Saturday, June 29, 2019

Anglo-American Independance cruise 2019

Saturday 29th June 2019

Having secured the use of Jannock for our 2019 cruise, Simon and Alyssa flew into Manchester airport, hired a huge Ford transit van (less than a third of the price of the smallest car) and located Jannock at Burscough to unpack and prepare.

Shopping was done and Jannock prepared for her jetlagged American crew arriving tomorrow before Alyssa and Simon headed to the Hop Vine for fish suppers and some (long missed) real ales.

Alarms set for early in the morning and then early to bed.

Sunday 30th June 2019

By 7am we were heading back to the airport in the huge transit van where Alyssa went to meet her family whilst Simon returned the hire van. Then every-one caught the train into Manchester in order to try and stay busy through jet-lag. This was a challenge given that it was 8am.

First step was Dishoom on Quay St, which was an Indian-Iranian take on Sunday brunch; egg and bacon nan bread sandwiches, banana and date porridge and bottomless chai! Following some wandering and sight-seeing, additional shopping was done, drinks and snacks were taken at the Old Wellington before we took the train to Burscough bridge to find Jannock.

After moving in, we all had dinner at the Hop Vine since it was known to be excellent quality – highly recommended! Deep fried pickles for the win!

Monday 1st July 2019

Monday had always had the worst forecast for the SteeringInTheRainweek, but no-body knew it wasn’t just referring to the weather. We woke to heavy overcast skies threatening rain and it wasnt long coming, arriving to co-incide with the first lock at Appley bridge.

Lunch consisted of delicious pies at the Crooke Hall Inn, which could only be ordered once Simon had decoded the barmaids accent. Leaving Crooke, we cruised to Wigan where a water point could not be found amongst the building works. By this time anti-vandal keys were needed and the locks were in poor condition. Some with ground paddles out of action and some where the lower gates were stuck open.

Finally, just as the sun came out, Jannock struck the lock approach to Podstock locks and the engine gave a wounded howl, screeching in pain. Following an emergency stop, some engine investigation and some telephone support the issue was identified: one of the alternator belts had disintegrated. Luckily John is a marine engineer and LiftBridgewith diagnostic guidance, some tools and a spare belt Jannock was running happily again in about 90 minutes.

Plank lane swing bridge turned out to be a high-tech lift bridge, although Simon was dissapointed to find it only had two buttons – open and close. Sadly water would have required a stop but we needed to feed a hungry crew in Leigh so we continued hoping to fill there tomorrow instead. After mooring opposite Aldi, the Anthony’s were introduce to Nandos – the best thing still open at 10pm. After a cheeky nandos and some bants (look it up on-line) it was back to Jannock for some sleep.

Tuesday 2nd July 2019

After a late start and a ful english breakfast, the crew set off to find the Leigh water point – and failed. Pushing onwards past the Astley Green Pit shaft we turned the corner to find an innapropriately situated Filmingfishing competition: speaking to the first (Alright. Caught anything yet?) the confused look betrayed something was amiss. Turns out all the competition participants seemed about 12 years old or less and they’d invited a camera crew! Suddenly the penny dropped – this was a film set and none of these 50-odd people were actually fishermen . . . they were actually actor-anglers. Keep an eye out for Jannock appearing in a TV series or film coming soon.

We stopped in Worsley to appreciate the sights and fill with water but again – no JohnSteersBartonwater! Worried about the future lack of showers given the temperature, we soldiered on hoping for water in Castlefield basin.

Johnny’s previously un-known life ambition to steer Jannock across the Barton swing aqueduct was fulfilled before stopping at the Trafford centre for lunch and bowling. Alyssa and Ashley were thrilled to be ID’d buying a beer each. The Trafford Centre is something to behold (“Wait! They have a Chinatown?? in the Mall???”  “Yep – New Orleans is over there, on the other side of that ship where the OAP dance party is going on  . . . .”)

Having filled our needs – bowling, burgersTraffordCentre and 3D rabbid extermination, the crew returned to Jannock to continue the journey into Manchester. Approaching Castlefields, Johnny advised that the mapped waterpoint had been taken over by a ‘beach event’ . No water here then, or any free moorings. We breasted up to a hire boat, leaving a note on their door in case they wanted to leave before heading to Wahaca for dinner.

Upon our return our neighbours were ‘in’ and in broken engish (Simon suspects they were Danish?) agreed that no re-arrangement was required until Thursday. Seems they had cruised up from their hire base for a few day in Manchester, before heading back.

Wednesday 3rd july 2019

No cruising today as Jannock’s crew went on the Huddersfield Rail Ale trail after picking up breakfast sandwiches at piccadilly station. Due to various kitchen and chip shop timing restrictions a hungry crew aborted the Ale Trail early to get back to Manchester and visit Hard Rock Cafe where they could simultaneously serve both food and drinks. Upon return to the boat, Simon located the water-point in Castlefield – with the day boats!

Thursday 4th July 2019

For some reason, the 4th July is special to our colonial friends across the Atlantic. Simon can only assume that this is because it is the anniversary of his and Alyssa’s engagement (see 4th July 2016)  Regardless, plans were made to shop for a BBQ when in Sale before heading out into the countryside for a party. After a ceremonial flag raising, Jannock headed out to the day-boat dock to fill with water – at last – before heading out towards Trafford, Stretford and Sale.

Mooring by the Kings Ransom, the crew shopped for steaks in Sainsburys before BBQvisiting the pub for drinks to start their celebration. We then continued on through Altringham and Oldfield Brow before stopping for a countryside BBQ. Here July 4th was celebrated fully ; this little bit of England turned USA for a few hours with music, food, drink, merryment and dancing – much to the confusion of some passing boaters.

Gradually, as the ashes cooled and the sun began to fall, the party ended and the joyous crew cruised past Dunham Massey and on – past numerous towpath runners – to the pretty village of Lymm. Too late for the child-friendly hours at the Brewery Tap, the crew took a last refreshment of the night at the Golden Fleece – with Jannock moored mere metres away on the visitor mooring rings to make the return home very simple indeed.

Friday 5th July 2019

Early risers make good progress. Given that today was the last day of planned cruising for this trip, Johnny was out with Simon, ready to cast off before 9am while the others waitied for breakfast : Johnny’s famed ‘French Toast ( Cinnamon eggy-bread to us Brits!)  Breakfast was taken in shifts with little to do but watch the countryside sidle by.

Simon gave a brief lecture on the theme of particle accelerators as Jannock cruised past Darebury Labs. Aware that we would miss the 10 minute window for entering Preston Brook tunnel, Jannock stopped for half an hour opposite Preston Brook bridge to dispose of some rubbish and stock up with bacon and drinks at the Spar shop a few minutes down the road.

Suitably restocked for the rest of the trip, the crew arrived at the tunnel to find a queue of three boats ahead of them waiting for the 12:30 passage through. Johnny, still buzzing from Barton swing aqueduct, took the helm and drove at tick-over speed for the entire length of the tunnel since the boat we were following was glacially slow.

Once through Dutton Stop lock, with Alyssa, Ashley andJjack sunning themselves in the foredeck, Simon and Johnny took turns steering through Saltisford (Wow – is that tunnel crooked! It has bends in the middle!) and Barnton tunnels, to arrive at Anderton by 3pm. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the Stanley Arms, playing darts, drinking beers and sampling their excellent fish and chips.

Saturday & Sunday 6th & 7th July 2019

Ashley, Johnny and Jack were up early to pack ready for an 11am taxi back to Manchester airport and onwards home to Boston. Simon and Alyssa stayed on board to clean, do a pump-out, dispose of rubbish and pack for their return journey to Switzerland from Manchester airport. We look forward to our next adventures on Jannock soon.

Friday, June 21, 2019

And so to Burcough

First Kingfisher of the year spotted today!

A late start today as an early shower meant we could fill the watertank and leave it full for the next crew. Although the sun was up, we still needed extra time to get into our polar expedition gear due to the strong cold wind (were Graham to ever go to the polar regions he’d still be inshorts – obviously ;^)Saracens Head

Boating idea of the week – the way boaters highlight their mooring ropes to passing pedestrians varies from old carrier bags to custom made jackets via old washing up bottles and half tennis balls. A visit to the Clas Ohlson store in Liverpool gave us flourescent reflective ‘slap’ bands (£1.99p for two) designed for kids, pets and cyclists. By cutting each band in half and sealing the cut with gaffer tape gave us four short ‘slap’ bands that can be used to go around the mooring ropes highlighting their position.

Approaching Burscough there is evidence of old military style buildings – probably hangers. research revealed that it was HMS (RNAS) Ringtail, a wartime airfield used for training navy pilots to land Seafires on aircraft carriers after they had complete basic flying training.

We arrived at Burscough at 1ish and found that they had put the flags out to welcome us. There is their annual ‘40s’ weekend and raft race combo on so we may stay another day.

As it was ‘moving out day’ preparation evening FishNChips were on the menu for tonight. A quick walk to the chippie but our own containers were too small for our order of two fish suppers and so a paper wrapping was requested. On return to Jannock we found that none of our plates was big enough for the fish, not even the 13 inch plastic trays we usually use for lunch – the piece of fish hung over both ends. Ironically – it was cheaper than two small fish and chips at home.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Farewell Liverpool

Time to ‘go home’! Farewell jellyfish. We recommend Liverpool for a ‘Citybreak’ but make it a long weekend and stay near Albert dock. Loads to see and do and a base relatively close to the city centre as well FarewellAlbertDockas all the dock attractions.

07:45 saw us leaving Salthouse dock, passing through several more, two locks and three tunnels before ascending four very heavy locks back onto the Leeds and Liverpool canal. We were joined in these locks by nb Francesca with Lady Ada close behind. The CaRT team of lockies were excellent with three volunteers assisting us up the flight. Thanks folks – your service was first class.

CanningDockShipLady Ada wasn’t far behind but word came on the radio that a fourth boat was just leaving Salthouse and so they had to wait inside the bottom lock for this other boat to arrive. Shame they didn’t know about that, they might have been able to have an extra half hour in bed.

Out the top and we let nb Francesca go first as they wanted to get through both bridge 9 and bridge 20 before the relevant curfews came into place. We stopped at Litherland services where Graham did a self-pumpout and a water fill whilst Brenda hiOutOfTheTunnelt Tescos (next door) for pies and ice-creams. Fortyfive minutes later we were on our way again hoping to get the bridge 9 before 2pm. The wind was very strong today but it only disadvantaged us once.

We joined up with a brand-spanking-new boat as we approached a number of swing bridges. We’s seen them at Litherland, during our pumpout, opening the swing bridge but soon caught up with them again. The steerer announced that he was LockAhead“with these two novices” indicating his crew. The female appeared attached to a small dog by a lead. Everywhere she got off/went then the little dog went too – regardless of their safety or whether the lead was across the whole towpath width.

Their inexperience and the difficulties experienced coping with all the very different procedures required by each swingbridge along this section was compounded by their brand new anti-vandal key being the wrong size and not fitting the hand-cuffs.

We arrived at Hancock’s bridge at 13:50 – 10 minutes before the 14:00 deadline, andPeacefulMooring passed through OK. As we continued on we learnt that Coxhead’s bridge (20), which had been the subject of a vandal attack months ago, was now fully working again – hooray! This meant that we didn’t need to moor up and wait until 12:00 tomorrow to get through it.

Once through, we moored in the countryside just before Haskayne. After 5 nights of city noise we are looking forward to a nice peaceful rural night tonight.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Why save the tourist bus for the last day?

Graham took this photo of the jellyfish all round our boat mooring first thing in the ScouseJellyfishmorning to get the light without the glare of the full sun.
Today, we breakfasted and then went out for a trip on the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ open top bus tour of Liverpool central. Arguably it should have been an orientation exercise at the start of our visit but the weather and our feet meant we saved it until last. As it was we found that we made more of it by having our cognitive maps and visits in place to put it into context.
CathedralWe also planned to hop-off at locations that were far out from the harbour to save our feet. The first stop was the Metropolitan Cathedral and it’s crypt – a separate entity. A zillion secondary aged school children were arriving – a whole cathedral full – really. Unfortunately we could not see everything we wanted to at the cathedral due to services occuring so we went for lunchPDRoom at planned visit No. 2, the Philharmonic Dining room, a Grade II listed pub operated by Nicholsons. Definately more pub than eatery but the food was good. Not as good as the Art Nouveau decor though – even if you don’t like Art Nouveau it’s a must-see, you just order a beer, GentsLoossome chips and wander round. The gents toilet within is actually Grade I listed and ladies are allowed in to view by arangement with the bar staff.
We returned to the cathedral just as the special service was ending and were able to see round the crypt chapel. We stayed for the final prayers and then went to catch our bus. Traffic mayhem was caused at the bus stop by the transport for schools from all over the country arriving outside at much the same time.
Our bus eventually got through and we stayed on it for another complete circuit ScousePacificbecause the commentator was very witty and funny so we BOCSculpturewanted to catch her whole repertoir. Two things of note during the tour – The Liverpool Royal Court theatre where they stage such productions as ‘Scouse Snow White’ and ‘Scouse Pacific’ and also the bombed out church which was destroyed by an incendury bomb during WWII and is now kept as a memorial – the statue outside is of 1st World War soldiers playing fooFerrytball during the christmas truce.
We then went for a look round the Liverpool museum of culture until chucking out time when we returned to Jannock for tea and chocolate eclairs. The last picture is of the Mersey ferry.

P.S. The answer to the question in the title is because or feet hurt so much from three days walking around Liverpool and Port Sunlight.

P.P.S Steve (nb Just Heaven) has commented on yesterday's blog saying that he watched the gulls fetching the mussels from under the pontoons and then eating them on top.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Port Sunlight

Our feet officially hurt today. We decided to breakfast at the Captain Alexander which is the nearest (and newest) Wetherspoons establishment in Liverpool. On our walk there everything seemed normal apart from the presence of three armed policeman, with their faces hidden as much ad their weapons were ready, on the main road outside the back entrance to the Crown court. We know the task was completed as three motorcycle policemen passed us whilst we were eating our breakfast, they were looking relaxed and smiley. I wonder who’s appearing in the dock today.

Port Sunlight 1                                  Port Sunlight 2

Brenda asked for an avacado egg muffin for breakfast but was told it was not available. OK, she’ll have eggs benedict instead – sorry that’s not available either – we’ve run out off muffins. Can she have the avacado and egg on toast instead of a muffin please? Erm – we’ve found one muffin you can have. OK, she’ll have the avacado and egg muffin she’d first asked for then. Graham just had a normal cooked breakfast with no issues.

Port Sunlight 3

Breakfast finished, we crossed the road to James Street station and caught a train to Port Sunlight. We had a great day there including visiting the Lady Lever gallery. We thought it must be a wonderful place to live but decided it must be quite expensive. Google provided us with the answer, a three bedroom end terrace has recently come onto the market and we could move here if we wanted to! Lovely house too.

White Star

Back to Liverpool on the train and a bit of light shopping. While waiting outside Primark, Graham found the nearest pub listed in the Liverpool Echo’s top 10 decor list so we ended up in the White Star for a refreshment stop and to ensure we’d done a little bit of ‘Beatle-ing’ whilst we’re here. Apparently the boys drank here regularly enough to have their own seats. It was where their promoter would be at the end of the week to pay all his acts.

Canning Dock

Back to Jannock for a cuppa and a rest of the feet and dinner.

Update 17:15hrs – s/he’s goin darn! We heard the approaching Police sirens and a convoy of vehicles including a prison wagon in their midst came rushing past on the main road at the back of our mooring.

A man fron CaRT believes the mussel shells are brought here from the river by gulls and dropped from a height onto the pontoons to open them. Not seen it yet but it appears to happen in the early morning.

Monday, June 17, 2019

More walking around Liverpool

On our return back to the boat yesterday, we noticed open mussel shells on top of some of the pontoons in the dock. We will have to set up ‘Dock Watch’ to try and find out which birds are feasting on them.
After breakfast, at 10:30, we set off heading for the Philharmonic dining rooms (with a ‘must see’ gents loo). We wanted to call into tourist information on the way and then the Metropolitan cathedral after.
Library Roof
Wrong! first stop was a specialist shoe shop where Brenda bought two pairs of shoes, just A – MAY – ZING! Graham ferried them back to Jannock intending to meet up again at the Tourist office.
Wrong! it’s no longer where maps said it was but with the wonders of modern telephony and a helpful traffic warden we met up at the Central library (terrific roof) where it has moved to, and found out the travel info we need for tomorrow.
As we had booked a tour of the underground docks for 2:30pm we were not going to get to our planned destinations in the time CrownHotelwe had available. Instead, we had a visit to the Walker gallery and then went for lunch in the Old Station hotel, now a  Wetherspoons establishment called the North Western. We then walked back, past the Crown hotel, to the Maritime museum on the docks ready for our tour.
The guide for this free tour was a very knowledgable enthusiast with a wicked sense of humour who even provided us with a Health and Safety brief on the correct way to cross the main road using the pedestrian crossing. Once completed, a quick tour of the maritime museum found us back on the boat at 4:30 – completely pooped and gasping for a cup of tea. This appears to have turned into a walking holiday.
1ManBand    Acrobats       1ManBand2  On our walk back down through the town, the main shopping street boasted a selection of buskers. The best of these was a Euro-techno-pop one man band called Anders Flanderz. He was a brilliant, talented musician who was also witty and funny. Graham loved his improvised bass drum fashioned from a water container.
We found these YouTube videos of him in Liverpool

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Dragons and tourists.

Our friends, Steve and Heather, set off at 7:45 to make their way back up the locks to join the Leeds and Liverpool canal. At 10 am we went for a walk to Queens dock – hoping to see the Dragon boats races.

Bye Bye Heavens                         LeavingSalthouse

On our meander today we took in an exhibition of aerial photography, the Dragon boat racing, Cains brewery (village), Liverpool cathedral and stocked up at a chinese supermarket. We saw some lovely buildings, drank a beer, ate cake – with tea – and were back on Jannock by 3:30pm. A short stroll? And then Brenda went for a look at the Tate.

Dragon Boat Racing 1                    Dragon Boat Racing 2

Another sociable evening – Brenda’s brother Bruce and nephew Josh happened to be staying the night in a hotel over the road from Jannock’s mooring. From Ilchester and for one night only, checking out Uni courses. Following our progress, he realised that

Cains Brewery                                  Gaia In Cathedral

we were here as tourists rather than just passing through and so we were able to plan a ‘Fathers day’ meal. The recommendation we have received for ‘Tiger Rock Hawker’ (postcode L2 9U) is wholly endorsed by us all. It was the best meal out that we have had for a very long time, and an easy 10 minute walk from our mooring.

Stephen Hawkings Graffiti                       Chinatown Arch

As residents here for all of just over one day, we took them on the longer tourist trail back to our beds with very full tummies.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

And into Liverpool

A complicated stop-start day governed by the acts of vandals and the requirements of ‘open water swimmers’ in Salthouse lock today. After a surprisingly quiet night at Litherland services outside a 24 hour Tesco superstore we set off towards Stanley locks at about 10:30 after Peter and Margaret (ex nb Gecko), our guests for the day, had arrived.

We arrived at Stanley top lock, just over an hour later, to find the ABC hireboat that had also shared the moorings at Litherland sat in the open lock awaiting a partner. We slipped in beside them and then had a lunch of bacon sarnies whilst waiting until 1pm for the CaRT lock keeper to un-lock the bottom paddles and let us go down the flight.
Going down Stanley locks
Once on the move we back-set to assist the next two boats who were following us down the flight. Out of the bottom lock, through a very small bridge and found
head towards the ClockTower
ourselves in Stanley dock where we had to pass through another bridge into Collingwood dock and keep heading towards the clock tower, through Salisbury dock before turning left into the Central docks channel (known affectionately as Sid’s ditch).

We continued on, Follow the bouysfollowing a route marked with orange buoys, through four more docks before reaching Princes dock lock. We locked through and back-set for a trip boat that was following us and then passed through four tunnels that passed in front of the Liver building, under a pedestrian promenade and the Maritime museum.

The next encounter was Mann Island lock Mann Island lockwhich only drops the level about 6 inches and then we were into Canning dock. Here we had to turn about 180 degrees to pass down into Canning half tide lock before swinging left into Albert dock and finally Salthouse dock whereThe Liver building from the channel we had reserved pontoon mooring 18 for 5 nights.

Whist trying to get into our berth I managed to get Jannock broadside across the end of several pontoons due to the wind in Salthouse dock so I pulled her round and into the mooring with a stern rope whilst Brenda worked the engine to assist.

Steve and Heather from nb Just heaven were moored on pontoon 11 and so we hosted dinner for 6 on Jannock in the evening. Our guests brought three delicious desserts and so we all ended the evening feeling a little bloated.

Once all the guests had left we went for an evening stroll – Grahamit was still light at 10pm – to work off some of our dinner. There was so much to see on our little circuit, not least the last Mersey ferry disgorging it’s passengers who had enjoyed what could only have been a 70s night. We had heard the music as they were coming down river and couldn’t miss the day-glow leggings in the gathering dusk.

Brenda took this picture of me whilst we were walking.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Waiting for bridges.

As we embarked yesterday I knew an old friend had visited. We used to have a persistent leak from a back cabin window, it smelt like a wet dog – Pluvius. It’s been an exceptionally wet week , so Pluvius was back. G had a search around this morning, having listened to the drips during the night, and found the problem this morning. Emergency repair made, we set off in more rain.
NorthboundQueue           SouthboundQueue
Wet set off in more rain but it soon cleared and produced occasional sunshine in a cloudy sky. It was an odd day as we had to stop and moor up twice to wait for swing bridges to become available to pass through. The first only opened for an hour at midday, with queues of boats waiting to pass through in both directions. It had been severely vandalized and repair work had WaterVolestop as CaRT staff opened the bridge to allow us through.

Wildlife of the day - whilst waiting in the queue we sat and watched a family of Water Voles going about their business in the reeds on the opposite bank – a pair off adults with two babies swimming too and fro between the reeds and their nest site.

Last Northbound boat through the bridge – a cruiser being towed by an inflatable boat going in reverse and then Cruiserwe could all set off as well. G asked a CaRT volunteer why the Northbound boats were allowed through first as all the Southbound were trying to get to bridge 12 before 2pm when it stopped working until 6pm due to peak vehicle traffic. His response was “ we always let them go first “ – cheers pal!

  As it was we got there at 2:30pm so had to wait another 3.5 hours before we could continue on towards our planned destination of Litherland services. We had a AintreeRacingsmall flotilla so we took it in turns to open bridges, let everyone through, close up and then join on the end.

As we passed Aintree racecourse we could see the elevated TV cameras above the walls so there must be a race meeting on there today. The flotilla finally moored up for the night at Litherland on the CaRT services, right outside the 24hour Tescos, at 8pm.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Off to Liverpool

After another trying journey from home due to roadworks on the M6, very poor visbility due to spray and a car being sideswiped into the central reservation barrier by a large lorry, we finally arrived at Jannock via the Coop at Ormskirk. It can’t be as bad this week as it was last week – can it?

After a late lunch and the rain stopping, we set off at 4:30 towards Liverpool. The countryside is very flat and the wind blowing across it made it very cold. We moved four miles through two swingbridges before mooring out in the country-side.

Wildlife of the day – a magpie eating a frog in the tree outside Jannock’s lounge window whilst we were eating our dinner. It also fed some of the frog to a juvenile once it had eaten most of it.

Sorry – no pictures today.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

A day at the Seaside

Wednesday 5th June 2019
Having been ‘away’ for a week now we awarded ourselves a day off. I realised that Doonswe are quite near the sea! Well Liverpool bay. I last saw the sea almost 6 months ago – so lets go!
We went to Formby to see the dunes, the long sandy beach, to collect shells (the razor shells are abundant) to watch the sea coming in fast and to see the North Welsh coast disappear as the rain came even faster. graham even GFeettook his sandals off to walk on the beach.
As we watched ferries, cargo and container ships, the pilot boats and all going into Liverpool we thought “ we’ll be going into Liverpool docks next week “ – that will be our Summer holiday.
We’d hoped to go for a walk through the woods to see the WalesRED squirrels but as it started rainig hard we decided that they would be tucked up in their dreys.
Too wet to walk so we drove up the coast a bit to explore Southport, I was surprised to find it a bit like Brighton, but more-so and less-so. I think I’d prefer Southport on balance – there being no seaweed or pebbles on the beach has to be a major factor.