Thursday, August 30, 2018

Another update…

We stayed out near Gargrave till Tuesday, a fine day after a wet weekend. Heading back to Skipton we had the five swing bridges to do, and had to do every one ourselves! That’s not happened for a while, often we’ve met or caught up with other boats at the bridges, but although there were boats about we kept missing them. Not to worry, they’re all easy apart from Gawflat, where a waiting runner helped me close it. 

Leaving Holme Bridge, Gargrave.

Mags coming through Highgate Swing Bridge, the first for the day.DSCF4786

Towards Niffany I spotted this odd conversation going on…DSCF4790
I wonder what a pair of sheep and a goose have to talk about? Maybe the goose is saying “I wish ewed shove off!” (groan).

Back into Skipton, and it’s very busy on the moorings near the junction.DSCF4793

It was also busy around the corner opposite the bus station, but we managed to get in just past Gallows Bridge. A little later a boat moved off, so we pulled back to take his spot, filling with water on the way.

I took Meg back to the vet in the afternoon, we wanted to get a benchmark set of results – weight, urine sample, temperature and bloods. The idea was to leave it for two or three weeks then do the same again to see if there are any changes.
Her temperature was fine, weight was down a bit more but that’s expected as she’s still not eating well. The pee sample still shows blood though, and Sam the vet recommended that the blood sample go off to a lab for a comprehensive check. The results came back today.
Her red blood cell count is way down, and her white cell count is way up. With another couple of indicators this implies that her bone marrow, which manufactures these cells, is not performing as it should.
I took her back in this afternoon for another blood sample for tests aimed specifically for identifying a particular condition. You’ve probably guessed that we now suspect she has a cancer in her bone marrow (Myeloma). These latest results should be back tomorrow, then we’ll have to see where we go from here.

On a more positive note, CRT have re-opened Bingley Locks and those following down to Shipley. The way to Leeds is still closed, though, from Newlay Locks on down. Whether or not we’ll soon be able to take advantage of the improvement in water supply remains to be seen.

Locks 0, miles 4¼

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Whatever happened to the summer?

As I sit here writing this it’s chucking it down with rain and the outside temperature is just over 11°. Nice and warm in here, though. The stove’s lit…
I feel sorry for those who’ve organised events for this, the last Bank Holiday of the summer. Most will be a washout, I expect. It was cool but dry and sunny yesterday, though, as we moved out from Skipton. For a change we’ve headed east, back towards Gargrave, for a few days.

I’d been using go-kart tyres as fenders on the Gallows Bridge moorings, and when I lifted one of them I found a stowaway…
This chap was sitting inside one of the tyres, and looked quite put out that I was evicting him. I put him/her back in the canal, which turns out to be the wrong thing to do. Later investigation identified it as a Signal Crayfish, an invasive species originally from North America and responsible for the decline of our own, native, White-Clawed variety.

We filled with water then pushed off, through the two swing bridges and out towards Niffany.

There’s a new building going up on the edge of town, overlooking the rows of terraced mill houses on one side and the canal on the other.

The site was originally occupied by Canal Saw Mill, but I’m not sure what the new building will be.

We made steady progress towards Gargrave, of the five swing bridges we had to negotiate three were opened for us by boats either ahead or coming the other way.

Heading towards Thorleby Swing Bridge, with Sharp Haw rising in the backgroundDSCF4775
This is one of the two I had to open…

With the Gargrave Locks still closed due to the water shortage we turned around in the winding hole just short of Holme Bridge and reversed the couple of hundred yards to moor on the lock landing. It’s not as if anyone’s going to be using it for a while…DSCF4779

We we were joined by a family on a hire boat for a couple of hours, then another Silsden boat turned up and spent the night moored in front of us. They set off in the rain this morning. We’ll be here till Tuesday, I reckon. We’ve a visitor tomorrow, then others coming to see us on Wednesday back in Skipton, probably.

Meg’s latest tests once again proved inconclusive. She’s not being very co-operative. She’s much the same, not eating much and sleeping a lot. She just looks so sad…

We’ve some decisions to make regarding further tests which will be rather more intrusive than those we’ve done so far. I‘ll be ringing the vet tomorrow to discuss things.

Thanks for the comments in support, and those about the leading on the saloon doors. I can’t do the tinting yet though, the doors will have to come off and lay flat for that, so it’ll need to get warmer again! Might be next year then, eh…

Locks 0,  miles 4¼

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Not a lot going on…

Well, we’re still here, shuffling around near Skipton. Even with the recent rain there’s no sign yet that that CRT will be reopening the locks down to Leeds anytime soon. We’ve been spending most of the time out at Bradley, returning to town for a few days every week of so for water, rubbish disposal and shopping. And of course Meg’s regularly visits to the doggy-doctor.

Despite various tests there’s still no definite conclusion as to what is ailing her. She’s still listless and off her food, she’s lost three kilos in the last three weeks. We’ve tried different antibiotics and the one she’s on now seems to be the most effective, but that’s not saying much. As of yesterday her urine sample was still showing blood and a high white cell count, indicating an infection. We’re now waiting on the latest test results, hopefully we’ll know more tomorrow.

Meanwhile, on the human rather than canine front –

We had Mags’ son Neil and his wife Val stay with us for a few days, enjoyed a social gathering with family over at Ingleton, and attended a family funeral near Blackpool.

Neil after we’d gone back out to Bradley last week.DSCF4760

We came back into Skipton yesterday, luckily dropping into a space opposite the services as a hire boat was just leaving. On the way we’d pulled in at Snaygill Boats to fill up with diesel and swap an empty gas bottle.

I mentioned some while ago that I was changing the leaded design on the glazed saloon doors. Gone is the geometric diamond pattern, now we’ve an organic, art nouveau inspired design.

Leaded, but there’s the colour to apply now.
It’s taken two whole days to get this far… but considerably longer to agree on the design!

Not sure what we’re doing next, depends on Meg’s test results. We’ll probably toddle out to Gargrave for a change for the weekend, but then again the weather is supposed to be turning decidedly cooler. And damper. We’ll see…

Locks 0, miles 9.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Looks like we’re screwed…

We were planning to be down on the Soar by mid-September to enjoy my brother Andy’s wedding, but following on from the canal closure to the west of us, from Gargrave to Wigan, CRT have now made the decision to close the eastern descent down into Leeds too.

Notice Alert

Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Starts At: Lock 29, Bingley 5 Rise Top Lock
Ends At: Lock 1, River Lock

Friday 17 August 2018 08:00 until further notice
Type: Navigation Closure
Reason: Water resources

Original message:
Due to the continued drawdown of the river levels, the prolonged low rainfall and with the forecast for further dry weather, the Trust will be implementing temporary closures to navigation between Bingley 5 Rise Top Lock(Lock 29) to River Lock (Lock 1) at the beginning of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, commencing on Friday 17th August.
The main lock flights will be padlocked closed at Bingley Three and Five Rise (Locks 22-29), Field (Locks 16-18), Newlay (Locks 11-13), Forge (Locks 8-10) and the gates will be ashed up to reduce leakage.  Additionally to prevent unauthorised use, measures will be taken to make all the locks inoperable within this section. 
It’s not clear how long the closure will last for but it’s likely to be throughout August and potentially beyond if there is no significant, sustained rainfall. While the closure will prevent use of that stretch of canal by boats the towpath will remain open for visitors and the local community alike to enjoy.

Although it’s only four or five long days down to Leeds from here, we’ve a family gathering up here tomorrow, a funeral to attend over Blackpool way on Monday, and Meg has to make a return visit to the vet here on Tuesday morning. There’s no way we could do the trip in 2½ days. So it looks like we’ll be hanging around up here in God’s country a little longer…
Incidently, in case your wondering what “the gates will be ashed up” means, traditionally, to stem leaks between the gates, boatmen used to pour the ash from their fires into the joint at the upstream side. The ash would be drawn into the joint, form a paste and a temporary seal. I assume the method used now is a little more high-tech, but you never know…

So, last Tuesday we headed further east from Bradley, through a couple of swing bridges to turn around at Farnhill Bridge and head back. We really did time it well. With so many day boats and longer term hire boats out from Skipton and Silsden, we only had to open three out of the four ourselves.

A fine sunset on Monday night…

…and a misty Tuesday morning.
The sun made short work of clearing the mist, by mid-morning we were into another bright, sunny day.

Returning the favour at Hamblethorpe Swing Bridge, after being invited through that at Bradley.DSCF4735
Up on the fell near here, in 1943, a Wellington bomber on a training flight crashed here following a catastrophic airframe failure. The seven crew members, all Polish were killed. The aircraft was on a routine flight and was returning to it’s base in Cumbria when the accident occurred.


A memorial to the young men, mainly funded by local businesses, was unveiled in 2007 by the widow of one of the crew. They’d been married only three weeks when the tragedy happened…

Heading back towards Bradley, alongside the busy Keighley Road.DSCF4740

A view from the east side of Bradley this time…DSCF4742

We thought we’d missed the opportunity here, we recently passed two pairs of boats that must have only just come through the swing bridge. But no, there was another couple of day boats just getting the bridge open again, so we snuck through.DSCF4743

We pulled in on the same spot we’d left a little earlier, once again with the stern well out to avoid the shallow bottom.DSCF4745
Even on this 20-mile pound the water is 2 or three inches lower than normal.

Meg had an appointment at the vet this morning so we set off yesterday, hoping to moor opposite the bus station again. But although we had a lucky break once again at Snaygill Bridge, it had run out when we arrived in Skipton. Our preferred moorings were all full, so we filled up with water, dropped the rubbish, turned around at the Springs Branch junction and pulled in nearer Tin Bridge. It’s OK here, but with buildings pretty well both sides there’s no chance of sun. Not that we’re going to see much anyway for the next few days.

We’re still struggling to sort Meg out. She’s listless and has no appetite, and this morning’s visit showed that even after 10 days of antibiotics she’s still got a temperature and has blood in her wee. After the consultation I left her there for an ultrasound scan, which has showed up some abnormality in her bladder, so further tests are scheduled for Tuesday.
I think she was pleased when I went to pick her up, but she was more interested in getting out of the door. After suffering the indignity of having her belly and flanks shaved she just wanted to be out of there!

I suppose the stoppage is a mixed blessing. At least we’ve got to stay up here now, so we can pop back to the vet regularly. We’ll get her sorted.

Locks 0, miles 5½

Friday, August 03, 2018

A few days in Skipton, then back to Bradley

We actually sneaked an extra half-day on the Gallows Bridge moorings, Meg's Tuesday appointment at the vets resulted in another one this morning, so we held on  another night.

Val and John came across on Wednesday, bringing a cake, a selection of vegetables from John’s veggie patch, and a bottle of an unusual Welsh whisky.

It certainly has character… A special occasion tipple, I reckon. Then again, it is my birthday today!
Penderyn Single Malt is distilled in Penderyn, in the Brecon Beacons of South Wales, and at 46% ABV has a considerable kick.

There’s a family of swans that patrol this length of moorings, you can’t go near an open hatch without Cyd, Eric and the three kids appearing with open beaks. Val had great fun feeding them pieces of brown bread…DSCF4699

The youngsters are already tame enough for hand-feeding.DSCF4697

Little Harry wanted to see what the commotion was, but Cyd wasn’t impressed.DSCF4704

They take their territorial boundaries seriously – that’s Eric all fluffed up heading off to have a word with another family that have drifted through Belmont Bridge onto his patch.

Honour satisfied, and relax.

The interloping pen and cygnets headed off back towards the junction, but the cob hung around under the bridge for a while, getting his own back by taking his frustration out on passing walkers.
He’s a big chap!

Meg’s visit to the vet was inconclusive. A urine sample on Tuesday indicated an infection, so she’s been on antibiotics. But today’s sample showed no improvement, and she’s still eating very little. A bit worrying. She’s still got several days of the medication left, so we’ll review after the weekend. They might have kicked in by then. If she’s feeling better I’ll probably bike a wee sample back to Skipton for them to check.

On another subject, I’ve started work on tidying up the front doors. One has had a cracked glass for some time, not too noticeable with it being laminated and decorated with a stained glass design. So I got a replacement pane from a glaziers in town, fitted it and stripped the paint and lead strip from the other. We were sort of art deco, with straight lines and geometric shapes. I think we’re going all art nouveau this time… Watch this space…

This morning then, after Meg’s doggy-doctor visit and a grocery top-up from Tesco, we were away back down the cut to Bradley. First we had to push across to fill with water and dispose of the rubbish, then go up through Belmont Bridge to turn around at the Springs Branch junction.

Winding at the junction
I was thinking about topping up the fuel tank as well, but the wharf was very busy. We’ll last another couple of weeks.

On the way back under Gallows Bridge we encountered the wide Endeavour, the SCAD (Skipton and Craven Action for Disability) boat. One of the half-hour trip boats from Pennine Cruisers nipped through the gap as the skipper held Endeavour back.DSCF4719

A bit further on, and it was a bit odd watching a boat seemingly disappear into a solid wall…DSCF4721

…but he was going into Pennine Cruisers dry dock.DSCF4722

We were lucky at Snaygill Swing Bridge, the charity boat Adams Ark had arrived at the other side moments before, and a party of energetic teenagers soon had the bridge open and waved us through.DSCF4723

The sky had been grey most of the morning, and a fine drizzle started to fall but only lasted 10 minutes.
By the time we reached Bradley I was dry again.

Moored at Bradley
We’ll be here for a few days again.

Carol (Still Rockin’) rang this morning to wish me happy birthday, but also to point out that I’d not published any comments for the last couple of weeks. I rely on email notifications of pending comments, and I‘d not been receiving any, so assumed that there were none outstanding. After all, I’ve not been posting much recently, and what I have written has been pretty inane stuff. Anyway it turns out that there are 17, going back a couple of months! They are all published now, apologies to all of you to whom I’ve not replied. I‘ll check my email settings, but meanwhile I’ll keep an eye on the comments section of the blogger dashboard menu.

Locks 0, miles 2¾