Although Thursday was mild and sunny, and we spent a lot of time outside, I didn’t see any butterflies. There were other signs of spring around though with plenty of blackthorn in blossom along the banks of the River Leam that runs through the town and joins the River Avon to the west of town.
As we’re off up north soon, I started doing those things that you need a town for such as getting a sight test. I found an optician who was happy to allow Buddy in whilst I had an eye test so booked an eye appointment for a week or so’s time.
My phone reception has been playing up recently, especially when I’m inside the boat, so we will replace it before leaving Leam. The phone shops allied to the networks always seem to charge more for an outright phone purchase as you also have to buy the cheapest contract or pay as you go. I found this in the first three shops I went into so wandered up to Carphone Warehouse which seems to be network independent and therefore sell phones without a contract which is probably have the cheapest option. I want another iPhone as Karen and I have had iPhones for years but not sure whether it’s worth paying all that money for the latest version. So, I was standing there comparing the iPhone 8 and X when the manager came up and said that they have a new policy and dogs are no longer allowed in. Such a shame, he could have sold a new phone to me ☹
After that escapade we went to the vets (where dogs are allowed on the premises) and picked up Buddy’s passport. As dogs have to be microchipped they don’t need a picture in the passport, but Karen is going to put one in the optional space anyway 😊
On the way out of town we went to Victoria Park, home of the National Bowls championships.
Some of the greens being prepared for the new season
The park was laid out in 1899 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee and has a perimeter path that is exactly ½ mile in length. This makes it very popular with local runners wanting to run measured distances. Buddy had a good run with a few dogs whilst we were there to release his pent-up anger from being banned from Carphone Warehouse.
On the way home, we had a wander around Foundry Wood. This is now a little nature reserve in the town. The plot of land is wedged between the two railway lines heading west out of town and, until the 1960s was used as sidings. It is maintained by volunteers and seems to get plenty of local school visits. The information boards describing the history of the area and the flora and fauna that can be found are very good.
Not a sight you often see as rail tracks used to be taken up and reused or recycled
It’s called Foundry Wood because there were a succession of foundries to the south. The first foundry, Radclyffes, made castings like drain grills until 1905 when the Imperial Stoveworks moved in and made stoves and ranges until 1939. Ford then took over and made tractor, lorry and car parts until 2006. As locals will know the site is now occupied by a large Morrisons.
As you may know, neither Karen nor I are great fans of the Canada goose now it has become so widespread. When Karen left her office on Thursday evening she even found two on the grass outside and sent me this picture, captioned, “Grrrr”.
Buddy and I walked down to meet Karen on her way home and I found a new water gauge. I replace it every year and it takes a long time to select a new one that is the right length and thickness.
New water tank measuring gauge
Those of you who aren’t boaters may not have heard that a major breach occurred on the Middlewich branch this week. This will mean this important northern route from the Trent & Mersey over to the Shroppie will be out of action for some time, necessitating a large detour back down to Birmingham and up again just to get from Chester the short distance to Manchester. This will have scuppered many people’s cruising plans as well as ours, but we are investigating going on the Manchester Ship canal and then across the Mersey into Liverpool that way. If we don’t do that then Chester will be off our plans for the first part of this year.
One of the many internet pictures of the breach(that boat near the breach was nearly in the wrong place
I may have mentioned that we are meeting up with friends on their boats before we set off. We originally met when most of us worked, years ago, at Legal & General (L&G) and have become friends since leaving and realising we have a common interest in boating. Anyway, Chris sent me a message during the day asking if the breach will affect our plans of attending the L&G regatta next month. This really tickled me, and I keep smiling at the phrase.
Karen and I went up to Yorkshire to see my parents for the day on Friday. Both are still doing well and Dad is now hoisted into his wheelchair so he can spend time in other parts of the home during the day. The conservatory is a particularly good spot as it overlooks the River Wharfe that runs through the village. The water levels fluctuate widely and quickly as it is fed from the fells higher up in the Dales, making the view even more varied.