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Whispers on water - a photo journal of our life on the 'cut' dedicated to keeping family and friends informed of our whereabouts.
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Drought, pollution and illegal fishing all threaten our waterways. Spotted something that looks wrong? See it, say it, save it. Call the Environment Agency (EA) Incident Hotline: 0800 80 70
19th May 2014, 13:57
A Blackbird sings betwixt night and day,
Then Blue Tit and Robin have their say.
Dunnock, Fieldfare, Magpie, Thrush,
Follow suit to break the hush.
A Jackdaw, Sparrow and Starling keen,
Make themselves known, to be seen.
A Carrion Crow joins the throng,
Much too late to spoil the song.
For those who wake to watch the dawn,
Or lie awhile to stretch the morn.
Just listen for the feathered choir,
Spirits lifted as the sky catches fire.
6th May 2014, 13:07
The ground is heavy with dew this morning and the scent of hawthorn blossom permeates the air as the sun carries the aroma skywards on unseen thermals. In wooded glades the pungent odour of wild garlic onion pervades the senses, tempting me to graze on the flowers as I pass by.
Nature waits for no man as it adapts to the longer days afforded us by the Sun as we move to the warmer seasons. In my world, boats that once demonstrated our inventiveness lie abandoned, left to succumb to decay, hidden to the less enquiring eye by swathes of reeds as they rest, almost submerged, in the silt of too long ignored and redundant lock chambers. Hulks, dating back to as early as 1772, lie quiet, as if waiting for their masters to come and rescue them; sadly no one will.
Iron and steel work dating back to 1874 still protects and provides the means to operate locks that help tame the urgency of water seeking to find a sea level estuary. Long disused spring-fed drinking troughs watered horses hard at work on the towpath, rope worn stone testament to the loads they hauled up a river that, for its most part has long been a gently flowing canal navigation.
Long abandoned stone wharves, overgrown with bramble and tree roots, seem to draw my eye in the hope that I might tie up against their iron bollards still proudly displaying a now forlorn sense of purpose. I would gladly do so if were not for the jungle that greets any attempt to try. Heritage is fast losing importance; to ignore the march of time upon it leaves pockets of history to go unnoticed, as if everything happening today began this morning.
Speed, distance and time governs all life and I live happily with a knowledge and understanding of these measures keeping me grounded and in tune with my cycle of life, accompanied by a little owl who shares it with me as I continue my lifes adventure.
Every footstep I take on my walk through life brings me a new experience of times past, distance travelled and the speed of change since. My senses tell me the story of those journeys. The future is an adventure, its story yet to unfold. I relish that.
2nd May 2014, 13:39
1. The sky darkens in preparation.
2. The rainbow touches down.
3. The rain cloud breaks.
4. The sky clears.
This evening I was touched by what I can only describe as a truly once in a lifetime experience and one that I will remember for as long as I live.
Rain had been falling on and off during the late part of the afternoon and had finally moved on to leave the sun low in a bright blue sky and the chance to take Gunner for his last walk of the day.
The riverside meadow grass seemed to move in time with the gentle breeze that had sprung up as I enjoyed the richness of new colour that spring had brought to the landscape. In the far distance the horizon turned charcoal grey as more clouds, heavy with rain, loitered with intent.
After an hour I turned for home, the sky behind me now dark and laden with the certainty of rain. A wind suddenly tapped me on the shoulder and tried to push me aside as the approaching squall let itself be known. It was then I looked back and saw a rainbow arched across the sky thick with nature's palette of paints and perfect from end to end.
Unusually this rainbow appeared to be closing in, moving with the rain that was now approaching fast. Then the wind died and I became fearful for a moment as this phenomenon of nature hovered, shimmering all about me. I was in the end of a Rainbow. Something I had never dreamt possible, but here I was. Fear instantly gave way to wonder as I stood amongst clearly discernible colours, changing one to another against the backdrop of trees clearly visible through this transparency of colour.
My emotions were all over the place as I stood there with Gunner by my side. He seemed to sense a change in the atmosphere and sat with his head cocked to one side, curious. We were both soaked. It was as if the rain hung in the air like a see-through projectionists curtain as the colours faded and, suddenly, were gone. The rain now came in big splattering drops as the wind picked up, spreading the rain cloud across the sky until it was no more and the sun drew long shadows on the grass, posed by the surrounding trees.
I walked on stunned and excited by what I'd experienced, Gunner spinning in circles, excited too. I realised I was choked by something I couldn't fathom out and understood more the power of reverence for the natural world, like the ancient civilisations that were shaped by it and worshipped a star that still hangs bright in our sky today.
I have been touched by that reverence this evening!?
27th Apr 2014, 12:15
25th Apr 2014, 12:58
1.Sunset over Devils Garden
Late most nights, when all terrestrial light has hopefully faded from the night sky I can be found sprawled out in my chair listening to the sounds of the river and it's nocturnal inhabitants. Sometimes the moon, hanging silvery bright outside the window, seems to cast its beam as if to light the way for predators of the night, affording them the comfort of a shadow in which to hide or seek prey from. Ducks disturb the water in a frenzy of panic as a fox skulks along the bank or an owl silently throws it's moon cast shadow across the water, swooping in search of a late supper. A dog barks nervously in the distance, unsure of what it may face in the darkness as it waits to be let back in to the fold.
I often stay up until well after midnight embracing all that living this life offers, never alone with my thoughts, always in touch with my dreams, comfortable in the knowledge that life is the greatest of adventures and must never be taken for granted; nor those who tread a similar path through life looking for the same experience.
The night holds few mysteries and seldom draws caution from me. I look upon the hours between dusk and dawn as an education. Gone are those who touch down with scant regard for those who live on the water; passers-by oblivious to the simplicity of actually living, instead complicating their lives by conforming. The International Space Station drifts lazily across the sky, sharply reflecting the rays of the sun below the horizon, a wonder of technology that would otherwise be invisible; ever seeking knowledge.
An owl hoots close-by, carefully picking a moment of quiet to attract the attention of a potential mate. A pair of swans drum along the side of the boat feeding on streamer weed attached to the hull just below the water line. They also know there's a chance of roughly torn pieces of bread kindly proffered from the galley hatch. When accompanied by signets the drumming reaches almost a cacophony of attention seeking. Yet seldom do I rise to meet the usual frown of gazes, almost indignant with impatience, as they gather expectantly at the hatch. Then silence!
The glow of my tablet, crossing continents in search of answers to my questions, keeps me in touch with a world I was once familiar with, bringing words that elicit long held emotions only further adventure can sate. A clarity of thought and expression suits the word-smith in me as the night unfolds and I often head off to bed with the comfort of a dream to be had. Sleep comes easy, deep and sound.
I open the galley side hatch one last time on my way to bed and let the beauty of the night seep in. The waters surface reflecting the moons glow and the silhouettes of trees stand tall against the backdrop of a starry sky. An aircraft powers high westwards towards the Atlantic, heavy with fuel as it climbs to cruise altitude, as familiar to me as breathing once upon a time.
The river journeys on unperturbed.......
21st Apr 2014, 14:42
With the sun drawing excess water from a land soaked by months of rain, mist forms easily, first drifting close to the ground, then rising skywards, a gentle warmth encouraging wisps of vapour to congregate and dampen the day.
Later, the chill of evening takes over as the sun dips towards the horizon The mist, now heavy with moisture, sinks close to the ground clearing the sky to treat us to a wonder of colour and movement.
3rd Apr 2014, 20:58
Vale Royal, River Weaver.
1. The Cathedral of the Canal.
2. Barnton Cut.
3. Vale Royal.
Monday dawned cold yet with a Sun that took the chill from the air and melted the frost-stiffened resistance of wilvir's mooring lines.
Teasing the coiled lines into life I cast off and stood at the tiller guiding wilvir through water breaking at the bow into an explosion of day-stars on the sun bright surface.
We continued on towards the Anderton Lift holding point having let them know in advance we would be arriving to drop down onto the river. With one caisson out of action awaiting a spare from Switzerland we were next, along with another narrowboat called 'Plan B', to be lowered to the River Weaver below; part of a journey that is made all the more special by this compact wonder of engineering
With the beautiful contrast of the black ironwork towering above us against the blue of the sky, we left the lift and rounded the bend taking us down river to Barnton Cut. Here we spent a couple of days settling in to the rivers languid pace and collected some mail we'd had delivered to the local village Post Office.
A run into Northwich gave us the opportunity to stock up on supplies and after a night on the town moorings we left this morning to lock up to Vale Royal, one of the seven wonders of the River. Here we'll stay until after the weekend.
28th Mar 2014, 20:40