dressed another boat turned up to go up the lock, one of the local disabled trip boats with a volunteer crew of people, and then another one turned up from the opposite direction. So quite a bit more poking with barge poles. Still couldn’t shift it.

Years ago when I was on the River Lea to the north east of London I’d a similar problem and ended up calling British Waterways as it was then out. If I remember correctly it was again a fellow boater who helped me with the use of a grappling hook on the end of a rope. We never found out what the obstruction was that time.

At a car boot sale some time later I came across a small grappling hook on one of the tool stalls, and bought it. I can’t remember using it in anger since, but it came to the rescue today. It moved what turned out to be a length of old telegraph pole, which the collected crews pulled out as we were leaving the lock. I got the grappling hook back of course.    

We then worked down the 3rd lock of the day, and moored at Wightwick. We then set up the boat for the weekend, bunting up, T.V aerial struggle, eventually settling on the black square one, though still not brilliant.

Then we went for a reviving pint in the Mermaid.

Is this the end for Colin’s stripey jumper?

Cw 4083 Colin’s jumper drying.

It’s on the front of the boat and we’re trying to dry it out after it took a dip in the Staffs and Worcestershire canal today.

Colin's jumper dying out

Colin Wareing 14.9.17

Day 74 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Wednesday

Day 74 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 13.9.17

Day 74 of the FCR on Emma Maye.  Wednesday 13.9.17

Pendeford didn’t move

Mild, Sunny spells, showers.

A bit of a physical work day.

When we put the boat into the water in 2011 it needed some extra ballast on the right hand side to counteract the wool and yarn we have but aboard. Part of this was to install some wood under the gunwale but now we want to use this area for a cupboard for the knitting tools stock. The needles etc are in a plastic box in the store room which can be hard to get to at times.

So now a case of dismantling the ballast and convert it into a cupboard.

I’d bought some plywood that was cut into 2 right sized cupboard doors. However once I got them back we realised that they would be a bit inconvenient to open, with the width of the passage.

So I’ve had to cut the two into four, which I did, and then had to work out how to put in another middle pillar to hang the doors on. That’s done and I’m now working on the shelving.

While my tools where all over the place a lady stopped on another boat. She follows us on Facebook and was glad to meet us and wanted some yarn. At least it was just baby yarn that was easy to get out. She also took one of Carole’s gansey patterns.

Colin Wareing 13.9.17

Day 73 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Moving day.  Tuesday

Day 73 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 12.9.17

Day 73 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Moving day.  Tuesday 12.9.17

Coven to Pendeford 2.5 miles.

Cool, Sunny, Rain later.

A busy day.

Away just after 08.30 hrs again.

A nice easy cruise in the sun, moored at Pendeford near the junction of the Staffs and Worcestershire canal and the Shropshire Union canal at Autherly Junction at about 10.00hrs.

Had arranged with a local lady, Caroline to be open around dinner time. She works locally for the NHS and brought a couple of her mates with her. So made up a bit for yesterday selling another 11 balls of yarn.

After dinner we walked to the Morrisions for some fresh shopping and posted Brain’s gansey to Australia and the scarf bought off Etsy to Glasgow.

Opened again once e go back but no further customers.

Sent the IKON words and pictures to Janet at Towpath Talk.

Another loss for the ‘Port, at home to Harrogate Town, 1-4....

Colin Wareing 12.9.17

Day 72 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven. Delivery day

Day 72 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 11.9.17

Day 72 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven. Delivery day.  Monday 11.9.17

Didn’t move

Sunshine and showers.

We were open 10-4

But we didn’t have any customers.

Started on the publicity for Wightwick next weekend.

Taking pictures of Carole’s  finished  ganseys.

Cutting some more firewood up, and then organized some coal.

We would have preferred to buy it off a passing coal boat, but we didn’t think we would catch anyone. John Jackson on “Roach” has gone south and we will miss “Halsall” with us going to Wightwick.

So rang up the Wulfruna Coal Co.  They rang me back and we arranged a delivery of 10 x 25kg bags of Excel. Cost us £110, so £11 per bag.  It was delivered by dinner time after we had paid for it on the credit card over the phone. Excellent service.

At just before 17.00 hrs, Dan turned up with our Tesco order. He’d been doing the job for seven years and we where the 1st boat he’d delivered too.

Colin Wareing 11.9.17

Day 71 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven Sunday

Day 71 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 10.9.17

Day 71 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven Sunday 10.9.17

Moved 200 yards to be near the Fox and Anchor pub and the road.

Sunshine and showers.

I walked into Coven to the co-op this morning they had a Non – league paper.

Then we were open 10-4

Had 3 customers, one a lady who used to have a yarn and haberdashery shop in Codsall, which isn’t too far away. She had given it up and sold it as she felt she was working too hard for not a lot of return.

Cutting some firewood up, but the concern now is coal. We’re well into the last bag and there dosn’t appear to be a coal boat due...some research on the net finds a couple of local coal merchants who could deliver. Will sort it tomorrow.

We also put in a Tesco order for delivery tomorrow.

Struggling for telly tonight.

Colin Wareing 10.9.17

Day 70 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven Saturday

Day 70 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 9.9.17

Day 70 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven Saturday 9.9.17

Didn’t move.

Sunshine and showers.

A easy day after our “break” in Birmingham.

Finished writing the Ikon piece up for Towpath talk.

We both walked into Coven, to the post office for some new mail bags, a bit dear and not very friendly...Got some bread from the bakers next door, after turning the closed to open sign for them.

A bit of wine and beer for the co-op.

Meat from Ashton’s the butchers again.

We went out for dinner with Di to the Fox and Anchor which was ok, a chicken pie. Another Vintage Inn, they seem to have stitched a lot of them up around here. Only Pedigree on. Carole not drinking in support of Di who is getting used to driving again.

We’ve now arranged to go to Wightwick for next weekend, so they can have a drink.

Wheels falling off again at SFC, we lost at home to Kiddy 0-3.

Deposited the compost from the beans and courgettes off the roof, they haven’t been too good this year.  

Colin Wareing 9.9.17

Day 69 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven

Day 69 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday 8.9.17

Day 69 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven Friday 8.9.17

Didn’t move.

Dull and showers.

Back to the boat, from Birmingham.

Returned the opposite way we went on the train from Wolverhampton. Then on the bus from Coven.

A nice breakfast in the Novetel, the only things that let it down was the noise from the air conditioning over night and the room wasn’t too clean, bin not emptied in the bathroom and could have been hovered it better.

A bit more wandering around after a look at the Ikon gallery, a visit to HMV, Waterstone’s and the Ian Allen shop, but I didn’t find anything making we want to spend money.

Had a interesting dinner on Bennetts Hill. There is s pub, the Wellington which has a great array of real ale, but doesn’t do food but you are welcome to take your own. A few shops away was Patterson’s butty shop, so we got a lovely fresh ham salad sandwich and took it into the pub.

Back to the boat for about 16.00hrs after a bit of a wait in Wolverhampton for the bus, chance for a quick pint.

Colin Wareing 8.9.17

Day 68 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven

Day 68 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 7.9.17

Day 68 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Coven Thursday 7.9.17

Didn’t move.

Sunny and mild.

A couple of days away from the boat, we had a night in a Novetel in Birmingham. Why? I was given a voucher for my 60th birthday that was for a cream tea on the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway up in Cumbria. But it came a bit impractical to get up there before the voucher expired. So we swopped it for a night in Birmingham.

Went on the bus from Coven and then the train from Wolverhampton.

The Novetel was on Broad Street quite handy for the canal for us to have a look at, which included a visit to the Ikon gallery narrow boat to have a look at it and the artist in residence,  James Lomax. A interesting half hour chat and some photo’s. Need to write it up for Towpath Talk.

We had tea in a Indian curry house overlooking the canal the Barjee which we had found last time we were in Birmingham on the boat.

Colin Wareing 7.9.17

Day 67 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Penkridge to Coven Wednesday

Day 67 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 6.9.17

Day 67 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Penkridge to Coven Wednesday 6.9.17

8 miles 7 locks

Sunny and mild.

Another days boating, away just after 08.30 hrs

After the first lock I did the loo and water while Carole went to the Express corner shop which was handy next door to the lock and service station.

Again enough boats moving so help with locks but no great delays.

Carole and Emma Maye in Robaston lock 6.9.17.

Carole and Emma Maye at Robaston Lock











Carole Wareing of the narrow boat “Emma Maye” lower the towpath side ground paddle on Robaston lock as the boat slowly pushes the top gate open.

This lock has lifted the boat 8ft 6 inches up the hill towards Gailey on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. This lock is very near the M6 motorway and the wind turbines have been put up since we last travelled this canal, love them or hate them? Carole isn’t keen, Colin thinks they are great.

We arrived just above Gailey lock for about 11.45, so moored for dinner.

Then moved onto Coven after dinner and moored just before the trees closed in to both sides of the canal.

Went and got tea from the butchers just over the A449 into Coven, Ashton’s of Coven who kindly put up a poster for us to say we are open in Coven on Sunday and Monday.

A pint in the Fox and Anchor before tea, Marston’s Pedigree.

  

Colin Wareing 6.9.17

Day 66 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Penkridge didn’t move Tuesday

Day 66 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 5.9.17

Day 66 of the FCR on Emma Maye, Penkridge didn’t move Tuesday 5.9.17

Rain, showers dull and dreary start.

We decided we didn’t want to move today, unless we had to as the lock landings would be slippery and why move in the rain unless we have to?

We thought if it brightened up we may go again later, but it didn’t so we didn’t.

So I spent the morning tagging images on my Alamy account.

Had to get some air after dinner and it did brighten up...so went for a wander to the station to have a go at some pictures, not too much to get excited about.

Cw 4079 221 and class mate approach Penkridge 5.9.17

A pair of 221's approach Penkridge.













Virgin “Voyager” diesel multiple unit of class 221 and a class mate approach Penkridge in Staffordshire on the 5.9.17.

Viewed through a set of portable goals on the sports field of the Penkridge Leisure centre.

The time is 15.45 hrs                                                                                      

The passenger train service the DMU is working is the 13.43 service from London Euston to Glasgow central via Birmingham.

The train is running under headcode 4S77.

Watched the text of SFC getting beat good style away at Stockport tonight, 6-0! We can’t remember the last time anyone put 6 past us.

There has been a good shake up of the owner ship of the club over the summer and a chap called Phil Hodgkinson has wanted to put money in but has been knocked back a good few times. He allegedly has a plan for a new ground on Foul Lane. My real worry is that he apparently is great mates with Liam Watson! Not my idea of a idea of a going forward plan if we’re thinking of bring Liam back...   

Colin Wareing 5.9.17

Day 65 of the FCR on Emma Maye Radford Bank to Penkridge

Day 65 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 4.9.17

Day 65 of the FCR on Emma Maye Radford Bank to Penkridge Monday 4.9.17

Warm, humid, dull and dreary start, brightened up later.

5 miles 4 locks

A bit of a damp morning, that mizzle type rain, nuisance value rather than wetting us through.

Away about 08.45.

Enough boats moving to have help for one another at each lock.

Once again we came across a Cumbrian farmer on a hire boat holiday who wondered if we would like to buy some fleece? He gets about £1.50 a fleece, and he went pale when Carole told him we sell some of ours for £8.50 for a 100gram. So we reckon the added value along the way in the processing, dying, spinning and transport is about £83.50 a fleece. 

Moored below Penkridge lock opposite the park homes just before dinner.

The narrow boat “Emma Maye” is moored along the towpath of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal in Penkridge, Staffordshire in September 2017.

Emma Maye moored in Penkridge 30.8.17. Cw 4075

Emma Maye moored in Penkridge











This afternoon we walked into the village for a bit of shopping. It being Monday the butchers and the wool shop where shut, but got some supplies from the co-op. I also went into the bakers Jaspers, though still not found any flapjacks to beat Grahams back in Burscough.

Had a pint in The Boat before tea. £3.55 a pint for Holden’s  Golden and a look at the menu, but nothing attracting our attention. 

 Colin Wareing 4.9.17

Day 64 of the FCR on Emma Maye Radford Bank near Stafford didn’t move Sunday

Day 64 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 3.9.17

Day 64 of the FCR on Emma Maye Radford Bank near Stafford didn’t move Sunday 3.9.17

Dull and dreary

Open 10-4

I walked up to the little convince store at Queens Island this morning, about 10 min walk, for the Non-league paper.  It would be a handy little shop if the Aldi moves into town as rumoured.

I put the A frame sign up on the main road and some yellow perils to show the way but really we think we were a bit too far out of town. We had one customer all day, a fellow boater.

At least it gave me time to recover from the last couple of days driving.

Checked in the new shades of Chunky Merino from Bretts.   

Colin Wareing 3.9.17

Day 63 of the FCR on Emma Maye Radford Bank near Stafford didn’t move Saturday

Day 63 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 2.9.17

Day 63 of the FCR on Emma Maye Radford Bank near Stafford didn’t move Saturday 2.9.17

Sunny and warm

SFC V Darlington

Back to Burscough to take the truck “home”.

Left Stafford about 09.30.

I wanted to avoid Knutsford to avoid the traffic through the road works.

I did it by using country lanes across Staffordshire and Cheshire.

But I got fed up and eventually put it on the M6, which wasn’t too much of a car park. There are road works on the M6 that have limited the speed to 50mph which suited me. I didn’t want to push the speed with the repaired tyre on the front.

Got back to Ron Crosbie’s at about 12.15.

New tyre fitted to the spare wheel and fitted to the truck, keeping the repaired one as the spare.

A butty for dinner from Booths at the house, and then the 13.44 train from Burscough to Meols Cop.

150 214 leaves Meols Cop











Walked from there to Haig Ave for the game, a pint in the Grandstand club before it.

Another good game, which we eventually won 2-0.

Caught the 17.38 back from Meols Cop to Wigan Wallgate, again a Northern train, 156420, a portion of chips in Wigan, after I eventually noticed the chippy next to Wallgate station.

Then a Virgin Pendolino, 390109 as the 18.30 from Wigan North Western to Crewe.

I got chatting with an exiled Darlington fan who lives in Stafford on the platform at Wigan but he had a reserved seat on the 390.

From Crewe it was back to Stafford on LM 350113 forming the 19.19 to Birmingham.

Walked back to the boat, again about 30 minutes.  

Carole said that a chap had come a long and asked her if it was our truck parked near the Mini garage, as it would need to be moved by Monday to get his digger out that he had been ditching with! He’d not walked past the truck since 07.30 so of course I was back in Burscough by the time he had a go at 12.30hrs. Carole not happy.

   

Colin Wareing 2.9.17

Day 62 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017

Day 62 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday 1.9.17

Day 62 of the FCR on Emma Maye Radford Bank near Stafford didn’t move Friday 1.9.17

Sunny and warm

Another of them “what a day” days.

Back to Burscough to pick up the yarn for the scooter jackets.

I walked to Stafford station, no messing about on buses today, the walk taking about 30 minutes.

Bought an off peak return to Southport, £23.75 with my senior railcard.

Caught the 09.35 Stafford to Crewe, LM 350115 then the 10.09 Crewe to Wigan North Western, Virgin 390137, all seats reserved but no one using them? A sausage roll from Galloway’s in Wigan, all I ate before getting back to the boat as tummy a bit iffy after excess of beer and wine last night. Then the 11.05 Wigan Wallgate to Burscough Bridge, Northern 150206.

Sorting stuff at the house and while loading firewood into the truck the hinge on the lid broke again. Took some fixing, with the help of a bolt from Dave.

Picked yarn up from Smiths in Burscough, our June was working there today so had brought it up.

Went to Newlands and got some wood for cupboard doors on the boat.

Then as I was leaving Ormskirk I got a flat front tyre near Edge Hill University.  Great!

Never changed a wheel on the truck, nuts a bit tight but some chap who happened to be there waiting for a fella to pick up some fishing reels helped me. Back to Ron Crosbie’s tyres where the tyre was plugged and a new one ordered to be fitted tomorrow.   

So came back to Stafford by the A roads, not too bad just loads of congestion around Knutsford because of road works and delays on the M6.

18.30 by the time I got back to the boat, a bit of unloading of yarn and watched Malta V England on the telly, we won 0-4 but not too convincing.

Knackered

Colin Wareing 1.9.17

Day 61 of the FCR on Emma Maye Radford Bank near Stafford didn’t move Thursday

Day 61 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 31.8.17

Day 61 of the FCR on Emma Maye Radford Bank near Stafford didn’t move Thursday 31.8.17

Misty start, warm and dry odd shower later.

Went into Stafford this morning on the bus..which after we had gone for 3 minutes said he was stopping here for 15min, as part of the timetable! It then only took another 5 minutes into town!

Paid money into bank, and had dinner in the Pizza Express. Back to the boat on the bus, at least we didn’t have a 15 minute break this time.

Photo work.

Picture of queuing boats at Great Haywood last weekend to Towpath Talk.

Queuing boats at Great Haywood












Picture of Carole’s temperature blanket for August to the website and to the Facebook etc,

Sent another 5 images to Alamy.

Sent press releases to the Ormskirk Advertizer and the West Lancashire Champion about the first Burscough Heritage Group history group meeting of the season, organized by Phil.

History and Development of St. John the Baptist Church, Burscough”

 

St John the Baptist Church in Burscough was consecrated in 1832 and is now a Grade II listed building. It was built with the aid of a grant from the government using funds from the Church Building act of 1818 and is thus known as one of the 600 “Waterloo” Churches.

 

The building is constructed of stone quarried in Parbold and the church now features a magnificent east window installed in 1920 as a memorial to the men of Burscough and Lathom who died in the First World War

 

For the first history meeting of The Burscough Heritage Group’s winter programme David Orritt from the Church will be presenting an illustrated talk on the history and heritage of the Church and it’s place in village life.

 

Everyone is welcome to come along to The Blue Mallard on Burscough Wharf on Monday the 11th of September 2017 for a 7.30pm start. Entrance is by £2 voluntary donation to the Heritage Group.

For more information please ring Colin on 07931 356204.”

 

Showers and a relax tonight

 

It was due to get cool tonight so we lit the fire again.

Colin Wareing 31.8.17

Day 60 of the FCR on Emma Maye Walton Bridge to Radford Bank near Stafford  Wednesday

Day 60 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 30.8.17

Day 60 of the FCR on Emma Maye Walton Bridge to Radford Bank near Stafford  Wednesday 30.8.17

Walton bridge, no 104 to Radford Bank on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal, 2 miles.

Dull and mild, brighter cooler later.

As we thought, it had been a bit noisy overnight for trains, Carole having not slept well. As the weather forecast was to be dull all day it was obvious that it would be no good for taking pictures of trains so we moved away from the railway to Radford Bank.

We moored to the west of Radford Bridge on some pilings, and moved up a bit further away from the bridge later as someone had told Carole that all the empty beer cans scattered around the bridge was from homeless people who slept under the bridge and had been hassling boats.

Emma maye moored at Radford Bank 

The narrow boat “Emma Maye” catches the last of the evening sun as she is moored along the towpath of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal near Radford Bridge at Stafford in Staffordshire in August 2017.


Photo image Cw 4071 Copyright Colin Wareing


We’d been to the Radford Bank pub for dinner, it was ok but again now’t special, its mainly a carvery.

I walked back to where the WCML from London arrives in Stafford as it crosses the water meadows to practice some picture taking before tea.

It was due to get cool tonight so we lit the fire. 

Colin Wareing 30.8.17

Day 59 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood to Walton Bridge Tuesday

Day 59 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 29.8.17

Day 59 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood to Walton Bridge Tuesday 29.8.17

Great Haywood on the Trent and Mersey Canal to Walton bridge, no 104 on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal,  3 miles  2 locks .

Dull and mild.

No where near as many boats moving this morning, though still some away at 06.00hrs. We left after the temperature taking at 08.30 (15c).

Did Great Haywood lock by our self. Crt had replaced the top ground paddle operating gear just before the weekend, so it was stiff, needs the newness to wear off.

Did the loo and water again at the junction, taking a good while to fill the water tank. Paid £1 again to empty the loos at Anglo Welsh. 

Carole shopping at the canalside farm shop.

Then off up the Staffs and Worcestershire, through Tixall lock and then moored on some steel pilling just to the west of Walton Bridge. We were quite near the West Coast Mail Line, great for train spotting if that’s what you are in to, but the weather wasn’t not too great for photography.







The narrow boat “Emma Maye” is passed by another boat as she is moored along the towpath of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal near Walton Bridge at Milford canal in Staffordshire in August 2017.

Photo image Cw 4070 Copyright Colin Wareing

Telly on the bigger aerial but had to put the Wifi box outside to get a signal.

Went for a walk up to the Barley Mow in Milford for a pint to check it out for dinner tomorrow? Not overly impressed.

Colin Wareing 29.8.17

Day 58 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood

Day 58 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 28.8.17

Day 58 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood  Monday 28.8.17

Great Haywood on the Trent and Mersey Canal, didn’t move.

Sunny and warm, shorts and sandals, sleeping with the hatches open.

We were open 10-4ish again.

I had a bit of a wander this morning taking pictures.

Tree and airplane trails Tree and Airplane trails Shugborough 28.8.17. Cw 4067

 Early on what proved to be a record breaking warm August 

 Bank Holiday Monday the rising sun highlights an old tree

 and the airplane trails. 

 Photo image Cw 4067 Copyright Colin Wareing





Another busy day with again a good steady flow of customers, selling a wide range of yarns, one of our busiest days since Yarn Shop day.

A lady who came aboard commented that she knew we were here because of the trains. She’d been reading my blog J.

We both went to the Canal side farm shop for supplies this morning and walked back round via the Spar for wine and beer.

The canal seemed even busier today, with queues for the lock at times sometimes up to 5-6 boats, from 07.30 hrs to about 16.00 hrs

The boat behind us was having his diesel cleaned. The boat is about 10 years old and before they bought it the tank wasn’t kept full so diesel bug had got into. This is where bacteria gets in and apparently  turns the fluid to a sludge. The process of sucking it all out and filtering it took about 4 hours and cost him about £400.

Pint in the Clifford Arms after we had finished and moved the boat back away from the lock, the water flowing through it was a bit noisy last night.

SFC lost for the first time this season away at Salford City, 2 -1.

We where both knackered tonight, but happy after having a good trading weekend.

Colin Wareing 29.8.17

Day 57 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood

Day 57 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 27.8.17

Day 57 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood  Sunday 27.8.17

Great Haywood on the Trent and Mersey Canal, didn’t move.

Sunny and warm, shorts and sandals, sleeping with the hatches open.

We were open 10-4ish again.

Another busy day with again a good steady flow of customers, selling a wide range of yarns and some West Yorkshire Spinners socks.

I had arranged for the village shop in Little Haywood to get me a Non League Paper and had set off walking there when Frank from the shop rang to say it hadn’t arrived. Really nice of him, not his fault the paper wasn’t delivered. I got one from the Spar in Great Haywood.

Carole went to the Canal side farm shop for supplies this morning while I set up.

The canal was busy today, with queues for the lock at times sometimes up to 5-6 boats.

Waiting for Great Haywood lock

Queuing for Great Haywood lock  27.8.17. Cw 4066

Narrow boats waiting to go up Great Haywood Lock on the Trent and Mersey canal on bank holiday Sunday morning

We considered making a sign, “Have a jumper knitted while you wait” .

The boat in front of us moved off so we moved up a boats length, a bit sunnier and more visible.

Colin Wareing 27.8.17

Day 56 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood

Day 56 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 26.8.17

Day 56 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood  Saturday 26.8.17

Great Haywood on the Trent and Mersey Canal, didn’t move.

Sunny and warm, shorts and sandals, sleeping with the hatches open.

Had another hour train photographing this morning before we moved.

We where open 10-4ish

A good steady flow of customers, selling a wide range of yarns.

One of our customers other halves was enormous, he was 6ft 8inch tall, but could still stand up in the boat.  

We went to the Canal side farm shop for supplies this morning. A good selection of meat and veg, freshly baked bread and beer’s.

Then I nearly knackered my self trundling the loo up to the Anglo Welsh hire base to empty it and bring back some water.

I was thirsty all day, will avoid doing that again! We worked out we probably still had ½ a tank of water.

We went for a pint in the Clifford Arms before tea.

SFC drew 1-1 at home to York city.

Colin Wareing 26.8.17

Day 55 of the FCR on Emma Maye Little Haywood to Great Haywood

Day 55 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday 25.8.17

Day 55 of the FCR on Emma Maye Little Haywood to Great Haywood  Friday 25.8.17

Little Haywood to Great Haywood on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Sunny and warm.

Had another hour train photographing this morning before we moved.

A bit later today, so the sun up a bit more.

We moved after 10.00hrs

Got a mooring on the 2 day rings before the lock, a bit in the trees but foot fall could be good, we opened this afternoon for a few hours and made a few sales.

We can’t get a tv signal here, tried both the square and bigger digital aerials so looks like we’ll be on the radio this weekend. Phone signal not great but internet ok.

Carole walked up to the canalside farm shop and got steak and strawberries for tea, very nice.

There is a large oak tree overhanging from the off side, and the squirrels seem to be harvesting the acorn’s but dropping a good few into the canal, some of them bouncing off our roof!   

Emma Maye open in Great Haywood 25.8.17. Cw 4065

The narrow boat “Emma Maye” aka The Wool Boat moored along the towpath of the Trent and Mersey canal in just below the lock at Shugborough in Staffordshire to be open the over the Bank holiday weekend of the 26th, 27th and 28th of August 2017.

We will be open here from 10-4ish.

Emma Maye open at Great Haywood

Colin Wareing 25.8.17

Day 54 of the FCR on Emma Maye Little Haywood didn’t move

Day 54 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 24.8.17

Day 54 of the FCR on Emma Maye Little Haywood didn’t move  Thursday 24.8.17

Little Haywood on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Bright  sunny spells.

Up early this morning to take a picture of the Inverness to London Euston sleeper train, passed Little Haywood at just after 06.00 hrs, so had to use a high ISO on the camera, so the picture was a bit “noisy”.

Cw 4061 Caledonian Sleeper passes Little Haywood  24.8.17

2044 Inverness, Fort William and Aberdeen to London Euston

Loco is 90047

The Sleeper passes Little Haywood

Went up for our pre ordered bread from the Little Haywood village store. Organic flour and we had been Facebooked to say it as just out of the oven J

A lady stopped on another boat to buy some Wensleydale Gems off us which was nice.

Before tea we again went for a pint again in the Lamb and Flag, cos they have Titanic Plum Porter on, and Carole likes the Aspull cider.

Colin Wareing 24.8.17

Day 53 of the FCR on Emma Maye Little Haywood didn’t move

Day 53 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 23.8.17

Day 53 of the FCR on Emma Maye Little Haywood didn’t move  Tuesday 23.8.17

Little Haywood on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Dull start sunny later.

Did a bit of train photography this morning, the sun soon moves around to the other side of the tracks.

A lady who lives over looking the canal had rang to arrange to come and look at wool, she bought a ball of WYS signature 4 ply, and we stayed open, but didn’t sell anything else.

Sent a couple of pictures to the Historic ships register competition. One of “Ribble” and one of “Kennet”.

Before tea we went for a pint again in the Lamb and Flag, cos they have Titanic Plum Porter on, and Carole likes the Aspull cider.

Ordered the bread from the village store to be baked fresh in the morning.

Emma Maye moored at Little Haywood.














Cw 4060 Emma Maye moored at Little Haywood 23.8.17.

The narrow boat “Emma Maye” moored near Little Haywood in Staffordshire.

Colin Wareing 23.8.17

Day 52 of the FCR on Emma Maye Wolseley Bridge to Little Haywood

Day 52 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 22.8.17

Day 52 of the FCR on Emma Maye Wolseley Bridge to Little Haywood  Tuesday 22.8.17

Wolseley Bridge to Little Haywood  on the Trent and Mersey Canal. 1 mile 1 lock

Dull warm humid.

Moved after taking temperature for the blanket at 08.30.

Carole struggled closing the bottom gates at Colwich lock, the beams are short as they are near the over bridge, I climbed up and helped.

Moored on the Armco pilling north of bridge 72.

Nice mooring, between the two railway tracks, the WCML from Stafford and the one from Stoke come together. 

Emma Maye morred at Little Haywood













Emma Maye and Virgin train at Little Haywood 22.8.17.

The narrow boat “Emma Maye” aka The Wool Boat moored along the towpath of the Trent and Mersey canal at Little Haywood in Staffordshire of 22nd of August 2017.

If you are travelling between Manchester and London over the next couple of days give us a wave!

Photo image Cw 4059 Copyright Colin Wareing

Rang Bretts and put in another order, for the Merino chunky for the scooter jackets.

After dinner I went for a wander up to the foot bridge over the railway where they come together. Too many wires. Better off just down the road from bridge 72.

Before tea we visited both pubs, The Red Lion and the Lamb and Flag. Both are just “wet” pubs which is a shame, it would have been nice to be able to go out for our tea.

Went into the little general shop and heard of the woes of the life of a little shop owner in a small village.

Capt Col 22.8.17

Day 51 of the FCR on Emma Maye Rugeley to Wolseley Bridge

Day 51 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 21.8.17

Day 51 of the FCR on Emma Maye Rugeley to Wolseley Bridge  Monday 21.8.17

Rugeley to Wolseley Bridge  on the Trent and Mersey Canal. 3 miles

Dull mild.

Moved after dinner.

Paid some money into the Natwest, which is another one shutting in September

Shopping at Morrison’s and Tesco, got the non league paper from Morrison’s.

Before we moved I had a wander up to the Power station which is now shut down, to take some pictures. As the weather was that dull I’ll try to produce them in black and white so they are something like Bernd and Hilla Becher ones.

Cw 4064 Rugeley Power Station 21.8.17

Rugeley Power station 21.8.17












The power station in Rugeley in Staffordshire.

The power station was a coal fired one and has now stopped producing and will be demolished.

After winding at the other side of Rugeley we tried to find a mooring, on pilling that we could have to ourselves...struggled along this section, lots of reeds in soft banking.

Eventually moored near Wolseley bridge, on pins.

We went for a pint in the Vintage Inns pub here, but not too impressed...food seemed dear and limited beer, Doom Bar, Wainwright and Pedigree. Won’t be going back in a rush.

Capt Col 21.8.17

Day 50 of the FCR on Emma Maye open in Rugeley

Day 50 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 20.8.17

Day 50 of the FCR on Emma Maye open in Rugeley 2017 Sunday 20.8.17

Rugeley on the Trent and Mersey Canal, didn’t move.

Sunny, mild rain later.

Open 10-4

The better day of the weekend. Had about 6-7 customers a lot in the morning.

Jenny Maxwell moored behind us, so a bit of a mini floating market.

The non league paper was late being delivered, will be here tomorrow says the girl in Morrisons.

We went looking for a pint before tea, but didn’t find a pub that we fancied; they all seemed a bit loud...late on a Sunday afternoon.

We were not over keen on being here in the middle of town, still quiet enough over night.

 Because of the rain tonight we ended up putting the bigger aerial up for the telly.

Capt Col 20.8.17

Day 49 of the FCR on Emma Maye open in Rugeley

Day 49 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 19.8.17

Day 49 of the FCR on Emma Maye open in Rugeley 2017 Saturday 19.8.17

Rugeley on the Trent and Mersey Canal, didn’t move.

Showers and sunny spells, breezy.

Open 10-4

We did ok, not a great days selling and a few customers including a lady originally from Denmark who kindly left us s great review on Facebook, our 1st one.

Jenny Maxwell moored behind us, so a bit of a mini floating market.

SFC won again, away at Alfreton, 0-1.

We were not over keen on being here in the middle of town, but quiet enough over night.

Capt Col 19.8.17

Day 48 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood to Rugeley

Day 48 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday 18.8.17

Day 48 of the FCR on Emma Maye Great Haywood to Rugeley 2017 Friday 18.8.17

 Great Haywood to Rugeley on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

5 miles 1 Lock

Showers and sunny spells

Away about 09.00.

Did Colwich lock by our self.

Moored in Rugeley near bridge 66

We had dinner in “the Plaza” a Weatherspoons pub in Rugeley.

There is a Wool and Fabric shop in Rugeley, “Carols Wool and Fabric” She sells some J C Bretts yarn, so I went and in to her shop and introduced us..she didn’t seem too impressed we where there, but I’ll put a contact details on the website for her.

There used to be another wool shop opposite her but that has recently shut down, Carole’s has been open for about 40 years, she was telling me.

Jenny Maxwell moored behind us, so a bit of a mini floating market.

We are not over keen on being here in the middle of town, well maybe more on the edge, but will we have a disturbed night?

Capt Col 18.8.17

Day 47 of the FCR on Emma Maye Burston to Great Haywood

Day 47 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 17.8.17

Day 47 of the FCR on Emma Maye Burston to Great Haywood 2017 Thursday 17.8.17

 Burston to Great Haywood on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

6.5 miles 4 Locks

Rain to start with sunny and warm

A days boating for a change.

Waited for the heavy rain to stop, and so away about 09.30.

We had to wait for boats at most of the locks, with a stop below Weston lock for dinner.

Did the loo and water at Great Haywood while Carole went to the Canalside Farm shop, coming back with some strawberries and cream, and a bottle of Staffordshire red wine.

Moored opposite Shugbrough Hall and after returning the telly at some one else’s suggestion we went for a walk in to Great Haywood.

The little newspaper shop in the village has shut, but the Spar seems to have had a make over.

We went for a pint in the Clifford Arms before tea, now’t special.

Meet Jenny Maxwell, a fellow roving trader who sells antiques etc and is planning to come and trade with us at Rugeley this weekend, I’ve started to do some publicity for it.

Capt Col 17.8.17

Day 46 of the FCR on Emma Maye Stone to Burston 2017

Day 46 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 16.8.17

Day 46 of the FCR on Emma Maye Stone to Burston 2017 Wednesday 16.8.17

 Below Star Lock, Stone to Burston on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

2.5 miles 1 Lock

Sunny breezy rain later

Back from Burscough to Stone on the train again, carrying the Knit Pro tools and big buttons.

Left Burscough on the 08.37 to Wigan Wallgate, 142046.  

Then the 09.29 Wigan North Western to Crewe, 390013

10.02 Crewe to Stone on 350377, which was a lot nicer to travel on than the Pendolino, lots more room and brighter and lighter.

Back to the boat for about 11.00.

Set off boating after dinner, and got as far as Burston. A nice long stretch of pilling to moor on and no one else moored near us tonight.

After we stopped I did a oil and filter change on the boat engine, ban on 150 hours since the last one.

Walked up to the Greyhound pub for a pint before tea but it was shut at 17.30 hrs, what’s that about?

Capt Col 16.8.17

Day 45 of the FCR on Emma Maye in Stone SFC V FCMU 2017

Day 45 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 15.8.17

Day 45 of the FCR on Emma Maye in Stone 2017 Tuesday 15.8.17

 Below Star Lock, Stone on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Didn’t move.

Sunny warm

Southport F C v FC United of Manchester

Shopping in Stone this morning,

Put some money into the bank, another Natwest branch that is to close in October.

Then sent pictures from yesterday of London Midland emu’s to Rail and Railway Magazine.

Sent this week’s entry into the Times Travel competition.

Cw 682 Sheep and straw at Woolfest.

A sheep studies a stand of straw lodged on it's head at Wool Fest 2013 in Cockermouth Cumbria in July 2013.

Sheep at Woolfest

After dinner it was back to Burscough for the night, mainly to pick up the Knit Pro tools and the big buttons, but also meant I could go to Haig Ave to watch Southport play FC United of Manchester for the first time.

Left Stone on the 14.36 train to Stafford. Bought a anytime return ticket, cost £13.20.

The 14.36 Stone to Stafford was 350231, then the

15.10 Stafford to Crewe, 350237

16.09 Crewe to Wigan North Western on 221101

And the 17.04 from Wigan Wallgate to Burscough Bridge 142004 and 030.

Chippy tea on the front at Marshside before the game.

A good hard fought game, the FC utd fans made a lot of noise but they got silenced just before the end when we came back again from behind to draw 3-3.

Capt Col 15.8.17

Day 44 of the FCR on Emma Maye in Stone 2017 Monday

Day 44 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 14.8.17

Day 44 of the FCR on Emma Maye in Stone 2017 Monday 14.8.17

 Below Star Lock, Stone on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Didn’t move.

Rain to start, Sunny later and then more rain.

Working out the practicalities of getting back to Burscough this week.

It’s do able with having a train station handy.

So we put a order into Groves for big buttons and knit pro needles.

Dinner in The Star again.

A hour on the station taking pictures of London Midland emu’s and worked some up for Rail and Railway Mag, as there has been a announcement that West Midlands trains will take over the franchise for these services from December 2018. This includes that removal of the present service that runs from Crewe to Euston with these Emu’s  thus meaning places like Stone will loose the direct service to London.  


Cw 4052 350113 LM 14.02 Crewe to Euston at Stone 14.8.17

London Midland electric multiple unit no 350 113 arrives at Stone station on the 14.8.17.

This was four days after the Department for Transport announced that the  London Midland franchise to run these services has been awarded to West Midlands trains from December 2018 and they propose to discontinue the Crewe to Euston service via Stoke and Stone and replace it with a Crewe to Birmingham New Street service.

The passenger train service the EMU is working is the 14.02 service from Crewe to London Euston via Stoke on Trent.

Image Cw 4052 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations.

Capt Col 14.8.17

Day 43 of the FCR on the narrow boat Emma Maye in Stone 2017 Sunday 13.8.17

Day 43 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 13.8.17

Day 43 of the FCR on the narrow boat Emma Maye in Stone 2017 Sunday 13.8.17

 Below Star Lock, Stone on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Didn’t move.

Sunny and mild.

Open 10-4

A good days selling, mainly yarn and a few cards.

Today’s Non League paper came from the small premier shop on the far side of the railway at the top of the town.

Capt Col 13.8.17

Day 42 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017

Day 42 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 12.8.17

 Below Star Lock, Stone on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Didn’t move.

Mild and sunny spells, light showers.

Leamington Spa V Southport F C.

Carole had said she didn’t want to make the trip to Leamington just for the day, so I was on my own.

So off from Stone station on the 10.36 to Stafford, 350 125, on a off peak return ticket, £22.30 with the senior railcard. A change at Stafford to a Cross country Voyager, 220 030 which departed at 11.25. Summer Saturday train to Bournemouth which was well filled, but I managed to get a seat. Arrived in Leamington about 12.30hrs.

Chips for dinner by the grand union canal.

Then a taxi out to the ground. Is this the most rural ground we’ve played on? About 3 miles out in the country, they must have bought some land off a farmer to establish the club. The ground is on Harbury Lane. This  a country road with a 50 mph speed limit and no pavements, so it’s not advised to walk. A taxi cost me £9!

 Disappointing in the club shop had run out of mugs, so had a pint in the bar instead.

The game wasn’t great one our goalie made 3 good saves in the first half but neither team carving out chances. A mix up between Leamington’s goalie and one of his defenders let Eathan Jones in to score the only goal of the game from a tight angle.

So played three won three.

The Leamington supporters trust have their own mini bus that they use to bring supporters from town and I got a seat in that after the game. £2, that’s better. Didn’t make too much noise about being a Southport supporter.

They were saying the club will be running a proper bus for some games, like Stockport County and York.

I was thus able to catch the 17.14 train, another Voyager 220.030 back to Stafford, again packed, and I stood for a bit between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and then 310.107 back to Stone.

Time to go out for a very pleasant tea in Thia Lanna in town. Very fresh tasting Thia red curry, would recommend the place.

Tired by bed time.

Capt Col 12.8.17

Day 41 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday

Day 41 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Friday 11.8.17

 Below Star Lock, Stone on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Didn’t move.

Mild and sunny spells, light showers.

Open today from 10-4.

A few visitors and some sales of yarn, including a couple of gansey patterns from the website.

Shopping at Morrison’s after we finished.

A quiet evening  with nowt on the telly, but the local brass band where practicing in the scout hut next to the mooring  which was quiet nice.

Capt Col 11.8.17

Day 40 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday

Day 40 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Thursday 10.8.17

 Below Meaford Locks to Stone on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

1.5 miles 4 locks.

Mild and sunny spells.

Away about 09.00 hrs, did the loo and water at Lime Kiln lock then progress slowed as Canal Cruising Co were showing a new crew how to work a lock.

There was no room above Star Lock on the 48hr mooring so ended up on the 5 day mooring below the lock and around the corner a bit.

Emma Maye open in Stone

Opened this afternoon for a couple of hours after we had dinner, butties in The Star, and no customers. So didn’t sell anything, but maybe getting word round.

Kerry from the Staffordshire News letter has picked up on us again and put a article about us on their website.

Had a pint in the Sun on the way back from Morrison’s, a nice pint of Castle rock black gold, Carole on cider, with a Camra discount.

I put Carole’s  finished another garment, no 28 this year. On to social media... It’s a sleeveless jacket from Party time that she had started back in January. She likes it so much she isn’t going to sell it, but we’ll advertise it as knit to order.   

Capt Col 10.8.17

Day 39 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017

Day 39 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Wednesday 9.8.17

 Meaford Locks on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Didn’t move again

Rain in the morning brighter afternoon, so we decided to not move again today. This is a nice mooring, just a bit of noise from the nearby road, but quiet at night.

Walked up to the railway at bridge 96 this morning, as the day dried out, so we walked into Stone for dinner at the Post House, a Weatherspoons pub. Their normal fare and I actually used a Camra voucher to get 50p off a pint.

After we got back to the boat I walked back to Meaford taking pictures of trains again and made a better job of them. Worked some up ready to send to the Railway Magazine.

220004 passes Meaford











222004 passes Meaford

Carole has finished another garment, no 28 this year. It’s a sleeveless jacket from Party time that she had started back in January. She likes it so much she isn’t going to sell it, but we’ll advertise it as knit to order.   

Capt Col 9.8.17

Day 38 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017

Day 38 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Tuesday 8.8.17

 Meaford Locks on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Didn’t move

Rain for most of the day.

Spent most of the day putting together the August edition of the Creations Chronicles.

Posted 5 copies at the post box just over the bridge no 96.

By the time I e-mailed the Chronicles out it was after tea, so a lot came back because people where out of offices.

Capt Col 8.8.17

Day 37 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday

Day 37 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Monday 7.8.17

Barlaston to below Meaford Locks on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

2 miles 4 locks

Warm and sunny spells.

Away about 09.00hrs, moored up fro 11.30.

A nice steady cruise and passage through Meaford Lock flight.

A nice amount of boat movement so people helping each other out.

Little dog on the Meaford flight













Followed down the locks by a single hotel boat, with the lady off it helping and chatting with Carole.

The 2nd lock down is slow to fill, one paddle isn’t working very well, and a permanent looking notice attached to the lock beam to say that CRT will sort it out.

This afternoon was fitting a new aerial for the telly...4th one, hope fully we won’t need to be putting the big one up so often?

Out for tea this evening to the George and Dragon

George and Dragon Meaford


 











Our review for Trip advisor...

George and Dragon Meaford 7.8.17 Review

Rating above average

After working our narrow boat “Emma Maye” down the four locks of the Meaford we moored for the night and walked back to the George and Dragon.

We had discovered this pub a few years ago, discovered as it’s not in any of the canal guides we use, though it’s not that much of a walk, though unless you walk along the side of the dual carriageway it is a walk up and down a grassy hill along a public footpath from bridge 97 which is ok if it’s a dry day.

The bottle of Shiraz from Hardy’s was nice and reasonably priced.

 A Marston’s pub with 5 cask ales to choose from, so it was “Saddle Tank” for me

Both steaks were cooked to perfection, one a rump and one a sirloin, good value for money with it being two for one on a Monday.

All in all worth walking down the hill for, will return.

Colin and Carole Wareing 7.8.17

Capt Col 7.8.17

Day 36 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday

Day 36 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Sunday 6.8.1

Barlaston didn’t move

Dry and sunny

NLP from Premier shop on Orchard place.

Open from 10-4 Sold some yarn.

Capt Col 6.8.17



Day 35 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday

Day 35 of the four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Saturday 5.8.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Dry and sunny

First game of the new football season.

A new chapter in the story of Southport F.C.

There has been a lot of goings on at Haig Ave since the relegation at the end of last season from The National league.

The long standing chairman Charlie Clapham has resigned, having been there for about 35 years and there is now a new board in place with younger business men investing, and thankfully no Liam Watson around.

It has caused some division amongst the supporters, alot of it driven by social media and the internet and it’s probably not really finished yet...but we still have a club and team to support, and new places to go in the National league north. There is a new management team, Alan Lewer is the man in charge and Mark Wright is back advising.

From the look of the first came they seem to have built a reasonable looking team, only one player remains from last season.

Today’s opener was against Boston United and we scored some cracking goals winning 4-0.

 The day had started fairly well by catching Martin on nb Halsall at just after 07.00hrs and having a top up of 100lts of diesel and a couple of bags of excel coal from him, Carole still asleep when I flagged him down.

I then took the truck back to Burscough, via a tour around the Cheshire countryside to avoid traffic jams following a accident on the M6.

Back to Barlaston on the train, the 17.46 Burscough Bridge to Manchester Piccadilly, 156 461 and then  the 19.27 from Piccadilly to Stoke, a Cross country voyager 221 120. Then taxi back to Barlaston.


Capt Col 6.8.17



Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 34 Friday

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 34 Friday 4.8.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Dry and sunny

A sad day, the funeral of a dear friend, Owen, who died too young.

Capt Col 4.8.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 33 Thursday 3.8.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 33 Thursday 3.8.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Rain again

Back from Burscough to Barlaston in the truck.

Away about 10.30.

Stopped at Robin park in Wigan and got a new digital aerial for the telly on the boat from Maplins.

Then to go out doors and got 2 new 25lt water containers .

Had dinner at a chain pub, Limewood Farm near Haydock. It was ok.

Stopped at the services at Anderton and after waiting for the hotel pair “Duke and Duchess” to fill up we filled our two new containers with water.

Back to Barlaston and after unloading from the little car park of the back of Broadmead I parked the truck for the night on the station car park.   

Capt Col 4.8.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 32 Wednesday 2.8.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 32 Wednesday 2.8.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Dull with sunny spells.

Back to Burscough on the bus and train.

10.00hrs no 14 bus to Stoke railway station

Then a  Virgin 390 Pendolino to Manchester.

Dinner in Frankie and Bennies near St Anns square.

Then northern 150 268 back from Manchester Victoria to Burscough Bridge.

Bought a new second hand lens for the camera from the London camera exchange. It again has a plastic mount. The chap in the shop said he’d never had trouble with a mount, but there is something internally wrong with my original one. 

Back at base was a copy of the Augusts Towpath talk. The editor had used my report from the Lion Salt works and also about 4 pictures and my words from Middlewich...great news.

 Capt Col 3.8.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 31 Tuesday 1.8.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 31 Tuesday 1.8.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Bright morning then very heavy rain showers, thunder and lighting.

Open 1-4 but the weather seemed to put people off...no one turned up J

A few pictures around Barlaston and pies from the butchers for dinner. Capt Col 2.8.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 30 Monday

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 30 Monday 31.7.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Sunny spells then very heavy rain showers, thunder and lighting.

Decide when we are going to be open this week, and did the promotion work.

Put an order into J C Bretts for yarn to replenish the stocks, especially of Fairground.

Today is the only day of the week when there is any scheduled freight along this line from Stafford towards Stoke.  There is a delivery of China Clay to Cliffe Vale in the potteries that arrives early in the morning and then the empties return towards Bescot at about 14.00hrs.

Today 66025 was in charge and I managed to get a pic or two as she passed through Barlaston.

66025 passing Barlaston


























The other main job of the day was to take pictures and publish them of Carole’s temperature blanket for the end of July.

Capt Col 1.8.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 28 Sunday

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 28 Sunday 30.7.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Sunny spells then very heavy rain showers.

Open 10-4

1 customer, we sold a notelet.

A lady who had been to see us in Westport the week before came for some more Fairground, but we didn’t have enough. We were planning an order for Bretts so it has just bumped it up!

 Put the review from Plume of Feathers on Trip Advisor

Capt Col 31.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 27 Saturday

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 27 Saturday 29.7.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Dry sunny spells, humid

Open 10-4

2 customers again. A bit slow, but ok takings at the end of the day.

We went out for tea, to the Plume of Feathers, and we were not that impressed.

Plume of Feathers Barlaston

Our review for Trip Advisor

“Whilst moored in Barlaston we had been into the pub for sandwiches a couple of days ago for dinner and found it quite acceptable, so booked for our tea on the Saturday evening.

Not quite the experience we had anticipated.

The bottle of Merlot from Chile was nice but it would have been nice to have a copy of the wine list on the tables in the restaurant area as they were in the bar area.  The Titanic Plum Porter as good as normal and was one of a choice of about 6 cask ales to choose from.

The food was very average, Carole chose the Goats cheese on toasted brioche with market salad. The cheese was a large roundel on a small toasted brioche, while the meat in Colin’s steak pie was nice but the pastry a bit tough.

We placed our order for desserts, having decided to have a go at the Strawberry Pavlova and the sticky toffee pudding. Then we waited....and waited. It took about 45 minutes to arrive! We considered cancelling it and settling up, they arrived just in time.

We’d been asked about 4 times during the meal if our food was ok...a bit over the top.

As we paid we were asked again, and commented to the young lady that the puddings were slow to arrive to which she replied, it’s not unusual for people to say that...so if that’s the case it could do with sorting out. 

All in all an average experience, and we wouldn’t be making a special note in the canal guide to say we should be stopping again, well not for our tea, maybe for a butty.”

Colin and Carole Wareing 29.7.17

Capt Col 30.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 26 Friday

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 26 Friday 28.7.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Dry dull morning Rain, heavy later it was like winter, we lit the fire.

Open 10-4

2 customers. 

Promotion work for Carole’s  Etsy shop.

Capt Col 29.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 25

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 25 27.7.17

Barlaston didn’t move

Sunny spells, dull, showers.

Again did quite bit of computer work today Alamy work continues, should have done them all now...waiting the overnight up date.

Dinner out, sandwich in The Plum of Feathers, Marston's Pedigree this time.

Took pictures and worked up images of Carole’s finished garment 131, a tank top in Marble and put it on the Etsy shop.

Capt Col 28.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 24

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 24 26.7.17

 Wedgewood to Barlaston

.5 mile

 Rainy morning, sunny warm afternoon.

Moved after dinner, and in 3 steps got to where we wanted to be in the light, just around the corner from the Plume of Feathers pub.

Did quite bit of computer work again this morning, Alamy work continues. Made some posters for us being here this weekend and took them around the local shops, the “One stop” between the canal and the railway, the Premier and the butchers on the parade of shops in the village.

Had another pint before tea in The Plum of Feathers, Titanic Plum porter this time.

Capt Col 28.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 23

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 23 25.7.17

 Etruria, the Garden festival site to Wedgewood.

6 miles 6 Locks.

 Dry and humid, sunny spells.

Away about 09.00, did the loo and water at the junction of the Caludon and Trent and Mersey canal.

A nice cruise through down the Stoke Locks, with enough boats coming and going to make it interesting.


As we did the last lock at Trentham there were 3 boats waiting to come up and a lady spotted us and wanted a couple of balls of yarn off us. Her husband was amazed...”Where did you get that from”?

Moored up at Wedgewood for about 12.30.

Lovely sunny afternoon, with another lady, Karen, buying some more J C Bretts Top value basic acrylic off us. So as I’d to get lots of stuff out of the store room to restock we opened for a few hours and sold some more top value to a lady who was from Sydney in Australia. Her husband and her are cycling from Lands end to John o Groats. Linda and Peter, who had a support team in Amada.

Carole sat out side knitting in the sun this afternoon.

Capt Col 25.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 22

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 22 24.7.17

 Westport Lake To Etruria, the Garden festival site.

2 miles

 Dry and humid, sunny spells.

Away about 09.00, so no problems mooring outside the Toby carvery.

Then a walk up to Hanley, the road side has been redeveloped a lot since we last walked up it, more big retail outlets, but nothing we really needed from any of the shops.    

We had to go to the bank, and was looking for a camera shop, I need a new lens, but either the places on the net are not there now or we couldn’t find them, and neither could we find a pub we had selected for dinner.

We bought a proper Staffordshire street atlas, but we need to mark places before we set off!

So we ended up in the Reginald Mitchell Weatherspoons for dinner.

By the time we got back to the boat we where knackered so didn’t go too far..beer only a few yards away but the wine was a bit pricey! Though the Sharps Atlantic at £2.80 a pint was ok, so went back for a second one to have with my tea.  

Capt Col 24.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 21

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 21 23.7.17

 Westport Lake didn’t move

 Dry day until a light shower later.

First job of the day was to go on the search for the non league paper. I walked along the canal up to Longport and turned right from the towpath onto the A5271 going into Longport. There is a “Longport News” here but the chap in there looked at me daft when I asked for the non league paper.

Because we are in “Port Vale F C” country I hadn’t held out much hope for finding a copy of the NLP but further along the road at the junction with the A500, the D road (?) is a Texaco petrol station which is also a Spar, and they had a copy! Handy place to know as would also be good for general supplies and wine and beer.

Working day today, we were open from 10-4ish.

We had another reasonable day selling yarn, patterns and knitting and crochet needles and hooks.

By the end of the day there where another couple of roving traders here as well at Westport Lake. Dinner  was from Kay on the Oatcake boat.

We have asked on social media for a name for the stowaway on The Wool Boat. The Snake.  And we’re getting quite a few ideas J

Capt Col 23.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 20

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 20 22.7.17

 Westport Lake didn’t move

 Dry day until a light shower later

Working day today, we were open from 10-4ish.

We had a good day selling yarn, with plenty of new customers and a couple who have been before.

Yarn news, Mrs Taylor from Macclesfield came and bought our last ball of Top Valve Tweed shade F10. Bretts have stopped producing this yarn now, but we still have stocks of the other 5 shades.

Cw 1135 Top Value tweed basket October 2014 2

Top value tweed basket







We are not the only roving traders here at Westport Lake this weekend, Kay the Oatcake lady is here as well, and by god she produces some lovely tasting oatcakes.

We have another stowaway on The Wool Boat. The Snake.

The snake was crocheted by Lorraine from Alsager and for a while was making its way up one of her drain pipes. It has now slithered aboard The Wool Boat and made its self at home wrapped around the seat back and a handrail.

The question now of course is what should we call it?

For folks of a certain vintage he doesn’t hiss and has now’t to do with the gas board J

Cw 4028 The Snake

The Snake










We’re open, us and the Oatcake Boat again tomorrow, so something for every one!

Capt Col 22.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 19

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 19 21.7.17

 Westport Lake moved up a bit onto the 48hr mooring

Damp start, dryer later, then rain.

Walk up to Burslem

We need to put some money into the bank and found a NatWest in Burslem, about 30 minutes walk up the hill from the canal.

So off we set about 11.30.

Found the bank ok, but it’s another one that’s going to be a casualty of the changing way the banks think we run our lives and is due to close in October.

Whilst doing the normal engine oil and water checks this morning I noticed one of the alternator belts was a bit frayed, so on the off chance we may find a car parts shop we took the numbers with us. Near the bank was A2 Car parts so we bought a pair of replacement belts, one for each alternator. These will replace the ones we already had in stock.

Considering that Longport on the canal doesn’t seem able to support any pubs Burslem has loads of them! May be all the Longport residents climb the hill for their beer.

The first choice was to be The Bulls Head, the Titanic brewery tap, but alas they didn’t do any food, so a walk of a few yards back to the Duke William for dinner. Steak pie for me and a cheese and onion sandwich and chips, both ok. A good selection of about 6 hand pumps, including Sarah Hughes dark ruby mild, at 6.0% it was just a very nice half at dinner time.

So the Bulls Head waits for another day.

Back to the boat, fitted the new alternator belt and then some work on promoting us being open here this weekend.

The weather turned wet and cool towards evening, so we lit the fire on the boat.

Capt Col 22.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 18

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 18 20.7.17

 Westport Lake didn’t move

Sunny and mild in the afternoon following a damp morning

 We were open today from 10-4

Word is getting around via social media again so we had a few visitors and customers including a old friend Lorraine from Alsager.

Emma Maye open at Westport Lake 20.7.17.

The narrow boat “Emma Maye” aka The Wool Boat moored along the towpath of the Trent and Mersey canal at Westport Lake, Longport near Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire open the 20.7.17.

We will be open here again on Saturday the 22nd and Sunday the 23rd of July from 10-4ish.

Emma Maye open at Westport lake











After we packed up I went for a walk up to the Longport maintaince depot of Electro Motive who look after GBRF’s 66’s but nothing visible except a bent body shell. Was it the one that came off the tracks up in Scotland a few years ago, but that may have been a DRS one?

Capt Col 20.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 17 19.7.17

 Red Bull to Westport Lake

3 miles and 3 locks, 1 long tunnel.

Sunny and mild.

 Up the last three locks of the Red Bull flight, through Harecastle tunnel.

Away again just after 08.30, doing the loo and water again at Red Bull.   

Got to the north end of the Harecastle tunnel and then had to wait for just over a hour while another boat came through from the south.

Entry to the tunnel is controlled by two tunnel keepers, one at either end. The tunnel is only wide enough for one boat so it is worked on a controlled system supervised by the tunnel keepers.

New instructions from last time we passed through it from the tunnel keeper, “keep talking to each other” a safety feature. There had been a unfortunate accident a couple of years ago when a helmsman fell in off the back of the boat and the rest of the crew who were at the front didn’t no.

The tunnel is 2926 yards long.                                                                                                

It took us about 35 minutes to travel through the tunnel on this occasion with there just being “Emma Maye” going through in this times passage.

Image Cw 4026 Emma Maye waiting for Harecastle tunnel 19.7.17

Emma Maye waiting for Harecastle tunnel


After mooring  we had a wander up Canal lane from bridge 128. Up on the main road towards the right and Tunstall is a Aldi, could be useful. Walk back down into Longport, there was a sign for a pub “The Travellers Rest, 5 minutes walk” pity there was no extra signage, we didn’t find it.

We didn’t find any of the other pubs that used to be in Longport there either, all shut, two converted to flats and the other falling to pieces.

Once again we struggled for a telly picture tonight, with BBC on the on the big aerial.   

Capt Col 20.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 16

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 16 18.7.17

 Church Lawton to Red Bull

1 mile and 3 locks

Sunny and warm

Not much of a move today, round the corner and up the 1st three locks of the Red Bull flight.

We were moored on the rings at Red Bull after doing the loo and water by 10.30.

After dinner, in the Red Bull pub it was a walk up to Tesco’s in Kidsgrove for some shopping.

The more train pictures near the north end of the Harecastle tunnel as the railway crosses the Trent and Mersey canal. Quite a good spec as you can get to be at track level.

A bit of a problem trying to get a telly picture tonight, with BBC on the little black aerial and the ITV on the bigger one.    

We learnt something watching Greg Wallace in the Typhoo tea factory on the Wirral. It appears that the actual tea bag contains some plastic, not just the paper.  So instead of lobbing them in the canal where we assumed they would disintegrate we’ll have to put them on the fire.

Capt Col 19.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 15

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 15 17.7.17

 Rode Heath to Church Lawton

1.5 miles and 6 locks

Sunny and warm

A nice steady few hours cruise up the 6 locks, 3 of which are still paired locks, with just the right amount of traffic going up and down.

We were moored on the rings near in Church Lawton by 11.30.

The only problem of the day was the front fender of the boat must have got hung up on a lock gate, or possibly as we pushed the gate open? Anyway when I’d been refitting the fenders after blacking the hull earlier in the year I decided to use ropes to keep the fenders in place instead of chains. Seems to have been a good job, as the rope broke instead of the boat getting hung up on what ever it was.  Time for a bit more amateur rope work.

Broken front fender

After dinner, a walk to the foot crossing over the Kidsgrove to Crewe line just at the bottom of the Reb Bull lock flight...the vegetation has grown a bit since last time I was here a couple of year ago, so not as easy taking pictures of trains.

Then we went for a wander to have a look around Church Lawton Church.  Nice to find it open for people to have a look inside and a few interesting grave stones to ponder. We’ve never really seen them before with the persons address on them as well.

 

Capt Col 18.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Days 12,13 and 14 14th,15th and 16th

 Rode Heath didn’t move

3 days at Rode Heath, a bit of sun a bit of rain.

We were open on Saturday and Sunday from 10-4 ish and welcomed quite a few customers, some old from ones who remember us from the last time we were here.

A few more visits to the Bargain Booze, and a trip to the Broughton arms for tea of Saturday evening, ok pub food.

The only real fly in the ointment this weekend was that we had been in the village shop when we arrived on the Wednesday and asked if they could order me in a non-league paper. Apparently we were too late for them to get one for this weekend.

We had considered using the service of putting money into the NatWest bank through the post office in the village shop, but if they couldn’t organize a NLP would the money get there? Will wait until we get to Stoke.  

Capt Col 17.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 11

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 11 13.7.17

 Rode Heath didn’t move

Sunny and mild

Walked into Alsager via Rode Heath rise and public footpaths with a bit of road work down Cherry Lane.

The plan was to go and put some money into the bank and do some shopping..

But the NatWest in Alsager is shut.

We did the shopping in Asda and caught the no 78 13.23 bus back to Rode Heath.

We had asked for recommendations of where to eat on the Facebook group “What’s going on in Alsager”, and the Bank Corner in the middle of town was one of the ones suggested.

Our review for Trip Advisor

Called in for lunch when we walked into Alsager from where the boat was moored on the Trent and Mersey canal in Rode Heath.

 It took a couple of attempts to get our dinner as even though the lunch and light bites menus were out on the tables as we settled down for an early lunch at 11.40 we couldn’t order off them until 12.00hrs.

So we went and did the shopping in ASDA.

Came back and we both had sandwiches which were very pleasant.     Service was good.

The house Shiraz was ok and a pint of Bitter shandy with John Smiths the same A bit early in the day for a pint of Titanic Plum Porter which was among the 4 cask ales to choose from.

The Bank Corner pub Alsager

All in all an average experience and we’d call again, though it’s s pity the Nat west Bank on the corner has shut!

Once back to the boat Carole watched Jo Konta lose in the Wimbledon Semi Final to Venus Williams on the telly while knitting and I re-varnished some of the boat wood work.

Before tea it was a walk up to the Royal Oak for a pint of Bombardier before I finally got my Plum porter from the Bargain Booze near Thurlwood lock.

Capt Col 14.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 10

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 10 12.7.17

 Bottom of Malkin’s bank, to Rode Heath

Sunny and mild

3 miles 12 locks.

We where away by just after 08.45 to work up through 12 locks today from just above Wheelock to Rode Heath. This stretch of locks was known as the “Cheshire Locks” in the freight carrying days, and then as leisure boating became more popular they became known as “Heartbreak Hill” maybe because of the poor condition the locks had fallen into as commercial carrying came to an end. The locks have been improved over the years and are not now as daunting as they once were. 

We had a nice easy passage with a good few of the locks set in our favour and we developed a nice rhythm with Carole walking ahead to set the next lock as Capt Col shut up the lock we’d just left.













Moored in Rode Heath at about 11.30.

By the evening all of the mooring’s along the towpath opposite the Broughton Arms where full.

We had dinner in the Broughton Arms, a Marston’s pub. Very pleasant 2 for one on the mains, so lasagne for me and Cajun chicken for Carole.   

After dinner it was repair the bunting mast on the boat and then started on the publicity for the weekend.

Just a small blight on the evening. It’s a bugger when the first thing you say to your neighbour on the next boat is to ask him what time he’s going to run his engine to?  By then it was 21.00hrs....the rules are that if you are liable to disturb anyone else you turn you engine or genny off at 20.00hrs.

Just asked him to “Give us a clue” and he jumps up and says “Now” and went and turned it off, so we assume he knew what the rules are and was just trying it on.

Capt Col 13.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 9

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 9 11.7.17

 Bottom of Malkin’s bank, didn’t move.

Rain, wet and dull.

It was wet today, so we stayed put.

Photo work and administration work on garments and wool price lists.

After dinner I went for a wander up the towpath to where the M6 crosses the canal taking pictures to try and reflect the speed of the traffic compared to the slowness of the canal.

Diggers crossing the Trent and Mersey


Capt Col 11.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 8

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 8 10.7.17

 Wheelock. Did move, up 2 locks towards Malkin’s bank.

Rain, wet and dull.

We needed to move, to get some better light and better communications.

Original plan was to go up above Pierpoint locks but as we don’t have to rush we’re not locking in the rain unless we have to. Two was enough today.

So chance to do a bit promotion for this weekend when we aim to be at Rode Heath, but not going mega on it until we are sure where there. With 12 locks to go we should be ok, but you never know. Did a bit of photo work. Sorted two of the pictures of last weeks 73’s crossing the canal at Sandbach. Up loaded into my railway photo gallery and all so sent some low res ones to The Railway Magazine to see if they would publish them.  

Capt Col 11.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 7

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 7 9.7.17

 Wheelock. Didn’t move.

Open in Wheelock 10-4ish.

Sunny and warm

A good day’s trading, with about 14 customers, most of them having found us because of our Facebook posting.

It had been seen by about 5800 people in the last few days thanks to being shared 22 times, so a thank you to everyone who shared it and who came along and bought yarn from us.  

We did a bit of working out and reckon that 0.3% of the people who had seen the poster came along maybe a good job they didn’t all turn up at once J

For tonight’s tea we visited the Barchetta in the former canal side warehouse on Wheelock Wharf. It is Mediterranean themed restaurant though with plenty of pasta and pizza. I had a Calzone and Carole had a Barchetta pizza. Both where ok but nothing special. The service seemed a bit odd, in that there where young people as staff, delivering drinks and taking drink orders, but all the food orders were handled by someone who looked like one of the owners who also supervised the taking of money at the end of the meal, so it was all a bit slow.  

Capt Col 10.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 6

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 6 8.7.17

 Wheelock. Didn’t move.

Open in Wheelock 10-4ish.

Sunny and warm

A steady day, started slow, well 1st customer at 10.00 hrs, then nothing until dinner then a few more people after that mainly through Facebook.

Today’s best selling yarn was J C Bretts Woodlander, a acrylic and wool variegated yarn,  which for you who don’t no is no longer being produced, so get it while you can, £3.50 for 100gram ball. We are open again tomorrow in the same place from 10-4.

Woodlander box

As we said the phone isn’t good here, got one message from a lady in Scotland who sounds like she is running a coach to Yarndale in September and wonders where we’ll be so they can come and see us.

Will ring her back when we get a proper signal.

Tea tonight was from the Dragon City Chinese take away, menu was on the web, so we rang up the order. Carole had Car sui with Cashew nuts in yellow bean sauce and I had egg fu yung. We both found it very nice, but one portion of chips would have been enough between us. They only took cash, no problem to us as that’s all we take.

Capt Col 8.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 5 7.7.17

Cruised from near #Sandbach to #Wheelock. About 1.5 miles.

We have advertised that we are open in Wheelock this coming weekend, so we got there today.

We didn’t rush to get going, let the overnight moorers at Wheelock move off, so got there about 10.10hrs. Took us a few moves to settle on a mooring.

Can’t get a telly picture, phone signal is crap, but we are out in the light and can just about get the net.

Went for a walk up to the farm shop near the by pass roundabout this afternoon. It was nice to see be able to buy tomatoes that aren’t properly ripe so they last a few days longer. As you may know the “Commercial Hotel” pub shut down a few years ago. From the planning notices it looks like the pet food shop next door has bought it to turn it into some sort of vets thing. They only other pub in the village, the Cheshire Cheese is being refitted so we are pub less for the weekend, unless we walk into Sandbach.

Now what is it with the eatery businesses of Wheelock and opening times? The Italian on the wharf, and the Chinese take away, neither of them has any opening and shutting times displayed, at least the Indian that used to be the Nags Head pub say’s it’s open from 5-11 7 days a week.  Lizies chippy had opening times on it but unfortunately according to a notice on the door that is shut at the moment as Liz is in hospital.

But we have plenty of stores aboard and are set for a hopefully busy weekends sell yarn!

Capt Col 7.7.17


Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 4

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 4 6.7.17

Non moving day again, moored near Sandbach.

We have advertised that we are open in Wheelock this coming weekend, so no rush to get there, so we’re staying moored today and tomorrow.  

One of the moorings we really like, as long as we can get on the rings, which we have done.

A grand spot to be moored to keep a eye on the trains running between Crewe and Manchester, so a few pictures today, including a GBRF loco on a test train.

Image Cw 4010 73964 crosses the T and M 1Q44 6.7.17

73964 crosses the Trent and Mersey


GBRF Diesel locomotive no 73964 passes the former canal rail interchange on the Trent and Mersey canal near Sandbach in Cheshire.

It is on the head of a track testing train that left Crewe at 18.40hrs and will spend the night covering various tracks around the north west of England.

The tracks covered will include trips from Manchester to Liverpool and return, through St Helens, Wigan to Southport through Burscough and return through Bolton, back to Liverpool and Manchester before returning to Crewe at around dawn time.

Sister locomotive 73961 is on the rear of the train at this stage.

Image Cw 4010 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations



Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 3

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 3 5.7.17

Non moving day, moored near Sandbach.

We have advertised that we are open in Wheelock this coming weekend, so no rush to get there, so we’re staying moored today and tomorrow.  

One of the moorings we really like, as long as we can get on the rings, which we have done.

A grand spot to be moored to keep a eye on the trains running between Crewe and Manchester, so a few pictures today, that still need weighing up. Looking for a combination of train on the bridge and boat under it...had a few goes at it, but not quite achieved it yet.  

Arriva trains and boat on T and M


















Capt Col 5.7.17

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 2

Four counties canal ring on the narrow boat Emma Maye 2017 Day 2 4.7.17

Middlewich to near Sandbach.

4.5 miles 6 locks.

Away about 08.30 from the 48 hour moorings along the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union.

Down through Wardle lock and then a sharp right hand turn back onto the Trent and Mersey canal.

Filled up with water at the junction, what a faff, the tap needs a good looking at, had to get a jubilee clip out to keep the hose pipe on the fitting. 

Then we start the climb of the Cheshire locks, doing the 1st five, Kings Lock, Rumps Lock, the pair known as the Booth Lane flight and finally Crows Nest Lock, no 67.

Carole only had to do one lock on her own, plenty of traffic about so plenty of assistance met some lovely people.

Working through Booths lock

 









Interesting to see Taylor Wimpey building houses across the road from the Booth Lane lock that they are calling the “Albion Lock” estate....hmm presumably after the former Albion chemical works that used to be here.

We where moored just after the Manchester to Crewe railway on the rings set into the top of the big pilling for about 12.30hrs.

Easy afternoon, not a lot of sunshine for train pic’s but I went for a practice.

Capt Col 4.7.17

4 Counties Ring 2017 day 1

This weeks plan...take the truck back to base, a bit of boating and locking. Hopefully some railway photography near Sandbach. Lots of knitting and then get The Wool Boat open at Wheelock next weekend.

Day 1 of the plan completed, shopping done and loaded onto “Emma Maye”. Then while Carole sorted out the boat and did some knitting Colin took the truck back to base.

Then three trains and a walk back from Winsford we’re ready for some locking tomorrow.

For the record, the rains where the 14.31 from Burscough Bridge worked by Pacer 142 060 to Ormskirk.

Then Mersey Rail emu 507003 as the 14.50 from Ormskirk to Liverpool Central,

Final one after a walk over to Liverpool Lime Street was London Midland emu 350130.

Capt Col 3.7.17  

London Midland 350130 at Lime Street

Pub review, The Ship at Haskayne

Seeing as we have started to contribute reviews to Trip Advisor we thought we may as well load them onto here as well. So here goes.

A J W Lees pub, called in for lunch as we where cruising The Wool Boat to Lydiate. Nice friendly welcome from Sue.

Service was good food average. Good job we didn’t want fish on a Friday as the fishmonger hadn’t been by 12.00 hrs.

Once again the pie was stew with a lid..no pie today thenJ

So sandwiches, prawn which was ok, and hot roast beef which was very nice. House wine ok and a pint of “Boatman’s” bitter was ok as well.

All in all a average experience, but yet another Leeds and Liverpool canal side pub with the majority of the old pictures of canals on the walls being midlands narrow canals.

Overall rating...Average


the Ship Inn Haskayne 28.4.17

Whitby Day 7 , last day away..

Whitby day 7 Tuesday 17.1.17

Another dull day, light rain for much of it, again...

We had a final wander around town today.

Only left the cottage late morning and for dinner once again tried Whitby fish and chips. Went to the Magpie...hmm we can’t decide if it’s the beef dripping that they use for frying over here in Yorkshire but we prefer the fish and chips back over in Lancashire. We did find a new sort of fish on the menu that Colin was going to try, Woof. But they didn’t have any available.

After dinner we went and had a look around the Whitby museum in Pannett park.

Unfortunately the costume gallery was shut, now weather there would have been anything about ganseys in there we don’t know. The museum is very old fashioned with lots of stuffed birds and animals, plenty of jet and lumps of potash rock, models of ships etc but nothing we could find bout ganseys. When we asked the young lady on the ticket and information desk if they had any information she looked at us as though we were speaking a foreign language. She appeared to have never heard of a gansey! She did say that there was a lady we could contact who may be able to tell us what is in the collections, the museum registrar but she is on holiday at the moment.

We had a look around a curios shop called Lavender’s run by a lady who used to keep her own sheep. There are all sorts of stuff in there from Goth related stuff old comics and a selection of books.

Here we found a book that can help us explain to people when they ask do we sell ganseys made from oiled wool.

The book is one of a series called “Textile Manufacturing Manuals” and this one is “The Manufacture of Woollen and Worsted yarns” by J.W.Radcliffe, published by Emmott & Co Ltd of Manchester and London in 1913! A whole chapter (5 pages) on oils and oiling. Well worth the 3 quid we paid.

So now it’s back to running our floating yarn shop, with a couple of stops on the way home to pick up supplies of yarn from J c Bretts in Bingley and West Yorkshire Spinners in Keighley.

Would we go back to Whitby? Yes there is plenty we didn’t do, and would we go back to that cottage? Yes again but maybe a bit later in the year when the weather may be a bit warmer and the steam trains are running on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.  

Carole and Capt Col 18.1.17

Whitby day 6 16.117

Whitby day 6 Monday 16.1.17

Another dull day, light rain for much of it..

I went out in the truck up the coast towards Saltburn looking for freight trains on the lie to the Boulby potash mine to take pictures of. Because of the weather it was more of a reccy than anything for future trips.

Carole spent the day at the cottage knitting and had a wader round town....not buying anything.

For the railway enthusiasts amongst you..

Crag Hall, east of Skinningrove Monday 16.1.17.

12.51 66514 6F24, 12.28 from Boulby Potash mine to South Bank Tees Dock. Loaded.

13.56 66551 6F33 12.22 Middlesbrough to Boulby Potash mine. Empties

14.17 60091 6N40 the 13.26 Tees Yard to Skinningrove British steel plant, loaded with steel.

60091 at Crags Hall



Whitby day 5

Whitby day 5 Sunday 15th January 2017,

No train trips today....no trains running on Sundays to and from Whitby until April (?).

So a wander around town again, the weather wasn’t great, dull and over cast with showers and one or two sunny spells.

The temperature recording for the temperature blanket was 3 C at about 09.00hrs.

Colin went out early for this weeks Non League Paper, obtained from Station News, though not a good report with Southport loosing to Whealdstone in the F A Trophy yesterday.

A easier day today, we didn’t venture out until about 11, for supplies from the Co-op and having returned them to the cottage we set off to find dinner. Looked at the Dolphin, but nothing we fancied there, so up Church Street  to the Duke of York which was very acceptable, at least they were not just doing a Sunday roast which a lot of pubs do on a Sunday.

After dinner it was the 199 steps up to the Abbey, and yes we counted them..

The Abbey is looked after by English Heritage and Carole seems to remember last time she was here in about 1987 it was free entry. Today they wanted £7.90 each....we didn’t bother and followed the signs around the walls to The Whitby Brewery, established in some farm out buildings. They also have a micro pub on site, so a nice half of Whitby Jet and Whitby Whaler.

We didn’t come back down the 199 but down Caedoms Trod, not quite as steep. It also led to the “Endeavour”  a pub named after the ship Captain Cook sailed to Australia. On a Sunday afternoon local folk musicians have a session of playing Irish music in the pub, so a nice couple of hours with a couple of glasses of wine and Marstons Pedigree ale, listening to the music..we didn’t do a lot more today -)

Capt Col 16.1.17

Whitby Harbour in January


Whitby day 4 Train trip to Middleborough

Whitby day 4   14.1.17

Train trip to Middleborough

As we hadn’t come on the train we needed to have a ride on one. The North Yorkshire moors isn’t running at present, so it was down to Northern.

Caught the first of the 4 trains a day from  Whitby to Middlesbrough for the 90 minute ride up the Esk valley and over the moors to Teesside.

Left Whitby at 08.45, on a DMU, 156 463. The first surprise of the day was how much it cost us...we have a 2 together railcard which knocks off about 30 % so it cost us £9.20 for the both of us for a day return!

The second surprise was the reversal at Battersby, to do the last 20 minutes into Middlesbrough.

It was a lovely trip though, with quite a lot of snow on the fields, but the sun was out all the way.

Middlesbrough was cold...it’s not often we go for a brew to warm us up but we did this morning, in coffee Nero.

Middlesbrough seems to have been redeveloped as 3 major shopping centres and not a lot else, though Carole, having neglected to bring her knitting with her felt the need to find some yarn and needles. We did find “Wool King” but no disrespect the yarn was mainly lower end acrylic which Carole didn’t fancy. She bought a book to read instead.

As with a lot of redeveloped towns we struggled to find a pub for dinner, this was after we had been and had a look at the Transporter Bridge which was resplendent in it’s blue paint against a clear blue sky.

Middlesbrough Transporter bridge












We did find some where to eat, out toward the football ground, a place called The Middlesbrough Pharma bar and grill. A good place, cheap light dinner, Corn beef hash and Cottage pie for a fiver a piece. In a old converted building with cast iron pillars..different but really good.

Back on the 14.04 train, same unit and then a pint in the micro pub on the Station at Whitby before soup and butties from the co-op for tea.

Colin Wareing 15.1.17

Whitby day 3 13.1.17

Whitby day 3 Friday 13.1.16

10 years today we got wed...and no regrets

Started the day by being woke up by a DRS 37 rumbling past the cottage at just after 7...the plan was to go out and take a picture of it in the station, but I didn’t quite make it before it set off back to York, just caught a glimpse as it departed, looked like a good pic as it was covered in snow! It presumably was a route learner for the driver.

Yes a bit of a surprise to wake up to snow, but it didn’t last too long, though it remained cold all day, with sweeping sleet showers. We only got as far as The Angel Hotel, a Weatherspoons, for dinner.

It was ok, but the lad behind the bar told us they where shutting at 15.00hrs in anticipation of the storm surge about 16.00hrs.

A bit of a wander round the western side of Whitby after dinner, went in to the Whitby Whole Food shop where Deb from “Proper gansey” works, but she wasn’t in when we visited. We then went onto find the yarn shop “Bobbins” on Skinner Street. A good yarny chat with the lady in there, and Carole bought some twinkly yarn that she will use for a piece of bunting for the top of the boat.

Carole in Bobbins Whitby











I went out to the New Quay area as the tide and wind was at it’s highest around 16.00hrs and took some pictures as the sea spilled over the harbour wall.  Apparently not as bad as 3 years ago but still closed the road and a few businesses had the flood defences in place.

Up loaded a couple to Alamy live news.

Anniversary meal out tonight at “Marine” where Carole had her half a lobster, me cod and chips which tasted fresher than the place on Wednesday evening, but Carole didn’t think the lobster was quite up to the standard of the one she had in Bridlington a few years ago.

Colin Wareing 14.1.16

Whitby day 2 12.1.17

Whitby day 2 12.1.17

Woke to a bright but cool start, a bit of ice on the puddles. But it soon went dull and so didn’t warm up too much.

A wander over to the east side of the River Esk this morning. This seems to be the area where the majority of Whitby Jet shops are. Carole spotted a necklace with a silver lobster, the body being from jet. It was in one of the first shops we looked in and as often happens we ended up back there to purchase from Simpson’s Jet of Whitby.

We had a walk towards the east pier up Henrietta Street and though we’ve heard of these places that are dead in the winter because they are all holiday cottages we’ve never really experienced it before. That quiet and empty, felt very odd.

Stumbled across the Abbey Wharf Market and the lovely “Whitby Crafts” shop run by a lovely lady, Michele Stewart. She sells a good range of J C Brett’s yarn so we had a good chat with her about what sells and doesn’t. Carole bought a craft ruler and some kilt pins for stitch holders.

We then went into the Whitby “Books for less” shop not really expecting to find anything too local. Surprise Surprise we came out with a copy of “The Textile History of Whitby 1700 – 1914” by Viveka Hansan. The cover price reckoned to be £90 but in here was £29.99. It is a lovely book and has a good chapter about Whitby ganseys.

Dropped off our shopping at the cottage before dinner in “The Pier” before a wander along the west pier, it was getting cool by then.

A major disappointment was that the Frank Sutcliffe shop is shut until February was hoping to buy some copies of his photographs.

There was possibility of a high tide and onshore easterly winds along the east coast tonight so the Environment Agency have issued a Flood warning for Whitby harbour and the River Esk for Friday the 13th of January 2017.

Their Incident Command Unit has been at the harbour side on New Quay Road informing people of what could happen.

Staff from the Environment Agency where explaining to members of the public what may happen and what they should do to be prepared if the area floods.

E A incident command unit at Whitby










I took some picture’s and uploaded them to the news feed on Alamy.

Sand ags being delivered to Whitby












We didn’t fancy Fish again for tea tonight so had a pizza in Mouterys in Grape Lane which was very nice.

Let’s see what happens overnight.

Colin Wareing Whitby 13.1.16

Whitby Day one, 11.1.17

Whitby Day one, 11.1.17

We’re here, arrived about 14.30 having left Burscough about 08.40 coming across the breezy Pennines through Crosshills, stopping for some curd tarts from Wilds the bakers.

Then round Harrogate, through Knaresborough, round York, towards Scarborough before turning off at Malton and over the moors to Whitby.

Found Clickety Clack cottage. A fairly new build on the site of sidings and signal box just out side the station.

When for a wander around town once we had got organized, a pint in The George, then later tea in Trenchers, which was ok, big portions!

A nice pint of Whitby Jet in the Station before turning in for the night.

Colin Wareing 12.1.17.

How much does it cost to own and use a narrowboat on the English canals?

How much does it cost to own and use a narrowboat on the English canals?

This year’s stats 2016 for the narrow boat Emma Maye”

One of the reoccurring questions is how much does it cost to have a narrow boat.

We have a 57ft narrowboat that we spend quite a bit of time on throughout the year and so thought this may be of interest and useful.

We pay the Canal and River trust for a licence to navigate their waters cost £897.53

We have a on line mooring near Burscough on the Leeds and Liverpool canal which costs £1065.79

The boat spent 171 nights on the mooring during the year, thus costing £6.32 per night.

We have to insure the boat, and because we are roving traders it costs more than a boat that is only used for leisure purposes Our boat is insured with Colliridge and partners and costs £512.18

We have a solid fuel range aboard to keep us warm and buy solid fuel from other roving traders on coal boats or canal side boat yards, we have bought 1030kg this year of the types Excel, Glow and Red and spent £404.80p thus costing us 39.3p a kg.

The boat has a diesel engine that powers us along and we also run to provide us with electricity, the diesel again coming from other roving traders on coal boats or canal side boat yards, we have bought 467 litres and spent £315.94 so costing us 67.6p a litre. As we are roving traders we don’t pay the extra propulsion tax.

We have a gas fired hob for cooking and brewing up on and this year we have bought 3 x13kg bottles of Calor propane spending £70.50, though one is the spare one we’ve not started to use yet.

We also paid River and canal rescue £112, but thankfully didn’t need to call them out.

We did spend £379.84 on maintenance, oil, filters fitting of new gear box and general odds and ends.

As for travelling the main trip over the summer was to Skipton and back. This years was 200 years since the Leeds and Liverpool canal was opened and so we stayed on it with the intention of joining in some of the celebration events, of which we did a few.

We also had a few trips out to Lydiate and Parbold approx 300 miles.

So not too many locks this year. 120.

Basic costs

Licence   £897.53

Mooring £1065.79

Insurance £512.18

Diesel £315.94

Solid fuel £404.80p

Gas £70.50

Rcr rescue £112

Maintenance £379.84

Total spent for the year £3758.59p or £72.28p a week.

Colin Wareing 31.12.16

Weather report for Burscough Wharf 10.45 28.12.16

Weather report for Burscough Wharf 10.45 28.12.16

Following a frosty a start, It’s once again nice and bright with the sun out but it’s a bit cool.

We are open today until 3.

Picture taken as we cruised to turn around at the top of The Rufford arm of the canal this morning.

Capt Col 28.12.16

Cw 1973 4 Trees Dec 2016

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 9, Part way to Parbold

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 9

Day 8 Was new mattress day and Carole’s knit and natter in the Farmers Arms .

We had to have the mattress made especially for the bed on Emma Maye. We measured up the length and width ok, but didn’t factor in the depth...all mattress don’t seem to be the same depth! The new one seems about twice as deep as the old one....going to take some getting used to, so we didn’t sleep too well last night!

Day 9, we’ve done a bit of boating, as we are on the way to Parbold  to be open tomorrow and Sunday. By the time we had got organized, done the loo and water, shopping and got a new gas bottle and some more solid fuel from the Burscough Chandlery it was nearly dinner time.

Dinner was taken at The Ship Inn  at the top of the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal. A nice burger and Lancashire cheese toasty, a pint of the ships special bitter and a glass of red wine.

Then through a couple of swing bridges, Wheat Lane and Spencer’s before mooring for tonight, with about 30 min cruise into Parbold on Saturday morning.

Capt Col 9.12.16 

Emma Maye on her evening mooring 9.12.16

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 7 Walk to Bamber Bridge

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 7

Day 7 Today we had a day off before what hopefully will be a busy weekend.

So we went for a walk from the Guild wheel in Preston. We parked on Broadgate and walked alongside the River Ribble under the railway bridge and alongside Millar Park then up onto a public footpath over the former railway line towards Bamber Bridge.

We walked further than we had planned, but had a nice dinner in “The Withy Arms ” in Bamber Bridge. They had their own W A bitter on from the Ribble brewery.

We walked back mainly alongside the same route, not realising until we looked at old maps that we had passed three railway junctions. We turned off and walked back along the tramway that had been built by the Lancaster canal company to fill the gap between the two ends of the canal that never got built, they ran out of money.

Back over the Ribble on the tramway bridge.

A nice walk, of about 7 miles..

Capt Col 7.12.16 

Slate Grey Lancashire The Ribble at Preston

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 5 37099 at Southport


Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 5

Day 5 Not a lot of Christmassy work today.

Annual review with the accountant, which went ok, still too much yarn stock J


The highlight of the day was a trip to Southport railway station late this evening.

The reason was a visit by 37099 on a rail infrastructure monitoring train.

37 099 has been bought out of preservation by Colas rail for use on Network rail infrastructure monitoring trains. 

The locomotive was unveiled in its new colas livery and named “Merl Evans” at Derby on Friday the 2nd of December 2016.

“Merl Evans” was the model railway company “Bachmann” s Head of Research and Development who sadly passed away on the 16th August 2016.

One of the locomotives first jobs in its new colours was the 18.56 infrastructure monitoring train, 3Q85, from Derby to Southport on the Merseyside coast the 5th December 2016.

Here the locomotive stands at the end of the line from Wigan, under the roof over platform six of Southport Chapel street station at 22.40 before commencing its return journey as far as Crewe.

The occasion brought out another 8 fellow railway photographers om what was quite a cold night, but the loco sounded good.

Capt Col 6.12.16 



37 099 at Southport

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 4 at Burscough wharf

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 4

Day 4 Today we have been back open near Burscough Wharf in the village, though it was a bit quiet

The day started of frosty and thus a skim of ice on the water and for the first time in a long while I’ve been welcomed by a gang of fishermen. It was a match day and they appreciated us ice breaking for them. “There’s now’t wrong with boaters what ever they say” or “eh up Santa has Christmas come early for us?”

We spent more than we took, on 5 20kg bags of “Glow” solid fuel for the range from The Burscough Chandlery for £7.50 a bag.

Also got chance to work on some pictures of yarn and a recently completed scarf Carole has for sale.

 Capt Col 4.12.16 

James C Bretts Marble MC44

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 3 On The Bank

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 3

Day 3 Today we had been “on the bank” as we spent most of the day talking and displaying Carole's gansey’s in The Stanley Club in Burscough at The Images of Burscough Exhibition. Gansey’s, patterns and Colin's Burscough Christmas cards and his "Burscough and Beyond calendar 2017" where available.

We had a good day, creating quite a bit of interest in the gansey’s with the possibility of eventually being able to photograph an old local working boatman’s gansey, if he can find it in the loft.

We did a good bit of explaining what the Burscough Heritage group is about and receiving some thanks for what we had already done for the history and heritage of the village.

Michael’s main exhibition of over 600 images of old Burscough created a good deal of interest.

We sold some more of Colin’s calendars for 2017, they are now going quite well.

Capt Col 3.12.16 

 

Carole knitting at The Stanley

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 2 Wharf and a new model

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 2

Day 2 Today we have been open outside Burscough Wharf today from 10 -3, not to many people about but we did help out with a ladies Christmas presents with a couple of pairs of West Yorkshire Spinners socks.

The Wool Boat open at Burscough Wharf

I got chance to pop into the recently opened traditional sweet shop on The Wharf for some Rhubarb and Custard sweets. I found a new model as well for Carole’s knitwear. Brenda was quite happy to model the Fairground scarf that is now available from us for £30 plus p and p, or of course come and collect from the boat.

Colin and Carole's countdown to Christmas day 3, Sat 3rd Dec will find us talking and displaying Carole's gansey’s in The Stanley Club in Burscough at The Images of Burscough Exhibition. Gansey’s, patterns and Colin's Burscough Christmas cards and his "Burscough and Beyond calendar 2017" will be available.

But before that it’s a pint of “Tea Kettle” stout from the Tring brewery while watching Macclesfield Town trying to beat Oxford United in the F.A. cup...

Capt Col 2.12.16 

 

 

 

 

 

Brenda modelling the Fairground scarf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 1

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 1

It’s December so we can now start thinking about Christmas...

Day 1 we have Tinsellated Carole’s hand knitted bunting on The Wool Boat to hopefully attract a bit of attention for all the lovely yarns, hand knitted garments, Christmas cards and calendars that we have available now.

We have been open outside The Slipway on Crabtree Lane near Burscough today while Carole was knit and nattering in the Farmers Arms just a bit further down the canal. They are not over happy at The Farmers as the Canal and River Trust have decided to move the control pedestal for the New Lane swing bridge, so the road past the pub that runs up to the bridge is closed at the bridge for the next few  weeks.....in the run up to Christmas. It also means that we can’t really get to the mooring outside The Farmers to be open as we can’t turn around!

We are now back on our moorings and ready to cruise into Burscough in the morning to be open on day 2 of the countdown in the village from 10-3.

Capt Col 1.12.16  

Tinsellated Knitted bunting on The Wool Boat

The search for the non league paper and a bit more

The search for the non league paper and a bit more...... Sunday 31.7.16.

At Barrowford on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

Shared on my blog and the internet for the information of fellow non-league boaters, though may hopefully be of use to normal boaters as well, and contains my own observations and thoughts and some of my personal feelings...

A while since I’ve done one of these but the new football season is about to start and we are on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which we’ve not been on since 2009.

We decided we would stay on “our” canal this year seeing as it is 200 years ago that it was finally opened throughout.  We had got caught up in helping to organize part of the Burscough Heritage weekend back in June, so only started travelling after that had taken place.

We are now moored below the Barrowford flight of locks and so today was a walk down into Barrowford along the Colne Road.

It was a again a lovely bright morning, with no boat movement’s this early in the morning, but there again compared to being on the narrow canals there is hardly any traffic.

Lock 49 0n the L and L

In the middle of Barrowford is a park and on the main Gisburn road is “Park News” where I got this week’s copy of the non league paper.

http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/

And in Barrowford on the other side of the road is The Bankers Draft is a relatively new real ale bar in the Lancashire town of Barrowford which of course wasn’t open at 07.30 but it was later..

As the name suggests the building was formally a branch of the Nat West but before Chris the landlady opened it as a real ale bar about 18 months ago it was used as a fabric shop, a office and a toy shop.

 

 

 

 

 

Now it is a nice bright bar, with 5 hand pumps with a good selection of beers. We tried a porter, a titanic bitter and a citrus brew, all very nice in a bar with no piped music, so good for conversation. There is also a good selection of wines and bottled beers. There are what could be called limited hours, so check on https://www.facebook.com/thebankersdraft/

Well worth the walk down, and then of course back up, to the canal.

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye 31.7.16.

Emma Maye on the bottom at Blackburn

Emma Maye on the bottom at Blackburn

 

The narrow boat Emma Maye, aka The Wool Boat, the world’s only floating yarn and wool shop wasn’t floating too well today in Blackburn.

 

 

We were on the way up the locks through Blackburn on the Leeds and Liverpool canal towards Eanam Wharf for this weekend’s canal festival.

 

We had stopped for water in the pound between locks 56 and 55. Friends that had gone up yesterday reported problems with lack of water in the pound above lock 54.

A couple of wide beam boats had gone up today in front of us and had problems with shutting a gate at the tail of lock 54, which didn’t help the situation. Eventually whatever was stopping the gate was freed but in the mean time we ended up at quite an angle!

 

But with the help of Martina and John, mates from the narrow boat "Burnt Oak" and other people from the festival we got to Eanam Wharf and are now setting up for the weekend. 

 

For what's going on at the festival ...

Up the Wigan 21.

Up the Wigan 21. 6.7.16 

We have set off on our summer cruise for this year and because it is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Leeds and Liverpool canal in 1816 we are retracing our steps from when we started our floating enterprise in 2009 and cruising towards Skipton.

Today we have passed through the Wigan flight of 22 locks raising us above 200 feet up the hill on the east side of Wigan.

We had arranged to go up with friends who have their own narrow boat. Martina and John are owners and liveaboard boaters on “Burnt Oak”. Their daughter Ada and her boyfriend Dale where also along to help.

We breasted up the two boats. This means we tied them together at the bow and stern so they in effect became one vessel. This meant we only needed one steerer, John doing the first half of the flight while I did the second half.

We had a pleasant passage with every one helping work the locks, and only a couple of minor irritations, one being a pound a bit short of water and another with a boat that was coming down the flight and had got  rope around his prop

He was suggesting he stayed in a lock while he sorted it out, but was told in no uncertain terms that wasn’t a good idea..

Up at the top fro 13.00, a burger and a pint in The Kirkless Hall pub for dinner then loo and water before moving a mile or so towards Adlington to the first metal pilling to moor for a couple of days.

Capt Col 6.7.16



Land Rover in the cut at The Slipway 25.6.16




On the evening of the 25th of Junne 2015 a Land Rover driver decided to try some high jinks fun at the Slipway oub near Burscough in West Lancashire by driving the vehicle down the concrete slipway into the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
Unfortunately the driver didn't realise that the concret slipway ended not far below water level and the canal bed was a good bit lower than the concrete
The Landrover slipped in to far and he couldn't drive it out again, and no it didn't float.

He was eventually recued by being pulled out by a Range Rover, but it provided a bit of excitment for the locals on a Saturday evening visit to the pub.

Just a pity this didn't happen on the following Monday, was more fun than watching England loose to Iceland.


Last day of the ticket office at Burscough Bridge station 25.6.16

Last day of the ticket office at Burscough Bridge station 25.6.16

Cw1776 Last day at Burscough Bridge Statiion 













Well that’s it then, at 16.00hrs today Phil Green was due to finish his last shift at the Burscough Bridge interchange ticket office and lock up for the final time. 

It all started back in November 2014 when some one noticed in Lancashire county council meeting minutes from 6.11.14 the following..

“County Information centres

 LCC staffing only at locations where income levels mean they cover costs through ticket sales. This would equate to provision at Carnforth, Clitheroe, Nelson and Preston with the withdrawal of facilities at Burscough and Burnley. Facilities at Burnley and Burscough would be withdrawn with the loss of information and ticketing provision at each location”

This was one of the council’s ideas for saving money in the tough economic times. 

The problem, was that the staff where employed by the Lancashire county council and not the train company, so cut’s had to be made

Some local people didn’t like the idea of losing what they considered to be a great asset and a valuable resource for Burscough and the area, a lot of this feeling being because of the enthusiasm and service provided by the staff who worked there.

So the battle commenced, I started writing up what I knew was happening on my blog, The local U3A started a petition, collecting hundreds of signatures, the parish council through Tess Reddington, the parish clerk got involved though she at times struggled to get information from the county council. The Ormskirk, Preston & Southport travellers’ association threw their campaigning weight behind the issue. Letters and e-mail’s went off to LCC Councillor David Borrow, and County Councillor for West Lancashire West, Cynthia Dereli.

Our M.P Rosie Cooper was asked to see what she could achieve.

And all this time the staff at the ticket office where unsure when or if their jobs would go. At one stage redundancy notices where given to them only for these to be withdrawn within a couple of weeks of the proposed date when they would have taken effect.

There was a glimmer of hope when Cynthia Dereli suggested that the library could be moved into the building, but this hasn’t and isn’t likely to happen following the consultation that rejected the proposal.

Then another glimmer of hope arrived when the train operating company was re-franchised but the new operator doesn’t seem interested in funding the staff.

So we now have a situation where the staff have gone, Deb, the lady, when I was talking to her the other week was looking forwards to a break after working shifts, while Phil has taken another job with Lancashire County Council, and I’m not sure what the other lad has done.

The building, opened in November 2005 is still owned by the Lancashire County Council who it seems are hoping for some one to occupy it, presumably paying a market rent.

There has been talk of a community involvement, with a group or a number of groups taking on responsibility for the building, again possibly paying some sort of rent which could go some way to re- establishing a ticket office.

The Burscough Heritage Group of which I’m part have been approached with the thought of establishing a heritage centre, but have declined the idea, all of us being volunteers, with not enough of us to take on a major commitment.

I will admit as things have gone on I got totally despondent with the situation and lack of information we could glean from the County Council in the early part of this year and maybe didn’t do as much as I could, but by then it seems the decision had been taken and we where going to loose the facility what ever we did, and we have.  

 

All views my own, Colin Wareing 25.6.16.

Mark tumble’s in.

Mark tumble’s in.

An interesting end to the day yesterday. We had just started to enjoy a beer with some members of the Mersey motorboat club who are having a bit of a rally here in Parbold.

Then there is splash from the far side of the canal. 

If you know the canal at Parbold you’ll no the tow path coming from the Wigan direction changes the side of the canal at the bridge near the windmill. There is no warning this is going to happen and people only realise once they have gone past the ramp up on to the road bridge. 

A cyclist, Mark, cycling back towards Liverpool, didn’t realise where he was meant to go, anchored on and fell into the canal. Some one helped him out, and he was dried off to by a Mersey motor boat club towel. 

He didn’t look too good, despite a cup of tea.

As it happens we have the pick up with us, and I’d only had half my beer, so bike in the back of the truck and a ride to Old Roan. His wife was a bit surprised for him to come home by pick up J.

He ended up being checked out at A and E and we’ve had a txt message to say he has multiple cracked ribs.

So if you’re cycling through Parbold from Wigan along the tow path, just be careful.

Feel free to share on cycling forums or where ever to warn people.

Capt Col on The Wool Boat.

Are we a tourist attraction?

Are we a tourist attraction?

We have run our floating business for seven years and have a mooring on the Leeds and Liverpool canal near Burscough in West Lancashire.  We trade all year round, going travelling during the summer while trading in local villages along the canal when the weather allows over winter.

We of course try to do as much publicity for ourselves as we can, and it seems we have been noticed. Yesterday the general manager of the nearby Martin Mere Wetland Trust Centre came to the boat, saying he’d been asked to seek us out to give us a invitation to a meeting at the Centre in a couple of weeks to discuss driving the visitor economy in Burscough. This meeting is being organized by the centre and the Burscough Parish council with an agenda that includes speakers from the West Lancashire Borough Council.

We are flattered that at least some people are realising that we are an attraction, tourist or other wise and so will be going along. We will be promoting the positive effects of encouraging floating traders to come and moor in the village.

This follows on quite neatly from a chat I had in the Railway pub in Parbold last weekend with Dave Reid the chap that is organizing the 2nd Parbold street festival in the village on the weekend of 3rd and 4th of September.

The conversation went along to him saying he would love it if we could be there with The Wool Boat, as he is planning a art and crafts area alongside the canal and we’d fit in great.

I expressed my view that we consider ourselves, and other roving traders, to be a attraction at boat rallies and events like he is organizing, and to that end it annoys us that because we are trading we are asked for more money to attended than a leisure boat.

Don’t get me wrong we’re quite happy to pay a reasonable rally fee as we can understand the need for insurance, advertising etc, but as we know we will attract people to the event why should we pay more? Dave agreed and said that there would be no charge for turning up and trading at Parbold for that weekend. Unfortunately we plan to be further up the L and L until mid October, but there is an opportunity there for other roving traders, if you would like to get in touch with him he would be quite happy to hear from you.

Subsequent Message received from Dave..

Hi Col,
We spoke in the Railway on Sunday.
The Parbold Street Festival of Arts and Music is taking place on 3rd and 4th September.
You said that you would be somewhere over Leeds at the time.
If you could pass the message on that this is FREE to all canal traders, I would be grateful.
I hope that your busy itinerary will, one day, match up with ours.
Please follow us at Parbold Street Festival. https://www.facebook.com/Parbold-Street-Festival-820516678003507/?fref=ts

Regard,
Dave

Carole and Colin on The Wool Boat.

Voluntary work forThe H and R Ainscoughs Barge restoration project

Voluntary work.

As some of you may know for the last few years I’ve been involved in The Burscough Heritage group and more recently with The H and R Ainscough’s Barge restoration project, mainly as communication and press officer’s

It has given me chance to practice my photography and writing skills and hope fully do some good for the village of Burscough and the canal. 

Recently there has been a AGM of each group and I’ve been re-elected into the position of press and history section organizer for the Burscough Heritage Group and also press officer for the H and R Ainscough’s Barge restoration project. 

Yesterday, the 23.11.15 as part of BBC radio Lancashire’s coverage of Lancashire week Sally Naden and Brett Davidson from the radio station presented their morning show from the chandlery in the Old Stables on Mill Lane in Burscough, where the H and R Ainscough’s Barge restoration project are based, so I was on hand with the camera.

So here are some pictures from the morning, and more information about the project can be found on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HrAinscoughBargeRestorationProject/?fref=ts

Colin 24.11.15


Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.






















 

 

 

 

 

 

Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire interviews Carolyn Ross about being a single handed boater live on the radio at the Old Stables in Mill Lane, Burscough, Lancashire.

The occasion was the first of the radio station’s outside broadcasts for Lancashire Week 2015 and the show was hosted by the H and R Ainscoughs Barge Restoration project.

The H and R Ainscoughs Barge restoration project is a charity based in the Chandlery at the Old Stables that aims to research, record and remember the Ainscoughs Flour Mill, at Burscough and its associated canal boats.

The charity has under its care, and is in the process of restoring two of the fleet canal barges that used to carry imported grain from the docks in Liverpool to the mill at Burscough.

Image Cw 1540 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations

Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Cw 1541 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations

 

Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire interviewing Mark Parkinson and John Webster about life on and around the canal’s of Burscough on the radio at the Old Stables in Mill Lane, Burscough, Lancashire.

 

Mark and John both come from long lines of boating families.

 

The occasion was the first of the radio station’s outside broadcasts for Lancashire Week 2015 and the show was hosted by the H and R Ainscoughs Barge Restoration project.

 

 

Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cw 1542 Mark Parkinson and Sally Naden H and R 23.11.15.

Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire interviews Mark Parkinson about living on a canal boat live on the radio at the Old Stables in Mill Lane, Burscough, Lancashire.

 

“How old are you Mark?”

“Twenty Seven”

“And how long have you lived on the boats Mark?”

“err… 27 years”

 

 

Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cw 1543 Sally Naden and Sandra Nolan H and R 23.11.15.

 

Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire interviews Sandra Nolan live on the radio at the Old Stables in Mill Lane, Burscough, Lancashire.

 

Sandra is the secretary of The H and R Ainscoughs Barge restoration project which is a charity based in the Chandlery at the Old Stables with aims to research, record and remember the Ainscoughs Flour Mill, at Burscough and its associated canal boats.

 

 

 

 

Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cw 1544 Brett Davidson, Sally Naden and John Bradshaw H and R 23.11.15.

 

Brett Davidson and Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire have been interviewing John Bradshaw at

the Old Stables in Mill Lane Burscough.

 

John used to drive lorries delivering from and to Ainscoughs flour mill in Burscough village, and was recounting what life was like back then to the listeners of Radio Lancashire.

 

 

Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cw 1545 Derek Bent, Brett, Sally and Sandra H and R 23.11.15.

 

Derek Bent with Brett Davidson and Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire and Sandra Nolan of The H and R Ainscoughs Barge restoration project which had hosted the morning programme at the Old Stables in Mill Lane Burscough.

 

Derek is president of The H and R Ainscough’s Barge restoration project which is a charity based in the Chandlery at the Old Stables with aims to research, record and remember the Ainscoughs Flour Mill, at Burscough and its associated canal boats whilst Sandra is the secretary.

 

Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure, update 23.11.15

Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure, update 23.11.15

I've just sent this to Danielle Thompson at The Champion who had asked what else we could do?

Good morning Danielle

I’ve not had too much reaction over the weekend to the possible closure of the Burscough Bridge interchange ticket office.

May be people think it’s a done deal?

I suspect that if that is the case then once it becomes official people may take a interest again, probably when it’s too late?

Back in December 2014

County Councillor for West Lancashire West, Cynthia Dereli, said:  (in a press release circulated to the local press)

“I fully support those local residents who have been petitioning to retain Burscough Train Station’s ticket office. To protect its future we have to ensure that it remains viable and that means finding additional community uses for the building.”

I’ve had no response from councillor Dereli over the weekend, will she be there to vote at the Lancashire County Council budget meeting on the 26th on November?

The responses I’ve had where from Tess Reddington on Thursday the 19th, the Burscough Parish council clerk,

“Just to say we have nothing more to add yet – When I have asked key staff at county I have been directed to the proposed corporate strategy document which sets out 34 neighbourhood areas/hubs which provides a model for future service provision.    I would agree with your summary – I haven’t seen anything specific yet. 

Regards

Tess”

And from Alan Fantom the chairman of OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport travellers’ association)

“OPSTA is also pursuing this matter .. considers it a major issue ... and if satisfaction is not given will be campaigning vigorously and pursuing other options'. Also you can make reference to OPSTA being in the midst of its passenger survey and counts which is showing how much the service is used from Bridge and its importance”

And there was a question on a Facebook forum, so the decision will be taken on Thursday then? 

Will just have to see what happens on Thursday. 

Best Regards

Colin Wareing


Burscough Bridge Ticket office to Close? LCC budget proposal

Burscough Bridge Ticket office to Close? LCC budget proposal

As many of you will have seen in the media Lancashire County Council has published its latest budget proposals which I suspect will determine the future of the Burscough Bridge interchange ticket office.

This is the link to the report on the LCC web page http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/news/details.aspx?Id=PR15/0516

I’ve read through it and can’t see any specific mention of our ticket office, unlike the Buses, Museums and the Knott End ferry so I suspect it comes under the general reduction of staff.

I had a word with Phil in the ticket office on Tuesday the day after these proposals where published, he thinks that they will be shut sometime in March next year.

The proposals are still to be discussed or is that rubber stamped? at a LCC cabinet meeting on 26th November,  

Maybe we still have a bit of time to try and influence the decision?

Can we still do anything?

Within the proposal are cuts in the library services, which at one time was considered a option of moving the Burscough library from Mill Lane into the vacant café area at the interchange, but I suspect that won’t happen now, indeed will the library in Burscough survive?

I’ve sent a copy of this to all the politicians, councillors and campaigning people that I’ve had contact with over the last year about this issue, will see what comes back. 

Colin

Blog posting November 19th 2015

The search for the non league paper at Tewkesbury Gloucestershire

The search for the non league paper Sunday 16.8.15.

Not a great start to the season At Tewkesbury Gloucestershire

A bit different this week, we are staying in The Bell Inn in Tewkesbury. For the first time in 17 years Southport are away at Cheltenham.

We chose Tewkesbury because we found a place to stay that was in our price range and there is boating interest, Tewkesbury being where the River Avon locks down in to the River Severn.

We had travelled down in the truck on Friday through the heavy rain, thankfully we chose to travel down the “old” roads, avoiding the M6 and M5, as unfortunately again there was a accident near Spaghetti junction.  We had a few floods to go through, but got down to Tewkesbury for about 2 o’clock.

This gave us time to have a wander around the town, finding the Avon River Trusts information point, will we ever get to bring “Emma Maye” down here? maybe. There were a couple of boats moored on the Avon that had taken a winter mooring for last winter in Burscough, so we know it’s possible to get here.

Tewkesbury  is looking really colourful with all the flags flying along the streets that are replica’s of flags flown at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 the penultimate battle in the war of the roses, just a bit confusing, for a Lancastrian, seeing the Red Lancashire Rose display in such close proximity with the white one of Yorkshire.

Tewksbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Had a good tea in The Nottingham Arms with “Proper Job” on one of the hand pumps which was nice, it don’t appear up north that often.

Saturday dawned bright and warm, and rather than take the truck into Cheltenham with the associated parking problems, we caught the no 41 bus into town.  I can last remember being in Cheltenham for a mates wedding, 15 odd years ago so it was a pleasant surprise to revisit and feel how light and airy the city is, probably because they have not built any high buildings.

A walk out to the ground after dinner, a couple of pint’s in the club, a £1 to get it, but the beer was reasonably priced.

Cheltenham town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southport started ok, but Cheltenham where the stronger team, they really should have gone in at half time ahead, but they made up for it in the second half, beating us 3-0.

Sunday morning was again nice and so it wasn’t too much of a walk into the middle of town, for the non-league paper from the One stop convince store on Church Street. This opens at 6 am so nice and handy though it wasn’t quite as early as that when I got there.

One stop shop Tewksbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if your down on the Avon on your boat and are looking for the paper there should be no problems, and if you are a supporter of a team that is going to play Cheltenham then we would recommend a stay in Tewkesbury, and Emma the boss at The Bell now knows what a non-league paper is, so could probably get one delivered to your room door

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper only 3 points off the top

The search for the non league paper Sunday 9.8.15.

Only 3 points away from top of the league.

At Bollington on the Macclesfield canal.

At the moment there is not too much of a search for the paper as we are back on the Macclesfield canal and in Bollington where we were 2 months ago.

So back up from the aqueduct to Chadwick’s the independent newsagent.

The Macclesfield canal passes through Bollington in Cheshire. The area is quite hilly so there are a couple of embankments that  carry the canal across the valleys and to span the road towards Pott Shrigley there is the large stone built bridge, which carries the canal 60ft up in the air.

Well the new football season has kicked off, and we went back to Southport yesterday for the first game, Southport v Eastleigh who had travelled up from the south coast near Southampton. 

It was worth them making the trip as they won 0-4...but hey it’s early days and being positive Southport didn’t play too badly against one of the teams the bookies are tipping to win the league. The score line may have been a bit flattering to Eastleigh, may be it would have been different if Southport hadn’t had a player sent off.

But let’s be positive we are only 3 points off the top of the table..

Bollington Aqueduct

The search for the non league paper Sunday

The search for the non league paper Sunday 26.7.15.

Along walk, but still had to go back to Whaley Bridge

At Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest canal.

Not a lot to do with football today, or boating for that matter. I decided to walk up the Peak Forest tramway trail to Chinley this morning. I’d seen a newsagent there as we had passed through on the road. It was a pleasant enough walk along the route of the tramway that used to bring limestone down from the quarries to Bugsworth basin, but alas the newsagent in Chinley doesn’t get it in.

I did find these two interesting characters outside the local conservative club.  

Scarecrows outside the C and B Con club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

Library to move to the station? Consultation now open.

Library to move to the station? Consultation now open.  24.7.15

One of the ideas to preserve the ticket and information office at Burscough Bridge interchange is to relocate the library from it’s present building on Mill Lane into the part of the interchange building that was previously used as a community cafe.

The Lancashire County Council are now asking for everyone’s views on this, through a consultation that ends on the 7th August.

The following is the document with the 4 questions that we are being asked to consider, along with a explanation as to what are seen as the advantages of the move.

The Burscough Bridge premises are central located

The building is modern and accessible for all members of the community

There is free car parking at the proposed site along with secure cycle storage.

The document then goes on...

We would be grateful if you would send us your response to the questions below:

Do you feel this move would be beneficial for the local community and for you personally? If so please tell us why.

If you are in favour of the relocation, please tell us why. If you are not in favour then please let us have your reasons for this.

What facilities do you feel are needed in your library?

Do you feel that the current opening hours are sufficient?

Burscough Bridge travel interchange presently provides both train and bus information and tickets. How important do you feel it is to retain this service?

We are happy to receive your responses either by post or e-mail by the 7th August 2015,

Contact details are as follows,

E mail address cs.businessmanagers@lancashire.gov.uk

Postal address Skelmersdale Library, Southway, Skelmersdale WN8 6NL.

Personally I don’t really know what to make of this.

On one hand if it is the only way to retain the ticket office then that will have to be done, but as I’m not a regular user of the library I wonder what advantage, other than being in a modern light building with better access...I don’t really think the car parking is a great advantage as the station car park tends to soon fill up, rightly, with rail users cars. Hmm I’ll have to think about this for a few days.....

Library Consultation

The search for the non league paper

The search for the non league paper Sunday 19.7.15.

At Disley on the Peak Forest canal.

Shared on the friendly narrow boaters for the information of fellow non-league boaters, though may hopefully be of use to normal boaters as well, though could contain some of my personal feelings...

Better this week.

Disley, in Cheshire is up hill from The Peak Forest canal where ever you moor, it’s a bit shallow at the edges along this stretch in places, but we managed to get in on the Whaley Bridge side of bridge 26.

Disley has a good selection of pub’s, a bakery, good butchers and green grocers. There is a co-op and also an independent newsagents, Fountain News, yes you’ve guessed it, near The Fountain. The co-op only opens at 7, but if I can I’ll use the independent, who was well into sorting out the papers for delivery by 06.45 when I got there.

I had walked up via Hollinwood Lane and then walked back along the Buxton Road, the A6. Beside’s going for the paper one of the other things that I like about the search is wandering through unfamiliar towns and villages when they are quite and the only people about are us early risers for the papers or to walk the dog. You have time to look, and discover little things that you would probably miss when you are watching for traffic, pushchair’s etc.

Found another pub on the A6 that is either being renovated, or being turned into some other use. But at the moment the smoke room and parlour windows are still there with the etching in place.

Crescent inn Parlour window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit further on after the Albert is the White Lion on the corner of Red House Lane. We had been in for a couple of pint’s last night and asked the obvious question, “Why is there a Zebra painted on the outside of the White Lion?”

“Well how many White Lion pubs are there in the country? But there is only one with a zebra painted on it, so gets us noticed”

Southport played their 3rd friendly, against Wigan at Haig Ave and lost again 0-2, though I knew the result from the internet before picking up the paper from Fountain News. There are a couple of reasons I like to get the non-league paper, one being  to get a good overall picture of the gossip form the non league football world, sat there with a brew, instead of searching all over the net,  and I’m also a firm believer in supporting enterprises like this in the slack period, when it’s not the football season, so they are still there during the season.

http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper, not impressed..

The search for the non league paper Sunday 12.7.15.

At High Lane on the Macclesfield canal.

Not impressed...

High Lane may be blessed with some good pub’s a fair selection of takeaways, a chocolate shop and a deli/bakery, BUT not impressed with the Spar shop...the chap in there couldn’t quite understand my request for the non league paper, and thus I ended up jumping in the truck and driving a way down the A6 towards Hazel Grove until I found another Spar shop within a BP garage, and got my copy of this week’s paper.

A6 Hazel Grove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The friendly season as started, with Southport losing 2-1 away at Marine, though as is normal there was lots of trialist’s which has got to be done, but I like to know who I’m watching..  

http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper, Marple

The search for the non league paper Sunday 5.7.15.

At Marple on the Macclesfield canal.

Moored back in Marple so the non-league paper from Martin’s newsagent in the middle of town.

The town is on the foothills of the peak district, so if the mist clears there are excellent views down in to Manchester.

Church Road Marple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So this season’s  National League fixtures are out, and a good one for us is Southport’s first away game  at Macclesfield on Tuesday 11th August, we’ll be able to walk to this one..  

http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper Bugsworth

The search for the non league paper Sunday 28.6.15.

Another damp one this morning.

At Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest canal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew I’d have to walk back into Whaley Bridge for today’s paper.

We had walked into and out of Whaley a few times along the towpath, so I was getting a bit fed up of that walk. A look on the map indicated a road that seemed a good alternative cutting across from basin to basin.

What I didn’t take into account where the contour lines! It was quite a climb over the hill up Silk Hill road and it rained...Got the paper from the co-op and then walked back along the canal towpath.

Fancy your lad, or even yourself following in David Fitzpatrick’s footsteps, who was playing for Southport F C last season and made it into the England C squad. Notice up in the co-op New Mills F C are looking for youth team players, David played for New Mills before coming to Southport.

http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper Sunday 21.6.15.

The search for the non league paper Sunday 21.6.15.

A short one today.

Whaley Bridge canal basin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Whaley Bridge on the Peak Forest canal.

One of the shortest walks yet, about 200 yards from the boat around the basin, up canal street to the high street and another Martin’s newsagents.

The big local non league news The Buxton Advertizer featuring a two page interview with ex Liverpool and England play Phil Neal is the Buxton Legend’s V Liverpool Legend’s as a fund raiser on July 19th. Looks like it could be a interesting game.

http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper and classic cars.

The search for the non league paper Sunday 14.6.15.

The paper and classic cars.

At Marple on the Macclesfield canal.

Didn’t think we’d have a problem today finding the non-league paper, being not far from Stockport, and so it proved, with a Martin’s newsagent in the middle of town.

Good to see that Southport f.c. have signed up Andy Coughlin the England “C” keeper for next season.

Carole came for a walk to find the paper this morning and on the way back we came across the start of the Hare and Hounds classic vehicle Peaks and dales run that started in Marple and will end 80 miles away in Buxton.

http://www.hhcvc.moonfruit.com/#/peaks-dales-2015/4581856649

http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/

Classic cars at Marple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye 14.6.15

Up hill or down hill? The search for the non league paper

The search for the non league paper Sunday 7.6.15.

Up hill or down hill?

At Bollington on the Macclesfield canal.

The last time, about five years ago there were two newsagents in Bollington, one up the hill from the canal, and one down. Today there is one newsagents, Chadwick’s that is up the hill, and the other one has shut. However on the site of a former paper mill down the hill is a relatively new Co-op. This wasn’t here five years ago.

So the choice was still, up or down the hill?

Support the local independent is always the first choice and it proved good for this week’s paper, though they did have one in co-op where we had to go for the bread and milk anyway.     

Chadwicks Newsagents Bollington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper at Gurnett, Macclesfield

The search for the non league paper Sunday 31.5.15.

At Gurnett aqueduct on the Macclesfield canal.

A wet walk this morning, but at least I’d a good idea where I was going from previous Southport f c visits to the Moss Rose, home of Macclesfield town .

So off down the steps from the towpath to walk past “Ye Olde Kings Head” pub. We had a nice pint of Bass in there last night. The pub has just reopened, a week last Friday, after being shut for a few years, which is nice to see after the amount of boarded up or demolished pubs we have seen recently.

Then down the hill of Byron Lane, before crossing the railway to turn left towards the ground.

The co-op’s lights where glowing in the morning gloom just along from the ground and this week’s non league paper waited on the shelf for me.

Walked on past the ground and further up the road to regain the canal at bridge 45, the New Leek road bridge and then back along the towpath. May be this would have been the easier way to have walked there and back?

This week’s congratulations go to F C United of Manchester on the opening of their new ground, after only about 10 years in existence, how long before they actually play at Old Trafford? 

Co op at Maccelsfield Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper At Congleton Wharf

The search for the non league paper Sunday 24.5.15.

At Congleton Wharf on the Macclesfield canal.

Why is a convince store not open before 08.00hrs? Not very convenient? Meant I had to walk back up canal lane twice to the Spar shop to the east of the mooring. But they did have a copy of the paper.

It’s now the time of the year when there are not many games to be reported on and so some people may wonder why it’s worth the bother of searching out the paper? Well there is usually some news items of interest, player transfers, news from other clubs etc, but I am also a firm believer in the use it or lose it way of thinking, and I want the paper to be there next season, so I’ll continue to seek it out where ever we are.

Talking of use it or lose it, may be that’s what happened to the Moss Inn the pub that used to be opposite the Spar shop?

We had a pint or two in there last time we where moored in Congleton, but there is no chance now.

The remains of the Moss Inn Congleton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All that remains of The Moss Inn.

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye 24.5.15

The search for the non league paper

The search for the non league paper Sunday 17.5.15.

At Scholar Green near Bridge 87 Kent Green Bridge on the Macclesfield canal.

Cinderhill Lane Scholar Green

 We moved about 4 miles on the canal though Red Bull  near Kidsgrove over the week even though it would be only about 2 miles to walk..

So this morning it was a walk back down the towpath for a few yards then through the stone wall and a rural stroll down Cinderhill lane, to the co-op in Scholar Green.  As you would expect the co-op is useful for the supplies and after digging through the League paper, The Farmers Guardian and the rugby papers to find this week’s the non-league paper...

And this week’s congratulations go to Bristol Rovers for making a immediate return to the league after beating Grimsby at Wembley in the play off final this afternoon, just felt sorry for former Southport players Scott Brown and Toto..

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper Sunday 10.5.15.

The search for the non league paper Sunday 10.5.15.

At Rode Heath near Bridge 140 on the Trent and Mersey canal.

We still have the truck with us, so not much of a search, a quick ride into Alsager, and found the spend and save shop, which though being much more than a newsagent, more a convince store had the paper.

Spend and save in Alsager

So it’s congratulations to Guiseley and Boreham Wood for making it into the Conference for next season via the play offs, see you next season. 

There is quite a useful village shop here in Rode Heath, which is also the newspaper shop. It’s good for bread and basic supplies but not good for the non-league paper...

The search for the non league paper Sunday Rode Heath

South Road Newsagent Crewe

 The search for the non league paper Sunday 3.5.15.

 At Rode Heath near Bridge 140 on the Trent

 and Mersey canal.

 There is quite a useful village shop here in Rode Heath,  

 which is also the newspaper shop. It’s good for bread 

 and basic supplies but not good for the non-league

 paper...

 

 So because we have the truck with us I was able to repay

 the kindness of Debbie who owns South Street

 Newsagents opposite Crewe Alexandra’s Gresty road

 round in Crewe, who brought me last week’s paper, I

 took a ride into Crewe and got this weeks copy from 

 Debbie.

The search for the non league paper

The search for the non league paper Sunday 26.4.15.

At Wheelock on the Trent and Mersey canal.

We arrived in Wheelock on Saturday morning. There is small convince store here, sells the usual small village shop range of stuff, bread, tin’s beer and wine, and newspapers.

However when I went in and asked if they usually got a non league paper on a Sunday, the chap said not. He was prepared to order it in if I wanted it every week, but not for a one off...

So it looked like a walk into Sandbach on Sunday morning.

But..during Saturday a lady, Debbie, came to purchase some yarn from us on The Wool Boat and happened to mention she had been at work in a newsagent in Crewe this morning. She hadn’t enough money with her for the yarn she wanted so was coming back today.

“Would you mind bringing me a copy of the non league paper?”

No problem, as long as you can wait until the afternoon when I finish work?

So about 14.00 Debbie who works in the South Street Newsagents opposite Crewe Alexandra’s

Gresty road ground in Crewe, returned with this week’s Non league paper, and got her yarn.

Thanks Debbie.

Sarah Henshaw from Waterways World visits The Wool Boat

Today we had a visitor to The Wool Boat. The lady in question, who brought her mum with her, was Sarah Henshaw who was recently appointed assistant editor at Waterways World magazine.
Sarah is in the process of researching for article in the June issue of the magazine about Ganseys on the inland waterways, so she came to pick Carole’s brains about what we have find out from our research into northwest ganseys.
We look forwards to seeing the article.
Colin Wareing Monday 20.4.15.

Sarah Henshaw

The hunt for the non-league paper, Lymm Cheshire

The hunt for the non-league paper, Sunday 19.4.15.

Lymm, Cheshire, The Bridgewater Canal.

Phew, after a 2-2 draw with Grimsby yesterday Southport F.C. are safe in the Conference for another season, unless Alfreton happen to beat Bristol Rovers next Saturday by 0-8....

Anyway the Sainsbury’s near the cross in Lymm opens at 7.00 but,

Me “Have you got non-league paper?”

The lady doing the papers  “A what?”

“A non-league paper”

“No sorry never heard of one of them”

Good job the Shell garage on Higher Lane had about four copies. A bit of a walk but at least I knew about it from previous visit’s.

But what has happened to Lymm? It looked like a bomb site this morning, litter, take away bags  pop cans etc, every where, broken bottles, some one had been sick a couple of times up the hill on the way up to Higher Lane...

Capt Col Lymm 19.4.15

Day two and three summer cruise 2015 15/16.4.15

We’re off, Day two and three summer cruise 2015 15/16.4.15

Crooke, The Leeds and Liverpool canal, to Little Bollington  8 locks, 26 miles!

Away from Crooke after a very peaceful night, and as we set off  “Wykyver” came around the corner so we worked through Wigan with them as far as the junction of the Leigh branch. They were carrying on up the rest of the Wigan flight.

It was nice to see boats moored along side of the towpath in Wigan near the CaRT offices. At one time very few boats would have stayed on the towpath side in Wigan over night, may be the canal is being reclaimed from the vandals.

We worked down the two locks at Pool stock with Arkholme no 2 , and Chris the lady from it worked Plank Lane lift bridge for us.

We moored in a new place for us, over looking Pennington Flash.

Gave me chance to cut up some firewood.

Another peaceful night, and then away down the Leigh branch through Leigh and onto The Bridgewater canal.

Deep and wide so chance to give “Emma Maye” a good blast.

Over the Manchester ship canal on “the tank”, Barton Aqueduct, then a stop at Trafford Park for a couple of hours to have dinner in the Trafford centre, with a visit to HMV for Cd’s by Bella Hardy, the Un thanks and Sea sick SteveJ.

A couple more hours through Sale and Altrincham before mooring on the embankment overlooking the river Bolin.

Tomorrow we won’t move..

Colin 16.4.15

We’re off, Day one summer cruise 14.4.15

We’re off, Day one summer cruise 2015 14.4.15

Mooring to Crooke, The Leeds and Liverpool canal, 3 swing bridges, 2 locks.

At last we have set off for the summer.

After shopping in Burscough, taking some more of “Lazy Kate’s” hand spun and dyed yarn on board for selling, parcelling up and posting Carole’s latest completed order, it was dinner time....so chip’s for a butty from Burscough Bar. Then after getting a couple of bags of coal from the chandlery in Burscough we set off...

It was a lovely warm spring day; we even got to the stage of taking our jumpers off, very nice.

We waited for a boat to finish going up Appley deep lock, and by then another boat “Wykyver” had arrived so we went together. The name of this boat apparently came from the lady on board’s grandparent’s farm.

After the pair of us working up Dean Lock under the M6 aqueduct we stooped at Crooke and filled “Emma Maye’s” diesel tank up from Derek Bent on “Ambush”,  80lts at 71p a lt.

Moored opposite “Ambush” and went for a pint in the Crooke Hall in before tea.

Waiting fro Dean lock 14.4.15

The weekly search for the non-league paper.

The weekly search for the non-league paper.

Travelling around the country by canal is great but can throw up some problems, and one is where to get the paper on a Sunday morning?

Not too bad when we are on home mooring in Burscough, but once we are away...as in this morning Sunday the 5.4.15.

We are moored at Halsall on the Leeds and Liverpool canal in West Lancashire, only a few miles from home....

Halsall is a small village so there are not many facilities, however along the Lydiate to Southport road, the A5147 there is the Halsall garage, which also sells a range of essential groceries and the papers, including the NLP, so happy bunny..

Access from the canal is either from bridge 26 Hulme’s Bridge or 25 Halsall Warehouse Bridge and it opens at 7.00 on Sundays.

http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/

Capt Col The Wool Boat Sunday 5.4.15

New Interpretation Board unveiled in Burscough.

 

New Interpretation Board unveiled in Burscough.

 

Another of my "jobs" as acting press officer for The Burscough Heritage Group, and this was from yesterday.

 

Tom spencer and Allan Bullen unveil interperation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the last few months the Burscough Heritage group have been working on producing a new interpretation board depicting some of the history of Burscough.

The group secured funding for the project from Burscough Parish Council, with the board being designed by members of the project group with the help of Gordon Emery a historian from Chester who has help these types of project to fulfilment for other groups in the Cheshire and Lancashire area.

 

The board was constructed by David Carter at Woodstock signs in Longton and was installed in Smithy Walk on Wednesday the 25th of March 2015.

 

On Friday the 27th   March 2015 at 10.30 pm Burscough Parish Council chairman Councillor Allan Bullen, here on the right, and Tom Spencer, on the left, Chairman of the Burscough Heritage group untie the red ribbon around the board to officially make it available for public viewing.

 

Tom thanked everyone who had been involved in the enterprise with special acknowledgment to Sandra Nolan who started the project, while Councillor Bullen remarked how glad he was to see the Heritage Group continuing to thrive having been established since 2010.

 

Next up for the heritage group, “Boat Families on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, a illustrated talk by Bill Huyton of the Ormskirk and District family history society, at /the Blue Mallard 7.pm Monday 13th April.

 

Colin Wareing Acting Press officer for the Burscough Heritage Group.

Phone no 07931 356204

e-mail burscoughvch@yahoo.co.uk

Burscough ticket office..thing’s are moving on again...

Burscough ticket office..thing’s are moving on again...

It has been reported in this week’s West Lancashire Champion newspaper “Burscough Bridge Interchange plan is just the ticket”

It appears that Lancashire County Council are now giving serious consideration to Councillor Cynthia Dereli’s idea of relocating the library to the building and thus should help with the financial possibility of retain the ticket office. 

I’ve also heard that there are a couple more parties interested in the possibility of using the building, it’s just a pity that Lancashire County Council hadn’t been able to find someone or organization to use the extra space in the building before we got to this stage. There has been talk around the village for the last few years of people showing an interest in renting the old cafe but struggling to get any sort of response from the council. 

Anyhow it’s all about what happens next and can the general public carry on supporting the idea of finding a use for the rest of the building whilst retaining the ticket office.

Maybe the combined campaigning of everyone who has been involved has taken some of the Lancashire County Councillors a bit by surprise because as we know this all started from a proposal buried deep in a consultation document.

It seems that we have about a year to reverse the decision to shut the ticket office, so maybe we need to carry on asking the questions of our politician’s, especially for the next few weeks in the run up to the election, though I must say that Rosie Cooper our M P has been asking questions on my behalf, with a reply arriving the other day from Claire Perry M P Under secretary of State, Department of Transport who focuses on the re-letting of the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises “and passengers will be at the heart of them”

I wonder if David Burrow’s the Lancashire CC leader is now whishing he hadn’t supported the possibility of shutting the ticket office at Burscough Bridge, especially now that a report has been produced that could see the Southport to Wigan line electrified by 2024, surely it would be better with a proactive ticket office staff as we have now so everybody, from the travelling public, the train operator and the country’s economy benefits from increased train usage?

Colin Wareing 26.3.15

Burscough ticket office what now..

Blog posting, 21.3.15

Burscough ticket office what now..

Well it has been confirmed by the Burscough Bridge ticket office staff that following Lancashire County Councils setting of the budget that the ticket office will close on the 30th March 2016.

So is that the end of it?

Possibly but possibly not.

There are still a lot of people interested in retaining the ticket office facility in some form or another, from the Parish Council, local people, another few letters have appeared in the local press, and OPSTA.

Generally the feeling can be summed up as

'The parish council doesn’t seem to happy with the lack of answers it has been getting to it’s questions of the county council and is making the strongest representation it can to get a response  to it’s questions and OPSTA is also pursuing answers as to what can be done.

Maybe we should be getting in touch with George Osborne the Chancellor of the Exchequer as he is keen on promoting the Northern Powerhouse., naming one of Northern’s “new” electric trains yesterday “Northern Powerhouse” at Manchester Piccadilly.

One interesting think I was told the other day is that the station building is built on Network Rail land, and part of the agreement of it being there is that there has to be a ticket office in the building. Don’t know if it’s a fact but if it is does no ticket office equal no building?

Colin 21.3.15

Add your content here!

A week in Nailsworth day 2

 Sunday the 1st March 2015

We had another good wander around the town of Nailsworth again this morning,  using the maps and walk guides, from the Tourist information.

It was a nice crisp sunny morning and the traffic not to bad around town, though a broken down car on the main roundabout in the middle of town wasn’t helping. It got a bit chaotic at times, but the fella who recovered the car was very cool and did a grand job.

Rescueing broken down car in Nailsworth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some nice old mills and stone buildings, and the Town hall are very impressive.

We ended up eating in the cottage today, obtaining supplies from the Morrison’s supermarket.

We think we are a bit early n the year for all the cafe’s to feel it’s worth opNailsworth town hallening on a Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It rained quite hard this afternoon, glad we didn’t go out again, Carole watched the rugby and I worked on images.  

Colin 2.3.15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A week in Nailsworth day 1

We drove down in the truck on, Friday the 27th Feb.

We’re staying in Pump cottage on Watledge Road. The cottage is very nice, but the heating system leaves a bit to be desired, we’ve had to call out he plumber, but he needs a new bit.  He may be able to get on Monday.

In the mean time we had a wander around Nailsworth on Saturday morning, visiting the monthly farmers market, from where we obtained a loaf of rustic bread, and some nice cheese, and the Nailsworth Town information office where we got maps and walk guides, very helpful.  

Not being able to get away from yarn shops we went in to “Mother Goose Handycrafts ” on Market Street. The couple of ladies, Steffi Stern and Tilly who run the place where very nice and welcoming, and they had even heard of the Wool Boat. Tilly and Steffi at Mother Goose Nailsworth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner in The Britannia on Cossack square. It was nice, having had a make-over since last time we were here, though we thought at £13 for pie and boiled potatoes it was a bit overpriced.

Then up the hill via a lift from some chap looking for the ground of Forest Green Rovers. Southport started really well and where 0-1 up within 4 minutes. It didn’t last. We lost 5-3.  

Hopefully the week will get better....

The Ainscough Mill job

The Ainscough Mill job

In the village where we moor is a former corn mill in the process of being redeveloped into apartments.

 The mill dates from 1850’s but stopped production in the 1960’s and the building fell into decline.

The mill stands alongside the Leeds and Liverpool canal, and the Ainscough’s used the canal to carry imported American grain from Liverpool docks to this and its sister mill at Parbold. In the 1930’s the company had a fleet of barges built especially for this job.

Over the last couple of years Persimmon Homes have been redeveloping the building, the mill yard and the former sidings area of Burscough junction railway station with new houses and converting the mill building into apartments.

They recently opened the show apartment for the mill in what used to be the engine and boiler house.

Through one of my other voluntary roles, as press officer for the H and R Barge restoration project that is working to preserve and restore two of the Ainscough’s barges, I was asked if I could provide some images for use in the show apartment.

The interior designer, Eileen Wilcox of Eileen Wilcox Interiors did the work on the show apartments and seemed impressed by my images, so she had them printed out and framed up and has used them in a display on the stairs up to the show apartment.

All the images are in the Burscough  or Canals  galley here and if you would like copies of them please feel free to get in touch. I can provide these as prints or electronic images that you can then print up to the size required. They were done to 8 x 6 inches for display at the mill.

Colin 22.2.15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 










 

 

 

Pictures on the walls of the stair's up to the 2nd flour apartment in the "Engine house" Ainscough's Mill.

Images supplied

Cw 144 Bingley 5 rise locks.

Cw 223 L and L Fly boat Ribble.

Cw 228 Boat and Burscough Mill.

Cw 233 Burscough mile post.

Cw 238 Frosty morning at the top of the Rufford Branch.

Cw 240 Burscough Mill.

Cw 468 Leeds and Liverpool in Burscough frozen and snowed up.

Cw 470 Top of Rufford branch and Burscough mill in snow.

Cw 579 Narrowboats in Salthouse dock and Liver building.

Cw 810 Burscough mill at dusk.

Cw 937a nb Snowgoose moored on L and L.

Cw 945 Four wide working boats at Burscough Wharf.

Cw 947 Ambush and Viktoria leaving Dean lock.

Cw 1139 Mist under railway canal bridge.


 

 

 

Burscough Station blog posting No 11, What happens next?

Burscough Station blog posting No 11, What happens next? 13.2.15 

Hi all

Has anyone heard if the campaign to retain the funding for the ticket office had any effect on the LCC budget meeting yesterday?

And what we need to do next, if anything?

OPSTA

the Ormskirk, Preston & Southport travellers’ association

established 1981, affiliated with Railfuture, and Campaign For Better Transport

web site - www.opsta.org 

Have highlighted the issue in their latest magazine. 

Burscough Bridge under threat

The future of the ticket office at Burscough Bridge is under review and although a

final decision is not made it seems quite clear the default position is it will close

unless the case is made otherwise.

To give some clarification, a Lancashire County Councillor went on record, “At last

year's Budget Council ... further savings of £70 million spread over 2015/2018 were

also agreed. The savings from Burscough ticket office were agreed (then) and are

due to come in 2015/16. We need to go through a period of consultation before a

change is implemented and the Council has to make huge savings and any ideas on

how to do that without closing services are of great assistance”.

There has been a strong objection from the local Burscough community (see Colin

Wareing’s blog http://www.colinandcarolescreations.co.uk/page47.htm) and

Councillor Cynthia Dereli is actively looking for ways of keeping the service going.

While sympathising with LCC and the budget /cost pressures it faces, OPSTA

naturally opposes closure – its true worth is obvious - and will be raising the matter

at February’s community rail partnership meeting. We will work constructively with

all parties on ideas and proposals to secure the future of a manned station.

In the meantime you can support this campaign by going to Burscough Bridge

station and signing the petition.

Colin 13.2.15

 

Burscough Heritage group’s history meeting 9.2.15 Harry Hague's

Burscough Heritage group’s history meeting 9.2.15. 

Hi

For the last 4 years we have been involved in the up’s and down’s of The Burscough Heritage group, a not for profit group of people from the Burscough area whose aim is to preserve and make available to the wider world some of the history and heritage of the village.

I have been and still are the press officer for the group.

Last night the group organized a historical talk in The Blue Mallard restaurant at Burscough Wharf about Hague’s transport of Lathom, locally just Harry Hague’s.

The evening was a great event and we even had a real old lorry outside.

If you would like more information about the Burscough Heritage Group please feel free to e-mail burscoughvch@yahoo.co.uk which is the e-mail account I keep an eye on for the group.

The picture is 

Harry Hauges lorry

Former Harry Hague’s Atkinson lorry parked outside Burscough Wharf on the evening of 9th February 2015.

The lorry is persevered in the Bill Hunter collection at Holmeswood.

The lorry was at Burscough wharf to support a talk given by David L Rimmer, the onetime lead mechanic at Hague Transport of Lathom, and organised by the Burscough Heritage Group at the Blue Mallard.  

Colin Wareing 10.2.15

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office No 10

Blog posting no 10 25th January 2015.Following my last posting I’ve had a bit more information 

E-mail correspondence with Councillor David Burrow

From David on 21st January

At last year's budget council savings of about £70 million were agreed for 2014/15 and futher savings of £70 million spread over 2015/2018 were also agreeed. The savings from Burscough ticket office are due to come in in 2015/16 and were agreed at last years Budget Council. LCC is currently consulting on further savings of over £150 million spread over the next three years.

We need to go through a period of consultation before a change is implemented and Coun Dereli has been very active in looking for ways of keeping the service going but also making the saving - the poroposed library move should be seen in that context. The Council has to make huge savings and any ideas on how to do that without closing servicws are of great assisitance to the council,

From me 22.1.15
Good morning David
Thank you for your reply
Now I just need to clarify,
"The savings from Burscough ticket office are due to come in in 2015/16 and were agreed at last years Budget Council. LCC is currently consulting on further savings of over £150 million spread over the next three years."

Does that mean that despit the recent consultaition that the decsion about the Burscough Bridge ticket office has already been taken and agreed by the council and will take effect at some date in 2015/16?

Best regards
Colin Wareing

From David 23.1.15

Hi,

Not exactly.

 Last year's Budget Council agreed a number of savings in future years but in many cases a further formal consultation is required. As a result of the consultation the proposals may be amended and could in some cases be reversed. The point I wanted to make was that a decision in principle has already been made – whereas in respect of the £150 million plus mentioned in your second paragraph, the council has yet to make a decision. 

David

Received this from Phil at the station on the 22nd January

Just to say that at Burscough Bridge we are carrying on for the next week with collecting names on the petition. The Public Consultation on the budget ends on the 4th February and then it goes to Full Council on the 12th February.

So it seems to me that we have still time to influence what happens, though if  you have any ideas for the usage of the building they would be appreciated by the council.

Colin Wareing 25.1.15

Where now? For Burscough Bridge ticket office

Blog posting no 9 20th January 2015. 

Where now? 

I must admit I’m at a bit of a loss now as to where to go with the issue of the possible closure of the ticket office at Burscough Bridge?

At some time the Lancashire County Council will hold their budget meeting and then decide what will happen, can we do anything else in the mean time?

According to the local papers the council have relented on the idea of cutting bus subsidies, so what about this issue?

As far as I’m aware That Julie Gudgeon of The U3A at Burscough are still working on their petition,

Cynthia Dereli has suggested that the library is moved into the interchange building to help offset costs.

It has also been suggested the Northern Rail are possibly not that interested as their franchise is up for renewal with in the next year or so, and they may not be running our trains after that. 

Alan Fantom of OPSTA has suggested that it may be a idea for the interested parties to get together to decide what we can do, anyone up for it?

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any idea what we can do.

Colin Wareing 20.1.15

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? Blog posting no 8 1st January 2015.

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? 

Blog posting no 8 1st January 2015. 

When I got involved in this issue my aim was to raise awareness of the LCC budget consultation process and to encourage as many people as possible to put their views forwards.

I like to think I’ve played a small part in doing that, and there has been some more information, publicity and ideas that have come out over the Christmas period, but the question now is what happens now? Is there anything more I can now do to influence the decision makers of the budget of the council? 

I was asked by Julie Gudgeon to take some photo’s at the station on the 20th of December of the U3A petition and distribute them to the local press which I dully did, which was published in the West Lancashire Champion on the 24th Dec and on the Ormskirk Q local website.

My original information I sent with the photo was….

 Petition Party at Burscough Br station 20.12.14

Image Cw 1247 Petition party at Burscough Bridge Ticket office.

On 20.12 2014 Julie Gudgeon ,centre, and Cllr Ruth Melling, right, of the Burscough U3A met with Paul Greenhall, the prospective conservative parliamentary candidate for West Lancashire, at the ticket office at Burscough Bridge interchange, to highlight the threat of withdrawal of this facility due to budget cuts at Lancashire County Council. Julie and Ruth are organising a petition that up to now has collected over 300 signatures objecting to the possibility of losing the staff from the station.

The petition, which is available to sign at the ticket office  will be presented to the County Council before the final decision is taken on this issue, which could include a relocation of Burscough library from Mill lane to the station to make it more viable.

The interchange is a modern building that was opened in 2005, the building of it being partly funded by the county council, who have provided the funding to employ the staff in the ticket office.

 Lancashire County Council, are now in the process of a budget review, and have proposed to withdraw the funding, which is not a popular decision with residents of the Burscough area who appreciate the facility of not just ticket buying but also the information service supplied by the staff. 

Which Danielle Thompson from the paper expanded on to produce the piece that got published.

I have had a interesting e-mail from Alan Fantom, the chair of OPSTA including,

The matter will be discussed, at my request, at the West of Lancs Community Rail Partnership meeting in January. While WoLCRP is not the decision maker on this matter it was instrumental in getting the station up and running in the first place. Thus this could be an effective channel for us to work through.”

Cynthia Dereli, County Councillor for West Lancashire West, also put out a press release with a interesting idea, which again was published in the Champion, on the 31.12.14

“I fully support those local residents who have been petitioning to retain Burscough Train Station’s ticket office. To protect its future we have to ensure that it remains viable and that means finding additional community uses for the building.

“Some months ago I asked the County Council to look into conducting a feasibility study to explore the potential of transferring Burscough Library to the station building. Such a move would help to both secure the future of our local ticket office and develop a central and easily accessible Library of a similar size to the existing one.

“We are still at a very early stage and progression depends on the outcome of the study but I would be keen to hear the thoughts of local residents in the meantime who I would also encourage to sign the local petition to help protect the future of our ticket office and station building.”

Cabinet member for Libraries at Lancashire County Council, Marcus Johnstone, said:

“I’m happy to look into the possibility of this transfer and a feasibility study is now underway to see if it would be a sensible and beneficial move for the local community.

“The Labour Group is committed to supporting quality Library provision for Lancashire and, even if we weren’t facing unprecedented cuts to our annual budget from the Government, it would be absolutely right to ensure that we were making the best and most efficient use of our public buildings.”  

Colin Wareing 1.1.15

Well thats it then

Well that’s it then, the winners of Strictly and the apprentice have been announced, we are back on our mooring at Crabtree Lane, the tree is up, all 15inch of it and we are taking some time out.

Boat sized Christmas Tree

 Carole has completed all her orders for Christmas, my  

  Christmas cards are selling well in Burscough Bridge  Post office, could do to sell a few more 2015 calendars, if you want one get in touch, or go and see Graham’s the grocers or Annie B’s in the village.

We are next planning to be open outside the Farmers Arm’s on the 8th Jan but if you do need anything, please feel free to give us a ring and we’ll sort you out....

Meanwhile we’re wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and hopefully we’ll see you somewhere on t’cut next year...

Carole and Capt Col Monday 22.12.14

Burscough Bridge ticket office to close ? no 8 19.12.14

Blog up date no 8 19.12.14

Hi all received a e-mail from Northern in response to my question to Jane, the station manager  for Burscough bridge, Doesn’t seem to positive, not quoted it all as it is of course only intended for me..

Julie from the U3A has been organizing the local petition and has organized a photo shoot at the station tomorrow morning, Sat the 20th at 09.30 and I’m sure she would appreciated as much support as possible.

Question and Reply from Northern rail

Question sent 9.12.14

To Jane, Station Manager Burscough Bridge.

 

Good morning Jane

 

As station manager of the Burscough Bridge interchange on the Southport to Wigan line I want to ask what your and Northern Rails views are on the proposal from Lancashire county council to remove funding for the staff at the ticket office at Burscough Bridge?

 

I among quite a few other local people think the staff there provide an excellent service in selling tickets for Northern, providing real time train information and the loss of staff would be of great detriment to the village of Burscough and presumably the amount of revenue earned from ticket sales for Northern?

 

The general public have chance to comment on the proposal on the Lancashire County Council website and I have been encouraging people to do so via my blog  http://www.colinandcarolescreations.co.uk/page47.htm and through social media and would welcome your comments.

 

Best Regards

Colin Wareing

 

The reply came back on from Neil Hebden at Northern, and part of it is below,  the 18.12.14 and there didn’t seem to be any great interest from Northern to take the issue on...

“Obviously it will be disappointing to lose this facility but this is LCCs decision that has been brought about by the county's austerity cuts”

 

Burscough Bridge ticket sales. Blog posting no 7

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 7     14th December 2014.

Burscough Bridge ticket sales.

Now I’m not a stato, so my conclusions are open to question, however..

The Office of Rail Regulation publishes an annual report on station usage in the country, which gives a estimate of station usage based on ticket sales at each station.

The information is freely available on the internet at     http://orr.gov.uk/statistics/published-stats/station-usage-estimates

As Lancashire County Council are proposing withdrawing funding from Burscough Bridge, whilst continuing to fund offices at Carnforth, Clitheroe and Nelson I have extracted the following, these are figures for entry into the station, so assume these are ticket sales. They do also provide a estimate of total usage, ie entry and exits, but as there is really no checking system at Burscough, it seems to me that the entries are the relevant ones.

                                            Year 2012-13                           Year 2013 -14                    + or -

Burscough Bridge                  105421                                      109795                          + 4374

Carnforth                                98235                                      103295                           + 5060

Clitheroe                               175911                                    159718                            - 16193

Nelson                                 69547                                         73384                             + 3837

Draw your own conclusions…mine would say that Burscough is selling it’s fair share of tickets, and maybe some of the other interchanges/ticket offices that Lancashire County Council is subsidizing need looking at in more detail.

Colin Wareing 14.12.14

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? No 6

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 6   12th December 2014.

Received from Lancashire County council, some answers

Dear Mr Wareing,

Thank you for your email dated 03/12/14 to Councillor Borrow and the County Treasurer, Ms Kilpatrick, regarding the Budget Consultation and in particular your queries relating to Burscough CIC.  I am replying on their behalf to your request for additional information and our response is as follows:

1 How much of the £80k is Burscough’s share? 

The saving achieved as a result of the withdrawal of services at the Burscough CIC is £50k.

2 Could the café be re let to provide some income to offset ticket sales?

The café has been closed for some time and whilst there has been occasional interest in the area in the past, none of this has come to fruition.

3 How many people use the facility? 

We do not hold figures on the actual number of people who use the facility.

4 Could the Parish council help with funding? 

The Parish Council are aware of the proposals but we have not been approached with an offer of funding. 

5 Would Northern rail be prepared to help with funding, to offset the fall in ticket revenue that could result in closure?

At this stage, it is felt unlikely that additional funding would be provided 

6 How do people without internet access make their views known? 

Anyone without internet access can write to the main County Hall address (see below), for the attention of the County Treasurer and marked 'budget – have your say'.  This will ensure that it is fed through to the correct people for consideration. 

Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Lee Park 

Senior Finance Business Partner

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 5   11th December 2014. 

Had a letter form Rosie Cooper

Saying she would pass my concerns to the attention of Steve Browne, Executive Director for the Environment, Lancashire County Council and asked that this matter is investigated.


Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? no 4

Movemeber train at Burscough bridge

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 4 9th December 2014.

Some interesting responses to questions, but no real answers yet.............







Just hope everyone gets to respond to the consultation as well, here..

http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/questionnaires/runQuestionnaire.asp?qid=621488

From the radio the other day it was reported that our M P for West Lancashire, Rosie Cooper, asked the Prime Minister David Cameron about a train station for Skelmersdale, Hmm what about Burscough?

I’ll ask.

Just had a Twitter message from Rosie Cooper, (9.12.14)

Rosie Cooper MP@rosie4westlancs 29s29 seconds ago

@ColinWareing1 Good morning Colin, yes I have received your email and have signed off appropriate letters this morning. Will keep in touch

I have asked (3.12.14) the Lancashire County councillor David Burrows and the County Treasurer the following, await replies.

Dear Councillor Burrows and County Treasurer Ms Kilpatrick,

I see that you presented to Lancashire County Council the Money Matters – The Financial Strategy for 2015/16 to 2017/18 on Thursday 6th November which is now open to public consultation and this is why I’m contacting you.

From this document I see there is a proposal to close the ticket office at Burscough Bridge Interchange in West Lancashire.

As a resident of Burscough and frequent user of the interchange I would like to respond to the consultation, but feel I would like some more information so as not to produce a negative response.

I see the proposal would save £80k by closing both Burscough and Burnley, and while understanding the need to reduce budgets at the moment could you answer the following or direct me to some one else who could provide the answers to enable a positive response to the consultation?

1 how much of the £80k is Burscough’s share?

2 Could the café be re let to provide some income to offset ticket sales?

3 how many people use the facility?

4 Could the Parish council help with funding?

5 Would Northern rail be prepared to help with funding, to offset the fall in ticket revenue that could result in closure?

6 how do people without internet access make their views known?

I had a positive response from Michelle Blair on behalf of The Burscough Action Group, who also pointed out the importance of local people getting involved in the Burscough Parish Council’s Local plan initiative. 

The reply came back on 4.12.14

Reply on the 4th December from David Burrow

Thank you for your email about savings options for the County Council. I will get back to you as soon as I have the detailed information you request. 

David Borrow

Northern Rail

Burscough Bridge ticket office to close?

To Jane Station Manager Burscough Bridge on 10.12.14 

Good morning Jane

As station manager of the Burscough Bridge interchange on the Southport to Wigan line I want to ask what your and Northern Rails views are on the proposal from Lancashire county council to remove funding for the staff at the ticket office at Burscough Bridge?

I among quite a few other local people think the staff there provide an excellent service in selling tickets for Northern, providing real time train information and the loss of staff would be of great detriment to the village of Burscough and presumably the amount of revenue earned from ticket sales for Northern?

The general public have chance to comment on the proposal on the Lancashire County Council website and I have been encouraging people to do so via my blog  http://www.colinandcarolescreations.co.uk/page47.htm and through social media and would welcome your comments.

Best Regards

Colin Wareing 

Auto reply….from Northern

Dear Customer

Customer Relations

Case Reference: NR/410326

Thank you for taking the time to contact Northern, the train company serving communities across the north of England.

We aim to respond within 20 working days.

In the meantime we can confirm receipt of your feedback/enquiry.

If you are claiming compensation for delay or disruption to your journey we need your home address, details of where you were travelling from and to, and copies of relevant travel documentation. If you are making a complaint about a Northern station, we need the station name and the time and date of the incident. If it is a complaint about a member of staff, we need the time, date and location of the incident, and a name and/or description would be helpful. In all instances, please immediately reply directly to this email making sure the case reference number is in the subject heading.

Kind regards
Customer Relations Officer

Burscough U3A

Julie from the Burscough U3A has started a petition, of which there should be a copy at the station now for you to sign in support of trying to get the station staff retained.

She is intending, to present it to the LCC member, Cynthia Dereli, Not sure about when it will be presented, as the matter is still under discussion.

To Alan Fantom at OPSTA and reply 

Hi, 

I am away at present but will give you a fuller reply on my return. We had heard a rumour but nothing more. We will campaign and work to find ways to ensure this does not happen. 

Regards

Alan 


From: Colin and Caroles Creations <colinandcarolescreations@yahoo.co.uk>
To: "alan.fantom@yahoo.co.uk" <alan.fantom@yahoo.co.uk>
Sent: Monday, 1 December 2014, 16:02
Subject: Burscough Bridge ticket office to close?
 

Dear Mr Fantom

Could I ask your and OPSTA's opinion on the possibility of the ticket office and Burscough Bridge Interchange being closed?

Do you think it will actually happen?

I have tried to send this via the OPSTA website, but wasn't sure if it went?

I’m not happy about the possible loss of this facility but feel that not too many people know about it and that they can comment on it via the Lancashire county council website.

I have put a blog posting on our website, at http://www.colinandcarolescreations.co.uk/

With details and links to the consultation, though not many people read our blog, so I’m intending to post it around Face book etc, and if there are any other links to your on line presence that you would like highlighting I can do this, as I feel there is a need to get the people of Burscough aware of what we may loose.

Best regards

Colin Wareing, Capt of The Wool Boat phone 07931 356204

Local Press

I have also sent a piece to the Ormskirk Advertizer, The West Lancashire Champion and to Roger Baxhall at Ormskirk Q local, so hopefully they will give the issue some more exposure.


Colin 10.12.14

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? No 3

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 3 4th December 2014.

Wow what a fantastic response to the posting on Facebook, mainly via the “Images of Burscough” page, and the info is being spread via Twitter as well.

Just hope everyone gets to respond to the consultation as well, here..

http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/questionnaires/runQuestionnaire.asp?qid=621488

From the radio yesterday it was reported that our M P for West Lancashire, Rosie Cooper, asked the Prime Minister David Cameron about a train station for Skelmersdale, Hmm what about Burscough?

I’ll ask.

I have asked (3.12.14) the Lancashire County councillor David Burrows and the County Treasurer the following, await replies.

Dear Councillor Burrows and County Treasurer Ms Kilpatrick,

I see that you presented to Lancashire County Council the Money Matters – The Financial Strategy for 2015/16 to 2017/18 on Thursday 6th November which is now open to public consultation and this is why I’m contacting you.

From this document I see there is a proposal to close the ticket office at Burscough Bridge Interchange in West Lancashire.

As a resident of Burscough and frequent user of the interchange I would like to respond to the consultation, but feel I would like some more information so as not to produce a negative response.

I see the proposal would save £80k by closing both Burscough and Burnley, and while understanding the need to reduce budgets at the moment could you answer the following or direct me to some one else who could provide the answers to enable a positive response to the consultation?

1 how much of the £80k is Burscough’s share?

2 Could the café be re let to provide some income to offset ticket sales?

3 how many people use the facility?

4 Could the Parish council help with funding?

5 Would Northern rail be prepared to help with funding, to offset the fall in ticket revenue that could result in closure?

6 how do people without internet access make their views known?

Capt Col 4.12.14.

Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure? No 2

Burscough Bridge interchange

Burscough
Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure?




Blog posting no 2 2.12.14.

I have been getting in contact with people and organizations that I think may be interested.

I did ring Lancashire county councillor Cynthia Dereli on 26th Nov.

She agreed that the whole situation needs looking at, there is a building there that is underused but maybe the way the train ticketing and information could be delivered in a more efficient way.

Yesterday the 1.12.14 I sent a e-mail out to people I thought may be interested.

Sent this out via e-mail on 1.12.14 to 

Tess Reddington Clerk to Burscough Parish Council http://www.burscoughpc.co.uk/

Ormskirk Preston and Southport travellers Association, (OPSTA) http://www.opsta.btck.co.uk/

Burscough U3A http://u3asitec.org.uk/live/code/u3asite.php?site=157&page=0

The Burscough Action Group http://www.fullstopltd.co.uk/BAG/

Tess Reddington forwarded the e-mail to all the Parish councillors but also pointed out in the same proposals from the Lancashire county council there is the possibility of withdrawal of support subsidies for local bus services. 

I await replies…. 

Hi…

Could I ask your opinion on the possibility of the ticket office and Burscough Bridge Interchange being closed?

Do you think it will actually happen?

I’m not happy about the possible loss of this facility but feel that not too many people know about it and that they can comment on it via the Lancashire county council website.

I have put a blog posting on our website, at http://www.colinandcarolescreations.co.uk/

With details and links to the consultation, though not many people read our blog, so I’m intending to post it around Face book etc, and if there are any other links to your on line presence that you would like highlighting I can do this, as I feel there is a need to get the people of Burscough aware of what we may loose.

Best regards

Colin Wareing, Capt of The Wool Boat phone 07931 356204

The Festive Saint Nicholas Explorer and Cleveland Potter Rail tour.

29.11.14

The Festive Saint Nicholas Explorer and Cleveland Potter Rail tour.

Saw preserved class 40 diesel no 345 haul this Compass rail tour from Southport to York and then on to Saltburn in Cleveland.

Class 40 345 at Burscough Bridge

When did we last have a class 40 along the Southport line? This one is preserved by the Class 40 Preservation Society, and is based on The East Lancashire Railway, though it is of course certified to run on the mainline.

The rolling stock for the train was provided by West coast railways in Carnforth who also provided one of their elderly class 47 (47 804) diesel’s to provide the pull back assistant on the branch lines.

The tour left Southport at 08.32 and picked up at Burscough Bridge at 08.46, Parbold, and Wigan Wallgate and station’s to Manchester.  The tour then crossed the misty Pennines through Rochdale, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, arriving in York 12.10.

Passengers had the option then of a visit to the city of York or continuing on to Teeside through Middlesbrough to Saltburn. Class 40 345 at Burscough Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a quick turn round there of about 10 minutes,

and then back to York

Class 40 345 at Burscough Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for a 2 hour break via Darlington.

Time for some tea and a pint in The Tap on the station, before the trip home in the darkness to arrive back in Burscough at just after 22.00hrs.

Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure?

Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure?

Not a lot to do with wool or canals but something I feel needs a bit of publicity, as we use it quite a bit when we need to get back to base, and it's a great asset to Burscough and the surrounding area,

Burscough is in quite good situation train travel wise with rails running north, south. east and west, with two stations in the village.

Burscough Bridge station is on the Southport to Wigan and onwards to Manchester line.

In Monday 21st November 2005 a new station building was opened on the Southport direction platform, known as The Burscough Bridge Travel Interchange, as it provides connectivity between the trains and local bus services.

The funds for the building came from various sources including Northern Rail, the train operator and Lancashire County Council.

The council have been funding the employment of the ticket office staff, which are two full time and one part time.

The interchange seems well used and the person to person contact between ticket office staff and passengers is well appreciated.  

However in these times of government cut backs Lancashire County council have proposed that the interchange ticket office be closed, along with one in Burnley. This will result in a saving of £80k a year.

It appears that these two have been selected from “Carnforth, Clitheroe,

Nelson and Preston with the withdrawal of facilities at Burscough and Burnley.

Facilities at Burnley and Burscough would be withdrawn with the loss of

information and ticketing provision at each location” because the revenue from ticket sales doesn’t cover the cost of staffing

At the moment there is a public consultation underway, initially via the council website.

The following is the draft resolution from a Lancashire county council meeting on 6th Nov 2014.

http://council.lancashire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=3015#AI23323

And if you follow it through to appendix A

http://council.lancashire.gov.uk/documents/s51303/Draft%20Resolutions%20-%20Appendix%20A.pdf

Then you need page 79

Your chance to put your views are here.

http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/questionnaires/runQuestionnaire.asp?qid=621488

The problem I have at the moment is that not too many people are aware of this, and the consultation ends on the 15th Dec, and if the council don’t know how people feel we could loose the ticket office, and it may be a big job to get it back.

There are still lots of questions, and what I’ve learnt up to now is that some people seem to be taking a interest, I asked if there was any one doing anything.

It appears that the local U3A has a petition going,

Roger Bell, local Parish councillor (01704 897491) and member of the OPSTA, Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Association is interested, http://www.opsta.btck.co.uk/.  

But maybe the first person to contact is Cynthia Dereli  (01704 895247) who is the Lancashire county councillor for West Lancashire West, which covers Burscough

This is Cynthia’s web page on the council website

http://council.lancashire.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?uid=4437 

I don’t really want to fill in the on line form YET without being able to offer some constructive ideas, but I feel I need some answers to questions first, as I think you only get one chance to fill it in.

1 how much of the £80k is Burscough’s share?

2 Could the café be re let to provide some income to offset ticket sales

3 how many people use the facility

4 Could the Parish council help with funding

5 Would Northern rail be prepared to help with funding, to offset the fall in ticket revenue that could result in closure?

6 how do people without internet acess make thier views known?

And that’s just for a start..

Colin Wareing 27.11.14

The Farmers Arms to Maghull.

The Farmers Arms to Maghull.

Friday 14.11.14

 

Haskayne cutting in the Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following yesterday’s rain and wind, once the weather had blown it’s self out this morning we set off from the mooring outside the Farmers Arms about 10.30.

The day turned into a lovely autumn day as we cruised through the flat fertile lands of West Lancashire, with blue sky’s , a flat calm canal and wonderful leaf colours in the woods before Scarisbrick and in the cutting at Halsall where the first sod of the Leeds and Liverpool canal was cut back in the 1700’s.

 

We stopped for dinner at The Ship inn at Haskayne. The pub had been refurbished since we last visited, and is now a JW Lees pub. We had a grand dinner of sandwiches, Carole having Brie and red onion chutney, with beef and onion for me.  The Lees bitter was very nice as well...

We think we will be making a return visit when we are on the way back to Burscough on Monday.

Emma Maye moored outside The Ship Inn at Haskayne

On through the always open  to canal traffic, Downholland Hall swing bridge before stopping to work through Coxhead’s  swing bridge, no 20. This is electric powered now, worked with a CaRT  service station key. Carole amused by “if key stuck in lock WD40 usually does the trick C.R.T” written on the control panel in felt tip.

Downholland Hall Swing bridge

We turned at the winding hole in the middle of the Mersey Motor Boat Club mooring’s at Lydiate and then dragged “Emma Maye” back away towards the Bells Lane swing bridge. We didn’t want to moor too near the bridge, a bit near the pub for a Friday evening. We did moor, then realised that we had moored opposite the only boat on the mooring that anyone appeared to be staying on tonight. We know what we would have thought if someone had moored opposite our mooring when there was plenty of empty bank space along this length. So we moved about 100 yard nearer the bridge.

After tea we walked up to The New Running Horses , for a few pints with my lad, Glen and his partner. Another pub that has been refurbished since we were last in it in May 2103. Can’t  remember them having much cask ale on last time, but this time there were four casks on the hand pulls. We settled on Handsome Devil from Thwaites a very nice dark bitter.  Not disappointed, so a good night was had with a bit of live music after a good few hours cruising on the Leeds and Liverpool.

Capt Col, Maghull 15.11.14

Another interesting day as a roving yarn trader

Another interesting day as a roving yarn trader

Saturday 8th November 2014

We had been moored about a mile outside the West Lancashire village of Parbold on the Leeds and Liverpool canal last night, so a short cruise this morning in to the village where there are plenty of moorings.

The weather not great, more showers than sunshine, but we still had a few customers. Managed to provide a customer with some local spun yarn from Lazy Kate that he wanted for a relation in Switzerland.

We have never particularly advertised that we do a postal delivery service, the cost of the postage for bulky yarn can be expensive and we’ve always felt that yarn is a tactile thing so should be handled before people buy....unless they know what they are buying. And we’ve never really got our heads around Pay Pal.  However today we got a Facebook message from Claire in Stone. She had bought some Aran off us back in August and need some more.

Job sorted, paid by Pay Pal and will be in the post for her on Monday, glad to be of service, and the more we do it the better we’ll get.

A interesting conversation then followed with a chap of the name of Paul. He’d often seen us in the village, where he now lives, and had now got round to calling. His family used to own woollen mills in Bolton and Stoke. He now has the remaining stocks of yarn that he has no further use for and wondered if we would be interested in it to knit up or sell? We have arranged to go for a look in a couple of week’s time.....watch this space.

We had got a bit low on diesel, last filled up at Wheaton Ashton on the Shropshire Union in August, so arranged with Derek Bent from Ambush to bring us 50 lts, which he did, not only us that can provide a good service then. We’ll fill up next time he’s down with the boat.

Then shutting time, so a couple of pint’s in The Railway to start the celebrations of Carole’s birthday, always nice to go in there for a pint of Pedigree and a friendly landlord who asks how’s The Wool Boat?

The only fly in the ointment was Southport F.C not beating Dagenham and Redbridge in the F.A cup, which means a replay a week on Tuesday, which we won’t be able to go to as we have a long standing appointment to give a “Woolly Wanderings on the Waterways” talk in Aughton, we’ll just have to hope they win and are in the 2nd round.

Capt Col, Sunday 9/11/14   

Yarn pick up trip to Yorkshire.

Yarn pick up trip to Yorkshire.

Wednesday 22nd October 2014

08.00hrs

Colin is busy packing up Burscough Christmas cards, which are now available from The Wool Boat and Burscough Bridge Post office. 3 other designs available, price is £1.50 each. But today is a bit of a day "off" as we are having a trip out to Yorkshire for a yarn restocking session following the Burscough Fibre fest.....yummy, means we can buy some curd tarts:-)

 

19.00hrs

We're back from't Yorkshire, with some replacement yarn's for what we had sold, Woodlander L9, some cotton on, and 2 new twinkle's a lovely Jade Green and a Sea Blue ( as requested by Max:-)). We have also picked up some 6.5mm x 35cm needles as requested. Oh yes Colin got his curd tarts from the corner bakery in Bingley. On the way home we stopped off in Trawden had a nice relaxed dinner in The Trawden Arms followed by a bit of a walk in the Wycoller Country park. It was a bit damp and misty, so we'll have to go for a return visit.

Ready now for being open again outside The Slipway on Crabtree Lane near Burscough and back at Burscough Wharf on Sat and Sunday.

Carole’s latest creation

2.10.14 Carole’s latest creationCaroles latest creation

A modern Gansey hand knitted by Carole Wareing from Colin and Carole's Creations.

The pattern was designed by Carole and is her modern interpretation of the Ganseys worn by working boat men on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

This particular garment is now on its way to a customer in Australia who ordered it following the screening of Sir Tony Robinsons t.v programme “Walking through History” on which he came across Carole sitting knitting on the back of “Emma Maye” last autumn.

 It was hand knitted on two needles.

The pattern is available to purchase from The Wool Boat or is available as a digital down load from www.colinandcarolescreations.co.uk for £2.

The yarn used for this particular Gansey is from J C Bretts from their “Legacy” range and is in pure wool in Navy Blue, shade no Q12, the yarn also being available from The Wool Boat.

Garment 178 Navy Blue Gansey

Image no 1124

Proud owners of a Bridgewater Trading Permit

1.10.14. Proud owners of a Bridgewater Trading Permit

We had just moored on The Bridgewater canal at Daresbury on Tuesday afternoon when a very nice chap in a shirt and tie, with a brief case came wandering along.

“You do know you can’t trade on The Bridgewater? “

Turns out the chap was Mike Web, from Peel Holdings who own and run the Bridgewater Canal.

He explained that there is no reciprocal agreement between them and the Canal and River Trust for trading, only navigating. We had advertised that we are in Lymm this coming weekend, and didn’t really want to alter our plans.

“So how do we go about getting a trading licence for The Bridgewater?”

“Ring my office in the morning, and we can take payment over the phone and e-mail you a permit”

“How much will it cost?”

“£60 for the year or part of it, the year running from 1st April to 31st March”

So we are now proud owners of The Bridgewater Low level trading permit no 14, though there is not any indication or request that we display it any where, suppose just as long as we are in the system that’s fine.

Wonder if we can get CaRT to negotiate for a reciprocal agreement?

Deep in the Potteries


We are deep in the Potteries at the moment. We’ve been moored at Westport Lake for a couple of days, and are now going to cruise to Etruria for the weekend.
This is where there is a old restored steam driven bone and flint mill, which is working and open this weekend, along with a classic vehicle rally on Sunday. So something for the non yarn buying boys and men?
We did moor up to visit the Middleport pottery on the way, this is the one that Prince Charles has been involved in supporting, and it was interesting.
We will be open at Etruria on Sat and Sunday, from 10 until at least 4.
Hope to see you there

Well worth the stop at Middleport pottery. We've been inside a bottle kiln! Now moored at Etruria, outside the industrial museum, next to the restored working boat "Lindsay" which will be used on Sunday to give rides along the canal. Oh aye we've had a pint in The Shoulder of Mutton on Sun Street, one of our favourite places for a pint when we are here.The Wool Boat outside MiddlePort Pottery

Job stopped near Middleport Pottery

9.9.14 Job stopped near Middleport Pottery

We had a bit of a do as we passed Middleport pottery on the 9th September 2014. A bit of a crunch and grind and “Emma Maye” came to a stop.

After a lot of pulling and hack sawing tangled wire down the weed hatch we finally got a rope on it and pulled, and kept pulling until we ended up with the remains of a wire fence panel and a push bike! We caused quite a bit of interest with some of the fella’s from the pottery, at one time we where all thinking of attaching the rope to their forklift truck to try to pull the fence off. After we had got it off, we deposited it in the weeds along side the path and informed the local Canal and River Trust people, asking them to come and move it before someone decided to throw it back in. The lads from the pottery told us a few days later that they CaRT had shifted it.

 stuff pulled from the prop at Middle portThis is what we pulled out.

A leaky aqueduct

On our way back from Parbold last weekend we stopped for a couple of days near Spencer's bridge on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

We went for a walk up to The Red Lion in Newburgh for dinner, which was very pleasant.

The worry was what we saw after coming down the steps off the tow path at Culvert Lane...there was a lot of water pouring out of the side of the wall of the aqueduct, so we took a pic, and sent it to CaRT at Wigan. It'll be interesting to see what response we get.

 

Hello

Helping to be CaRT's eyes and ears on the ground, we where moored near Culvert Lane Aqueduct ( bridge 37b according to Nicholson's) on the Leeds and Liverpool in West Lancashire yesterday.

We went for a walk up to the Red Lion in Newburgh and noticed quite a lot of water flowing from the masonry of the aqueduct. We don't know if it has got worse recently, as we noticed the clay bung in the water on the side of the canal?

 

Competition or Choice?

Thursday 30.5.14

I don't know, you go away for a month, Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West, and we get back to Burscough and there is more choice of yarns. Sewing Susie has opened a shop on Burscough Wharf. She is selling clothes, a range of materials for sewing along with patterns, and knitting yarn!  We went and introduced ourselves this morning, pretence to see what she has in stock. Not a lot to compete with us, quite a bit of Debbie Bliss and some Robin yarns. Burscough will soon be the crafting capital of the north west, with at least four sewing suppliers/dress makers and now two yarn stores.


Queen Mary 2 day eight, Friday 23rd May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day eight, Friday 23rd May 2014


Southampton West docks





 

 

 

Disembarkation

I didn’t sleep too well tonight, mainly because we had to be up early, so Carole decided to put her alarm on her phone. The trouble was that her phone had never got a connection while we were in the states, but decide to “wake up” at about 1.30 this morning when it got a signal from France!

So didn’t go back to sleep too much, waiting for the proper alarm, which of course I didn’t need.

So out on our balcony for about 05.00hrs as we started to see land for the first time for a week.

A dull morning, but a fascinating last few miles up Southampton Water.

 I’ve never arrived in a big port before, with docks, tug’s, big ships and ferries, with below us lines of colourful tractors, cars, lorries and machinery lined up ready for export.

We had docked by the time we sat down for breakfast, and had to be out of our stateroom by 8.00. Our luggage had gone already, and then disembarkation was a controlled and very calm affair, with certain decks going at certain times. We where some of the last off, waiting in the Britannia restaurant until 09.45, which gave me time to be taking pictures.

We had had our passports checked by immigration on board the ship earlier in the week, so it was just like walking off a train...into typical English weather, pouring rain, after all it’s a May Bank Holiday weekend.

Colin Wareing, Back in Burscough 26.5.14

Image no Cw 1060 Southampton Western Docks

Queen Mary 2 day seven, Thursday 22nd May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day seven, Thursday 22nd May 2014

Dr Stephen Payne







At Sea

Brighter, sea calmer, the wind had dropped a bit overnight.

Even though we had breakfast on a separate table, just the two of us as normal, we where near enough the next couple to be able to chat. They lived in Arizona, on the outskirts of Phoenix but where originally from Rochdale. They emigrated 30 years ago to the states, living and working in New York before settling in Arizona. They go back from time to time to see family, which is what they are doing now. It was nice chatting to them about the differences they have found between the mill towns of the Pennines and the desert of the Arizona.

 I did go back to listen Dr Stephen Payne OBE.  He was better today, probably because he was talking about his baby, the Queen Mary 2.

He told us how he had come to be the man who designed this ship, and how it is, well in his opinion the best ocean liner there has been and is. It has been superseded in size by bigger cruise ships, but all the way through we have been told there is a difference between a cruise ship and a transatlantic liner.

He answered one of my question’s as too how thick the steel work is, compared to a narrow boat.

The base plates on narrow boats are normally 10mm thick, and the hull sides 6-8mm. The Queen Mary 2 hull sides are up to 38mm thick, whilst most cruise ships are about 18mm. I don’t suppose they need as thick bottoms on these as they aren’t constantly scraping on the canal bed.  

The way this ship’s hull is designed, to a vey sharp point at the bow, with a bulbous bit sticking out in front of the bow at water level all aid it being able to keep going through rough sea’s, along with the stabilizers that are stuck out from the side help to keep it very stable. It is driven by 4 large diesel engines, that produce enough power to power a city the size of Southampton.  These in turn power four eclectic motors, each the weight of a jumbo aircraft, that turn the propellers. Two of these motors are able to swivel, so this provides the steering...no tiller or rudder.

Navigation update at midday, and today’s said that we where about 4 hours away from entering the English channel.  We had speed up to about 27 knots per hour, to get nearer the coast to allow the coastguard helicopter to come and airlift a sick lady off the ship.  We’ve done 530 miles in the last 24 hours, but now where slowing down to make sure we got into Southampton on time in the morning. The last time we had to put our clocks forwards another hour so we are now back on time with England, so no jet lag.

We had a last look around the bookshop, where they also sell acrylic knitting yarn for $7.95 per 100 gram, along with pattern books, but they didn’t appear to sell needles. We asked, and they normally do, but they were out of stock at the moment.

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 21.5.14

Image 1059 Dr Stephen Payne



Queen Mary 2 day six, Wednesday 21st May 2014

Where's the tiller






Queen Mary 2 day six, Wednesday 21st May 2014

At Sea

Cloudy, sea rougher, the wind had got up overnight, to force 7.

This morning I went to a lecture in the Illuminations theatre by Navel architect & Historian Dr Stephen Payne OBE. I thought the lecture was about this ship, the Queen Mary 2, but in actual fact it was about the QE2, which used to be the Cunard flagship, but was retired a few years ago and sold to the Arabs It was quite interesting, with a lot more people than I thought would have attended. But he’s a bit dry and there didn’t appear to be much chance to ask questions.  Will I go to tomorrows about the QM2? 

We saw another ship, way off, but with the telephoto lens it was possible to make it out to be a large container ship going in the same direction as us, but a bit slower.

 Navigation update at midday, and today’s said that we where about 500 miles west/southwest of Fast net and we are doing 22.7 knots per hour. We’ve done 524 miles in the last 24 hours, having done 2386 miles since we left New York. They also told us that we had to put our clocks forwards another hour to take in the time difference, so we are on 23 hour days.

Dinner today was with 4 American’s. One older lady who is a regular traveller on the liners, a old lawyer from South Carolina who we struggled to understand, and a professor in psychology,  from a collage in Ohio who was travelling with one of his pupil’s who had just graduated, in we think sports psychology.  They are off to London and then Europe. The lad soon disappeared but his professor was interesting to talk to, and ended up showing us a “secret” on one of the many wall decoration panels, that included a “Homer Simpson”. 

Carole bought herself another New York T shirt.



Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 21.5.14

Image Cw 1058 Where’s the tiller.

Queen Mary 2 day five, Tuesday 20th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day five, Tuesday 20th May 2014

At Sea

Brighter day, sunny spells, sea calmer.



Carole had a book to return to the library today, and I went for a wander into the viewing area behind the bridge. Interesting, watching people work. The crew got a bit excited because they had spotted some whale blow’s. Of more interest was the first other ship we had seen since leaving port.

I also had a wander around the deck, a bit blowy on one side, and not many people about higher up, but plenty doing the deck walk.

Dinner time, for which were sociable again. Today’s dinner table was better, a couple of Irish Americans, who were interested in our boat. “Oh you are the lady from The Wool Boat!  We’ve heard all about you!” ......... from one of the knit and natter group.

The bridge gives us a navigation update at midday, and today’s said that we where about 400 miles from the Azores, and we are doing 23 knots per hour. We’ve done 520 miles in the last 24 hours, having done 1836 miles since we left New York. They also told us that we had to put our clocks forwards another hour to take in the time difference, so we are on 23 hour days.

It is amazing to look out to sea and think of how explorers in the years gone by would set off without a clue what they were going to find, or indeed if they were ever going to find anything and would they come home?

Golden Lion again tonight after tea, didn’t win the trivia quiz of course, even with help from a couple from Worksop.

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 20.5.14




Queen Mary 2 day four, Monday 19th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day four, Monday 19th May 2014

At Sea

Grey day, with odd sunny spell.

The days are falling into a routine of a separate breakfast, so we don’t have to be sociable, then a bit of a wander, or computing.

It’s then dinner time, for which we can be sociable a bit. However today’s round the table was with four Germans who were quite happy to ignore us and chatter away in German....oh well can’t win ‘em all.

The dinner takes a couple of hours, then a couple more hours working on the computer and it’s time to get changed into jacket and posh jeans ready for tea. After a couple of pint’s back in the Golden Lion and it’s showers and bed.

The bridge gives us a navigation update at midday, and today’s said that we where about 420 miles from Cape Ray off Newfoundland, there was 1600ft of water under the keel, and we are doing 22 knots per hour. We’ve done 530 miles in the last 24 hours, having done 1343 miles since we left New York.

Because it’s the 10th Anniversary cruise of the Queen Mary 2 when we got back to our room there was a copy of a book all about the last 10 years of the ship. It is actually a book produced by “Haynes” the car manual book, of which there is copies for sale in the book shop on the ship, which I considered buying, glad we didn’t now.

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 20.5.14

Queen Mary 2 day three, Sunday 18th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day three, Sunday 18th May 2014

At Sea

Having slept well again, waking about 8.00 we had a proper breakfast with proper sit down service, bacon and eggs.

Now worked out there is about 1 staff member to 2 possible passengers, if the boat is full. This appears to be one of the most multicultural work force I’ve seen. Wonder if there are racial tensions? Don’t suppose Cunard would stand for much of it. The lad who severed us asked what coloured toast we wanted, white or like him? I’ll leave you to guess, but could a white chap have got away with asking if we wanted white toast or black? Hmm think not.

Still not seen any other ships.

Dinner was in the Britannia restaurant, again, roast pork.  We where sociable again, on a table with six other people. A couple of American’s from Maryland and a Dutch family, well a couple who were taking one of the sets of parents home to Holland. The couple lived on a boat in Panama, having left Holland for a quieter life once they retired. Theirs was a 60ft sailboat they moored in a old fort on one side of the panama canal. We of course got talking practicalities, of cooking, and supplies, though they don’t tend to have a heating problem with it being so warm. And eventually the talk got around to toilets, as it does with boaters.

Carole at the stitch and knit, in the grand lobby this afternoon, making new friends.

Could I get away with going to the formal dinner tonight without a tie? Looking through the window’s the other night we thought I could. So on with my “president” collarless shirt, and the waistcoat with the new pocket watch from the Grand Canyon railway and away we went. Carole looked nice in her dress and the shawl Max had crocheted.

Most of the men had formal black suits and ties on , but no one stopped us when we were going into the cocktail reception, with Capt Kevin Oprey, though we choose not to meet him personally, just in case we didn’t get in. Carole sat us with a couple of Germans, who didn’t seem to have much English, but only for a few minutes. At least we could get a beer. The Captain then introduced himself and the management team of the ship. Because this is the tenth anniversary cruise the original Captain is on board along with Dr Stephen Payne, who designed the ship.

Formalities over, with a nice relaxed speech from the Captain, then a nice tea again before getting our average score of 10 out of 20 in the trivia quiz in the Golden Lion bar before bed.

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 19.5.14

Queen Mary 2 day two, Saturday 17th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day two, Saturday 17th May 2014

At Sea

Went to the buffet for breakfast. Oh what a disappointment. I thought we were going to get waited on as in a hotel. This was more like a works canteen. Not impressed.

Then a bit of an explore, though it’ll take us a while to find our way around, and remember which is the best stairway to use to get back to room 4.091.

I spent a good bit of time just watching the sea roll by. The noise of the engines are not loud, just the odd rumble and the wind on the balcony is quite warm. The sea seems fairly calm, but it’s hard to work out the height of the waves with no reference points. I think on deck 4 we are about 50 foot from the sea, and nothing is coming anywhere near our balcony except a bit of spray. We’ve not seen any other ships since leaving port, and just the occasional sea bird.

Sometimes the sun breaks through but we’re not seeing much blue sky.

We found we are able to have dinner in the Britannia restaurant, a proper sit down and be waited on affair. We can sit on a table for two or be communal and sit on a table of eight, which we did.

A lot of the passengers are older folk than us, that’s ok, and as expected, and thankfully not many children aboard. The table today consisted of 2 Australians on the way to travel the fjords of Norway, a single American lady coming over to England to visit Cornwall, a Swedish lady on her way home and another American mother and daughter.  

A pleasant lunch, everyone introduced themselves and a good bit of chat about where people where going and coming from.

Tonight we were back in the buffet for a canteen tea, because we thought we couldn’t get into the formal eating as I’m not going to be wearing a tie.

Had a couple of pints of Old Speckled Hen on draft in The Golden Lion before taking one back up to our room.

 

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 19.5.14

Queen Mary 2 day one, Friday 16th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day one, Friday 16th May 2014.

Leaving New York.

We had seen the ship in Liverpool last May when we were in Salthouse Dock on “Emma Maye” so the ship held no real “aaahhw” factor for us.

We signed out of The Marcel at Gramecy hotel about 11.30 after having breakfast in the Lyric dinner again.

A yellow taxi took us to the cruise terminal, with a driver of Pakistani origin? He didn’t really seem to have the “knowledge” as the London cabbies have to prove, in that he didn’t really know where he was going...good job one of his fellow countrymen in another cab pulled up alongside at some lights.

Over the Brooklyn bridge and round to the cruise terminal, we abandoned the cab and walked the last 100 yards, past the queue of cars and taxis having paid him his $30 plus $5 tip.

The terminal reckons to have won all sorts of awards   didn’t quite see why, just a big shed.  The checking in was a lot less ardours than at the airport, still had to go through a security screening and x ray of bags, but no taking off of shoes and belts. We where then given our room card, which we where to use throughout the voyage.

We spent about a hour sat waiting for our boarding no, 33 to be called, during which time I was told I couldn’t take pictures in this area...oopps to late! Up the ramp and onboard through a hole in the side of the hull, no gunwhale here to step over. Now was the “aaawwhh” moment with the grandeur and not knowing where we were going. Plenty of staff to guide us to room 4.091 on the fourth deck, on the starboard side, the right hand side looking towards the bow.

The room is ok, a lot like a corporate hotel room, 2 single beds pushed together, plenty of wardrobe space, a desk, telly, sofa, and bathroom with shower. Because of the fluctuation in the exchange rate of the dollar/pound while we where booking we end up with a balcony room for the price we were originally going to pay for a inside cabin.  

We had some dinner from the Kings Court buffet and then awaited departure, hoping to be on the balcony as we left New York. However we had to wait for a couple of late arriving passengers, then a navigation computer was playing up, the ship being held against the quayside by a couple of tugs. We had arranged to have tea at the early, 18.00hrs sitting, so we were eating as we left...bo hoo. The last thing we saw of New York was a green marker buoy receding in to the mist......

Colin Wareing, mid Atlantic Sunday 18.5.14.



Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 9

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 9

New York. Monday 12th to Friday 16th May 2014.

Horns, car horns, the overriding backdrop to New York, but traffic doesn’t move any faster the harder they push the button!

What was the fella next me on the plane from Phoenix to New York eating? it certainly was the most un- appetizing smell we’ve smelt in a long, long time.

The lady car driver who drove us from the Indigo in Scottsdale was great, told us how she couldn’t consider living anywhere else, where it may get cold. What a contrast to the car driver from dial 7 in New York. Because of the time zone’s we arrived late, about 23.15 into Newark. He picked us ok then hardly said a word until dropping us outside the Marcel at Garmancey on 3rd Avenue and 24th Street and then sort of demanded the fare and a tip...

A boutique hotel...so this means small rooms then, and a rabbit warren, got to remember to turn right then left and left again from the elevator to room 206.

Though New York claims to be the city that never sleeps we are nicely surprised by the way 3rd ave went quite about midnight until the car horns started about 6.00, so we slept well for the 4 nights.

The pavements got a bit hard, but the best way to experience anywhere is to walk, and the 1st place was the lyric dinner for breakfast at last a hot cup of tea.

We walked, to ground zero, which is now a building site, so didn’t really feel the overwhelming outrage I’d have thought. The memorial museum was about to be opened by President Obama on the Wednesday, and it’ll be good to have some lasting indication of what went on on 9/11. Did they choose that date because the emergency phone no in the US is 911?

One Trade centre New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a walk along the promenade of Manhattan Islandexplored the possibility of the free ferry to Staten Island. We found plenty of places to drink and eat, bars most of which did food. Found one that is the base for the New York supporters club of Manchester City, with one of the waiters telling us the team had been in with the Premier league championship cup.

The weather was warm enough for no jackets, which meant we got caught out by the rain one day.

P S Fabrics New YorkWe found a yarn store, well a haberdashery store on Broadway, most unexpected, with quite a bit of Acrylic stuff for sale, plus materials, buttons...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watched the ballerina and the mega bubble blowing man in Central park, of which we didn’t walk round it all, but walked back through Times Square. On the edge of dark, so the neon worked ok.

Ballerina Central Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a taster of the place, but we’ll be back, we reckon about 4 days is long enough in a city for us, unless we can go by canal...

Colin Wareing at sea on the Queen Mary 2 May 2014.

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 8 Scottsdale Arizona. 9th to 12th May 2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 8 Scottsdale Arizona. 9th to 12th May 2014

We moved on on Friday the 9th of May, getting the Arizona shuttle back to Flagstaff and from there on to Scottsdale, a district of Phoenix.

The trip from Flagstaff to Phoenix was on a Greyhound bus. We had booked this when we where in Flagstaff, and had picked up our tickets from the bus station before going to Williams. Thus we knew we didn’t want to drag cases along the street as the bus station is quite a way out of the main part of Flagstaff in the sawmill district. So a taxi job.

Greyhound bus in Flagstaff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the bus station in plenty of time to catch the 13.30 bus to Phoenix. We soon left the pines and mountains behind, though it was nearly down hill all the way, dropping from an altitude of about 7000 feet in flagstaff down to about 1500 ft in Scottsdale, where we stayed in Phoenix.  A pleasant enough ride, to arrive on the desert floor where Phoenix has developed by spreading out and not building upwards, again taxi to the hotel Indigo, with the taxi driver having to stop to inspect a bush along the way!

It’s a lot warmer here than up in Flagstaff, people do our trip in reverse at weekends, to get away from the heat, with the place nearly shutting down in July and August.

As we are only here for the weekend it wasn’t worth investigating the public transport system, so we stayed in and around Scottsdale. This reckons to be the posh end of Phoenix, but they are still building some of it. It was warm enough to sit on the bar balcony of an evening.

There is the “old town” of which some reckons to date back to the 1880’s, but now a lot of it is touristy, and there is some new build to look like old. We found some interesting places to look around, from the Rusty Spur saloon, with live country music on a Sunday afternoon to some modern bars, and at last a canal! But not as we know it. I’d be surprised if it’s ever seen a boat, as they have all been built to carry irrigation water either for crops or to be processed for drinking.

There is some interesting art work dotted about the place, we thought we found some old lock gates, assembled into a work of art, but alas they where just giant gates, locks not being needed on these canals. There is a whole series connected together around the Phoenix area. As well as transporting water they are also used as hydro eclectic generating plants, so claim to be working canals.

Canal in Scottsdale Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sunday afternoon we had a few hours relaxing n the park, Carole reading and me wandering taking photo’s. There is a “Love” art installation here and I think I’ve taken the picture of the trip. A young girl taking photo’s on her mobile of her mum and aunt? posing on the artwork. Wonder what you think?

LOVE Sculpture in Scottsdale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colin Wareing Williams Arizona May 2014.

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 7 Williams and the Grand Canyon

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 7

Williams Arizona. 5th to 9th May 2014

We’re on Holiday, so while I’m doing some blogging we’re also having some fun, so at times the blogging has to wait...

So a bit of a catching up session.

The reason for coming to Williams was to ride the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

We moved from Flagstaff to Williams on the Arizona Shuttle, a mini bus service that runs between the two towns the Grand Canyon and to Phoenix as well. As with most things today, booked via the internet, it worked well for us. We had to get back to the Amtrak station in Flagstaff to catch it, a taxi ride.

Then about a 35 minute ride along Interstate 40 and we where dropped outside the lobby of the Grand Canyon Railway hotel. The whole thing comes as a package, two nights accommodation, dinner and breakfast and a return trip on the train.

Williams was the last town on “the mother road” route 66 that was by passed by the interstate. That was back in 1984. We haven’t travelled much of the 66, but this small town sure lives up to the image of old memorabilia, T shirts and souvenirs, we likened it to a Blackpool or Matlock Bath in the desert!

Main Street, Route 66 Williams Arizona







The railway is like a preserved railway in England, but more of a tourist attraction than a volunteer manned operation. The railway was abandoned by the Sante Fe in the 1970’s and bought by a couple of people from Phoenix. They rebuilt it, and while it does use old “preserved” rolling stock all the staff are employees. There are a few steam engines, though not used every day, and our day wasn’t one of them. But of course that doesn’t worry me.

The train left at 09.30 following a Wild West shoot out staged by cowboys on one end of the platform. There is a coach attendant in each car and we got Kathy with a K...she never seemed to shut up! It’s ok telling us the information we needed to no about tour buses long part of the canyon rim, but we didn’t really need the trivia quiz on the way back down later.

Grand Canyon Railway









The Canyon is quite a magnificent sight, that big though it seemed not quite real. The bus ride stopped at a couple of places, to view and take pictures, as long as you didn’t get blown away.

The Grand Canyon Arizona

  




We had chance for a quick look around the tourist shops and a bite to eat before the ride back down to Williams through the rock canyons and across the desert, only to be “held up by the outlaw cowboys” before getting back into town.

We then relaxed for a couple of days, doing a bit of train watching, though only a few BSNF trains through here on the line to and from Phoenix. We bought some souviners and it snowed! Not a lot but enough to keep up our record of it snowing in the “warm” places we chose to visit, as it did in Morocco a few years ago.

Capt Col 10.5.2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 6

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 6

Flagstaff Arizona.Carole and Michele's yarn bombing in Flagstaff

We got more to grips with the bus system today, so made it easier coming and going from town.

More wandering around town this afternoon, after I’d had a bit of a walk around the hotel area trying to find some trains to take photos of, which I failed to do...It’s very hard to work out any sort of pattern to the traffic through Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is probably ok for about a 3 or 4 day stop over unless there is something specific you are coming to town for.

We were in town this evening for the First Friday Art walk, which certainly brought people into town.

We had found Michele and Carole’s Yarn bombing outside the Criollo Latin Kitchen in downtown Flagstaff. The theme for the art installation around the cafe was based on bicycles, and the yarn squares where fixed around the bike racks outside the cafe. Carole was made up to be involved. Unfortunately the cafe was so busy it would have been a hours wait for tea, so we had a quick look in the back yard, where we could have had stand up food, and there was a fiddle band on. We really wanted a sit down tea so ended up in the Collins Irish pub. There was another fiddle band on in there playing Irish inspired music.

All the girls that wait on in there had a T shirt or a vest on with a logo on the back that said “ Collins Girl”, not quite the correct spelling, and officially only for staff, but we managed to obtain one for Carole to wear

Capt Col now in Williams Arizona 7.5.2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 5 Flagstaff

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 5

Flagstaff Arizona.

We arrived late in the evening in Flagstaff, a bit tired after the long train journey from Chicago.

We rang the hotel from the payphone on the train station. The hotel arranged to send us a taxi, which was good. Checked in, room no 508, then went and got some supplies from the nearby Walmart.

The following morning we set off walking into town. The hotel is about 2 miles out in the Woodlands Village area. We have since discovered the local bus service that we can use all day for $2.50 each.

Downtown Flagstaff is nice, not too big to get lost in, with plenty of independent shops. Some are selling “Route 66” memorabilia, some tat, some tasteful. Others are selling native Indian items, and there are a good few art galleries. One of the first stops was to the tourist info at the train station, which is where we found out about the buses.

The train station is on a main Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad freight route with plenty of trains, a lot are double stack containers, but also a good few mixed freights, plus auto racks and piggyback lorry trailer trains. Most are hauled by at least 2 locomotives, with some as many as five, plus maybe a couple more on the rear.

Cw 1012 BNSF freight train at FlagstaffAt 14.25 on Thursday 1.5.14 a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe mixed freight train passes through the station at Flagstaff in Arizona USA. The train was believed to be running from Bel Air in Maryland to Barstow in California. The locos are BNSF 6927, 6605 and CREX 1331.


This morning’s trip out, on the bus, was to beyond down town to a newer area around fourth street.

We went out to visit Michele at Purl in the Pines this morning on N 4th Street, and where made most welcome. She has a great selection of yarns, with Carole increasing her stash just a bit.
Michele was working on stitching together square’s of knitting and crocheting ready for a yarn bombing at the Criollo Latin Kitchen in downtown Flagstaff tomorrow evening as part of the First Friday Art Walk. Carole had a go at helping her with the stitching so we are going to have a look at the finished project on Friday evening.

Cw 1009 Carole and Michele at Purl in the Pines








Capt Col Flagstaff Arizona 4.5.2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 3 Chicago

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 3

Sunday, another day, another yarn shop.

We’ll it gives us a focus for the day.

This one, Loopy Yarns, was again a walking job, we’ve walked more in the last three days than we have for ages.

Loopy Yarns










We walked back through down town Chicago, under the "L" a couple of times to junction of Polk and Dearborn streets. This shop had come highly recommended by the Windy City Fibre Folk group on Ravelry so it would be interesting.

The shop opens from 1-5 on a Sunday and without the week days crowds the walking was easy, we got there well before opening time.

Dearborn station










The shop is in a newish unit built into the frontage of the old Dearborn station , which saw it’s last train in 1971 according to the Time Out Chicago guide we are using,  we had to get a railway in somewhere J.

We had brunch across the way in “Hackneys”, again good food and this time not too much, eggs and biscuits, in reality a scrambled egg, but a bit more liquid, with spices and some sausage, the biscuits being bread baps as far as I’m concerned. This left some room for some good old apple pie and cream and ice cream.

Again we got a nice warm welcome from Vicky the owner, of Loopy Yarns, with interest in The Wool Boat from staff and customers.  Carole bought a pattern book this time. It will be interesting o see if yarn prices are different outside of the city’s.

Would we walk back, or catch the bus? Still a nice day so we walked, a bit of a chance for some street photography, and once again no need for going out for tea, we still had plenty of nibbles to eat up from the day before.

Writing this sat in the Metro deli Bar and Cafe in the Union station in Chicago as time ticks down to our first ride on “Amtrack”

Capt Col Chicago 28.4.14

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 2 Chicago

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 2

Saturday, yesterday saw us taking a ride out of Chicago on the Metra line from Union Station to Northbrook IL.

Why you might ask?

Firstly it was a ride for me on a train, and secondly to visit a yarn store.

The train was a double deck one that ran on the Metra Milwaukee District North Line from Chicago to Fox Lake. The Metra system consist of 11 lines radiating out from Chicago to the suburbs and into Indiana. This is a “heavy” rail system as distinct from the “L” in Chicago which is the electric system than runs out to the inner suburbs and around the famous “loop” that runs over the roads in the city centre.

We got a weekend rail pass, which if we’d had more time would be great value for money at $7 each and you can travel as much as you like for the weekend.

The trip to Northbrook took about 45 minutes, showing the city up as not really woken into spring yet, with the trees only just coming into bud, and despite the sun the wind was cold.

We found “Three Bags full” the knitting studio on Cherry Lane quite easily and where made very welcome by Lynette, the owner, and her staff. It is quite a large shop, with a good range of skeins of yarn, including some of J.C. Bretts. 

The American shops seem to sell most of their yarn in skeins and then have a ball winding machine to wind it for the customer.Carole the Wool Boat and Lynette Three Bags full








Above Carole and Lynette from Three bags Full chatting about running a yarn store

There was plenty of interest in our small operation, from staff and customers alike, with Carole buying some yarn and needles to get going on a scarf. No problems taking pictures, but we think that maybe we had done “We’ll keep you in stitches” a disservice yesterday when commenting on prices of yarn. The price over here seems to be generally about 3 times more than we charge for similar quality.

We asked for a recommendation for somewhere to eat and was directed across the street to “Georgies V’s” which was as good as the recommendation, but portions again way to big.

I bought a copy of a book from the nearby “Book bin” “The Complete Book of North American Railroading” which while it can’t be totally complete looks like giving me a good overview.  

We then had a couple of pint’s in the Landmark Inn in Northbrook whilst we waited for the train back to Chicago. If it wasn’t for the wind the deck here would be a great place to train watch with a pint. As it was I had to keep popping out with the camera, and took my first proper train pic of the trip,  Canadian Pacific no 9656 on the head of a long double stack container train, passing the water tower at Northbrook.

C P loco 9656 passes through Northbrook IL










Capt Col Chicago Sunday 27th April 2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 1

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 1

Well we’re here in downtown Chicago having flown from Manchester a couple of days ago. A nice flight on American airlines, on the 10.40 flight, which wasn’t full so room to stretch out.

Taxi into town from O’Hare, on a lovely spring afternoon, but it went colder later on. We’re staying at the Four Points by Sheraton on N Rush Street.  A pleasant enough corporate place.  

There has been lots of eating and drinking going on, had to find a place for breakfast yesterday, ending up in a branch of The Corner Bakery on St Clair and Erie street. Can’t say we were impressed, having farmers scrambled eggs, but seemed a bit cold, for being freshly prepared.

Then a wander off to find “We’ll Keep You in Stitches” a local yarn shop on East Oak street.  It took us a while to spot it, being 4 floors up and in amongst the Prada and Jimmy Choo shops. We were welcomed by the owner, who lets us wander at will. Interesting place, with interesting prices.  She sells DY yarns like we do, but her prices are about $30 for what we sell for £9.95! maybe our prices should go up??

Carole buying in "We'll keep you in stitches"










We went back in the city to find a dinner that we had fond memories of from last time we where here 7-8 years back, but as they say “don’t go back”, it didn’t look as nice, so we didn’t use it.

Found some piling work going on on the Chicago river, but with bigger tackle than the Canal and River Trust use at home.

Nearby we found a bar, The Public House on North State Street. We took advice from Chuck Kennedy and his Chicago white socks monkey, sat at the bar about beer. Originally from Australia we had a good hours chatting and laughing with him and his mate, Jason Long, originally from New Mexico, claims he grew up on a Indian reservation and gave us some contacts for when we get down that way.

So we’re off to explore the Lake Michigan lake front today with a promise of good weather.

Trade show at the NEC

Trade show at the NEC

 

We’ve been to the N E C today to the 39th Craft Hobby and stitch international trade show.

 

This was our 3rd or 4th visit and we noticed a lot more fabrics about this year, perhaps due to the interest caused by the Sewing Bee programmes.

There was also cake making equipment for the bakers.

 

We have ordered a new selection of buttons. and found some interesting new yarns.

 

News from J.C Bretts our main supplier…

We where told by J C Bretts that they are discontinuing their pure merino range to be replaced by the Jenny Watson merino, which has softer colours. So if you need any of the original merino please get in touch and we'll tell you what we have left, and what we may still be able to order in if we’re quick.

 

J.C. Bretts have also launched a new range, called "Legacy " of 100% Superwash Wool in a range of 14 shades including a navy blue pure wool, which will be great for the Ganseys.

 

They have also increased the range of shades on the Marble Chunky and Cotton on .

We haven’t space aboard “Emma Maye” for loads more stock, but of course we are quite happy to order shades in you may want.

 

Another new range is of 12 colours is Aztec Aran that contains 10% alpaca, looks good.

 

Beyond Bretts we had a good talk to Laura from WoolyKnit  who produce a range of interesting yarns from pure British fleeces from Blue Faced Leicester, Jacobs, and more 

The range extends from 4 ply to Aran, and includes natural colours and dyed yarns.

 

They work from a mill on the banks of the Huddersfield narrow canal at Diggle, so may be a trip up there on “Emma Maye” to pick some up?

 

Well worth the trip, and will be putting all the details of the new buttons on our website once they arrive.

 

Carole and Capt Col, in The Down Inn  near Bridgenorth in Shropshire for the night. 18.2.2014

Woolly wanderings in Edinburgh

Woolly wanderings in Edinburgh.

 

We are better known for woolly wanderings around the inland waterways on our narrowboat Emma Maye, aka The Wool Boat.

However the weekend before Christmas 2013 found us up in the Scottish capital, having been invited to Carole’s nephews wedding.

Travelling up the day before we had some time to fill before the main event on the Saturday morning. We decided to go for a wander away from Prince’s street and whilst looking for a bookshop or two to browse round, we came across a couple of interesting yarn retailers we think are worth sharing with you.

K1 knitting boutique Edinburgh 

 On the opposite side of Princes's gardens from the main street is the older  

 part of the city, the Grassmarket area leading up towards the castle. There

 we came across “K1 Yarns” knitting boutique at 89 West Bow.  

 

 Katharine Walker one of the co owners of the shop which is situated in a    

 lovely old stone building told us how they are now specializing in Scottish

 produced yarns, as she is finding that yarn tourists are made up to find local

 yarn’s.

 

 The website is www.k1yarns.com. And they have a blog at  

  http://kathandjo.wordpress.com/

 

 

              A bit further round in the shadow of the castle on Castle Terrace is the Edinburgh Kate Sharp spinner and knitter

 farmer’s market held every week.

 

 Here we got chatting to Kate Sharp, of Kate Sharp Knitwear.

 Kate stands the market regularly selling yarn and hand knitted 

 items created from her own flock of sheep she farms near 

 Humbie in East Lothian.

 Most of the yarn she uses are in the natural shades, so some 

 nice  shades ranging from blacks to grey’s, fawns and whites.

 Kate’s contact e-mail is ksharpknitwear@talk21.com or give her a

 ring on 07789887291 to make sure she’s going to be there when  you are.

 

Well worth braving the cold rainy weather for and the wedding was a grand affair as well!

Quick response by CaRT

 

Quick response by CaRT

 

I sent this by e-mail to CaRT in Wigan on Thursday 28th Nov

  

"We've just moored on the 24hr visitor mooring outside The Slipway near bridge no 32 on the L and L and there is a deep hole in the grass bank behind the concrete wash wall that my leg went down it up to the knee!

I think it could do with filling in before some one falls down it good style.."

 

By Friday 29th Nov the holed had been filled in, no need for orange plastic fencing and “BW are aware” tape as it used to be, Well done Mark and his team.

Roving the northern rails, day 4 8th November 2013.

 

Roving the northern rails, day 4 8th November 2013.

 

Hull.

 

A lovely day round Hull.

We had slept better than we expected at the Gilson. Even though on a main road it was quiet enough.

We knew the breakfast was a continental one, and basic it was, just toast, jam, cereals or fruit, but at the price we paid we weren’t complaining.

 

The main reason to coming to Hull was to visit “The art of the Gansey” exhibition at the Maritime museum. This was the touring version of the Moray Firth Gansey Project , and we where impressed by the collection of gansies and the possibility of seeing all the various patterns in the real life.

We would have liked the chance to purchase copies of some of the patterns.

 

The film that was shown about the trawling industry and the herring girls was well worth a watch, and the songs to go with the show, recorded by “Spare Hands”, who it seems are a local hull folk group, wonder if we’ll be able to get a copy on cd?.

 

The frock type knitted dress by Alison Casserly  impressed us.

 

We had about a hour in there meeting “Green bicycle girl” from Ravelry, who had made the trip up from London for the day.

 

River gansey quote 

 

 There was also a display panael about “River Ganseys” which 

 may have given us some clues about our North West Gansey

 project. “My mother…never used a pattern. No one did. They all

 made it up as they went along – ropes and cables and knots

 and diamonds: all kinds of patterns”  from a Life on the Humber,

 Keeling to shipbuilding by Harry Fetcher, (Faber & Faber, 1975.)

 

 

 

 

 

A wander along the promenade, spotting a narrowboat in the marina amongst all the plastic seagoing boats. It seems that not only do we have problems with locks on the canals, the sea lock wasn’t working into the marina wasn’t working too well, with the fitter trying to get the gates to open while a couple of policemen sat there in their inflatable dinghy waiting to be let through.

 

Dinner was in The Flag and Lion, a old pub with a choice of about 10 cask ales, and some grand fish and chips. Recommended.

 

Hull is bidding to become a city of culture for next year, the idea we struggled with as there are no independent book shops? 

A bit of museum viewing and then for tea out to “Bait” a fish restaurant that opened earlier this year, apparently only the 2nd fish restaurant in the city?

It was ok, but nothing to want us to hurry back..

Roving the northern rails, day 2 6th November 2013.

 

Roving the northern rails, day 2 6th November 2013.

 

Day in and around Whitehaven.

 

Today was the reason for coming to Whitehaven.

 

To revisit the Florence Mine near Egremont.

 

Egremont is a twenty minute bus ride, stage coach no 30 from Whitehaven. There is a bus stop just outside the Corner house b and b so very handy. A bit around the house’s past the West Cumberland Hospital, then through Egremont and dropped us just on the other side near the mine.

 

When we got there the art centre was all locked up, it’s meant to be open 10-4 but is as flexible as our opening hours! They are mainly volunteers that run the place and after about 10 min Jill turned up to unlock and let her mate in who was also waiting. 

It seems it was a good job we got there on a Wednesday. This is the day that the 4 ladies turn up to process the iron ore from the mine into “Egremont Red” paint that they sell to raise funds.

 

When we where up here in June for Woolfest we fund the mine and fell in love with a set of 3 bowls. They where part of an exhibition to promote the paint. Made from recycled magazines, and painted inside with “Egremont Red” by the artist Rachel from Pixie creations. So we bought them not thinking how we would get them homeJ.

 

When the exhibition ended we where able to have our bowls, but didn’t want to risk having them sent in the post….

 

So here we where getting treated to a brew and a show around the process of making paint from iron ore while Jill found our bowls. We thought we may have been disappointed having not seen them for a while, but we found them as good as we remembered. We are well pleased with them.

 

The 3 bowls from Florence mine

 

 

Back to Whitehaven, and a wander round the town and harbour. Struggled to find a pub that did food at dinner time, eventually coming across The Vine, which did us a good butty though no cask ale.

 

Then a look around The Beacon , learning of Whitehaven’s history.

Interesting to find that the town had retained it’s Georgian town houses, which are grand to look at, because they couldn’t afford to knock them down and rebuild.

 

Tonight’s evening meal was at the http://casaromanauk.com Casa Romana in Queen Street. It was good, especially because the meals where just nice portions, so not over facing, would go back again.  

Roving the northern rails, day 3 7th November 2013.

 

Roving the northern rails, day 3 7th November 2013.

 

Whitehaven to Hull.

 

A long days travelling.

 

Awaken again by our wide awake hosts about 6.45 am.

 

A nice breakfast and a good chat about advertising our respective businesses. Lisa and Dave at The Corner House have been open for about 3 year’s and have decided, as we have, that it’s not really worth paying for advertising. Social networking and word of mouth is working ok for us both.

We had the Derwent room, which for a double bed was a bit small, but comfortable, the shower in the wet room is like something from Star wars, and needs care not to flood the place!

We’d recommend the place for a good overnight or a couple of days stay.

 

We left about 9.30 and walked back through Whitehaven to the railway station to catch the 10.28 to Carlisle. Quite a few people boarded here. This was the 1st train of the day after 9.30 which means that is the 1st that off peak tickets can be used on. Everyone got on the train, just. It seemed odd that it was only a single car train. Is this poor diagramming of units or what?

 

 A interesting run along the coast through Workington and Maryport before a  

 change at Carlisle into another northern train, for the trip across country 

 through the Tyne valley to Newcastle.

 

 The autumn colours where good, with the showers kept producing rainbows.

 

 Then on to the East coast mail line, onto the “proper” train forming the 14.25 

 from Newcastle to London Kings cross. It was standing in the platform so we

 boarded about 20 min before departure. This enabled us to get a good seat

 to enjoy the trip. I even had a go at using the laptop and keeping a eye on

 our progress with the realtimes website. Interesting but not as much as 

 watching the country fly by.

 

 The last train of the day was back to a 2 car Northern unit forming the 16.12  

 from York to Hull.

 

It was dark by the time we got to Hull, but the Gilson Hotel is just around the corner from the station so handy enough. Corporate but a big room and good shower. The “Admiral of the Humber  was the handy choice for tonight’s tea, where I gave away at least 3 of our flyers due to me wearing my stripey jumper.   

Roving the northern rails, day 1

Roving the northern rails, day 1 5th November 2013.

 

We are doing a bit of a Michael Portillo, we have got our Bradshaw’s and a North country 4 in 8  rail rover.

 

We are setting off having booked accommodation in three places and there is a reason for going to all three.

 

Today we left Burscough Jct, at 10.40, changed in Preston, to a train that took us along the Cumbrian coast around to Barrow in Furness. Another change at Barrow to a train to Corkickle.

 

That was our destination for today, it is the station just before Whitehaven, and was handier than going on to Whitehaven station for the b and b at The Corner house where we are staying for the 1st two nights of our trip.

 

We arrived about 3pm, having had a very pleasant trip, the trains being well used but not over crowded, with no problems getting seats. A nice picnic on the 11.58 from Preston, and then some lovely views out over the Irish sea as we journeyed through Grange over Sands’ Bootle and Drigg.

Quite a few people got on at Sellafield, supposing it had just been the shift change at the nuclear reprocessing plant.

 

along the cumbrian coast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having dropped off our bags at the b and b we went for a wander into Whitehaven. 

Carole found herself a new ring at a independent jewellers which she has been after for a while, and is made up with.

Because we where tired, and couldn’t be bothered searching round we ended up in The Branstry Arch for a pint and our tea.

It is a Weatherspoon’s that used to be a laundry then a bus depot, and is named after the bridge that used to stand here that carried a mineral railway to carry coal to the harbour.

 

So to bed…

 

For the railway people, 10.40 Burscough Jct to Preston 142028 Northern

                                      11.59 Preston to Barrow 185138, Trans Pennine

                                      13.31 Barrow to Corkickle 156479 Northern

 

Capt Col in Whitehaven 5.11.13

 

 

Will he get lucky?

Will he get lucky?

 

As we moored The Wool Boat up just north of Middlewich this afternoon I fell into the usual conversation with a chap walking a dog along the towpath.

 

Where do you get your wool from?

 

What sorts do you have?

 

How much is it?

 

How much stock do you have?

 

Then he says “My wife loves knitting, do you think if I take her some wool I may get lucky tonight?”, but not quite in them words…

 

Well you can only try!

 

“Ok I’ll be back in a while, just walking the dog, put me £10 worth together and make it purple”

 

20 minutes later he comes back and we’ve got six balls of purple acrylic loveliness in a bag.

 

So off he goes, and we shout to him, “if it works txt us a smiley”

 

We await the txt!

 

This is an absolutely true tale from the canal towpath.

 

Carole and Capt Col The Wool Boat 26.9.13

25.9.13 Moored at Clive Green near Winsford.

25.9.13 Moored at Clive Green near Winsford.

 

What a grubby morning, we woke to a heavy mist and rain, so had to decide if we wanted to move.

We had arrived here just before dinner time yesterday, in lovely sunshine having moved from Church Minshull, a distance of about 3 ½ miles.

 

Cw 778 View from the Galley 25.9.13 Clive Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having previously moored here, we already had a good idea of a pub to walk to about 20 minutes away.

The Brighton Belle near Winsford railway station, though why it should be called the Brighton Belle here who knows.

It is now part of The Hungry Horse chain, and so we had a good do for a reasonable price, and also picked up a dozen free range eggs from one of the houses we passed, for the price of £1.50.

 

This mooring is quite near the West Coast Main Line, and so I had a chance to do some picky taking after we had walked back from dinner, but if you’re not keen on trains you may call it a bit noisy.

 

So we decided not to move today, Carole working on new hat designs and I’ve been working on raising awareness for the 2nd Burscough Fibre Festival that we have organized for when we get back on the 20th October.

I’ve been printing out flyers, and letters to the groups we have given our “Woolly Wanderings on the Waterways talks to. Just need posting now.

Also up loaded details to the Where can we go to web site.

 

Tomorrow will see us having to work a bit to get through Middlewich.

 

Capt Col moored near Clive Green on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal

A wet Sunday near Whitchurch

A wet Sunday near Whitchurch

 

We’re moored near the end of the Whitchurch arm on the Llangollen canal on a wet and windy Sunday the 15th September.

Also getting a bit cool, so we have lit “Stanley” our solid fuel range on Emma Maye. Good job we found some cut down trees a couple of weeks ago, don’t think there are many coal boats that come up the Llangollen.

At least we haven’t got to move today, but the hire boaters are still cruising past us, though not many people about buying yarn.

So time to do some website updating including as below a bit of poetry.

 

So off now to start working on my Burscough calendar for 2014.

 

The darkest quietest mooring.

 

A night as black as pitch

The air full of rain and mist

Not a light to be seen

Not a sound from a farm, factory or wind turbine,

Road, train or plane.

 

The darkest quietest place we’ve ever moored

 

Will we tell you where?

 

A bit of a clue

Between Bridges 53 and 52

But tell you more?

We don’t think so

If we did next time someone will be there

 

Probably you

 

 

Capt Col The Wool Boat

Moored near Val Hill between Frankton Jct and Ellesmere.

Tuesday 10.9.13.

 

Moored near Val Hill between Frankton Jct and Ellesmere.

 

On us way home now, but now we are back in the open, having come back out of the mountains and hills of Wales, with us being from the flat plains of West Lancashire we appreciate the light, big skys and the chance to get a telly picture.

 

We did a survey the other nearly a month a go when 70 boats passed us during the day 45 of them being hire boats the remaining 25 appearing to be private owners boats.

Yesterday we where moored near St Martins Moor and repeated the survey, this time coming up with 43 hire boats passing us, and 13 private boats, plus the hotel pair, Duke and Duchess.

So the job seems to be slowing down a bit.

So where we mad to come up the Llangollen in August?

 

We don’t think we where, it wasn’t as bad/busy as we thought it was going to be.

We didn’t have to queue for any length of time for locks, we didn’t have any problems mooring anywhere we wanted to.

There are plenty of 48 hour moorings, with rings, that have been provided by the Shropshire Union Canal society, and beyond that a lot of the length of the canal is steel piled and so with the use of a set of mooring chains there was no issues, in fact a lot of the 48hr moorings where not being used by any one, as we are the only ones on this one tonight.

 

The only real problem is the lack of a good pub along the length from Whitchurch to Ellesmere,

And we had only one time when we had to have a word with a, couple of private boaters, who came back to their boat at Trevor and started the engine at 20.45. As normal if they had come and said we have flat batteries we’re going to give it ¾ hour and we’ll knock it off at 21.30 that would have been ok. But they where not that considerate, so how did we know what time it was going on until? After a couple of words they eventually turned it off in a bit of a huff at 21.20, having tried to convince us that is 9 to 9 around Burton where they normally moor????

 

No we didn’t go all the way to the end, but we have still enjoyed ourselves, and we would say if you are not in a rush to do the whole lot in a week, then don’t be put off it, you’ll probably find some nice people, hirers and private boaters, and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

 

So off back to Burscough until the next time…

 

Capt Col, nb Emma Maye moored near Val Hill 10.9.13

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 6

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 6

 

Sunday 1.9.13.

 

Moored in the basin at Trevor

 

We’ve been here over the weekend, moored beyond the Anglo Welsh hire base.

It’s a very quiet mooring, and we are amazed there is no time restriction on it, so we could be here for 14 days.

We had last weekend at Chirk Bank sampling the Bridge Inn which is well worth it, good ale, Bank’s and a guest, and friendly people, the last pub in England, will it be the first when we pass on the way back. They don’t do food on a Monday evening, but all the locals turn up with some sort of chesses, or cooked meats, and crackers and biscuits, which all gets shared by anyone who is in the pub! A great idea. 

The canal has now got busier with hire boats, but no real problems, the things that pass at a rate of knots are the local day boats.

We’re not going as far as Llangollen this time, but as a tip we talked to sue in the CaRT info place here, and she suggested the best time, ie the least busy is on a Saturday morning, and the busiest is on Tuesday and Wednesday when all the hire boats get here from further west.

So now it’s turn around time, back over Telford’s “Stream in the sky” and start heading back towards Burscough.

 

Other things going on, Carole is busy working on orders, having just completed one of two children’s cardigans she was asked to create by a lady on a hire boat last weekend, we have had a piece in the local paper, the Wrexham Leader  about our floating shop, I had a piece published in Septembers “Towpath Talk ” about a canal festival back up in Scarisbrick in July just before we set off.

We have also taken a advert in the October “Lets Knit” magazine, mainly because they have produced a booklet of Christmas knits, and one of them is knitted from J.C.Bretts yarn. Has it been worth it? We’ve not had anyone come and say they have seen it….

All busy stuff, the only problem I’ve had is that the railway line from Wrexham to Shrewsbury, which run’s over a couple of grand viaducts hereabout’s has been closed all week for engineering work, hopefully I’ll get some pic’s next week before we leave the area.

 

 

 

Capt Col nb Emma Maye at Trevor Sunday the 1st Sept 2013  

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 5

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 5

 

Wednesday 21.8.13.

 

Moored near The Jack Mytton near bridge 11, Hindford

 

We left Ellesmere on Monday morning, after doing chores in town, finding the little pet shop general store on the wharf road very useful.

Did the loo and water at the top of the arm, very slow tap to fill the tank.

Moored a bit further on for dinner, and had our first hit from a hireboat/shareboat, what are the old Canal time boats classed as? Anyway don’t know if it was the chap’s first go on a boat on “Barrel of Ale” but his throttle control was a bit awry.

 

Moved on after dinner and moored on the nearly empty 48 hour mooring at the top of the Montgomery.

On Tuesday we walked the 4 odd mile’s down the Mont to the Queens Head pub for dinner.

The canal seems to have grown more green than it was the last time we where down here.

The locks are probably the best kept flight on the system. But what you don’t realise from cruising the canal is the amount of work that had been done with the gabions(?) and stone to reconstruct today’s towpath.

 

We had got a bit fed up of the constant helicopters overhead, from a local training facility? By this morning so have moved on to The Jack Mytton, which we will be sampling this evening.   

 

Capt Col nb Emma Maye at Hindford Wednesday the 21st August 2013  

 

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 4

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 4

 

Sunday 18.8.13.

 

Moored on the Ellesmere arm.

 

Well what a wash out yesterday was, the Saturday. It rained and rained, with bits of sun. We are overlooking a cricket field and they tried playing match yesterday, and they kept taking off the covers, playing for a few balls and then having to run and put the covers on again, wonder if they played to a result?

 

To answer the question of is it busy on the Llangollen in August we did a totally unscientific survey on Thursday the 15th while moored at Platt Bridge. Between 08.00 and about 18.30 70 boats passed us, of which, only from our observations, we didn’t stop them and ask them, 45 where hire boats and 25 appeared to be privately owned. Is this the normal level of traffic for August? We may try it again further along the canal as reports from other people say it’s busier the near Llangollen you are.

 

The Tesco’s here at the end of the arm is handy, but you wonder how many people just use it as a supplies stop and now don’t go into the town?   

The two butchers are still there as is the newsagent, and the deli, so even if Tesco hadn’t replaced the old dairy the supplies would stay be good. At least there is recycling for the glass and tins in the Tesco car park.

 

For the knitters there are two supplies of yarn in the town, one is a clothing and cookshop, on the high street which as a bit of J C Bretts in…but they are charging more than us, and the other one is near the end of the canal arm on Wharf road, a strange mixture of a yarn shop and the tourist information???

We went in and introduced ourselves to the lady running it, she didn’t seem impressed that we where here for the weekend end, so if you do go in tell her The Wool Boat sent you!

 

Emma Maye at Ellsmere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capt Col at Ellesmere Sunday the 18th August 2013  

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 2

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 2

 

Sunday 11.8.13.

 

We have been moored in Wrenbury for the weekend, having come up from between bridges 12 and 13 on the Llangollen. It’s still not overly busy. When we worked through the Baddiley three locks the amount of boat traffic was just right to be leaving gates open for on coming boats while having gates left open for us to enter the locks, so happy days, and just the couple of lift bridges to do, which even though we’d not passed through any for a while we hadn’t forgotten what to do.

 

Just a warning to any boaters thinking of mooring along this length, the first straight bit on the Grindley Brook side of the electrified lift bridge, there is a wasp’s nest in the towpath, which we’ll report to CaRT on Monday, dodn’t know if they’ll do anything, but at least they’d know.

 

Wrenbury, the village store is about a 10 min walk from the canal, passed the Dusty Miller and The Cotton Arms pubs. The shop is ok for basic supplies, Beer, wine, Bread, milk, papers etc with some fresh fruit and veg. Doubles up as a newsagent and post office.

When we where last here, we favoured the Dusty Miller over the Cotton Arms, as the Cotton Arms seemed to be at the upper end of the scale for charging for food, but things seem to be the other way around now.

We tried them both for a pint, and I must say that the “Trooper” in the Dusty Miller wasn’t as nice as the pint of it I’d had in the Leigh Arms at Acton Bridge earlier in the trip.

 

So it was The Cotton Arms for tea on Saturday evening.
They have quite a big camp site behind the pub, and we where lucky to be squeezed in on a table, that was reserved for 8.00. We where glad we did get in as the game pie, a proper pie, was lovely and so was the pork fillet apparently.

Beer was a choice of four casks, I was on the Otter, whilst Carole was on wine by the glass, we thought they where a bit expensive for house wine.

 

We had a good trading day on Saturday, and Carole taking an order for a couple of jumpers, whilst we sold a bit of yarn.

The football season kicked off for Southport F.C. in the conference on Saturday and it was a good result, beating on of the favourites for the title, Luton 1-0 at what will always be Haig Ave, even if it is now due to sponsorship being called The Merseyrail Community stadium.

 

Capt Col nb Emma Maye, aka The Wool Boat, Wrenbury 11.8.13

The Llangollen in August Are we mad?

The Llangollen in August Are we mad?

 

Thursday 8.8.13.

 

Having left our home moorings in Burscough three weeks ago we are now moored between bridges 12 and 13 on the Llangollen canal. Are we mad to be here in August?

This is reckoned to be one of the most popular canals on the system, especially for hire boaters and a lot of other boaters tend to stay away from it in summer. So we shall see.

At the moment we are moored on a 48 hour visitor mooring, having arrived yesterday, and we are the only boat to have used it in the last 2 days!, and it’s one of the quietest and darkest moorings we have been on for ages, it’s great!

 

We came up through Hurleston locks yesterday morning, after we had waited at the bottom for about a hour while some CaRT men did some repairs to the bottom gates on lock two which where leaking badly. Chatting with a couple of boat crews that where also waiting, one a hire boat and the other a boat that the crew had borrowed for a week. No one was in any panic to be going anywhere.

While we where waiting I thought I’d have a fish with the magnet for any dropped windlasses, didn’t find any but as the locks where being refilled one of the CaRT men walked down to tell me I shouldn’t have been fishing with the magnet as it was against the bye laws!  He even quoted a reference no at me, something like rule 41 section d

I was amazed, never having heard of this before, thought it was a regular pastime for boaters?

So I did check later on and yes there is a British Waterways bye law from 1965 that prohibits anyone “Dredging for coal or any other rubbish from the canal without permission from the board”

What will we do if we ever drop our boat keys in? Get CaRT to come and find them for us?

 

I’ve had another photo published, this time in The Non League Paper, a weekly paper about non-league football. The pic was of Northwich Victoria’s ground being demolished alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal. The story was that the ground was only built in 2005.

 

Today’s news is that there has been a baby boom, which is good, as Carole has been busy creating baby garments.

 

Starting listening to Radio Shropshire now, I do like listening to local radio, but hope we’ll be able to keep it going and not have to listen to radio Wales.

Moored at Anderton

Capt Cols blog 26.7.2013

 

We are now moored at Anderton for the weekend.

Anderton is near Northwich in Cheshire and the site of the world famous Anderton boat lift, which carries boats between the Trent and Mersey canal and the river Weaver, the delights of which we are yet to experience.

We left Burscough a couple of weeks ago and have travelled along the Bridgewater canal with stops in Manchester, Little Bollington, Lymm and Daresbury, over looking the West Coast railway line.

The weather has been cracking, the best spell of weather we have had for the last 7 years which fits in with us last going to Llangollen which is where we are heading now.

So it’s been shorts all the way.

 

We have done some selling as well but have also been busy creating.

Carole has just finished a little blue babies cardigan, that is a order, but this baby is only due in November, so if we sell it can easily be replaced before then.

 

Once we came off the Bridgewater we had a couple of days near bridge 211 on the Trent and Mersey canal. This was about 200 yards past the site of last year’s major breech. Give the Canal and River Trust their due, they have made a grand job of reinstating the canal and the view is lovely, across the weaver valley.  They have put few mooring rings in, enough for about 5 boats, but we knew we would want to run the genny so didn’t want to disturb people, so we moved on.

 

There was just enough mooring by bridge 211 for one boat, so suited us, and I found a good viewing point over looking the valley with a good photo op of the railway over Dutton Viaduct, so had a couple of early morning sessions with the camera. Got a few useable shots that a may end up going to magazines.

 

While in Lymm a lady came along with a sheep’s fleece. She, Fiona, is the Conservation Officer for the Lancashire and Merseyside Wildlife trust who manage the Seaforth Nature reserve on Merseyside. To control the grass they have a flock of Hebridian sheep which have just been sheared. So they have about 50 fleeces they don’t know what to do with, so did we want any for spinning? Not really as we don’t spin. But we said we would put the word around. Which we have done, on Facebook, and I have started to have a go at playing with twitter as well.

 

I have also done the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, “Creations Chronicle” which we send out via e-mail, so if you’d like a copy drop us a message and we’ll put you on the list.

 

Well that will do for now, lets hope the weather stays good for some selling over the weekend.

 

Capt Col The Wool Boat at Anderton, 29.7.2013

Moored near Little Bollington, Bridgewater Canal

Capt Col’s Blog 17.7.13 Moored near Little Bollington

 

 

We’ll we are off on our summer cruise, and at the moment the summer is really a summer! The shorts have been out every day since we left Burscough just a week ago.

We have had a few days in Manchester at Castlefield.

It was a bit noisy on the Friday and Saturday night with lots of people knocking about the bars until the early morning.

So we just had to have a bit of beer ourselves to help us sleep, but paying £3.85 for pints of cask ale was getting a bit silly.

We did take the chance to take the train out to Stalybridge to visit the world famous station buffet which is licensed and does a good range of cask beer. We have had it on our “to do list” for a while, and we where not disappointed.

We left Manchester yesterday and cruised 12 miles to Little Bollington in Cheshire in fantastic sunshine, with a stop in Sale for supplies. As we passed waters meet, where the Leigh arm of the Bridgewater leaves the main line, a lady on a boat going the other way shouted “Oh The Wool Boat, I’ve been reading about you in a crochet magazine, so proves my press releases are working. Having thought about it though, mainline of the Bridgewater was the canal from Worsley to Castlefield, as built be the Duke of Ergeton and engineered by Brindley.

We had a pint from The Railway in Sale with our butties for dinner and was glad to pay only £5.20 for the 2 pints. Talking to the landlord, who had just taken the pub over the day before he is hoping to be able to drop his price’s after a meeting with his accountant, but won’t be able to get down to the £2 a pint that some of the chain pubs are charging for lager.

We had a walk to the Little Heath farm shop for salad stuff, and the service was excellent as normal, well worth the walk or the stop near Dunham School Bridge.

We’ll stay here for another day, and then we are hoping to get a mooring in Lymm for the weekend to be open for the knitters of the town.

 

Moored near Little Bollington, Capt Col 17.7.13.

 

The View from the galley 17.7.2013    Early morning on the Bridgewater canal near Little Bollington 

  in Cheshire, as the sun has come up and  raises mist from the

 water. This was the view from the galley of Emma Maye,

  aka The Wool Boat on 17.7.2013,

20th May out of Liverpool

 20th May out of Liverpool.

 Day 12 of our trip into Liverpool.

 

After another peaceful night in Salthouse dock in Liverpool it was time to be leaving.

 

We where due to be at the Mann Island Lock in Canning half tide lock at 09.00. There where six boats going out today, Howard and his mate where first to move, off at about 08.20. I watched them from the road come around into the Mann Island lock landing, realising there was only room for two boats to wait there until the canal and river trust staff arrived at 09.00 to work the lock. “Buttons 3” and “Dolly peg” then left Salthouse dock at about 08.40, and spent 20 odd minutes floating around in the Canning dock. Pete from the nb “Grace” who was going out with us and I waited until we saw the CaRT lads arrive and start locking Howard through. We then slowly made our way through the Albert dock, around to the Mann island lock, arriving just as Buttons No3 and Dolly Peg where leaving the lock, perfect timing.

The weather was dull and cool, but nowhere near as windy as when we came in, so a different journey back along the Liverpool Link canal, taking our time and savouring the views of the three graces and the old docks.

All the lockie’s today where CaRT staff, as they don’t really get many volunteers on a Monday, but it all went as smoothly as the trip in. It was slightly quicker on the way out, maybe because there was a boat less?

We stopped and did the loo’s at Litherland again, and so again ended up last in the convoy that had a quick break at Nertherton Swing bridge, while waiting for the CaRT lads to arrive to work it for us.  

 

Again the part of the canal that had the most rubbish in it was the section from Litherland to Old Roan, but thankfully we didn’t get anything caught that stopped us. We did pull the remains of a few plastic bags off the prop later. We moored back at bridge 10 Holmes swing bridge, the rest of the convoy kept going but we had done enough for the day.

 

So was it worth it? Would we go into Liverpool again?

 

Well it was worth it for the experience of being in the iconic city, going through the old north docks before they get redeveloped, and as we do when we are in a city we tend to eat out and drink too much with all the choice’s.

The mooring was a lot quieter than we expected, and the electric and water to all the pontoons was great. You would have to be really unlucky to actually have to buy a card for the electric, there was about 3 kw hours on our’s when we arrived and we used about 1 of them. One thing to be aware of is that the water is only on about every fourth pontoon, so you may need a long hose to get to your tank. 

 

The only real downside’s?  The trip from Holmes swing bridge into and out of the docks, for us was a long day especially with the wind on the way in,  we did as many miles on these days as we would do in a week.

The lack of a free elsan point in the docks was frustrating and the feeling because you have to book your passage that the freedom to come and go wasn’t there, so we don’t think it will be on our cruising plan every year, maybe again in about 5 years.

 

But the best thing of all was the boaters we went in and out with whom where a great group of people, and that’s what makes boating so special, thanks to you all.

  

Capt Col moored near Lydiate ,17.00 21st May 2013

 

View from the galley 19.5.2013

 

    View from the galley 19.5.2013, a Liverpool tour

    bus passes by Salthouse dock on Wapping in 

     Liverpool.

In Liverpool

191h May In Liverpool.

 Day 10 of our trip into Liverpool.

 

We have now been moored in Salthouse Dock in Liverpool since Wednesday, and it’s now Sunday morning.

We have had a good start to exploring Liverpool, but we’re not going to get it all done by a long way.

We’ve been to both the Maritime Museum , and the Museum of Liverpool . We found the museum of Liverpool to be the most interesting; of course the trouble now is that there are things in museums that we remember from our earlier days!

While we where in both of them we asked about “Ganseys ” as part of our research to try to find Gansey patterns of the north west coast of the country. The lady in the museum of Liverpool said they didn’t have any archives, and there was nothing on display. There are archives in the maritime museum, and they where open to the public on Thursday afternoon. However we where disappointed again, especially with the chap behind the enquiry desk who didn’t seem interested in helping at all! So we have got no further with this one.

 

We where also impressed by The Caravan Gallery , that was outside the Museum of Liverpool, with a bigger exhibition inside the museum

 

We have seen the Queen Mary 2 which was docked at the cruise liner terminal for a turn round day. She certainly drew the crowds to look at her. She was one of four ships turning around in Liverpool over the last 4 days.

 

We have had some nice meals out, and been to a few of the 125 pubs that are on the Camra map of Liverpool, finding The Roscoe Head and The Baltic Fleet to be the best ones up to now.

 

We where open for yarn sales yesterday and today. We hadn’t checked out the mooring situation properly before we had arrived and it’s not really ideal for encouraging people to come down on to the pontoons to visit us, so we haven’t gone banana’s in promoting our presence.

We had a couple of customers yesterday, so will see what today brings.

Another slight problem is the famous yellow duwk tours that run around the city and then come down the slipway into the dock, causing a wave that gives “Emma Maye” a bit of a rocking!

 

Capt Col Salthouse Dock, Liverpool, 10.00 19th May 2013

 

         Emma Maye Dwarfed by just about everything around Salthouse 

          Dock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from the galley 17.5.2013       The View from the galley of Salthouse dock surrounded by 

       Albert dock and the big wheel 

15th May, sixth day of trip into Liverpool

151h May To Liverpool, Day 6

The sixth day of our trip into Liverpool.

 

Holmes Swing bridge near Melling to Salthouse Dock, Liverpool 16 miles 3 swing bridges, 6 locks

 

After another peaceful night woke to wind and rain. Why couldn’t it have been like yesterday?

 

But go we had to, along with the other 3 boats that had moored here overnight. By the time we had got to Hancock’s swing bridge, and worked through it, as it was operated by the CaRT man there was 7 boats in the convoy.

The wind and rain continued as we passed through Litherland and Bootle.

There was quite a bit of rubbish in parts of the canal, especially around bridge holes, plenty of firewood, plastic bottles, the odd sofa. A couple of the deeper draughted boats had to stop to clear their props. We used the technique of gliding through the rubbish in the bridge holes, and so we made it all the way without problems. A quick stop at the services at Litherland to empty the loo and get rid of the rubbish. It’s a pity the visitor moorings here are not used, but being in the urban area you can maybe understand why. There is a newish large Tesco here, maybe they could have been encouraged to provide secure visitor moorings?

 

We would have been better to have our dinner on this last section of open canal as we travelled as from leaving Melling at 08.00 it was 14.30 before we finished in the docks.

 

By the time we got to the top of the Stanley lock flight the sun had come out, but still windy.

We where told that if it had been just a bit more windy we would have over nighted in Eldonian village as it would have been to wild to do the Liverpool Link Canal. We where last to arrive at the top of the locks, so went down by ourselves, everybody else going down as pair’s. The locks are worked by a CaRT chap and 3 volunteers who did a great job.

Ask them for Camra map to the Liverpool pubs…..it’s worth having.

 

Got wet again under the railway viaduct over lock 3, lockies said it never stops dripping water under here….it was more than drips!

 

Then out through Stanley dock and the first of the waves, we don’t normally do rivers never mind big open spaces like this! Once under the road bridge, out into the interconnected old docks. I could have sworn they said turn sharp left just after the road bridge, but the entrance to the new canal channel was another 100 yards further out towards the Mersey.

The wind was blowing across us and then behind us in the new channel, and 1 started to enjoy it now, but it