In the Chair April 2017

‘Bring Out Another Thousand’

NABO Chair Stella Ridgway gets ready for some springtime maintenance

Spring has finally sprung here in the Peak District: the birds are busy building nests; the wild garlic is sprouting; lambs are being born and the ducks and geese are mating loudly. My daffodils opened this week, the sun shone, and for the first time this year we didn’t need to put the engine on to charge the batteries as the solar panels had enough sunlight to charge them. We have noticed an increase in boats passing as folks take their boats out for a weekend cruise or start a spring journey. This is the time of year that the boat gets a good spring clean, although I am still waiting for the mud to dissipate before clearing the floor and scrubbing it. Muddy towpaths and dogs equal a constantly muddy floor and I have been pushing the mud around the floor all winter. We have two Labradors who love swimming, so towels to dry them off are constantly drying, no matter what the weather.

We moor on the Upper Peak Forest Canal ‒ a brilliant place for water dogs and a lovely walking area. Our cruising pattern over winter has been limited to trips to Bugsworth Basin to water up, empty the Elsan etc., but in the winter, the canal takes on a different life. Christmas was quite busy although we were iced in this year, when nowhere else was up here. In fact, we had our first experience of breaking ice to moor up as the canal was freezing as we moved. Now, in spring, the daffodils are out and the walls create sun traps. The Navigation Inn at the top is highly recommended both for the food and the ales ‒ it’s a proper pub: dogs are welcome, as are boaters.

Spring is also the time we double-check everything after the winter. There is work to be done ‒ that instant water heater has seen better days. Replacing it means we have to dismantle the cupboard that it is in. And should we also replace the galley, as the oven is quite old, and is the fridge as efficient as it could be? The cupboards are looking worn. Boats definitely equal ‘Bring Out Another Thousand’. Maintenance is always ongoing isn’t it? ‘What have you fettled for your boat today’ seems a general theme on the cut. We may even get the boat painted this year, weather permitting, with another undercoat on the roof ‒ is that five and is that enough?

The first quarter end coming up takes us towards Easter and the quarterly meeting of the Canal and River Trust. I am hoping to get to the User Group meetings in Manchester and Pennine and I will share reports as they come in. The Partnership meetings have taken place and the six-monthly Canal and River Trust Council meets on 22nd March. I am still hoping to attend, although changing my dialysis slot is a challenge. I have had a busy month, back and forth to the hospital for tests to go onto the Transplant Register. Dialysis curtails my ability to travel and get to meetings and so we value members being able to step in and attend. This has also meant that we did not hold a NABO Council meeting this month, although we still plan on having one in April. All members are welcome.