A busy day

Trip Start Apr 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
on board Charis in Picadilly Village

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday 5th

10 miles
18 locks

Left even earlier this morning, just before 8 o'clock. We intended to try and get through Manchester as the weather looked promising. Bryan was thinking that we would go along the Rochdale Canal once we reached Ducie Street Junction in the middle of the city. When we had a more detailed look yesterday evening we realised how complicated it was (You have to book your journey 24 hours in advance and only 4 boats a day are allowed over the summit etc). So we thought we would turn left at the junction instead and go along via Old Trafford then up to the Bridgewater Canal and maybe look in more detail about coming back via the Rochdale.

We prepared to leave, taking bottles of water and some food for lunch incase we didn't find anywhere to stop plus waterproofs and sunhats all to the back of the boat so we had everything to hand. Just as well we did. We thought we might stop before the last 3 locks for lunch but we didn't get there till nearly 3. I would have passed out with hunger before then. I can't believe it took us nearly 5 hours to do just 18 locks over a 3 mile stretch. All the locks needed the anti vandal key and some of the locks were difficult. Quite a few paddles were not working which made filling and emptying much slower. But the sun was shining so it was quite a pleasurable journey all in all. And there were some magic moments including a host of little swallows flying all around the boat and diving to the water to catch the insects. They came so close and I had time to watch them while waiting for the locks to fill. Another moment was sharing some time with a group of youngsters from the local special school out for a walk with their carers. 

We were told by a fellow boater that there were another 21 locks after the 18 we were doing before leaving Manchester. Couldn't face any more so we decided to try one of the basins to see if there was room. We noticed that Piccadilly Village, a private mooring area, allowed visitors to use it on a 24 hour basis so we pulled in there. It is a tiny little basin probably only big enough for 3 boats max. There was only a hire boat there already so we have moored up too. It is in the middle of some very nice houses so we have pulled our curtains on one side to give the residents more privacy from us

We are actually on the Aston Canal which is wider than the Peak Forest and much more open. We love the Peak Forest Canal east of the Macclesfield but not so keen on the stretch to the west of the Makkie. It goes through quite a bit of wooded area and is getting to be quite overgrown and there are very few places to moor. In contrast, the Aston was much nicer, even though it goes through mostly built up areas. 

The good news is we don't have another 21 locks to do tomorrow. We counted only 9. Still can't download photos. Sorry. Will try again later today when we have moved.

Bryan's reflections
"Why do you watch that violent rubbish?" is something Hazel often says to me. Anything violent or using foul language is anathema to her. I must confess, I enjoy what I think of as adventure movies. Even my children chide me on my choice of films. Ever since I bought Gappa the Gargantuan Monster, I have been known as dad the lover of rubbish movies. Scripture points out that it's not what goes into a person that is important but what comes out. I must admit that I do often wonder if we become desensitised by the stuff the media puts out, always pushing at the boundaries of acceptability. Thinking about the stuff that goes in and what comes out led me to think that we must have a filtering system. For me, my hope is in the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom. Today, as we were going through a very industrialised part of Manchester; among the grey and the concrete landscape I saw a cluster of yellow flowers growing where you would expect anything to be able to grow as if saying that beauty will never be totally subdued. So perhaps there's hope for me yet!
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