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, 29 October 2017
We have only been back home for a few days and already things have slipped back into our normal routine.
We arrived home on the Wednesday (25th) and sorted ourselves out, by connecting us back up to the electric, phone and TV. It was then a matter of sorting out the things which needed to go away until March and getting out the things we would be needing until then. Such as the electric kettle came out and the side fenders were hung up on the pontoon. The recycling bags went back on the shelf, ready for me to recycle the tins, paper, plastic etc. I think we take for granted a lot of things when we are out cruising. When we are out we do not use an electric, we use the one on the back cabin stove or the whistling kettle on the gas. We do very little recycling when out, because most of the sanitary stations do not have recycling bins. We do not bother with the TV, we listen to the radio. I do not use the hoover when out, because it would take too much out of the batteries, so I use a dust pan and brush. It is the small things we take for granted.
Anyway having sorted most of the things out, it was time to light the stove and settle in for the Winter months. Thursday it was laundry day. I wanted to get a load of whites washed and hung out to dry, whilst the weather was still fair. The hoover went round and I got down to washing the floors.
Being home means catching up with people in the arm, who do not go out on their boats now. There is always plenty to talk about and before we knew it our second day at home had come to an end. My Sciatica was still a little sore, but jobs have to be done, so I just get on with it and keep taking the tablets. Talking of tablets I am doing just fine off of the HRT and as yet I have not had any ill effects.
Friday I looked at the garden and wondered if I should begin the tidy-up and then I thought better of it. Another day of doing very little was called for and hey we have the whole of the Winter to get the garden tidy again. Well that was my thinking until Saturday came and I decided to make a start.
Saturday morning, began peaceful enough with a good nights sleep and a cup of tea first thing with the BBC 1 news on. Once up Paddy needed walking and breakfast needed making. I then went and did a huge coloured wash and got it hung out on the line, this was when everything began to unravel. Keith had decided he was off up to the bank and whilst climbing out of the boat, his back decided to go out. Getting him on to the boat, was not easy as he was stuck in the engine room doorway. I had to stand behind him and take his weight, so he could lower himself down. I thein managed to help him to his chair, where he stayed for most of the day. I immediately started him on his Diazepam and Oral Morphine, hoping to give him some relief from the pain, which does have him crying out in pain when it catches him. Throughout the day, I helped him to and from the bathroom, which was not an easy thing. I kept hoping he did not go down, because I would not have been able to get him up on my own and he would end up going into hospital, which we wanted to try and avoid this time, as we have the medication on the boat. Whilst Keith sat and watched TV, I went out and did some gardening. Yeah I know we have all Winter to do it, but I felt the need to start cutting things back and tidying. I managed to get a quarter of our patch weeded and pruned. By the evening Keith was nodding in and out of sleep, so I suggested he go to bed. I managed to get him into the back cabin, I then put the bed down and man handled him into bed, with his cries of pain ringing in my ears, but we could not do things any different.
Thankfully we both had a pretty good nights sleep, until around 3am when he woke up in pain. He did settle back down until 7 am.
Did you remember to put the clocks back?
So here we were Sunday morning, the clocks have gone back and it is the end of British Summertime. Keith decided he was staying in bed, where he hoped that if he rested his back with the help of the Diazepam and Morphine, he would be on the road to recovery again. I rigged up something so he could pull himself up. The gear rod is overhead and with a cord hung over it and tied in a knot it made a good pull me up for him. I got on with the morning. I had to haul Paddy out through the engine room door, so he could go out. Yes I know he felt it was very undignified, but needs must. I managed to get some tidying done in the saloon, I made a vegetable soup and kept keith going with coffees and toast. He spent his time watching TV and being online. Oh the joys of having a small TV in our bed 'ole :-). Before lunch I walked up to Sainsbury for a few items and once I was back I made us some lunch. As of yet there has been no improvement with his back, so I may well need to consult his GP as to what to do next. But we will give it a day or two before we get drastic. Our main issue is getting Keith to the bathroom, this is problematic to say the least. But nurse Jo has a way.
It is quiz night, but we will not be going. I think it maybe an early night for us both.
Before I go. I am feeling rather proud and honoured, because some of my Autumn and Winter photographs are exhibiting at the Boiler House Museum at Foxton. It is the first time I have had my work exhibited.
Pop back soon xx
Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Yesterday we spent a pleasant time with another Kate Boats hire boat.
This morning Wednesday, it was a beautiful start to our final days cruising. We started the engine at 8.45am and made an effort to get underway, but the mud kept sucking us back to the bank. Eventually Keith got the better of it and we were soon on our way. First stop was Aldi at Leamington-Spa, where we topped up our food cupboard and fridge. We had hoped to stop at Tesco to get Marmite's food, but all the moorings were taken up, so Keith will need to take a bus trip instead. Whilst underway, I heated up a pastie and sausages rolls, so we could have something to eat before tackling Cape Locks.
Up through Cape Locks and onward to the Saltisford Arm and home.
We have enjoyed our trip out, but it is always lovely some home and to see the changes. We are going to be having a new moorer and then of course our Winter moorers will be arriving at the end of October. I am going to be busy with laundry, tidying the boat and giving her a good clean inside and out and then there is the gardening as well, which needs my attention.
I will try and keep the blog light hearted as I tackle the mountain of tasks.
Pop back soon xxx
Monday, 23 October 2017
So come on how was it for you?
I am talking about Storm Brian?
Did he rattle your nerves or bring down your mood?
Storm Brian was sat out at Bridge 100 outside of Braunston. We were well away from trees or anything which could fly through the air. To be honest yes it was windy, but we were fine. We removed the boat poles from the sheeting, because they were banging on the struts in the hold. Apart from that we did not really allow the wind to bother us. I felt sorry for the hire boaters trying to move, they looked rather miserable as they came past us. But when you hire and give yourself a task to do the Warwickshire Ring, you have to keep moving.
Tomorrow we will move closer to home.
Pop back soon xxx
Saturday, 21 October 2017
Another miserable start to the day, with incredibly low cloud causing drizzly rain when we set off from Hawkesbury Junction. We passed through Sutton Stop Lock and headed off towards Ansty. We found ourselves behind another boat, who was quite happily pootling, which I do not have a problem with. What I do have a problem with however, is when that pootling boater has seen us behind him and he sits in the middle and makes no attempt to allow us through. he was pootling at 1 mph and we were in neutral and reverse. In the end he drifted to the offside and so we made a run for it up his inside. He did not acknowledge us and we said nothing to him. By all means pootle, but do consider those behind you.
Onward through Rugby, where our good friend Ian and Irene were moored on NB FreeSpirit.
The boat in front of us got a gallop on and we only caught up with them at Hillmorton Locks, where they only had one of each set of locks open, due to a broken beam on one of the middle locks. I had a nice chat with the volunteer lockies and the boater in front of us, who had helped with coal boating back in the day and was interested to know if the two boats he helped on were still going strong. I was able to cheer his day by telling him Elstree and Lyra are still on the canal and Lyra is still working. By the time we cleared the locks they were gone into the distance with Braunston being their destination.
After another long day we moored at Bridge 100 on the Grand Union/Oxford Canals link west of Braunston. The plan was to wait out Storm Brian, which was promised and to possibly stay the weekend. Over night the wind most definitely got up a head of steam and there were waves on the canal. The plan to stay put was a good one, as we have watched the Napton hire boats going out and really struggling. One of them managed to clobber us as they tried to make headway.
Hopefully tomorrow will be calmer.
Pop back soon xx
Thursday, 19 October 2017
Well what a day.
There was a song 'Singing in the rain'. Well I have renamed it 'Boating in the rain'
I'm boating in the rain
Just boating in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I've a smile on my face
I walk down the towpath
With a happy refrain
Boatin' in the rain
The morning began like most mornings, with a cuppa in bed, with Marmite on my lap and the radio blaring out. The weather forecast said that rain would set in about lunchtime, so we knew we would get a fair way before the supposed rain arrived. We were up just after 7am, because we wanted to top the batteries up with distilled water. By the time I had walked his lordship (Paddy), fed him and Marmite and made our breakfast, the time was getting on towards 8am and I still had the back cabin fire to light. Once that was achieved, Keith got on with checking the five domestic batteries and topping them up. We are thinking we may need to get new batteries for next Spring, as these batteries are over 4 years old and we think they may not be holding their charge properly. Anyway batteries sorted, floor back down and all was well with the world.
We were ready to set off from Alvecote at 8.40am. The sky was dark and gloomy and very threatening. By the time we reached the Atherstone flight of eleven locks the rain was falling steadily and so we were in for a wet day. The first lock was against us and so this did not bode well, but hooray a boat was coming down, so as we cleared the first lock, the boat going down went in. Joy of joys every lock there on was with us. The rain did not let up through and by half way my first waterproof jacket, was soaked all the way through, so onto jacket number 2 and although the body was keeping me dry my arms were soaking, so jacket number 2 was not very waterproof either. I bought it as a waterproof jacket last year, so I am more than a bit disappointed to find out it lets the rain in. Just as well it was not that cold with the rain and so being wet did not bother me at all. I really enjoyed the whole jaunt. We met a group of fishermen, who were getting soaked but were having fun and we had a laugh with them. On a wet day it is guaranteed that there will not be many boaters moving unless they have too and so for us it was brilliant.
Our cruising day finished at 3.50pm close to Hawkesbury Junction. We closed the boat up and dried out. I had my hair plaited and I could wring the water out of it. Jackets and hats were hung in the back cabin, which was toastie warm. There was a fabulous stew smell coming from the stove, with the remains of our Sausage Stew, this went down rather well after such a soggy day.
After dinner, I needed to find a post box, so we walked down to The Greyhound Pub at the junction, to ask where the nearest post box was and were given very good instructions on how to get there. Whilst in the pub, we thought it would be rude not to have a half and to sit down and admire this beautiful pub. Neither of us has ever been into The Greyhound before, but we will definitely go again and next time we will sample their pies, which we have been told are incredible.
So that was my day. I am of course hoping for something a little drier tomorrow.
Pop back soon xx
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
You will need to bear with me over the next few days, because I may not always have a signal. At the moment my signal is at snail's pace, so I will not always be able to upload any photographs until I have a better signal.
On Monday we had the red sun all day.
I dropped off a card order in Great Haywood to a friend, before we made our way. We had quite a scare when we were coming into Weston. A woman cycling along the towpath, decided to stop in the bridge 'ole and she over balanced whilst putting her foot down. In slow motion she and her bike fell into the canal, alongside our boat which was moving through the bridge 'ole. Keith's quick thinking, meant he put Hadar into neutral. I shouted at the woman to hold onto the bank and I would get off and help her out. Now as you may remember it was blowing a hooley on Monday, so getting into the bank was a challenge, but Keith managed to get the stern in enough for me to leap off. I ran to the woman in the water, who was quite calm. I had to pull her bike out first, because she was still on it. Once I had gotten her bike out, I then helped the lady out, who was thankfully not to heavy. She was sincerely grateful for my help, but wanted to be on her way. I offered to dry her out and make her a hot drink, but she said she was going to Stafford. I tried to explain to her that she was going in the wrong direction, but she was convinced she was going the correct way and was fine. It was at this point she realised she was missing a shoe, which had been dragged down into the mud. I did not get her name, but she was Dutch and sopping wet. I wish she had allowed me to help her more, but before I could do anything else she was on her bike and gone. I just hope the lady is fine :-)
Yesterday Tuesday we had a long day and another drama, when I spotted a young Heron on the bank.
Today with just a short jaunt, has been less eventful thankfully. It is extremely overcast at the moment. We had a fantastic lunch and a pint in The Samuel Barlow, which was well deserved after our long day yesterday, when we did not stop until gone 5pm.
HRT update: I have taken my last tablet as of Tuesday, so we will see what happens now.
Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Having had a peaceful nights sleep, I was awake early courtesy of Miss Marmite. For such a small lady, she weighs a lot when she is lying on my legs, which hampers my turning over. Now awake, there was only one thing to do and that was to get up and make a cup of tea, but of course that annoyed Marmite, because it meant she had to move again.
Tea made, it was back to bed with the radio on. Marmite decided she would climb beneath the duvet by her dad and snuggle down for as long as our cup of tea lasted. When I got up, I opened the back cabin door to see the amazing view above. The sunrise was beautiful and to make it more special were the Swan family who came to say "Good Morning".
Up and about, Paddy and I went for a morning stroll enjoying the sound of a Buzzard overhead and a Heron flying up cut ahead of us.
Back onboard, I lit the back cabin stove, filled the copper kettle and placed it on the stove. I love the smell of proper coal when it is burning and the wafting of the smoke into the morning sky.
8.40 am we were all set for the off, so I untied the forend and off we set, destination Stone, which is of course Hadar's birth place.
What a difference a day makes, because today we had the locks with us for a nice change and there were other boats on the move. It had been so quiet on the cut, but being back on the Trent and Motorway, I should of guessed there would be more boats.
I am looking forward to a couple of days rest, before we set off again.
Pop back soon xxx
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
Before I begin my ramblings, I must apologise, if you have left me a comment and I have not replied I am sorry. It seems that blogger has forgotten to send me an e-mail to tell me I have comments. I received one today and when I checked my comments, It is fair to say I had a few. Because I have had so many, I will not be able to reply to them all, but know that I will read them all and I thank you for taking the time to send me a comment. In future I will be checking more closely to see if I have any comments to be published.
Right well what a fabulous day weather-wise. It was a tad nippy this morning, which explained why Marmite felt the need to sleep on my legs for most of the night. I had let the saloon stove go out, because it had been warm, but with the temperature drop overnight, Marmite was clearly put out, and decided to take it out on me all night. Everytime I needed to change position, she complained then curled up again. I reckon she got more sleep than I did.
We left Cross Green at 8.40am and the sun was doing its best to burn off the low cloud. First locks of the day were worked at Gailey.
Having moored up, I cooked us Bubble and Squeak for dinner and made a coffee, because we were both in need of something to eat.
HRT Update, for anyone who is interested.
It has been going well. I am now down to just one a week for the next two weeks and then that will be it, I will have come off of my HRT tablets. It will then be interesting to see if I have any issues. As of yet I have felt fine. My joints have been aching, but that is probably due to all the work I have been doing this past couple of weeks, well that is what I am hoping. We will just have to see how it goes.
See you tomorrow I hope.
Pop back soon xx
Monday, 9 October 2017
Sunday morning dawned bloomin early with the valves for the back boiler on the stove going on and off. Which meant the fire was low. I tried so hard to close my ears to it, but sleeping was hopeless, so I lay there listening to Keith sleep, with a gentle snore and the valves going off. 6.30am and it was brew time and the radio on. Marmite decided she needed to get into the bed and climbed beneath the duvet on Keith's side of the bed. She made her way to the bottom of the bed, curled up and snoozed, until she either got to warm or the oxygen ran out. her little head appeared in the corner of the bed 'ole and a squeaking meow announced that she really thought we should think about getting up. 7.30am we gave in and folded the bed away into the bed 'ole and closed the door for the day. This obviously meant to Marmite that she was getting fed, but first of all paddy got his morning stroll. I opened the back cabin door and there on the bridge behind the boat sat a Squirrel. Its tail perked up and wagged as if to say "Good morning", it then bound off along the top of the bridge and was not seen again. Paddy was disinterested in the furry critter and was more than happy to walk off down the towpath get his business done and head back home for breakfast. As usual Marmite was sat on the back step waiting for us. Not because she wanted to greet us, but because she wanted feeding, despite the fact she has a bowl full of dried food. marmite loves her meat first thing in the morning and wo betide if she does not get it before paddy gets his biscuits. Paddy on the other hand is happy to wait patiently for his biscuits.
We have been having feeding problems with Paddy and have tried numerous ways to get him to eat. The last attempt was to change his bowl to a pyrex dish and so far, it seems to be working, although he does appear to be showing signs of going senile, because he looks at me and his food, as if to say "What am I supposed to do with that". Once we show him his food and feed him by hand he gets the message. I guess at Thirteen and a half it is to be expected.
We decided to get our Aldi food shop shop done, so headed up the hill to Aldo for 10am when the store opens. When we got there, there was a queue forming, so like all good Britains we joined the queue and waited. Five past ten and we were still waiting, no one seemed bothered. It got to 10.15 am and a gentleman who had just got out of his car, walked up to the doors which opened and he walked in. We had all be queuing for no reason and no one from inside the store came to say they were open. I did have to giggle.
Shopping done, we were home just after 10.30am. I got on with stowing away the food whilst Keith headed into museum. I joined him a short time later and we got on with nattering to staff and the public.
Sunday, 8 October 2017
Saturday 8th October.
Woke to a drizzly looking start, which did not bode well, so the only thing to do was sit in bed and have the first brew of the day and listen to the radio.
By the time we got up, the rain had stopped, but the skies were very grey when I took Paddy out for his walk. We went through the lockable gate and headed down the towpath to the junction. This was quite far enough as far as Paddy was concerned, who did what he had to do, did an about turn and headed back to the locked gate. I have been ever mindful of keeping Paddy on a lead, after there were reports of poisonings going on. Two people we know have lost dogs due to being poisoned around the area, so Paddy was kept on his lead and was not allowed to snip around in case he should pick something up.
Back home, breakfast was eaten by all on board, which was welcome news to Marmite, who always sits on the step of the back cabin waiting for Paddy and I to get back, because she knows it is feeding time then.
I then got on with making up the fire, cleaning out Marmite's tray, getting rid of rubbish and washing up.
5pm the animals got fed and we donned our donkey jackets and headed out to the Chopsticks Chinese Takeaway. The last time we had a Chinese Takeaway was way back in 2004. We were one of the first customers in there and so did not have to wait to long for our food. I dished up the delights hidden in the back and we set to eating the feast before us, which looked like more than my stomach could manage and that proved to be the case. I did not quite finish my food, but oh boy I had a darn good go at it. Oh my goodness the meal was amazing and not dear at all.
Whilst we have been visiting the Black Country Living Museum, it has made me think about my family history and I suddenly realised today, that my Grandfather was born in the Black Country, because he was born in the Dudley Workhouse. I am not sure, but I think my great-grandfather was also from the Black Country, which makes me feel proud.
Sunday we will be doing it all again. But maybe not the Takeaway.
Pop Back soon xx
Friday, 6 October 2017
Wow it has been all go since my last posting. Whilst we were at Merry Hill we went to a boat gathering with folk from Hawne Basin, Wythymoor Island and Longwood Boat Club. Each boater brought along food, either cold or cooked. Gazebo's went up, beer arrived as did the folk and we all had a wonderful time.It was nice to catch-up with people we knew and make friends with those we had never met before and hopefully will will do it again.
Once we left Merry Hill, it was back into Birmingham. We moored on the Ozzell Street Loop for a few days and again caught up with people we knew. Shopping was done at the market and lots of photographs were taken. I do so love Birmingham.
This morning it was time to say "Cheerio" to Brum and so we set off for the Black Country Living Museum.
We had a nice run from Birmingham up Smethwick locks. It is a shame the toll house is all burnt out though. Our jaunt ended just around lunchtime at the Black Country Living Museum.
As the afternoon wore on there was only one thing to do and that was to have a pint in the Bottle and Glass pub.