Monday, 31 March 2014


Today we went to check out the Museum of Science and Industry.  What an enormous museum.  I spent a couple of hours and Mick another half hour more.  It was lunchtime by the time we were both back on the boat.

After lunch we decided we'd chug around to the other little arm across the canal to fill our water tank.  We had to pass beneath a collection of ornate bridges.  Being a pleasant Sunday there were people everywhere.  It was so mild that we were out in t-shirts.

I lost count of how many people walking by took a photo of the boat.  If we were in sight many of them came and asked permission.  While I sat at the dinette I had the towpath side blind closed so they couldn't see me but I could hear them.  Plenty of comments about the being Aussie thing.  We had a couple of folk call out to us that we have a beautiful boat with one fellow saying "Yours is the nicest along here".  Awww... thanks!

Barry and Carol's new tractor seats got a lot of attention.  Yesterday Barry painted the first coat of red gloss so they now match the boat colour.  Plenty of passersby stopped to look at them and discuss them. While they were out Mick spied a couple climbing onto the back of the boat and yelled out to them to get off.  They did, quick smart, but rather cheeky I thought. 

Later in the day we had a call from the Kiwis.  They were ready to start out on their motorhome adventure so wanted to come and see us before they left.  Before long we spied them coming into the carpark across the canal.  There was a flurry of over boisterous chatting and photo taking before we waved them off.  Hopefully we will get to meet up with them before we fly home and they take the ferry to France in June.

We had a quiet evening of cards on nb Winton's Folly for our last night in Manchester.

Sunday, 30 March 2014


Although we're not city people, it was lovely looking out at the lights last night.  The sky wasn't quite black with the glow of the city.

The folk on the boat behind us found in necessary to charge their batteries at 3am this morning so ran their engine.  Not only did they run the engine but they had it in gear as well.  We weren't happy campers.  We agonized for quite some time over whether to go out and say something but with not another soul out there and having read of some unpleasant encounters here late last year we decided we'd just put up with it.  Eventually they turned it off but it was a long time before we fell asleep again. 

When we were chatting to Barry and Carol this morning I noticed our neighbour out on the bow of his boat so when we went home I politely asked if we could possibly not have a repeat performance tonight.  He wasn't in the least bit sorry for waking us and basically said "But I needed to charge my batteries!".  We felt a little better when tonight as we walked past he apologized.  I wonder if  "the missus" had a word with him.

This morning after a boaters meeting on the stern of nb Winton's Folly, we had a walk to Sainsbury's for supplies.  We did our chores and I caught up on some correspondence.

Lynne arrived in the afternoon for a visit.  Barry and Carol joined us for a cup of tea and then Lynne took us on a walking tour of some of her favourite places in Manchester.  What an interesting city Manchester is.  I didn't expect to like it but there are so many fantastic old buildings right alongside some extremely modern ones.  It can't help but be fascinating.  The tour involved a drink or two in a pub and ended with dinner at Sapporo Teppanyaki.  It turned out to be a great day.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Nine tough locks

Thomas Telford Basin to Castlefield Quay : 2 miles, 9 locks
To date : 1060 miles, 783 locks 

It was a very peaceful night tucked up in the little basin.  The lights were out early on Parisien Star and Winton's Folly.  An early night all round.  We set off around 9am with a bit of anticipation in the air as we prepared to tackle the Rochedale 9.

The first lock was ok as we muddled with the different type of anti vandal lock.  Then it was a descent to beneath a building.  It was smelly and grotty.... the ground littered with all sorts of unmentionables.  The boys were on the boats, hovering between some large concrete pillars and the girls were battling to open the gates.  We tried, and tried, and tried.  In the end I crossed over to Carols side and between us we managed to force one gate open.  They brought the boats in through the one gate and then I could cross the back of the boats to go and wind my paddle.

We had to hop back on board for the following lock as the towpath didn't go through to it.  There was a wobbly floating pontoon to get back off at the next lock but it was only short so meant we had to scoot along the gunwales.

The next lock again and we were in a bit of trouble.  The water was flowing over the top of the gate with such force, and again over the bottom gate.  There was no way we could open it.  Eventually with paddles open and three of us pushing the gate we managed to get it started.  That's all you need.... a start.  The problem was we were now all on the same side of the lock and there was something stuck behind the gate.  It wouldn't open all the way and the gap wasn't wide enough to get a boat through.  Mick brought the boat forward gently so I could clamber onto the bow and then onto the opposite gate so I could open that one too.

We had a couple more locks almost as difficult. Hard work they were!  It was interesting that some of the gates were opened using a windlass the turned a winder with a chain on it.  The chain was linked to the gate and that's how it was pulled open.

I had to smile when I sat down to type this blog entry. There was a comment on yesterday's post from Alan, the lovely fellow we met on the boat next door to us on the hard standing at Aqueduct Marina on our very first day.  He warned that these locks would be a nightmare due to rain overnight.  We were wondering if they were always so hard to operate!

So now we are tucked up along the short Castlefield arm.  What an enjoyable trip it was today.  Despite the hard work it was fascinating.  There were interesting buildings to look at and some rather interesting folk to say hello to.  The weather held out and we even had some sunshine.  We didn't mind it one bit.

I was amazed to get an email from my mum to say that the long lost Christmas parcel that she posted last November was delivered back to her by the postman.  She had made an error on the address. But, where has it been for nearly four months?!