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!
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
I seem to be back on track with this blogging lark and once again enjoying it. Maybe I just love telling people about my life and its ups and downs, which happen on a regular basis. Since we lost our darling Marmite. I have been waking up later.
Today, my plan was to get up and do some painting. I am of course talking about boat painting. We have a few rust spots appearing around the portholes and where stone chips have knocked the paintwork. Having walked his Lordship (Paddy), I set about rubbing down the spots with my hand mouse sander. Whilst doing this Keith wanted to add the brass strips to the top of the doors on the galley and engine room doors, so before I began the painting, I helped him with that job, which should have been half an hour at the most, but turned into a lot longer, when he discovered having added the strips to the galley doors they would not shut arghhhh. We had to take it all apart and grind the doors and the wood down until it all fitted. I then re-applied the sealant and Keith then screwed the brass strips in place. Hooray the job was finally done and I could get on with the painting. The first two coats were red oxide. If all goes well tomorrow, I should be able to get some undercoat on, but looking at the weather forecast, I may have to wait until Friday or the weekend. Anyway I have started the job, which I am really chuffed about.
After lunch, I had to go up to the bank, because I tried last night to open an e-savings account, which you do online only. But the stupid thing decided not to let me do it, instead it asked me to visit my branch and supply them with proof of who I am. Oh joy I do not have a passport or a driving licence. Does this mean I do not exist?
Apparently it does these days. So I am actually going to get a provisional driving licence with photo ID, so I and everyone else knows I exist. I have never needed a passport, because I have never been abroad and do not feel the need to go. However I may learn to drive again or maybe I won't. I of course realise that the bank needs to make sure I am who I say I am, because there is so much fraud going on, but you would think that after all these years they would know me, as I go into the branch regularly. Oh well I will sort it out, and in the meantime my savings account will have to wait.
Back from the town, I felt the need to do more to my crochet blanket. It is coming on a treat.
Update on Paddy and his eating. He seems to be liking the wet James Wellbeloved food, which I am now mixing with his biscuit which I now soak. I have also changed his feeding times, to see if we can get him to like his food again and so far so good it is working and he is eating everything we put in front of him and as of yet it has not upset his stomach.
Pop back soon xx
Tuesday, 14 August 2018
What a fabulous day I have had.
Today we welcomed three young ladies from the C&RT on to our boat and we took them out as part of the Boating Buddies Scheme.
Jess, Jen and Gina arrived at 10.30am, I made them a cuppa, because they had come all the way from Milton Keynes. After a natter about safety on the boat as they had never been boating before and a chat about the history of the canals and our boat, we set off just after 11am and headed towards Cape Locks. We were following two other boats who had come down Hatton Locks. One of them moored up and the other took on water, so we had the lock to ourselves, with two boats coming up through lock 2. The ladies were keen to have a go at working the locks and soon realised how hard it can be to wind the paddles up and just how heavy the gates can be. They did wonder how we did this all the time, but also realised how fit it kept up and that meant there was no need to go to the gym.
We stopped at the Tesco mooring for a picnic lunch and another cuppa, which of course followed nattering about the trip so far and more about what happens on the canals and towpaths. We discussed moorings, cyclists, restoration, rubbish, maintenance and of course the rebranding of the C&RT. After lunch we carried on up to the Lidl winding hole, winded and made our way back to the Arm, with the ladies taking it in turns to steer the boat, with Keith giving them tuition.
On returning into the Arm, we did not bother winding, we just moored up, because I have paintwork to tackle this coming week, weather permitting. Before the ladies left, I made them another cuppa, whilst we talked about the day and how much on both sides we had really enjoyed ourselves. The boating buddy scheme is wonderful, because it gets the C&RT staff out of their offices and they get to learn about the canals and the things we as boaters go through. This was the second time we have done this and we hope to do it again very soon.
Weather permitting tomorrow will be boating painting day. We have rust spots appearing around the portholes and so I need to get on top of those and other paint jobs.
Pop back soon xx
Monday, 13 August 2018
It has been a day of doing all things medical.
The morning began as every morning, with the wake-up cuppa and the news. It was rather drab, but mild out and my hope was we would have no rain, because we were going on a walk early.
After getting ourselves up and Paddy had his walk, we then took Paddy for his appointment at the vets. He was going for a dental check-up, because of late his breath has begun to smell, which meant he was having a teeth problem.
I can report he has had his first soaked meal and he ate it. Long pay this continue, because otherwise I am not sure where we will go with it and I do not fancy hand feeding him the soaked food.
With Paddy's medical day complete, it was time for the other half to go on his journey. A couple of weeks ago he had a hip x-ray, because he has been suffering hip pain. This afternoon we went to see the Gp to see what was causing his pain. The x-ray showing both his hips have arthritis in them, but it is mild and what is expected for a man of his age. Having examined him, the Gp reckons it is a ligament problem in his sacrum area and has recommended physio therapy and anti-inflammatories. So we will see how things go with both of the men in my life. It is just as well I am doing alright at the moment. Mind I do not have the time to be poorly. Anyway having seen the Gp, it was back on the bus and into town to get him some tablets and me some wool for my blanket and then a gentle stroll back home, where Paddy was waiting to greet us both.
Tomorrow will be a good day, we are off out on the boat.
Pop back soon xxx
Hello Friends and Followers.
What do you do on a wet Sunday?
I am not complaining about the weather, because the rain is very much needed in many ways for many people. It is so easy to moan, but why bother we have had the most amazing summer weather wise.
Having hand another odd nights sleep. I got up and made us a cuppa, which we drank in bed, whilst watching the BBC1 news and weather. The weather report for the day was rain and they got that right. My plan for the day was to do as little as possible with it being a Sunday. There was a day in the dim and distant past, when Sunday’s were spent with family. You would go to church in the morning, if you were that way inclined, then Sunday roast was had with the family, sat at the table and then perhaps a pint in the local pub, before spending the rest of the day watching Sunday afternoon movies or spending time with family. Of course these days hardly any of that happens anymore, due to the shops being open, people working, modern technology and everything else that gets in the way of relaxing.
My Sunday morning began with walking Paddy in light drizzle. I was then engaged in a bit of wallpapering.
This was no ordinary wallpapering. We were wallpapering the scenery for the railway.
Keith cut the paper and pasted it, whilst I pasted the wall and cleaned up behind him. It worked like a well oiled machine.
Of course the main hope is that it does not all peel off overnight. I am joking of course, it will be absolutely fine. I hope.
Pop back soon xx
Saturday, 11 August 2018
Hello Friends and Followers.
Happy Saturday. I hope your day is a good one.
Mine began in a very weird way in the early hours. I had yet another very disturbed night. Partly due to the other half and his knee, partly due to a cat fight going on outside and partly due to the weirdest dream I have had for a long time. So I will begin with the dream, whilst it is so clear in my mind.
We were moored up in an Arm, not this one I may add, but somewhere where we were in an arm, close to a town and with other boats. The story began with a Black Prince hire boat, which was moored on the offside of the canal and no way of getting to the towpath, so they thought it would be a good idea to put boarding across the canal, that they could walk on and this came over the fore-end of our boat, which we were none to happy about and so we suggested they remove it and moor their boat up on the right side of the canal. We then went off into town and on our return we walked along the towpath, but this time it was darkish. Suddenly we saw a jumbo jet flying incredibly low. It banked and crashed into the town we had just walked through. There was an huge explosion and fire engines everywhere. They were concerned because of the petrol station near the moorings and of course for the boats, so they were spraying water everywhere to keep the flames away from all the boats. In the panic, I ran along the towpath to our boat, which was carrying coal and I was worried about the sheeting catching fire, but when I got to where we were moored our boat was gone. it was no where to be seen and the other boaters were reversing their boat out of the arm to escape the fires. I ran up the towpath asking boaters if they had seen our boat, but none one seemed to have seen it. Then I saw people on a boat I knew and who in the dream where friends. I asked the man who was named David if he had seen our boat, but he could not hear me due to all the noise, so his wife (no name) said she would take our phone number and look out for our boat as they left the arm. The only issue was she could not remember the last digit of her number and the other half could not remember how to put numbers into his phone. The next thing I remember doing was walking a the length of the towpath and by this time it was daylight. Now my sense of direction is not the best, so I can get myself lost at the best of times and in the dream this is exactly what happened. I found myself in a not very nice area, with some extremely odd folk, who were less than helpful. I then woke up.
How weird was that?
With it being the weekend, I have had no real plans for it, so I have decided I am just going to chillout and see what happens. We had hoped that our flue would be looked at today, but we were guessing that our engineer was called away, because he works for a hire boat company and would be on call today, so we will wait to hear from him. There will be more on the flue soon hopefully.
Earlier on friends Caroline and John, who I helped down the Hatton flight came around for a coffee and to see the other half’s railway room, which you can follow if you so desire got this link BLOG. We did sit out and have a coffee and a natter, before they went off shopping and I did a bit of weeding. Before lunch tragedy happened in the canal just outside of the arm. I heard the sirens, but thought they were heading to the motorway, sadly they were literally just outside of the arm, where someone had fallen in the canal on their mobility scooter and had died. Both the canal and surrounding roads were closed for a time, while they police searched for the body and retrieved it. I feel incredibly sad for the persons family and friends. None of us knows when our time will come to an end. I always say that once our clock stops ticking, that is it. So we must make the most of everyday and let nothing or no one stand in our way of happiness and contentment.
As Saturday draws ever closer to the evening, I have been sat watching yet more of the European Championships and I am still in awe of how well the GB team have and are doing. In this beautiful country of ours we have a wealth of amazing talent when it comes to sport.
Pop back soon xx
Friday, 10 August 2018
Hi Friends and Followers.
I had a rather disturbed night, following the other half hurting his knee whilst out shopping yesterday. I am not sure what he did to it, because I was not with him, but it certainly caused him some pain and neither of us got a lot of sleep, because he could not get comfortable.
Awake early after a night of disturbed sleep, so I got up and made a cuppa and we put the news on. Now on the weather forecast, we were supposed to get showers during the morning and then it would brighten up. With that advice, I thought ok, I will do a laundry wash and hang it out. I thought if it got caught by a shower early on, at least it would dry later in the day. If only that were true.
We have had showers all day culminating in a huge thunderstorm and heavy rain. The clouds were very dark and threatening, they were most definitely battling for space. I always love thunderstorms and would happily stand out in the rain and watch the lightening. I know I am a little strange, but that is just me. So my washing got at least three washes and so I gave up and got it in just as the thunderstorm was developing overhead. It is now hanging in the engine room and hold.
So when the weather is a tad naff, what is a girl supposed to do?
I decided to watch the European Championships on TV and get on with my cosy stripe blanket from a pattern on Attic24. I am using up balls of wool I have been given, so it will be a mish mash of colours, but I do not mind that. I am really enjoying the pattern, which is another one to add to my book of new patterns learnt.
I have also finished off another baby blanket. This one is Pink and Cream, which will be for sale at our Heritage Weekend in September.
Going back to the European Championships. I am so impressed and proud of all our British Athletes, they are incredible and doing this country so proud. I know I said this in yesterday’s posting, but they put in such a lot of training and to produce the efforts they are all doing is incredible and makes me feel very humble. I sad am no athlete and never have been. I do not have the legs for running. I always remember that every sports day at secondary school, I would always be put in the 100 metres and every time I came last. The PE teacher would never learn. Yet give me a badminton racket and I do really well. I in fact won a silver medal playing doubles with my maths teacher Mr Smith. A very proud moment for me and one I always remember with a smile. But running races is not for me. Have you ever seen a happy runner?
Pop back soon xxx
Thursday, 9 August 2018
As many of you will know, we have been having the most amazing summer. The weather has been truly hot and for many it has caused all sorts of problems. We were definitely short of water on a couple of occasions, but this country so often complains we have bad summers. It is not true this year. I still recall the summer of 1976 and that was sweltering, just like this year. This past couple of days has been a lot cooler and in some places down by ten degrees.
Here is a question for you.
As a nation are we getting to sensitive over things?
I ask this because it seems everyone is so touchy about things said or done to them. In all my years I do not think I have ever seen things this bad. You cannot make a comment about something, without people taking offence and yet you meant nothing by the comment.
I will say this has not happened to me personally, but I see it happening around me and it is definitely in the media or press.
Whatever happened to live and let live?
If someone has done me wrong then I will these days happily have my say and in no uncertain terms will I put my point across. But over the slightest of things people are getting way to sensitive. Let it go is my thought these days and this has come about having lost two close friends this year and both of them were way to young to die.
We all go through struggles in our lives and I have had more than my fairshare. So I could be bitter and twisted, but I do not believe I am. I am just me and that is all I can be.
What do you think?
Pop back soon xxx
Wednesday, 8 August 2018
Today has been one of those fun days. It began early with me being wake at 6am, so the only thing to do is make a cuppa and watch the news on the BBC. We decided to get up early, so Paddy got his walk early and then I text friends Caroline and John on Vanyar to see what time they would be coming down the Hatton flight of locks. At 7.30 am they were already at the top lock, taking on water. My plan for the morning was to go with windlass in hand up the locks to give them a hand down the flight. I was obviously feeling energetic, because I walked up the locks in half an hour as they were coming down 4th lock. They had found a boat to share with, which was FMC working boat Crane, so we had extra hands and we worked like a well oiled machine. We took it in turns to walk ahead and set locks and were fortunate to also have boats coming up the flight. With a much cooler morning, it was an absolute joy to be out and working locks. We got to the bottom in two and half hours, which was really good going. Keith and I have done it on our own in that time, but that was with all locks set in our favour. On getting to the bottom, I then got a lift back into the Arm on Vanyar and we will see Caroline and John over the next few days. Caroline made us all a cuppa and even brought out the Ginger Cake, which she had made. I have not even bothered making cake in this hot weather. I have been decidedly lazy and bought cake, because it would be way too hot to have the oven going. Anyway it was a treat to have Caroline's Ginger cake. We left them to get themselves sorted out and came back to the boat, where I prepared yet another salad for lunch. I am beginning to believe I will start getting buck teeth like a rabbit at this rate, but needs must.
During the afternoon, I abandoned undoing the crochet blanket, I began yesterday, because the wool is rotten. We will carry on using the blanket outside on the seat until it falls apart, but it is not worth repairing which is a shame. With me feeling the need to crochet something, I decided to tackle a new pattern from Attic24 . I am absolutely useless at reading and following patterns, but a friend Sue helped me with another of the Attic24 patterns and I got it once I read through the instructions, so I got my oddments of wool and I have begun to make a new blanket with the cosy stripe blanket pattern. I will post photographs when I get further long with it. I will say, it is so far so good.
With the evenings now drawing in we will soon be turning our attention to light the fire and getting all cosy. I know we are enjoying our best ever Summer, but it will not last forever.
Have you been watching the European Athletics Championships?
I have, and wow how good is the Great Britain team. We have some amazing stars in our team, who have done this country well and truly proud.
Ok time to go.
Pop back soon xxx
Tuesday, 7 August 2018
As I said yesterday we had a nosey around the village of Wootten Wawen. It has the oldest church in Warwickshire, which is absolutely stunning. The Saxon Sanctuary, St Peter's is a must go see.
The village itself is only small, but very pretty.
Back on the boat, it was salad once again, because it was way to hot to cook.
We headed on to the Grand Union canal at Kingswood Junction and decided to stop at Tom 'o the Woods, where we had a nice pub lunch and a very cooling pint.
On Wednesday 11th July, we headed for home, down Hatton Locks.
We arrived home to our pontoon and an overgrown garden, which I soon knocked into shape. It was lovely to be home after a wonderful four months out.
Today I have been busy painting in the hold, which will eventually be my shop. I spent the afternoon finishing off another crochet blanket and unpicking a found crochet blanket. I found a blanket at a bin stop and thought I could work with it and so I am unpicking it at the moment, because there are a few holes which need to be repaired.
Pop back soon xxxx
Sunday, 5 August 2018
With the festival over and our raft of boats all gone, we could untie from the anchor and make our way up river to the sanitary station, before heading back onto the canal.
We stopped overnight at Wootten Wawen. Whilst there we had a nosey around the village.
Today being Sunday, should have been a day of rest, but I wanted to get the rust spots on the roof gloss coated and painting done in the hold done as well. But before I did any of that Paddy was given his second bath of the year.
Tomorrow I will do more on the coming home trip.
Pop back soon xx
Saturday, 4 August 2018
Yes I am back again like a bad penny to carry on with my update. So yesterday saw us arrive at Stratford for the river festival. We were the anchor boat, so needed to be in place for the others to moor up alongside us. It felt like quite an honour to be at the head of the boats and apparently this was done because they thought our boat looked beautiful and would make a good photograph opportunity for the public.
There were some truly beautiful boats of all lengths and shapes.
The weather for the festival was as it is for us at the moment. It was stunning and this bought the public out in their hundreds. I do not think I have ever seen such a packed boat festival.
There were a lot of stalls and charity stalls. Over the weekend I did not cook a meal, because there were plenty of food stalls. We had Thai food both days and it was scrummy. Of an evening we sat with new found friends and enjoyed a bar-b-que and a few drinks. We were made to feel so welcome at the Stratford River Festival.
Early on the Sunday morning. 5am to be precise, we were awake, so I peeped out of the porthole to the sight of rubbish everywhere. We had said we would help clean the park up ready for the days festivities and this was due to begin at 6am. I walked Paddy, had breakfast and we made our way to the bandstand to collect rubbish clearing equipment.
We collected recycling bits in the clear bags and general rubbish in the black bags. Then a group from Rubbish Friends went through the bags to make sure the rubbish was sorted properly. I came away from the clean-up with two picnic blankets and a clipboard. It amazed me just what people left behind. They abandoned broken chairs, picnic blankets, cutlery, glasses, tent shelters, bottle openers and plastic picnic containers. Any of the items which could be reused, went to local charity shops. A good job was done by all who took part and as a thank you we all had a free sausage or bacon bap. Oh I forgot, I did find another item, it was a bag of weed, which I handed into the security team on site. The lady got very excited by the bag, although she said it was of low grade, but the security dogs would love it for training purposes. Glad I made the dogs happy at least. It turned out that men had been on site selling weed and had been arrested.
Sundays festivities got underway with a clean and tidy park.
Yet again the place was heaving with people. The live music, from the bandstand was really very good and we were right near it, so got to enjoy every group which performed. By the time the festival drew to a close, we were both a little tired, having spent the whole time chatting to the public and meeting friends who had come to see us and the festival. It was so lovely to see familiar faces and to meet new people.
We will most definitely do the river festival again in the near future.
Back to today. Another beautiful start to the day. It was another day for painting. First job of the day was to walk Paddy, before it got to warm. We then had breakfast and I got on with painting the last of the floorboards in the back cabin. I then painted the back wall of the railway room with Black gloss. Feeling in the mood to do more painting, I rubbed down the rust spots on the roof and painted them with Red oxide. Tomorrow they will get a top coat. Doing all my paint jobs before lunch, meant that the afternoon will be my own and I can sit inside out of the heat. Before lunch, I walked up to Sainsbury’s to get rid of the recycling, which I like to do at least once a week.
Lunch over with, which was yet another salad. I am going to settle down to an afternoon movie. ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’ is on ITV3, so I will be putting my feet up and watching that.
More updating to come.
Pop back soon xx
Friday, 3 August 2018
It has been another glorious day, which for me began with getting ready to do some paint work jobs. I undercoated the back wall of the railway room, which is the partition to my soon to be shop. My next paint job was to paint the floorboards in the back cabin, which last saw a paintbrush 11 years ago. I took them up, rubbed them down and gave them each a coat of red oxide. Whilst the floor was up I also gave the base plate and swim a coat of blacking bitumen, to freshen it up a little, because each Winter we get water settling under the floor due to condensation. I always put disposable nappies down to soak the water up. Giving it a coat of bitumen will keep the rust at bay. With the paintwork done before the hat got up, meant the rest of the day was my own.
So with nothing else going on I thought I would do a bit of a catch up. I left you when we had arrived at Tewksbury on the 24th June and it was so hot.
On the Tuesday 26th we picked up our Avon River licence and moved up to Pershore, which again was a new place to me.
We then went on to Evesham and met up with friends who took us out for a cream tea, which was extremely yummy.
Whilst at Evesham, we got a phone call from the Stratford Canal Festival organisers asking where we were. When we explained we were at Evesham. They said they needed us at Stratford, because we were one of the anchor boats. No one had bothered to tell us that when we got our licence for the event. Having told them we would not be there until Friday, because our next stop was due to be Bideford-on Avon on the Thursday. Having enjoyed our stay in Evesham with our friends, we decided that perhaps Bideford could wait and we would make for Stratford on the Thursday. So Thursday morning we were up early and set off.
I will give you the festival fun in my next posting.
Pop back soon xx