Wednesday 31 July 2013

Industrial History

We're now in the Victorian Model Village of Saltaire, founded by the industrialist & philanthropist Titus Salt on the banks of the River Aire in 1851. 

The idea of a model village was popular among the people enriched by the Industrial Revolution, improving the living & working conditions not just of their workforce, but also their families as well.

Edward Akroyd built Copley, David Dale built New Lanark, George & Richard Cadbury built Bournville, and Joseph Rowntree built New Earswick. They all shared the common theme of affordable houses with gardens, parks, churches, school, libraries and meeting rooms.

So between Leeds and Bradford is a very pretty small town dominated by Salt's Mill, which straddles the canal and now contains David Hockney's art gallery. 

We spent the afternoon exploring the culture & history, scoffing ice-cream, and meeting our boaty friend from the Dutch Barge Halcyon. 

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Gunboat Alley

That's what local boaters have called the L&L in North Leeds. 

It's not unpleasant, but it is lively in the evening - and on a warm, sunny evening any boaters mooring overnight may be invited to a boozy swimming party.

We've had a great day cruising, under glorious sunshine (and the occasional shower), meeting other boaters and enjoying watching Leeds disappear into the background and be replaced with the beauty of rural Yorkshire. 

Tonight - drinks with dear friends (the sun is below the yard arm!)

Tomorrow, the famous Bingley Five Rise, and after that, the Dales. 

Monday 29 July 2013

And we're off!

You can see how much lower the water levels are today - you can even see a bit of green on that board!
So we set off towards Leeds (stopping to see the ducklings, load up with water, avoid a thunderstorm and catch a spot of sunbathing) before finally checking in at the champagne bar in Granary Wharf. 

Sunday 28 July 2013

Delayed departure

Last night's rain was pretty spectacular. Yesterday the River Calder was low, today it is more than two feet above the red line on the lock safety markers.

When the river is this swollen the problem is the speed of the flow - easily more than Honey's engine can cope with.

All we can do is wait for the water to subside which, after twelve weeks without rain and one night of storms, shouldn't be long.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Ready to go

You can tell we're setting off on our holiday tomorrow - just look at the weather forecast.

So much for the heat wave...

Anyway, the route has been planned and the "boat rations" (a supply of non-perishable food to fall back on if we can't find fresh) have been bought. Insect repellant and sunblock supplies have been topped up. The batteries are fully charged, the stops to fill the water and diesel tanks are booked, and all we need to do now is clamber aboard and set off.

But not before we buy one last essential item: Mic insists that there is always a vase of fresh flowers when she is on board. It is more important than the Queen's flag...

It will be sad to leave Fairies Hill after what feels like such a short time, but we have explored the local waterways thoroughly enough now, and it is time to go and discover another part of the country. We have never visited the Welsh waterways before, and are excited at the prospect of investigating an area famous among boaters for its beauty.

If you rummage around the Fairies Hill website, you will see the letter of thanks I wrote to them after two happy years mooring there.

But tonight is our last night on dry land for three weeks. Our daughter is marking the occasion by having one of her infamous "90 Minute Karaoke Showers" - only possible when you have unlimited hot water.