*****Is going there and back to see how far it is.*****

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!

Life on the cut through my eyes.

Daisypath Anniversary tickers
*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Day Three at Crick.

Blimey what a rude awakening this morning by the wind blowing a hooley and the rain lashing down on the roof of the boat. I think we can quite happily say we have enough water now, so could someone please turn the tap off up there for a while.

Having relit the fires when we got back from Northampton yesterday, it was lovely to go to bed warm and wake up warm, although the back cabin stove was allowed to go out over night. It is very mild outside, so no point burning fuel for burning sake. On today’s to do list, hand washing a few items was high on the list, Keith needed to wait for the new battery monitor and shunt which was supposed to be with us yesterday, and would have been if Crick Marina had listened to us. Hand washing was done and hug out on a line on the back counter to blow in the wind. Keith went off over to the marina to wait for our parcel and so whilst he was away I chopped some kindling and filled my wood bucket, after a couple of hours Keith came back empty handed, so I made us some lunch and we waited to hear from the courier. It was a little like watching paint dry, in this case it was waiting for the phone to ring, which thankfully it did, it was the courier letting us know they were two minutes away, so Keith legged it down the towpath. He came back with a new battery monitor and shunt, which will be fitted tomorrow to replace the broken one. Yesterday in Northampton we bought a couple of computer fans, one which was to be fitted to our small freezer, so that was a job we got on with, we manhandled the freezer onto the worktop and Keith connected the fan up, he checked that it worked and then we put the freezer back onto its shelf. The hope is that the fan will help cut down the cooling time, so time will tell.

For those living on the canal, they maybe aware that there is a visitor mooring consultation out at the moment for the south east region. The consultation has laid out plans to cut the length of time boaters can moor at 22 of its visitor moorings. The changes are scheduled to come into operation in April. It is long over due that changes should be made. If you want to have your say then you need to do it before the 1st March. Consultation document.

A Nice Day Out.

Keith and I had a plan to head off to Northampton on the bus, so no fires were lit, dog was walked, mog and dog were fed and then we locked the boat up and wandered to the bus stop opposite the post office to catch the number 96 bus, little did we know that the journey would take us across country and in all the journey took us one and a half hours as we passed through West Haddon, Long Buckby and past Althrop House, the home where Princess Diana grew up. I like most people had seen the photographs of the main gate on the news, but we got to see it for ourselves as the bus sped past. The house was not in view, from the road but I know it is an impressive place. On our journey I could not help but think we were going incredibly fast, but then again I am used to going at a snails pace, what did impress me was the fact that as the bus filled up, gentlemen were giving up their seats to the ladies getting on the bus, it is so nice to see that such practices still survive.

We arrived at Northampton bus station and then walked into the Grosvenor Centre where we had a coffee in the cafe before heading off to start shopping, as we walked along the pavement a taxi drew up and who should get out but Michael and Geraldine, who own the Cheese Boat, now who would have thought we would have met up with them like that, but we did. We stood on the pavement and had a wonderful natter, catching up on all ours and their news. We may see them when we head towards Gayton Junction, because they are in dry dock at the moment having their engine worked. It was wonderful to see them and all to soon we said our “Goodbyes”, because we all had shopping to be done. We went off to find Maplin’s where we picked up a few items Keith wanted. Back in the town it was time for lunch, so we went into Jenny’s cafe for a traditional English breakfast, which was really very scrummy and set us both up for the rest of the day. Just down from the cafe is St. Peters Walk, where I got my hair cut for £9.90, it was the same place I went to in September, but there was a different lady cutting hair. There was already a young gentleman in the chair and another gentleman before me, so I sat down and waited my turn whilst Keith went off to do some shopping, I have to say listening to her chat with the young man in the chair, I was dismayed to hear she felt it was absolutely fine for her to chat on her phone whilst driving. Apparently she had to go on a course having been caught by the police at traffic lights chatting on her phone. She was heard to say the course was a waste of time and boring and she did not see the problem with her chatting on her mobile phone whilst at the lights. This was not the first time she had been caught either. It saddens me that she has very little regard for the law or life itself. I bet she would not feel the same way if she had lost a loved one due to someone talking on their phone whilst driving and they caused an accident. It does get me very annoyed that these people think they are above the law. Having had my hair trimmed, Keith and I went off to finish our shopping before heading back to the bus station to catch the bus back to Crick. The journey only took half an hour back, as we did not go up hill and down dale this time.

Whilst I walked back to the boat with our shopping, Keith headed off to Crick Marina to collect our parcel from Kuranda which should have been delivered, because Keith received a text saying the time it would be deliveredand between what times, but when he went to the office, he was told they had sent it back because they did not know who we were, this is despite the fact that we had gone round to the marina with our details and to inform them that a parcel from Kuranda would be arriving for us, which they said was fine, grrrrrrrrrrrr sometimes I do wonder if people ever listen. So back at the boat Keith had to ring Kuranda and ask them to arrange the delivery again, because he had tried to ring the courier company and the number given did not work. Oh I just love it when things work ;0). So here’s hoping the new battery monitor and shunt arrive.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Dog Poop support.

As we know the vast majority of dog owners pick up after their dogs, but I bet we all know some who do not. This morning on Daybreak Ben Fogle was on talking about his hate of dog poo and how it is affecting his life and the life of his children. He is trying to get a campaign going to get this problem sorted out, so if you like me are sick to death of this major problem, why not contact Ben Fogle on Twitter and lets see if we can all make a difference. I am willing to get involved to make irresponsible dog owners take notice. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Cute child enjoying the snow.

Day One at Crick.

Phew oh Phew what a hot night was had.

Ok now stop having dirty thoughts, it was nothing that fun, we were sweltering with the heat from two stoves which were working overtime due to the wind. Even with them both shut down the boat was sweltering, so doors and winds were opened and the fires were let out over night, so we could sleep.

Keith for what ever reason was awake at 3.30am, he seems to be waking up earlier and earlier, it must be his age, but 4.30am I was also awake with him climbing over me. Having got back to sleep, I was then awake again at 7am, so got up and made us a cup of tea, before getting up and walking Paddy. The Crick towpath is a rat run for dog walkers who allow their dogs to run free, so Paddy felt somewhat nervous at having to run the gauntlet on his lead. Thankfully both he and I arrived back at the boat none the worse for our walk and he managed to get through it without being pounced on by other dogs.


As we stepped back on the boat, this craft came past us, but did not appear to be doing anything. It is a craft which cuts reeds and weed, but there is none where we are and the only thing it seemed to be achieving was stirring up the mud. In all it came past us six times, so I wonder what it is up too.

With heavy rain forecast, I relit the back cabin stove so I could finish drying Keith’s donkey jacket, which I washed by hand a couple of days ago, that was fun and a half as it weighed a tonne once wet, but it was well and truly dirty, after washing it I hung it to drip dry in the shower and then hung it in the back cabin to dry in front of the stove. Thankfully it is almost dry, so he can wear it again without it feeling like a tonne weight. Stove lit and sweet and sour chicken put in the oven to cook slowly, I got on with giving the inside of the boat a general clean. With us and the dog traipsing cross the laminate floors all day, they do get filthy, so floors were swept and then mopped. I am not someone who cleans everyday, it is impossible on our boat with us in and out with muddy boots, especially when doing coal deliveries, but at least once or twice a week I give the floors a good clean. I know some will think why don’t you take your boots off, well when someone wants coal, it is a pain in the rear to keep putting boots on then taking them off again, so we choose to keep ours on and just mop the floors. Floors done, I turned my attention to the sealant around the galley sink, which needed replacing, so I pulled out all the old sealant cleaned the surround up and then resealed the sink. having sorted the galley out, I then gave the bathroom a bit of spit and polish, by the time I had done all of that it was time for lunch and a sit down, which my sciatica screamed for. For some reason it is giving me a bit of jip again, but I know in a few days it will have gone away again, so I will smile through it and just keep going.

Having sorted out our battery problem, Keith rang Kuranda to ask about our battery monitor which has been doing some strange things. Keith had e-mailed Kuranda, and had not received a reply, but having spoken to Darren, it seems he has now e-mailed us and has in fact sent us a new monitor and shunt, as he agrees ours is playing up. The new monitor and shunt is being sent to Crick Marina, so we walked over to the marina to let them know a package would be arriving for us and hopefully we will pick it up tomorrow. So another job done. Back on the boat it was time to make a coffee and sit down with a shortbread biscuit. Dinner smells devine in the back cabin, Marmite is lounging on the side bed and Paddy is on the bed in the back cabin, they both know where the warmth is.

Another day drawing to a close, so here’s to tomorrow and all it has to offer.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Bridge 33 to Crick.

Map picture

Travelled 6.2 miles in a time of 2 hours 30 minutes.


Having enjoyed a quiet night at bridge 33, we woke this morning to a heavy frost as the temperature had dropped to –1.5c. More alarming was the fact that we were listing more than we had been when we went to bed, so the water level had either dropped below normal or we were just sitting on the mud.

Having walked Paddy, eaten breakfast and made up the fires, we were ready to set off, but before we could leave we had to reverse off the mud and back into the centre of the canal, so we moved our mud weights onto the port side and I stood on the port side gunwale whilst Keith reversed off the mud, mission achieved we were underway at 8.30am.


To begin with the sun was out warming a cold start to our cruising.


It was not long before we started hitting ice, you could see the channel Mark on Callisto had pushed through yesterday, but it had frozen over again over night.


I find cruising through the ice exhilarating, yes I know I am a strange creature, but the sound of the ice breaking is something rather special. Yes I know it does not do much for the blacking, but we are in for blacking in March and with it already missing we were not going to make it any worse. Fore those who do not like to see boats moving through the ice in case it damages other boats, we always take great care when passing other boats and in the case of plastic boats, we are even more aware, so much so that a couple of years ago, before passing the plastic boats at North Kilworth boat yard, we actually rang the boat yard to enquire as to whether there was still ice there, because if there had been we would have waited for it to go, as it was the ice had all gone.


The sight of Cracks Hill announced that we were not far from Crick, where we encountered yet more ice. It has to be said the ice was patchy, but where we did come across it, it was about an inch think, so nothing to bad. 11am we arrived in Crick and moored up opposite Crick Marina, which is where we will be for a couple of days.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

What a difference a day makes.

Travelled 5.59 miles, worked 1 lock in a time of 1 hour 55 minutes.


From this.


To this. I am quite sad to see the snow go, but all good things must come to an end at some point.

Last night it began raining and it did not stop all night, at 4.30am Keith got up to visit the smallest room on the boat to find us listing, so he got dressed and went outside to loosen the ropes, whilst doing this he became aware of the flooding developing from the River Avon.


Water was pouring across the pub car park and back into the canal at the end of the wharf, it was also flooding in the marina and back into the canal. By the time we got up at 8am the canal was well up and so was the River Avon.


I have never seen anything like this before it really showed you the force of water.


The pocket park was flooding and the water was struggling to get under the road bridge.


Even the road by the pocket park was flooded


This did not stop cars speeding through the water.


Mark on Callisto was the first to make a move, we then followed at 10.10am.


There was so much water in the canal, even with all the paddles up on the lock, the water wad deluging over the by-water and out into the field.


I fear this is just the beginning of the amount of flooding there is going to be.


There was still some ice on the canal, but Mark had plough through it leaving us clear water. Mark was hoping to make it to Crick, but we are in no hurry as Buckby Flight does not open until the 1st February. So we cruised for a couple of hours and then stopped at bridge 33, because the wind was blowing a gale and it was making it hard work moving.

It was wonderful to be on the move again, even though we enjoyed our extended stay at Welford, we just get bored with sitting in one place for to long.

Before I go and have my lunch, you must have read about all our battery issues, well we thing we have conquered it. instead of me explaining about it, you can read Keith’s explanation on Hadar’s Blog. We are both so relieved that we have sorted the problem.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Time for a walkies.

With another cold day ahead, it was stew time. I made us a sausage stew with lots of vegetables, butter beans and dumplings, which was to spend the day cooking in the back cabin stove. With very little planned for the day, I ventured out before lunch to visit the village shop to get a TV paper and a few bits. The village shop has been a godsend to many who cannot travel far for their food supplies, and there were gaps on the shelves. Back on the boat I made us some soup for lunch, which was eaten with bread rolls and homemade Lemon Drizzle cake.

Now I think I have said before that when we are stationary for any length of time I get cabin fear, so going out for walks always clears my head. Keith suggested we head out for a walk with our cameras, so we put on our winter gear and set off up to the Welford Reservoir to see if there were any waterfowl to be seen.


The top reservoir was actually frozen over.


No waterfowl to be seen.


Footprints in the snow.


Keith getting ready to take a photograph.


We made a new friend and his name is Wilson and he is 7 months old, he would have been quite happy to follow us.


Geese foraging for food in a farmers field.


These sheep were having to dig for the grass. At least they were warm with their woollen coats on.

We really had a wonderful walk, it was good to clear the head and to just enjoy the rugged beauty at this time of year. As we walked back towards the boat, snow began to fall again and by the time we climbed down into the back cabin it was beginning to come down quite hard.


The forecast is for heavy snow again on Friday, but thawing over the weekend, so joy of joy we can then expect flooding.

On my Canal Flora and Fauna blog there are some photographs of our local Kingfisher who I sat and watched fishing even with the snow falling. It did catch a couple of fish, so can sleep knowing its tummy is full.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Winter walking and Redwings.


The overnight temperature got down to –5.4c at least and there for it was very crisp under foot when I went out with Paddy for his walk. I am always very aware of my footing, because I have no wish to break a hip, leg, ankle or wrist.

Back at the boat it was time to get the fires stoked, breakfast eaten and to decide what to do with my day. Having done the usual morning chores, I got on with some hand washing, I have yet to use the washing machine since it came back from being looked at. The reason for this is we are still having battery issues, so until that is sorted I have resulted to hand washing, which is no big deal, I used to do all my washing by hand before we had the washing machine, it does however mean we have wet washing hanging about, but that cannot be avoided. Washing done, I went off out with my camera and left Keith e-mailing our battery supplier with all the information he has been gaining over this past few days whilst running the generator.

Winter walking is bracing, especially with the cold breeze hitting my face and my toes were tingling in my walking boots. The early sunshine had developed into heavy cloud and grey skies, but it is always nice to be out walking. At this time of the year you get to see the countryside in the raw.


Something had been venturing cross the ice.


With the snow on the ice, it really does look amazing. The towpath has had a lot of footfall, so I was careful to walk in the snow and not on the icy bits. The trees were full of birdsong as birds foraged for food.


On the way back to the boat, a couple of Redwings were digging in the snow trying to find food, now normally no sooner you get near Redwings they fly off, but these two just went about their business and did not care I was standing right next to them, you can see more photographs of them on my flora and fauna BLOG. It was wonderful to see this stunning little birds close up.

Lunchtime came and went with me pottering about on the boat. I am not one for sitting around for hours on end, so I did a bit of sewing then pottered some more.


The weather at 2.50pm was closing in and the fog was coming in, it looked like it may be a pea souper. Glyn the enforcement officer came around checking licences, so we had a good old chat about the weather and put the world to right whilst we were at it. Glyn knows we will be on our way no sooner the ice is a little thinner. The afternoon is heading towards evening and it is set to be another very cold night tonight, but according to the forecast it is supposed to warm up towards the weekend, so who knows we maybe on our way.

Monday, 21 January 2013

More snow and boater’s jobs.

Yesterday as planned Keith and I went out in the snow to The Wharf Inn for our Sunday lunch,we only had to walk about 50 paces and then we were in the pub with a roaring log fire and not another customer to be seen, having got a pint each we sat down to lunch, Keith had roast beef and I had honey roast ham both were very scrummy, we even managed a pudding each, Keith had his all time favourite sticky toffee pudding and I went for the chocolate fudge cake with cream mmmmmm. We were booked in for lunch at 12.30pm and did not actually leave the pub until 3.45pm, having got nattering to other boaters and locals. We spent a very pleasant time talking about all things boaty and in general. The snow fell all day and into the evening, even when I opened the back cabin door to empty the ash pan at 8pm it was still snowing and we had gained a rather smashed up vehicle at the rubbish bins.


The lady driving the 4 wheel drive had lost control up the road, hit a tree and a 30mph sign, thankfully she was unhurt but shaken up. Makes me thankful that we no longer have a car and I cannot drive.


This morning we were awake early and the usual cuppa was had in bed whilst we chatted about what we planned to do for the day. I wanted to get coal in, Keith was going to monitor the batteries again and if I could I wanted to top the water tank up.


With the snow we had yesterday, we now have several inches laying on the ground and whilst it looks stunning, it is making life difficult for those trying to get around in it. We on the other hand are well prepared for this weather, we have a full diesel tank, we have plenty of coal on board, we have emergency food rations, should we run out after our Tesco delivery, although here there is a very good village store. So often we hear of people being stranded in the middle of no where with very little on board ie: diesel, food, coal, wood and water and struggling with the conditions. To liveaboard and continuously cruise you do have to forward plan, by keeping an eye on the forecast, making sure supplies on board are kept topped up and if possible be close to somewhere so you can empty the toilet, get water etc, otherwise the sort of conditions we are experiencing right now can be very hard. Emptying the toilet does not have to be a major chore if stuck, if you have a porta-loo, you just need to carry a shovel. If you have a pump-out then have a spare porta-loo for back up and a shovel. So many pump-out boats get caught out and there is no need. We have known people abandoning their boats because they cannot cope with the conditions and so head off to family or hotels etc. It is easy to rely on the coal and diesel boats which travel around the system, but if the conditions are so bad like now, they cannot be expected to venture out. I know a couple of them do go out in 4 wheel drive vehicles to supply some of their customers, but we should all remember they are putting their own lives in danger to keep boaters warm and topped up. When in need it is so easy to take others safety for granted. Already this morning we have offered assistance to a fellow boater and his wife, who are running short on water and cannot get to the taps due to the canal being frozen, we carry two large water canisters for such a situation and will be filling them up and wheeling them to the couples boat, so they have water. Boating is all about taking the rough with the smooth, sunshine with the snow and I would not have it any other way.


Having walked Paddy, eaten breakfast and donned warm clothing, Keith cleared the snow off the sheeting and the gunwale so I could climb into the hold to get coal and wood for both fires. I then got the hosepipe out, but having left it in the hold, it was frozen so no chance of using it for a while, so I stood it in the shower to defrost, Imanaged to fill the water tank before lunch, but note to self keep the hosepipe in the engine room for the time being. I normally keep it inside when the weather is freezing, but for some reason I forgot, it must be my age ha ha ha. We were not desperate for water, we had another weeks worth of water, but whilst their is a lull in the weather it is worth topping up. Keith got on with monitoring the batteries with the generator on. It is all a little over my head so I am leaving it to him. But something tells me that either the new batteries are struggling due to the cold or we have an issue with our inverter charger. Oh well just another thing to work through as you do when on a boat. After lunch, I chopped up some of the wood for kindling, so I have it ready for tomorrow morning and the relighting of the back cabin stove, I then turned my attention to making a curry for dinner, which spent the afternoon simmering slowly in the back cabin oven, the smell was devine. As the day wears on there has been a steady stream of boaters walking to the water point to fill vessels with water, just in case the taps freeze again tonight with the temperature expected to be below –6 c.

Well time to put my feet up and watch a movie before it is time to feed mog, dog and ourselves.

Remember to stay safe out there.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Walkies and snow play.

Well hello blog readers. I hope your keeping warm and more importantly safe?
Yesterday I took myself off for a walk, whilst Keith monitored our batteries each and every hour. I stepped off the boat, with an icy wind biting at my cheeks, it was like little needles pricking at my skin, but it was so beautiful I just felt the need to be out. I tend to get cabin fever when we are sat still for so long, and so the joy of getting off out into the countryside for a walk is a must. 
Rather than heading along the towpath, I walked up through the pocket park and into Welford Village. The pond in the park was frozen and I do hope no one tries walking on it.
Postman Pat and his cat still looked happy in the snow.
The locals were out clearing pavements and driveways. 
St Mary the Virgin Church looked stunning.
Just shows how cold it was, with icicles forming from the roofs. I saw several like this brrrrrrrr. As I walked up and down the village the locals were all very friendly say "Good Morning" and isn't this lovely, not sure they actually meant the lovely bit, but I was very enthusiastic about how lovely it was. 
When I got back to the boat, Paddy had that excited look in his eyes and kept running up and down the boat, so when I mentioned ball, he was on his marks and raring to go.
Paddy revelled in jumping into the snow to find his ball, which looked more like a snowball most of the time and Paddy did manage to lose it a couple of times.
After half an hour he had had enough and began walking back to the boat with his ball, which meant it was time to go and get warm. Paddy spent the rest of the afternoon washing the snow off himself. Whilst we were out playing Marmite was sat on the worktop looking out of the galley door, she had the sense to stay in the warm. 
Having enjoyed playtime, I felt the urge to do some baking so made some Lemon Drizzle Muffin cakes, which will be devoured in a couple of days no doubt, especially with us sitting around on the boat. The rest of the day was spent stoking up the fires and watching movies.

This morning (Sunday) began at 6am and a cup of tea in bed. I stuck my head out for the back cabin doors and it had begun to snow again. The forecast for us from the BBC Weather page is as follows.

Dull and cold with occasional light snow flurries this morning, falling as sleet around the coast. Snow turning heavier and more persistent through the afternoon, particularly across Lincolnshire with significant accumulations likely. Easterly winds making it feel bitter in exposure.

Snow continuing into the evening but is expected to clear north of most parts overnight. However, snow may persist over Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

So we will not be venturing far, in fact the only place I will be going today is The Wharf Inn for my Sunday lunch. Keith is treating me to a roast dinner and who am I to say no. So we will venture to the pub for dinner and a pint. At the moment the fires are stoked, we have all been fed, the generator has been run and monitored.

I hope you have a wonderful day, remember to stay safe out there. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Saturday and the stunning snow scape

Last night we took ourselves off to the Wharf Inn for a pint, to find the pub full with people who had obviously decided the place to be was the local pub on a snowy night. The atmosphere was fantastic and even all the dogs in the pub behaved themselves. We enjoyed an out off the boat and a pint in the hand.
This morning at Welford Wharf.
Paddy watching the snow fall out in the cold on the back counter.
Marmite watching the snow fall in the galley at the galley door with the perspex in.
Now who has more sense. 
Just love the snow is sepia.
Looking towards the lock.
Footprints on the ice. Not sure what animal made them, but would guess at a Rabbit. 
Not sure what to do with myself today, but we will see what happens as the day moves along.


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