Beside the Mersey.

Em and I had a little holiday beside the Mersey, staying in a Home Away room in Wallasey. We visited New Brighton where her parents used to go on holiday many decades ago, Em was struggling with her chronic fatigue so we didn't get out and about as much as we'd have liked. I had hoped to find some old friends from the area. Took a few nice photos though and enjoyed watching ships coming and going on the tide.

The Black Pearl. A pirate Ship made from driftwood.

26th July 2010 What I did on my Holidays

2010-07-26 @ 05:22:12 by ashtonboatman


What I did on my holidays

I have a strange idea of holidays. Unless I go on my own or with my partner or a few good friends, canal boating is work, though work that I enjoy. I don't like too much heat, so travelling to hot countries is out, even if I could afford it and didn't feel bad about the carbon footprint. I don't like inactivity, so lying on a beach is not for me. I don't have a lot of money, so that rules out all sorts of options.

What I like to do is to get on my bike and cycle slowly through the land, seeing what I see and stopping to explore whatever interests me. In the evening I find a secluded spot, usually a bit of woodland off the beaten track, and set up camp. I light a fire to cook a meal and sleep under a tarpaulin stretched between trees.

I mark a line on a map between two points picked pretty much at random, then follow that line as closely as I can. 5 years ago I set off on a line from Ashton to Zouch, a little known row of houses on the River Soar near Loughborough. I got as far as Duffield near Derby. Last week I decided to continue the journey.

My plan had been to set out on Monday, but the need to collect an engine for "Forget me Not" caused me to put it off until Tuesday. All of Tuesday was taken up with sorting out bilge pumps so that the boats had a chance of staying afloat whilst I was away. It was on Wednesday morning that I was finally able to drop the van off with a volunteer driver and set out.Full of the joys of the open road I set out on my bike, with bags and pots and pans dangling all over. I got about 300 yards when a telltale psssshishpsssishpssssish from the back wheel informed me that I had a puncture. I unloaded the bike, upended it and removed the tyre. Soon the tube was mended, but I discovered that my brand new bicycle pump would not put sufficient pressure into the tyre.

On a soggy back tyre I rode back to surprise the boatsitters at Portland Basin as I searched for another pump. The only one I could find had been sunk when "Hazel" went down and was a little rusty. It also lacked the right size tube, so I had to walk up to Wilkinsons to get a universal one. Their tube leaked so much air at the joints as to be useless, but I was able to transfer the universal adapter part on to another tube and get a bit more air into the tyre.

As I rode on through Dukinfield it soon became clear that the pressure was still not sufficient. I plodded on and soon came to Hyde North station, heaved my loaded bike over the footbridge and enjoyed bread and Houmus as I waited for the train. Soon the hourly nodding donkey to Rose Hill clattered over the points and stopped at the platform. I hauled my bike aboard the lightly loaded railbus and sat down as the engines started to rev. I was on my way at last.