Once again blogging has taken a back seat while we make the most of the company of many friends on board AreandAre.
When we first put in an offer for the boat in March, we weren't sure how to pronounce the name, and when I telephoned I asked to talk about a boat called 'air-and-dare'. The woman at ABNB boats wasn't sure what I was talking about until she exclaimed "Oh! You mean R and R?" We've since been informed that when she was initially built, the owners painted the words aReandaRe so that the Rs stood out - if anyone reading knows any more details, we'd love to hear from you ...
Anyway, I digress. For the purposes of our journeys on the waterways, we'd like her to be known as a place for 'Rest and Relaxation', away from the busyness of most people's every day lives; a place of calm and slowing down, yet also incorporating a sense of fun and adventure.
We've welcomed Freddie, who travelled to us from Sheffield and stayed 16th to 17th July; then Kerry and Tony from Gisborne, NZ, a few hours after Freddie left until 25th July; and last but definitely not least, Rivka and Richard (also from Gisborne) collected me from my sister's house in Lichfield on Sunday 28th, and stayed until Tuesday 30th.
A brief resume of where we've been lately
We've travelled through the Harecastle Tunnel - a short distance behind the hire boaters we met - an experience in itself as their boat bounced from wall-to-wall all the way through; we had a lovely lunch with Freddie at a local pub and returned to discover AreandAre stranded across the canal as her mooring pins had been pulled out of the ground by a passing boat (we suspect speeding by, but let's not cast aspersions!); we've had the most glorious balmy summer days and nights with Kerry and Tony and travelled on canals and places we've not previously experienced, such as the amazing Anderton Boat Lift; we've meandered along the River Weaver and had another BBQ; wandered around a couple of gorgeous villages; re-visited the Barton Swing Aqueduct
and had the honour of watching it open once again; we've visited a national Trust Stately home (Dunham Massey
) and extensive gardens twice - but not once paid to go in (there's enough grounds with fallow deer roaming to keep you happy for an hour or two); we've moored in the centre of Manchester (we loved this experience in 2009, especially the gay pride parade)
and met up with Pauline and Ray (who surprised us in Gisborne in January 2011), re-visited Salford Quays where I finally got to spend time enjoying the Lowry Gallery; and now we're almost off the Trent and Mersey and onto the Middlewich Arm - where at Barbridge Junction in April 2009 we bought Northern Pride.
Photo gallery ...
Waiting in line for the Harecastle Tunnel
Barry jumps aboard to rescue a stranded AreandAre!
Barry and Freddie chill out on the towpath
Doing a spot of locking - so much for R & R!
Kerry and Tony's visit
Tony shows off the beer glass and bar mat we were given at his first British pub in Middlewich!
Kerry and Tony's first ever authentic Sunday roast beef and Yorkshire puddings!
The amazing Anderton Boat Lift ...
The River Weaver
Relaxing after dinner with a home-brewed red wine - magnificent!
Tony holds us steady in the big river locks
Swans and cygnets cruising along
Barry and Tony take charge of the BBQ, while Kerry takes up her usual pose!
Delightful villages along the route ...
A gorgeous garden in the village of Grapenhall
One of the two pubs in Grappenhall - well worth a visit
A short walk from Grappenhall to the Manchester Ship Canal!
In the stocks at Lymm
Lymm - a very quaint place
The Barton Swing Aqueduct
The canal closes at each end and swings over the Manchester Ship Canal - an incredible sight
The Liverpool to Manchester ferry - an extra trip due to high interest - lucky for us!
Re-visiting Salford Quays
Barry and Tony relaxing in the cratch at Castlefield Basin
An eclectic mixture - a railway bridge, Hilton Hotel, historic buildings, canal bridge and narrowboat
Not a bad place to be - a peaceful haven right in the middle of Manchester!
Catching up with Pauline and Ray
Rivka and Richard's visit
The old Mill House dates from the early 1600s and is one the few working mills left in England
Fallow deer roam freely
Comings and goings
I left Barry for a few days last week as our boxes finally arrived from New Zealand at my sister's house in Lichfield. It was great timing as was able to attend a retirement party for a colleague I worked with at Good Hope Hospital over a decade ago, and caught up with lots of lovely people I haven't seen for years. I squeezed in a visit to my mum and dad too.
We've been asked to submit articles and photos of our journeys to the Gisborne Herald Weekender supplement, and the first one's been sent off today - along with a handful of favourite photos from the 2009 trip. Sadly we're not being paid for this, but one never knows what opportunities may eventuate, so we decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth and embrace this chance ...
Barry has less than two weeks now before he returns to New Zealand in order to apply for the first round of his spousal sponsored UK
residency visa. If all goes well he'll be back before we know it (but it's unlikely to be before mid-October). If it doesn't - well we'll cross that bridge if
we come to it. He'll also be selling 'ezimade'
, as without doing that we have no capital to start another business here! We have a couple of interested parties, but if you know of anyone wanting to live in paradise and buy themselves a thriving business, do get in touch.
We're booked into Tattenhall Marina, a few miles south of Chester, initially as visitors from 11th to 25th August, then as '
permanent moorers' from 1st September until 1st March 2014. We chose Tattenhall for their facilities and location - very near my daughter, son-in-law and grandson. In fact we discovered yesterday the bus from Tattenhall goes to their village of Malpas in twenty minutes - fantastic!
This is likely to be the last of the 'big blogs' of 2013, as we won't be moving far again now until spring 2014. We've certainly managed to pack a lot of awesome sights and experiences in the four months we've been back on the waterways, and I'm certain (hopeful and thankful) there'll be many more next year.