Saturday 11 July 2015


Andy and Wendy came to visit today. Wendy had been a student of mine in the 90s and kept in touch, especially with my best beloved, after moving back to her native Lancashire. She'd popped down to see us when we were on the way to Liverpool last autumn, but this was the first time we'd met her husband Andy.

We initiated them both into the delights of steering Erin Mae, heading back from Hapton towards Clayton-le-Moors. This part of the canal has some stunning views towards the north, where their village nestles among the hills. We stopped for a leisurely lunch looking out at them.

We needed to find a good place to wind, and the first winding hole marked in Nicholson's guide certainly wasn't. We pushed on to the next. There was room, but only just, and there is so much weed and other rubbish in the canal that I was unwilling to run the engine hard either in reverse or to bring the stern round. Fortunately two hefty lads came along and willingly agreed to pull the stern around with the line.

Their efforts were much appreciated, though we crunched the stern gear a little against the underwater obstructions.

It was great to see Andy and Wendy – it''s part of the Erin Mae adventure to meet up with friends in this way. The homemade elderflower cordial they brought was excellent. And the Lancashire sky refrained from wetting us until it was time for them to go.


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