Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again. 11th July

Half a mile west of the M60

The upgraded Bridgewater towpath along with lockdown has attracted the masses out to use it, understandable this close to Manchester. People walking dogs, running, scooting, bikes of all shapes and sizes most with very fat tyres, because you need them on the nice smooth surface.

People, people, people

Today being Saturday meant it would be even busier than yesterday . Tilly needed to brush up on her towpath code if she was to reach the trees today.

Look left,

look right,

check your nails,

go!

We chatted away to the Geraghty’s for an hour as usual. Todays topics included Baby cam privacy, Bacup, cricket bubbles and clingfilm unravelling. Handy tips were shared on the latter matter.

A rare find

Mick headed off on a bike for our Saturday newspaper and returned with a little bit more. At last he has found a Sainsbury’s who are stocking Cheese Twists, he has been without these since our delivery to Wheaton Aston back on the 10th of March. Apparently there was only one in the shop this morning and I suspect it was the first thing he looked for, woe betide anyone who got to the one solitary twist before he did!

Just re-reading the blog at Wheaton Aston, I noted that I’d had a phone call that day regarding my hospital appointment. Well my appointment was made, then altered within a week. Since then it was cancelled the day before, a few days later a letter arrived at my brothers with a date in September and yesterday another letter arrived changing it to December, ten months after I’d been referred by the optician.

Please don’t get me wrong, there are far more important things that need to be happening in hospitals at the moment and other people requiring tests or treatment who are not receiving it at the moment. This latest letter though gave a few more reasons for the delay. The Trust are redirecting staff, freeing them up for refresher training and to carry out works necessary so they are ‘able to maximise capacity for patients for when the number of infections peak’. This all referring to Covid-19. I’m hoping this was a template that was being used a couple of months ago and has been used by mistake to postpone my appointment due to a backlog of patients. Or it means York Hospital is preparing itself for a second wave!

I did a spot of work this afternoon. Vanessa from Separate Doors has asked me to do a cover illustration for a pamphlet she is writing regarding the pandemic and the learning disabled in theatre. I spent a couple of hours looking at Spanish Flu images, masks, posters, communist images, all sorts for a bit of added inspiration. People back in 1918 were finding different ways to cover their faces just as we are now.

A walk to mull over ideas followed. Along the smart towpath I walked towards Boothstown, dodging my way between other users, many too busy chatting to one another to take a wide berth, so I did my best to make up for it.

Just keep away from my boat!

A flat backed widebeam was zigzagging its way towards Oleanna so I stopped to check it would pass without incident. A lady was being taught how to steer the boat. As she dropped the revs her concentration slipped and they started heading alarmingly towards the bank, the wheel was turned frantically left and then frantically right. The chap quickly took over, more frantic wheel turning and blast of engine corrected their line just before they passed Oleanna. Phew!

Boothstown Marina came into view, several boats that had passed us this morning were moored up opposite and a new big sign #FLOATIEST sat above a boat.

This sign is made up of knitted squares which took 150 hours to be sewn together. It is faded now as it was erected at Tatton Flower Show in 2017. The group of knitters have worked for the last few years in supporting the restoration and care of the Bridgewater Canal. You can read more about them here. This is what it looked like a few years ago.

So much brighter

Along the towpath are benches each with information plaques about the area. Boothstown Basin was once a busy coal dock, when it was cleared to create the marina in the 1990’s, 37 barges were found, stacked four deep. Coal was brought to the basin by rail from the local coal mines, here it was tipped into the barges causing clouds of coal dust which turned nearby washing black.

Boothstown Marina

There was an underground canal which joined Chaddock Colliery to the basin. Much of the area has suffered from mining subsidence which isn’t so good for canals. Further along at Dover Locks, the locks were removed due to the earth moving so much and the fairly flat towpath occasionally does a bit of a wobble up and down too.

Doing good buisness

The Moorings Pub has a large stack of picnic benches by it’s car park, tables that have been removed to enable social distancing. The pub seemed to be doing a roaring trade with every table occupied outside and more people in doors.

Quiche

Back at the boat I put together a smoked salmon and Camembert quiche with a quinoa and Parmesan crust and steamed the very last of the Cheshire new potatoes from our Nantwich veg box. This has been made up from two recipes, a favourite quiche from pre gluten free days and a gluten free crust. The custard for this quiche works a lot better than the one that was suggested for the crust, but then what do I expect when it’s full of cream!

It’s worth crossing the path for this

0 locks, 0 miles, 3 miles walked, 511 walkers, 462 dog walkers, 4562 cyclists, 10 boats, 2 hours work, 1 big quiche, 1 rest day full of cricket commentary, 9 hours shore leave, 0 last night at York Theatre Royal, 0 get together with school friends.

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