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JULY 2017

Monday 31st. Fairies Hill Boat Club to Stanley Ferry. Sunny spells and showers. Dave and Mike walked back to the lock to see what, if anything, was happening and found a collection of CaRT people. They said we could pass through the lock if they worked it manually. By the time they had walked back and got the boats ready another was coming along so the three of us went into the lock, it took forever to fill but finally we were on our way. Two locks later the boat that had joined us sped past us to gram the only mooring left at Stanley Ferry. We went onto the services mooring for water and while there a lady from the long term moorings said that if we moved up right behind her boat we could stay there as it used to be a visitor mooring, so thats what we did, so in the end we had a better mooring than we would have had.

Sunday 30th. Castleford to Fairies Hill Boat Club. Sunny start with showers. I coloured my hair and after a full english breakfast aboard, we set off for Stanley Ferry but when we got to the flood lock it was dead. We called CaRT who sent the engineer from yesterday out to sort the problem, he soon had us through and on our way. At the next Lock, I went to open it but there were two boats already in it and both tied up. A chap approached to inform me that nothing was working and they were stuck in the lock but an engineer had been summoned; and guess who it was, the one from this morning. He got the two boat out of the lock but wouldn't let us in as he had identified a problem with the paddles. He informed us he would fetch another engineer to sort the problem and would be gone a hour or so but on his return would advise us on what was happening. It appears the paddles are so badly bent that they need major work, which will not be done today, before we can continue our journey. The locks were shut down and notices attached to advise they were out of use until further notice, it was even posted on the CaRT website as a stoppage.
Our only choice was to go back to Castleford and the safety of the navigation as more rain was forecast and no floating pontoons available, or so we thought, when I spotted a floating pontoon with a notice saying Fairies Hill Boat Club, I suggested to Dave it would be much nearer to the lock to see what was happening tomorrow. We pulled over and I went to find the owner to see if we could stay there the night. A lovely couple who run the club said we could not stay there as they were expecting twelve members boats back and we would be in the way, but offered to let us breast up in the club arm for the night, we readily agreed. We backed into their lock for ease of exit tomorrow, I managed to open and shut the gates but had to admit defeat on winding as my arm is still useless, but the boat club man and his wife did the hard work. So we are very grateful people as they did not need to help us out...Thank you guys, the pleasure is all ours.

Gaye did a roast chicken with melon starter and pudding of apple crumble and custard, so we got our roast Sunday tea after all. It was delicious and slid down a treat, lets hope she does it again!

Saturday 29th. Mostly dry. Gaye and Mike woke to a tilting boat, the water had receded and they were hanging by their ropes. Dave walked to the flood lock to see if he could let some water through, only to find a very harassed engineer trying to sort out the lock as there were boats on the river desperate to get through to the safety of the navigation. usually it is automatic that sensors detect the drop of water and allow some water through but that didn't seem to have happened but eventually Lion was afloat again and come and breasted up with us as we were in deeper water. Later on we found ourselves on the piss but it was soon put right, so no panic but at night I found we were again tilting over big time but as there was nothing I could do about it I went back to bed, we were level again by morning.

We walked into town which is large and compact, the market was on and we managed to buy some Violas to fill the space left in the roof pots. We then treated ourselves to a Chinese takeaway, yum, yum!
The evening ended with nine card brag aboard Lion, Gaye won the pot of over £8.00.

Friday 28th. Castleford. Dry and sunny but windy till 2ish, then rain. Dave and I walked to get a newspaper and spotted a small cafe doing a full 'English Breakfast' that contained 2 of: eggs, bacon, sausage and toast, tomatoes, mushrooms, hash brown, baked beans and a mug of tea and @ £4.50 a must have, so we did.
Moved on up the river, through two locks to Castleford, used the services and then mooed up on a grassy area in a good spot to walk into town, but will save that until tomorrow.

I planted up the roof pots with Begonias. By the mooring are picnic benches, so I didn't even have to bend down to do this job, a definite plus.

Thursday 27th. Ferrybridge. Sunny intervals with heavy rain. I gave Gaye her first boat driving lesson aboard Lion, while Michael went with Dave, trying out our boat. Dave did the locks as my shoulder is still useless, even driving is painful but not as bad as lugging lock gates about. We were a bit worried the River Aire would be in flood after all the rain but to our relief it was still on green, but not to risk anything we went further than we would have normally so as to spend the night on the Aire and Calder navigation with out the worry of rising waters.

Wednesday 26th. Burn. Wet start, then about 2pm the sun shone and it was hot but by 4.30pm it was very wet again, only the UK can offer weather like this! Gaye and I went shopping and I managed to find replacement plants for my roof pots.
We left Selby behind as we headed off to moor in Burn, not far but a change of scenery is always welcome; on route we had a telephone call from Stewart and Jenny, NB Unruffled, who we used to travel with but then we didn't hear from them after I had telephoned them are they were going to cal back. There were all kind of excuses as to why they hadn't been in touch, but I for one am of the opinion that you don't treat friends with such disrespect, it doesn't take a minute to pick up the phone or send a message. They are selling the boat and buying a smaller one to release some money, I wonder how much it will be valued this space.

A good evening aboard Lion playing Seven Card Brag and eating nibbles. Dave was on a roll and won hand after hand and I wasn't far behind, so now Gaye and Michaels money jar is much depleted.

Tuesday 25th. Naburn to Selby. There should have been 8 narrow boats going down to Selby but 3 cancelled so we led a line of 4. The journey was uneventful appart from dodging the floating debris and the turn brfore the lock. As the lock is approached the tide is running very fast, you must turn in the river to approch from the other direction but as you turn the current is dragging you along at a rate of knotts, then slam into forward gear to navigate the entrance but again the tide is dragging you about so not an easy exercise. We did a clean entry but Lion left his turn to late and by the time he was round had dissapeared around the bend in the river, he did eventually make a clean entry, so panic over.

We all walked into Selby with the intention of having a snack and look around but decided to separate as we like to look at different things. Dave and I had a meal in Weatherspoons as it was steak night, then shopped at Farm Foods, getting weighted down with groceries before Dave got two tops in the charity shops and then back to the boat to relax. Micheal and Gaye liked the look of a plush hotel/bar for their snack but the beer was off and the food terrible, so Michael was gutted that we had enjoyed ours and he had not, but he did find a Morrisons which we missed, so that made him feel better except he didn't like the prices.

Monday 24th. Neburn. Dave had to help me dress as my shoulder is so painful. The lock-keeper stopped by to inform us that we could go but the conditions were still not conducive to a safe passage for narrow boats, so we opted to stay put until tomorrow when, like us, eight narrow boats are wanting to exit through the lock for the journey to Selby. It is so cold today we have had the heating on...mid July and heating needed, whats going on?

Sunday 23rd. Neburn. Sunny start but not a good forecast. When I woke at 5am the boat was listing over a bit, I looked out to see the river had risen making the ropes tight, thus causing the boat to tilt. At 7am the list was extrema, on looking out the river had risen by at least another 5 inches. I got dressed and slackened the ropes off while Dave had a shower as today we are heading back up the tidal Ouse to Selby and the security of the canals...or that was the plan. When we got to the pontoon where you wait for the lock keepers instructions, he was there telling us there was to much water and we couldn't go as it was expected the river would rise by another meter in the next few hours and narrow boats were not up to the tidal conditions this would present. We breasted up on the floating pontoon, so at least we wouldn't find ourselves in trouble by floating onto the path as we would go up and down with the waters rise and fall. The lock keeper suggested, at best we would be here for to days, thats if it didn't rain again. We were instructed to attach the hose pipe to the tap as it wasn't unknown to cover the tap and at least we would still have fresh water, a scary thought as the water point is high above us at the moment.

I decided to wash the boat as we had a hose close by, all went well until I was drying it off and slipped off the gunwalls between us and Lion, renching my shoulder. I dont know how I am going to manage as my right arm is almost useless and the pain excruciating. An evenng of Rummykub followed but I couldn't even have a win at this.

Friday 21st. York. Windy and overcast. I binned all the roof flowers, they were just about finished but mainly because I didn't want the worry of them on the tidal river as the weather forecast is not good. The boat looks a bit bare without them, so perhaps I will replant them later on, once we are back on the canal system. The two plastic pigs that we had let moor in Lions place came for a chat and said they would see us in York and just as we had tied up they arrived. We moored up river from where we had been on the way down as that was full up, however, some undesirable men with cans decided to set up a little gang by us, making me feel most uncomfortable, so when a space appeared down river near where we had been before, we moved and Lion breasted with us, we both feel much safer now.

Today was Willows last day at pre school, parents were invited to the graduation do which had alot of thought put into it, there were tears all round and that was the parents!

Thursday 20th. Linton. We woke to rain and not sun as predicted, wrong again, nothing new there then! We were prepared to sit it out as we don't do wet boating, but it was not to be a plastic pig appeared wanting diesel and we were on the diesel point, so we had to move. We could have just slid across the river to the other side as there was now a space but the boys decided to go. Only one very wet lock today and two wet ladies operating it, but hey ho, mac and hat covered, kept the rain out.
Arrived at Linton Lock mooring, hoping there would be space for us and there was, no one else was there so we didn't even have to breast up...until a pair of plastic pigs pulled alongside and asked us to, so Lion breasted up with us leaving room for one boat but the other moored on the lock landing without a care, rules don't apply to cruisers, apparently!.

We ate a very tasty meal in the pub/restaurant/club at the caravan site by the lock, followed by Rummykub.

Wednesday 19th. Boroughbridge. Overcast to start with, then sunny and warm. Dave and I went into town for last minute provisions and then on to the Workhouse Museum. The building was completed in January, 1855. The Workhouse was almost a self sufficient world of its own with its own teacher, chaplain and doctors, chopping its own fire wood, doing its own laundry, growing its own vegetables, having its own infirmary and its own van to transport lunatics to asylums elsewhere if they became unduly violent. A feeling of doom or at best hopeless resignation must have fallen on many passing through the Gatehouse arch and hearing the door shut behind them. They knew they would leave only in the regulation coffin, 'with two handles, name of the person with the year of their decease inscribed'. Coffins were ordered in bulk.

Back at the boat, Lion had gone on ahead, we set off to navigate through the four locks back to Boroughbridge, this time going down. The first lock was the trickiest, being the shortest and leaking like a waterfall. We put towels around the stern doors to stop the cabin flooding and Dave took off his shoes as the water poured over the deck; it was with great relief when he managed to swing the bow over to clear the gates and we were on our way again. At lock three, there was another boat waiting to go up, luckily, as I needed his help and the help of some Gongoozlers to open the gate, again because of leaking.
We finally arrived at Boroughbridge, only to find it full of plastic pigs, so moored on the 48hr mooring right outside the services, we are really to long to stay here but needs must and we are here, breasted up for the night.
We bought diesel from the garage next door at a very good price; in the morning we will fill the water tank and move on, hopefully no one else will need to use the services before we go as there is not much room.

Tuesday 18th. Ripon. Hot sun. What a busy day, after a shower and boiled egg breakfast we cycled into town and did the shops, then on to the Court House Museum. The elegant Georgian Courthouse remains virtually unchanged since it was built in 1830. Following closure of the Magistrates Court in 1998 it was opened as a museum a year later. The permanent display offers an illustrated history of the use of the Courthouse. Then on to the Prison and Police Museum. The museum is housed in a building which formed part of the former House of Correction and Liberty Gaol. The building's origins go back to the late 17th Century but the part now occupied by the museum was built as Ripon Liberty Prison in 1816 and continued to function as such until May, 1878 when it, along with numerous other local prisons throughout the country, was closed as part of a government reform of prisons. The building did not lie empty for long as in 1887  it became the Police Station for Ripon.

We found an Aldi's, so I attached the shopping trolley to the rear bike rack and towed it, even when loaded it made life so much easier, so I shall be doing that again, it raised a smile or two from other shoppers with one lady saying she liked my style.

We cycled back into town for tea at Weatherspoons as it was steak night, an enjoyable meal followed. Then back to the boat for a short rest before setting off again into town, this time Michael came with us, to see the history of the Ripon Wakeman and the ancient ceremony of 'Setting the Watch'.

'Setting the Watch' dates back to the year 886 when Alfred the Great visited the City in those unsettled and troubled Viking times, and was so impressed by the place itself and the support he was given by the people against the intruders that he decided to grant the community a Royal Charter. As it was a spontaneous decision he did not have a parchment scroll or anything of that prepared. All he had to offer them as a symbol of the Charter was a horn. He told them that they should treasure the horn, refer to it henceforth as THE CHARTER HORN, and look after it for ever, and the people did.

It was at that time he told the people of Ripon that they should be vigilant as the Vikings were still a threat and other unruly elements in the land could descend upon them and they risked losing all they held dear. He suggested that they appoint a 'Wakeman'. The 'Wakeman' would be a man who stayed awake and patrolled the area all through the hours of darkness keeping a watchful eye while others sleep safely in their beds. So they appointed a 'Wakeman', and they further decided the he could put the Horn to good use. He would sound the Horn at the four corners of the market cross at 9pm each evening to let the people know that the 'Watch' was 'Set' and they could retreat to their homes knowing full well that it was safe for sleeping, and that he was out there keeping a watchful eye all night. It has not been missed, not even for one single night since then.

Monday 17th. Ripon. Hot sun. Four very hard locks today, in fact, it took four of us to open one of them, they were all leaking badly so the boat cratch and front locker are wet and everything in them. The last lock before Ripon was the shortest and it looked as if we would not be able to get in and shut the gates, after a few tries we were about to give up when I gave one of the gates a good shove, this made just enough room for the boat to slide past and we were in. We entered Ripon going into the basin to turn, only to find we were stuck on the bottom but with alot of shunting we wriggled free, turned and went back to the town moorings, a very nice spot with the promise of some shade from the trees but no Sky TV.

We walked into Ripon to look around, although to late for shopping but found a pub, The Red Lion, who did food, and very good it was too @ 2 meals for £12.50, mind you they made up for the good price by charging a lot for the drinks.

Sunday 16th. Boroughbridge. Hot sun. Passed through one very hard, deep lock, so hard that some Gongoozlers helped with the gates and paddle gear. Had a long chat to Debbie who is at her apartment in Spain. I did a dinner party for us all, Gaye and Michael said they enjoyed the food, which must be the truth as they had seconds and then we plaid cards and relieved them of some money.

Saturday 15th. Linton. Overcast and some showers. We left York at 2pm after a downpour, there is some controversy about the length of boat that can pass through the locks to Ripon, supposedly 57ft max, so we took the bikes off the back and tried our luck, but would we fit? At the first very deep awkward lock it was touch and go, but we managed to get in and Lion followed, I then slowly let the lock fill, stopping at Linton Lock for the night. The mooring is right by a caravan and camping park, so in the evening we partook of their hospitality and joined in their quiz, coming 2nd!

Friday 14th. A sad day as Otis, our 20 year old cat died with Jody by his side.

Thursday 13th. Sunny and warm. Today Dave has officially retired as its his 65th birthday. We all went into town where Troy and I went to the York Dungeons. The York Dungeon is a uniquely thrilling attraction that takes you back to York’s darkest history – and you’ll encounter some frighteningly funny characters on the way, we both enjoyed the experience. Then we went to meet Dave at Cliffords Tower, 13th-century castle keep, built on a grass mound, formerly used as a prison and royal mint. Next was a tour of the Castle Museum, much of this is set out in streets, with shops and horse drawn vehicles, just like they used to be. Hundreds of years of York’s history in one place – from recreated Jacobean dining rooms to infamous Victorian criminals and all the way to the Space Age and the swinging Sixties.

As it was Daves birthday I did a roast beef tea, which was excellent and enjoyed by us all. At 7pm it was time for Troy to depart for the 2 3/4 hour ride home. Lion had re joined us in the late afternoon, so they came aboard for some games of seven card brag, I am glad to report, Dave and I came out on top.

Wednesday 12th. York. After two days of heavy rain we awoke to sunshine, although still a chill wind. An uneventful cruise to York where we moored outside York Museum Gardens to await Troys arrival, as he is coming to visit for two days. Dave went off to empty the loo cassette and was gone so long I began to think he had been mugged for it, but no, he couldn't find it and had to ask another boated it's whereabouts. He then went off to get a daily paper leaving me in charge of directing Troy to the boat when he hit York. Anyone who knows me will sympathise, as my sense of direction is zero, so I felt quite stressed at the thought, however, Dave arrived back just as the phone rang, so I was able to pass it over, reprieved!
Troy was able to park his bike right by the boat which was a bonus as you never know who is about with their eyes on your things.

Troy and Dave went to the National Railway Museum, leaving me to enjoy some me time. Later we all went into town, which is huge, for a look round. Troy bought us tea while we were out, so it tasted very good indeed!

I feel very annoyed with myself as I crushed the camera and now the view finder is blacked out so you can't see what you are taking a picture of, I have tried just pointing it but there is always something wrong with the picture so I shall have to resort to my phone camera instead.

Monday 10th. Neburn. Started out sunny but by the time we were ready to start our journey it was raining and it didn't stop. We were the first into the lock with Lion by our side, the gates closed behind us and down we went to river level. When the gates opened there was the Tidal River Ouse, complete with flotsam, rushing past. As we entered the flow the boat keeled over which was alarming but as she turned to go with the incoming tide she settled down. We last did this journey in 2006 and nothing had changed, there were still dead animals, trees and all manor of debris floating past, we had to back up twice as we had trees wrapped around the bow, slowing us down, but at last after 2 1/2 hours we entered Namburn lock with five other boats, to rise up from the tidal river onto the non tidal, where we tied up to spend the night. Lion left us as they have to go home for three days and are leaving her at a marina @ £27.50 per night, robbers.

Sunday 9th. Sunny and very warm. Four locks today, one was so heavy, Gaye and I couldn't shut it, Dave had to give us a hand. We stopped for provisions at Aldi just before the swing bridge into the basin at Selby. When we got to the swing bridge, I inserted my key and pressed the appropriate buttons but nothing happened, it was dead, so I walked along to the nearest boat facing away from us to see if they had had any trouble. It had been very slow but had worked, anyway the chap walked back with me to see what he could do. He inserted his key and got the same result, nothing happened, so along comes Dave who obviously thought we were both useless, and had a go with the same result, so it wasn't me, the bridge really didn't work. A phone call later we were promised someone would be coming to our aid within the next hour. Normally it wouldn't have mattered but we needed to pass through into th basin to catch the tide on the River Ouse at 7.30am for our journey into York. Eventually a man from CaRT appeared but couldn't fix it and hadn't brought the key to use the standby generator, so he called for re-enforcements. The chap who came couldn't get anything working so they had to manually wind the bridge open. Through at last we now had to steer our way to a mooring through the, thick as soup, weed which smelt of rotting vegetables, Lion breasted up with us.

Saturday 8th. Sunny and warm but a chill wind out in the open. We set off after bacon and egg butties, stopping on route for Lion to get provisions, then onwards onto the River Aire through a manual lock, not done any of these for a while, to moor up by the lock at Beal. Luckily for us, we were both moored up as a stream of boats appeared and if they had got there first we would not have been able to stop, it was too narrow to breast up so they all went on their way, one lot looked furious, tuff.

Friday 7th. We caught up with 'Lion', who had waited for us at Pollington. We ate at the Kings head, an excellent eatery, I had Lasagna and Dave, BBQ ribs, there was loads of it with home made chips, not something we see much now days and all at a very reasonable price, highly recommended. We rounded off the day with a game of Rummikub, Gaye is getting good at this game and won twice.

Wednesday 5th. Overcast which turned to sunny and warm. We stopped on route at Asda and then a Lidls we had spotted on the journey up. Dave got chatting to a very interesting old boy who had been a working boat skipper, carrying coal many years ago.
At the first lock there was a working boat going through so we had to wait but I went up into the lock keepers office which overlooks the river and with a view for a fair distance in both directions just because I am nosy, two others off the working boat turned up and we had a good chat and laugh. While in the lock we used all the services and them we were off again through five more locks to moor up at Sprotborough, where we took the last spot, as there was already three boats there, the most we have seen together since we left for Sheffield.
We again passed the the oil tanker in a wide place, we had feared we would meet him on a narrow bend, he shouted to us 'are there any more boats coming', I shook my head, so lets hope there wasn't!

Dave shouted, ''blimey theres a tractor in the water, get the camera'', so I did, (see photos), we also passed a bride having photos taken by the river, she now has one with the Iron Butterfly in the background, lucky girl.

Tuesday 4th. Overcast with showers and then the sun appeared which made it quite warm. We left Sheffield at 8am with NB Black Briar to meet the lock keeper for the journey down the 15 locks. We hadn't met this one before but he left us at lock 7 to go it alone but we managed very well although the other boats crew were lacking in forward thinking but they were pleasant enough. We did have a laugh though when the wife was skipper, she hit the lock with a very loud bang and this was after Dave had shouted to slow down, we could imagine the dog aboard, on a slippery wooden floor, skidding from one end to the other; she had said he wasn't to keen on boating, well now we know why!

Black Briar kept going but we stopped just after the bottom lock to walk into Rotherham which was a nice surprise, as we had been told it was awful and not to stop there. We bought a few bits and pieces, visited the market for fruit and I treated myself to a watch which has large black figures, so I can now tell the time.
After this it was just a few miles to stop at Eastwood, the mooring we had used on the way up. I walked to the shopping complex where an Outdoor shop was selling up and bought two folding chairs, as one of ours has given up the ghost and the other will follow shortly.
So after all this excitement we were both exhausted and settled down to enjoy the rest of the afternoon with our feet up.

Sunday 2nd. Sunny and warm. We were at the first lock by 8.10am our meeting place for the CaRT man to see us through the locks, luckily he was also early. I assumed it was just the first lock, but as its bandit country he was with us all the way to unlock each lock. Brian and I made a good team as the locks were very heavy and it needed two to get them open and shut. At lock four he couldn't unlock the winding gear, we all tried but failed, so out with our tools and a mooring pin to do the job, finally he was prising the lock u-bolt out when it pinged out and straight into the water. Out with the sea searcher and after four goes we had it back. A few locks later we passed a wide beam going down the locks in the other direction, they also had the help of 'Dave' the real lock keeper and not a volunteer. A few locks later we were joined by another volunteer Mark and his dog Alf. When Dave had seen the wide beam through the bottom lock, he came back to help us through the last few, so we ended up with three helpers, thank you boys, the pleasure was all mine, see you on the way back.

We arrived at Sheffield Basin about 1.30pm and made ourselves known to the basin manager as requested. He told us where services were and answered other questions, one was about the steam museum, he informed Dave it would be in steam at 2pm, as I was not interested off he went to see this very exciting event alone, leaving me to clear the deck and have a rest after all those locks. On his return he was full of excitement, having seen the largest steam engine in the world and a lot of other fascinating sights.
I went to the boat cinema that was in the basin for two days and watched a film, a one off experience, in the evening I will be attending the outdoors cinema.

Saturday 1st. Dry but windy and overcast. We left Swinton, swapping from cut to river as we went, through three large, electrically operated locks. Two of the locks were so huge and deep that we had to pass down the side of the lock to the landing stage for me to get off and then back up to enter the lock, hadn't coma across this set up before. We didn't pass another boat again today but we were joined by one at out mooring, going in the other direction. This is a good, secure, gated mooring with water and electric. A volunteer CaRT person walked down to give us a map and information about Rotherham, I was most impressed.

From the mooring in the distance on the other side of the cut I could see a retail park, not the sort of thing I would normally be interested in but due to lack of exercise with being on the river,decided to walk to it. Dave wanted to come so we set off, back to and over the lock we had come through and then down the tow path, up and over a railway bridge with so many steps it gave us jelly legs, finally arriving at our destination. It was a very good one, covering everything you might need including a huge selection of eateries. I bought a new shirt, Dave engine oil, we then had tea in MacDonald's followed by the long walk home.

The lock keeper from the Tinsley flight of 12 locks rang to confirm that we would be passing through tomorrow, starting at the top lock at 9am as we had to give 24 hours notice of our intention, so an early start as it will take an hour to get to the meeting place, where Brian (a CaRT person) will help us through the first lock. So far this looks like a well organised event, very different from the River Trent experience.

Troy rang to say, Otis, our 20 year old cat is becoming incontinent; he was on the settee enjoying being petted when he did a runny poo where he laid, which got onto Troys trousers, so after cleaning the settee, which thankfully is leather, he took off his trousers to ride his motorbike home in his pants with just his waterproofs for cover. I had to laugh, it's a good job he didn't fall off or someone might have thought he had a fetish of some sort!

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