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!
Thursday, 31 May 2012
Travelled 5.15 miles, worked 10 locks in a time of 3 hours 45 minutes.
Yesterday after dinner, I felt the need to clean the brass which was looking a little tarnished, so there I was sweating my eyeballs out on getting it all nice and clean only for this to happen.
Yes within 15 minutes of me finishing the brass the heavens opened, the water looked like it was jumping because the rain drops were huge. It has to be said that it did freshen the air somewhat, but now I have to clean the brass all over again.
This morning it was still raining slightly as I took Paddy for his morning stroll a long the towpath, he was very unimpressed at having to get damp, whereas I was happily strolling along without a jacket on.
We left our over night mooring at 8.15, with a view to getting to Grindley Brook, assess the situation at the locks, if there was a huge queue we would have just moored up for the day and gone down tomorrow.
We arrived at the Grindley Brooks flight at 8.40 to find only a hire boat waiting to go down, so whilst Keith went off to empty our toilet cassette, he also checked in with the lock keeper and was told that we could follow the hire boat down. We waited for a boat to come up the staircase and for the hire boat to go down the first of the staircase locks, we then entered the top lock at 9am, so no long queue to worry about.
We cleared the staircase locks and I walked down to the next lock, where I found the hirers struggling with the paddles. The couple from Australia were on their way back to the hire company after enjoying their holiday, unfortunately the lady was not feeling very well and was struggling with the locks, so I helped her out with the paddles and gates. Her husband said they had enjoyed their holiday, but had not found it very relaxing and so they would not do it again. I suggested that if they did ever consider having another canal holiday, they may like to consider a hotel boat, that way they could sit back and actually enjoy their holiday and only help work the locks if they wanted to, this seemed to appeal to them both, as they did not know about the hotel boats.
Keith rounded the bend to the lock as I got the hire boat underway to the next lock. We followed them down the flight with me helping them with the locks of which they were very grateful, especially as the rain was getting heavier.
We did not see many boats on the move, but one of the ones we did see made me giggle. I noticed that there was an umbrella up, but it was not until they had gone past that I saw it was actually a garden parasol with its cast iron stand. The woman was steering the boat under this huge umbrella, I wonder how she got under the lower bridges with that up?
By the time we reached Willeymoor lock, we were joined by NB Katrina. The gentleman onboard was very helpful, he was happy closing the gates behind us, so that we could get on to the next lock.
As we approached Marbury Lock, it looked like we had joined a long queue, but the two middle boats were moored up, we were in fact behind the hire boat again. Everyone helped everyone else make short work of the job in hand.
Marbury lock cottage is up for sale. This one is with Savills and can be yours for £345,000. I do think 3 bathrooms is a bit much though, after all there are only 3 bedrooms. Having exited the lock we moored up below the lock, well away from the lock moorings. We plan to stay here for the next couple of days at least, what with the Jubilee weekend coming up, we wanted a quiet place to stay.
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Travelled 11.2 miles, worked 5 lift bridges in a time of 4 hours 5 minutes.
I was awake on and off most of the darn night, I have no idea why, because I was tired when I went to bed. Maybe it is my age ;0).
Keith got up just after 6.30am, so I followed on by folding up the bed and putting it back into the cupboard. I laid up the breakfast and made a cup of tea before taking Paddy off to have his walk. Blake Mere looked stunning with the early morning mist rolling across it towards us.
Sights like that do not happen everyday.
I got the boat ready for the off, which was a little later than planned, we left the over night mooring at 7.45am with the mist rolling across from the mere and on to the canal.
Just as we pulled away from the mooring a boat appeared behind us, so having got a couple of hundred yards along the canal, we pulled in and let NoSam come past, as he was clearly quicker than us, or maybe he was just in a hurry, anyway we let him go.
We arrived at the Prees Branch turning by 9.55am and although we had thought of mooring up after the lift bridge, we decided we would carry on to Whitchurch.
First lift bridge of the day was hard to wind up, thankfully the second one was much easier.
I am sure this horse was smiling at me.
We past by Whitchurch Marina, wow diesel prices have gone up, I am so glad we filled up at Turner's in February.
Everywhere you look farmers are busy cutting their grass, for silage or hay. It will not be long before they will be harvesting their wheat and barley crops the way this year is flying by.
I worked the two Hassell lift bridges, walking to the 2nd one was it was close by, after that it was just the Whitchurch, New Mills lift bridge to tackle and that would be it if there was a mooring. We managed to get Hadar on the end of the mooring, which was a little on the bend, but if any of the boats already moored up moved off we would move into their spot. With that thought in my mind, the couple on the hire boat in front of us had come back from the town and said they were moving off, so having enjoyed a lovely natter with them about their boating holidays and about our life afloat they duly moved off their mooring and we pulled Hadar forward, so we were on to the rings properly.
Whilst mooring up, I noticed we had a hitch hiker clinging to the side of the boat.
After what was a dull and misty start, the sun is now out and blazing down, so I am glad we stopped when we did. Marmite is now laying out on the bank and Paddy has just come in from out on the back counter, which is very hot. I had no major plans for the rest of the day, but we did decide to take a walk into Whitchurch, because Keith wants some sandwich spread, I forgot to get it in Tesco grrrrrrrrr.
We had just left the boat and had got to the lift bridge when Steve and his wife on Bootes came through, it was nice to see Bootes on the water, because when we saw her last she was out on the bank at Froncysyllte. I am sure we will see them further along the canal tomorrow.
As we walked up the Whitchurch Arm, I spotted a shoal of fish in the winding hole. Not sure what they were, but there were a lot of them along the arm.
Rather than walking through the park, we went along the road, which is in fact quicker.
Whitchurch is ready for the Jubilee with all the bunting up, even the shops have Jubilee memorabilia in their windows, it is looking very festive. Whitchurch is having a party in the park on the 2nd June. We got Keith's sandwich spread from Tesco, had a coffee in one of the coffee shops and then did the charity shops, which is always the norm for us.
On our way back to the boat, we got sprinkled with rain. No sooner I opened the doors and galley doors the rain stopped, so the air is feeling a little fresher now. TV aerial is up and we have a signal yayyy, so after a cold salad dinner we will put our feet up and watch a bit of TV.
Have a lovely day.
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Wow did I get a surprise when I opened the back cabin doors this morning, it was a pea souper, which was not spoken about on the weather forecast. The fog did mean it was however a cooler start to the day and ideal for an early morning shopping trip to the new Tesco store up the Ellesmere Arm, so having walked paddy, eaten breakfast and drunk our tea, we locked the boat up and set off for Tesco before 7am, the store opens at 6am, so we were looking forward to a nice quiet shop. We were not disappointed because we were the only shoppers in there, the only other people in the store were the cleaners who were sweeping under the shelving to retrieve food which had tried to escape by hiding and the staff were all in on duty. Having got our trolley of shopping we were behind one other lady at the till, when a member of staff opened another till just for us, I felt very honoured, not that it was especially for us, but you know what I mean. Tesco like all other shops at the moment in Union Jack crazy, it is on a lot of their packaging and they have a lot of novelty goods in store to buy. Trouble is the prices have been hiked up so much, it is not something I will buy into. By 8am we were on our way out of the store and into the sunshine, which has burnt the early mornging fog away. We were back on the boat, before most people were up and about. I put the shopping away whilst Keith started the generator up to charge the batteries for the day. Coffee was made and we sat down for a break before heading off out to the Ellesmere market which is held every Tuesday.
The indoor market is only small, but nevertheless we got a few items we needed. I liked the paintings on the walls of the old market place. We then had a wander around the town, popping in and out of the charity and antique shops. On returning to the boat, we got sorted out to head over to the sanitary station, to fill the water tank, empty the toilet cassettes and get rid of rubbish.
Travelled 2.6 miles, through 1 tunnel in 30 minutes.
Having done all the jobs, we set off from the sanitary station at 11.40am, turning right heading towards Ellesmere Tunnel, where we had to wait for a boat already coming through from the other end.
Having negotiated the 87 yard tunnel we came out into bright sunshine. Just after the tunnel we moored up with Blake Mere alongside us.
It really did look amazing in the sunshine. After some lunch, we went for a walk along the towpath with Blake Mere keeping us company. Unfortunately you cannot walk all the way round, but it did not stop us venturing into the undergrowth to see the Mere close up. Whilst delving in the undergrowth we found some logs close to the boat, so thought we would load a few of them into the hold, we will chop them up at a later date. More wood to burn over the coming Winter.
After a nice stroll along the mere, we got the chairs out and sat alongside it.
It was just nice to sit and listen to the bird song and watch the waterfowl on the mere. The Mayflies were out in large numbers on the lily pads.
Mr Wren was sat in a tree close by really telling us in no uncertain terms that we were not welcome to sit where we were sitting and we soon discovered why. In a bramble close to the waters edge he and his missus had set up home and they were clearly feeding young. After a while he must have decided that we were ok, because he stopped screaming at us and went about his business. As the afternoon wore on, the temperature dropped off, so we packed away the chairs and headed back into the boat. The TV is now on, Marmite and Paddy will get fed in a short while and then I will make us some dinner. Later on we will settle in for the evening and an early night, because we hope to set off earlier tomorrow.
Monday, 28 May 2012
Whilst Keith was walking Paddy this evening, I was stood on the back of the boat watching this Jet Provost was flying around over Ellesmere.
It was fabulous to hear it roaring across the sky.
I watched from the boat as it did barrel rolls.
It is air show season, so maybe it was out practicing. Yesterday Keith saw a Spitfire fly near the boat, but never had a camera to hand grrrrrr.
Travelled 1.9 miles in a time of 1 hour.
Yesterday when Marmite got fed up of the sunshine outside, she laid on the back cabin stove and lay in the sun inside. Not sure it was what she meant to do. As yesterday drew to a close, the birds were still singing gone 10pm and the bats were swooping over the boat, as they caught their evening meal of flies of which there were plenty.
Did you watch it?
I am talking about Soccer Aid from Old Trafford. England beat the rest of the world 3-1 in what was a fantastic match with lots of passion shown by the celebrities and professional players. The national team could learn something from that match after their match against Norway the other night. If the national team had shown half the passion the Soccer Aid teams did, we would have beaten Norway by more than just 1-0. As was said by someone "No grass was set on fire". The England team against Norway need to show more passion if they are going to play for their country. Looking forward to the Soccer Aid match again in 2014, as it is only held every two years, but such a treat.
With only a short jaunt, we set off from the mooring we had sat on for a few days whilst painting the boat at 9.25am, having listened to other boats on the move very early. The sun was out and it was very hot even at 9.25am, so we were in for another scorcher of a day. We were fortunate not to meet any of the on coming boats at bridge 'oles.
This large Sycamore was stood very proud I thought.
In no time at all we were back at Ellesmere and moored up at the end of the 72 hour moorings, which was ideal for us to cross over to the sanitary station before we leave. No sooner we had moored up, Marmite and Paddy were out on the back counter greeting passers-by. As I sat drinking my coffee in the saloon, I could hear people walking past saying "awww look a pussy cat and a dog". I guess for some they do not realise you can have cats and dogs on boats. With it being so hot and getting hotter, I suggested lunch out and then a stroll around the Mere. Lunch out was a great idea, because with us not being in a shady spot, cooking on the boat would be extremely warm, so lunch out it was.
11.30am we locked up the boat and walked into Ellesmere, where the bunting is out for the Jubilee Celebrations on June 4th.
Even the shops are making the effort.
We planned to eat at the Red Lion, but it did not open until 12 noon, so we walked around the church yard of The Blessed Virgin Mary, which we had visited before. BLOG.
There were some interesting gargoyles around the church.
12.05pm we walked into the Red Lion and ordered some lunch and a couple of pints of Thwaites bitter.
I had the Prawn and Cod Fishcakes and Keith had the Steak and Ale Pie, for pudding I had the Eton Mess Cheesecake and Keith had the steamed Strawberry Pudding. I most certainly recommend the food, it is excellent value for money.
After such a wonderful lunch, we strolled down to the Mere, which look stunning in the sunshine.
The waterfowl were out and about with their young. We went into the visitor centre and watch the Herons on the TVs. In the middle of the Mere is Moscow Island which is a Heronry. After that we walked around the Mere.
The woodland area is a very quiet place.
We crossed the plank to Dead Man's Island and got chatting to the lovely couple in the photo who are camper van owners and have travelled all over the country and Europe. After going as far as we could, we strolled back through the wood and into the town, heading back to the boat, which was a tad on the warm side, but with the doors and windows open, was a nice breeze floating through. A lovely day and an excellent meal out, so all is good in my world.
Sunday, 27 May 2012
As anyone who knows me will know I am an extremely social person, who it has to be said will chat for England and I love to meet new people, but to me that is what living on the canal is all about. So over this past few days, whilst we have been moored up, I have met some interesting people and not just people on boats. Although we are on a very quiet stretch of the towpath as far as dog walkers, cyclists and walkers goes, we have had one or two people come past. On Thursday as we were sat out on the towpath under the Common Ash, a lady and gentleman came walking past with back packs and walking poles, the lady was carrying an empty water bottle, so I asked "would you like your water bottle refilled". The lady declined saying " We are almost at our destination". They were heading for a B&B at Welsh Frankton Junction, having walked from Whitchurch. They were enjoying a walking holiday, which involved no camping, but spending their nights in B&B's. The couple were looking forward to a nice hot shower and to putting their feet up for the evening.
On Friday having seen not a living soul wandering the towpath yet another lady and gentleman, clad in back packs and being propped up by walking poles came past and once again I asked if I could top up their water bottles, because they both looked done in. The lady who I found out was named Pauline declined the offer, as she had another in her bag. I got chatting to her as she took a breather and was told that she was walking from John O' Groats to Lands End, Pauline and her friend had set off in 2010 and would finish "God Only Knows" was her answer, because it was god who told her to do it. See I told you we meet some interesting people on the towpath.
Saturday was a little busier on the towpath, we had a few walkers and cyclists pass as we were inside the boat, but whilst once again sat under the Common Ash tree, having complete all my painting jobs, two young woman came strolling towards us. I did not get their names, but they are taking part in the Walking the Walk to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. They were in training for a 20 mile walk, which is think is so admirable, both Keith and I wished them luck as they continued on with their training. If they can walk in the heat of the past few days they will finish easily. Later in the day a couple came towards us on bicycles, the lady was walking with hers and the gentleman was cycling very slowly behind her, so as they came past I said "Hello" and got completely blanked. In fact I think I can say that they looked down on me with disdain, it was a look of your the scum of the earth and how dare you sit out on the towpath. Thankfully not all cyclists are like that, many I have had interesting conversations with, well that is when they are not cycling past me at 90 miles an hour.
Whatever happened to being polite and saying "Hello" or "Please and Thank You". It seems to be in short supply at times.
Moored up in front of us over night were John and Myra on NB Tramper, as really lovely couple from Grimsby out enjoying their cruising time between April and October, before they take their boat home and have put it out on the bank for the Winter. Keith and I had an interesting conversation with John about how he has a haulage company and some land, so every October he has his boat taken out of the water and moved to his yard where his boat sits for the Winter, then in the Spring he has it craned on to a lorry and moved to where ever he wants, put back in the water and away he goes. Even with the craning and moving on a lorry, John saves himself a fortune in mooring fees, he also saves on putting the boat in for blacking, because he can do it himself over the Winter on the bank. Amazing the little things you learn whilst moored up.
I wonder who I will meet today??
Friday, 25 May 2012
Last night we were treated to a nice sunset around 9.30pm. There I was stood outside in the cool to get a snap of the sun going down after another very sunny and hot day.
Having slept like and baby overnight, this morning the sun was up early and so was the heat, however Keith and I did not get up till 8am, but some boats were on the move just after 6.30am. Up and about, I was off the boat with Paddy for his walk along the towpath. Because it is so quiet where we are, Paddy has enjoyed a good run along the towpath every morning.
Back at the boat, mog and dog got their breakfast and then I then had mine. It was then time to get on with the days preparation for more painting. Today I wanted to repair some of the scumbling on the back cabin doors, which have been needing a attention for a couple of years, but I have never got round to it and I was a little bit worried about scumbling, as it is a bit of an art. Firstly I got the sander out and sanded down the areas affected. I prepared the first coat, which went on without a hitch and that was left to dry. Whilst that dried I then turned my attention to the front locker hatch, which needed a final coat of red gloss to the hatch hinges.
The hatch is now finished and looks good for the Summer. I did a few other paint jobs during the morning, to put the finishing touches to jobs I had started.
Just before lunch steam boat Mariamne came past and on such a beautiful day it seemed like the perfect way to cruise along the canal, later in the day they came back past us.
After a mushroom and spam omelette for lunch, I was able to put the second coat on the scrumbling, as I do not have a proper scumbling comb, I had to improvise somewhat, I used an old hair comb, which did the job. Now I know that those who do scumbling professionally will be winching at my attempt, but I was pretty chuffed with my first attempt. I went on to do the other door and then left them to dry. When I sanded the doors first thing in the morning, I also sanded sown the back cabin step, so that I could give it a teak oil treatment, which helps to protect the wood.
With all the painting jobs done, I then got on with ironing the back cabin curtains, which I had washed a couple of days before, they were then re-hung, and so the back cabin is now complete again.
Whilst I got on with jobs, Paddy enjoyed laying in the grass.
Marmite spent her time climbing between the trees and lying in the grass snoozing.
The afternoon is now turning into the evening and the rush of boats passing us by, has stopped so all is now quiet for an evening in front of the TV, before another good nights sleep.