Saturday, 30 January 2010

Middlewich Walk

The next weekend after returning from Bath, we drove over to Middlewich to see Simon on the Saturday. The reason? Because Bill had forgotten to put Simon's very biggest Christmas present under the tree: a tent. Poor Simon got half way home before I discovered it (again) in the East wing. He'd been quite accepting of having only got a covered hanger and a coffee mug for Christmas, bless him.

Sunday morning we took a lovely, if somewhat damp, walk around the canals near where Simon and Rhiannon live. My camera was dead and I'd not charged more batteries, so Simon kindly lent me his and forward the pictures so I could share them with you.

First off there is this brilliant little canal cottage. As you can see it has no garden, but windows on both sides of each room and a great little balcony on top of their garage. Looks really efficient!

Of course there were loads of people out with their dogs. In addition to this nervous old albino boxer, I remember seeing a lurcher and a rather affectionate Rottweiler, whose owner was clearly fed up with waiting for it to be petted, as he told us it would bite us if we didn't give it treats. Silly old fool.

Then we came upon these huge swans; Simon has shared pictures of them with us before on his Facebook.

We stood and watched the big one in the background groom himself.

It's amazing where they can put their head with that long neck and all.

There are all sorts of houses either on or overlooking the canal. I got really excited

about the back gardens with sitting areas and this willow tree had a perfect setting.

Narrow boats lined the canal, most with wood stores and a bicycle stacked on the roof; a few with a car parked nearby.

The smell of wood smoke made me think they have a very cozy and interesting life. No place for my Grandmother's furniture, though.

Then there are the locks and weirs and sluices and I don't know what all,

required to adjust the water levels for the boats. I was clueless about how they worked -- not that interested to be honest --

but the guys found them pretty fascinating. In the 1700s, canals

were a major means of transport, being far superior to the horrible

roads on which horses drew carts. Instead, the canals were built,

along with tow paths and horses were used to pull goods in boats.

You might recognise this view from the family picture over here (5th pic from the bottom), when Bill took his mom and his kids on a narrow boat holiday years ago, long before Simon ever dreamed he'd live in Middlewich. Spooky, isn't it?

There are of course miles and miles of canals still around Britain, though not near us in the North East. I raised the idea of perhaps taking a cycling holiday sometime along the canal tow paths, something that Bill found intriguing, though we soon realised that it wouldn't all be flat: the locks create sharpish hills

and there are bridges to get under,

but he didn't see these would be a major obstacle. I'll let you know if we ever pull it off!


James said...

Another enjoyable tour with Shelly. By the way I loved all the Bath posts.

Shelley said...

Hi James. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed Bath -- we did too!

Rick Stone said...

Interesting thing about the canals and the horse drawn boats. When transetting the Panama Canal we through lines over to the folks on the sides of the locks which were attached to large rail mounted tractors to pull us into place. These tractors are call "mules" from the days when real mules were used to move boats down a canal.

Not sure why that popped into my head since the last time I went through Panama was in 1969.