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!
Sunday, 31 July 2011
A slow, relaxing start to the day, after all it is a Sunday. Marmite came and slept on the bed again, she then made it quite clear that she had no food in her bowls and wanted feeding, so after a morning cuppa, we were both up and dressed.
Keith started a cooked breakfast, whilst I took Paddy out for his walk around the block. It was beautifully warm out, with the sun doing its best to poke through the clouds. After breakfast, I started to prepare the boat for the off, which did not take place until 10.15am, which is a late start for us. Firstly we had to visit the sanitary station, where I emptied the toilet cassette and got rid of rubbish, whilst Keith nattered to a gentleman about our engine. She always gets a lot of attention and always in a nice way. People always want to know what it is and how old. The sound of our National DA2 is a real crowd drawer, because people have never heard anything like her before. If only those who built her back in 1945 could see her now, I wonder what they would think of her being in a working boat?
Whilst Keith waited, I went and worked the lock because there was a boat in front of us already going up. Lock emptied Keith bought the boat in. As I opened the paddles a whole load of lycra clad cyclists pulled alongside the lock to stop at the tearoom, so we had an audience whilst the boat came up in the lock.
We only did a short journey this morning, we are now moored between Bullock’s Lane bridge No.9 and Oldington bridge No.10, between Stourport-on-Severn and Kidderminster, it took all of an hour to get here. The sun is out and it is very warm, I can see so some topping up of the suntan after lunch, because we have no TV signal, so we won’t be watching the Grand Prix :(, Good luck to our boys. Since mooring up, I have had the paint brush out on one of the back cabin doors, which was losing its red paint. I may be tempted into doing some more later, but I will see after all it is Sunday, so it should be a day of rest.
Have a lovely day. Chat soon xx
Saturday, 30 July 2011
After a wet and dull start yesterday this morning was a bright and sunny beginning to our Saturday.
Plans, what plans we had none. I was not even going to start the painting jobs, because I was unsure what the weather was going to do, I need not have worried though because it has been lovely all day.
The engine exhaust chimney stack has been stripped of all its cracked and peeling paint, alls I have to do now is repaint it and keep my fingers crossed that the paint does not crack again. But first we are going to run with it like this for a trip to make sure all the old paint comes off properly. I rather like it like it is, but of course it does not look very traditional.
So the day began with breakfast and walking Paddy around the block, we then ventured into the town to pick up some bread and bits from the Co-op, as we will be leaving tomorrow. Whilst out we popped into a the Pot Luck shop and I found some more food storage clips.
I always seem to have run out when I need one, so with this new pack I think I have pretty much everything covered. They are so very useful and make great hair clips if needed in a hurry (Just a small tip). At 99p for the pack they were so worth it. I use them for the freezer, fridge and food cupboard, plus hair and anything else that needs sealing. A must have on a boat I think.
I also spotted a 12 volt kettle.
Now there was I thinking I had come up with a brilliant idea, seen as our other 24o volt kettle had gone belly up after just a few weeks. We got the kettle back to the boat, Keith made a few alterations to the electric and set the kettle in motion. We waited and waited and waited some more, this waiting went on for at least half an hour and even though the kettle finally began to boil it would not turn off as it should. Now I do not know about you, but when I put a kettle on for a cuppa, I want it within a few minutes not half an hour later. Because it was not work properly I dried it and put it back in the box and took it back to the shop, where I got my money back.
My advice is if you want a cuppa in a hurry, do not buy a 12 volt kettle, you could die waiting for it to boil.
After the kettle fiasco, Keith bought us both an ice cream which went down a treat after lunch and we settled down to a quiet afternoon, I then had a brain wave (yep another one) that I would go and stock up on a few items from the Factory Shop, which was doing mouthwash and cotton buds dead cheap, so I went back into town which was heaving with people. I got my purchases and stood in a queue a mile long (us brits love queuing). I could have left the store and my goodies, but wanted them so stood in line like the good shopper I am, along with all the other good shoppers. Back at the boat, Keith was sitting outside doing his crossword and Marmite was lounging on the roof of the boat.
I think she was crossing her paws for more sunshine tomorrow. She certainly knows how to chillout.
So that has been my day, I have done the usual boat chores, which I will not bore you with and now I am going check on my Facebook page and Farm Town, then it will be time to watch a movie before going to my bed.
I hope your day has been a nice one. Chat soon xx
Friday, 29 July 2011
Friday morning and it is soggy after some early morning rain. Just as well I got busy with the boat jobs yesterday. Not only did I get the washing done, which is still hanging in the hold. I also hoovered throughout the boat, which is a luxury, no more dog hairs tumbling up and down the boat for five minutes.
I then turned my attention to the engine exhaust chimney stack, which of late has been looking in need of some TLC. The paint has been peeling off big time, making it look very distressed. Our main problem was trying to find some paint which could be used on something that gets very hot. I even tried using the stove blacking.
I got the paint stripper out and painted that all over the chimney, left it for 15 minutes and then scraped off the flaking paint, this took several attempts before I finally got the chimney stripped of the old paint.
I really could not be bothered eating another salad for dinner last night, so I suggested Fish and Chips, which seemed to hit the spot, so after Keith had walked Paddy, we set off into the town to the fish and Chip shop, we had a choice of two, which were next door to each other. In the end we plumed for the Riverside Fish and Chip bar, and instead of walking back to the boat to eat them, we decided to eat in. I have to say they were fantastic Fish and Chips, the Cod was huge and the Chips were very good.
Back on the boat it was time for a coffee and a DVD as we have no TV signal. We settled down to watch "Dances With Wolves" one of my favourite films. By the time it finished it was almost 10pm and I needed to make the bed up as I had washed the sheets and duvet. Bed made it was time to climb into it for some much needed sleep.
So here we are Friday morning, I think I saw every hour from 3am and as I said at the beginning it is a little damp, this is what happens when I mention painting arghhhh. Yep I was going to do some painting today, but that is not put on the back burner again. I do have the chimney exhaust to wash and rub down so if push comes to shove I will get on with that job. I am ever hopeful that the sun will come out, but in the meantime I need to go and buy some bread, so I feel a walk into the town coming on.
Have a lovely day. Chat soon xx
Thursday, 28 July 2011
It was an early wake up call this morning by the Seagulls. If I had been dreaming, I would have sworn someone was screaming, but no it was the local Seagulls looking for breakfast, this was all very well, but it was 5.30am and I was hoping for a lie in. Hey ho the lie in did not happen, so the only thing for it was to put the kettle on. Me getting out of bed disturbed Marmite who was sleeping at the bottom of the bed, she had spent most of the night behind my pillow where it was nice and warm. I think because we had the fly screen in the galley window all night, she found her bed in the saloon a little chilly, so she came and slept with us. Cup of tea made, we sat in bed discussing our options for the day.
Should we move off or stay put for another day?
We were thinking of moving off to find a country mooring for the rest of the week and weekend, but then we heard a boat on the move and discovered it was NB Meander, who was moored close to where we moored last time we were here, so the thought then was maybe we will move away from the sanitary station and over to there. Having had enough of sitting in bed, which always gives me a numb rear, I was up and walking Paddy by 7.45am after some breakfast. I happened to meet up with Graham and so I asked if we could move to the empty place, which was fine by him.
So we moved to the next mooring down from this one in the photo above this morning, where we moored on our journey down through Stourport. I want to do a lot of washing in the washing machine, so it was convenient to move here and use the shoreline for a while, as we have some units left on our card. Also it stops our bow being clobbered by boats entering and leaving the sanitary station. Happy Days!
Update: We have been here for just over three hours and I have already done two washes, we have put the anchor away and done a lot of contemplating about the jobs we could do whilst here. The sun is shining, so we are in for another fantastic day.
I hope your day is a good one. Chat soon xx
OMG !BAD NEWS! Please join me in remembering YET ANOTHER great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Dough Boy died yesterday of a yeast infection and traumatic complications from repeated pokes to the belly. He was 71. Dough Boy is survived by his wife Play Dough, three children... John Dough, Jane Dough, and Dill Dough. Plus they had one in the Oven. Services were held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
It was time to say goodbye to Worcester for this year. At 8.55am we left our mooring and set off for Stourport-on-Severn.
There are some lovely houses along this stretch of the river and some pleasant wooden countryside.
Nice house and boat, if you like that sort of thing.
It is always sad to see boats sunk, but I think I can safely say these have been there for sometime.
We really enjoyed our cruise towards Stourport-on-Severn. There were plenty of boats on the move towards us, so this bought hope that there would be somewhere to moor once we got to our destination.
At each of the locks we had to wait for boats to come down, but as the river was like a mill pond it was not a problem. Whilst on the move, I put some Hamburgers and Onions in the oven to cook for lunch and the smell was most definitely making me hungry.
Stourport-on-Severn came into vision and it was soon clear that there was no room on the pontoons, so I turned the oven off, otherwise lunch would be over cooked. We had no choice but to go up the locks and into the basin. Keith pulled in alongside a couple of boats moored on the pontoon and I went to check on the locks. There was a boat already going up and one coming down, so we waited out turn. Whilst waiting to enter the first of the staircase locks, Graham from BW asked if we wanted a mooring in the basin, which of course was very nice of him and so it would have been naughty to have said no LOL. He told us there was room near the sanitary station and to moor as far back as possible.
We worked up the locks and I then walked round to the mooring, but there was already a boat moored in the place Graham wanted us to go, so he asked the gentleman if he could move his boat to a small mooring as he was a shorter boat, but the man was not for moving, so Graham told us to moor up in front of him as he would be leaving tomorrow, we could then move back. Now I do not like confrontation, but I did feel that the man was being very rude after he was asked nicely to move to a shorter mooring, which in fact would have been better for him. I guess he was just in that sort of frame of mind and moving for him was not an option. Graham apologised about the situation and I told him it did not matter. We will stay here tonight, but if we should have a problem, we will move off tomorrow.
After our Hamburger lunch, we strolled around the town and picked up a couple of items we needed, no sooner we had returned to the boat and the kettle was on Lesley off of NB Caxton came visiting with Floyd and Fletcher.
Lesley and Joe are having a new boat built at the moment, which is being named Yarwood. It was lovely to hear all Lesley's news and to see how excited she is about their new boat, I remember that feeling only to well from when we had Hadar built. In fact Hadar still excites me, even four years on ;0).
So another lovely day, the only sad part was to be leaving the river, we will be back on to the narrow canals for the time being and of course with it being the school holidays it is bound to be packed with hire boats. Keith and I will be doing early starts from now on I feel.
Chat soon xx
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
The morning began with some wonderful sunshine. Keith and I said our goodbyes to Brian and Ghost and to Lorraine and Fred who we met yesterday. Unfortunately June and Gordon had gone off to the Marina to get water etc, so we did not see them to ssay cheerio.
This mornings trip was definitely more like summer to start with, then the clouds returned. We came up through Diglis lock with a hire boat which had been moored on the pontoon with us.
By the time we arrived at Worcester it was getting quite warm. The Cathedral standing proud welcoming us back.
We moored up at the southern end of Worcester Racecourse this time, near the rowing club. We were closer to the city.
After lunch we walked up into the city for another look around and then walked down along the river. I managed to get a different view of the Cathedral from the river bank. Whilst walking along the river, we heard lots of cheering from the other side of the river so we had to investigate, by crossing over the river at the bridge to discover the Worcestershire County Cricket ground, where they were playing Somerset, and are 367-3 at 8:30pm. We walked back to the boat on the other side of the river, I took this photo of Hadar as we crossed the new footbridge.
As we were walking back from the cricket ground we decided that we had to draw up a list of things we just have to do before we kick the bucket. On the list so far we have a cricket match, rugby match, football match, grey hound racing, speedway and horse racing so far, I also want to visit New Zealand and Canada, which is a real challenge seen as I have never been out of this beautiful country. The furthest I have ever been is the Isle of Wight and the isle of Arran.
For Keith and I this was our first time at a race meeting, so it was pretty exciting. Of course when I say at the race meeting, we were in fact sitting out side of the course on the pavement.
Neither Keith or I felt the need to pay out the £15 each to get in. We still enjoyed our first taste of horse racing though.
Back on board and I am just about ready for my bed now.
Chat soon xx
Monday, 25 July 2011
Another beautiful day began bright and early, with a phone call from someone we both know so well, but unfortunately my phone signal is such that I could not take the call.
Paddy and I set off for our morning stroll, when we spied a boat we knew only two well. It belonged to Brian Jarrett, who had phoned me earlier, he was moored up on the concrete moorings behind us and had come in yesterday evening unbeknown to us. As Paddy and I strolled along the river frontage, I saw Brian and his dog Ghost coming towards us. it was lovely to see them both again. Brian was hoping to move his boat on to the pontoon moorings should a space become available.
After breakfast Keith disappeared and was on NB Kyle with Brian when a space because empty, so Brian moved his tug on to the mooring behind us. Keith and I then went into the town to look in the shops which were closed yesterday. Upton-on-Severn is a delightful little town, with so much history. We visited the Heritage Museum, which we found very informative. We stopped for a coffee in one of the towns cafes, before going back to the boat for some lunch.
We began the afternoon with a glass of Red wine with Brian Jarrett, who owns tug Kyle.
We must have chatted about every subject under the sun, it was a most enjoyable way to spend a Monday afternoon. 2pm was rung on the church bell and so we left Brian and headed off to The Tudor House Museum run by Lavender Beard a woman who is clearly passionate about history and the museum.
It cost us £1.50 each to get in and it was well worth the money.
The museum is very well laid out and labelled.
It was fascinating, reading about the history of the town.
We ended the visit in the garden where Mrs beard was caring for a Mallard and her 9 ducklings.
When the ducklings are big enough they will all be taken to the River. The problem for them at the moment is there is no way on foot from the museum, without being run over, so Mrs Beard is going to take them by car when the time is right. She did exactly the same thing last year when a family set up home in the garden.
Back at the boat there were plenty of boats on the move and boats looking for moorings. Brian now has two hire boats alongside him and we still have June and Gordon alongside us. We were also joined by a Skiff.
You may recognise the make of boat. A skiff was used in the "Three men in a boat" series with Dara Ó Briain, Rory McGrath and Griff Rhys Jones. This was not the same skiff, but just as stunning with its canvas top. They came and moored up for the evening, whilst we went off to Ye Olde Anchor Inn with Brian off Tug Kyle and Lorraine and Fred off of NB Sarah. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours telling tales over a couple of pints of Theakstons Crime of Passion. It is amazing the things boaters chat about, even when they do not know each other very well.
So the end to another day draws near and having enjoyed Cheese on Toast for dinner, I am just about ready for my bed.
Chat soon xx.
Sunday, 24 July 2011
Wow what a fantastic day.
It all began at 7am with the usual cuppa in bed. We did not have a strong enough signal for the TV, so there was no early news. Paddy got his walk, after he gingerly walked along the shaky pontoon. After his walk we made our way back to the boat and a woman in the pub asked "Are you staying today". I replied "No, we are moving off this morning", she said "Oh good, thank you". Now some people could have taken offense at her asking if they were going, but I happened to look in the pub and noticed the tables were all laid with tablecloths etc, so I realised that there must have been something important going on there later and maybe they needed the space on the pontoon.
When we set off it became clear that the boats we saw yesterday were all moored at The Lower Lode pub and had been camping there overnight. The Yew Tree was there destination for dinner. So it was just as well we had moved. We approached Upper Load Lock and waited our turn to enter, this took sometime as there were boats already in the lock to come down.
Continuing up the Severn we saw lots of fishermen bank side and on boats, there was either a competition going on or it was just their Sunday pass time. We passed under the single span 170ft cast iron Mythe Bridge built by Thomas Telford in 1828. The river is flanked by high banks and wooded areas. It is amazing to think that in 2007 all of this was under water. I got to take over at the tiller for a while, which was fantastic. I do love playing at the tiller.
I think we passed and were passed by boats of every size and description today, including this pair of tear a ways. They were kids and thankfully they were wearing life jackets, because at times I was sure one or both would end up in the water because of their antics. I am all for kids enjoying themselves, but at times they were a little dangerous.
Some would probably describe the River Severn as undramatic, but it does have a beauty all of its own and this is bore out when we reached Upton-on-Severn. The old church tower peering over the pubs which line the river announced that we were at Upton, now we did not expect to find a moorings, because this is a very popular place, but wooo hoo we were in luck, there was a mooring on the pontoon, just big enough for us to get into. Moored behind us was an old wooden boat, which the owner thinks was one of the Dunkirk Little Ships, the owner is still trying to clarify its status at that event. A beautiful boat and lovely owners, the gentleman's father had previously owned her, so she has quite a history.
After some lunch Keith and I walked up into Upton.
Many of the shops were shut because of it being a Sunday, but the pubs were doing a roaring trade with the weather being so nice. It is a pretty little place and I am so glad we got to stop here, because I had been hoping to see it this trip. Upton is not short on history, it was founded around 897. The Battle of Upton in 1651 during the Civil War saw 12000 men cross the river here along with Oliver Cromwell. The town has a distinctive tower and copper-clad cupola known locally as the Pepperpot and the only surviving remnant of a former church. We will take a closer look at its history tomorrow when we have another look around.
St Peter and St Paul's Church which is said to be the new church dates back to 1879. The old church was in such a state that it was deemed to be to small for the growing population. What is so striking about this church is the colour of the stone work and the fact that there appears to be no graveyard.
After a look around we walked back to the boat along the river and past the pubs, which made us both feel thirsty, so I opened a couple of cans of Old Speckled Hen and we sat out on the boat and watched the boats going by. A couple of boats left and a couple more replaced them, then June and Gordon on NB Excalibur asked if they could moor alongside us, which of course we said yes too. They had done Five hours of cruising from Gloucester Docks and we needing to stop, so they are moored alongside us for the night and very welcome they are too. We have had a lovely time chatting to them about their experiences on the canals and rivers. They are a lovely couple who I can say are in their mature years, but still enjoying their 3 months out on the boat and will continue to do so as long as their health holds out. They are a good advert to a long life on the water.
Dinner tonight is going to be a salad, because it is still very warm out and if I put the cooker on now we will all melt. It has been a lovely day of watching boats, model gliders and vintage cars and tractors going past. Now I am off to take some headache pills to get rid of this darn headache which has been with me the last couple of days. Have a lovely day.
Chat soon xx
Saturday, 23 July 2011
This is just a quickie because I have a really bad GPRS signal.
We were up early and left Gloucester Dock at 8.45am. As you can see from the above photograph it was a bright, sunny morning with a flat calm dock. We were not alone in the lock, we joined narrowboats Majestic Lady and Cartonia. On leaving the lock we allowed them to go off before us.
We had a pleasant cruise before deciding to stop at The Yew Tree Inn, Chaceley Stock. The pontoon is a little dodgy as it rocks a lot, Paddy really does not like it at all.
The sun continued to shine all afternoon, which meant there were plenty of boats on the move, including some small sailing boats, who pulled in behind us on the pontoon to visit the pub. All the boats were home built by their owners and when they get the chance they get together on the water.
During the afternoon a Dakota flew over close by. Having looked it up on the tinternet, it seems it was doing a fly past at Badsey, Worcestershire. It was so nice to see it fly over, we almost had our very own fly past.
All in all it has been a fantastic day, which has ended with me cooking us Lemon Chicken and Rice with Duck Spring Rolls. We are now watching Harry Potter.
Just heard the news that Amy Winehouse has died. What a sad loss. She may not have been everyone's cup of tea, but to die that young is so sad.
My thoughts are also with everyone in Norway, it has been a tragic few days ;0(
Friday, 22 July 2011
A quiet night was spent opposite the Waterways Museum. We both slept very well and were then woken up by the darling Seagulls. With little chance of going back to sleep, I made a cuppa, which we sat drinking whilst watching breakfast TV, for once there was no mention of the phone hacking yippee.
Paddy got his walk and I managed to find him a piece of grass to wee on, which I think pleased him no end. There were already people scurrying here and there putting up stalls for the Food Festival.
9.30am Keith and I locked up the boat and headed off to see the lock keeper to find out what the situation was with Diglis Locks, because there had been problems with the locks and they had been closed. Thankfully we were told that the problem should be sorted out today, because divers were going into the water to move cables which were jamming the gates. So good news for us because we want to set off tomorrow.
10am we had a meeting with our trading manager Susie Mercer at the BW office. We sat and drank coffee with her, whilst we discussed our trading options now that we are not trading coal. It was great to catch up with her, we came out feeling much more positive. I took Susie some small Lemon Drizzle Cakes, because I had promised her a cake should she ever come to the boat.
Having left Susie we walked a couple of hundred yards to theFood Festival.
Sadly we did not see either James Martin or Gino D'Acampo, both of them are dishes don't you think?
We had a wander around the stalls, which were pretty quiet as it was early.
Later on it did get much busier.
There was some lovely cheese and meats to be had. Having seen everything we wanted to see, we walked down to Hobbycraft and bought a few items. Lunch was then eaten at the Angel Chef buffet, which was very nice. After a lovely lunch we then walked into the city to do some shopping. I needed new batteries in my wrist watch and my watch on a chain. Unfortunately my wrist watch was dead, because there was a piece broken inside, so that got binned, but I did get a battery put in my other watch. Feet aching and shopping done, we plodded back to the boat where we were pleased to see Joy and Roy on NB Jubilee moored behind us. We spent an age chatting away to them and eating ice cream. I think I could spend many a happy hour chatting to them both, they are a wonderful couple.
We are now finally back on board our boat and I need to put my aching feet up for the evening. We plan to leave Gloucester tomorrow morning, the first locking down is 8.45am and then every two hours after that, so we can take our pick.
Off to make a coffee and some dinner, so chat soon xx
Thursday, 21 July 2011
As I opened an eye this morning, I could see sunlight shining through the pigeon box portholes, so this I thought bode well. I got up and made us both a cup of tea, which as always we drank in bed whilst Marmite played chase the fly. Marmite loves chasing flies and sometimes she is lucky enough to to catch one, which she usually devours.
After finally getting up, Paddy was ready and waiting to be taken for his morning stroll up the towpath past some moored boats. A Buzzard was calling in the distance and I could hear a Chiff Chaff singing close by.
After breakfast we left our mooring of a couple of days and set off for Gloucester, with the weather not looking quite so promising, by the time we reached Sainsbury's we had seen a few drops of rain. We moored up on the 4 hour moorings and went in to Sainsbury's to do a food shop, Keith also wanted to pick up a memory card for our new Samsung Camera, which I have to say is pretty darn good. The following photographs were taken with it. After loading the shopping on to the boat we cruised into Gloucester Docks and found a mooring in the Barge Arm opposite the Waterways Museum.
This will be home for a couple of days.
Lunch time and I made us some meat and salad wraps and a coffee before we left the boat and walked into Gloucester.
The streets were incredibly quiet we thought.
In some ways with it being so quiet it gave us an opportunity to look at some of the wonderful buildings that Gloucester has.
Keith then felt the need for a coffee. So we sat outside of the Comfy Pew Restaurant near the Cathedral and had Coffee and Pecan cake with Toffee Icing. It was very scrummy as was the coffee. Whilst enjoying our sit down and cake I noticed lots of young people coming out of the cathedral wearing ceremonial robes. I have since found out that they were university students collecting their awards. On reading their website I found out that Ede and Ravenscroft are still doing the ceremonial robes for such events. I used to work for the company when I worked at Whitchurch Silk Mill in the late 1970's. In those days I used to be part of a team which made the robes to order, I expect these days they are all mass produced, in some factory abroad.
Whilst in the city, I bought a new pair of sandals from Millets, which were in the huge sale they are having at the moment. They had been £34.99, then two weeks ago £17 and today £14 so it was a no brainer I had to buy a pair and put them away for next Summer, when I know my others will be no longer of use.
Having done everything we wanted and seen all we wanted to see, we walked back to the boat, where Paddy and Marmite were waiting for us. They were actually waiting to be let out of the boat, but hey just to see them both waiting at the door was enough to make me smile.
So the close to another lovely day. We will spend the evening with our feet and wooo hoooo this time we have TV in the Docks, because there are no buildings in the way.
I will bid you a good evening and wish you well.
Chat soon xx