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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

So now we become firefighters!

Sunday 15th after dinner

6.30pm, a shout came from outside and a cyclist looking very agitated. Rushing out we asked what was the matter. "There's a fire by the bridge" "Any chance of a bucket" says he. Not knowing what to expect, Ian grabs our bucket, gets shoes on pretty quick and walking rapidly with the cyclist make their way to the bridge. I grabs camera, locks boat and chases after the pair.. Sure enough a 10ft length of hedgerow was smouldering and a small section still alight. Three lads were doing a sterling job with an empty can and coke bottle, filling them from the canal and sprinkling the water over the flames. Ian with a full bucket made short work of dousing the flames and then spent the next 10 minutes wetting the embers to make sure it was out. Meanwhile Fire brigade had been called by the cyclist and we assumed were on there way. After making sure the fire was well and truly out, and with no sign of the fire brigade, we walked back to FS. Had just settled down when Ian happened to look up and notice the Fire tender by the bridge. So he hot footed (excuse the pun) back to the bridge to explain what had been done. They then told Ian the difficultly they had in reaching the bridge. For a start they had to come from Widnes because no vehicles were available at Runcorn. The weight restrictions on the bridges also caused them problems. So taking twice as long as usual trying to find a different route round, found the fire was out and now had a problem of turning round. Couldn't go over the bridge (weight) and the only place available to back into was the farmers field and he had put huge blocks in the entrance to deter the Gypsies. Anyway their driving skill is amazing and although I didn't see them do it, Ian said they reversed back between the stones missing the blocks with inches to spare.

Making haste to the bridge



The lads using bottles and cans.


Dousing the embers

This must have been in the undergrowth.



Ian arrived to let the men know what had happened.


They had to reverse through these and turn around.

Monday 16th.

A little worried last night in case those responsible for the fire would come back. Thankfully a peaceful night was had and we set off around 8.30am.  We had about 6 lock free miles to do before arriving at Lymm  and we did it wrapped in thick jumpers, gloves and coats. Well I was wrapped up to the nines but Ian refused to relinquish his shorts, hoping the sun would come out. It didn't and he somewhat regretted his hasty decision. Arriving at Lymm, not a space to be had and resigning to having to continue on and then result, a boat untied and set off almost in front of us. We waited for him to leave and quickly claimed the space. Nice to be back in the warm boat although the forecast was for improving conditions later today. I left Ian doing his editor bit on the Outlook magazine (ECP&DA) and ventured out to explore. Found a large lake to walk round. Not much wildlife but plenty of steps to keep me fit.

And boats keep coming. Such a popular spot.

Love this canal. Everywhere are these signs and I must say I didn't see one cyclist and those dogs that did poop, the owners picked up.
This is a serious problem by the lake.


And wildlife,

She did well to keep all these.


Huge carp in the margins


This must have been well over 18" across and growing out of a dead tree trunk







This was a youngster.

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