Saturday, 31 March 2012

Wigan

Last Thursday we left the countryside behind & cruised into Greater Manchester, we had booked into Stretford Marina for a long weekend & it was just as well we'd booked as being a small marina it was just about full, it's handy to visit Bek & family who live just round the corner & extremely reasonable at £5 a night inc electric.  On Thursday night I managed to get to see Rowen playing guitar, keyboards & singing in her school concert, not something I can do usually so a real treat.
We had a great weekend, Hannah & brood managed to come down from Scarborough & the weather was perfect for a BBQ on Saturday
On Sunday we girls managed to fit in a shopping trip to Manchester, leaving the boys happiliy playing computer games
 Rowen & Astrid checking out shiny macs...

Monday morning time to head off & before long it's over the Barton Aqueduct
 ( or The Tank as the locals call it)
 The M60 in the far distance
 Looking up the Manchester Ship Canal towards Manchester
 then it's through Worsley with it's orange (dissolved iron ore) water.
We stopped briefly in Leigh to do a bit of restocking, taking advantage of the new Tesco, we didn't stay a minute longer than necessary, the canal, which becomes the Leeds & Liverpool as you pass under bridge 66, is filthy as is the towpath which is strewn with cans, bottle, pizza boxes etc, etc. It's disgusting & the locals responsible should be ashamed. 
So onwards we went  with no real objective for the next mooring, just as well really as we came to a stop at Plank Lane "Swing" ( it doesn't, it lifts!) Bridge. Work to mechanise it has gone over time so we joined several other boats to wait. As we were not in a hurry to be anywhere it wasn't causing us any difficulties, the sun was out & it's not a bad spot. 
Whilst we dawdled about I arranged with  Coverit Canopies to come & measure up for a  new cratch cover, our old one has not worn at all well & is very shabby.
 I also have booked us into James Mayor's Boatyard in Tarleton to have Poppy's bottom blacked, well not just blacked, shot or sand ( not sure which!) blasted & 2 packed. More expensive than bitumen but hopefully will last longer plus we have some annoying patches of mill scale on the hull which the blasting (fingers crossed) should remove. They have given us an approx date of end of June depending on our Ribble Link/ Lancaster canal trip dates of which more later...
I took advantage of the sunshine on Tuesday & did the laundry, lovely to be able to hang it outside & it was all dry in no time.  The workmen on the bridge called to tell us that it would be open at 5pm & overnight, then between 12 & 1pm & after 7pm daily until further notice so just after 5pm a hooter sounded ... 
& several of the moored boats moved off  through the bridge but not being in any hurry we decided to stay another night.
Wednesday dawned  warm & sunny again, it was my birthday & our 18th ( my goodness that has flown!!) wedding anniversary so we walked into Leigh & had coffee & cake, we know how to have a good time ;-) then sat outside & soaked up the sun. 
At 7pm the hooter sounded & we went through the bridge  with several others who had arrived during the day, we didn't go far barely a mile before putting the pins in for the night. On Thursday we moved up to a nice spot overlooking Ince Moss..
  another lake formed by subsidence from mining & a haven for birds.

Last Christmas I was given some Argos vouchers & decided to upgrade my camera. I chose the Canon sureshot SX130, an advanced compact digital. It take AA batteries & it was mentioned in the reviews that standard AA batteries were useless & nimh high capacity were best so I also bought some rechargeable nimh's along with a new charger. 
They were useless, or so I thought, anyway to cut a long story short I eventually realised that it was probably the camera that was at fault. I rarely could take more than a couple of photos before ' low battery' flashed up so I took it back to Argos in Stretford & they were great, a full refund even though I'd had it more than 3 months so I treated myself to one of these & it's already been far more use than the camera! The roof needs a repaint this year & some of the paint is flaking along the inside of the handrail & the sander makes light work of it, I did most of one side in an hour or so, very impressed & at 170w it doesn't need much power.So that was Thursday...
Yesterday & it's off to Wigan, I walked up to Poolstock Locks (& gosh, what a change in the weather, it was cold!) a boat was already in the lock but nearly full so too late for us too join them, they had just bought the boat & this was their first lock. I gave them a hand & a few tips, doesn't seem long since we were newbies. The lock was a bit of a shock to the system as well after the narrow locks we had got used to! We did the next lock together which made it easier & then it was into Wigan, we stopped outside the BW office as I wanted to sort out the Ribble Link booking, it was a good job we didn't leave it much longer as the bookings were pretty full for the next few weeks, managed to get sorted though & we are going up on the 19th April & back down on the 23rd June.  I'm really looking forward to it :-) 
The moorings outside the office are 48hr & secure so we've decided to stop here for the weekend. Coverit are hopefully coming out to us on Monday at Crooke & then next weekend I'm due back in Manchester ( but by train this time) for another birthday.   

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