Friday, December 30, 2011
A big thank you to everyone who gave us Christmas cards & gifts, we are always so overwhelmed by your generosity, home made Christmas cake & mince pies, panatone, bottles of wine & beer,biscuits & chocolates, even a bluetooth headset so we can answer the phone hands free. But what we really appreciated was the very kind words from you all, it's just so lovely to be appreciated & we know we are so lucky to work within a community of such good people.
We had a good old fashioned family christmas staying with my (Brian's) parents on the Wirral. We were amazed to still have my Sister Aileen with us to share Christmas day & my parents looked after us all so well, love you Mum & Dad.
Today it's back to work for us. We're loading Alton this morning & if all goes well we're hoping to start the round later this afternoon, so that we can hopefully have a reasonably early finish for New Years Eve before heading onto the Peak Forest on New Years Day.
All the best, from Brian & Ann Marie
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
On Friday evening & Saturday we had our Godson Peter to stay with us. He was in good form & he loves to stay in "his" forecabin on Alton. We stayed in on Friday, Ann Marie made us nachos & flour tortilla's for tea, then we all settled down to watch Monsters Inc on DVD which we all enjoyed. Saturday morning we went off to the Imperial War Museum North, where we had an interesting time with quite a few hands on things for Peter to do. The exhibition on war correspondents was very good & thought provoking. Later we went into Manchester city centre to the Christmas Market followed by noodles for tea at Wagamamma - yum. So after all that chilling we were well rested for getting back to work!
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
We set off from Poynton at 8am with the wind and rain making there presence know again. We had a busy morning in Poynton, High Lane & Marple with lots of people stocking up on solid fuels. We also noticed that more people are now purchasing fuel additives. We now stock Fuelset http://liquideng.co.uk/ & Marine 16 http://www.marine16.co.uk/index.html , see their web pages for more details on these products.
From Marple we continued down the Upper Peak Forest and the weather turned even worse. We served our last customers of the day at New Mills before continuing on in the dark to Bugworth Basin. We got ourselves in the cabin to get warm, dry & changed into fresh clothes. We decided to treat ourselves to tea at the Navvy, Ann Marie enjoyed navigation chicken, whilst Brian made a pig of himself with the mixed grill. Clean plates all round made it clear we enjoyed the food and were ready for it. On the beer front there were the usual suspects of Black Sheep & Tim Taylor's Landlord but there was also Buxton High Tor at 6.3%, Brian decided to try a pint of this Indian Red Ale and was rewarded with a lovely malty yet hoppy beer that was surprisingly easy to drink. Later we were joined by George & Irene Boyle & we had a very pleasant evening catching up with each others news. Suffice to say we were the last customers to leave as the night just flew by in good company. We came out of the pub to find a light covering of snow had fallen. But we soon settled down to sleep in our cosy warm cabin on Alton.
We reset the alarm a few times on Monday morning but eventually dragged ourselves out of bed by 7.30. We had to sweep the snow & hail of the gunnels before we could start. Our first customers were on Polestar moored in the lower Basin, this was a new customer for us & it was good to meet such a lovely friendly couple who had been helping on the IWPS work party on the previous day. We continued our deliveries with a busy morning around Whaley Bridge & Furness Vale. At some point we realised that our shunting pole had gone missing from the cabin top at some point, so please keep your eyes open for a 7ft ash shaft & with a curly pigs tail hook on the end.
The weather continued to be atrocious with a mixture of rain, sleet, snow & hail. We finally tied up at Poynton wide after serving our last few customers as darkness fell. We had good old Fray Bentos Pie, potatoes & veg for tea & then chilled out in the cabin & got a much needed early night
On Monday the weather seemed even worse, if that was possible! We donned some extra layers, swept the gunnels & cloths of snow & set off by 8. We still had quite a few customers to catch on the way back, so we took it in turns to steer & grab some breakfast, eggy bread mmm! We had some good drops of coal in Bollington & around Macc & we soon found we sold out of Pet Coke, House Coal & various brands of Smokeless, it's certainly good to be busy! So all in all we had a very successful if rather knackering coal round.
Friday, December 02, 2011
Sat 17th to Tues 20th Dec:- Oakgrove (Macc Br49) to Marple, Bugsworth & Whaley Bridge return
Wed 21st to Fri 23rd Dec:- Road deliveries to Congleton, Kidsgrove, Middlewich, Nantwich, Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester Piccadilly etc.
Sat 31st Dec to Wed 4th Jan:- Oakgrove (Macc Br49) to Marple, Bugsworth & Whaley Bridge return
Sat 14th to Tues 17th Jan:- Oakgrove (Macc Br49) to Marple, Bugsworth & Whaley Bridge return
Wed 25th to Fri 27th Jan:- Road deliveries to Congleton, Kidsgrove, Middlewich, Nantwich, Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester Piccadilly etc.
Sat 28th to Tues 31st Jan:- Oakgrove (Macc Br49) to Marple, Bugsworth & Whaley Bridge return
Fri 10th to Mon 13th Feb:- Oakgrove (Macc Br49) to Marple, Bugsworth & Whaley Bridge return
Tues 14th to Sat 18th Feb:- Oakgrove (Macc Br49) to Congelton Kidsgrove, Middlewich, Nantwich, Chester & Ellesmere Port
Sun 19th to Fri 24th Feb:- Ellesmere Port to Chester, Middlewich, Anderton, River Weaver, Preston
Brook, Kidsgrove, & Oakgrove (Macc Br 49)
Sat 25th to Tues 28th Feb:- Oakgrove (Macc Br49) to Marple, Bugsworth & Whaley Bridge return
Well it's been another hectic couple of weeks for us, nothing new there! We've been too-ing and fro-ing from Macclesfield up to the Wirral a lot to spend more time with my Sister Aileen. She's had some good days and bad days, but on the whole she is deteriorating. Last Wednesday whilst up delivering supplies around Chester I called in to see Aileen, she wasn't in the best of form, she turned up her nose at a bowl of soup, she didn't want a cuppa, and gave me a her withering look when I tried to feed her ice cream. I could tell she was down in the dumps, "do you want to go & sit in your room & listen to some music?" ..... silence, "do you want to go outside for a fag?"....... in desperation, "do you want to go to the pub?", "YES" came the reply. So my Brother Mike and I took her down to the Caernarfon Castle pub down the road where she declared "this is great" (the most she's said in some time) and supped a half a lager whilst Mike and I checked out the Wainwright bitter. Mike and I took Aileen out again on Sunday and she was much brighter and more alert. We went to West Kirby for the afternoon, we blew the cobwebs away walking on the prom & watched the wind surfers at play. We soon retired to a cosy cafe for a late lunch and although she didn't eat much she enjoyed a good proper coffee.
|Aileen & Brian Blowing the Cobwebs Away at West Kirby|
Unfortunately since then Aileen's taken a bit of a turn for the worse & is struggling to eat or drink or take her medication, so it's not an easy time at the moment but friends and family are spending plenty of time with her.
It's also been good to get some fender making done also, it's such a satisfying and rewarding thing to make a good set of fenders and have something to show for your days efforts. It's also very therapeutic to just work away in your own little world hitching away and watching the ropework build into something that you can be proud to have made. Our regular customer Gary & Tracy on "Essence" ordered a long button fender in Victory black rope for the Stern of their lovely Braidbar boat, they had a bit of trouble working out how to fit the fender, so on our last coal run we called in and fitted it for them.
|Essence's Long Button|
Then on Sunday we met up with our old 2CV friends Dave & Ann Marie Burdett, who after much preparation have bought their own narrow boat "Legend". They also needed new fenders for their boat so they met us at Marple to collect them. Sorry we couldn't stop long to chat with you guys it was so tempting to stop for a pint or two at the Ring o' Bells, but we were already running late! Anyway Dave & Ann Marie seemed more than happy with their fenders when they fitted them on Legend and even posted a couple of good photos on their blog http://www.becominglistless.blogspot.com/
Also whilst out on our last coal run we were joined by a new crew member, this very friendly robin. He hopped around and investigated the boat for quite some time, lets hope we see a bit more of this happy chap to brighten our winter days
Sunday, November 20, 2011
My Sister Aileen has had her ups & downs, but unfortunately she's taken a turn for the worse & isn't really able to do much for herself at the moment. I went up to see her yesterday though & she's still able to smoke a fag & raise a smile!
We spent much of last week emptying Aileens house in Stockport which was a sad but necessary job. Then for the rest of the week we've been playing catch up with Ann Marie up to her eyes in paperwork and Brian changing the motor on the fuel pump & servicing Alton's engine.
We are now out delivering with Alton on the Macc this weekend. It's been very busy so far, so it looks like we won't make it to Whaley Bridge until tomorrow (Monday).
Monday, November 07, 2011
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Saturday, November 05, 2011
On Saturday morning after a brief introduction we got knotting, making a couple of side fenders by crowning the rope. We worked with Victory Black rope which is a staple spun polypropylene designed to look like tarred hemp, it's a lovely material to work with as it knots very well. With a little persuasion we all stopped work for a lovely hearty lunch of Chilli Con Carne with Apple Charlotte for pudding mmm!
Mid-afternoon we stopped crowning & started making the core for our button fenders. These where made using 36mm polypropylene rope which we bound into circular cheeses using the same binding knot we had taught in the morning.
On Sunday morning we completed making our cores making sure they where a good shape & well bound together including the chains. Then it was time for the hitching to commence. We carefully put the required numbers of half-hitches on the centre spine, making sure they were evenly spaced & with a consistent tension. Once again it was a battle to get people to stop work for lunch but in the end the temptation of Christine's Chicken wrapped in bacon with roast potatoes & veggies was too much to resist. The afternoon seemed to just fly by as we continued to hitch, learning where to drop stitches & how to splice in more rope. By the end of the day everyone had completed their buttons to a good standard and they were better than you see in many chandleries. We thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, our trainees were very keen to learn & it was a pleasure to pass on our skills to them. So a big thank you to Kim, Pete & Mark for being such a pleasure to work with and also to Peter & Christine at Audlem Mill for being such good hosts & feeding us so well.
Our next fendermaking course at Audlem Mill will be 3rd & 4th March 2012.