Monday, 30 June 2014

On our way again.

In the last fortnight we have been traveling back and forth from Castleford to Stanley Ferry. We had intended to fill up with diesel in Castleford,however,the Marina hadn't got any so it was back to Stanley Ferry for our diesel. Of course when we got there they didn't have any either. We finally got some last Friday. Having filled the tank we left for Woodlesford lock where we spent the weekend. On Saturday we visited my mother for the last time,and went out with Jennifer and Malcolm(my sister and her husband)for a meal before leaving for the Leeds and Liverpool. This morning we slipped our mooring at 9-30 heading for Leeds. All went well until we were approaching the first lock on the Leeds and Liverpool.we were following another boat which we had done the last lock with, when passing a pontoon where they were working on the bank we ran aground. The boat in front carried on unaware while we tried in vain to refloat our selves. In the end the work men came out in an inflatable boat with an outboard motor and pulled us back into deeper water. On arrival at number one lock we explained to the other people what had happened. We are now moored for the night in the basin between locks one and two. Life is never boring on the cut.

Monday, 16 June 2014

First Cuckoo.

Not a lot has happened since my last blog. We are still moored in Castleford so we can keep visiting my mother. On Sunday the eigth we went for a meal with Jennifer,Malcolm and Mali(Jennifer and Malcolms daughter)at the Boat inn in Allerton Bywater. We have also planted our bedding plants while we have time on our hands. On the tenth we took an evening walk over to Fairburn Ings to do a spot of bird watching. We saw several different species of birds and ducks including Goldfinches,a Jay, a heron,Shelduck,Swans and Cormerants. As we were walking back we heard our first Cuckoo of the year, unfortunately we didn't see it. Last Friday we hired a car and drove down to Pamela and Nathans for the weekend. The fine weather gave us the chance of a barbecue on Friday evening, another first for this year. We arrived back this morning ready to hand the car back before midday. It was a good weekend with the grandchildren. Tomorrow we will walk up the river to see my mum again.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Perfect Cruising weather.

It was twenty past nine when we crossed the Stanley Ferry Acquaduct. The sun was shining and it was warm. As we cruised between the tree lined banks of the canal a Swallow skimmed the water catching the midges that flew just above the surface. In the trees a blackbird called. Even with the noise of the engine I could still hear the chatter of small birds. A glance to my left and there's a Heron stood perfectly still,looking as if it could be a plastic model. From around the corner comes Birkwood bridge and just beyond our first lock. Then a flash of colour in the trees, a Jay, always a lovely sight. We drop down the lock and now we are in open country,cows and horses in the fields. It's not far to Kings Road lock. Altofts on the ridge on the right, in the distance a Buzzerd makes lazy circles high in the sky. Geese graze in the fields, Canada Geese to the right, what look like Pink Footed Geese on the left. Marlene comes up to take the boat into the lock,she has been doing some washing. After Kings Road lock we are brought back to the real world as we pass under the M62. Woods now on our right,fields to the left. On a rise in the fields a flash of red,Poppys. It seems appropriate with the 70th anniversary of D-Day. One end of Fairies Hill moorings is to our right as we approach Woodnock Lock. As we get close the owner of the wide berth boat that is moored at the water point opens the lock gates for us. We thank him as we pass into the lock then chat as we drop down on to the River Calder,this is a drop of thirteen foot six inches. It's calm on the river as we pass the lower enterance to Fairies hill. The large mooring for the Gravel barges is on our right, sadly the gravel now goes out by road. As we carry on another Heron stands in the water. Then just round the bend two herons fly up,we don't often see two together, they circle over the boat like two teradactels. We are now getting close to our destination,going under the Methley road bridge I recall when it was built and a bailey bridge was put across while it was under construction, I was young then,where has the time gone. Finally we arrive at the junction with the River Aire and Castleford lock,closed dispite the river being low. I operate the lock while talking to a former lock keeper,who had worked this area for forty odd years. This then is where we will moor for ten to fourteen days. It has taken us two and a half hours to come down and it's days like this that make it worth while.hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Return to Stanley Ferry.

Monday morning we walked up the river to mothers, staying till just after lunch. On our return to the boat we cast off and set off for Stanley Ferry. The flood lock was closed but the light was on Amber meaning we could proceed with caution. Entering the lock with another boat I was on the electric controls. It is a very large lock and even though the difference between the canal and the river was only about two feet it took a long time to equalise.the trip up the river section was calm and peaceful. The next lock was with us so I opened the gates and Marlene brought the boat in with grandson Duncan. We passed through the remaining locks quite quickly and arrived back at Stanley Ferry just before the rain came. Tuesday we went into Wakefield to get Marlenes phone sorted out as it would not receive texts,it kept saying the memory was full although I had deleted all the past texts and the history. The young lady at the three shop soon put it right. Wednesday morning Pamela came with Archie and Amberley so we could take them and Duncan into the soft play at the pub. They had a great three hours playing. When they left they took Lucy back with them. Gill came with Luke on Thursday morning to collect Duncan and stayed to have lunch with us. Stephen came back to the boat after staying at his Nans while Duncan was here. On Friday I finally decided that we needed new leisure batteries as we were having to run the engine for four hours to try and keep the charged and the electric was still failing. I walked to the Marina office and asked if the could get me some and was told they should be here on Saturday and they would phone me when they arrived. Friday night Marlene and i went to the pub while Stephen watched the football on the television.We took the bus to mothers on Saturday morning and just be fore lunch the call came to say my batteries were ready for collection. By three thirty they were fitted and working. Stephen went into Wakefield with his mates in the evening while we had a quiet evening in. Jennifer and Malcolm came to see us on Sunday after their week in Filey. It was a warm afternoon so we sat out in the sun. Monday morning I cleared the cratch and cleaned and painted the floor with a good two coats of Hammerite paint. In the evening Stephen left for home. Yesterday we took the bus to the National Mining Museum at Overton. We arrived for lunch before taking the underground tour at one o clock. Twenty of us including our guide got into the cage to decened to the pit bottom and may I say it was a tight fit. Our guide was from Barnsley and was great with the four children in the group. The tour was very informative and confirmed by belief that I would not have wanted to work for the Coal Board. We were underground for one and a half hours before coming back to the surface and the bright sunlight. Unfortunately we had very little time to look round the rest of the site as the buses are few and far between. Today the rain has kept us in except for a walk to the shop for my lottery ticket. This morning we did a five hundred piece jig saw. The rain has just started again, let's hope the river stays down as we have to move again this weekend.