Monday, 30 September 2013

Busy days on the Caldon Canal

We left Etruria on Tuesday 17th September and haven’t stopped since.  We’ve visited and been visited by friends and relatives along the Caldon Canal - and had a great time!

Bottom of Etruria Staircase Lock on 17th September

Repairs to a collapsed towpath near Planet Lock

Regeneration continues apace along the Caldon since we visited last 5 years ago ...

… but the countryside when it appears is wide open.

An old Manchester Ship Canal Company boat emerges from Engine Lock

Approaching Stanley Moss with the higher ground of Endon in the distance ...

… and where there is an obstruction in the middle of the canal - the remains of a swing bridge that carried  the railway line from Victoria Flint Mill to Stanley Moss

I love this mooring on Hazelhurst Aqueduct looking down at the Hollybush Inn whilst moored on the Leek Branch of the Caldon Canal

We winded (turned) at the ‘lagoon’ at  Horse Bridge on the 21st September ...

… and traced our way back over the aqueduct passing this garden with its very grand thrones, huge pumpkins and weird purple flowers!

We dropped down Hazelhurst Locks onto the Froghall Branch passing this winding hole where the moored boats make that manoeuvre impossible!

The start of a beautiful day moored outside the Hollybush Inn where we'd met up with old friends Dennis and Barbara for meal in the pub

Rock n Roll negotiating the canal’s twists and turns as I walk with Molly ...

… to Cheddleton Flint Mill where we walked down the towpath in the hot sunshine ...

… to visit with George’s Auntie Janet at his cousin Gary and wife Kath’s home and was joined by their son Ben and partner Lisa, enjoying the fantastic view from the garden in the sunshine

We’ve had a real mixture of weather on this cruise - sometimes misty and drizzly, sometimes cool, even cold winds but mainly lots of warm sunny days … but it is definitely the start of autumn with the leaves falling like rain at times.

We winded (turned) at the mill and George enjoyed the meandering as we returned to the Hollybush Inn ...
… for a fun packed evening with the Harrison side of Georges family - 10 on Rock n Roll!

We moved off the visitor moorings for a couple of nights whilst we had an appointment with our new boat builders!!!!

… We’ve decided to continue our journey which has taken longer than planned but now back towards Etruria again.

The beautiful lock house at Hazelhurst ...

… with it’s beautifully formed garden in such a small space ...

… and wonderful views over the countryside.

Saturday 28th and we’re at Stockton Brook Locks ...

… with reminders of the history of Stoke-on-Trent including this lovely Victorian pumping house. Some pictures of the interior taken in 2007 here
Saturday was the main reason for our visit to the Calden Canal - a visit to meet the new grand-daughter of George’s brother Dave and sister-in-law Bev.  Baby Victoria Poppy was 
unwell on our way onto the canal so we had to be patient - but it was sooooo worth it ….

 Victoria Poppy six and a half months old ...

… dancing to the music on the baby channel!

What’s Dad feeding her just before teatime?

… chocolate!!

Proud grandparents ...

… and proud ‘grand’ aunt and uncle too!
 Anna, Mat and Victoria - proud parents!

They came to see us on Sunday morning as Anna has never been on a narrowboat before - she was most impressed with how much will fit in a small space - we’ve arranged to meet up again with them and Dave and Bev on Tuesday evening.

Another visit from Dennis and his grandson Finlay for Sunday lunch (partner Barbara has flown off to Spain for a week of sunshine) rounded off a great weekend.

A late start this morning as we set off for Etruria ...

This foal can’t be more than a couple of days old

His legs look far too long for him!

There was quite a breeze blowing as we cruised ...

… past these now defunct bottle kilns ...

… and Johnson’s Sanitary Ware factory erected in 1896.

Waiting at the top of Etruria Staircase Lock for it to be set for Rock n Roll

George closed the gates between the top and bottom lock ...

… and descending in the lower lock chamber.

We’re moored up once again opposite the Brindley Statue at Etruria Junction; back where we started just two weeks ago and looking forward to the next few weeks and all that they will bring … watch this space!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Classic Cars and Steam at the Mill

The knowledge that we’ve now sold Rock ’n’ Roll has finally sunk in - there’s no going back now and the past week was taken over by planning our next move … watch this space for more details on how we will progress our next adventure!
Etruria Bone Mill was ‘in steam’ last weekend and on Sunday there was a very interesting display of vintage vehicles.  The red bus took my fancy for a visit later … some memories there for George and I.
The classic cars were filling the green ...
… and the old working boat Linden was preparing to take passengers on short trips.
I’ll leave the pictures to tell their own stories … click on any of them to enlarge.

The driver didn’t wait for passengers to be seated before moving off!

The bell being the black strip!
Built and delivered to the PMT (Potteries Motor Traction (or public muck trucks as we used to call them)) bought back many memories for George and and I as these were the vehicles that took us shopping as small children and to school a few years later.  We reminisced about the way they swayed as they took a bend and George remembered that the faster the engine was going the slower the windscreen wipers worked making driving in the rain rather hazardous to say the least!

We walked around the outskirts of the old mill looking over the walls at the now dilapidated buildings ..

As it was nearly 1pm when the mill would be ‘in steam’ I decided a visit was necessary ...
The Five Towns of the Potteries
The boiler needs to make 20lbs of pressure before the engine can operate … it’s nearly there now ...

A short video of the working engine - I’d seen these engines before at pump-houses on the canal but not seen them working before, when the piston started to move I was gob-smacked … Wow!