Friday, 12 July 2013

Scythes and Ice Cubes

We spent another relatively lazy, and lock free, weekend cruising from Furness Vale to Sutton Lane (and back). We saw Brian and Ann-Marie working as hard as ever on Alton, and as usual that made us feel guilty (only for a moment though). 

But it is high time we ventured further and next month we will tackle a good number of locks as we aim for Manchester city centre. There are also very woolly plans to get to Sheffield for an extended stay there, but these ideas are very much at the beer mat stage.

The Macclesfield canal is even prettier at this time of year: The ducks have their new broods, the herons are as abundant as ever, and the greenery surrounding the canal is just stunning. Only a couple of months ago, we saw hundreds of new ducklings, so we wondered why there were more ducklings, so soon after. Maybe they are just a bit later, or maybe (as Wikipedia suggests), the "still sexually potent males remain on standby to sire replacement clutches (for female's that have lost or abandoned their previous clutch) or forcibly mate with females that appear to be isolated or unattached". There you are then.

Spot the boat!
This greenery however, is seriously encroaching across the canal in many places, and how those boats with smarter paint jobs than ours, (that would be most of them) navigate through the trees and brambles, and keep their polished scratch free finishes intact, is a mystery to us all. We are about to paint the boat (up to the gunwales) with the "famous" Andy Russell matt black ... but it will be tempting to carry on above there!

The towpath banks too are becoming overgrown, and we did wonder (briefly) whether the boat could accommodate a scythe. It cannot. After the very hot weather of this weekend, we already have plans to carry a mains powered fan, and we still haven't fathomed where a mop bucket might live.

Considering it was 30C in the cabin on Monday, Jemma coped quite well. She paced around a lot and kept a watch on all quarters, but she does that anyway. First mate was worried about her in this heat, and she devised a cooling technique involving rubbing ice cubes around Jemma's chuff. Jemma seemed to like it.