Saturday November 7th - Bollington (we think!)
Thursday Nov 5th – Wood Lanes
The hire car people duly arrived and whisked Clive offt o Macclesfield as planned, whilst I finished off doing the blog! I was only just ready when he arrived back and as he had parked on the Private Road next to the canal which distinctly said, in extremely large letters on the road, NO PARKING I had to be quick! However he didn’t really have a choice so we just had to grab all the bags and the guitar, lock up and make a dash for the car – but we weren’t actually quick enough! Clive had been back on the boat all of 30 seconds when there was a knock on the roof – Clive went up to see who it was and this bloke said “is that your car? You can’t park there, it’s a private road”! Clive explained that it would only be there for a minute or two whilst we transported all our stuff from the boat – he wasn’t very sympathetic so we really had to be quick. Last thing before we left the boat I put another load of coal onto the stove and banked it down, like we normally do overnight. We didn’t expect it to stay in until we got back but hoped that it would at least stay in overnight and keep the boat from completely chilling down. Then we were off!
After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing we finally found the M60 and it took us about 40 minutes to make the journey to Huddersfield. Cheekily I had taken a bag of dirty laundry with me in the hope of getting it washed either at Clive’s parents’ or at my sister’s. As we went to see his parents first I broached the subject with his father and he just chuckled and said bring it in! Bless him. I loaded it all into the washer and by the time we had all had a chat and a cup of tea it was finished. It went into the tumble dryer and I left it drying whilst we headed off to my sister’s for dinner. I was a bit paranoid though, worried that we might forget to collect it in the morning, in which case I wouldn’t have any smalls left on the boat!
We had a lovely dinner at Thelma’s then headed off down to town. The folk club takes place in the King’s Head, one of two pubs which flank Huddersfield’s very grand railway station with its Corinthian columns and ornate façade. However I must say the King’s Head isn’t quite in keeping with this grand exterior, nor for that matter is The Head of Steam, the pub at the other side! However, it didn’t matter really, we had a great time at the folk club, its been quite a while since we attended one and we really enjoyed ourselves. Clive’s sister Carol and husband Ivan came as well so it was a reall family affair.
Friday November 6th – Wood Lanes
We couldn’t afford to waste any time this morning as we had to have the car back for 13.10 and there were a few jobs we needed to do whilst we still had transport. So after a cup of tea and yummy bacon sandwich at Thelma’s we said goodbye and headed off to town to find a B & Q. We managed to find a new uni-tap and also the connecting hoses required without any difficulty. We then rushed of to Sainsbury’s and did a quick shop, then back up to Clive’s parents’ to say our goodbyes and collect the laundry – mustn’t forget the laundry! Needless to say it was all ready for collection, beautifully folded! After saying goodbye to them we shot up to Carol’s house to admire her new décor and carpet then we were off – good grief its all go isn’t it! Stop the world, I want to get off – again!
We were a wee bit late getting back but the car hire people were fine about it so we didn’t have to pay for a second day thank goodness. I must say it was good to be back on the boat – we can’t be doing with all this rushing about any more, we have got so used to the peace and tranquillity of living on board a narrowboat that "real" life seems far too fast and furious!
Clive had stopped briefly in order to unload the car and get everything back on the boat then he headed off to Macclesfield to take the car back. In the meantime I unpacked everything and put it away then went to check the stove. It had gone out but was actually still warm and the boat certainly wasn’t really cold. I soon had it going again but in doing so realised that we had forgotten one important item when we went to Sainsbury’s – firelighters!!
Once Clive arrived back on board he put his plumbing hat on again and undertook the fitting of our bright shiny new tap. However it wasn’t long before he realised there was a problem! You have to bear in mind that our boat is a Chinese boat and all her fixtures and fittings were Made in China! The problem with the new tap is that the flexible pipes which connect the water supply to the tap had different connectors to the old one and they just wouldn’t fit! So he had to put the old leaky tap back on again for the time being! Ok so we are going to Macclesfield in the morning to find a solution!
Saturday November 7th – Wood Lanes to Macclesfield then to Bollington!
As soon as we had finished breakfast this morning Clive phoned the Plumb Centre in Macclesfield but the bloke he spoke to must have been the Saturday lad I think – he didn’t seem to know what Clive was actually after and didn't think they had one! So Clive phoned Travis Perkins and B&Q, both of whom thought they would be able to sort him out. We decided in the end however that the Plumb Centre would be the best bet after I had phoned Warren, a friend of ours back in our village who is a plumber, for some advice. He said that the Plumb Centre should have what we needed as they deal with the trade. Then we set off. Firstly though we had to turn around, so we went back under the bridge and turned her in the winding hole then back through the bridge again and we were on our way. It took us about two hours to get to Macclesfield and half way through the journey it started raining! However we have our trusty waterproofs so managed to keep reasonably dry. We moored up opposite the Hovis Mill just beyond the water point, (did you know that Hovis actually originated in Macclesfield, Cheshire and not in Yorkshire as most people assume? It’s those adverts on the TV that did it!) It was very shallow here and we couldn’t get right into the bank, in fact we were a couple of feet away but there was nowhere else to moor. However we managed to tie up and then Clive got out his spanners again and removed the old tap and its pipes and put them in a shopping bag along with the new tap and its pipes, then we called a taxi!
The taxi pulled up outside The Plumb Centre and it was shut! When Clive had phoned this morning he actually told the bloke he spoke to (the Saturday lad!) that we were on a boat, currently moored in Wood Lanes and that it would take us a couple of hours to get there – it didn’t however occur to the chap to mention that they closed at lunch time on a Saturday!!! The taxi driver was very helpful and suggested we try B&Q, or another DIY place which he pointed out to us on the way there. B&Q didn’t have anything that would help us so we were back to square one. I have to confess I was getting a bit tetchy by this time as to be honest I had suggested that we call a plumber in to sort it out about three weeks ago! I strongly suspect that we are going to have to do that in the end – I wonder if Warren fancies a trip to Cheshire?
Finally we got back to the boat (we hadn’t bothered getting a taxi back, we walked) but before we could go anywhere we needed to fill up with water. The water point was now behind the boat so we just pulled her back till she was near enough for the hose to reach. Whilst the tank was filling we had a sandwich and a cuppa. Fortunately there was just enough water in the kettle for two mugs because now that the tap was completely disconnected we couldn’t turn the waterpump on again!
Once the tank was full we managed to turn the boat around again in the winding hole just ahead then we headed back out of Macclesfield intending to moor up in the same place we had moored last week. Alas that was not to be, we just couldn’t get into the side because of the low water levels. In fact at one point we almost beached as the boat tilted alarmingly to starboard (right) but Clive managed to get her off again. We made several more attempts to get in along this stretch but all to no avail so there was no choice but to carry on and see if we could find somewhere else to moor.
After an hour we were still on the move and Clive was getting increasingly concerned as he really doesn’t like cruising in the dark at all. He tried a few more times to get her into the bank but she hit mud about a yard out and started to tilt again –oh dear! By this time we had put the headlight on and were peering into the gloom to find a suitable mooring then I spotted a boat moored up ahead and Clive pulled her in just in front and bingo we got right into the bank – by now it was full dark and it was also pouring with rain - nice! Finally we were tied up and secure and got inside as quick as we could, stripping off our dripping waterproofs . This is one of those times when we wish we already had our “pram hood”! Although we wouldn’t have been able to put it up whilst we were cruising this afternoon, as there were too many low bridges, we would have done as soon as we moored, meaning we could disrobe and take our muddy boots off in there instead of dripping all over the bedroom! Hopefully we will have it in a few more weeks – we are really looking forward to this new addition to the boat.
So we are now dry and warm as the stove has been on all day and the boat is lovely and cosy, which is a blessing. The first thing Clive had to do was reconnect the old tap, yet again, so that we can turn the water pump on when required. In all this messing about though the tap seems to have reversed itself so instead of lifting the top to turn the water on it’s the other way around! Also it is a bit pot luck whether we get hot water or cold as it seems to have totally screwed itself up inside! Clive is intending to cruise back into Macclesfield on Monday morning to go back to the Plumb Centre to see if we can get some kind of adaptor to connect the new pipes to our boat. He even tried removing the tubes from the old tap and fitting them on the new one but those connections are different too – those damn Chinese!
So, we are not absolutely sure where we are! We think we are just on the outskirts of Bollington but until we see it in the light of day we won’t know for certain! Right now – we really don’tcare!