Travelling life

New day, new view

The last few days have been a great illustration of the variety we experience living and travelling on our Golden Girl and they have given me a better insight into the appeal of this lifestyle. Storm Hannah gave us a fair old battering in Lymm last week but Sunday dawned calm and much brighter and we were more than happy to untie and move on. First stop was Stockton Heath just a few miles to the west and that was our first port of call to catch up on a range of routine chores.

The services at
Thorne Marine are adjacent to a bridge with moored boats on either
side and I recalled being a bit stressed last year trying to work out
where to pull in. I’m much more relaxed about these situations now
and I was happy to tread water while another boat finished off
filling up with water before vacating the spot we needed. We have
become quite slick at these service stops and without any discussion
we were soon filling up with water and diesel and after emptying the
bins and toilet cassettes there was still time to browse the
chandlery section of the shop for a couple of clips and shackles that
we needed. I laid out my shiny new bits of hardware on the counter in
an “experienced boater” kind of manner and I was all ready for a
bit of salty Jack tar conversation but somehow the proprietor and I
ended up talking about Excel spreadsheets and our respective
inability to remember numbers as we got older. Maybe I need a stout
pipe and a broad Cornish accent before I’ll be taken seriously as a
nautical type.

Photo by Gill
Pit stop at Stockton Heath

The water tank was
finally full and after the usual wrestling match with the hose pipe
we moved away from the services and tied up once more. Shopping time!
Stockton Heath seems to be quite an upmarket kind of place with a
selection of smart boutique shops and eating places. As neither of us
urgently needed a new ‘outfit’ we settled for a meal deal from M&S
for tonight’s tea and a main shop in Aldi for everything else. We
always do supermarket shopping with a list and we are pretty good at
sticking to it so the large red and black wheelbarrow wheels that
definitely weren’t on that list looked a bit incongruous as they sat
amongst the extra virgin olive and oil and breaded ham at the
checkout. But that’s the problem with Aldi isn’t it? There’s always
something to tempt you and knowing our boating friend Bob was looking
for a pair of wheels as a mooring aid it seemed churlish not to buy
them. I should say at this point of course that other German
supermarkets selling a variety of obscure domestic hardware and
sports goods alongside the baked beans and cheap wine are available.

Look what I got Bob!

We left Stockton
Heath with everything that could be emptied empty and everything that
could be filled full, including ourselves after a very tasty Cajun
chicken pizza. (£1.69 from Aldi)

The next two days were spent moored in a fabulous spot with neither a town nor village in site and little but birdsong and the occasional Virgin Pendolino for company. We were quite close to the main west coast rail line and still not clear of the Manchester airport flight path but these things were a minor price to pay for an otherwise peaceful and isolated mooring. We were now on the Trent and Mersey canal and the beautiful river Weaver was just a twenty minute stroll away. We spent hours and hours exploring the Longacre and Birds woods nearby with their breathtaking displays of wild garlic and bluebells.

Garlic anybody?

Back on the boat Gill was busy transfering her recent photographs to the computer while I spent a relaxing hour sitting on the prow and watching a very patient heron fishing. The heron eventually caught his supper but not before a kingfisher had paid a visit and a sparrowhawk had shot across the canal in pursuit of some prey or other. A David Attenborough voice over wouldn’t have gone amiss but I guess you can’t have everything.

Photo by Gill
Painted lady butterfly
Photo by Gill
Heron fishing

Later whilst washing
the dishes from our very tasty M&S dinner for two I was struck by
the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of this existence we are
living. Like the pendulum of a cranky old time piece we swing
effortlessly between home life and wildlife without a pause. Our
domestic circumstances are really not any different to those when we
are stationery in the winter, but the travelling adds a completely
different and ever changing backdrop to the everyday routines of our
days. I think the appeal lies in the perfect blend of adventure and
predictability. The familiarity and comfort of home but in a never
ending variety of new places just waiting to be explored and

Mere Sands Wood

There is a nature reserve not that far from where we live called Mere Sands Wood. We took a stroll around it in the spring sunshine today and discovered a magical mixture of woodland and mere, (the clue is in the name) alive with water fowl and one particularly cheeky robin. Armed with just a mid range digital compact camera I tried to capture a little of the wonder of the place. I’m afraid the digital zoom leaves a bit to be desired but hopefully you can get a flavour of the reserve. It was very quiet there today and most of the hides we visited were empty. Apart from the one with that we barged into whilst talking very loudly only to find it occupied by very serious and very quiet photographers who were less than amused. Very sorry.