This was it – after ten years in Todmorden, one of those living aboard Swallow, it was time to make the big move to Manchester. Swallow would no longer be a country boat, and I would no longer be a country girl – the city beckoned us.
Todmorden has been my home for a decade – and a very formative decade at that. Over the past ten years I’ve discovered the meaning of ‘community’, been through some major life-changes including a pretty big heartbreak, fallen in love and discovered a heck of a lot about myself and what I want from life. But as we cruised out of town on Monday 22nd September 2014 I felt so ready for a change of scene.
I’ve written enough about cruising the Rochdale Canal (on Swallow here and here, and on Emma’s boat Flo here) so won’t ramble on about that again, except to say that this time, the journey went without a hitch. Swallow’s engine ran perfectly and we completed this tough stretch of canal in record time, passing through 67 locks over 20 miles in just 2 1/2 days.
I did fall in the canal at one point (I’m considering this a rite of passage as it was my first non-intentional dip), and the final day, from Chadderton to Manchester, we shared the journey with a lovely couple called Stuart and Mary. Sharing locks makes a huge difference in terms of work-load – we had four of us driving two boats and opening and closing all of the locks.
At 3.00 on the Thursday afternoon, we arrived at New Islington Marina. Stuart and Mary, after having a nose around inside Swallow and Flo, invited us on board their hire boat where they cracked open a bottle of fizz to celebrate Em and I’s recent civil partnership.
Later, we brought Swallow to her new spot, alongside Flo on a little stretch branching off from the main marina.