*****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..*****













Saturday, 22 July 2017

Kineton Freedom Parade.

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Hello Dear Friends and Followers.

My aim for this weekend is to do as little as possible, after the exertion of the past few days. So this morning having walked the dog, done breakfast and tidied a little, I thought I would walk up into Warwick to watch and photograph the Kineton Freedom Parade. The men and women of Defence Munition (DM) Kineton would be marching through Warwick to mark the MOD station’s 75th anniversary. Keith had to go into Royal Leamington-Spa on the bus, so I set off with him, leaving him at the bus stop, I strode off into town to find a good spot on the parades route for taking photographs.

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I positioned myself opposite Castle Street and the Oken tearoom.

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I got my first photograph a few moments later, after chatting to one of the local policemen, who was on duty for the event. We had a lovely chat about family history and the parade itself. I then got nattering to an elderly lady who had come into Warwick from Birmingham to have her hair done at her favourite hairdressers. We nattered about Birmingham and again family history. It turned out she had grown up around the area of Birmingham my family had come from on my mothers side.

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The parade was due to start from Castle Street at around 10.25 am, but it was running a little late, but lots of people were arriving, including councillors, mayor and the Army itself.

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The town crier and dignitaries began moving into their positions near the war memorial.

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The band then arrived. There is something amazing about seeing a live band up close and personnel.  There were 80 troops with weapons and bayonets fixed and with their colours flying, drums beating and bands playing. It was amazing too see so many people out to watch.

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Following on behind were the troops. The Kineton base is a specialist centre for bomb disposal. In all the years it has been in Kineton it has trained thousands of service personnel from around the world in bomb disposal work, which as we know is vital work.

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The Women and Men do an incredible job and deserved the freedom of Warwick. Five years ago, the Kineton station was awarded the Freedom of Warwick. This was done so they could mark their anniversary. it gives Warwickshire people and visitors the chance to show their support and appreciation.

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Having left Castle Street, they marched along High Street, Swan Street, Market Place, Old Square and Church Street where they took the salute.

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It was brilliant to witness and to see so many people taking the time to come out and applaud the army for all the hard work they do.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Back home.

Dear Friends and Followers.

It is said that timing is everything, and so our timing to get the blacking done was perfect.
This morning we were woken by rain stampeding on the roof of the back cabin at 5am. It was hammering down. We did not have any thunder or lightening, but oh boy it rained. We had arranged with our friend Mike and Lynn on Narrowboat Diamond Sissy Jupe that we would wait for them to come down the first three locks and then we would join them for the rest of the flight. But with it chucking it down, I did wonder if it would be a late start. We went back to sleep for a while and then woke at 7 am. I made us a cuppa and we discussed our plans for the day, whilst Marmite kept telling me, she was hungry. Once up, Paddy was walked in between the rain dumping its load on us. We then prepared for the water to be allowed back into the dry dock, so we could be refloated.
About 9.30 am, Ian from Knowle Hall dry dock arrived and began to let the water in. 
In no time at all we were floating again. Gang plank was put away in the hold and we were clear to pull Hadar out of the dock and into the by weir, where we would wait for our friends to arrive. 
No sooner we left the dry dock, the blacking was being scratched, but that is the way it goes. You put it on to take it off and we knew that more would come off doing the Hatton Flight. Whilst Keith waited with the boat, I walked up the three locks to the top to wait for Mike and Lynn, who were not long in arriving. I helped lock them down and Keith then reversed Hadar out into the pound and waited by the lock, which was being filled by one of the volunteers. We were on our way home.
We had a fantastic trip down the flight. We were in a boat sandwich, with a pair of boats in front and a pair behind. We caught the ones up in front, but did not see the ones behind much.
Because we were following a pair of boats, we had to refill the locks, so this took extra time, but we still did the flight in three hours.
We arrived back home, putting the boat in bow first, because I have paintwork to do, which includes the gunwales, which I hope to do over the next week or so weather permitting. It is nice to be home and I have no plans to do anything this weekend. I need to rest my Sciatica and to sleep, because I feel shattered. This evening we decided to go out and eat at Castle Balti, it is a place we have not tried before. it was recommended to us and so off we went at 5.15pm to be there for 5.30pm when they open. I will pass the recommendation on, because the food was excellent. The Naan bread was huge and I am so glad we shared one. Unfortunately the portions were so large that neither of us could finish our meals, but we really did enjoy the food. You have to take your own alcohol, so I took a bottle of wine, which had been given to us. Back home again and I am almost ready for my bed.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

All done.

Hello Dear Friends and Followers.

What a difference a day makes?
Yesterday we were boiling and today the sun has been replaced by heavy cloud and the threat of rain and thunderstorms. Other parts of the country have already been hit by the storms, but as yet nothing here. We had thought we were getting it last night, but it seems it did not get any closer to us than Coventry.
5 am I was awake and by 6 am I had made us a cup of tea. Up at 6.15 am, dressed, breakfast eaten and Paddy walked, so we could make another early start. One slight hitch was we were running out of Bitumen and even though I had phoned the boat yard for more yesterday it had not arrived. So first job was to second coat the tunnel bands and bow with Red and White. The Bitumen had still not arrived, so we got on and used up the little bit we had in the tin at 8.30 am I rang to ask if we could have our tin of Bitumen and was told that he would bring it down. Just after 9 am it arrived and and we were back in action again.
Come 11.30 am we were all done. Hadar had been second coated with Bitumen. No sooner we had finished Rob our engineer from Kate Boats arrived to work on drilling a hole in our hull for the raw water intake needed for our new generator. Keith and Rob got on with that job.
Oh no theres a hole in our boat.
Intake skin fitting fitted.
Intake valve in place. Now we must make sure it is turned off when the dry dock is filled up with water, otherwise we will have a leaky boat :-).
All in all it has been a busy few days, but once hadar is done she always looks fantastic.
Tomorrow we will leave the dock and head back down the flight to Saltisford, so the first thing we will do is start taking off the blacking, but that is the nature of the beast. 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

1st coat on.

Hello Dear Friends and Followers.

I was awake again at 5 am and I have no idea why. Maybe my inner alarm clock was letting me know I needed to be up early to get the blacking started, but there was no way I was getting up at 5 am. I dozed for another hour, before getting up to make a cuppa. We then got up and got our act into gear. Today was blacking day.
We have blacked Hadar since she was in the paint shed at Roger Fuller's yard, so we know every inch of her. Of course as the years have past, all ten of them we have gotten older and as we black here every two years, we are both realising that we are not as young as we used to be. Blacking began at 7 am, Keith took one side and I took the other. I did under the back counter to save Keith's back a little, but it did nothing to help my Sciatica. By 11.30 am we had put on the first coat of blacking and almost finished the first tin. I then got on with undercoating the tunnel bands and bow, ready for a gloss coat. 12 noon the decision was made, that we would head to the Hatton Locks cafe for lunch and a cuppa, mainly because we were both pooped and I could not be bothered to sort something out for lunch. The cafe as always was very busy. 
Back at the boat the undercoat had well and truly dried in the heat, so I was able to get a coat of gloss on the white and red bands and on the bow. I am ahead of the game so far, but tomorrow it looks like we may have some thunderstorms, so this may hold us up a bit. 
Gloss coat added, I walked up to the cafe to get us both an ice cream, which I felt I deserved. Whilst I painted Keith went and had a natter to the lock volunteers. They have been kept busy today, with a lot of boats on the move. We are hoping that Ian from the boat yard brings us a new tin of blacking, for the morning, because we are going to be short otherwise, we have run him and he has said he will drop one over.
Blacking and painting done for the day, the heat is now to much for me to cope with, so I am sitting inside out of it. I am off out later to a Trustee meeting in the Arm and then an early night, so we can begin the process all over again.

Monday, 17 July 2017

And so it begins.

Hello Dear Friends and Followers.

How has your day been?

Mine began at 5 am, when I was woken by Marmite trying to curl up on my legs. Having got her settled down at the bottom of the bed. She then got excited when something was running around on the roof of the back cabin. It was a family of Crows, which had been hanging around yesterday. It sounded like they were giving junior a tap dancing lesson, which was highly amusing to Marmite, who would have been only to pleased to go out and take them on. Oh before I go any further, I must tell you about Marmite and the baby Blackbird last night. I wish I had photographs, but I did not have the time to get the camera. There we were sitting outside enjoying the last of the days rays, with Paddy and Marmite on the dock with us. Marmite was as always on her lead. I was reading the latest book I got out of the Arm book swap, it is called Secret Lives by Diane Chamberlain and it is brilliant so far. Anyway I digress. All of a sudden out of the brambles behind us flew a baby Blackbird, it flew over Keith's head and crash landed right near Marmite, who sprung into action as if her life depended on it. She pounced on this poor Blackbird, who must have wondered what had nabbed it. Feather began to fly, the poor bird was making such a racket. I jumped out of my chair and stood on Marmites lead to stop her chasing the bird any further, because I was worried the damage she might do. The baby Blackbird in its panic, went head first down the side of the boat between the dock and the hull. As I ran towards it, I just prayed the boat did not move, otherwise it would of been bye bye Blackbird (see what I did there). For those who do not understand Bye Bye Blackbird was the name of a song. It has been sung by a few people, but Ella Fitzgerald comes to mind. Anyhow I managed to grab the bird before any damage was done and of course it was none to happy with me holding it and so it began to peck my hands, which at least reassured me that the thing was definitely alive and happy to put up a fight. I put the bird back in the hedgerow from where it had come and saw it disappear into the undergrowth. I just hope it survived and its parents did not witness it almost being eaten by Marmite, who was by now playing with the feathers she had gathered.
Back to the boat. Having tried to go back to sleep, I tossed and turned in an uneasy sleep until 7 am when I got up and made us a cup of tea. We knew the owner of the boat yard would be arriving at some time, so we decided to get up early so we would be ready and waiting. It gave me the chance to take Paddy out for his walk and take photographs of the locks and for us to remove the stern fenders. 9 am Ian arrived with Andy. They got Hadar into position, put the stop planks in and began to empty the dock.
Soon Hadar was high and dry and ready for pressure washing.
We would normally do the pressure washing ourselves, but this time the boat yard did it for us. Keith and I just watched as the hull was washed clean. I made us lunch and we sat in the sunshine and waited for our turn to get some work done.
It was late afternoon, by the time the washing was finished, but as we want to start the blacking tomorrow, we had to get the preparation work done, so we set up the electric, got out the grinder and scrapers and began our part of the job. I do so love getting my hands on power tools.
I did let Keith have a go, but his back was struggling, so I did most of the work. Just hoping his back is going to be ok tomorrow for blacking. With all the prep work done, it was time for dinner and a much needed shower, because we were both black.
Having enjoyed a nice hot shower, we sat outside to enjoy the last of the days sunshine and warmth, when we were showered with what looked like tiny dandruff. It was in fact from the harvest which has begun in a field near the locks. Yes folks it is harvest time again and we take a slow slide towards Autumn. In many ways a very productive day and a big day tomorrow, so see you then.

Ta ta for now x

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Up the hill.

Hello Dear Friends and Followers.

What an eventful day we have had.
We are now moored in the dry dock near the top of Hatton locks, already for dry docking tomorrow morning and then we are blacking for the next few of days. We share our lovely trip up the locks with our friends Mike and Lynn Bassett on their narrowboat Diamond Sissy Jupe. Some fun was to be had on the way up. Firstly Keith nearly had his head knocked off by a branch, which had a mind of its own. On reaching lock 30 Keith had noticed the temperature was off the gauge, so we pulled into the bank and moored up. Lynn made us all coffee, whilst Keith and Mike tried to figure out what the problem was. The 1st thoughts were we had an air lock from where we had added the spare skin tank in series, but having rebled both tanks it wasn't this. Checked the water pump, the impeller was fine. Suspected the thermostat so took that out. None of these things improved the situation with the gauge. As there was no steam coming from anywhere which, if the gauge was correct, would have been coming out everywhere we carried on to the dry dock. In Lock 30 we then discovered we had picked up something on the prop, it was a huge curtain.
Thankfully there were no more dramas to be had as we climbed our way to the top of the Hatton Flight, where we said "Cheerio" to Lynn and Mike, who were off for a few days R and R on the Stratford Canal. I made us dinner and a coffee and we sat outside enjoying the last of the days sunshine. Whilst sitting here on the dockside relaxing Keith suddenly remembered the over hanging and how it hit the pigeon box, it had lifted and moved the pigeon box, in which the temperature gauge sits, so he checked the wiring and 1 wire was pulled out, refitted and all now sorted. Sometimes it pays to check the simple things first I know, but we had both forgotten about that darn branch :-)

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Live well with less and need less.

Hello Dear Friends and Followers.

I am pleased to say that we are back on the level, our listing seems to have been sorted out with the letting down of more water. It is a joy not to be running up hill anymore. Of course we have no idea how long this will last, but for now we will enjoy it.

I was thinking about this subject this morning and so I am going with it. For anyone who lives on a boat you will know only too well, that you cannot gather a lot of clutter, so when new people come into my life, I kind of feel I have to educate them, because they know nothing about how we live or manage on a boat, with so little space. People are clearly shocked at how little space we have and by how much we need. I always say "well it is just us, a cat and a dog".They are surprised that we do not have a bath, we have a shower, that we do not have a wardrobe, we have a draw and cupboard each. Equally they are surprised we have a washing machine, allbeit a small one and that we have a fridge/freezer. Because this boat is our one and only home, we felt we needed those things mainly for our mature years. We do not scrimp on anything, but we are careful with what we spend and on what we buy. There is only one and half food cupboards, so we do not splash out on lots of unwanted food, which will never get eaten. I make a list each week for shopping and the OH goes off and buys it using his bus pass, we used to have a tesco delivery, but that has stopped unless there is little choice.  When we moved onto the boats, we explicitly told people not to buy us gifts, because we do not have the room for things we may never wear or use. We were not being unkind, we just hate waste and lots of clutter. I have a policy if it is not worn or used within six months then it finds a new home. We do not even buy gifts for our Birthdays and Christmas, because if we want or need something we will just go and buy it. Instead we will treat ourselves to a meal out.

We both enjoy wanting less material things in our life. I remember the clutter we had in the house and how much of it we got rid of when we sold up. It was so liberating to get rid of it all and the Charity Shop was more than happy to take it all. I would never force anyone to live our way of life, because if you are happy living your way then don’t worry what anyone else thinks. I love my way of life and it suits us both, but I know there are people out there who would never manage. We buy most of our clothes and other items from Charity Shops. I am of the opinion that there is no point in buy expensive clothing, to work locks in. I will however buy good footwear, because this is essential when you spend a day walking the locks. People are surprised that we do not have a house, but that is our choice. We plan to live aboard for as long as our health or age allows and if the plans works we will both be carried away from our boat in our boxes.

Todays world is such a throw away world and neither of us wants to take part in that, so I will find another use for things when they have finished their life or I will pass them onto someone else, who will find a use for them. I am hardly ever wasteful with food. This is mainly due to the fact I pay little or no attention to sell buy or use by dates. If it looks ok, smell ok and taste ok, then it will be eaten. I think we could all do with looking at what we use, spend or need and I choose to live well with less and need less.

What can you NOT live without?
and
What have you given up?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Bring on the rain.

Dear Friends and Followers.

Carol Kirkwood said it would rain and she as always was right. We woke up this morning and we had been touched by the rain god.
As you will be aware if you read my ramblings, we have been suffering through lack of water in the Arm. We have been over 10 inches down, so we had to keep phoning C&RT, who to give credit where credit is due, they have worked their magic and we have our level back, so no more listing or feeling like we are running up and down hill.
This morning I opened the engine room doors to see our water level back to normal, which was a relief. My morning walk with Paddy was a dry walk, but the sky was heavy with rain and the clouds were dark and threatening. It was not long after we returned to the boat that rain drops began to dance on the surface of the canal. I know many will be annoyed it is raining, especially for anyone going to Wimbledon or doing other outdoor things, but it is a joy to see the rain. The garden was always screaming with joy and I think the canal was breathing a sign of relief, that at last there will be some water. Of course it is going to be short lived, as tomorrow (Wednesday) is going to be dry and sunny again, but we will take what ever is given to us right now. I wanted to walk into town to pick up some bits from Holland and Barrett and Superdrug, but was happy to make a coffee first and wait to see if the rain would pass, which it did within half an hour. So the OH and I walked up into Warwick, did out shopping and then had a look around one of the Antique Centres and Charity Shops. By this time it was 11.30 am and so we went to Wetherspoons for a late breakfast, early lunch. This was a welcome cooked breakfast, as we have been living off salads for the past few weeks, which whilst it is good for the waistline, it does nothing for my appetite. I had a large Vegetarian breakfast which as always was very scrummy. It would set me up for the rest of the day.
Back home on the boat, all the bought items were put away, Paddy was walked and Wimbledon was on the TV. With the rain now falling heavily, Wimbledon will be the order for the rest of the day.

I have posted that Paddy has been off colour and nothing has really changed on that front. He is still not right. Last night he had another of his funny turns, which is a little worrying. he is still very picky with his food. But as the vet has said "Keep and eye on him", so that is what we will continue to do. At 13 years old or 94.5 human years old, he is in the twilight of his years, so we must expect him to slow down and possibly have health problems. He is such a wonderful old man and always gives us pleasure.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Where has all the Water gone.

Dear Friends and Followers.

I trust that your weekend went well?

Our weekend was spent calling out the Canal and River Trust to send us down some much needed water, because we got so low we were all listing at a dangerous angle. One of our residential moorers actually could not stay on his boat, because it was not safe for him, so he went to stay with a friend and is still there. The problem we have here is boats come up through Cape Locks and either come into the Arm, moor up outside the Arm or Wind and then go back down Cape Locks. What they do not do straight away is go up the Hatton Flight, so the pound get drained of water, which leaves us on the bottom and listing. Of course with no rain of late this has just made things worse.
It all got so much worse on Friday. One of our boaters went up to the top of Hatton and asked them to send water down, none came. Our site manager rang C&RT and despite them saying they would call him back they never did and no water came down. By 5.45 pm we were in desperate need of water, so we rang C&RT. They sent Mark and Tim out from Birmingham to help us out. They reckoned someone had let some water down, draining the first pound above the bottom lock, so not only did they have to get us some water they had to fill the pound as well.
Saturday morning and although our level had been up over night, it had already dropped when I got up at around 7.30 am. We had a few of our visiting boats going out down through Cape Lock and our day boat going out, so we and the site manager rang C&RT again. Yet again they sent the guys out to try and help us. By the time our day boat came in, it had a problem winding and then could not get anywhere near the pontoon due to the low level of water, so this time Tim and Carl came out to get us water.
Sunday morning and you guessed it, the water we had over night was already disappearing. Now some of it is due to boats taking it with them down through Cape Locks, but we also know the lock gates leak a lot, which we think was the problem on Sunday morning. So yes we were all back on the phone again and two different C&RT guys came out and promised us they would get some water down to us, which they did.
Lots of discussions have been had over the past few days as to how this situation is going to be sorted once and for all. These have included putting in an extra board at the by-weir to bring the level up, that is the cheapest option all the way to the expensive option of back pumping and dredging. One thing is certain they are on the case and so are we. All we can do is keep ringing C&RT up and hoping that someone will help us with water. One thing is certain for those in C&RT who did not know where we were, they certainly do now.
Today is Monday and the two C&RT guys came in this morning to check on the water level and once again it had dropped, so water was going to be sent down. We are floating thankfully, with our boat pushed out into the channel and hopefully it will stay that way. With the weather the way it is and Summer only just getting underway, it looks like this maybe a problem we will have to cope with for now.

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