Wigan to Parbold

Thursday 21st July 2016

Catch up day for housework and shopping. Di went off in a taxi to the local laundromat with two weeks worth of washing. There were two trolley loads of whiffy stuff requiring some serious attention. Fras stayed behind on the boat with the two pooches cleaning bathroom and vacuuming nb Lucy. It doesn’t really take much time to get it all back in order. Just a little bit of elbow grease.

Di learnt a rather valuable lesson at the laundromat today. What she thought and what she had been using as clothes detergent was actually just softener, so hence our clothes for the last eight weeks may have been smelling sweet but were not particularly clean. The confusion came because she wasn’t wearing her glasses when purchasing the stuff and she also assumed that a liquid is a clothes detergent. 90% of clothes detergents here are a powder. Ooops!!

The laundry gig is turning out to be quite the killer to the bank account. With the amount we have paid so far we could have bought a washing machine.

We were moored up overnight in Wigan beside the famous Wigan Pier that is referred to in George Orwell’s book. Unfortunately, it has seen better days. This area of Wigan was gentrified back in the 1980’s but alas it has not been kept up.

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Fras popped down to the local ASDA store for a supply top up and then the boats headed out about 2.00pm. Cruising through the outskirts of Wigan was as predicted – uninspiring and industrial. We then popped out into Lancashire countryside. As our Pearson’s canal guide graphically and verbosely describes this stretch of the canal as “…sewn into the exquisite embroidery of the Douglas Valley, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal lulls one into a fallacious vacuity; a faux conviction that this beguiling stretch of waterway cannot plausibly be the work of vulgar 18th century canal builders, but rather the landscaping of a Capability Brown or a Humphrey Repton.” Hmmm, in other words, a nice bit of countryside.

It is a wonderful pleasure now being back into 72 foot locks. No more paranoia and nightmares of flooding the engine bay and sinking the nb Lucy. Going onwards we should only have 72 foot locks which a 60 foot boat fits into quite comfortably.

We had a very leisurely afternoon of four hours puttering along and taking in the scenery and enjoying the overcast but warm day.

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Once again we came upon the three subsequent eras of transport – canal under rail under road. We are actually going under the M6 on this stretch of the canal.

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We also passed one of the original canal toll houses where the boatmen would be required to pay for their passage to or from Liverpool. This toll house like so many has been turned into a private residence.

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Our intention was to press onto Burscough as we still have 35 miles to cover in the next two days prior to our booking into the Liverpool Basin on the 24th July at midday. We were very taken by the little town of Parbold so pulled in here for tonight. We went to the Windmill pub which must have been perfectly satisfactory as there was a Bentley coupe and other high end vehicles parked outside. The food was excellent and if you wanted to rate it you could give it a 9/10.

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We lowered the tone by taking in the pooches. Love the way that they allow dogs into the pubs – it makes for a worry free evening of leaving them back on the boat. You do often get put into one area of the pub if you do have dogs, like the snug, but they are usually quieter places of the establishment. Of course our two four legged fury bundles create a crowd and lots of conversation starters.

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Just across from where we are moored up is the actual old windmill.

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Our plans after dinner were to wander around the town of Parbold as the shops are open until 10.00pm but alas there was a generous sprinkling of precipitation. We will try for a sight seeing walk tomorrow before we head out. Back to the boat to finish the blog but not post it as we have zilch internet connection here. This is one of the few times that we have not been able to get any signal at all. This also means no TV so it will require a bit of reading instead before an early night.

 


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