Through Barry’s lens – Kiwi friends on board …

We’ve so much to blog about it’s ridiculous, but things went awry while we were plagued by a distinct lack of internet signal for the wifi whilst in Huddersfield and Standedge (apparently there was a dysfunctional Vodafone mast).

It’s okay, we’ll catch up again. And we’ve had other priorities to ponder on, as you’ll know if you read our last post below.

Barry’s now making his way to Marple by Monday (so yes, for those who’re wondering, we DID make it through the tunnel ok). I’m at my parents until Monday – though it could be Tuesday if I can’t sort out a few issues here in time!

Anyway, I digress. Onto the purpose of this post …

Precious and priceless moments

I’m aware we’ve already posted about the places and people in this blog.

This time the images are Barry’s, so they’re definitely worth a share, especially for our dear friends the Weatherley-Libeau’s who spent two extraordinary nights on board AreandAre recently.

These are for you Alison, Gary, Dylan and Jade – by the time this is posted they’ll be back in Aotearoa and the paradise that is Gisborne.

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Histroic, heavenly Hebden Bridge from our mooring last month

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A delightful town, such a convivial and co-operative atmosphere

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Amazing canal-side homes

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Houses built into the hills all around

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Bunting remains after Le Tour de Yorkshire/France

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A green and pleasant land

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Colourful shop fronts – locally owned and managed, the only large chain store here is the Co-op! And I’m reliably informed that a huge % of businesses are owned by women

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Ali, Jade and Gary – looking chilled

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Off we go to do a spot of locking …

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Passsing live-aboard moored boats

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And the first lock of the journey

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Dylan’s in charge already!

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Nonchalantly walking to the lock as if they’d done it a thousand times before!

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No problem at all – what a team!

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Like father, like son – laid back and happy

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We look quite jolly too!

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The lovely lock ladies

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Mesmerised by the deepest lock on the system

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Only just room for the two boats

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An abundance of statuesque old mill buildings all around the area

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How’s this for a perspective?

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Sowerby Bridge hosts a magnificent tribute to working boaters

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Sowerby Bridge weir

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Barry was highly amused by this – I’m not so not sure it’s terribly PC to publish on a blog!

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A group photo after a meal at ‘The Moorings’ – the menu hooked us in as it looked and sounded fabulous. Sadly the food wasn’t as expected, but the company more than made up for it

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Captain Jade – took to it like a duck to water

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Look at the focus in their faces!

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The iPad went everywhere, taking photos – Ali’s behind there somewhere

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The most unusual lock paddle mechanisms on the Hebble and Calder Navigation

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The quaint lock cottage at the first of the Calder and Hebble Navigation

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We’re all eagerly waiting to see whether AreandAre will make it through the next two locks!

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Opening the gate for Barry

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oo-er! That looks like a tight fit!

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Fast forward to the last lock of the day (there’s more photos, that Sandra took, of the shortest locks on a previous blog post)

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Incredible structures, Guillotine locks – in the past few weeks we’ve encountered three having never previously done any!

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What a mighty fine team!

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Thanks guys – you were all amazing!

It was sad to see them leave us, but we totally understand how many places and people there are to see when on your overseas adventure. Getting to spend two days and nights we’ve this gorgeous family was something we’d been looking forward to for a long time, and will remember fondly forever.

We do have some wonderful friends and feel very blessed.

Haere Mai/welcome back to Gisborne – we miss you all!

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A mosaic workshop aboard the crafty snail, aka Crafts Afloat

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

Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall – avec Le Tour de Yorkshire!

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 …