Friday 26 September 2014

Weekend retreat

We knew we needed water. The first water point was where the Rufford arm leaves the main line of the Leeds and Liverpool canal. We knew we needed more supplies. The first place to buy things was in Burscough Bridge, about half a mile after the Rufford arm junction. But, until now, we'd thought of going up the arm towards the River Ribble before pushing on across to Liverpool.

So we thought about our options as we filled up with water and I took pictures of a boat coming out of the junction with Erin Mae in the background, and of the scene from the bridge looking down the first few locks of the Rufford arm.

As we moved on into the town for those supplies, we realised that it would be difficult to reverse back to the junction. And as we examined the map in more detail, we saw that there are two swing bridges before the first winding hole where we could turn around. It seemed silly to do that stretch three times instead of once, so we decided it would be Liverpool first.

So, after our shopping and a late lunch half a mile further along, I rang CRT to find out the arrangements for staying in Liverpool. That was when we found that (a) there are only two days in the week you can go into Liverpool; (b) you have to make an application on a form that you have physically signed – and without a printer on board that means going back into Burscough and using the local library's facilities; (c) the next day for passage was Sunday, but that meant getting the application approved immediately, and they were about to shut for the weekend. Oh dear!

In the event we decided to retreat up the Rufford arm for the weekend after all, even though that meant going up and back through those swing bridges. We'd get to the library, print the form, photo a signed copy and make the application via email for a passage on Wednesday.

On the way we saw a field with about 2000 geese in it, having their weekend retreat, making a racket we could hear 400 yards away. Then they took off. I wasn't quick enough with the camera, and only got a few in shot, but for a while they looked like one of those crazy flocks of starlings that look like a screen saver in the sky.

Through two swing bridges, winded, came back through the first one – all the time experiencing a complete range of attitudes and facial expressions from the drivers who've had to bide their time.

But, sadly, the second bridge was no longer playing ball. A message on the screen said the power supply had failed. We rang the emergency number, and have been promised an engineer in about 45 minutes. Seemed like a good opportunity to write a blog post…


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