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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints"
Chief Seattle (1786–1866) leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes
Whispers on water - a photo journal of our life on the 'cut' dedicated to keeping family and friends informed of our whereabouts.
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Helping to keep our waterways litter-free: www.litteraction.org.uk/narrowboat-wilvir
Drought, pollution and illegal fishing all threaten our waterways. Spotted something that looks wrong? See it, say it, save it. Call the Environment Agency (EA) Incident Hotline: 0800 80 70 60
Photo: Day-stars begin to touchdown and sparkle on the Surface.
We let go the ropes this morning and pulled out into the River with a certain amount of trepidation as I'm still in some pain, with both knee and ankle joints feeling like they'll throw the towel in at any minute. Anyway, stubborn perseverance saw us moor downstream of Northwich Town bridge and venture into town for supplies, including three gallons of petrol. By the time I hobbled back to wilvir I could have gladly laid down and stayed there. Unfortunately I still had things to do and moved the boat a short distance to top off the water tank, service the loo and get rid of the rubbish. Then turned the boat back to Anderton to await our lift up to the Trent and Mersey Canal tomorrow.
Leaving Northwich I recieved a call from the lift staff to say our lift booking would be delayed, from 1000 until 1210, due to a fault. I'm glad we booked otherwise we would have been delayed even further by the alternative first come first served basis creating a log jam of boats.
The weather isn't particularly grand today, he says, smiling at an upbeat assessment of what most people would term 'abysmal' and a typically wet English bank holiday fiasco. It's only weather. However, we were pretty damp by the time we secured the ropes to the mooring pins and I could at last relax, still smiling, mainly because I hadn't accidentally gone over the side.
It being Sunday I could now doze, dosed up to the eyeballs with ant-inflammatory drugs until the aroma of a Sunday roast was too temptingly strong to resist. It amazes me how anyone can go without what has always been an occurring theme running throughout my life, even when we lived in Malta and Germany.
Living in Malta back in the seventies, rather than leave the comfort and relaxed surroundings of our flight-line base on usually quiet Sundays, one of the Maltese guys would prepare a Sunday roast in the crew-room with all the trimmings, enough for the five of us on shift, and then take it in a large roasting tray to the local village bakery, returning for it a couple of hours later, when it would arrive back cooked to perfection. I still kind of miss those days living in the relaxed culture of siestas and genteel neighbourliness, bathed in the late afternoon sun that caused the khaki yellow of every sandstone building to glow gold-like as the sun sank ever closer to the horizon. The capital Valletta and its Grand Harbour is incredibly beautiful at first light and from mid-afternoon onwards as the sun picks out every detail, highlights every shadow, it seems to caress it's citizens with a sense of well-being. And then there is Malta's history, seen at every corner, at every turn of the head, even the geography of the place is special. Most of all, its people are rightfully proud of their island heritage and share it with a welcome and generosity of a close family. I hope my memories are as true today.
1st May 2016, 19:43
From the galley, grey clouds drift across a blue sky above, the wind caught, revealed in folds of rippled water lapping lazily against the starboard side.
29th Apr 2016, 15:58
1. Nature's scented hues
2. On the ropes.
3. The Cathedral.
The days are passing in a painful blur as I idle away my time recuperating from an acute attack of gout. Much to my relief, I'm now on the mend.and able to walk a little, albeit with a limp, but it is getting better.
We're currently moored out in the sticks where I'm very much at home immersed in the countryside as it awakens to a new Springtime. The river tugs at wilvir, lying taut on her bow rope, occasionally causing her to stir as, downstream, Saltersford Lock fills and empties to let a boat up or down. Otherwise all is still, punctuated intermittently by a duck or such like, treading water to hold station in the languid current or, in a flurry of activity, fending off an adversary.
Today dawned with a sky beginning crimson then blue, with sunlight streaming across a landscape of expectant buds and flowers turned to catch the first warmth. The past couple of days were mostly bathed in the same golden glow, with the occasional rays of liquid sunshine wetting leaves and blades of grass silvir, but by mid-morning today clouds drifted in and the chill of winter, hovering on a strengthening breeze, caused me to be thankful for the body warmer I was wearing.
Dandelions and bluebells, lying like jewels amongst the grass and leaf litter, highlight the seasonal pallette and from the hedgerow a cocky magpie strolls across to look at his reflection in a porthole glass, resplendent in his feathery tuxedo. A lone Bumblebee staggers from flower to flower despite the chill wind, all puffed up like a rotund liquorice allsort.
A farmer has promised some wood from the trees he is clearing to open up more access to grazing livestock, the buzz of chainsaw and brush cutter fading in and out on the wind. I'd give him a hand, but would be more a hindrance in my present state of disability as any uneven ground is painful to walk on; frustratingly so to say the least.
The sky is darkening, grey with clouds thickening unnoticed, though gaining my attention now by sending their cargo to drum on the roof of the boat; it's surprisingly soothing and my eyelids start to droop. Forty winks it is then.
28th Apr 2016, 18:32
1. An early start for Middlewich.
2. A fog smoked bridge hole.
3. A blurred lock.
4. Just an hour later.
5. My kind of day.
The spells of rain which, to some, seem almost incessant, haven't dampened my spirits, but there is an air of 'we've had enough' whenever I meet gongoozlers unprepared for muddy towpaths. The paths soon dry out once they're brushed by a wind or soaked in sunlight, or both, for a day or two. The weather comes as part and parcel of living as I do, immersed in weather that magnifies the freedom of having a floating home.
With winter behind us and spring painting the landscape with the tiniest brush-tips of colour one minute and then a blinding wash of yellow reflected by a blaze of daffodils the next, there is much to be said for the patience in nature.
The log burner ticks over for most of the day on a few logs, with lumps of coal added to hold heat enough overnight to fend off the chill of early morning before I rise. A near boiling kettle, with a slight wisp of steam occasionally rising from its spout, sits on top next to the chimney, just needing a final burst of flame on the hob to provide the first tea of the day. Simple is what I want, is what I have. No amount of exertion, other than deciding what is needed daily that I haven't already provided for, ever intrudes on my way of life. It's why others who visit love it so too. Mind you, I've had to make a decision to stop shouldering six-foot plus lengths of ten-inch diameter tree limbs back to the boat for logging.....my knees aren't up to it anymore and I'm starting to suffer for doing so.
Left Wardle this past week after eye tests and waiting for two prescription pairs of varifocal specs having spent a week waiting around making sure they were up to scratch. One pair of transition lenses and the other polarised are pretty good for any light conditions and for the first time in years I can see clearly again in bright ambient light despite eight pairs of glasses over as many years not living up to expectations and subject to even worse customer service. Product knowledge is embarrassingly awful these days. WYSIWYG is about it. It's bliss to get back to my haven of knowledge and simplicity.
We set off last week in thick fog, 'nav' lights on to hopefully ward off the occasional passing boat hogging too much water. I'd shouldered a new 110 amp starter battery a quarter mile to the boat the week before and stumbled on some muddy steps down to the towpath, nearly breaking a toe or two on my left foot as I forced myself to stay upright. Them bloody batteries ain't light. I should have barrowed it. I knew something was amiss when I went to collect my specs in Nantwich two days later, as I was limping a goodun and thought I had actually broken a toe. Then the dreaded gout attack came. Something I'd apparently inherited and had suffered from very badly with for a couple of years up until about four years ago. I thought I'd overcome it, but this attack proves the opposite. I've now dropped 'wilvir' down onto the River Weaver to make for Northwich and easier access to a doc and proper meds to counter this chronic pain and swelling that really brings me down. Self medicating with 1200mgs of ibuprofen three times a day isn't doing my guts any good and brings no relief these past couple of days anyway.
I'm just hoping I can get my fitness back by early May in time to take and drop 'wilvir' into a dry-dock I've booked near Ashton-Under-Lyne, for a weeks intensive DiY maintenance and safety check certificate inspection. I'll have to wait and see. I just wish the near agony of this foot and growing knee pain would subside enough to allow me to sleep.
Forgive me for exposing a frailty that I would never wish on my worst enemy. At least the sun is shining on my favourite day of the week.
17th Apr 2016, 15:18
Of all the things to come across.....Nantwich Methodist Church Miniature Railway Group provide free train rides using their Joffre Class 0-6-0 Engine at Nantwich Methodist Church every Saturday morning. Children of all ages are welcome. Rides are free. Donations for a Railway Children’s Charity are appreciated.
10th Apr 2016, 11:04
A Sunday of very changeable weather is brought to a close West of Wimboldsley by a beautiful serenity before Storm Katie is forecast to arrive in the early hours of Monday morning.
27th Mar 2016, 19:40
27th Mar 2016, 19:14
23rd Feb 2016, 15:33