Up and Down the Hillock
I’m grounded at least I feel as if I am grounded. I knew about an appointment at the hosp I have to attend at the end of the month and had planned to get a train to the hosp from wherever I was, then I needed to sort the boat out so I could safely use the Morso, charge the batteries, have a working bilge pump etc so when it turned out I could go no further than Riley Green as lock 55 in Blackburn was down – and who wants to moor in Blackburn – I found myself with every reason to turn back.
I seem to be getting pretty good at winding in narrow areas but I think the boat handles particularly well.
My dreams see me going round in circles…I could have been half-way to Leeds by now but here I am stuck in the Blackburn, Chorley not far from Bolton (where I once resided) area…as if grounded for my sins. So I did what I thought stranded or grounded boaters do or did..
I made bread – sadly not that kind bread but this…well from this to this…
No big deal I know loads of people make bread, but its my first go and I did it because I’d run out of food more or less. But a good mug of tea and this bread with honey was just wonderful and lifted my grounded spirits back to the heavens once more.
To help pass the time and maintain my levels of fitness I’ve been riding Claud(ia – Butler) – she a right goer when she gets into one of her 24 gears…she resides quietly on the roof of the boat. Other than the boat she has become my main mode of transport though she does make my bum sore…I’m sure its not supposed to be like that…
…and then there’s the scenery, the sunsets, the people to talk to and the grumpy geese tapping the sides of the boat for some of my nice bread…no chance kiddo…
…and then I think I’m drinking too much so I am going to cut that out if at all possible…I just want to get going again…I feel I am under starters order I need to see this month through and be off.
I came down Johnson’s Hillock single handed the other day. The locks are close enough together to be able to leave the boat whilst I sorted out the next lock. Annoyingly there are no mooring pins in the basins which for the single handed boater is a proper pain in the neck. Ok, so I could moor up in the basin etc off and use my mooring pins and me hammer etc but that assumes there’s sufficient water in the basin to be able to get close enough to get off the boat…the water level seemed a bit down.
So at each lock I was caused to leave the boat loosely tethered and walk down to the next lock and prepare it ready for me to just drive straight in. I only loosely tethered the boat because the lock gates are constantly leaking and during my absence the water tends to ooze out. One of my biggest concerns is what can happen to the boat if the water drops away when I am off at the other lock preparing it for my arrival and it is tethered too tight. I usually use a rope tethered to the roof of the boat but have in the past used a rope tethered to the side…in such an event potentially capsizing the boat seems a possibility.
I suppose I could drop the boat down first by emptying the lock but this requires two trips up and down the ladders which I think is one of the most dangerous bits, walking on the roof and climbing the sometimes wobbly ladders. Its twice the journey going down to prep the next lock, then coming back completing the lock where the boat is and then taking her out and into the next lock, walking back and closing the gates and then walking down to the next lock etc etc…but hey all the joys of the single handed boater.
I’ve enjoyed some lovely sunset and lately the full-moons in this area. Probably as a constant cruiser I’m hanging about a bit long but just till the end of this month then its back up Johnson’s Hillock again and off up and over towards Leeds.
Have also met some great people, kind and friendly. warm and helpful and feel a certain surety of meeting many more in my coming travels but need to try and create some kind of income to assist me and keep my dream afloat, oddment my income etc.
A mate has bought me a Raptor 38cc Petrol Chainsaw…there are loads of fallen and seemingly abandoned tree-trunks about the place…so I’m going to get some bags and prepare bags of wood that potentially I could sell. I must get a picture of myself with the Raptor and all the safety kit, head visor with face guard, gloves and shin guards…I’ll try and get the picture sorted prior to the point where I cut one of my limbs off…a sort of before and lack of after shot.
Starting in May its back up Johnson’s Hillock and off up and over…and away.