I’m frequently in awe of those prolific bloggers who manage to write, edit and publish a post a day – at the moment even a post a week feels out of reach.
Apologies readers, there’s so much going on in our lives, that blogging’s slipped down the list of priorities.
Dad went into a residential home for some ‘respite care’ on 5th June, during which time I snatched a few wonderful, fun days with my daughter Lisa and her family in Anglesey …
A family day at the seaside
Sadly, dad’s experience wasn’t great, in fact it was dreadful, and unlikely ever to be repeated. I picked him up after five days in a far worse condition than when he went in. Thankfully, after lots of TLC from my sisters, mum and I, he’s now improved.
I’ve been back on board with Barry since last Wednesday evening, and will bereturning once again to mum and dad’s tomorrow, Friday, until next Tuesday. My sisters and I now have a form of ‘rota’ established whereby one of us will commit to two or more days a week with them to provide extra support to the twice daily carers.
Middlewich Fab Festival
Last weekend was the Middlewich FAB Festival – and it really was FABULOUS! We’ll definitely plan to return in 2015 – though with increased knowledge to enhance the experience.
Middlewich town centre
One of the challenges was we’d assumed there would be a reserved mooring spot for each trading boat, so didn’t rush to arrive – it was actually first come first served! Luckily our newly formed friendship with other trading boats came in very handy. Ronni and Yogi, from their craft boat, saved us a spot next to them. Thank you so much guys.
Trading boats along the Trent and Mersey Canal at Middlewich
Sue and Dave were there from the spud boat, Marrianne and Mick from the Sweetie boat and Tarot, the lovely couple on the fudge boat (Oh dear! Names have gone …), Jim and Sheila from the Vapes boat, the Borders Cheese Boat (sadly we’ve forgotten your names too, sorry!), Michelle on the art boat Willowmoor, Jed on the wood carving boat, Ruth and Mark on Wandering Duck, amazing Hotel Boat – oh my goodness, so many entrepreneurs! I’m bound to have missed someone out …
We love discovering other people who’ve left the ‘rat race’ behind, loving living on the Inland Waterways, instead of waiting for the prescribed ‘age of retirement’ before they follow their dreams. We all still need to earn an income, but we’ve lowered our overheads and are all finding different ways of ‘working’.
Barry and The Home Brew Boat traded from Thursday to Sunday, even though the official start wasn’t until Saturday, foot traffic meant lots of chats and interest before and after the main event. Sales happened person-to-person, and also online. We’re quietly confident we’ll have more business from those people who were a little reluctant to take the plunge immediately …
The fudge boat crew with a half face butterfly!
The fudge boat from my face painting pitch
Fudge in exchange for face painting – great deal!
The Borders Cheese Boat – delicious cheese
Lunch with cheese from the cheese boat, and chutneys from Wild Side (not trading at Middlewhich, bought from Droitiwch!)
Sue and Dave’s Spud boat
Jed’s wood carving boat – loved his snail and heron – he sold out of everything!
Wandering Duck, awesome short break hotel boat
Ruth and Mark
Barry also began selling greetings cards with some of his inspirational waterways images on, gathered over our boating journeys of over 2,000 miles of Britain’s Canal system from 2009 to today.
Barry’s greetings cards on display – there’s a better board on its way, and they’ll be for sale via www.thehomebrewboat.co.uk soon …
Funtastic Facepainting and glitter tattooing was great too, though far more people milling around on the sunny Saturday than the rather drizzly Sunday.
Doodling on my leg to practice brush strokes – as you do!
Friday was a busy day for CRT when a Day Hire narrowboat was discovered sunk in Lock 74. It took until the evening to finally discover the true story, after many gory possibilities had been postulated by passers by and boaters. Luckily there was no loss of life or limb – but a huge hold up of disgruntled boaters who weren’t able to move until the problem was cleared.
Barry was reliably (we hope!) informed, that said Day Boat had been hired by someone for a week. He’d entered the lock around 7am, managed to get the boat wedged on the sill and sunk, ditched his windlass at the side of the lock and legged it! He telephoned the hire company and apologised, but gave no details of where the boat was.
The poor firemen had to enter the boat to check for a body, having found none the rumour going around then was that there could be one wedged underneath the boat. The lock was subsequently drained to empty the boat and refloat it (I think that’s the procedure!) …
The sunken day hire boat, Lock 74
An unnecessary drain on resources, though on the bright side it did bring people together and got them chatting amiably!
Give me the night life …
We managed to fit in a number of nights out too, which was very nourishing, as Barry and I haven’t spent a lot of time enjoying ourselves together lately due to my commitment to dad and only really returning for festivals.
Thursday evening we joined other boaters for a Quiz Night at the Big Lock pub, Friday night we were enthralled by ‘Shamus O’blivion and the Megadeath MorrisMen‘ at The Kings Lock.
On said evening, we had a remarkable experience. I saw a woman walking into the marquee, who looked just like a midwife I was on a Royal College of Midwives Leadership course with in the mid 1990s. I’d since seen her once in person at a conference in Christchurch in 2006, and more recently spotted her on Facebook, in photos with another midwifery colleague, at a conference in Prague. So my brain quickly surmised that it could indeed be Mary – who emigrated to Australia some years ago.
I approached her, and the shock on her face was palpable! “But you’re in New Zealand!” she said, “How can you be here in Middlewhich?”
Synchronicity is a marvellous thing isn’t it?
A big hug with Mary
On Saturday evening we went to The Narrowboat pub, a very quaint and authentically decorated long and narrow (!) Middlewich establishment, and listened and laughed at more entertaining live singers – Hayley Strangelove and Paul Senior (who’s the ‘Son of Shinobi frontman).
Following that delight, it was the England/Italy World Cup match. I’d painted a glittery St George’s Cross Flag design on my cheek to feign patriotism (because really I’ve changed sides and resonate more with being a kiwi than a Brit, as I’m sure yore all aware), and an interest in football – unsurprisingly after watching much of the first half, and almost drifting off to sleep number of times, we left them to get on with the second half. Thank goodness we did – sounds like that was even more tedious!
Hayley and Paul at The Narrowboat
Come on England!
Football just doesn’t shake my rattle, but give me The All Blacks and a good game of rugby and I’ll be there in earnest!
Finally on Sunday evening, we partook of the convivial atmosphere of the Boars Head. Hayley was playing here again, but our delightful companion Michelle, from the art boat, brought along her guitar and her incredible singing voice, and we found ourselves in a cosy side room with a number of musicians. We thoroughly enjoyed an ‘open mike’ night. I perved and salivated over a spangly accordion, and wanted so much to play it. Thankfully I didn’t, it could’ve emptied the room. Songs, poetry and music – what an awesome and unexpected pleasure.
Look at that accordion!
A delightful evening of song and music
We had a couple of unexpected visitors too. Peter and Jennifer, from Tasmania (Australia), have an idyllic life of narrow boating in the British summer, and returning down under for the winter. Jennifer’s been reading our blog from the beginning in April 2009 – awesome to meet you both! Their narrowboat is named Mactras Filia, so look out for them and say ‘G’day’ if your paths cross.
Shortly afterwards, while Jennifer and Peter were chatting to us, Debbie and James, from NB Lois Jane caught up with us – more blog readers. I know blogging is so worthwhile when such events occur, we love meeting people – it’s a tad stranger admittedly, because they know so much about us (well what we reveal that is!) and we know little, if anything, about them!
Jennifer and Peter from Tasmania
James and Debbie
Heading to Manchester
On Tuesday we left Middlewich and moored near the Anderton Boat lift overnight. Marianne and Mick were there, from NB Lollipop, and we spent another lovely evening chatting amiably. This time sitting at a perfectly placed picnic table near our moorings, on a balmy summer’s evening.
A perfect spot for an evening of nibbles and drinks
It’s almost time for the longest day here in England, and we’re relishing having light until after 1030 pm, something that we didn’t ever have in Gisborne – so there are some advantages to being here rather than there, lol!
We’d booked to trade at the Lymm Historic Transport Day on Sunday 29th June, but after the Middlewich mooring fiasco, we’re pretty certain there’ll be a similar scenario there with no reserved moorings, and we’d then have just three days to get to Hebden Bridge – realistically it’s unachievable.
So we’ve cancelled Lymm and we’re looking forward to enjoying the experience of travelling new territory for us on the Rochdale Canal, for the Rochdale Boat Gathering for Le Tour de France, planning on arriving there around 1st July.
Phew! That was a long post, I hope you made it to the end …