Tuesday 1 August

July has passed and we’ve not been anywhere on the boat, but things are about to change.

Joseph started nursery yesterday – an emotional day for everyone as this marks the start of him attending four days a week for the next three years.

As this means that our childminding has ended, we’re going to  explore the Lancaster Canal during August and September, travelling in convoy with Pip and Mick on NB Oleanna.   We’ll be meeting up with them next week ready to make the Ribble Link crossing next Wednesday.

Last week James & Ali spent the first week of the school holidays onboard and assisted us in taking the boat from Chester into Manchester where they spent a couple of nights.  They then headed out along the Leigh branch of the Leeds Liverpool towards Wigan.

They left their car with us and we agreed to come to meet them in about a week’s time provided they headed towards Burscough from where we would pick up the boat to take it up the Rufford branch towards the River Ribble.

As they looked for a suitable rendezvous point, they passed through Wigan and rang last night to say that they’d made it as far as the village of Crooke and had moored up outside the pub so that the transfer of stuff from car to boat would be easy.

We left Chester in James’ car at 9am this morning, stopping off in Wigan to do a large food shop at the ASDA Supercentre there.  Our cupboards needed replenishing before our epic adventure.  This vast supermarket had all I needed.

Finding the small hamlet of Crooke by car though was not so easy and without SatNav we’d probably still be trying to find it as we didn’t see any road signs to help us.  We arrived on time though and after a coffee and a chat James & Ali headed off, leaving us to stow all our goods.

We decided to stay put as the afternoon’s forecast was for showers and we’ve got a week to travel the remaining 14.25 miles and 10 locks to Tarleton; leaving plenty of time to re-read the skipper’s notes about the crossing!

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