Monday, 20 January 2014

Bon Voyage

Hello pals and fellow boaters. This will be the last post from “The Cat’s Whiskers” from our present home in the East Midlands for a while. On Wednesday morning we leave Mercia Marina, and fly out the following day to New Zealand for a spot of baby sitting. We are both looking forward to seeing our daughter and family again and the thought of temperatures in the 20s, is an added plus, though their home in Wellington is better known as the windiest place in New Zealand, rather than the warmest.
Now we are well into the new year, I have been planning the forthcoming boating season on the Waterways software on my laptop. The itinerary is quite ambitious (some 700 miles), which at around 2 mph, is clearly going to challenging, but we have easily exceeded that the last two seasons and the boat is now ready, having been fully serviced. I just need to touch in a few rust spots on our return and on 1st May we will be heading north for Liverpool, then crossing the country to York, before returning over the Pennines on the Rochdale Canal. On the way we have the delights of Rochdale, Leeds, Halifax, Wigan and Manchester to look forward to. If we have time, we will cruise the Llangollen again in September and return to Mercia via the Shopshire Union and the Staffs and Worcester canals through the autumn. We have reserved our space in the marina for next winter, so will be back here from 1 November, though we will be moored on the opposite side of the marina from where we are at the moment – “the posh side”, or so I have heard it called. It will be handy for the new run of shops and the pub that is opening in the marina during the summer.
Last Wednesday I finally got to visit Marston’s brewery, down the road in Burton On Trent. I had my own personal tour with Meryl, the tour guide, whose family have worked at the brewery for over 60 years. I must have been round 30 or 40 breweries over the years and was keen to visit Marstons as it has a unique way of brewing, one using the “Burton Union” system, which is unique now anywhere in the world. I won’t bore you with the details, but the trip did not disappoint, even though Marston’s is not generally one of my favourite tipples.
The Burton Union System at Marstons

The Burton Union Sets

In my “prime”, I used to drink a couple of their beers, now defunct. One, “Owd Rodger” was around 6%, so it need to be treated with a degree of respect and there was one night at “The Wicked Lady” in Wheathampstead when...... but that’s another story. I was delighted then, to see this mirror, which I pressed into service.

Owd Roger!

The Coal Man delivers

Pat’s been getting all East Midlands of late. The other day she asked me “Shall I light fire Roger?”. “Hang on”, I said, “Don’t you mean shall I light THE fire”.  Our fire is now on 24 hours a day unless I forget to top it up before turning in. We top up with a bag of coal per week that we buy from the marina shop, and supplement that with wood we have salvaged or purchased. I sit writing this very toasty, thankyou.
Toodaloo chums


  1. Hi Roger, like your plan for later in the year. We're at Anderton and would like to do something similar. Our timeframe is much the same as yours. Planning at the moment from Tassie, but only brought home back with us individual canal planners and no big overall canal map. Can you give us some more details of the actual canals you would use to get to those locations and thank you. Jennifer and Peter (nb Mactra's Filia) presently in Tasmania, Australia

    1. Jennifer. Will you send me your home e mail address. Roger

    2. Hello Roger, hope you're both enjoying New Zealand, actually you're not too far away from us at the moment "as the crow flies. You can contact us on and thank you. Jennifer in St. Helens. Tasmania

  2. Enjoy New Zealand and your family
    take care, love Janice x