Thursday, 4 June 2015

Mum's the Word

In preparation for our holiday, the last three weekends have been spent slowly heading towards Boothstown which will be our starting place. Firstly travelling back up the Rufford Branch to Parbold on a lovely sunny Saturday, from there to Crooke and then finally to Boothstown. Mr F's Mum came with us for the Parbold to Crooke leg of our journey, she has had more boating holidays than I've had hot dinners! It was really nice to have her aboard and she even closed the gates at Appley deep lock just to see if she still could at 81 years young. Passing through Leigh on the final stage to Boothtown we passed the house where my mum grew up facing the canal. Recently I found out that my maternal great grandfather was a working boatman too, a reminder how closely entwined all our lives are with the waterways,

A boat friend kindly brought us a big tub for the front of the boat along with two hanging baskets that I have put on the rings either side of the front doors. 

Always optimistic for a treat...

Thankfully it wasn't too windy as the Rufford Branch, with it's acres of flat farmland,
can make boating hard going on a gusty day

Mervyn looking beautiful in the sunshine and sporting a floral display

New gates at Chicken lock and Mervyn using every inch of space

Walking in between the locks when closely spaced is always a good opportunity for photos

Tying up for a spot of lunch and a pint or two at the Ship Inn, Lathom

Last push...travelling in the early evening one of our favourite things to do, 
not for us this moor up by five o'clock lark

Just around the bend, Parbold and our home for the week

Buzzards gliding overhead

A short trip between Parbold and Crooke was just perfect for Mum F to join us

Apparently Mr F was always falling in the canal as a youngster but he's always been tall 
and a good swimmer so the family didn't worry too much, they just used to let him walk 
out into the nearest field and dry off before letting him back onboard! 

Third stage of operation 'get to Boothstown' saw us heading through Wigan past the iconic Wigan Pier. Hopefully the intended development will improve this much neglected piece of history. 

We were lucky to share the locks between Crooke and Poolstock with a couple who 
had just come from Liverpool to see the Three Queens visiting the dock. 
Once again we were recommended to pay Liverpool a visit.

Tug appreciation, the lovely little boat on the right had just come down Henhurst lock

Leigh has some really interesting canalside mills and buildings

My mum was brought up in the row of houses seen between the gap in the houses above. Originally the houses faced the canal but the flats that now back onto the water were built in the 1960's. Apparently there were often gypsies in the fields opposite in a caravan that used to get water from the houses in a big milk churn and the old grandmother would sit on the steps smoking a pipe.

More good luck than good management, at first I thought it was a magpie but I took the photo anyway and was rewarded by a great picture of a lapwing on the ground.

Pole position, just a week to go then off on our holidays, 

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