I’d never really been terribly interested in family history until I lived in New Zealand for nine months in 2001/02. There I became familiar with the term ‘whakapapa’, and longed to learn more about my own blood-line.

“Papa” is anything broad, flat and hard such as a flat rock, a slab or a board. “Whakapapa” is to place in layers, lay one upon another. Hence the term Whakapapa is used to describe both the recitation in proper order of genealogies, and also to name the genealogies. The visualisation is of building layer by layer upon the past towards the present, and on into the future.

Quoted from http://maaori.com/whakapapa/whakpap2.htm

My whakapapa

Returning homeless and jobless to England in July 2002 and not one to sit on my laurels,  I embraced this as a tremendous opportunity to delve into my past whilst living with my parents.

Using images, documents, old letters, in fact anything I could lay my hands on in my parents possession, and most importantly talking and listening to mum and dad, I began to weave the (her)story of ‘me’ and my three sisters.

Before I immigrated back to New Zealand in January 2005, I gave each member of the family a folder containing the written information I’d found out.

It was a beginning. But it didn’t dig any deeper than the first names of my great grandparents on each side, with scant knowledge of them at that.

My mother and father are only children . Actually that’s a lie. My father had a brother, Inglis. Or that’s what we’d always been told was his name!

Caring for my father recently, I had precious time to talk with them, and go through some more previously unknown documents. It turned out that my uncle, who died 12 years before my father’s birth, was actually called Thomas Inglis Walsh – the same name as my great grandfather, who was a Wesleyan Minister.

I’d known for a while that my father was born in Huddersfield, and was looking forward to visiting the city to see if I could discover anything about the past. My grandfather, William Dixon Walsh, owned an engineering firm, and was, by all accounts, quite a wealthy man until the great depression of 1926. My dad was six years old when they moved to Sunderland as a consequence of this.

Salendine Nook and Lindley

I found a couple of documents belonging to my grandfather with addresses on. One had only a house name, others a road and number. Both were in the divinely sounding ‘Salendine Nook’ area.

So Barry and I caught a bus there on Sunday to see what we could discover.

We found the house, and I was even brave enough (after some hesitation I might add!) to knock on the door! A lovely young man answered. He said he’d only been renting for a few months, but would pass my details on to his landlady to see if she had any information about previous owners.

Unlikely – but you never know!

IMG_6368Next up I’d found a remembrance card with my great grandfather’s name on it. The only geographical information stated ‘Lindley, Huddersfield’.

The same bus we’d caught continued to Lindley, so we walked back to the bus stop and continued a couple of miles with our ‘all day traveller’ ticket.

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Lindley Methodist Church

I was pretty sure he’d been a Methodist Preacher. We found Lindley Methodist Church quite easily (though we were told it was actually one of three in the area!), and took advantage of the open door to the adjacent community centre.

The helpful lady inside said they had a service commencing shortly, but we were very welcome to pop in and take a look around. She’d not heard of Thomas Inglis – but it was a very long time ago!

I subsequently spoke with a woman inside the church, who said someone had recently completed a 200 year-old history of Methodist churches in the area. She took my details and promised to contact the author and be in touch if she had anything to share.

In the meantime, I asked if it was okay to take photos inside the church – she was more than happy. She told me they’d removed the old pews (how terribly sad), but the pulpit and balcony would be the same as they had always been.

Walking to the front of the church, I stopped, looked up, and the strangest thing happened. I felt a presence, and I knew without a doubt that my great-grandfather had stood at that pulpit. I had to stop myself from sobbing, emotion bubbled up inside me.

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Knowing so little about this reverential man, I’d wanted to find his grave. So we left the congregation to their service and wandered around the grounds. Barry and I have this fascination with graveyards. I’ve spoken of it previously. I guess it’s about seeing the end result of life, and recognising how fortunate we are to be alive, healthy, and grasping opportunities.

Most of the graves looked unkempt and uncared for. The dates were from this century, last century or even the one before, which was the right period, so my hopes rose.

After about ten minutes of wandering I stumbled upon a large stone. The first two inscriptions were of previous Reverends whose children had died in infancy. These graves always touch me the most.

As I read down, I suddenly spotted the names I’d been searching for and called to Barry “I’ve found it!”.

Not only my great grandfather, but amazingly my great grandmother was also lying there.

And then, the ‘Pièce de résistancewas spotted by Barry’s sharp photographer’s eyesight.

At the bottom of the grave, covered in grass, was my Uncle’s name. Barry pulled out the grass and revealed the inscriptions. This time I really was moved to tears …

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Holding my whanau/family history lovingly

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Barry cleans the grave stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How very special. If I hadn’t been here in England, living on a narrowboat and travelling to places I’ve not been to before, I doubt I’d ever have discovered this piece of my family history. Thank you Barry for bring me back, for this and so many other reasons.

It’s ignited in me a renewed passion to find out more, and document information for the generations to come.

We welcomed some beautiful people on board during our Hebden Bridge soiree. Friends I grew up with in Sutton Coldfield during the 1960s now live in nearby Todmorden, so it was such a treasure to be able to see them.

Because of my visit to Brighton, it was a bit of a squeeze to see Pawel and his delightful family, but we all made the time to make it happen and they came for tea one evening after work and school.

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Pawel, Sally, Lillie, Scarlett and Sandra

My dear friend Mandy had been visiting her sister Renata (they’re both siblings of Pawels) in Sardinia the first week we were in the area, but we finally got together the evening before our next guests arrived – all the way from Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud, or New Zealand to the uninitiated!).

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Mandy and I – the silver foxes I think someone suggested when I posted this on Facebook!

New Zealand comes to Hebden

Said guests arrived last Thursday – we were enthralled to welcome Ali, Gary, Dylan and Jade for two nights and exciting days. Dylan is Barry’s godson, and I guess I sort of inherited that role with Jade, as she was Barry’s first wife’s goddaughter.  They’ve all been family friends of Barry’s for many years.

It was a very special time, and most surreal when we’re used to seeing them in Gisborne rather than not-so-sunny Yorkshire!

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Heather and Tony kindly gifted some fudge to our visitors

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Ali and Jade get to know our neighbours

We had a wander around Hebden Bridge the evening they arrived, and thought we’d try a different pub. The White Swan in the centre of town looked quaint from the outside, but didn’t match up in reality with a sour-faced barmaid on duty looking like she’d been sucking a large lemon just as we arrived.

I’m not sure why we didn’t all just walk out, I guess we were being ‘polite’ as is the British way, so we all had one drink, took a photo for posterity and didn’t allow her attitude to taint our joviality, then re-visited the friendly and atmospheric Fox and Goose instead.

The White Swan

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The White Swan in Hebden Bridge – appallingly miserable barmaid there, but we didn’t let that stop our joy at being together again

Lots of locks

Friday brought their first experience of narrow boating, and they certainly got a good grounding in locking – we went through eleven locks that day. It’s so much quicker with a crew of six than two!

I’ve yet to get Barry’s photos from our days together, but they’ll come in the near future I’m sure. Mine will have to suffice for now …

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Ali takes a turn at driving Areandare

A few hours into our journey and we arrived at Tuel Lane Lock. This is the deepest lock on the system, falling 19 feet and 8 inches. I thought I’d get a photo when I was operating the lock, but that wasn’t to be (even though the previously documented deepest lock in Bath can be operated by boaters, and we’ve done that one successfully, it doesn’t include the related complications of this one) …

Due to its extreme depth, operation of the lock by boat crews is not permitted. Passage is controlled by a lock keeper. The lock is situated immediately to the west of the 114-yard (104 m) Tuel Lane Tunnel, and boat crews are advised to wait beyond the tunnel until passage into the lock is clear, as the tunnel is subject to turbulence when the lock is emptying.

Leaving the cavernous Tuel Lane Lock - straight into a tunnel before the next manned lock

Leaving the cavernous Tuel Lane Lock – straight into a tunnel before the next manned lock

Sowerby Bridge

We moored overnight at Sowerby Bridge. A pleasant little town, but not a patch on it’s near neighbours we’d just left. It may seem that we frequented a number of alcoholic establishments with our companions – and you’d be correct! There isn’t the same opportunity in Gisborne, so why not take the most of it? And it can be a little crowded on a narrowboat with six people …

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The rather swish ‘Blind Pig’

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And the historic Puzzle Hall Inn  a special place advertising the sale of home brewing from the 18th century

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Cheers!

The Calder and Hebble Navigation

After the deepest lock, we knew we’d soon encounter our next challenge of the shortest locks on the system.

The first two on the Calder and Hebble Navigation have been on our minds in recent times. Had we not been able to get through them, it would’ve meant retracing our journey back to Manchester – not a prospect either of us relished!

The exact lengths of the locks is quite variable from one to another. The two upper Salterhebble Locks are the shortest on the whole canal. It is occasionally necessary for a boat to go down these locks backwards. It is possible to wind above and below these two locks.

It must be pointed out that passing through some of these locks, especially the two upper Salterhebble Locks, with a narrowboat of 60′ length is tricky and a very tight fit, with the risk of the rudder catching the cill on descent. With a boat a fraction over 60′, the bottom gates will not open/close. Anyone planning to buy a boat and intending to use these canals regularly would be recommended to go for a length not exceeding 59′.

We did very well then, considering our boat is actually 60′ and 2″!

These locks also use a rather interesting paddle mechanism, which fortunately, Barry had read about and was prepared for!

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Showing off a little at his forethought! You can see the mechanism in the foreground, where the plank of wood is inserted and bit-by-bit the paddle is raised or lowered

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Looking like the cat that got the cream bless him!

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Hurrah! We fit with inches to spare …

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Taking off the back button and the front fender to give us those precious few inches more …

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Nudging onto the walkway of the lock gates – knowing we need to be very mindful of this as the lock slowly empties …

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Very slowly and cautiously opening the paddles, just the one, and being ready to drop it at a moment’s notice …

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Captain Barry watching nervously as the water level drops …

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Taking my eyes off for just a second …

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Gary appears concerned – looks like we’ll make it though …

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Keeping her away from the cill …

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Watching hopefully …

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Aha! So now what?

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Barry has to walk along the roof of the boat to get to the front rope to throw it up, so we can pull the boat over and across to the open gate – meaning the back of the boat is closer to the deluge of water cascading down!

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Uh-oh!

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Watching helplessly as the water pours over the stern – Barry’s closed the back entrance doors by now though

We all heaved an audibly deep sigh of relief when the boat finally cruised proudly out of the first lock – it was definitely touch and go, as we’d been intermittently holding our breath watching Barry negotiate between the rear of the lock and the front gates, once he’d succeeded in keeping away from the cill.

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Phew! Well done Captain – maybe we’ll do the second and possibly shorter one differently?

Armed with that knowledge Barry reversed her into the second, and what we believed to be, shortest of the locks. That made all the difference!

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Entering lock number two backwards – shame we didn’t do it in the first one

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Holding onto the bow rope ready to keep the boat in the centre

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Guiding the stern to one side

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Hold on!

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Made it! What a fantastic crew we had!

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Out he comes – the rest were tight but managed forward

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The final obstacle before our guests left – working the guillotine lock

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We had to re-set the electrically operated switch, but got there in the end …

Sadly our guests left round the corner from the guillotine lock. What a splendid time we had, and an amazing experience for them of the British Inland Waterways. The weather even remained warm and bright which was a bonus.

And another ‘est’ to come

Our next milestone will be the Standedge Tunnel which we’re booked a passage through on Monday 28th July.

This is the highest (not in terms of actual tunnel height, but 643 feet (196 m) above sea level), longest (16,499 feet (5,029 m) long), and deepest (636 feet (194 m) underground at its deepest point) of any canal tunnel on the system. Closed in 1944, reopened after a £5 million beneficiary in May 2001. In years gone by, boaters would have had to ‘leg it’ through – how claustrophobic would that be? In 2014 we’ll have a ‘trained chaperone’ to ensure we safely negotiate the journey, and must be fit enough to climb a 2 metre vertical ladder, and walk up to 2km along uneven ground, should the need arise!

For now, we’ve visited the nondescript town of Brighouse for a couple of nights (and our first encounter with some local idiots who pulled out one of our mooring pins in the early hours!), and moored up in a quieter spot at Cooper Bridge Junction on the Calder and Hebble.

We’ll continue on this canal for a while, then turn around to return here and take a left turn onto the Huddersfield Canal next week.

It became a little complex, our visit to Hebden Bridge, without intention.

My daughters and I had tried to find a ‘free’ weekend to get together in Brighton, and when we booked the first weekend of July I had no idea we’d be in Hebden Bridge at the same time and I’d miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of witnessing the Tour de France speeding by!

Then we received a few emails from the amazingly organised Dianna Monahan, our IWA contact there, outlining some of the other events around the boat gathering time.

Initially excited by the prospect of being a part of the mosaic workshop below …

Melanie and Winston are looking for 4-5 boaters to take part in the mural making workshop.  Participants will make a mosaic piece of artwork that they can take home, in the hope that the artwork will travel around the canal network with them.  The workshop will take place on Thursday 3rd July from 11am – 4pm with a break for lunch.  During the workshop we will discuss the gathered words, design the artwork, learn how to score and cut glass, snip mosaic tiles and create the finished mosaic pieces!  The pieces will be grouted the following day.

… I wasn’t sure until I worked out train times whether I could. Fortunately the stars aligned and there was still a place remaining when I called the adorable Melanie from Crafts Afloat to express my interest. It meant taking out a whole day from exploring the area, but it was definitely worthwhile.

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The Crafty Snail Studio

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Winston uses my target poetry words as an example on his spinning plate

Winston Plowes is a local poet, and he came along for the first half hour and shared his vision of gaining wondrous words about living on the canals and rivers of England and Wales by involving us in ‘target poetry’.

“…an award winning poet resident on the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge, Calderdale. Amongst other things, his work is inspired by his interaction with the local landscape, by his fourteen-year-old daughter and the darker realities often found in the deserted corners of life.”

We each had a piece of blank paper which we were told to imagine as our ‘target’, with our hands delivering arrows to it. Then we drew a circle in the centre of the page, closed our eyes, and gave some thought to words and images we associate with our watery lifestyle. He hoped we’d find around 20 words, and also encouraged us to draw a few pictures. Turning the page around meant words would be jumbled, and may even be on top of each other.

That was fine – no such thing as mistakes in this exercise!

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Winston, Patricia and Nick from NB Bisous, and Mel from Crafts Afloat

Once we’d exhausted our word ‘limit’, we could take a look at our inventions. You’ll see mine below – quite a mess I’m sure you’ll agree! ‘Freedom‘ was the core of my page.

Winston then did an off-the-cuff talk about the words we’d written, and how they could be woven into a story of our lives, and Melanie cleverly showed us how to incorporate these into a glass and tile mosaic we could take away with us and treasure.

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Some of Melanie’s gorgeous glass fusion jewellery

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Explaining some of the nuances of mosaicing – her Hebden Bridge mosaic is on the wall

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My crafting area – words at the top of the page, designing a pattern for the mosaic is at the bottom, then the mosaic plate with words onto the traced design on the right

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Here’s one Melanie finished earlier ..

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Watching it unfold into something beautiful – how many words and pictures can you recognise?

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My chosen words for the mosaic included – Freedom, a moving watery life, stillness too, nature, real people and real places, Parallel universe

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Being adventurous and sticking it all down – I had a train to catch straight after the workshop!

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My mosaic – the canal at the bottom, sunshine and nature in the top corners, freedom in the heart radiating light and warmth – the words stood out more once the glue was dry

Though I managed to squeeze the workshop in before I left for my lovely weekend in Brighton, it meant I missed putting the finishing touches in. Thankfully Melanie grouted my mosaic the following day – and delivered it to Barry.

Barry holds my finished mosaic proudly - thanks for the photo Mel!

Barry holds my finished mosaic proudly – thanks for the photo Mel!

We’ve yet to find the perfect spot for my work of art, but it’ll definitely hold pride of place somewhere on board Areandare soon.

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Hebden Bridge Railway Station

Blogging once again hasn’t been the top of my priority list for a few days as we’ve had some fabulous friends from New Zealand staying with us.

My intention is to get up to date over the coming week – Barry’s photos are too good not to publish albeit some time after events!

Heptonstall

We’d been recommended by Diana (our IWA event organiser) to visit the nearby village of Heptonstall, towering high on the hill above Hebden Bridge. “Catch a bus there and walk back“, she suggested – and a good one it was too.

Heptonstall had originally been the main settlement in the area, with Hebden Bridge being literally the main bridge across the river in the valley below. Today Hebden Bridge is the larger of the two, but Heptonstall retains it’s charm as I’m sure you’ll agree when you see the images below.

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Incredibly, the foundation stone of Heptonstall’s octagonal Methodist chapel, the oldest still in continued use, was laid following a visit by John Wesley in 1764 – five years before Captain Cook was making his first landing in Gisborne, Barry’s home town!

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This old churchyard claims “King” David Hartley amongst its notable graves. Hartley was founder of the ‘Cragg Coiners’, a notorious counterfeiting gang, and lived as a rogue in the Calderdale area until he was hanged at Tyburn near York in 1770.

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Heptonstall was historically a centre for hand-loom weaving, and many of the cottages and terraced houses are characterised by large first floor windows to maximise the light for weaving.

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Heptonstall’s original church was dedicated to St Thomas a Becket. Founded c.1260, it was altered and added to over several centuries. The church was damaged by a gale in 1847, and is now only a shell. A new church, St Thomas the Apostle, was built in the same churchyard and  suffered a lightning strike in 1875.

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You can appreciate the steep climb to the village from this picture – not for the feint hearted!

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But boy what a tremendous view awaits those who live or visit here

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We walked back down to Hebden in order to appreciate the incredible view. Unfortunately the steep incline took its toll on my fairly new walking sandals, and half-way down the front strap split! So it became a rather precarious stumble instead of a joyful trek! Luckily I kept the receipt …

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THE Hebden Bridge

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Happening Hebden – it’s got such a friendly and welcoming feel to the town

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They even trade by bike here

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Yellow cycles, flags and bunting abounds in celebration of Le Tour

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No space left for any more boaters – what a delightful mooring spot

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Le Tour de France/Yorkshire

On Thursday 3rd July, I’d booked onto a mosaic day with Mel from Crafts Afloat, along with the crew of NB Bisous. I’ve done a mosaic course previously in New Zealand and loved it, so grasped the opportunity to make a piece for our boat. More about that in a separate blog, as it’s worth it’s own story.

On the actual day when the cyclists of Le Tour de France/Yorkshire whizzed through (Sunday 6th July), I was in Brighton with my daughters and grandsons for the weekend. It was sad to miss such a thrilling event, but it was just how the timing worked out.

Barry stayed on board and enjoyed chatting with lots of people, some of whom even bought a few products from him – not as many as we’d hoped for, but you never know what will come from the event in the future. we’d wanted to come this way anyway, so Le Tour was fortuitous for us.

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The Home Brew Boat promoting its wares and gorgeous greetings cards

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Tons of people passing on their way to the park and big screen, but most were in too much of a rush to stop

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Some did though – and found the concept of a ‘Home Brew Boat’  fascinating

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Intriguing enough to take photos

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Is there a statistic anywhere about how many Brits own dogs? It feels like every other person that passes by!

It was reported following the event that there’d been a crowd of around 8,000 people. Sadly, due to the way they directed the foot traffic, many of these walked past the trading boats on their hurried way to watch ‘Le Tour‘ on the big screen in Calder Homes Park, but were subsequently moved in a different direction to exit, so hardly anyone showed an interest in Home Brew, Fudge or Antiques.

The photo below gives a great view of this anomaly:

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Can you spot Areandare?

Heather and Tony on ‘The Fudge Boat’, had arrived a week or so early in order to make their fudge for the event that held so much promise – around 1,000 bags with limited shelf life, so the lack of passing trade was painfully felt by them and did put a dampener on the weekend. They decided to stay on the following weekend for a choir gathering, in the hope they’d attract some sweet toothed choristers.

We’ll catch up with them again in September and discover how they fared …

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An occasional visitor to The Fudge Boat

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Sporting a yellow cycle

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Don’t look left – keep going straight ahead! Cyclists swept through the walkers without dismounting, despite the high volume of people

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Looks like a fun atmosphere for old and young alike

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All is quiet, just the variety of flags flying silently

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Heather and Tony

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Tony pontificates on life

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People climbing everywhere to get the best view

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The big screen in the park shows the roads where the race runs

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And here’s some cyclists

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Friends and firsts

Our next posts will include a few friendly faces who’ve visited in the past couple of weeks. They’ll also see us descending the deepest lock on the system, and attempting to negotiate the shortest lock on the system in our 60 foot long narrowboat – will we make it? Many people we spoke to beforehand said it wouldn’t be possible and we’d be crazy to attempt it.

But you and I know Barry and his ‘can do kiwi’ attitude can achieve miraculous things.

So you’ll need to come back and read it to find out if we ‘could’ do …

The final leg of our journey to Hebden Bridge was on Tuesday 1st July, when we travelled the four and a half miles and ten locks from our overnight mooring at Todmorden.

Here’s Barry’s pictorial view of the pleasures of the passage …

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Phil casually steers past stunning views such as this. The chimneys I believe are from the previously thriving mills of many years ago – Megan saunters happily alongside

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Meanwhile I keep my eyes firmly fixed on the waterway ahead to make sure I don’t ground the boat again in the still shallow water

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One of the ten locks of the day – with the Pennine hills in the distance

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Phil drives in expertly, edging towards the side ready for Areandare to slip in and share the lock

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Been in together, the boys have emptied the lock, Phil’s exited and I’m driving out of ‘Lobb Mill Lock’, number 16

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We passed by what appeared to be a few boating ‘communities’ along the way

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And the odd strange sight like this bizarre window display – maybe it’s something to do with the occupants thoughts on The World Cup?

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Meanwhile the reality is of reflections from the past

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And a slightly different take on the same scene – which do you prefer?

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These boats seem to be keeping a historic slant on the area too

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Stubbing Lower Lock, number 10, and we’re in Hebden Bridge now, with it’s row upon row of terraced cottages

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This could be a scene from the 18th century – if it wasn’t for the power cables!

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Looking like a well used and loved waterway in the town

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We adore the stone the majority of the homes in the area are built from – so complimentary to the surrounding environment

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Stress? What’s that?

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Here we are almost in the centre of Hebden Bridge, and our reserved mooring for ten days

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P1580550AWe’d read about Hebden Bridge in the 2007 book by Stuart Maconie ‘Pies and Prejudice’ …

Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North, a humorous book that discusses the modern reality of the North of England (as opposed to the popular myths)

… and had wanted to visit for many years.

It didn’t disappoint in any way.

Actually that’s not strictly true, but it’s nothing to do with the beauty and uniqueness of the town - but I’ll reveal what soured our experience slightly in the next post.

There’s a few more photos on this post – Barry must’ve seen so much worth keeping for posterity!

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Our neighbours leave to go down the long flight to Manchester

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While we set off to Todmorden, via Walsden, and up the final lock – number 37 West Summit Lock which is reported to be the highest lock on the system

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More rolling hills and greenery

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A vision of serenity – what a fabulous place to live

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Longlees Lock, the first for the descent to Hebden Bridge

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An old toll house

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Taking a turn at locking to get some much needed exercise!

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A magnificent house by the lock near Walsden

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The first time we’ve encountered a lock of this kind with a ratchet mechanism for opening the paddles and the gates. The gates wouldn’t open any other way due to the bridge which takes the road to the huge house

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Opening the gate – watch out between your legs! Lightbank Lock (oh goodness, and those rolls of flab! definitely need to do much more locking!)

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You can do it! Keep turning …

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As my youngest grandson would say – WOW!

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Winterbutlee Lock – what a delightful name and place

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An unusual sight – let’s hope it leads to a deep swimming pool!

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Would this win the prize for the best fish and chip shop setting?

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You can hire out the bus for parties and eat to your heart’s content

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Something else we haven’t encountered previously – a friendly goat living next to the lock! watch your hat Sandra, apparently he/she is rather fond of them …

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Our temporary travelling companion Phil, shows me his Nicholson’s Guide with a photo of the bridge in the background. It’s an old guide and he’s been looking for the location of the front page shot for many years – so happy he found it ;-)

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Approaching Todmoren in unison like a well oiled machine

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Stunning – words are inadequate to describe this scene (shame about Barry’s parcel on the roof!)

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Our perfect pal Phil and his mate Megan

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In the lock, jump off, then Phil holds the boat so I can drive in alongside – it’s a fine tuned procedure that we mostly got right!

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The Great Wall of Tod – it holds the railway line in place!

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Entering this idyllic town

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A narrow passage to the Guillotine Lock (Todmorden or Library Lock)

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Lots of firsts on this journey!

 

And so we finish this post in the tantalising town of Todmorden - the county boundary of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

If you’ve never visited this area, we’d recommend you make some time to do so as it’s so different to the usual rat race towns. It embodies a community spirit of co-operativeness and slowness, with ‘Incredible Edible‘ gardens everywhere that anyone can pick from – even from the front of the Police Station.

If only all places could use these open spirited examples and live so happily.

So is it a gunnera?

Does anyone know what this plant, that we discovered growing by a lock, is called?

The only feedback I’ve had is from a friend on Facebook who thinks it’s a gunnera …

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As previously promised, I’ve persuaded Barry to choose a selection of his favourite images taken during our journey along the Rochdale Canal from Littleborough to Hebden Bridge, which we made from 28th June to 1st July.

Littleborough to Summit

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The scenery, as we’d been told by many people, was definitely worth waiting for

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Rolling hills and tons of trees – nice to have a fairly long pound between locks at times

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An unusual sight – these would’ve been used many years ago to throw a rope around and secure the horse drawn boat when entering the lock

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Lock 45 (Pike House Lock) at bridge 45 (funnily enough Pike House Bridge!) – that doesn’t happen very often!

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Sladen Lock, number 44, and the pounds are very short for a few more locks to come

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Just above Lock 38, where we moored overnight at Summit – The Summit Inn is next to the trees

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Adorable stone cottages are prolific around these parts

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We were lucky to find the last mooring space in a quiet spot

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Opposite our mooring was this single storey house which looked incredibly like an ‘East Coast’ property found in New Zealand, where Barry’s from. It looked rather odd in this location – we wondered what the story could be – does anyone know?

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Our neighbour for the night – in the ‘made for a photographer’ reflective evening light

 What a talented husband I have. Of course photographers have the skill to make images look amazing, but this really was a delightful journey especially after the many challenges we’d experienced in the previous days.

We finally arrived at our destination of Hebden Bridge on Tuesday 1st July. What a delightful part of Britain it is.  Our initial impressions were extremely favourable, especially in the light of all the extra effort of the long and tiring days which we now knew were worthwhile.

We’d also seen some terrific sights along the way, and met lots of interesting and friendly people, so despite the many and varied challenges, it’s been fun and fascinating!

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The scenery is becoming more and more spectacular

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The Bob Marley flag hanging from the end of the boat says ‘Freedom’ – the occupant’s surroundings certainly exude such an air

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We passed a few boat gatherings seemingly living along the canal sections

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This one even had a tent with a chimney – not a temporary dwelling then!

Our new friend Phil stopped a few locks before the valley spot, preferring the solitude.

This time we were confident we had a reserved mooring, thanks to Diana and her organisational skills. There’s just three trading boats along the stretch by the town centre, opposite a Thai restaurant – us, Antiques Afloat and the Fudge Boat. Small but beautiful we hope! We’re not sure how good trading will be, but we knew we wanted to visit this amazing part of Britain and the boat gathering and once-in-a-lifetime passing of the famous cycle race, coincided with it.

Catching up with Tony and Heather over a couple of drinks on Tuesday evening, we discovered they’d missed New Islington completely, and had a horrendous journey from Dunham all the way to The Rose of Lancaster on their journey here! Crikey, it’s a good job they’re early starters!

We decided we all deserved a good night out to celebrate our achievement. Initially we walked to a pub called /The Old Gate’, but it looked like one of those dreadful chain pubs, full of youngsters lol! So we carried on to The Fox and Goose and had one of the best nights out for a long time. Such friendly people, and we discovered that it’s a ‘co-operative pub’, owned by local people, with the aim of preventing it becoming a chain pub.

Fabulous! During the evening a ‘Hurdy Gurdy’ band began playing, much to our amusement, and we were soon in the room with them having a fine old time- Barry and I even had a go on the rare instrument that I didn’t even realise existed!

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Diana, Tony and Heather (Barry’s propping up the bar!)

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The hurry gurdy and drum

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The eclectic and merry ensemble

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Oh yes I can play!

Diana had provided us with a wonderful ‘welcome pack’, filled with lots of freebies and local information. And to our delight we’d been told beforehand that we featured in the local magazine ‘Valley Life’.

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The free local publication – Le Tour de France/Yorkshire edition

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Very honoured to be featured in the local mag

On Thursday I’d booked for a mosaic workshop aboard ‘Craft Afloat‘. That was probably a little foolish, as it did mean a bit of a rush around on Wednesday to check out Hemptonstall and Hebden Bridge, as I’m off for the weekend from Thursday evening.

But I’ll be back on Tuesday next week to do some more meandering.

Barry’s photography

Sadly the previous three posts have contained only a couple of Barry’s photography. They’re mostly from my iPhone, to put pictures with the stories, but not nearly as eloquently as Barry’s images will do at some point in the future when I get a collection from him!

He’s also a lone trader on the boat this weekend. As I said previously, I’m leaving him once again to spend four days with my daughters and grandsons – we’re off to the seaside in Brighton to have heaps of fun.

I think I need a clone – to be with Barry, my dad and mum (they’re struggling bless them but the sisters are all doing their share), and my daughters and grandsons. At some point I’ll also have a chance to do some face painting and glitter tattoos. In fact, we’ve got a festival booked for 25th and 26th July at Standedge tunnel just for me. Lovely.

On Sunday we moved further up the Rochdale to a place called ‘Summit’ – oddly enough it’s at the summit of the locks! There were still a few hurdles to cross en route, but the scenery was definitely improving.

Summit was a fabulous spot for sitting out on the bank and watching the world go by – though only the natural world really, there’s not a lot happening on the canals in these parts. We did have a little explore, and walked around Summit, which didn’t take long. All we could discover was a long and fairly busy road lined with houses, and the obligatory British Pub. What more could you ask for Barry may say? So we popped in for a pint.

The World Cup was on the TV, and we got chatting with a man and his ten year-old son, who asked what it was like living on a boat. He was horrified to discover we live without a TV, unable to comprehend how anyone could survive without said box. A short while after leaving the pub and settling back in our overnight canal side spot, we saw them walking across the bridge for a visit. He must’ve been fascinated to see how it could be possible bless him (the son, not the father – he was understandably more interested in the home brew possibilities!).

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Uh-oh, beached again! Barry opens the paddles to let more water in

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This Amazonian plant was sitting majestically at a lock side – what on earth is it?

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These must be the flowers – gorgeous. Is it a triffid?

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Moored up at Summit on Sunday

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The only sign of life in Summit

On Monday we set off for Todmorden, and soon came across a boater waiting in a lock for us. Our new companion was Phil, in his late 70s, who’d lived on boats since 1976 and been travelling since retirement. He was one of the jolliest, nicest people we’ve ever met, with such a sunny, optimistic disposition. His faithful dog was called Megan, who happily jumped off at locks, and then back on again shortly after when Phil nudged the boat to the side.

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A locking companion again

We’d read and heard about Grandma Pollards in Walsden and its famous fish and chips shop, so we stopped for lunch there on the way …

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Approaching Grandma Pollards, Walsden

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Now these are vanilla slices extrordinaire!

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Very tasty fish and chips – though to be honest, not really any better than other places, we think it’s a lot to do with the clever marketing!

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That night, Monday, we moored up at terrific Todmorden. A very pleasant place. Barry had a couple of parcels to drop off at the UPS collection point he’d researched. Shops around the country have taken this on to earn extra money – which is extremely beneficial for our mobile Home Brew Boat business.

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Phil was delighted to discover the bridge that’s on the front cover of his 1999 Nicholson’s ‘North West and the Pennines’ Waterways Guide

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Barry chats with Phil as they wait for the lock to empty

Talking of parcels, Barry had ordered some stands for his greetings cards and we’d arranged for them to be delivered to a friend of mine who lives in Todmorden. We’d received a phone call from the courier, saying he couldn’t access the house as it was up a steep hill. Barry was trying to get an address in Hebden Bridge sorted, and said we were on the canal travelling there.

Sitting in the lock, a man walked by and said “This may sound silly, but are you The Home Brew Boat?” to Phil, who said “I’m not, but he is!“. Hilarious. He’d driven past the canal, seen the boats, and stopped on the off chance that it was us.

Barry has a short walk to the courier’s van to pick up his parcel – now that’s service for you!

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Arriving in Todmorden – and passing The Great Wall of Tod (it’s a railway retaining wall)!

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Our first ever guillotine lock – incredible structure

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We had a short visit to Todmorden, staying overnight and visiting a Weatherspoons (I know, sacrilege but cheap!) for a pint, and then went to Lidls to do a big shop Tuesday morning in readiness for my next departure on Thursday evening. I’m going to Whitchurch, then Brighton for the weekend with my daughters and grandsons. It was the only weekend we could all be available.

So sadly I shall be missing Le Tour de Yorkshire/France as they whizz past Barry’s mooring on Sunday. Ah well, I can’t be everywhere!

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