O Christmas Tree

On Christmas day we were being hosted by Nye and David. Nye was happy for us to arrive early and we could open presents while waiting for the dinner to cook. All the gifts under our tree had been carried back to their flat the night before so we didn’t have too much to carry. That was handy – still, the space under our tree looked a bit bare in the morning.

To provide an extra surface to lay the food, we had arranged to bring some tables. I also took some napkins, drinks, table runner and a few other oddments. I had got the younger lads socks and stuffed little things inside, so I did still have them to bring. Shane constructed a system for carrying the table tops strapped to the outside of a rucksack while the tripods and table supports were inside the rucksack. Even over the relatively short distance they would be hard to carry otherwise. 

Nye and David had things under control in the kitchen and we were able to do a relaxed gift exchange around the table, before clearing it to set for dinner and setting up our tables for food. It was all delicious. Well done the younger generation for producing Christmas dinner and I didn’t even hear any stressed noises coming from the kitchen.The black parts are caramelised citrus juices that has been basted over and an orange inside to keep it moist. 


Nye and David tree with a frog and knitted creatures theme – and chocolates
Nye cutting up the turkey, while other items are being transferred to serving dishes

It’s a long time since I haven’t spent all Christmas morning in the kitchen myself. Messages came in during the afternoon from other Ortomarine boat owners wishing people a happy Christmas. After a relaxing day, with lots of delicious dinner and assorted sweet treats, either from our gifts or from Nye’s tree decoration, we came back to the boat at night, but this time the table tops seemed less well balanced, when Shane tried to set off. Nye did some adjusting and it seemed better. Shane had a slightly awkward manoeuvre getting through the door and then the tables slipped again twice in the next few yards. I managed to adjust the height and tighten the straps, so they could be carried back securely. Still it was easier than carrying a solid table of the same size.

Over night, as the night before, we could hear the boat banging when the wind blew. There are underwater rocks we think. We wanted to move on to a different mooring and charge the batteries, but the forecast wasn’t great. We had a spike at one end and a “nappy pin” on pilings at the other. Shane had a bit of difficulty getting the pin out, due to extra pipes and a stone overhang and not being able to see what was happening. I could see from the boat, so between us we worked it out. It’s not usually that awkward.

We were going towards Disley and back past some sights we’d seen before from the boat two days ago and on a walk before then. I had been amused by about half a dozen large baubles added to this tree. Outside lights are popular, but baubles outside less so.

Christmas tree, but not evergreen

There is a small collection of 4 old boats, with some info displayed nearby. Some are merely a shell of very old narrow boats. The most intact shows a tiller and rudder clearly. The wooden rudder is much bigger and more visible than a modern metal one, which is so submerged. The tiller’s actions and relationship to the steering is much more obvious.


Wooden tiller and rudder on an old work boat
Shane just about warm enough leaving Marple, past the old boats

It was quite cold and wasn’t long before the rain started and we decided to moor up where there were some good looking pilings. Still we didn’t get as close to the side as we expected. The front was soon swinging well across the canal. There were other boats nearby and a man came over to ask if we needed help. Shane reversed a bit and tried coming in again. The man was asking me to throw the rope but it was such a distance, that I didn’t reach the towpath and soaked the rope. We still weren’t coming in close. Shane reversed further to be clear of the obstruction, wherever it was, and with him and the other man pulling on the middle rope and then we were close enough to throw the front rope. Despite the cold and wet and having no gloves on, the man seemed very happy to help. There’s a sense of community among boaters.

After lunch, the weather improved but now we had a good mooring, we just went for a walk, rather than move on. Good idea to walk off some of the spiced biscuits and chocolates. There are still plenty of sweet treats to get through!