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Narrowboat 'wilvir'

by wilvir

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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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Helping to keep our waterways litter-free:

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

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Moored up In the Gods

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This is the view this morning from where we are moored above the village of Strines hidden in the valley below. You can just make out the fence posts marking the footpath in the middleground of the photograph leading down to Strines from the towpath.
12th Nov 2011, 12:41   comments (1)

A Hero Amongst Many - Monday 27 May 1940

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My father was bosun aboard T.S.M.V Royal Daffodil during the evacuation of Dunkirk. The following is a short extract from his workbook written at the time:

'We left for Dunkirk at 1000 to embark troops. Arrived Dunkirk at 1630 and embarked troops with bombs dropping all round. Left Dunkirk at 1715, arriving Dover at 0030 Tuesday morning to disembark troops and wounded. Left at 0200 for anchorage and finished at 2.30am.'

Thanks to Wikipedia for the following:

Royal Daffodil rescued 9.500 men in seven trips. On 2 June 1940, a bomb passed straight through her and exploded under her. The explosion caused a hole in the starboard side, and the Master ordered everyone to port side, which raised the hole out of the water and enabled a temporary patch of mattresses and wood to be applied. Royal Daffodil made it safely to Ramsgate and disembarked the evacuees. Later she was sailed to Deptford under her own power and repaired. As well as the bomb, Royal Daffodil also survived machine gun and torpedo attacks.
10th Nov 2011, 17:41   comments (5)

Wilvir is Purrrrrrrring

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1. A grey start to the day yesterday.
2. The 'Trading Post'
3. The landscape begins to fall away as we leave Marple.

We left Bollington yesterday morning and headed for Strines on the Upper Peak Forest Canal, arriving at 3pm.

On the way, we refilled the water tank and picked up a new gas bottle, to replace our empty spare, at the 'Trading Post', Higher Poynton, which has just recently changed hands and is now under new ownership. This is a little haven for boaters needing that little something and a welcome watering-hole for towpath walkers seeking refreshment and a sit-down.

On reaching Marple we serviced the toilet at the BW facility and turned northeast at the junction where the Macclesfield Canal joins the Upper Peak Forest Canal. The views across to the rising foothills of the Pennines as the canal rides a 500' contour on the gentle southern slope of the Goyt valley are just stunningly beautiful.

We both turned and smiled at each other as the land fell away to expose the tops of trees and rural homes to our left and to our right continued to gently rise above us so that we were now being looked down upon from the few homes dotted above. We love it here and it is probably our favourite pla?e on the canal network. In the three years since we were last here there is little if any visible change. Homes and businesses may have changed hands but the landscape has so far remained stoically resilient to the attention of developers since our last visit.

On the subject of 'my' gout, on Monday I had to seek the ministration of the medical profession at Bollington who were most helpful. My gout medication has now been changed and exploratory blood tests required to determine a more satisfactory outcome to lessen the impact or prevent a further occurrence. So we will be returning to Bollington next week. Meanwhile I'm still limping on a swollen foot and still suffering nightly pain that draws me from my slumbers enough to cause me to have to swallow another 800mgs of Ibroprufen just to take the edge off it and get back to sleep. Oh well, it can't go on forever, can it?

As an aside, the anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac, which I have now thankfully stopped using due to its side effects, was found to be responsible for killing vultures in India. Apparently the vultures were feeding on dead cattle routinely treated with Diclofenac, which killed the vultures by poisoning their kidneys. This came to light after it was noticed that deceased human bodies left to the vultures for Hindu religious purposes were not being eaten. This predicament highlighted the problem of the declining vulture population and brought them back from the brink of extinction. Cattle farmers are now encouraged not to use Diclofenac. However, it is routinely prescribed to the human population with all its possible side effects. I'm just glad I'm not a vulture.

This blog title is purely down to a gentleman with a discerning ear who happened to be walking the towpath at Marple as we passed by. His exact words were 'it sounds like she's purring'. A great compliment for an engineer like myself to hear.
9th Nov 2011, 11:31   comments (1)

Freedom Borne of Sacrifice

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Please wear a poppy, it's a small price to pay in every way for those who have given their lives for our freedoms and who deserve our respect. They are the innocents.
7th Nov 2011, 09:38   comments (2)

Sunshine on a Frosty Morn

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The early morning frost turned to rising wisps of smoke-like loosely spun silk as the sun warmed the lands0cape. .
6th Nov 2011, 13:09   comments (0)

Gout - The Only Bane in My Life

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Gunner, patiently on the lookout for the slightest hint that there's something out there to chase. An activity of his I'm jealous of at the moment in my current circumstance.......................

For the past four days I've put up with the ebb and flow of pain that accompanies the final and lasting agony of a full blown bout of gout in my right foot. I'm now unable to walk and my foot has swollen such that I'm unable to wear any footwear at all and the fact that the pain of even the slightest touch makes wearing shoes unbearably impossible.

The pain is indescribable and has kept me awake and restless for most of the past three nights. Aside from the prescribed anti-inflammatory pills, which I initially double-dose on to even begin to numb the pain, I also have to add over the counter pain-killers, which aren't as corrosive to my stomach, to lessen the pain enough to snatch a moments sleep.

I shouldn't have walked the five miles I did with Gunner three nights ago knowing the signs were there. I arrived back at the boat limping slightly and then the next day contorted myself into a near impossible space just to set the timing marks on the crankcase of wilvir's engine and set the valve clearances. The pleasure I derived from walking Gunner and servicing the engine has certainly been replaced by feelings of anxiety over how quickly incapacitated and vulnerable I've become and the threat it poses to our way of life from time to time.

This morning the pain is under control and the swelling is subsiding, so hopefully this episode will have passed by the weekend. Sometimes an episode will come and go over a period of just twenty-four hours with the same attendant agony and swelling that at other times may last days. I'm fortunate in that I usually only have to suffer with it, at most for about a week, once every couple of months. Others aren't so lucky and have to live with it on a near daily basis. It's a very debilitating condition and signs are that my knees and ankles are becoming more and more susceptible to it as time passes with each episode.

In all other respects I'm fine, but there is always the niggle at the back of the mind that I ain't all that these days and need to think about taking care of myself more than ever I did before. Ginny deserves that, more than I can ever express in words, for all she has brought to our relationship over the thirty seven years we've been married.

I find pharmacists are much more accessible, informed and helpful than General-Practitioners these days too. The internet, through necessity, has become my doctor. However, hospitals are still wonderful institutions, though hopefully I won't be needing one unless somebody unfortunately has to dial 999 on my behalf!

I live life on my terms and the result is living the way we do, on a boat, and simply experiencing the colour of life and its many hues as it comes. Sod the gout!
4th Nov 2011, 10:48   comments (0)

Spanners and Slippers?

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Looking west from the Middlewood Way with the landscape sloping away to Manchester Airport on the far horizon.

I had to laugh at myself today while taking a break from adjusting the valve clearances on wilvir's engine, which were starting to beat an altogether different rhythm, albeit indiscernible to the untrained ear of passing ramblers amongst the birdsong of an exceptionally beautiful day.

Anyway, on looking down at my feet, which were just visible below the turn-ups of my overalls proudly emblazoned with the words Rolls-Royce, I happened to notice I was wearing SLIPPERS!

That's an indication of how clean wilvir's engine bay is and the uncomplicated laid back (near horizontal) way my life is continuing to unfold. I often smile at the usually frowning demeanour, oil smudged clothes, filthy hands and concerned faces that rise from the supposed toil of 'hard' work, which is usually a consequence of putting off all those little engine bay jobs that have needed attending to for sometime until the engine says, 'that's it I've had enough' and expensively shudders to a stop. Now you've no choice but to wade about in oily bilge water, taste and smell the faint acidity on the air from overworked, thirsty batteries and try not to touch surfaces microscopically greased by the engine and blackened by dust thrown from overly worn alternator drive belts. Notwithstanding the guilty conscience of ignoring oil and filter changes. Sometimes, a consequence of the engine being virtually inaccessible or soundproofed, comes the point where the only indication of a problem is a worn engine mount audibly transmitting something is amiss by chattering to the comfort of the saloon via the steelwork.

The answer is being able to wear slippers while immersed in the art of technical tweaking. They make the joy of fiddling with narrowboat engines so much more comfortable and rewarding. And, you can wander through the boat with impunity and not a disparaging word being uttered by members of the crew that a 'clean' engineer is topside!

Unless, that is, you've been putting off all those outstanding little jobs for far to long!
1st Nov 2011, 18:57   comments (3)

All Hallows' Eve

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Wilvir's Jack-o-Lantern awaits nightfall to ward off and placate roaming sprites and evil spirits who might otherwise 'fiddle' with our property as darkness falls across the 'cut'.
31st Oct 2011, 12:18   comments (3)