Thursday, 4 September 2014

South of the Border, down Macclesfield way

Adjusting my stern gland. Ohhh Urrr Missus!
It seems a lot longer than two weeks since I last blogged, but there has been very little boating activity to report on, until this week.

Pat is now safely tucked up in Wellington, New Zealand, and clearly enjoying the short space of time she has with our new grandson, Ben, and our granddaughter Livi. I’m glad she has made the trip. She needed a rest and a change of pace. Should have a nice picture to put up in next week's blog

Our plans to moor at Portland Basin worked out well. In fact we were moored about four miles away, in a new marina, at Droylsden. I must say it is a bit of a depressed area, typical of much of the inner-city around Manchester, but it  had a large Tesco opposite and the Manchester tram line, which has been recently extended out towards Ashton-Under-Lyne, stopped about 100 metres up the road, which was handy.

Droylden Marina
So with the boat safely tucked up, and with its tummy full of nice clean oil, we hired a car from Enterprise (fantastic service for boaters) and headed south. Pat got on the underground at the end of the Piccadilly line at Cockfosters and I spent the next couple of nights just up the road in Potters Bar, at my sister Carol’s place.

Then it was the usual stuff of visiting the GP for repeat prescriptions and seeing pals. Friday night I was at my bestest pal John’s place in St Albans, out with my CAMRA pals. It was very hard to be paying £3.50 for the same pint of beer that would be a pound cheaper in this neck of the woods.
I caught up with my old work pal Colin, and Sid and Mave, so got a lot out of my time back in Hertfordshire.
Bottom of the Marple flight of 16 locks
Malc and Paul at the top of the Marple flight
Our mooring at Marple. To the left it's the Macclesfield Canal - to the right the Peak Forest
Sunday morning I travelled back to Manchester with my amigos Paul and Malcolm, and we have slowly been heading south since, on the Ashton and now the Peak Forest Canals. The general consensus is that this is a lovely stretch of waterway, and few would disagree. After a couple of weeks of cruising through urban sprawl, it’s a real breath of fresh air. Paul has taken over on tiller duty, which is great for my wrist is playing up. 

Our plan has been cruise down to the end of the canal, (no locks) Wednesday to Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth and then return at the weekend to Marple. On the way you pass a grim looking building, which is the sweet factory where “Lovehearts”, and “Swizzles” are made. We heard that there is a nice smell as you go past, but all I could smell was the sewage works on the other bank. But what a lovely little town Marple is. Set at the top of a 16-lock flight, we finally felt that we had left the metropolis behind. Super pubs, compact town centre, and it is obvious that they have embraced the canal that dissects the town.
The end of the Peak Forest at Whaley Bridge
Not something you see every day. A right-angled tree
We are hopefully returning there at the weekend. The local canalside pub is having a brass band festival, and I like a bit of brass.

A good way to get out of the washing up

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