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Down Under

by wilvir

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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Chief Seattle (1786–1866) leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

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15th Jun 2016, 18:07   comments (0)

Words

(viewed 663 times)
From last night:

'Here, now, 500 feet above sea level, thunder rolls lazily over the Goyt valley below with lightning flashes washing the peaks and troughs of the undulating landscape momentarily visible as heavy rain, hypnotically soothing, beats down on the roof of our floating home. Bliss.

Words for me are like tools, but, unlike tools neatly put, chosen to complete a particular task, words are almost thrust at me from within, some so nearly identical in meaning, but separated by subtle nuance, a choice truly defining us if we really want to reach out to people. With a painting, I can see and feel the artists interpretation, my interpretation even, whereas a photograph is all about accidentally capturing a moment in the life, the being of a subject. The subject controls the scene, is the interpretation, ever more so when posed. A painting, a photograph, a thousand words? For me the pleasure of painting in words, what my senses, emotions, responses and influences contribute to the whole contained in the picture of my minds eye, is an expression of honesty. It is heartfelt and therefore risks leaving me sometimes vulnerable. Those who know me will, at times, have seen that, my eyes moist, my voice breaking, lost for words.......
8th Jun 2016, 13:01   comments (0)

A Huckleberry Evening

(viewed 621 times)
Much has gone on in recent weeks that has seen 'wilvir' in and out of dry dock for her four year cycle of below the waterline maintenance and boat safety certificate inspection, which she passed with flying colours. My only set back has been the frustration of not being able to access Moblog due to a 504 server error, which remains a mystery.
We're now moored 500' ASL on the upper Peak Forest Canal overlooking Strines and the Goyt Valley. Stunning in the Summer sunshine of the past few days.
6th Jun 2016, 19:58   comments (0)

A Sign of Times Past

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Moored in the shadow of this Manchester gasometer reminded me of these giants of suburbia that, as a youngster, seemed to mysteriously rise and fall in eerie silence from one day to the next. I always felt ill at ease passing beneath these immense structures, expecting them to collapse in on themselves at any moment, which urged me to quicken my pace and emerge into the sunlight from the vast shade created by its presence with the comfort of my own shadow for company.
17th May 2016, 00:04   comments (0)

Seldom Worried, Never Hurried

(viewed 711 times)
1. Leaving the tranquility of Dunham Massey.
2. Stern apartments overhang the cut.
3. Soccers hallowed ground.
4. About to lock up into Manchester.

What a day........left Dunham Massey, at just gone 0700, under a beautifully sun dazzled blue sky. After reaching Manchester around 0930 we completed the Rochdale nine after just one delay brought about by the telltale loss of propeller thrust and steerage. A dive into the weedhatch found the propeller fouled by a towel wrapped constrictor like around the blades, which I was fortunately able to remove with ease. Then we began the Ashton rise of 18 locks when another telltale loss of thrust followed by the engine stalling told me there was something seriously amiss down below. This time I lay face down in the stern with my head down the weed hatch for over an hour while I cut away a continental quilt, which had well and truly fouled the prop by winding and jamming itself squid-like around the blades so that the propellor was completely obscured and locked solid. Then, 30 minutes later, we found ourselves faced with a lock that wouldn't empty due to a hydraulic top gate paddle stuck open and the pounds above and below fast emptying of water causing the boat to start grounding out. I managed to reverse the boat back into the lock below us and dropped into the pound below that where the levels were holding.

Despite the best efforts of a Canal and River Trust team arriving to fix the problem, it will have to remain unfixed until the morning. We are now moored close by Manchester City's home ground until CRT can get us on our way again. It's been a long day and my knees, unsurprisingly, are complaining. Time for bed........
9th May 2016, 14:52   comments (0)

Sun and Steam Nostalgia

(viewed 694 times)
After ascending the Anderton Lift, back last week, we made good use of the fine weather to reach Moore on the Bridgewater Canal where we tied up for the night. The following morning the unmistakeable sound of a steam whistle caught my ear as I prepared to up sticks, and out of the distance appeared steam narrowboat 'president' with 'kildare' in tow, part of the National Historic Fleet. The sight and sound of her as she chuffed alongside put me into a daze of nostalgia. It wasn't difficult, given our surroundings, to put myself in this self same scene when she was working over one hundred years past and paired with Kildare even then. There is nothing like being reminded of our heritage with living steam-powered engineering of yesteryear loved by everyone.
Leaving Moore, a sedate journey ensued in perfect weather with a refuelling stop en route, saw us arrive later that afternoon for a two-night lay-over at Dunham Massey and a surprise get-together with good friends Brian and Catherine, who were leaving the following morning heading for Liverpool in their Narrowboat 'October'.
It looks like the sun will be welcome company as May sets in......
9th May 2016, 14:10   comments (0)

I Preferred Yesterday

(viewed 494 times)
Photo: Day-stars begin to touchdown and sparkle on the Surface.

We let go the ropes this morning and pulled out into the River with a certain amount of trepidation as I'm still in some pain, with both knee and ankle joints feeling like they'll throw the towel in at any minute. Anyway, stubborn perseverance saw us moor downstream of Northwich Town bridge and venture into town for supplies, including three gallons of petrol. By the time I hobbled back to wilvir I could have gladly laid down and stayed there. Unfortunately I still had things to do and moved the boat a short distance to top off the water tank, service the loo and get rid of the rubbish. Then turned the boat back to Anderton to await our lift up to the Trent and Mersey Canal tomorrow.
Leaving Northwich I recieved a call from the lift staff to say our lift booking would be delayed, from 1000 until 1210, due to a fault. I'm glad we booked otherwise we would have been delayed even further by the alternative first come first served basis creating a log jam of boats.
The weather isn't particularly grand today, he says, smiling at an upbeat assessment of what most people would term 'abysmal' and a typically wet English bank holiday fiasco. It's only weather. However, we were pretty damp by the time we secured the ropes to the mooring pins and I could at last relax, still smiling, mainly because I hadn't accidentally gone over the side.
It being Sunday I could now doze, dosed up to the eyeballs with ant-inflammatory drugs until the aroma of a Sunday roast was too temptingly strong to resist. It amazes me how anyone can go without what has always been an occurring theme running throughout my life, even when we lived in Malta and Germany.
Living in Malta back in the seventies, rather than leave the comfort and relaxed surroundings of our flight-line base on usually quiet Sundays, one of the Maltese guys would prepare a Sunday roast in the crew-room with all the trimmings, enough for the five of us on shift, and then take it in a large roasting tray to the local village bakery, returning for it a couple of hours later, when it would arrive back cooked to perfection. I still kind of miss those days living in the relaxed culture of siestas and genteel neighbourliness, bathed in the late afternoon sun that caused the khaki yellow of every sandstone building to glow gold-like as the sun sank ever closer to the horizon. The capital Valletta and its Grand Harbour is incredibly beautiful at first light and from mid-afternoon onwards as the sun picks out every detail, highlights every shadow, it seems to caress it's citizens with a sense of well-being. And then there is Malta's history, seen at every corner, at every turn of the head, even the geography of the place is special. Most of all, its people are rightfully proud of their island heritage and share it with a welcome and generosity of a close family. I hope my memories are as true today.

1st May 2016, 19:43   comments (0)

A Day in Reflection

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From the galley, grey clouds drift across a blue sky above, the wind caught, revealed in folds of rippled water lapping lazily against the starboard side.
29th Apr 2016, 15:58   comments (0)