Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Melling to Boothstown ...

 We left our mooring by Melling Bridge on Saturday morning - no-one had come to collect the sacks in the water so we’re assuming they did not contain drugs - thank goodness for that!
 I’d picked up a load of rubbish on the prop when dropping George off at Maghull Hall Swing Bridge (12) and am waiting for him to finish closing the bridge so that he can dive down the weed hatch to enable us to continue ...
  … my view of this charming cottage while I held Rock n Roll was so much better than his down that hole!
 No problems though at Methodist Swing Bridge (15)
 Oops, the control box at Bells Swing Bridge (16) is wrapped in red and white tape; CRT has already been informed and are on the way ...
 … it didn’t take long and we were on our way once again.
 Ladies  celebrating a birthday aboard the Pride of Sefton trip boat.
 We stopped for the night by The Ship at Haskayne Bridge - it’s rather run down I’m afraid - half the letters of it’s name have fallen off, there’s plastic flowers in the hanging baskets, litter on the lawns and blankets up to the windows of the private quarters and last night it was just about empty!
Halsall Church in the distance has a lovely spire
 We thought that this was a Red Kite hovering and then we saw another one a few hundred yards away  and we thought they were kites of the string and wind variety ...
… and then we saw what they really were - quite clever we thought - probably for scaring off the birds or perhaps even for keeping the rabbits off the farmers crops.
 Ribble Fly Boat moored near Burscough
 Bridge 35 has a handy rubbish skip and when the sky went very dark we thought we’d stay the night here but it soon brightened up and we set off once again eventually mooring up just before bridge 44 at Appley.

The weather has certainly broken now and is very unsettled so we’re going to crack on over the next week or so towards the midlands.
 Just as we’re getting ready to pull the pins at Appley just after 8 yesterday (Tuesday) morning nb Meand’er went past us.  We said that we’d be following in a few minutes and would join them at Dean Locks.
Waiting for the lock to empty at  Henhurst Bottom Lock ...
 … and passing CRT HQ Wigan as we approach the top lock ...
Looking back towards Wigan Junction after taking the sharp right-hand bend we have to wait above Poolstock Locks ...
 … where as usual George finds some ladies to entertain - or perhaps they’re entertaining him! ...
 … while I wait patiently for the two boats to come through ...
 … and then George and Kevin (nb Meand’er) shoot the breeze over the garden lock gates while waiting for the bottom lock to fill.  
We continued on and eventually moored up last night at one of our favourite mooring on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal … Pennington Flash, and spent a very pleasant couple of hours last evening with Sue and Kevin aboard RnR with a couple of bottles of wine - we’ve acknowledged them on several occasions when passing each other over the years but hadn’t had the opportunity to meet properly before now - enjoy the rest of the summer you two.  
The footbridge at Pennington Flash this morning at 06:45 (Wednesday).

It was supposed to be fine but cloudy this morning and rain later - but as usually happens it was actually the other way round, soon after we pulled the pins the rain came and just as we moored up east of Boothstown it stopped!  It’s supposed to be hot and dry tomorrow when we’ll be continuing our journey south to Sale - we’ll soon see!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Liverpool from the top of an open bus ...

What do we want to see in Liverpool? (July 16th) We decided that a hop-on, hop-off tour would be a useful way to see Liverpool and decide ...
 … but before we can do anything Alice must have a birthday present sorted - her sister Joanne fixed the false nails on her - it took her ages to tie her shoe-laces before we could go out!
Most of the information stated here came from various guides on the hop-on hop-off busses!
 The White Star Shipping Line HQ (affectionately called the streaky bacon building by the locals) where from the centre balcony the company directors announced the sinking of the Titanic - too scared of the crowd’s reaction to meet them face to face.
The Three Graces
The clocks on the Liver Building are 7.6 metres, larger than Big Ben’s at 7 metres
I saw the golden ship on top of this steeple as we made our way into Liverpool by canal and here’s the church in its full glory. There has been a church on this site since the 12c.  The Church of our Lady and Saint Nicholas or St Nick’s (patron saint of sailors) is the sailors church and the River Mersey would have flowed very close to its walls, it is still an active parish church today.
The Liver Building from the front - purpose built in 1911 for the Royal Liver Assurance Company in the style of the American skyscrapers of the time.
Queen Victoria Monument in Derby Square, it features 26 bronze figures and was unveiled in 1906
Mathew Street, home the Cavern Club - more about that in another post!
Fantastic buildings ...
… line the main streets
Liverpool’s World Museum ...
… opened in 1860
William Brown Street which houses the World Museum, Central Library, St Georges Hall and Walker Art Gallery buildings 
Wellington’s Monument erected in 1861/63 stand by St George’s Hall and looks towards the site of the battle of Waterloo.  The two equestrian statues are of Queen Victoria and Albert.
The North Western Hotel built to serve Lime Street Station in 1871 stands next to the Adelphi Theatre on a site that has housed a theatre since 1866
Lime Street Railway Station
The Crown Hotel built circa 1856 is reputed to have been a favourite haunt of ‘Lady of the Night’ Maggie Mae, who in the Beatle words ‘ will never walk down Lime Street anymore’ as she was reputed to have been sent to Botany Bay for thieving!  The first floor now houses a comedy club.
The 18 foot nude bronze statue over Lewis’s Department Store has been nicknamed ‘Dickie Lewis’ and we were told that when it was erected some staff of a ‘delicate nature’ went on strike! Another story is that when first put up there the statue leaned further forward but was later moved back to its current position because when it rained it looked as if he was weeing over the street! I just loved the stories we heard from the tour guides - true or not!
Graduation Day at the Catholic Cathedral - affectionally called Paddy’s Wigwam!
One of John Moores University College Buildings - this one is so intricately decorated
The beautiful spires of the Catholic Church are caught in the sun’s rays
Looking down Hope Street towards the docks
The Philarmonic Dining Rooms - more another time!
Left Luggage - of the concrete type near the station!
The beautiful St Luke’s Church was bombed out ... 
… on Monday May 5th 1941 by an incendiary bomb dropped by the Lufftwaffe during the seven day long Liverpool Blitz, but still stands proud today.
Liverpool Marina based within Brunswick Dock
Rock ’n’ Roll (6th from right) in Salthouse Dock.
We alighted from the tour bus several times to walk - more on these areas soon!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Leaving Scouse-land - and drugs ...

Catch-ups of our visit to Liverpool will have to wait as we left yesterday after a fantastic 13 days around this fascinating city!  I will post our adventures though over the next week or so - something for you to look forward to - I hope!
Reversing from our mooring just before 08:45 ...
… a bit chilly this early so Molly is cuddling down under her cover!
Looking back under Stanley Dock Bridge nb Nuggler is following us out
The first two boats are now in the entrance of Mann Island Lock and nb Web of Dreams and ourselves are attempting to stay out of the cross wind while we await our turn.
The builders have nearly completed this building - yesterday I noticed this ‘cherry picker’ right at the top of the building - certainly not a job for me!
Our turn now
Under that lovely bridge keeping the bouys to our right
Water or air bubbling fiercely up - I wonder what that’s about?
Passing the disused locks into the River Mersey
I’ve been impressed by the design of lamp-posts around the dock area of Liverpool and these cormorants are taking full advantage of these!
Sharp right here ...
Ooh, why are they waiting there?
The restaurant boat is also waiting and this guy wanted to know how many boats were coming through - there were 11 boats on the way out today ...
Glad he kept over as there wasn’t much room left and those struts were low indeed!
Another two boats waiting around the corner, they should have entered Salthouse Dock yesterday but apparently swing bridge 6 was out of commission for a while yesterday and they had to wait overnight at Litherland Services.
The factory opposite the Tobacco Warehouse is being remodelled into flats
Sharing the bottom lock with nb Web of Dreams
Another of those stunningly designed lamp-posts
We had to wait about 40 minutes for the convoy of boats and CRT to arrive at Netherton Swing Bridge (6) meanwhile the engineer was still working on the gearing to get it open.  After about another 10 minutes or so he was ready to test it - it eventually opened and off we go again ...
… the rest of the conway close behind.
Less than 10 minutes later the rain was like stair-rods ...
… and out came the umbrellas for the steerers and the crews disappeared inside!
I didn’t last for long though and the hot humid weather returned.  Here we’re going through Hancocks Swing Bridge (9) which was operated once again by CRT staff - thanks guys - a brilliant job!
Lovely to look at but we don’t want it up the weed hatch!
Last swing bridge of the day for the convoy - the first to arrive swung the bridge and then had to wait for 8 boats to go through before they could close it - fortunately they were mooring up here anyway.(two boats had stopped at Litherland services).

We carried on to Melling Stone Bridge (11) as I’ve arranged a Tesco delivery for Saturday.
Between the swing bridge and our mooring we saw a large amount of black/grey bin bags floating on the surface ...
… and thought that they’d been blown there ...
… perhaps from the local farm.

It was soon after putting in the mooring pins that the ‘area bailiff’ passed in his canoe and explained that last night about 11:30 he saw a van stop on the top of the canal bridge, open the rear doors and throw, I thought he said 225 bags, but perhaps I misheard and it was 25 bags, into the canal and that they were full of drugs. He also said that this is not the first time it’s happened and that sometimes they’ve been dumped on the canal side (perhaps if boats were moored here).  He said that he’d rung the police at the time and they had attended the scene this morning, and that the water authorities had also been informed.  I rang CRT to see if they were aware and was told that they were and that as soon as men were available they would come out to clear up.

It’s 2pm as I write this and still no-one has arrived - we are beginning to disbelieve what we’ve been told - surely the authorities cannot be ignoring the fact that these bags, if full of drugs, can be left in the canal for ‘another interested party’ to lift out ..

… or indeed for the remainder to sink and pollute the water and kill the waterfowl and fish????