Monday, 8 February 2016

Bacon & Egg Pie

Scratch marks on the cabin walls after being confined to the warmth of the cabin whilst attempting to shake off the ‘man flu’.  Jan braved the elements yesterday to obtain some essentials and very kindly purchased a packet of sudafed from the chemist.  The old packet in the bottom draw was proving to be as effective as hip pockets on a singlet.  These new tablets are making me feel much perkier and I’ve been having some wonderful dreams at night!

Today Jan remembered she had some bacon in the fridge and asked if I’d like a bacon and egg pie for dinner.  Sounded wonderful and I readily agreed.  However after removing the bacon from the fridge she expressed some doubts about it’s freshness pointing out to me it looked ‘slimy’.  If I’d been the cook I would not have noticed or just trusted the incinerator oven to kill off anything harmful.  But then I have poisoned myself with my cooking on a few occasions.  Anyway the bacon didn’t make it into the pie.  However Jan did make a delicious pie from egg and secret ingredients found on the boat.


We had a lovely email today from Alison and Pete (nb Maid of the Locks) who we travelled with on the Kennet & Avon last summer. 

maid of the locks

Photo from 2015

Alison mentioned they are having Maid of the Locks moved south by road and Pete was busy polishing the boat in preparation.  I’ve always thought Braidbar Boats look particularly nice.  Every Braidbar Boat we have seen looked highly polished with gleaming brass. Both of us noticed Pete’s actions each time we stopped at the end of the day or at a lock.  He’d be out washing and polishing a panel or cleaning the brass.  One day he cleaned the brass and it rained that night.  He was back out early the next morning repolishing.  I just thought he was fastidious, but subsequently developed a theory that maintaining the exterior of a Braidbar Boat might be written into the build contract.  Or perhaps it’s a membership condition for the Braidbar Owners Club.  He’s probably concerned Maid of the Locks might get seen during the road move by another Braidbar owner and reported. 

I’ve been working on the design of another waterbed.  We currently have a large one at 58’6” x 6’7”.  The earlier one was 5ft wide and 6ft 3in long.  It was our second bed and the first mattress was an early version with no baffles.  If you moved around suddenly a wave action could form with waves going to the foot of the bed and then back to the head.  This sometimes proved rather useful in those early years of married life.   The second mattress had baffles and the third was a soft-side mattress that contained a significantly smaller volume of water.  We used to move house frequently and rather than pay to have the mattress emptied and the bed dismantled I’d do it myself.  I’d syphon the water out using the garden hose rather than hiring a pump.  It took longer using gravity and you had to be careful not to suck a mouthful of copper sulphate diluted water.

I will build the next bed base improving on the design from our first bed.  It consist of two modules, each containing six soft close drawers.  There will be a long term storage section down the middle.  I’ve been using the free Google SketchUp program for the concept design.


I’ll need to drill holes in all the internal partitions to allow the warm air from the water heater to circulate.  All the hidden panels will be made from MDF and the exposed panels will be veneer chipboard.  The top will also be chipboard.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

More Visitors

Still here <cough cough sneeze> but hopefully over the worst of it. 

Working boat Halsall sounded it’s horn before passing us.  All out fuel tanks are almost full and I have two full cans so we didn’t buy anything from him.


This morning we had three callers on the off-side.  One we only heard when he called out “Kia Ora” from the far bank so I guess there is some type of NZ connection.  The other two waited around the side hatch for Jan to give them an early lunch.


The Canadians are much smarter than the local ducks.  Feed a duck and it quacks noisily inviting all the relatives.  The food portions are correspondingly smaller.  The Canadians silently eat the lot.

Mid afternoon Jan felt the boat rock and heard voices outside.  On opening the back hatch she found three mid teens youths of middle-eastern appearance.  Two were at the bow and one waiting at the stern.  The two at the bow had just finished untying the bow rope when Jan appeared.  No doubt the one at the stern had the same intention.  They ran off laughing whilst I went out to resecure the boat.  No harm done this time.

Friday, 5 February 2016


It started three days ago.  First it was a slight dizziness which progressed to bouts of nausea; especially after eating or smelling food.  I have noticed my waistline has expanded and my chest hurts.  That’s when I realized what I had….. Morning sickness!   However today I developed persistent a cough and runny nose; so it looks like I have ‘man flu’.

The plan for the day was to relax and recuperate but the damned satellite box went on the blink.  Initially it would only show audio channels, but then it stopped working altogether.  I had to get out the multimeter and start fault finding.  Of course this meant dismantling much of the relevant wiring to get at the back of the box.  Eventually I worked back to the source of the problem which was a defective 12V cigarette socket.  Once that was replaced everything worked and then all I had to do was restore everything before cleaning up my mess.

I’ve been feeling too miserable to do anything else.  Not looking for sympathy, rather warning readers there may not be a post tomorrow. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016


A nothing sort of a day with neither or us leaving the boat.  I have a slight cold and decided to stay in the warm cabin whilst Jan couldn’t think of a reason for leaving.

I did some preventative maintenance on the diesel stove partially stripping the fuel regulator and cleaning the filter.

Jan had visitors in the afternoon.  They wouldn’t stay for a cup of tea but were happy to nibble on my water crackers.


Note: Jan didn’t share her custard cream biscuits with them!

It was probably our busiest day for passing boats.  They were all heading north and we assume they are booked for an 8.30am passage through Harecastle Tunnel tomorrow.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

First snow of 2016

Woke to a noticeably cooler day this morning and went to look out the back hatch.


Something happened during the night!


Just a light dusting of snow that had disappeared by 10am.  The sky was mostly blue but a slight wind and low temperature meant we needed to wrap up before heading to the supermarket for a few essentials.  The rest of the day was spent tucked up inside Waiouru where the stove kept us toasty warm.

Around 6pm I decided to go for a local walk and play with the camera.  The first photo opportunity was opposite the Toby Carvery.  I must have taken dozens of photos unsuccessfully experimenting for a good picture.  This is the best of the bad.


A short walk further south along the towpath took me to the busy A53 (Etruria Road) dual bridges across the canal and this is where I saw what appeared to be a squat version of the Braunston windmill.  It is obscured from the south by the bridge approach and in summer would be obscured by the trees adjacent to the towpath.  It’s actually in the corner of the BET365 car park.


It’s not a former windmill.  My map and the OSM both name it as Josiah Wedgewood’s first bottle kiln.  I’ve walked this way in daylight on two previous occasions and never noticed it. 

There was a fantastic night scene at Etruria junction and I must have spent 10 minutes attempting to photograph it.  I unsuccessfully tried all the combinations of aperture and ISO speed before eventually deciding to give up.  That’s when I noticed the low battery level icon flashing! Sad smile

Oh well… another day!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Sir Stanley and the Needle

My thanks to Kelvin & Rachael of nb Serafina for their offer to entertain me by allowing me to service the engine on Serafina which is moored in the adjacent Festival Park Marina.  It always gives one a boost to know others are thinking of your welfare!  This is typical of Aussie generosity.  Unfortunately I’m finding too much to do and am therefore unable to take up their kind offer!

This morning we walked up to the centre of the town to the central market which is under the Intu Shopping Mall.  Jan couldn’t find what she wanted so we had a wander around part of the town before having lunch in the Reginald Mitchell pub which is the local ‘spoons’.   I couldn’t help notice the statue of Sir Stanley Mathews.


I’d have never known who he was except in 1957 I arrived in the UK with my parents for three years and during that time became a keen soccer player.  At the time Stanley Mathews was a famous player and I received his autobiography as a gift one Christmas.  He was born here in Hanley and was the only active player to ever be knighted.  Stanley played his final competitive game aged 70, which is long after I gave up playing.

On the way back to the boat we passed this interesting three storey red brick building which has four mini turrets and a glass atrium.


Its origins became apparent when we were opposite the front of the building.


It’s the Telephone Buildings of the National Telephone Company (NTC) and was built in 1900.  The building is Grade II listed.  The NTC existed between 1881 and 1911.  It was taken over by the Post Office in that year.  You can read more about the NTC in the above hyperlink. 

We were rather amused to peer across the street and through the open front door where there was a sandwich board on display


It’s a photo take using the phone and blurred. The building now contains a cocktail bar! Smile

Whilst a few of the trees are showing spring buds, the majority are still bare.  This lack of foliage is what enabled me to see a thin needle like structure through the trees opposite the Toby Carvery.  I had to walk over and get a better look.  From a distance I thought it might have been a chimney but the roof on top didn’t look right.  Then I thought with the row of holes running up the shaft it might be a pigeon roost.


Having got closer I could see the holes were actually rebates and the brickwork looked too new for it to be part of a ruins.  Behind it was an abandoned looking area containing a couple of round ponds with a large gateway in the distance.

20160202_140827Back to Google for some research and it appears this might be part of the original Stoke on Trent Garden Festival Park completed in 1986 and opened by the Queen.  Plenty of interesting information in the link.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Royal Doulton & Star Wars

The first thing I have to do is respond to a comment from Nev (nb Percy) regarding the VPN setup I described in the last post.  Nev asked why I didn’t simply use the VPN software on the individual devices.  Good question?  It made me rethink why I need the VPN on the phone.  Then I remembered the reason.  You have to be connected to the internet BEFORE you can start the VPN software.  When you first connect to the internet your device sends a small packet of information which can be read by the receiving website and any server it passes through beforehand.  This information includes the device MAC address which is unique to every device (our laptop addess is C4-D9-87-0A-E4-C0).  The operating system and the brower (ie, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc) So the VPN has to be on the phone to ensure it is the only visible device.

The engine had fallen due for another 250 hour service so I braved the elements (actually I ensured I was cocooned in the pram cover) and completed the service.  The two fuel pre-filters were clean and the alternator belts looked to be in good condition.  It took about 90 minutes to complete the service.  We have some condensation in the bilge and both newspaper ‘wicks’ were sodden so we need to obtain a couple of replacement newspapers.

Whilst I was busying myself in the engine bay Jan wandered off to the nearby Royal Doulton Outlet Shop.  She returned empty handed just as I completed the engine service.  Jan was looking for something traditional and their pottery was too modern for her taste.

At noon I headed off to the local Odeon cinema to watch the latest Star Wars film with the tweenies.  A cheap ticket on an “off day”.  There were only four other people watching the film and they were all wrinkly like me!  The film didn’t impress me.  It appears Disney have bought the film rights and elected to regurgitate the old plot.  It was the death star all over again with a new Luke Skywalker, this time a female.  A wrinkly Hans Solo gets killed by his son.  Princess Leia is there and Luke Skywalker makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film, but doesn’t utter a word.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Got it solved

This is mostly a follow-up nerdy post about our internet connection but for those readers who aren’t interested I’ll briefly mention lunch

We decided to eat at the nearby Toby Carvery which I think might be the first time we’ve visited one of these establishments.  They are part of a chain and this one is down beside the canal.  I thought its location might make it popular in summer but didn’t expect many patrons in winter.  I was wrong erred in my judgement!  The place was packed with an hour wait for a table if you hadn’t booked.  We were fortunate that there had been a late cancellation for a table for two.  We ordered the meal and drinks.  The latter arrived promptly and then Jan decided to check the carvery service.  She was gone ages, eventually returning with a loaded plate and the advice “There’s a very long queue!”  I then headed off to get my meal.  By the time I had my meal and returned to our table Jan had eaten hers.


A blurred photo as my hands were trembling with lack of energy. Smile  A large portion and apart from the roast spuds, rather tasty  7/10.  Later in the afternoon I walked to Go Outdoors in Stoke where I ordered a second pair of walking shoes for Jan.  They will have to come from another stores which will give me a second walk.

Now for the nerdy part.

I’m going to attempt to simply explain how I managed to maximize our internet access.  We currently have a mobile phone plan which gives us an unlimited internet data allowance.  But only on the phone.  If we “tether” other devices to the phone and use them to gain access to the internet our data allowance is limited.  Our current setup is shown in the following diagram.

Tethering 1

When tethering is activated on the mobile phone we can access the internet through the phone using tablets, laptops, etc. However all the data is sent unencrypted.  Moreover the tethered devices send a small burst of information at the beginning of the connection which includes the type of device and operating system.  The mobile phone provide uses this information to detect tethering has been activated and measures the volume of data used deducting it from our monthly tethering allowance.

What I wanted to do was use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)  this is software which is installed onto the phone and encrypts all the data being sent and received by the phone.  Moreover this data goes directly down a tunnel where it can’t be followed.  Because the data is encrypted the mobile phone provider doesn’t know devices have been tethered.  Instead it looks like all the data originates from the phone.  The setup would look like this.

Tethering 2However it is impossible to create this type of setup when using an Android phone.  This is because Android doesn’t allow a phone to simultaneously run a VPN and tether other devices.

Before arriving in the UK we bought a ZOOM portable wireless router and I recently discovered it could be tethered to an Android phone.  I thought I had a solution, but there was a problem.  The router is now old (well it’s 5 years old and that’s not old by my standard) and will only work with Android version 2.3.6.  As our new Samsung S4 phones use Android version 4 they wouldn’t work with the router.  To resolve this I reverted to using our very old Samsung S1.  I could tether the router to the phone but this raised another problem.  The Virtual Private Network (VPN) program wouldn’t install on the old phone.  It required at least Android version 4. 

After a considerable amount of fiddling around I’ve been able to install the VPN software onto the phone and tether the route.  The system looks like the following.

Tethering 3

The phone is connected to the internet through the VPN sending and receiving encrypted data and the router is connected to the phone by a USB cable.  The tablets, laptop, etc wirelessly link to the router to gain access to the internet.  Everything works. 


A bit messy, but this is the setup with the phone at the top and the wireless router at the bottom connected by a usb cable.

However all this data encryption and additional networking slows down the internet.   Moreover we’re currently not exceeding our tethering allowance so there’s currently no requirement for us to use the VPN or the Zoom router.  But it was an interesting challenge!  Smile

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Festival Retail Park

After it got dark yesterday evening I took one of the full rubbish bags for a walk and along the way successfully managed to leave it behind when it wandered off to sniff a public rubbish bin. 
This morning we awoke to find one of the three boats moored outside the Toby Carvery had left.  A decision had to be made whether or not to move and take the vacant mooring.  In the end we decided to stay on our current mooring.  It might be noisier outside the carvery and the area is more exposed to the wind.
There Is a path on both sides of the canal here, but our side appears to be getting less foot traffic. There are also buildings on both sides which are creating a slight wind break. 
Mid morning we walked up to the retail park, primarily to get some essentials from Morrisons supermarket.  PC World was on the way so I took Jan in to look at OLED TV’s.  The young sales assistant wanted to show us 4K TV’s.  Now I wasn’t wearing my “WARNING RETIRED.  Knows everything and plenty of time to tell you about it!”  T-shirt.    But he still received the full spiel why 4K is just marketing hype and as useful as a chocolate teapot.  In anticipate of seeing a working OLED TV I had copied three short video clips onto a USB stick.  One was original TV resolution, the next was standard definition TV, and the last was Blue-Ray quality.  We played all three clips on both the OLED and a 4K TV.  They looked better (IOHO) on the OLED.
After buying essentials at Morrisons we walked up to the nearby Currys store where Jan wanted to look at coffee machines.  I don’t drink the muck  (did you know it kills all the male sperm!).  Along the way we noticed a statue in the middle of a large roundabout.  Initially I thought it was a statue of a soldier.  However I couldn’t see any reason for a military statue in this location.  The stance looked military but equally it might have been a miner holding a pneumatic drill.  This area used to be heavily industrial so that made sense.  But then the helmet looked like it was covered in camouflage netting.  On the way back from Currys I had a second look from the other side.  The statue looked more military than miner.
20160130_122514Google again came to my aid.  It’s a statue of Lance Sergeant J.D. Baskeyfield VC.  He was killed in the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944 aged 21.  During the battle he was in command of a 6 pound gun which destroyed two Tiger tanks and a self propelled gun.  His gun was hit and all his crew killed whilst he was wounded.  He then crawled to a second unmanned gun and destroyed a third Tiger tank before being killed by a fourth tank.  L/Sgt Baskeyfield was born locally in Burslem, Stoke on Trent.

Friday, 29 January 2016

What’s Brewing!

The sparrows had their heads tucked under their wings when we arose this morning.  We had a 8.30am appointment with CRT at Harecastle Tunnel.  It was just starting to get light as Jan departed on foot for our only lock of the day (Plants Lock).  I finished preparing Waiouru for cruising and then set off after her.  It was daylight by the time Jan had worked us up through the lock.  The plan was to dispose our rubbish at the CRT tunnel facilities but they no longer accept rubbish here (separate email to follow Paul!).  A CRT employee was already present and gave us the mandatory tunnel transit briefing before checking our headlight and horn worked.  P1020299

We were waved off at 8.42am and it took us 36 minutes to reach the other end.  Waiouru seemed to be travelling rather slowly at the northern end and I suspect the water might be shallow.  Our speed certainly increased further into the tunnel.


Looking back


One other boat joined us for the passage.


The exit.

Poor Jan was suffering from the effects of engine exhaust fumes for the first ¾ of the trip.  I suspect the extractor fans were sucking the engine fumes past us.

There was a 30 minute wait at the far end whilst we filled the water tank and then we headed further south towards the Festival Park Marina.  Only one boat moored at Westport Lake which would make this the smallest number of boats we’ve seen here.  Again the designated CRT winter moorings were vacant.


The rejuvenation of Middleport continues and the area now looks far more attractive. We happened to see on TV that HRH Prince Charles had visited the complex earlier in the week.  Apparently much of this work is being funded by The Prince’s Trust.


I wonder if this project will continue to the adjacent buildings?


It then started to rain and rather than both of us getting wet I suggested Jan go inside.  We reached the moorings outside the Toby Carvery only to find them full.  I then reversed back through the bridge hole and we moored behind the “Oakcake Boat”. 

A couple of hours later we were gently bumped by another passing boat.  But then it didn’t pass.  Something was brewing?  Jan put her head out the side hatch and realised it was one of those damned Kiwi boaters.  Probably intoxicated! Smile


Yes it was Barry on The Home Brew Boat (nb AreandAre).  He dutifully stopped and had a beer cup of tea with us before heading off to his weekend mooring at Westport Lake.  At least he won’t have an issue finding one.


Thursday, 28 January 2016

The lunch that kept on giving

First, more on the Harecastle Tunnel towpath.  Blog reader Bill sent me an email with his theory which I post here in full.

How about this for a theory about the towpath over the tunnel.

First there would be no paved path, so during the summer and dry times the horses would have used Boathorse Road, but when that gets chewed up and muddy, and it does not take many horses to churn a path up, they follow an easier and possibly drier route, horses need a rest so a gentle walk may have been useful to them.

The question is how hard a slog and how wet the direct route is, it would take longer to walk a boat through the tunnel than walk over it, so time i think is not a big issue, and it would have been the children who would have walked with the horses,

Well this is only a theory but I like it.

Wikipedia states that Brindley’s Tunnel didn’t have a towpath and the horses were walked over the top using Boathorse Road.  Telford’s Tunnel was completed in 1827 and did have a towpath.  Both tunnels continued to be in use until the early 20th century when Brindley’s tunnel was closed due to subsidence.  So horses from boats using Brindley Tunnel would have been walked over or around until the early 20th Century. 

alt routesThe above map shows the Boathorse Road route in blue and the current official towpath in red.  I think the clue to what has actually happened here are the railway tunnels. Wikipedia was my friend.  There are were three railway tunnels constructed here in 1848.  They were named north, middle and south.  The latter two were abandoned and the north tunnel was opened out (ie, the roof removed) when the line was electrified in the 1960’s.  You can see the route of the north line to the left of the red line (towpath) in the above map.   Opening the north tunnel created a more level route avoiding Harecastle Hill.

Paul Balmer (Waterway Routes) also sent me an email with relevant information.

You were lucky with your walk over the top of Harecastle Tunnel.  There is no right of way through the “caravan park” and both times I have tried to walk the way you did I was turned away with a very polite explanation from people holding the leads of snarling dogs who would probably have used them to make a point if I hadn’t turned around promptly.  The local authority subsequently confirmed there is no right of way. 

I have now checked the OSM and OS maps.  The former shows a path between the two ends of Boathorse Road whereas the Ordnance Survey map (the official map) does not show them linked.

This suggests to me horses from boats using Brindley Tunnel were taken over the top via Boathorse Road.  This ceased when the tunnel closed in the early 20th century.  The rail tunnel wasn’t opened up until the early 1960’s so the towpath couldn’t have been there until after that date.  My guess is for some reason a break was made in Boathorse Road and the towpath was subsequently re-routed to the “new” railway alignment.

Today Jan and I walked to the retail park at Freeport Talke.  It’s to the SW of our current mooring and slightly more than 5km away.


Our mooring top arrow and the retail park at the bottom arrow.

This was a first visit for Jan and a second for me.  In 2014 I walked to the B&Q here from our mooring near Rhode Heath.  Just the usual retail shops, however Jan did managed to buy some coloured kitchen knives and two new leather purses (in case we win Lotto).  By then it was after noon and we were feeling peckish.  There are two coffee shops and a Burger King in the centre which resulted in both of us filling a large hole with a burger filled with ammonia washed water inflated beef pattie and preserved iceberg lettuce in a twice baked soggy bun. 

However we both agreed the burger was filling as it kept repeating on us during the walk back to the boat.  No wonder it was so expensive.  Never again!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Harecastle Tunnel… The alternate way

A blustery day but dry, and so I thought I might use the alternate Harecastle route.  My assumption is few boaters have used the top route?  No doubt Paul Balmer has when collecting data for his canal maps!  Looking at his map (link to website here) it’s obvious the towpath doesn’t follow the same alignment as the tunnel.

MM Towpath

Map courtesy of Waterway Routes

The towpath is the red dotted line in the above map extract.  However I’m not convinced this is the original route.  The reason for this will become clear shortly.

My own route was more direct.

OSM Towpath

The canal is green and my route is red.  The arrow points to Harecastle Hill.  You can see from the contour lines in the above map that my route took me over the top of the hill whilst the official towpath goes around the left (western) side.


A photo taken from above the entrance to Brindley’s original tunnel looking north.  My route took me up the CRT access road and then east across the B5371 road.  The tunnel was now directly underneath my feet.  Looking back in the direction of the tunnel entrance I noticed the war memorial park. 


Fortunately it’s not a cemetery otherwise the occupants might have wet feet! Smile

At this point I’m on the “official” towpath.  A hint as to the right route can be seen in the next photo.


The route continues up Boathorse Road.  There are actually two railway lines here that both enter tunnels above Harecastle Tunnel.  The first is the Stafford to Manchester line and is still in use.  The railway enters a tunnel under the road to the left of the position of the lady in the following photo.


The second railway roughly follows the alignment of Harecastle Tunnel.  I came upon the northern tunnel portal at the park.  This is where I continued going whilst the designated towpath turns west.


Northern entrance to the old rail tunnel.  This tunnel has been abandoned and I assume this is why there is a second rail route.  I continued on up Boathorse road which became steeper and narrower.  Eventually I arrived at Harecastle Hill which is approximately 200 metres above sea level.  If visibility had been good there would have been views to Chester, the Welsh hills and Cumbria.


Chester is out there somewhere!


Off to the northeast was Mow Cop.  It’s just over 100 metres higher than Harecastle Hill.  Did you notice the brick air vent in the above photo?


A closer view.  I can’t remember if Harecastle Tunnel has air vents and this may actually be one of the air vents to the abandoned rail tunnel which runs adjacent to the canal tunnel.  You can see a second air vent in the next photo.


OK, I just took a peek at Wikipedia which states Telford’s tunnel was built by digging 15 shafts which were then connected by tunnelling horizontally.  If the 15 air shafts still exist I would have expected to see more of them.

At Harecastle Hill Boathorse Road makes a 90 deg turn west for 170 metres.  This part of the road has been abandoned and all that remains is a rough walking track with evidence of the former bitumen surface in places.  The track ends at a static caravan park.  A not particularly attractive caravan park.  Actually I wondered why anyone would want to live in it!


Looking back!  The track starts behind the trailer.

I’m still on Boathorse road which is still narrow but only serves the caravan park and isn’t very busy.  My route is now parallel with the tunnel and I head towards the southern portal past Ben & Kelly who were obviously on holiday!


Yes….. I’m never going to forget or forgive!

And at the other end of the road is……


Behind me can be seen the former alignment of the abandoned railway which is actually running above and parallel to the canal tunnel.


It looks like the former alignment has been recently cleared of undergrowth. 

It’s a very short walk to rejoin the canal towpath.  A brief diversion took me to above the sourthern portal.


Then it was a case of retracing my footsteps.