Saturday, July 23, 2016

Another flash!

This morning it was the splash of the fish which greeted me when I woke up. There are large fish here, and they come to the surface regularly for flies, their mouths making expanding rings in the water. And they ripple along the hull of the boat too, up and down, up and down, eating the algae from beneath the waterline. And some of them jump, quite high out of the water, making a big splash as they fall back in. It's fun to watch.

I watched them while the kettle was boiling for our first cup of tea, and it occurred to me then that there are no water-birds on the canal here. Not one. There are terns skimming over the surface, also fly-hunting, and there are gulls that soar and squabble and shriek over the fields opposite us. But I suppose the ducks, geese, swans, cormorants, moorhens and coot are all down on the flash below us, which is quite visibly home to great crowds of birds.

I had to smile as three women rounded the corner to my right, quite 100 yards away from me up the footpath. They were talking. They weren't talking particularly loudly, but there was a wide stretch of water between them and me, and water carries sound amazingly well. So I could hear pretty much all that they were saying, and that continued as they passed and carried on down the path. Did they realise they could be heard so well? I think not. I doubt they would have wanted others to hear what they were confiding in each other!

On a similar line, it amuses me how people who use towing paths often don't seem to see the boats moored near them. Or they do, but it doesn't occur to them that there may be someone in the boats who can hear the secrets they're sharing. It happens a lot. Sometimes it's embarrassing, and I feel guilty to be eavesdropping like that, unintentional as it may be!

We moved on, up to the lift-bridge next to the would-be marina, now home to three chunks of floating pontoon. We would have liked to top up our water tank here, but there were already others queuing, so we continued, one of the waiting boaters pressing the buttons to operate the huge bridge for us. 

We only travelled five miles today. To another lake, Scotman's Flash. This one, too, is a lovely place to stay for the night.

I've been having a Twitter conversation with John (@tangerinemusic), a recent follower, who suggested we might meet up while we were at Pennington Flash. He lives very close. We missed him yesterday, but he caught up with us this evening - he's only just left. John's a really nice bloke, and very interesting to chat with. He's just bought a beautiful plot of land with mooring on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, and hopes to sell his house and buy a boat to live in, probably a widebeam. I'm looking forward to following his progress. I'm sure he's not going to regret making the jump! He certainly has a lot of knowledge and understanding of the canals and of boats, and what seems to me to be the right attitude to this major change in his life. All the best to him and his wife!

We'll move on through Wigan tomorrow. At last, I'll have locks to do again!


  1. I've been catching up with your posts, Roger. It sounds as if you are having a wonderful trip! I've never heard of these Flashes before. They look lovely, and so peaceful! Would the L&L be wide enough for a 3m wide boat? Maybe it's one we could do on the Hennie H if we ever managed to get it over. My Vereeniging is too long for some of the wider canal locks, but the HH might be okay. Lovely that you are venturing further north! We visited the aqueduct over the Manchester Ship Canal some years ago. fascinating to see!

    1. Yes, the L & L has 14 foot wide locks, 60 foot long minimum. I'm sorry your faring has come to an end. I still have to catch up with all you've posted, but I'm so glad you had a lovely time!