Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.
I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
We are still gripped in an icy blast and as usual the country is coming to a stand still. Living on the canal we do not have that luxury, we have to get on with our lives no matter what. Some jobs may take longer to do, but we still go about our daily lives.
Yesterday I said I had bought two hot water bottles for the bottom of our bed. Not only did I get the hot water bottles, I also got some snazzy covers for them as well and they proved to be worth the money last night, because I had very warm toes last night.
It was lovely to get into bed and find the bottom of the bed nice and warm. Keith chucked his bottle out of the bed when he got in, but I kept mine in and had the bottle laid on my feet, it was so nice to have cosy toes. I really did sleep much better with warm feet. I have tried wearing socks to bed, but it just is not the same.
having had a lovely nights kip, I was awake at 6am, so the kettle went on. By the time we had drunk our tea and discussed what we were doing for the day, it was time to get up and dressed. Overnight we had half and inch of more snow, so the ground was smoothered in a white blanket again. This was welcomed by Paddy as he stepped off of the boat. He ran up and down the towpath like a total loonie. I think my excitement for the snow must have been passed on to Pad.We had a longer walk in the snow before returning to the boat for a warm up. Keith then left for the Gildings Auction House, he was hoping to bid on some Measham Ware. Whilst he was gone, I got a few jobs done. I stoked the stoves and made them up for the day. I filled the kettles, so that we had water boiling all day in case it was needed for either tea or thawing things out. The floors looked in a disgusting mess, so I gave them a sweep and a wash over. They would look clean for all of five minutes. Next job on my list was to fill the water tank, but to do that I had to use some of the boiling water in the kettles to thaw out the water tap, which was forzen solid. Our hosepipe on the other hand was as clear as a bell, because at this time of the year we keep it in the engine room, to stop it freezing up. So many boaters leave their hosepipes on the roof of the boat, only to find them as solid as a rock when the weather freezes. They then spend ages trying to defrost the hosepipe, when if they had just kept it inside the boat, they would have had an easier job. I have heard of people giving their hosepipes hot showers to thaw them out. I like the easy life, so ours has a home in the engine room for the Winter. With the water tank filled up, I then had to get ready for the Tesco delivery which was due to arrive, so I lifted the sack barrow out of the hold and put a plastic box on it, in which I was going to put all of the heavy items. The rest of the food would be going into my rucksack. As I wandered around the basin to wait for the delivery van, which was coming between 11am and 1pm, Keith came back laiden down with a box. He had bid successfully on the Measham Ware, so we are now the proud owners of three more large teapots (I will post pics later). The oldest of the teapots dates back to 1879. It is amazing to think that something could survive so long. The Tesco delivery man arrived at 11am and we unloaded our order on to the trolley and into my rucksack. Back at the boat, I then had to put all of the shopping away, before heading out to make a coal delivery to one of our regular customers. It has been another very busy day one way or another. I love days like this, which seem so satisifying. We are expected to remain in this icy blast for a few more days yet, so it looks unlikely that we will be moving until the ice has thawed, because we cannot turn the boat around.
Well I have rambled on enough, so I am off to make a coffee now.
Monday, 29 November 2010
It has been a day of snow showers and freezing temperatures.
The basin and canal are still frozen. On Saturday a hire boat went out from the basin with an Australian family onboard, they wanted to get up the Foxton Locks and back down again before the locks closed for repair work. They got up the locks ok, but could not turn around to come down, so had to be bought down in reverse. They then became stuck at Foxton, because the ice is to thick. Today the hire company went and collected them by car and have put them on to another boat in the basin. I bet this is a holiday they will never forget.
Whilst out walking this morning, I took a few photos, so thought I would share them with you.
Something tells me, that something had a very nice meal last night. The birds and animals are going to really struggle to find food through out this cold weather, so putting out food and water for them is such a good idea. This cat thankfully decided not to cross the ice when it saw Paddy and I coming. Although it would have probably got across safely because the ice is thick enough. There is another missing cat notice up on the fence by the boat, and I would hate to see this cat go missing under the ice. Spiders webs look so pretty when they are covered in a heavy frost. When I took Paddy out for his walk this morning it was stunning along the cut. The ice is at least an inch or so thick and it has a light dusting of snow on it. It does look oh so pretty.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Brrrrrrrrrrr it is freezing outside, but very cosy inside the boat. Sunday night it got down to -10c, which is perishing. Wales saw -17c, I wonder if anyone can beat that?
Yesterday may well have been Sunday, but customers still require coal, especially in this weather, so I was up early delivering coal to a boat on the towpath. Customers then began arriving for their coal, some regular customers and other new to us. We are iced in good & proper at Market Harborough, but I am really not bothered. Over the past few days it has got thicker and thicker, so we will not be moving anywhere. Having got here on Saturday we will now stay put, as there is no way we can wind in the basin at the moment. If the ice gets thick enough we could think about organising an ice skating competition in the basin. I guess I could call it Dancing on Ice the sequel. Or Dancing on Ice with a wing and pray, because you can bet your bottom dollar someone would end up on their behind and that someone would be me.
On a serious note. The ice will not get thick enough to ice skate on or to infact walk on, so PLEASE do not go out on the ice, because if you fall through you could die, as the cold water will kill you or worse you could drown. If your out walking your dog near a river, canal or lake PLEASE keep your dog on a lead, so it cannot run on to the ice. If however you feel the need to let your dog off of the lead and it runs on to the ice for goodness sake DO NOT go out and try and rescue it. Your dog is perfectly capable of saving itself. I may sound stern with my warnings, but I really do not want to hear of someone dying trying to save their dog this Winter, there was way to much of that last Winter. A couple of days ago a couple who did have their dog on a flexi lead, were in such a position when the dog saw a rabbit on the otherside of the canal, so it tried to run across the canal. Thankfully the ice did not break and because they had the dog on a lead they were able to pull him back on to land. It scared the living daylights out of the owners.
As lunchtime approached yesterday I put the Closed sign up and we got dressed up for lunch at the Waterfront, where we met up with boating friends, Merleen, Paul, Ann and Doug, who had driven over from Warwick. Apparently the roads were fine. We spent a pleasant afternoon eating and drinking with them at the Waterfront. The food was fantastic as always and the conversation with old friends was even better. Three hours flew by before we realised it was almost 4pm and they had to make tracks back to Warwick.
Back on the boat Keith and I settled in for a cosy evening in front of the TV. Keith had a sandwich for tea, but I only managed a packet of crisps, as I was still full up from lunch, I am not used to eating a 3 course meal, goodness knows how I am going to manage with 7 courses at our Christmas meal. Anyway whilst I watched X-Factor the result and some of 'I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here', Keith slept in the chair. I was so pleased that finally sense has prevailed and Wagner and Katie have left the X-Factor. The competition can now begin in earnest. I am overjoyed that Mary Byrne is in the semi-finals, she has a wonderful voice and she is staning tall for the more mature woman, so good on her. As for 'I'm A Celeb. I thought it maybe Britt to go last night along with Alison. Kayla showed she was made of sterner stuff, so good on her. I am waiting for the next battle between Shaun and Gillian. Shaun held his temper so well past night. I am sorry Gillian is a pain in butt. But I do think she has been put up to it by the producers. I am sorry if your reading this bit and do not watch either program. We watch them because what else is there to do on a cold night hahaha.
So today is Monday and I have been out and delivered coal to the basin by trolley. Keith has gone down the town to buy a new laptop, because his has died. I am going now to get some boat jobs done, so have a good day, but please stay safe.
Saturday, 27 November 2010
I am sure he is a nice enough guy, but he cannot sing and he definitely would not be a recording artist. I also think Katie has come to the end of the line as far as this competition is concerned, her voice is not strong enough.
On the other hand though Rebecca, Matt, Cher and Mary could make fantastic music, which people would listen to day in day out. Mary is doing it for the more mature woman and I think she has a fantastic voice.
I really think that if Wagner gets through to next week then X-Factor has become a joke. These of course are just my opinions.
Woooo hoooo I was awake at 4am and was so happy to see snow on the ground. I adore the snow and all it has to offer. The child in me comes out when the snow begins to fall. As we were awake so early, I did the usual thing and made us both a cuppa, but for some daft reason I made us coffee and not tea. I guess I was still half a sleep. We did settle back down in bed and got a couple of hours sleep, before being woken by footsteps crunching in the snow going past the boat. Up and about I was eager to get outside and enjoy the snow, which was falling as Paddy and I stepped off of the boat. We had a winter wonderland to play in. I walked up to Logan Street Wharf to see if we could get on the mooring, and low and behold it was empty. Now all's we had to do was get through the ice. But before setting off, we supplied one of our customers with 11 bags of Supertherm, so they will be nice a warm for a while.
Before we set off, I swept the snow off of the gunwales, bow and stern to make it a little safer to walk on. We then crunched our way down the cut. I love the sound of the ice breaking against the hull. having reached Logan Street Wharf, I then walked down to see if there were any moorings on the towpath and was amazed to see there were a couple of spaces, so I rang Keith to bring the boat down to the moorings. The video was taken of him and the boat coming down the cut to the moorings. No sooner we had moored up, people were asking for coal and kindling. With the temperature getting down at least -3.9c last night, customers are expecting the same for the next few days. With orders filled we then headed down town to pick up a few bits. On the way back we got invited in for coffee by Ben on MB Primrose Time, and I am not one to refuse a coffee. But no sooner we sat down, I got a phone call asking for coal, so we downed out coffee and said cheerio to Ben.
It has been a busy old day one way or another. I am now looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the TV. The weather is set to get worse, so we may not be moving to far over the next few days. I hope your all staying safe and warm.
Friday, 26 November 2010
What a day it has been. No two days are ever the same and today was definitely totally different to the norm. As usual we were awake early drinking tea and discussing what the day may well bring. We had a very heavy frost and there was ice creeping across the canal as I looked out of the porthole. We have jot had any snow as such, I am hoping it will come soon, as I love snow. Paddy had a quick walk, as he was none to happy about the chilly wind which was blowing.
I did a quick tidy up in the back cabin, as we waited for our visitors to arrive. 11am Ian, Tony and Bertil arrived to do a days filming with us. They wanted to film us delivering coal to customers. I never realised just how much is involved with making programs. Keith and I had to do some of what they wanted a couple of times to make sure the shots were correct. Mo and Nessa on NB Balmaha joined in with the fun as we delivered coal to them up the towpath. We then delivered a bag to John moored behind us. After all of that we then set off through the Swingbridges and stopped to deliver coal to another regular customer. At this point Ian wanted to interview the both of us in the back cabin. Before the interviews I made us all a much needed cuppa and pulled some pasties out of the back cabin stove. We were all ready for something warming to eat. By the time we had finished with the filming and interviews it was 3.20pm and the light was fading. We said our goodbyes and set off into the dusk for Market Harborough. It was not long before the temperature gauge was showing a problem, the temperature was rising and it ment one thing, the impeller had broken up in the water cooling pump. We immediately stopped the boat in the middle of the canal and took the pump apart. we were right the impeller was in bits. Keith fitted a new part and we were soon on our way. The canal had half and inch of ice in places, so Hadar was crunching her way along the cut. We arrived at Bridge 14 near Market Harborough in the dark, so moored up in front of another boat, which we will be supplying coal to tomorrow morning. The temperature is now down to -2 c, so another hard frost. I hope that we can make it into Market Harborough tomorrow. But for now I am going to relaxing a little before heading off to bed. We have had a lovely day.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Once up and dressed, Porridge was definitely the order of the day for breakfast, before I walked Paddy. On our walk we met Bill the Lockie, who was unlocking the locks. He enquired as to whether we would be going down the locks, and I told him we would be. It turned out we were the first to descend the locks.
We set off at 8.10am, the ropes were as stiff as boards and could have easily have stood up on their own. We supplied NB Hector another Roger Fuller built boat with some coal, before working down the flight.
There was no one else around, so we had the flight to ourselves. There was ice on the lock beams making things a little slippery. I find it very difficult to work locks in gloves, so I had to have cold hands, which did not really bother me to much, because whilst waiting for the locks to empty I put my hands in my pockets. Bill the lockie and some other BW chaps we stood nattering about the work which needed doing to the flight when the stoppage begins on the 29th November, until the 17th December. If this weather freezes like they say it will, the workers are going to have their work cut out. After leaving the locks we cruised down to Debdale, on doing so we passed NB Wilver. Bill stuck his head out of the side door's and said good morning to us. We had a quick chat and headed to the winding hole at Debdale, where we turned the boat around. We then returned to the bottom of Foxton Locks where we will be for a few days as we have people coming to see us. After mooring up, we shut the boat up and headed to bridge 61 for a coffee and a chat with Tony Matts. I then decided to use the laundrette, so that she could do all of the washing at once. I had all of the clothing from yesterday, which was filthy from loading the hold with coal, I also had all of the bedding, so thought it best to use Tony's machine. It was well worth the £3 for the wash, as it got everything done at once. I then got a text from Nessa to say they were heading our way. Mo and Nessa on NB Balmaha are now moored behind us, so we will catch up with them tomorrow. It will be wonderful to catch up on all their news. The day is now drawing to a close as the light is fading fast and the temperature is dropping rapidly, so we will be staying inside tonight after I have walked his lordship again.
We have spagbol for dinner tonight, so I am off now to make sure it is cooking. Have a great evening.
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
It has been a very busy day for me. Last night having moored up at Welford, we went to the Wharf Inn for dinner. We were seriously laccking on the TV front, so we could not watch 'I'm a celebrity' last night grrrrr.
Our morning began early. I had set the alarm clock for 6.30am, but was actually awake at 5.30am. I lay in bed till 6am, and then thought I should get up and organise myself, because we were expecting a coal delivery from Hills Coal Merchants. Having got dressed, Paddy got walked first as I had a list of things to do before our coal arrived. For breakfast I made us some Porridge, which would see us through the morning. I was going to need every ounce of energy I could muster. As Keith got himself sorted out, I rolled up the holds sheeting and lowered the side sheets a bit more to make loading easier. Having swept the hold we then moved the boat on to the water point. Whilst we waited for our coal delivery to arrive, we filled up our water tank, emptied the toilet cassette and got rid of rubbish.
8.30am Chris arrived with our 6 tonne of coal, he parked up along side the boat and began unloading the coal. Chris handed the 25kg bags to me, I then stacked the 240 bags in the hold, filling every available space. I have a good system when stacking the bags, so it only took us an hour to get the job done. Our boat is now sitting nice and low in the water. Keith was not allowed to stack the coal today, as his back is still a little on the delicate side, so I did not want him aggrevating it.
Chris went on his way and we winded the boat before heading towards Foxton. Along the way we dropped off ordered coal, and dropped off coal to new customers.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
I bet your thinking we will be happy, because we will sell more fuel, which of course is always welcome, but my concern will be for our customers if the canal freezes. Because if the canal freezes, it will mean we cannot reach our customers and I do not want to let them down. Offering a good service is very important to me. I like to offer a reliable service and I cannot do that if the canal is frozen. So it can snow, but I really can do without the canal freezing again this Winter.
On the other hand though. A White Christmas would be so much fun ha ha ha ;0)
Sunday is drawing to a close and it has been a day of doing the boat chores. But first we had to wake up and this happened at 6.30am this morning, which for us was not to bad. I made us a brew and we sat in bed drinking tea and nattering about computers. Keith's laptop has thrown a wobbly. We are not sure whether it is a virus or it has died. We cannot do much about it until we get back to Market Harborough, so he is having to use my laptop for the time being. It is at times like this when you realise you should back everything up on the computer everyday. We are normally pretty good at backing up our files, but Keith had let it slip a little and now with his laptop poorly he has realised that his canal planner is out of date.
Once up and about. I took Paddy for his walk. Brrrrrr it was cold as we stepped off of the boat, with a cold wind blowing down the canal. With the last few leaves remaining blowing off of the trees, the towpath has a gold carpet, which hides nasty secrets in the form of dog poop. With many dog owners not picking up after their mutts, the poop gets covered up by falling leaves and ambushes walkers or responsible dog owners. This I found to my cost, I was so annoyed to find that I had stepped in another dogs mess GRRRRRRRRR.
Back on the boat, I made us some nice warming porridge for breakfast and then laid out my plans for the morning. 1st job of the morning was to wash the boat off. It was covered in soot from another boats engine exhaust, which came past us a couple of nights ago very late. With a bowl of hot soapy water and a sponge, I set about washing the cabin and roof off. I then rinsed it off with canal water. I realise the boat will only stay clean five minutes, but at least it looks clean for the time being. 2nd job of the morning was to make a sausage casserole for tonights dinner, which we will have with potatoes and veg. 3rd task was to sweep the saloon and galley floors and then to get on my hands and knees and wash them. The floor's looked like the army had trudged through with their muddy boots on, when in fact it was only Keith and I, oh and of course there were Paddy's paw prints everywhere. Thank goodness we have laminated flooring, I dread to think what carpets would have looked like. We had carpeting on our other boat and it was a nightmare at this time of the year. By the time all this had been done it was lunchtime. Keith had spent the morning loading his backups into my laptop, so that he can do his canal planner etc. I took a break and went out with my camera. I managed to get this photo of a European Nuthatch. It was knocking seven bells out of the tree trunk hunting for bugs. A very pretty little bird.
Lunch was cheese on toasted muffins and a hot mince pie, all washed down with a coffee.
As the afternoon has worn on, it has been getting colder and colder, so I was not in the least surprised when an ownership boat pulled in for some coal. Both gentlemen onboard look very chilly and were pleased to be able to purchase a bag of coal.
I enjoyed a lovely chat with a friend on the phone. She is not in the best of health at the moment and is under going radiotherapy for lung cancer. Cancer does not discriminate between the good and bad people in this world and I find it hard to understand why someone as lovely as my friend should be going through this battle, but I am sure she will win, as she is a strong lady. She has many friends and of course family behind her and a husband who adores her.
Time to wrap up my posting for the day and put my feet up. There are films on and of course the X-Factor result. I thought Mary was the best overall last night. Everyone else seemed very nervous and then of course their is Wagner, who made a fool of himself once again. After that it will be I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here'. I sincerely hope that Gillian decides to walk, because I am finding it all a little boring now. I think the program makes need to change the voting format. Once you have done a task you are then taken out of the voting until everyone has done a task. This will stop people being voted for multiple times and would actually make for a better program. I find Gillian's situation very chringe worthy, but hey what do I know. It is all getting very much the same old as far as I can tell. Ok enough said I am off, so have a great Sunday evening.
Saturday, 20 November 2010
Did you all watch Children In Need last night?
What a fantastic nights entertainment. Every year it gets better and better and more and more money is raised. Congratulations to everyone who took part.
I woke up to another peasouper of a morning. Not only was visability down to a short distance, it was cold as well. But with customers to deliver to we had to move. But before that Paddy and I did the usual walk down the towpath. He did not hang about this morning, probably due to the weather conditions. he did what he had to do and was soon back on the boat waiting in his bed for his breakfast.
Both fires needed raking out and restocking with coal. I then filled the Copper kettle and sat it back on the back cabin stove. The saloon stove has smokeless fuel and the back cabin stove has good old house coal and usually smokes like there is no tomorrow. We always have a lovely smoke trail coming out of the chimney. Just how it used to be. There was none of this smokeless fuels when the boats used to work on the waterway's in a bygone era.
Keith had a restless night with his back, so it was gently does it this morning as we prepared to set off towards Crick, where we had waiting customers. We stopped at Yelvertoft to supply a customer and then after a quick chat were on our way. At first it seemed that there was no one else moving, it was only when we got closer to Crick we saw three other boats coming towards us. At this time of the year most of the moorings at Crick at taken up by Winter moorers who pay to stay on the towpath moorings for the Winter, but it looks like so far this year they have had few takers, because there was only a couple of boats opposite the marina. Keith pulled in so I could go and see who was moored on the visitor moorings, because I had a customer to supply. I began walking down the towpath and was confronted by a fishing competition, on the moorings, which is not supposed to be allowed under British Waterway's by-laws.
Look after your waterways discarded hooks and lines, bottles and tins can kill or injure wildlife
Make sure the towpath is easily passable by keeping your fishing tackle tidy
Don't obstruct locks, bridges, designated moorings, water points or turning points
Boat crews need access to the bank within 25 metres of locks or moveable bridges so do not fish there
Use a pole cup if you need to feed close to boats: don't throw or catapult groundbait onto the decks or against the hulls of boats
Respect the privacy of people on occupied moored boats, including those on the opposite bank. Try to fish at least 15 metres away
Some boats will not be able to avoid you if you fish on the outside of bends
Take care don't fish within 30 metres of overhead power lines.
These rules are there to make fishing more enjoyable for the angler and boater, but still it seems some think they are above the rules. So with that I decided I was not going to haul the coal on the sack barrow down the towpath past all the anglers, although I was within my right to do so. That would have made them move their poles which lay on the towpath. Thankfully there was one mooring place on the other visitor moorings, so we move the boat on to that mooring and I unloaded the coal closer to my customers. The hold is almost empty now, so it makes it a little more difficult to lift the coal out of the boat, but where there's a will, there's always a way and just because I am a woman it does not mean I am a weakling, I have found ways to do my job and I so enjoy what I do. I love the fact that I get to chat to lots of new people everyday. I also get to catch up with regular customers who have become our friends.
Coal delivered we set off through Crick tunnel and winded just short of Watford Locks. After another very busy day, I am feeling a little shattered, but dinner had to be made. Tonight we are having a Thai Chicken Curry, with Rice and Garlic Bread. The animals then needed feeding and Paddy had his walk. I am still walking him at night, whilst Keith's back is poorly.
We have a half decent TV signal, so I am going to settle down after dinner to watch X-Factor and I'm a celebrity get me out of here'. I am ever hopeful that Gillian McKeith will walk out and Shaun with stay in.
I am off now, so have a good evening.
Friday, 19 November 2010
It's Friday and the weekend starts right now as far as I am concerned.
It was a pea souper of a start to our morning. Paddy and I walked along the towpath in the fog. In places you could hardly see a hand in front of your face. On the way back I could hear snorting going on over the hedge and when I peered over the hedge a head popped up to reveal the culprit. We were in no hurry to set off, so got all the boat chores done first. I stoked up both fires after breakfast and refilled the Copper Kettle on the back stove, so that we would have boiling water for coffee whilst on the move. Keith slowly got himself organised. With his back playing up, everything has to be done slowly at the moment. I had to put his socks on, because he cannot reach down to his feet. It bought back memories of when I used to the childrens socks and shoes on when they were young. Funny how things come to mind. All jobs done and Keith on the move we left our nice quiet over night mooring at 9.15am and set off for Welford Junction. The sun was doing its utmost to burn away the fog. We saw our first Kingfisher just after setting off. It sat in a bush and did not bother flying off. Now either they are getting used to us and the sound of our engine, or they could not be bothered to fly off, but Three out of the Four Kingfisher's we saw today all stayed put, including this one I got a cracking photograph of. I love these darling little birds.
We stopped at Bridge 56 to drop some coal off to a customer and it was then time for a coffee and a hot sausage roll, which I had put in the back cabin stove to warm through. There is nothing nice on a chilly morning, it just helps to keep the bodies core warm and we both love them. There are still a few trees with leaves clinging to their branches. In the morning sunshine they do look stunning.
We arrived at Welford Junction having not seen another boat on the move, that all changed once we moored up. It seemed like every man and his dog were out on their boats probably for the weekend. Jane and Tom bought their boat up to the Junction to collect their coal and we had a good old chinwag as all boaters do. The hold is now very empty, I am just hoping I have enough coal to supply our customers at Crick tomorrow. We tried out the sack barrow with towels in the tyre and it does work to a point. It will do until we get something else sorted out.Whilst chatting to Jane and Tom, I noticed that the sky has the X-Factor. The sky was a beautiful Blue and I am hoping that we will be blessed with a stunning sunset tonight. Boats are still coming and going, some slower than others. I do wish people would be respectful of others and slow down.
I was told the other day I am in Towpath Talk and it is true. I am on page 5 of the free newspaper. A customer said I look like Hilda Ogden, flippen cheek. The photograph was taken at the Village at War weekend down at Stoke Bruerne. I like the photograph so thought I would contact the paper to see if I can have a copy. I was put in touch with the photographer and was told that I could have a copy, but it would cost me grrrrrrrrr. Now he took my photograph, which was fine even though he did not ask me. He did not ask if he could sell my photograph. He wants for a 10x8=£20, 8x6=£10, 5x7=£8 and P+P 1.75. As I am the model I would have thought I should of got a free photograph. I am not paying for one and I am not happy that he is making money out of me without asking.
Thursday, 18 November 2010
It has been another busy day, but before I ramble on about today's events, I thought I would post a photograph I took the other night. It would have been ideal for Halloween night with its spooky atmosphere.This morning I set off early on foot into Harborough to get a puncture repair kit so Keith could repair the puncture in the trolley tyre. Keith was going to go into town to try to get another trolley, but his back decided to go again yesterday, and having to unload 32 bags of coal and deliver them didn't help. Whilst in town I went into Greggs and bought some Mince Pies, which were recommended by Virginia on NB Wilver and yummy they are too. I also purchased some Pudsey biscuits, which we had with coffee. I feel like I have done my bit now for 'Children In Need' which takes place this Friday. When I returned with the puncture repair kit we set off for Foxton locks. As we were ascending them a boat started down from the top, so we had to pull into the side at the middle pound and wait for them to pass. Foxton Locks closes on the 29th November for 3 weeks for Winter maintenance and it looks like they have even more work to do now, because the towpath has sprung a leak. The strange thing was a BW man came along with a bag of gravel and poured it over the leak, I have no idea what he thought that was going to acheive, as it certainly did not plug the leak. We had intended to stop just above the locks, but decided to carry on a bit further as we had a coal delivery to make, and having found the customers boat at Bridge 57 we decided to moor there for the night, and to get the puncture repaired so we can deliver the coal.
Keith tried 2 puncture repairs, and both having failed, the 2nd more dramatically by ripping the inner tube, We have given up on that score. The problem is that unlike cycle tyres where the tube is similar in size to the tyre, so doesn't expand too much. However the inner tube of our trolley is far smaller than the tyre and has to inflate and expand quite a bit to fill the tyre, thus any repair gets stretched and fails. As a temporary fix we have stuffed towels inside the tyre and will try it out with our next customer to see if it works. Keith is rather surprised that the inner tube is that much smaller than the tyre, he will take it up with ATS who supplied the new tubes and tyres at the first opportunity. Whilst Keith was trying to repair the tyre, I got on with delivering the coal, by throwing the bags over my shoulder and walking up the towpath. All deliveries made, I then sorted the hold out and lowered the side sheets to make it easier for me to get the coal off. With the hold so empty it has become more difficult for me to haul the bags over the side sheets and with Keith struggling with his back, I don't want to make it any worse.
I took Paddy for his walk, so that Keith could rest his back, but because I hate walking alone in the dark, he went early up the towpath, which did not bother him, because I will let him off before we go to bed for a wee.
It is now dark and the TV is on, I now have to think of something for dinner tonight. So I will say goodnight.
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
We left Gallows Hill this morning little knowing what the day would bring. It was very windy and rather dull, but with regular customers waiting for us, we knew we had to get to Market Harborough.
We left the over night mooring at 9 am, there was no point in leaving any earlier, because we did not want to arrive in the basin to early, because we would end up waking everyone up in the basin with the noise of our engine. We actually arrived at Union Wharf in Market Harborough at 10am, and immediately people were asking for coal. With the temperatures dropping, people need to feel warm. We winded in the basin and pulled in on the Sanitary Station. I immediately opened up the hold sheeting and pulled out the sack barrow, to discover that the flippen thing now had a puncture grrrrrrr. Having stood on the spot and cursed it up hill and down dale, we came to the conculsion that it had happened yesterday at Gallow's Hill. So no sack barrow the days deliveries were going to be a struggle. I began by carrying the coal on my shoulder to our customers in the basin, which I am used to. Keith was doing the same, but then his back complained again, so he used our small solid wheeled trolley for a while. With everyone in the basin supplied again for another 2 weeks, we sorted out our toilet cassette and got rid of rubbish, before heading out on to the towpath to deliver coal to customers. We then moored up on Logan Street Wharf, where our household customers began arriving for their fuel. I managed to go down the town with the help of one of our best customers, Myles from Paws 4 Walking, he very kindly drove me down town and back again, which was very kind of him. He then went away with his coal and coal for his neighbours. Whilst I was gone, Keith found the puncture in the wheel of our sack barrow, but the glue we had was no good. The kit we have is as old as the hills, so we were not suprised. It has been our busiest day so far and I expect it to get busier as the weather gets worse.
Keith has pulled a muscle in his back again and is struggling, so he is not going to be humping coal around for a while. I have to go down the town tomorrow morning, to buy some puncture repair glue, because the glue in our kit was no good, which was rather annoying because we could not repair the sack barrow. Then we have to go back to Foxton.
I have shut up shop for the day and with dinner cooking, I think I will be relaxing this evening in front of the TV. There is no 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here' tonight, because there is football on. England are playing France, so I will be watching 'The Apprentice', that is is I manage to stay wake.
Hope your day has been as wonderful?
This is a question people should really be asking themselves before they shell out their hard earned money to buy a boat.
But we know and I bet you do many who have never even hired a boat and yet they think nothing of paying thousands of pounds for a boat. I was told by a local brokerage that they are seeing more and more customers coming to them to buy a boat with no previous experience of boating and no idea of the rules and regulations which boaters have to stick too.
My advice to anyone who asks about getting a boat is. Always hire first and not just in the Summer. You should hire at different times of the year, to get an all round view.
So often we see people on boats, with the gentleman steering the boat and his partner is sat at the bow with a face like thunder. This is usually because they have had a row or she hates boating and has never told her partner so.
Last year I was chatting to one such couple. They were late into their retirement years and yet had hired for many years. They were out for a week, so I asked if they were enjoying their week out. The gentleman said "It is a wonderful, we have done this many years and love it"
His wife then took me to one side and whispered "Do you want me to be honest"
She then went on to say "I absolutely hate it, but it is my one concession to my husband for one week a year, because he loves boating".
At the time I thought how sweet she feels she is prepared to give up a week to keep her husband happy. But then I thought heck, why would you want to spend a week in a 6ft 10 inch wide tube with your other half when you know you hate it. Surely it must make for a week of hell. Then I wondered, does he give up a week for her, so she gets to do what she likes. If I ever meet them again I am going to ask her that question.
Would you suffer for a week to keep your other half happy?
She also said "I feel I am getting to old to do the locks now, so we may have to stop, but not sure how my husband will take it".
There are so many out there having the same issues. If your going to buy a boat, it has to be a thing you both enjoy otherwise it really does not work. The only time it will work is the man goes boating with friends and the woman goes off and does her own thing.
We know people who have bought a boat to live on full-time and it has been a disaster. Down sizing for many can be a difficult thing to do. Not only that if your living in a space lets say 60ft long by 6ft 10 inches wide 24/7 you need to get a long with your other half. It is no good if you row a lot, because someone is going to spend a lot of time walking a long the towpath otherwise.
I count myself extremely lucky, because Keith and I get on very well. We are not just husband and wife, we are also the best of friends. We only live in a small space and we have never as yet had a row. That is because we do not feel the need to row, life is way to short for such things. I love my life and all it has to offer, which is usually hard work. Keith has had over 40 years boating experience, so I had a great teacher when I came into it late in life. Everyday I feel like I have come home and this is what I should have been doing all of my life.
So many people come into boating and do not realise that it is hard work even in the best of weather. This can be made harder when the weather is torrid outside.
If your going to live on a boat with your partner, then the work load has to be shared. I am more than happy to get my hands dirty, which is evident because I hump coal around for a living, but equally Keith does the cooking. It has to be a partnership not just in marriage, but also in the way the work load is shared out on the boat.
I once spoke to a passer-by who thought she would love to live on a boat on her own. She stood there in her Pink t-shirt and White trousers, with shiny sandals and asked me how idyllic my life was and how she would love to do the same. I asked her if she had any boating experience and she told me "I have been on a cruise across the Med". I had to inform her it was nothing like that, you have to do everything for yourself, including emptying the toilet. Her nose screwed up at that point, so I thought right lets go in for the kill.
I said to her "What would you do, if you were frozen in out in the sticks and were in the shower all soaped up and when you turned the shower on no water came out, because your tank was empty?
She looked at me and said "On does that happen".
I said "It can".
Her reply was "Then it is maybe not the life for me". I like my home comforts to much.
Don't get me wrong, we have many friends male and female who live on their boats a lone, but they know what they are doing, and know how hard life on a boat can be. If you like your nails manicured, hair just so, pale coloured clothing and high heels everyday, then sorry living on a boat is not for you and you should tell your other half. You would be saving yourself a lot of heartache and money.
If you really want to know what it is like to have a boat, speak to boaters. Walk the towpaths and speak to people who actually live the life and not those people who are trying to sell you the dream, because they will always tell you what you want to hear.
So having read this. Is it for you???
This is just my point of view and I know there will be those who will not share it.
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Monday, 15 November 2010
As the morning wore on, we were still moored at the bottom of Foxton Locks.
Keith took our sack barrow wheel to Sam Matts of Foxton Boat Services in a hope that he could repair it by welding it all back together, so we had to wait for the verdict. Whilst waiting for our wheel to come back repaired or otherwise, Marmite and Paddy took every opportunity to enjoy the Autumn sunshine, which was very warming after a frosty start to the day.
I put a crocheted blanket on the back cabin slide and Marmite decided she would take up residence.In this photograph she is being a posh puss with her button nose in the air.I think in my next life I am coming back as a boaters cat. Marmite has a life of luxury really, although with the way she moans somedays you would think she was so hard done by.
Come 1.30pm Sam bought our sack barrow wheel back all welded up and it only coat us £10, so thank you Sam your a life saver. With the wheel back on the barrow, we slipped our mooring and headed to Black Horse Bridge at Foxton all of 0.7 miles in 15 minutes, such a torrid trip NOT. We are here now until our Tesco delivery arrives tomorrow morning.
The weather today has been totally amazing, it actually felt more like a Spring day and there were lots of people out and about enjoy the warm of the sun. The temperature is now dropping, so we can expect another cold night ahead no doubt. So it will soon be time to close the boat up and snuggle up in front of the fire. Before I go, I am being told by a friend that I am a Page 3 pinup.... No not in the Sun. Apparently there is a photograph of me in November's edition of Towpath Talk. As I can only read October's Edition online, I will have to wait to see the latest paper and see which photograph they have taken of me and who actually took it.
Brrrr what a chilly beginning to the day. I knew it was going to be a stunning start to the day after we had a lovely sunset last night. Sadly I did not get the opportunity to photograph it because I was in the hold getting coal.
Ok who watched 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here'?
(Hand in the air). I watched it, but must admit I almost forgot. we had begun to watch 10,000 BC and keith decided to switch channels phew. The film was not half as entertaining.
Gillian McKeith is not going to last long. Oh dear, she is already getting on everyone's wick in camp. I love Nigel Havers and Stacey Soloman and of course Linford Christie is going to be very strong in the jungle. I will be hooked until the end of the series.
Ok back to a frosty Monday morning. Over night the temperature got down to -1.5C, so there was a frost on the ground. The sheep were the lucky ones, they have their winter woolies on. I had to settle for my North Face Jacket, which was like wearing a duvet. I love frosty mornings when the smoke is rising from the boats chimneys and the birds are singing to welcome in a brand new day. I am not sure what my day will bring, but I am sure it will be a good one. Just wanted to post some early photos.
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Today has been a quiet day, mainly due to the very overcast and chilly weather. I have a couple of orders for coal for next week when we go back up the locks, which are very welcome. But all in all we have done very little today, except the usual boat jobs. We did fix the exhaust pipe which got bent when going under a low bridge and Keith put some more paint on one of his Buckby Cans, apart from that we have been watching the last of the F1 races for this season. Congratulations to Vettel for winning this years Championship. It was very sad to see that Alonso was being such a poor loser. It was his to win and yet he did not put in the performance, so it is his fault and he cannot blame others for what should have been his title.
Rudolph and his mates have landed ready for Christmas. John is moored behind us makes them from timber he has sawn himself. The sledge is made from old pallets. For a small reindeer he is charging £10, the medium size one is £15 and the large one £20. They seem very popular as he has been doing a roaring trade.Screammmmmmm Christmas is some 6 weeks away. The only thing I am really looking forward to is my Christmas dinner, which is being cooked for us. Outside of our galley window, we have these two canal signs. The iron one has been there for many years and the wooden one was put there a couple of years ago. You would have thought that they would have copied the distances, but no they have them both totally different, very strange.
My Great Grandad fought in the First World War. He was a Rifleman, Kings Royall Rifle Corps. He volunteered in August 1914, and was later drafted toFrance, where he served in the Battle of Ypres, Loos andVimy Ridge, and also took part in the engagement at Hooge. He was twice wounded in action, and as a result of his wounds and shell-shock, was discharged in February 1914, holding the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals. My Grandad was a Warrant Officer Class 1 RSM. He served in the 8th Army under Montgomery. Sadly despite coming back from the war, he was never the same, like so many men who fought. I do not know what happened to him after I was born. Looking back through some of my families history there have been other family members who have fought and died for this country and I will remeber them today.
-·=»‡«=·-<< ~~*~~ -·=»‡«=·- ~~*~~ >>-·=»‡«=·-
I Scream in fear as I feel the pain
Please do not let my life be in vain.
I know I am hit, but cannot look.
What part of my body has the bullet took.
Distant explosions of the enemy I hear.
I know death is something I will never fear.
I let out a cry, for my buddies to hear
Please someone come I am laying here.
Echoes loud as my voice is carries in the night.
I must look such a frightful sight.
Blood is seeping, I can feel its run.
I am scared to think what the bullet has done.
My chest hurts I know it is bad.
But yet I have no will to get mad
I lay here alone my body is racked in pain.
I know now my life will never be the same.
Vulnerable all alone where is everyone
Will I see another day of sun?
Scared will I be left here to die alone.
This is when I wish I had my mobile phone
Helpless I lay here, with a mortal wound.
I can only think my life is doomed.
Waiting for the moment of death.
Is my time coming for my last breath?
I am too young to die, hear my plea.
Can someone please come and find me
I let out one last feeble howl
In case my mates are on the prowl.
Someone come I do not want to die.
I want to be able to look upon the sky.
Footsteps are coming in this direction.
Shout's of hey you, said with affection.
Patched up, morphine given for pain relief.
My thoughts of death now seem oh so brief
I guess my prayers were heard today.
Thank you god for allowing me to stay.
My thoughts turn to those who will never see the sun.
For them their duty has been done.
God bless all those who died today.
In our memories you will always stay.
Saturday, 13 November 2010
I struggled to rouse myself this morning, after all it is Saturday. Unfortunately Marmite does not understand what day it is and so at 5am she was meowing whilst charging up and down the boat. I later found out why, she had no food in either of her dishes. Poor pussy cat. Goodness knows what she would be like if she acrtually had to catch her own meals. I am sure meowing at her prey would not make them roll over in submission. She needs to think herself lucky that she gets fed twice a day and does not have to go out and catch her breakfast or dinner. I was fortunate enough to go back to sleep after curling into a little ball beneath the duvet. The next thing I knew it was 8.20am and Keith was laying next to me with his arms stretched behind his head. he had been awake for a while. Because I was late getting up, Paddy was on the prowl, because he needed to go out and do what all dogs do first thing in the morning. So no sooner I was up and dressed, my first task of the day was to walk him up the towpath heading towards Leicester. Immediately a smile was bought to my face as a Kingfisher sped in front of us, sitting on branches on the offside as it watched where we were going. Dang I did not have my camera with me arghhh, I never learn. Back on the boat, Keith was laying up breakfast and a cuppa was ready, which was just wnat I needed to get me going. After breakfast had been consumed I had to rake the back stove grate. It soon sprang into life and there is now a glowing fire in the grate. The saloon stove is always much easier to get going, I just riddle the grate and then top up with coal and it will simmer away all day. I only ever have to then fill it up again at night, where as the back cabin stove needs feeding regularly through out the day, so that I can keep a kettle boiling and do the days cooking. I do love cooking on my back stove, it gives me a lot of statisfaction.
Since I began this post it has turned out to be a very busy day, with customers coming to collect their coal. I know the title of the post is a weekend off, but that just means we do not move, it does not mean we do not sell anything. I put some firelights, kindling and toilet blue on the cabin roof for sale. Our trolley has given up the ghost again and this time the wheel has fallen apart, so we do not have a trolley at the moment, which is most annoying. Hopeing we can get it welded together, otherwise we are going to find deliveries difficult. We had a visit from, Teri and Dave from the Narrowboat Trust which was lovely. We sat chatting over cups of coffee. I love catching up on their news and Teri is looking so well after being so very poorly over the past year and a bit. We always end up trying to put the world to right. Looking forward to seeing them again before Christmas. Cooking in the back cabin stove at the moment is a meatball casserole for tonights dinner and yes it will come with dumplings. During the afternoon, whilst helping customers and chatting I cleaned some of the outside Brass as the weather was so nice and enjoyed chatting to passers-by. It has been a wonderful day and now I am looking forward to my dinner and relaxing in front of the TV. Hope you have a good evening ;0)
Friday, 12 November 2010
Wow what a horrible night weather wise. We had gale force winds most of the night, which ment I let the back cabin stove out, so that we did not get smoked out whilst sleeping. Otherwise we may have woken up like smoked kippers. I kept the saloon stove in, so that we had hot water this morning, because it does not blow back as much. As the wind picked up before we retired to our bed, I did have a thought that maybe we would be across the cut this morning, having been blown off of our mooring. But no as I stepped off of the boat with Paddy for his walk, we were still securely moored up. Paddy had made his mind up that his walk was going to be a quick affair in the breeze, he was clearly not happy at being blown around. So having done what was needed, he did an about turn and legged it back to the boat.
The Foxton flight does not open until 8 am, so we were in no hurry to make a move. By the time we had done all the usual morning jobs, which included making up the saloon stove and emptying the ash pan, feeding mog and dog and of course ourselves, it was 8.30 am and we were ready to move to the top lock. I walked on ahead to see if anyone was already coming up. No one in sight so I set the lock in our favour, whilst Keith moved the boat towards the lock. We had just descended the second lock when a gentleman said that they were coming up from the bottom. I suggested that they start coming up and we swap in the middle pound, which he agreed with. We made it to the middle first and waited for them to come up. It was one of the hire boats from Market Harborough going off to Gayton to be painted. The hire boat arrived at the middle pound and I pulled them out of the lock and on to the lay-by mooring, so that we could pass them and enter the lock. It all went very smoothly and they were on their way. I wished them a safe journey and said my goodbyes. No sooner I had the paddles up to the next lock down Caroline off of NB Vanyar came walking up to see who was about. We caught up on news and supplied them with 3 bags of coal to keep them going until we see them again in just over a week on the summit. With the wind still blowing as Keith excited the bottom lock, we could not turn into the pool, so had to pull straight out and then wind the boat to get on a mooring. We are now moored opposite The Foxton Locks Inn and will be here for the weekend, as we have customers coming to collect their coal by car. We are fortunate to sell coal to a few houses around the area, and they are happy to come to us to collect their coal. We don't have a van or a car through choice. For starters we cannot afford to have another vehicle and then you have to find somewhere to keep it or move it from place to place as you move the boat and that to me is just hard work, although we have many friends who do that quite happily. I also don't drive so no point having a vehicle for one. This does mean we cannot deliver by road to people. If we wanted to do that we would have had a land based business. We welcome any new customers on water or land as long as they are easy to get to.
Lunch time was soon upon us and we both fancied some soup. This time it happened to be mushroom soup. Sadly it was not homemade, it was out of a tin. Tesco does a lovely Mushroom soup. Whilst this warmed up on the back stove, which I have relit, I put the TV ariel up. It seems we have no proper digital signal down here, so no Film4 this afternoon grrrrrrr. After lunch Keith started painting the Buckby Can inside and I climbed into the hold to restack some of the coal. We are getting a little low, so I like to keep it stacked neatly. It will not be long before I get another delivery.
The joy of being in this area for the Winter delivering coal means we can listen to the local radio station Hfm. I love listening to the local station, because they play music I have not heard in years, which can being back great memories. Hfm also has some lovely DJ's, who we have got to know pretty well.
Talking about bring back memories. Yesterday I was playing with the new street view map and came across my old house. Yep this is the house I grew up in many, many years ago. Having walked up and down the lane via street view, the village has hardly changed at all. Even my friends houses still look the same. The only place that has changed a lot was the house opposite, which used to be the old post office and garage. They have both gone and the garage is now a brand new house. How the times change and even a small village like my old village has progressed to a small degree.
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