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The scream of the ambulance is sounding…
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Friday,21 March, 2014
8:34 am
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There’s a lot to be said for marina life especially in a major city – hot showers, toilet facilities, washer/drier facilities, pump-out and Elsan – friendly helpful and chatty neighbours it’s all happening here in New Islington marina in the center ish of Manchester

What’s more the first week is free and then it’s just £5/night. I’ve paid more to pitch my tent on a campsite especially when there is more than one person and then the washing/shower/drying facilities are weak if not non-existent and usually cost on top of the pitch.

Then there’s the easy access to shops and supplies…easy access to cheap food and city life-entertainment, theatre and good ale.

a boat a marinaImage EnlargerHere at the New Islington all the facilities are included and the warmth and friendliness of the neighbours is a lovely inclusion. But I do long to be away from the scream of the ambulance, the constant sound of traffic, the numpties who run across my roof at night (not every night) despite the CCTV warnings and the wailing of police chases punctuated by the clatter of the overhead helicopter and the now-and-again gunning of a ninja/RC 30/ or some other super bike capable of massive engine revs, acceleration and speed.

Then there’s those people who ask me for money on a daily basis…I will offer a chat, a word, spend a little time with them and their dogs but I am not keen to give money as it is so easy to do and in my opinion has such a short future and no great outlook.

got any bread misterImage EnlargerI filled up my water tank today and wound my diesel up to 1200 rpm to counter the wind, have had a day of washing clothes and preparing for my (hopefully) coming voyage down the locks on the Rochdale. I am planning a Saturday departure all assuming I get the parts for my JABSCO Water Puppy and that I can fix the thing myself and replace it to do the job it wasn’t doing properly before…which led to my filling the under floor compartments with water.

The geese have retired for the evening but the white-noise of constant traffic breathing out never subsides and the screaming sirens come to a pitch and fade away only to be replaced by a traffic horn sounded for so long it must be as a rebuke. Now as I sit here I can hear pedestrian traffic discussing the pleasure of the Vodka they are drinking, their conversation gets louder and louder like the wail of sirens and fades despite their volume as they stagger along the footpath – I wait and listen perhaps cruelly hoping for the splashing sound which does not come.

its all the same to meImage EnlargerThere is a lot to be said for the marina but the location and population density leaves me cold and yearning to get away.

Many a lovely view from my boat allows me some escape – after a while though I am struggling to find a difference. Perhaps I should not seek to make beauty out of what is dirty, angry, fast, furious and overflowing in obesity.

out the backImage EnlargerWhat I should do probably is tell it like it is…I can only hear the screaming sirens not to warn others they are on their way but to cry painfully at the horror they are chasing – tell it like it is, its constant and like all demons has no reflection and despite its noise and pitch is soon easily lost in the mayhem and constant white noise of city life.

a half viewImage EnlargerI looked at a few apartments in the City Centre wondering if I should tackle city-life again and continue with my trade. I saw some very attractive dwellings and seriously considered taking one as my home. But could I stand the pace and noise, constant rush and wailing’s of high speed life…like all of us yes of course I could stand it but in time I would return to the madness of the city punctuated only by the beauty and thoughtfulness of the art I seek. I would be absorbed and homogenized with all that is ugly and beauty at the same time, all that is madness and so I would rush to my own end, rather than amble down the bray in a toodling manner.

20140312_073200Image EnlargerI want to get going, I want to go, I want to go… but am tethered to the needs of my boat – please make it easy for me to fix this pump and refit and please let the bloody thing work, I beseech thee wherever/whatever thee may be…give a boater a break that doesn’t involve a limb or being out on one.

much the sameImage EnlargerAnnoyingly I didn’t note which wire is live…am guessing red on the water puppy but is it the blue or the brown on the boat end…probably I will have  to trawl the internet to be sure as running the new impeller the wrong way will damage it. Any advice gratefully received.

Friday,21 March, 2014
9:48 am
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Another thoroughly interesting post Ian.

As you know, I am moored in a marina, but my life here couldn’t be more different from what you are experiencing at the moment.

There’s a cold north westerly blowing but a bright sun is shining from a cloudless sky. I look up from my laptop and I can see the bull rushes dancing in the breeze. I saw a kingfisher land on one last year but at the moment they only bird life near them are the squadrons of low flying mallards as two or three males try and get their wicked way with single petrified females.

The scene through my window looked so inviting that I’ve just had a break from writing this post to take the dogs for a quick walk around the marina.I love this time of year. The marina banks are studded with bright yellow daffodils, colour is coming back to the trees as the willows lead the field with a soft coat of green shoots, and the air is filled by the terrified honks of half a dozen Canada geese as they flap frantically away from our resident male swan.

There are no sirens here, ever. If the wind’s blowing in the right direction I can only sometimes hear some background traffic noise from the main Southam to Daventry road but, other than that, my home berth is a tranquil 110 acre haven.

There are no yobs here to dance across my boat roof. They wouldn’t do it for long if they tried. I used to be a very angry young man. I spent thirteen years working in or managing what were often quite challenging pubs. Violent confrontation was a daily part of life and a part of my job which the company thought I was rather good at. Unfortunately after more than a decade of expecting the worst from customers who were usually unbalanced by unhealthy quantities of drugs and/or drink I became rather confrontational.

What I really love about living on a boat out in the country is that I don’t need to interact with the dregs of society. My life is very peaceful these days. I keep myself to myself but I am not at all happy if someone tries to ruin the tranquility, and running across the roof of my house would definitely count as ruining the tranquility.

Urban moorings may suit some people but, as far as I am concerned, they defeat the object of living on a boat. The purpose of living afloat for me is to get as far away as possible from all the madness. I don’t ever want to go back to it.

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Friday,21 March, 2014
10:18 am
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Thanks Paul for your response to my blog…all you say about the marina you live on is what inspires me to get going. I have no destination more the restrictions of finances but none of time save the obvious for all life.

I am not in the least bit confrontational…I too used to be that angry young man and it was pointed out to me…me angry I would scream what do you effing mean I AM NOT ANGRY but obviously was. It was whilst working in FE (Further Education) as a maths teacher with those who had under-achieved at school that I learned that confrontation was all these young people knew and so instead I would ask them what was wrong, why were they so upset whilst I remained seated as they screamed at the tops of their voices about how they were going to ‘get’ me – my way is to negotiate which quite often with a drug/drunk or otherwise angry person just does not work. I have been advised by the site manager (Ben – a great bloke and very helpful) not to come out of my barge when they run on my roof but to call 101 who will look at the CCTV and deal with the trespassers in due course.

It is a beautiful image you describe and I can see it all in my minds eye…the peace the tranquility the way the sun dances on the water, the particular lack of rubbish that punctuates city life and above all the only noise being the wind which may howl but always in tune, the wildlife and the gentle ambling pace of daily existence.

I would trade being a teacher for being a gardener any day if I could live in the peace and tranquility of the garden that you appropriately describe as heaven.

Friday,21 March, 2014
1:35 pm
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One of the good things about boating is that we don’t have a b……y garden.

Do you remember a TV as for an insurance policy a few years ago. The husband is saying ‘I want to spend more time in the garden’ The wife is saying ‘bugger the garden, I want to go on a cruise’!

Living retirement in the slow lane.

20 years hiring, 6 years of shared ownership and a Continuous Cruiser since 2007 but still learning!

Friday,21 March, 2014
1:38 pm
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I know what you mean, and I mostly agree with you, but I can also see Sally’s point of view. There’s something very satisfying about watching a plant grow which you have put in the ground yourself. It’s like rearing a child, but without the screaming!

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Friday,21 March, 2014
3:45 pm
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pearley said
One of the good things about boating is that we don’t have a b……y garden.

One of the bad things about boating is that I don’t have a b….y garden – especially in the winter – I have a dog and am dreading going back to the boat tomorrow as he will be expecting me to let him out every 10 minutes!

Retired; Somerset/Dorset border when not out and about on Lucy Lowther

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Friday,21 March, 2014
7:51 pm
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I felt sad Vaguehippo, when I read your post.  I am sitting here in our marina, I can hear the A50, although I don’t notice it, I can see 4 huge chimneys (no longer working), loads of boats as it is a big marina, I can hear a train go past now and again and every now and then, dogs giving a bark as they go for a walk around with their owners but,  I never have the worry of drunks/druggies walking over my roof, or CCTV having to watch and report what is going on.  I could not stand it.  The noises do not bother me at all, but the thought of these threatening situations would so spoil, what should be an enjoyable way of life.

We escaped on to this tranquil and beautiful way  of life to get away from pain in the neck neighbours, stressful work and to get back to the necessities of life, getting rid of loads of baggage – furniture and belongings that we really do not need.

I hope that you find some peace soon and a mooring where you can enjoy your life on your boat.  Life is too short for it be interfered with by others.

 

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Saturday,22 March, 2014
7:32 am
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Thanks for your empathy Deckhand….I fixed my pump an astonishing feat for me especially when it actually worked. I had some assistance from Ben the site manager, who gave me some new parts for the electrical connection and it works a goodun.

 

I will be leaving this place tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 08.30 and hope to be mooring in peaceful and remote places by Tuesday or Wednesday….the sun is shining and the weather is sweet…time to be moving on.

Saturday,22 March, 2014
11:18 am
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Vaguehippo said
Thanks for your empathy Deckhand….I fixed my pump an astonishing feat for me especially when it actually worked. I had some assistance from Ben the site manager, who gave me some new parts for the electrical connection and it works a goodun.

 

I will be leaving this place tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 08.30 and hope to be mooring in peaceful and remote places by Tuesday or Wednesday….the sun is shining and the weather is sweet…time to be moving on.

CoolLaughCool

 

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Saturday,22 March, 2014
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Vaguehippo said
Thanks for your empathy Deckhand….I fixed my pump an astonishing feat for me especially when it actually worked. I had some assistance from Ben the site manager, who gave me some new parts for the electrical connection and it works a goodun.

 

I will be leaving this place tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 08.30 and hope to be mooring in peaceful and remote places by Tuesday or Wednesday….the sun is shining and the weather is sweet…time to be moving on.

So when you get to the bottom of the Rochdale 9 which way are you going?

 

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Saturday,22 March, 2014
3:13 pm
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pearley said

Vaguehippo said

So when you get to the bottom of the Rochdale 9 which way are you going?

 

I’m turning right heading north east then picking up the Leeds Liverpool heading towards Darwen, Blackburn etc…then East but am in two minds about the Trent heading south…must check with the insurance company as although rivers are included they are only allowed as a connection and the Trent seems big enough/long enough to be viewed as potentially more than a connection maybe…

Saturday,22 March, 2014
3:28 pm
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OK. Castle fields at the bottom is an OK stop, next there are moorings at Barton Park for the Trafford Centre then at Worsley. After Booths town where Bridgewater Marina is anywhere is OK to moor. One of our favourites is at Astley Green where you can see the headstock’s of the old coal mine. There are rings here on the non towpath side but you might need to hunt in the grass for them. Two reasonable pubs here. There at some reasonable mooring spots before Leigh but I’m not keen on Leigh itself unless you are lucky to get the one spot at the back of Lidl.

Back out in the country around the lift bridge at Plank Lane is OK, or in the embryo marina there. Another nice spot is at Dover Lock. No locks now but a nice looking pub. There are 2 locks at Poolstock before you arrive at Wigan. Not the nicest locks ifyou are single handed. Although the 21 is to the right, go left at the junction and drop down a lock for Wigan itself. Quite a nice town really with p!entry of mooring.

You’ll probably be gone before we get there on or about 10 April.

If you do go onto the Trent, consider going on a VHF operators course and getting  2 way radio so you can speak to the lock keepers.

 

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Saturday,22 March, 2014
5:12 pm
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pearley said
OK. Castle fields at the bottom is an OK stop, next there are moorings at Barton Park for the Trafford Centre then at Worsley. After Booths town where Bridgewater Marina is anywhere is OK to moor. One of our favourites is at Astley Green where you can see the headstock’s of the old coal mine. There are rings here on the non towpath side but you might need to hunt in the grass for them. Two reasonable pubs here. There at some reasonable mooring spots before Leigh but I’m not keen on Leigh itself unless you are lucky to get the one spot at the back of Lidl.

Back out in the country around the lift bridge at Plank Lane is OK, or in the embryo marina there. Another nice spot is at Dover Lock. No locks now but a nice looking pub. There are 2 locks at Poolstock before you arrive at Wigan. Not the nicest locks ifyou are single handed. Although the 21 is to the right, go left at the junction and drop down a lock for Wigan itself. Quite a nice town really with p!entry of mooring.

You’ll probably be gone before we get there on or about 10 April.

If you do go onto the Trent, consider going on a VHF operators course and getting  2 way radio so you can speak to the lock keepers.

 

Many many thanks – what an absolute mine of information thank you so much for taking the time to lay it all out for me…yes VHF was something i was considering but these course where are they run and what would one expect to pay also given I live on my boat would i be taking it along am assuming there’s water lol as it won’t fit into my rucksack which is a shame.

It would be very nice to meet up with fellow boaters and esp those i have spoken to here but you’re correct in thinking that apart from problems I will probably be gone by April 10th.

 

Can you say what is wrong with the locks at Poolstock – are they just hard work or is there something else.

 

Are you suggesting that most of Leigh is not the best place to stop…can I get beyond the dodgy bits in easy ish time or will I need more than a day?

 

I looked at VHF sets – did I see they were about £120. Hope to catch up with you somewhere at sometime…best wishes.

 

Saturday,22 March, 2014
6:14 pm
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Poolstock locks are heavy and slow. Lock landing not very user friendly. Bottom gatesvare like the Rochdale with windlass’ to open and close. If you can pair up with another boat it makes life so much easier.

Leigh itself is a nice enough town. The canal widens out with a wide towpath besides some housing, maybe sheltered, but I ve never felt comfortable enough to stay there overnight. On the other side of the canal is a large warehouse converted into a pub with a large carpark and  a Lidl. There is space for two narrowboat to moor between the pub and the road bridge. I would be happy enough to moor there. However, Astley Green to Leigh is about 2 miles and only another 2 miles to Plank Lane so no need to moor in Leigh other than for supplies. Oh, and last time we passed there was a huge new Tesco, unfortunately without moorings.

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Saturday,22 March, 2014
7:17 pm
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pearley said
Poolstock locks are heavy and slow. Lock landing not very user friendly. Bottom gatesvare like the Rochdale with windlass’ to open and close. If you can pair up with another boat it makes life so much easier.

Leigh itself is a nice enough town. The canal widens out with a wide towpath besides some housing, maybe sheltered, but I ve never felt comfortable enough to stay there overnight. On the other side of the canal is a large warehouse converted into a pub with a large carpark and  a Lidl. There is space for two narrowboat to moor between the pub and the road bridge. I would be happy enough to moor there. However, Astley Green to Leigh is about 2 miles and only another 2 miles to Plank Lane so no need to moor in Leigh other than for supplies. Oh, and last time we passed there was a huge new Tesco, unfortunately without moorings.

Thanks for the clarity i will be careful with unfamiliar locks and take my time which I’ve learned is a must…I will look for the best bits on my (old) maps that came with the boat – at the end of a long day single handed a nice local pub with good ale and not too expensive food is always welcome though I have found myself to be quite a good cook with casseroles that can last for days and days – however a pub is always an attractive alternative.

 

I will keep you posted as to where I am and perhaps we can catch up at some stage.

 

Sunday,23 March, 2014
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I don’t think you need VHF for the Trent if you go via the New Junction And S Yorkshire Navigations, so long as you have a mobile.  If you go via Trent Falls it is probably advisable (a requirement?).  Lockies are very helpful and will phone ahead and if you fail to turn up will sound the alarm so you need to tell them where you are going to stop and if you change your plans.  Your mooring options are West Stockwith (for the Chesterfield), Torksey, Dunham Bridge (good moorings and walks) and then Cromwell at the limit of the tidal section. Watch out for the water skiers just past Torksey – they delight in getting as close as possible and riding your wash.  Keep an eye astern and be ready to manoeuvre to avoid being caught broadside on, which I failed to do the first time and had an interesting ride!

Have you discovered canalplan.eu where you can get estimated journey times for your route – you can put in your own speeds and times for locks – great site.

Your insurance should not be a problem but you obviously need to confirm, especially if intending via Trent Falls.

 

 

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Sunday,23 March, 2014
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Hi Vaguehippo hope your destressing a little now. Castlefield was my first stop after picking my boat up from Lymm and we had no problems. There are a couple of decent if Yuppie type pubs there. I’m based in Mercia along with Deckhand but we haven’t met up yet and it is a safe and lovely place. It might not be quite as tranquil and lovely as where Paul is but it’s not the middle of Manchester either.

I’m sure you’ll find your own rhythm as you go along but NO don’t rejoin the ratrace if you’ve managed to get out. I still have to work for a living and work in the unloading bay of a large Co-op warehouse and so look forward to coming home and my days off. I struggle with peoples attitudes and lack of respect for anyone else but themselves. But it’s each to his/her own and thankfully there are plenty of people who like the city life otherwise the canals would be overcrowded with all the idiots who now frequent the cities and we have enough water borne idiots of our own. But not too many.

On the route planning front I like a site run by Jim Shead. Google canal maps and look for his name. His site gives mileage from bridge to bridge to lock to tunnel and anything else that’s there along with how long the canal is and how many locks in total. There are also photo galleries of all the canals. I find it very easy to use and very helpful.

Have fun and I’ll look forward to reading of your exploits in the days to come.

Our Nige

Saturday,29 March, 2014
5:46 pm
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Alan said
I don’t think you need VHF for the Trent if you go via the New Junction And S Yorkshire Navigations, so long as you have a mobile.  If you go via Trent Falls it is probably advisable (a requirement?).  Lockies are very helpful and will phone ahead and if you fail to turn up will sound the alarm so you need to tell them where you are going to stop and if you change your plans.  Your mooring options are West Stockwith (for the Chesterfield), Torksey, Dunham Bridge (good moorings and walks) and then Cromwell at the limit of the tidal section. Watch out for the water skiers just past Torksey – they delight in getting as close as possible and riding your wash.  Keep an eye astern and be ready to manoeuvre to avoid being caught broadside on, which I failed to do the first time and had an interesting ride!

Have you discovered canalplan.eu where you can get estimated journey times for your route – you can put in your own speeds and times for locks – great site.

Your insurance should not be a problem but you obviously need to confirm, especially if intending via Trent Falls.

 
I will have a look at the site u suggest thank you. I’ve slowed down considerably and after doing the Wigan flight and all the problems I had in the Wigan basin and the lock just by Britania Bridge (which I’m about to blog) I was told there was a serious stoppage at Blackburn lock 55 which would last 4 two weeks minimum…so am moored in quite a nice area near Riley Green Marina, have stocked up and and going to try and catch up with blogs and other matters such as cleaning the barge, stocking up on wood from foraging etc and do some walking/cycling too
 

 

Saturday,29 March, 2014
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Our Nige said
Hi Vaguehippo hope your destressing a little now. Castlefield was my first stop after picking my boat up from Lymm and we had no problems. There are a couple of decent if Yuppie type pubs there. I’m based in Mercia along with Deckhand but we haven’t met up yet and it is a safe and lovely place. It might not be quite as tranquil and lovely as where Paul is but it’s not the middle of Manchester either.

I’m sure you’ll find your own rhythm as you go along but NO don’t rejoin the ratrace if you’ve managed to get out. I still have to work for a living and work in the unloading bay of a large Co-op warehouse and so look forward to coming home and my days off. I struggle with peoples attitudes and lack of respect for anyone else but themselves. But it’s each to his/her own and thankfully there are plenty of people who like the city life otherwise the canals would be overcrowded with all the idiots who now frequent the cities and we have enough water borne idiots of our own. But not too many.

On the route planning front I like a site run by Jim Shead. Google canal maps and look for his name. His site gives mileage from bridge to bridge to lock to tunnel and anything else that’s there along with how long the canal is and how many locks in total. There are also photo galleries of all the canals. I find it very easy to use and very helpful.

Have fun and I’ll look forward to reading of your exploits in the days to come.

Our Nige

Hi Our Nige such great information many thanks. I am finding my own rhythm that’s for sure and anyway no matter how slowly or quickly I go I cannot defeat the many stoppages I have encountered thus far – even those that hold me up just overnight. I’ve had the canal and river trust people out at least 3 times now to sort out water problems – very nice and helpful chaps one and all and I now know how to do a boatmans hitch as well thanks to one of them. But now I’m told there are stoppages at Blackburn so am going to stay nr Riley Green ish area whilst it is sorted (they said a couple of weeks) as Blackburn is not so desirable to moor in or at.A note online said next message would be April 7th regarding this issue so there’s no going on at this stage.

 

I will check out the site you suggest whilst I am here and sites suggested by pearsley as well – whilst I am here.

 

One thing I have met some wonderful people…Ewart on Moonshadow bought me breakfast when I got stuck at the bottom of Johnsons Hill and then Jim and Angela took me to Preston (in their car) for supplies as I was going to need them with stoppages at Blackburn. We came up the Johnsons Hillock together with the assistance of the canal and river trust man and Angela, very nice and very helpful all the way…is it the lack of stress or the stress of a different kind of life that keeps us afloat (water seeming to be in short supply) – I still feel stressed, a bit paranoid about my boat and a bit worried about what I’m doing/if I’m doing it right etc have the correct kit, maps and so on…I keep dreaming that I’m sinking lol and who knows maybe I am. Am about to blog my way out of Manchester…its been a week, where did it go….and what day is it…oh yes I remember.

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