Day 20

Well, still in Manchester. Went for a short walk last night and found Piccadilly, and Picadilly Gardens sadly all fenced off I think in preparation for some festival.

If you’ve been following this you’ll see I had electrical problems back in March (Cambs, not 3 months ago!) The charging is sorted OK but the leisure battery was failing. It would store enough charge to run the water pump occasionally and keep the WiFi on and my phone and laptop charged, and even the fridge worked properly during the day when under way or with plenty of sun on the solar panel. But stop the engine and as soon as the sun went down, so did the volts, very rapidly. So today I decided that as I had all day and no-where to go I’d buy a battery. The nearest Hafords is at ‘Manchester Fort’ that’s a new one on me but it’s a retail park on the edge of Cheetham Hill which I remember as a Jewish enclave in the 1960s but is seems mostly Muslim now.

I bought a big, high quality and expensive battery plus a trolley to carry it back on. And went into B&Q next door for some metal to reinforce the back deck.

I’ve seen three boats the same make as Seren on the way here and one of them was the outboard motor variant with a well-deck and just a small rear hatch for access to the motor. Seren had the well-deck decked over when I bought her but it had been removed and replaced and damaged by the previous owner so I replaced it with ‘decking’. Not the marine stuff, plastic, wood-effect decking as used in garden makeover projects. The actual deck boards are great, non=slip and sturdy. The framework underneath is less good and a week or so back part of it snapped. Fixed now, though I’ll replace the whole frame when I get back and make it all stronger.

It’s about 1.2 miles to the retail park from here which was quite pleasant going but less-so coming back. The trolley performed well for a cheap £10 plastic thing and I’ll keep it for moving the Elsan loo around but the handle is too short for a six-footer like me so walked back like a crab bent over sideways. Also there were about a hundred junctions and crossings each with those knobbled paving slabs to help blind people but which upset the trolley. made it in the end though and the battery is fitted and the deck repaired. As the whole adventure is pretty much me proving I can still do stuff I guess I just proved I can drag a 25Kg battery more than a mile and still have the energy to hoist it into the boat.

Phoning CRT tomorrow but unless they have good news I think I’ll be heading off over the Rochdale Canal, slowly. Met a couple on a narrowboat this morning who had come over from Hebden Bridge on the Rochdale. Taken then 5 days , they are younger and fitter than me and there’s two of them to do the locks, so I’ll be at least a week, and Hebden isn’t the end. They were as annoyed as me about the closure though, they had booked passage on the Ribble link in 5 days time so they had to cancel and are going home via the Huddersfield Canal.

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