Friday 29th May
It would have been very quiet at New Islington if it hadn’t been for the goose family trumpeting as they grazed the building site from 4 am! In spite of the horror stories in the press (and the geese)we found this to be an excellent place to stay.
It poured with rain overnight, and continued on and off throughout the morning. In between showers we walked Meg, emptied cassettes and explored the Boaters’ Hut – it’s like the Tardis, looking small outside but inside it seemed enormous, full of nooks and crannies festooned with drying washing, with an excellently appointed laundry room, loos and shower. We also cleaned out the cobwebs and dust from the well-deck and re-organised to find a way to secure the bike.
After lunch we took a different route to Piccadilly Gardens, seeing this amazing mural en route in Ancoats.
We walked through the gardens where there is a golden postbox in honour of the victorious cycling team from the London Olympics.
There is also a version of the London Eye, though this was about to be dismantle. We went down to the Art Gallery, where we had a great time wandering a few of the galleries. There was a (free) exhibition of self-portraits including van Dyck’s, which is very famous/expensive; the exhibition is touring from the National Portrait Gallery and this is its second stop. On the way back we bought some food for tomorrow and returned to the boat through the back streets of Ancoats, which are being redeveloped. The old warehouses and mills are becoming flats and offices and new blocks are going up in the gaps. The back streets are often cobbled, which makes for loud tyre noise but slower speeds than a tarmac road. The Murray Mills buildings face the canal and the marina – here are a close-up and a distant view taken from Cotton Fields park.
The showers had stopped by the afternoon and it was a beautiful clear evening, though chilly in the wind. We are prepared for an early start tomorrow to begin the long haul up the Rochdale.