We originally expected to arrive in the centre of Manchester in the middle of August. Today we turned left off the Leigh Branch and on to the main line of the Bridgewater Canal. We set off with the cover still up at the back, including the sides. This was fine at the start, but as we reached the more crowded parts of the canal I found it hard work to keep an eye on everything, so I got Clare to take them down as we drove along. The sun shone the whole time, but I found myself in the shade of the cover quite a lot. Perhaps in future I will put the cover down when we’re not expecting rain.
We arrived at Castlefield Basin mid-afternoon and immediately headed for the water point. This is an inconspicuous tap next to the leg of an enormous railway viaduct. Fortunately I remembered where to look from a previous trip. As we arrived another boater was leaving, performing a strange reversing manoeuvre to return to a nearby berth. I hovered for a while until I was sure where she was going, and then realised that the wind was going to blow us on to another moored boat. After some tactical reversing we got to the water point – I am really missing the bow thruster.
Once alongside, I realised that we could get within a hose length of the tap more easily if we turned round. And we’d need to turn round anyway. So Clare stood on the bank holding the nose rope while I tried to drive the back in a circle. We got over half way before I gave up on using the engine. I walked down the side of the boat picking up the middle rope as I went. Hopping off at the front, I was then able to pull the boat round the rest of the way. Perhaps we should practise using just the ropes.
Once we’d filled with water, we reversed back on to a mooring, this time using only the ropes. We set off for a walk in the afternoon. I called in on a bike shop whose website claimed to have winter gloves in stock. The apologetic staff let me down gently. At least the weather forecast is warm for the next while.
Our next port of call was the Alan Turing Statue in Sackville Gardens.
Some of Turing’s work featured in my degree. At that time most non-mathematicians had never heard of him. I was utterly unaware of his private life and the appalling treatment he (and many unknown others) suffered. I remember the publication of Andrew Hodges biography in 1983 causing something of a stir.
So how do you recognise a sociable mathematician? They look at your shoes when they are talking to you.