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On the move again

We have finally left Marple after a long winter, apparently the last two winters have been the worst on record, however we managed to survive, it was quite an adventure:  Eileen slipped on the ice and broke her arm and was plastered for 6 weeks, nothing new there then!!!!

The worst point over the winter months was when we were frozen in 4-5 inches of ice at the Strines for 7 weeks, a couple of our neighbours who lived by the canal allowed us to fill our two 5 gallon containers with water, and after several trips we managed to fill the water tank, this gesture was much appreciated.

Andy & Sally filling water containers across the frozen canal

We are currently making our way down the Macclesfield Canal en route to the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, will probably stay around Congleton for a few days as the view over the Valley is stunning.

View across the valley from the canal at Congleton

We said our goodbyes to The Puzzler who are heading to Eire for a couple of years, we were hoping to catch up with them at Middlewich, but we don’t think we are going to make it in time; We first met up with Sally & Andy last year when we were weathering out the winter and have become good friends, our paths crossed regularly and we introduced them to the card game crib in the spring of 2010 and have had a very competitive year, to make things a bit more interesting Sally made a lovely trophy to play for, the winner of the weekly game retained it for that week, another trophy was created for the highest score made on the night; on our penultimate game it was all even at 11 games all so we decided to play best of 9 games over two nights, Gemini won 5-2 and Eileen retained the trophy for the highest score of 24 . We will miss our friendly get togethers and wish them a safe journey to the Emerald Isle on their continuing adventures and hopefully will be able to visit them next year for a busman’s holiday.

the "Twisting Towpath Taproom Trophy" + Highest Score (Eileen first to get 24 score)

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Water droplets

After reading up on a forum how to do this I decided to have a go. It didn’t take long to set up and I’m quit pleased with the first time effort. I’m going to try this with vegetable oil mixed with food colouring, so keep a look out for those. Would love to here comments.

Nuthatch

This Nuthatch is preparing a nest in a hole in this tree; A second bird has been spotted, so I have to be careful, I would like to get a closer shot but I can’t as this may disturb the pair. This picture was taken at a safe distance with a 500mm lens.

Nuthatch

Came across this Mandarin duck as we were passing Bollington, so stopped to take some pictures. Before I could get my camera set up the pair had mated. At first I thought it was a female Mallard as the female Mandarin doesn’t resemble the male at all,(I checked in the book) but here is a picture of the male in all his glory and a picture of the pair.

Mandarin Duck (Male)

Breeding pair of Mandarin Ducks

Spring is here

Hi out there

I know, I know, as far as writing the blog is concerned I’ve been as reliable as a Liberal party manifesto.

You know when you have neglected some thing for so long, and the longer you leave it the harder it is to return to it, well it’s been a bit like that.

Just today I’ve been helping Andy & Sally get a blog up and running, and it really made me feel guilty, by the way, their¬† blog is called “nb the puzzler” there is a link to it under my blogroll, so please, give them a couple of days to get something up then click on their link and have a look.

Well; we have just got through the winter and there is so much to catch up on I really don’t know where to start, so I won’t. I will have to have a think about what to update you on and decide in how much to compress it as it were, so to speak.

There is one thing I must write about and that is Fred’s 99th birthday party. I know most of you out there have no idea who Fred is, so if you don’t know Fred then there’s no point explaining. Here are some photo’s anyway.

Couldn't fit all the candles on

Fred on the pull

Makeshift food mixer

Hi Folks

Well the weekend is over and we are settling back to normal. We have had Lily this weekend and as usual she likes to do some baking, well it keeps her occupied.

She has a look through Eileen’s baking book and chooses her delight; the problem was that the buns that she wanted to make really required a mixer, now as we don’t carry such luxuries, some improvising was called for, and the makeshift food mixer was born…. See below

Makeshift food mixer

Works a treat

The decorating

The finished buns

We woke up this morning to about 2 inches of snow, I know “that’s nothing” I hear you say, well we are towards the West so until this morning, we have been spared. The canal however has been frozen for about a week so we are here for the foreseeable future; we have a full tank of water, almost full diesel, a roof full of wood and three bags of coal for overnight use only.

Jack was just like a kid this morning, skipping around, and now thinks my sole purpose in life is to throw snowballs into the field for him, he never brings one back.

Frozen solid

View from side hatch (foreground is the canal)

The Llangollan Canal

Hi everybody

What I thought I would do regarding where we’ve been etc. is with each post I will talk a little about the journey stage by stage and lay it out in the order of time and travel.

So to start with we left the High Peak in mid April a little later than planned but we held on in order to have our four yearly safety inspection carried out, which went without a hitch.

You can follow the map by clicking on the “Inland Waterways of England” under the Blogroll banner.

We made our way down the Macclesfield canal towards Kidsgrove and there we turned right down what is called heartbreak hill, a series of about 12 locks. We then turned left onto the Middlewich Branch, this was a very picturesque and quiet canal; with another left onto the Shropshire Union Canal then right turn at Hurleston Junction and we are on the Llangollen Canal which winds it’s way across part of North Wales.

This has got to be one of the most popular canals on the system, it is very popular with hire companies as the canal has only a hand full of locks, picturesque scenery and plenty of good mooring sites.

We made our way to Llangollen, (which is as far as it goes for boats) traversing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which was quite scary.

The Kingfisher

Kingfisher

View from The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Helmswoman

Sunset