Friday, 6 June 2014

Orchids, a "White Nancy" and Inverted Canoes

Friday 6th June, 2014 at Bollington.
The moorings at Marple were blissfully quiet overnight and we awoke to a bright morning, sunshine and chirping sparrows. After eight days "at sea", the dirty linen drawer was about to overflow and M declared that it was time to do a wash. Two, in fact. We didn't peg out the results immediately as our wonderful rotary washing line and low bridges don't mix. So, we did the washes whilst cruising down to Bollington. Today's cruise was not only lock free but also swing bridge free (hooray!). It was a lovely cruise as the dales and hills of Derbyshire gave way to far distant views across the Cheshire plain. On a number of occasions we have seen wild orchids growing on the canal bank. Strange, because M didn't think that they like wet environments - but they seemed to be thriving.
At Higher Poynton, we admired all the numerous Braidbar boats moored there. Braidbar is one of the most renowned narrowboat builders in the country (next to Kingsground!) and they have their workshop here in a former arm of the canal. As we approached, a chap on a bicycle stopped to admire MM and compliment her on her Alexander shell. He turned out to be the owner of Braidbar, cycling back to his workshop after showing some new hirers the ropes. He said that he would love to use Alexander shells, but he builds more boats each year than Jim Sparks could make.
We misread our canal guide and so missed our intended mooring next to Clarence Mill in Bollington.
However, we found a very good mooring a little further on next to the Adelphi Mill and put up the rotary clothes-line as soon as MM was secure.
The sun continued to shine but it became very windy. So much so that we nearly lost all our socks overboard. They were all attached to what M calls the "peggy thing" - it is a circular plastic frame that has twenty pegs for small items; it hooks on to the main washing line. A clatter at the back of the boat alerted us to the fact that the wind had blown it clean off the line and it was snarled up on the stern rail, hanging precariously over the edge. M caught it just as all Robin's socks were about to be consigned to a watery grave.
After the washing was dry and all safely stowed back on board,we did finally take ourselves off for a walk. The guide books talked of the "White Nancy", a local landmark in the shape of a huge sugarloaf atop the wooded slopes of Kerridge Hill. On the way up we met a strange gentleman dressed in a very warm fleece.
On the fence posts all around him were strange black furry creatures. Not quite sure what was going on, but it seemed like fun!
The "White Nancy" was erected by a local family to commemorate victory at the Battle of Waterloo. It appeared to have been re-painted recently. We were not sure what the "50" signified.
It was certainly worth the effort, the views were spectacular, both over Bollington and towards Manchester in the far distance.
All along the roads, and along the canal towpath, there were notices pinned up celebrating "Postapoem", not sure if that was to do with the "50" or not, but some of them were lovely; these were our favourites:

The day ended with great amusement, watching a small group of Sea Cadets from TS Ardent opposite us as they learnt how to handle Canadian Canoes. In particular, how to right them and get back in if they turn over.
They seemed to be enjoying themselves despite the cold water!
Today: 8 miles, 0 Locks and 4.8 hours.
Trip: 64 miles, 28 locks and 39.3 hours.
A Major Milestone: We passed the 1,000 hour mark, ending the day on 1,002.3 hours on the engine.

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