I got a bit of a ‘ticking off’ yesterday for not keeping our blog and whereabouts up to date and feel suitably chastised! I do believe I’ve a legitimate defence though, in that until today I’d only spent three days on board Areandare in the last three weeks. So I’m thinking you’ll all understand how challenging it can be?

I shall endeavour to do better Doug, honestly …

A Chance meeting

Returning to Barry in Stoke-on-Trent after spending five delightful days with my gorgeous grandsons whilst celebrating my eldest daughter’s birthday last Tuesday, we were en route to Barlaston when Doug and James from NB Chance suddenly appeared behind us.

What a wonderful surprise for us all – we’ve been in touch on and off for more than four years, but not managed to synchronise journeys and meet in person.

Doug and James follow us down the locks

Doug and James follow us down the locks

Doug had thought we were still up on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, due to my current blogging slackness and posting our adventures and Barry’s photos retrospectively.

Sadly they’d already arranged a meet up yesterday evening with friends, but we decided to continue to Stone so we could have a bit of a get-together.

After a slight mooring mix-up that I shan’t bore you with, they walked down to see if we were still around and we ended up having a very memorable couple of hours on board Areandare, polishing off a fair few glasses of home brew Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon. Having not been around for a while, nibble supplies were in short supply, but I managed to rustle up a few nuts and cheese and crackers to soak up a bit of the alcohol consumption.

Cheers! So fantastic to spend a short time with you both - look forward to a longer time in the future

Cheers! So fantastic to spend a short time with you both – look forward to a longer time in the future

It’s James’ birthday today and the second anniversary of their marriage. Passing us on their way south this morning, unbeknownst to Doug I’d already written a card for them with a photo of Castlefield Basin in Manchester, where they’d recently been staying for Manchester Pride (we loved our visit there in 2009 aboard Northern Pride).

Towpath trading in Stone

Barry had set up The Home Brew Boat banner and put his greetings cards out on display – and had a sale within minutes of doing so which was fab. Doug saw the cards and was just about to buy the one I’d intuitively chosen for James’ birthday.

Set up ready to trade next to 'The Wool Boat' in Stone

Set up ready to trade next to ‘The Wool Boat’ in Stone

Barry took a lovely shot of the three of us before they left, but that won’t be handed over to me for a few days!

Our next moves

I’ve got five days now to play catch up on a number of projects before I’m back with mum and dad Friday to Monday next week. By then we’ll be in Wolverhampton, making our way to our next trading festival at Netherton where we’re excited to be joining Helen and Andy and ‘Wild Side‘ once again.

For now, we’ll stick around Stone until Tuesday, and see what else transpires here …


We’re a little distance away now from where this post’s pictures were taken – but I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

In fact today, Wednesday 27th August, Barry’s aboard Areandare near the northern entrance of the Harecastle Tunnel, while I’m with my eldest daughter in Malpas, Cheshire for a week, celebrating her birthday.

Hudddersfield Narrow Canal

For anyone yet to visit the Huddersfield Narrow and Broad Canals, I hope these next two posts go some way to persuading you of the merit of making the effort to journey to this waterway, it’s definitely worth doing.


Leaving Huddersfield, passing alongside the University buildings


A very narrow passage which is part of the new canal construction


The impressive Springwood Railway Bridge dwarfs Areandare below


The imposing Brittania Mill, on the outskirts of Huddersfield, hugs the canal



We found some helpers …


… and gave them a taste of locking – I even wrote down their names but can’t find where! So if you read this, comment below lovely people!


There are some very narrow and weedy areas around here, not to mention shallow …


The amazing ‘Titanic Mill’ building, built in 1911 the same year as RMS Titanic was launched, and now converted into luxury apartments


A bird’s eye view of the overflow race coming off a lock


The view from our mooring at Slaithwaite, another picturesque old mill and accompanying chimney


The newly re-opened canal (2001) cuts proudly through Slaithwaite town centre


This not yet converted mill building overlooks the canal and town centre – probably only a matter of time …


Prior to the reopening of the canal this area was all covered over and hidden from view


Now there’s an unusual name for a pub – ‘The Silent Woman’ (we wish says Barry bravely!). The picture is of a woman holding her head under her arm – must be a story there, but we couldn’t find it inside the pub or on a Google search – does anybody know?

The pub above, was well as an unusual name, came to the attention of the world media on 23 September 2007, when a man walked into the pub and ordered a pint of beer a few minutes after he had murdered his son and attacked his daughter with a knife (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaithwaite)! We decided not to go in for a drink, the interior wasn’t nearly as promising as the outside.


Quaint cottages, but you couldn’t get much nearer to the railway viaduct!


The water reservoir above the town



And some of the housing on the hillside overlooking the area, with more photos below around stunning and scenic Slaithwaite …


A typical house frontage


You’re not far from the Pennine Hills here, and on a handy train route



Looking across the rooftops of the town


Maybe some similarities to Coronation Street?


This decrepit old building caught Barry’s photographer’s eye


The canal runs through the centre of the town in Slaithwaite


Friends from Gisborne on a UK holiday paid us a visit for the evening – fabulous to see you Liz, Viki and Maia




The obligatory silly shot


Liz and Viki – beautiful


Our mooring for the night – a little shallow to say the least!

I didn’t achieve my lofty aim of getting the blog up to date before we left Areandare for our recent holiday. I couldn’t prioritise it as much as other things. Apologies.

I do however have a couple of draft posts I’d begun, with amazing photos from our journey along the Huddersfield Narrow, Standedge Tunnel and Huddersfield Broad, that I’ll make time to polish and post in the next week or so …

Spinning plates at Land's End

Spinning plates at Land’s End

I’m conscious of a life-long tendency to take on too much and feel the smothering pressure of overwhelm – I’m learning more ways to let go of what hinders my balance, like a true Libran. Being a professional Life Coach helps with this you won’t be surprised to hear!

I’m okay now with letting a couple of my ‘to-do’ plates stop, or fall, rather than feel I’m spending my life going from one to another, spinning them constantly but never really getting anywhere.

It doesn’t always work, I still experience that “Oh my goodness how will I ever fit it all in” feeling. And at times like that I don’t blog or do other things that aren’t vital.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, here we are, back on board after an eventful holiday.


Cornwall was magnificent as usual – though admittedly it’s far more commercialised than I fondly remember from my last trip to the end of the earth in the late 1990s. I chose not to take photos of the theme-park-like buildings that have taken over at Land’s End, preferring the sign post (though now you have to pay to have your photo take next to it!) and view of the Atlantic Ocean. It reminds me of Cape Reinga, at the tip of the North Island of New Zealand, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.

The famous sign post - now cordoned off and sold for photos of tourists

The famous sign post, as close as you can get to it – now cordoned off and photos with tourists cost money


The end of the land – south west England


Stunning colours on the cliffs



We all (six adults and two children) squeezed into a chalet owned by the daughter of a friend of mine. Jo and I were best buddies when I lived in Germany from 1981 to 1985, we became pregnant at the same time, and gave birth within four days of each other early in 1983.  She lives in Phillack, Hayle, not far from St Ives, so it’s been a long time since we’ve caught up.


Rolling Waves Beach Chalet at Riviere Towans, Hayle


Amazing view from the chalet – St Ives is in the background

Of course Barry managed to sample a fair few local ales, it would be rude not to – including this one in a pub of the same name, a short walk from the holiday home …



On the downside, if you look closely at the photograph above, you may notice a small redness above Barry’s left eye? This picture was taken on the Monday. By Thursday this was spreading and he had a pounding headache. We were at Land’s End and he stayed in the car for half the day, unable to face getting out into the wind and rain (just as we went on holiday the weather went from sweltering hot to changeable!).

That evening, he went to the emergency NHS walk-in centre in Redruth and was diagnosed with a viral sinusitis …

In the meantime, I got to tick something off my bucket list and saw an amazing production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream‘, at Minack Theatre with my eldest daughter Lisa. What was even more incredible was that we arrived early enough to get a good place in the queue and scored front row seats!


This has to be the most magnificent theatre setting in the world?


A bonus of sitting in the front row is the ability to get a landscape photo of the ‘stage’

While Barry rested, and hoped the antibiotics would begin to work, we all tried to carry on holidaying.


Carbis Bay – a beach-full of windbreakers is so quintessentially British!


Cornwall wouldn’t be the same without a cream tea – delicious!

In the nick of time

Forty eight hours after starting his antibiotics for supposed sinusitis, Barry was no better. In fact he was getting worse. I’d been so caught up with spending time with my delightful grandchildren that I hadn’t investigated other possibilities for his redness and pain.

Fortunately Barry had! And he realised that rather than sinusitis, he could have Shingles.

So we returned to the NHS walk-in centre on Saturday evening and he was right – shingles of the optic nerve – what could be worse for a photographer? Fortunately we’re pretty sure he’s not one of the 40% who suffer corneal damage, despite the delay in diagnosis. Phew! But he was pretty miserable and it spoilt the break for him.

For someone who rarely takes any drugs, he was soon put on a cocktail of pills and potions. It did the trick however, and halted further progress of the nasty Herpes Zosta virus. We’ll certainly recognise it if we’re ever unfortunate to come across it again!

Feeling a little better once he’d been put on the right medication,  we stopped for a couple of hours at Tintagel Castle on our way to Exeter to spend a night with my younger sister to break the long journey back to the boat .

Reputed to be the birthplace of King Arthur, it’s an English Heritage property so we were happy as places are few and far between on the canals and we’ve not been getting our money’s worth from our membership!

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle

Thank you Jim!

We’d heard a lot about house sitting in New Zealand, most people get someone to do it for them when they go on holiday. Friends of ours even spent a year ‘sitting’ in houses in NZ and Australia and having a marvellous time visiting different places.

While we were in Cornwall, the lovely Jim and his partner Hilary, boat-sat for us.

Jim’s far better at keeping his blog up to date than me, and he wrote a few pots about his time on board. It was fabulous to know that she was in such good hands. Thank you so much Jim and Hilary!

Barry’s on the mend now, though has only one day left of his Acycolvir so I’m hoping it won’t try and sneak it’s way back in once that’s gone. Getting to the NHS walk-in centre with a hire car is sure simpler than finding a GP on foot when you’re living on a narrowboat!

I deduced that he got stressed just thinking about leaving Areandare and taking a ‘holiday’. Don’t worry everyone, he’s fine now …

I published post a few weeks ago about the very emotional day out we had visiting my father’s birthplace, and unexpectedly my great-grandfather, great-grandmother and uncle’s grave – single, not plural, I haven’t made a mistake (click here if you didn’t read it).

At that time, I didn’t have access to Barry’s views of the town or outlying areas we spent time in.

So forgive me for indulging, but once again I feel they’re worth sharing.

More of the Huddersfield Broad Canal


A morning view of the boats moored at Aspley Basin


Incredible pulley system of the lift bridge


Row upon row of symmetrical windows adorn the old mill buildings


Lock number one east – heading towards the Standedge tunnel


Walking into town along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Huddersfield Town, Salendine Nook and Lindley


Very impressive college and University buildings set around the canal


One of these houses on New Hays Road is the address my grandfather had on his driving license – so my dad could’ve lived here as a young boy


The view from the top of New Hays Road


Happy to be here


We took a chance on finding my great-grandfather’s church in Lindley, having found a small card at my father’s house recently from his funeral. The only location details were Lindley, Huddersfield.


And we found the church – Lindley Methodist. What a shame the probably ornately carved wooden pews have been removed and replaced with modern day chairs


The stained glass window, however, is as it would’ve been when my great-grandfather preached here


Though I’ve never been ‘religious’ in the organised religion sense, I pay homage to my great-grandfather Thomas Inglis Walsh who served many people as a Methodist Minister. His three daughters devoted their lives to the church, lived together all their lives, and died as, I believe, happy spinsters. His only son, the youngest child, William Dixon, was my grandfather – and as far as I’m aware, wasn’t religious at all!


How to really use a burial plot – it looks as though there are SIX bodies buried here, three of whom are my relations


A statue of Sir Harold Wilson, in St George’s Square – he was British Prime Minister for four terms of office


Sir Harold was born in Huddersfield in 1916, four years before my father


Built in 1853, Lion Chambers proudly boasts the statue of ‘Leo’ the lion, who’s said to wander around St George’s Square when the clock strikes 12!

From Marple to High Lane – to Cornwall!

Tonight (Thursday) we’ve moved from Marple to High Lane, nearer to the Enterprise Car Hire Hazel Grove office. We’ve used them a number of times in the past, as they provide such a helpful ‘pick up and drop off’ service to narrowboaters.  We just need to phone them tomorrow with a suitable postcode.

Jim will be with us on Saturday morning, and then we’ll drive to my mum and dad’s for my turn on the four sister’s ‘rota’ of respite care for mum. On Monday, we’re heading down to Hayle, in Cornwall, for seven days of R and R!

I’m betting you’re thinking “You”re a little out of synch Sandra!” from the title of this post – and you’d be right!

We’re actually currently moored in marvellous Marple, and Barry’s trading here opposite the services for a couple of days.

We’d like to say a HUGE thank you to Melina (hope the spelling’s correct?) who read my previous post, took the initiative and called Barry up to see if he wanted a hand up the 16 locks of the Marple flight. Initially he said he would be ok I believe, but he was very thankful that he accepted as they’re a bugger to do as a solo boater he soon discovered!

The reason for the disjointedness of places and posts is I haven’t had chance to publish Barry’s photos from much of this latest journey yet. So here’s a start – and expect the remainder, with a bit of luck, before we set off for Cornwall at the weekend!

The very jovial Jim, from what used to be Starcross and his wife, are coming to boat sit while we’re away. So don’t be surprised if you see AreandAre with people on board you don’t recognise.

Brighouse and the calder and Hebble

We stayed a couple of nights in Brighouse, where the ‘Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band’ originate. It’s an interesting little town, not as affluent-seeming as Hebden Bridge or Todmorden, but has a lovely comfortable ‘vibe’ to it.

Having said that, we experienced for only the second time in five years of narrowboating, a challenge with some local youngsters.  They’d been hanging around by the side of the moorings at the back of Tesco late into the night, and Barry suddenly jumped up in the early hours and shouted ‘OY‘, as he’d felt them pull the mooring pin out at the back of the boat.  They ran off swiftly, just a silly spur of the moment harmless prank.


Barry sees beauty in old and crumbling buildings


A stunning building in Brighouse – probably an old grain silo


Our mooring, opposite an old Mill building converted into apartments


The basin at Brighouse


Lots of old mill buildings around Cooper Bridge – this is a reflection of the building in the water


And another beautiful building and its reflection


Here’s the proof!


Breathtaking bridge – and yes, another reflection!


On the River Calder now


A lunchtime stop in Mirfield


Shepley Bridge Marina on the River Calder


Watch out for the weir! Mr heron takes a break and a look around


Back onto the Calder and Hebble towards the Huddersfield Broad Canal


A last look at the river

The Huddersfield Broad Canal


On our way to Huddersfield – a scenic and serene journey


Lots of floating greenery here


Looks like plenty of water


A colourful canal boat passes us by


Viaduct across the canal


Looks like the ivy has taken over this ancient Mill building


A huge recycling plant along the journey – doing a great job but goodness, what an eyesore!


Once again, Barry finds the beauty in the mundane


Magnificent Mill chimney and lift bridge on the approach to the moorings in Huddersfield


Working out how each one functions is always fascinating


A veritable feat of engineering


Aspley Basin, Huddersfield


Not finished with the reflecting yet!


What a wonderful sight – a timeless shot


A stunning vista from the basin


The black and white makes it an even more timeless shot


You can just see AreandAre in the distance


The view from our mooring – not bad aye?




 We did leave the marina too – there’ll be a few images of our meander around Huddersfield, the town of my father’s birth, in the next post.

On the subject of reflections, we have a photo of Barrys’ on Pinterest of Little Venice in London, with amazing reflections of trees and boats, that’s been re-pinned countless times. What a shame we don’t get any income from re-pinnings lol!


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