*****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.

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*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****

Friday, 21 February 2020

Smoke alarms and pudding.

Dear family, friends and followers.

Morning arrived and with it a dry, mild start for a change. In fact the whole day stayed dry, although the sun decided it was staying in bed all day and did not so much as give us a glimmer. Hubby went off food shopping, which had been delayed due to the rain yesterday. He set off with the shopping trolley and his rucksack and I got on with tidying the boat. Whilst he is out, it gives me a good chance to get the hoovering done and jobs which i find hard to do when he is around. I call it my me time. The back cabin got a good going over, as I prepare it for our cruising season. I will soon be rehanging the curtains and cabin lace. It does not seem that long ago that I took it all down and washed it. The bathroom got a scrub and then it was time to tackle the oven. This is a job I put off for as long as possible, because it is not my favourite task, but needs must. 
Having done all the cleaning, hubby arrived home laden down with a weeks shopping, which I stowed away in the fridge, freezer and cupboard. At the moment I am beginning to get our emergency rations stocked up for when we set off. I like to keep a few extra tins on the boat and I will be buying part baked bread nearer the time. Even though we have a fridge/freezer. It is nice to have extra tins and packet food to fall back on should we get stuck in the middle of nowhere. 
Having cleaned the oven, it was then put to good use with cooking lunch and a bread and butter pudding, using the end of my white bread. I can only eat white bread due to my Nickel allergy and so I like to use up the end of the loaf to make a pudding.
I have to say the bread and butter pudding was lovely. It is one of those go to puddings during the winter or when bread needs to be used up. 
After lunch, we had a visit from the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue. We have two smoke alarms on our boat one in the saloon and one in the back cabin. The reason for two is that if one fails the other is a back up. We bought a new smoke alarm last year and it is forever going off for absolutely no reason. Breath and the darn thing beeps loudly at us. So hubby got chatting to a fireman who was parked in our car park a couple of weeks ago and he said he would send someone down to see us, which happened today. He could not offer us an answer as to why the new alarm was doing what it was doing, but he did give us a brand new alarm which the fire brigade give out and suggested we try it and then let him know how we get on. If it goes well he will send us another one. He was really lovely and very helpful. We will give his alarm a trial and I will let you know how we get on with it. 
The fire angel is fitted with a 10 year sealed long life lithium battery, the FireAngel ST-622 optical smoke alarm uses a thermally enhanced smoke sensor; the technology of choice for the UK's Fire and Rescue Service. The FireAngel ST-622 benefits from additional features including easy to use test/hush button, as well as "sleep-easy" function, allowing low battery warning chirps to be silenced for 8 hours. 

His visit was quite timely, because last Friday one of the boats in the Arm caught fire. This happened at 3 am in the morning. Thankfully the gentleman on board got out alive, but his boat has a lot of smoke damage and he will not be able to live on it. After spending a couple of days in hospital for smoke inhalation, he has been discharged and is now being looked after by social services. It makes you realise though how lucky he was as he did not have a smoke alarm on board. I have always said they should be made compulsory, like the CO alarms are now. No damage was done to anyone else's boats and we sincerely hope that the boat owner finds a wonderful new home. 
Over the years we have lost two friends to boat fires, which makes our senses heightened to how deadly fires on boats can be. One of the worst things is some people who liveaboard, sleep on their boats with some of their doors padlocked from the outside, which means they cannot use those doors as fire escapes. One friend died because his back doors were padlocked from the outside and he could not get out, because the fire was at the other end of his boat. I have no issue with talking to people about fire safety on their boats and about not locking their boats exits from the outside. I was told by one person that they felt safer with the back doors padlocked on the outside when they slept on the boat, but when I explained about what would happen in a fire, they soon realised how wrong they were. We all want to be safe on our boats of course we do, but we do have to think about how we would get off the boat, should it catch fire. You should have at least three exits in case of fire. 
The day has worn into the evening and I am now going to settle down to an evening in front of the TV. The wind has gotten up again, so it could be a rock and roll night. 
Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Pop back soon xxx

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Still raining.

Dear family, friends and followers.

I do not need to tell you the weather is foul and what devastation it has caused to so many around the UK, you only need to see the news or online footage to know how bad things are in some parts of the UK. Our water level has gone back to normal for now and for that we are thankful, but those who are still injuring flooding and storm damage, my heart goes out too you, because I cannot imagine what you must be going through right now. Of course in all of this turmoil the most important thing is to stay safe and look after ones life. When you see your home and businesses swept away by water, you think about the material things you have lost and wonder how on earth you are going to recover. Most material things can be replaced, whereas human and animal life cannot. I think I would find losing family photographs, precious things the children have made or family heirlooms really difficult to deal with, because you will never get those back. Keeping all precious things up high would always have to be a priority when flooding is possible.
When going through such turmoil, we can all help others who maybe going through worse than ourselves and it is not that we require something in return, it is just an act of kindness which could make that persons day, month or year and actually only costs our time. None of us knows when we may require someone's help.

So as the rain continues to fall, I have been getting on with small jobs on the boat, with the hope that at the beginning of March we will be off cruising. I am already getting items washed, which will be put away until we return to our mooring. I have started to sort through the Winter/Summer box to see if I can send items to the charity shops. The same goes for the boot box. There is absolutely no point in cruising around the country with.  excess baggage. Not only that I may well end up purchasing new things whilst we are out and so old and unused things can go now. I will soon be putting the curtains back up in the back cabin and washing the plates around the stove. The cabin will have a Spring cleaned as well. I have spent time wrestling the mattress covers, which all needed washing. We sleep in our back cabin and have the mattress in three parts, so that it can be folded away in the cupboard. Today I washed the third part having wrestled the cover off. The company who made the covers did not leave a lot of wriggle room for getting the covers off and then back on again.
In between the rain, I went out and checked on the garden and gave some of the plants their dose of tea leaves.
The Rhubarb is coming on really well. We have two leaves and a third on the way.
Even our small Rhubarb is coming along. I am hoping the tea leaves will give it a perk up. I collect the tea leaves in a jar and when it is full, I pour them onto the garden and hope they give our plants some nutrients. It saves putting them in the bin.
The Daffodil bulbs are beginning to come out in flower.
The Crocus are already out, but due to the rain they were not showing off their true colours.

Good news today. I spoke to my GP and she is happy for us to go cruising. My blood test results came back and although one of them is still abnormal, it is coming down. It is thought my Liver may have been struggling with a virus and therefore was upset. Anyway Liver function was normal for the second time and I am hoping the gamma side of the test will soon be back within normal range which is 5-50, mine is 64 from 115. Cruising here we come at the beginning of March. I have cancelled the hospital appointment, because there is no point taking up an appointment, that someone else really needs. I will now get into full cruising mode, because there are jobs which need to be done before the off.

Pop back soon xxx

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Storm Dennis.

Dear family, friends and followers.

Before I go on my usual ramble, I wanted to say " No one ever knows what someone is going through in their life, so before you say a nasty word, or do a nasty thing to someone, think".
The news at the moment is full of the death of Caroline Flack. I did not follow her, I did not watch 'Love Island', but for someone so young to take their own life, it has certainly made me stop and think. Everyday out there someone takes their own life needlessly. When you are going through depression, you cannot see a way out of your situation and everything seems to make your life feel so awful. It is not helped when you are being hounded by those who see fit to want to ruin your life. This therefore just makes the depression even worse and for some the only way they can see out of it is to take their own lives. The family and friends are left behind wondering what they could have done to change things and are left picking up the pieces. So please be kind. If you cannot say something nice, then it is better to say nothing at all. My condolences go out to Caroline's family and friends. Both the press and the media how a responsibility to act in a proper manner and we who use social media should do the same. It is making me feel more uneasy being on social media and yet we have so many wonderful friends who use social media and that includes our families. I am finding myself being more choosy about what I read and write and who I allow to read what I post. Which is very sad. We are entitled to an opinion, we are a country of free speech, but not when it is to the detriment to someelses well being. My one hope from this tragic needless death is it changes things. Let her death and that of others like her make a change for the good. I know I maybe hoping beyond hope, but where there is hope there is a chance.

Here we are on Sunday, post Storm Dennis. It was definitely worse than Storm Ciara on the rain front. We had more than enough rain dumped on us overnight.
The water level was at the top of our pontoon and in places the pontoon was under water.
The Sanitary station pontoon was flooded.
Our footpath was under water, when I stepped down off the boat (a long drop down)this morning to empty the ash pan. Because of all the rain, I went to check on the other boaters in the Arm, to make sure they were alright. There was some flooding, but everyone was fine on their boats and were keeping an eye on the boats which are not lived on.
The water level has dropped through the day, but we are still high out of the water and with more rain forecast, we will probably be going up and down for a while yet.
With the weather being so wet, there was no walking or gardening to be done. Instead I have spent my Sunday watching films and being online catching up with photograph sorting and social media. I am now longing for the day we take off cruising and sunnier days. Come the Summer we maybe praying for rain when we have none, but for now I think we have had enough and my heart goes out to all those who have suffered flooding and damage due to the Storms of the past two weekends. There is someone always worse off than ourselves and that we should all be mindful of.
As the day is moving towards the evening, the sun finally came out and the rain stopped, which is welcome. I am watching 'Dances with Wolves' which is a film I could watch over and over again.

May you hug the ones you love closer than ever and speak a kind word to those in need.

Pop back soon xxx

Friday, 14 February 2020

Valentine's Day.

Dear family, friends and followers.

Friday 14th February a day for lovers all over the world and a day for commercialism to go mad once again. We do not show love for just one day a year. Love is for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year and yet it seems that we spend a fortune on the day. I say we, but we do not. From when we celebrated our first Valentine's Day together, we have never gone overboard. The odd card or gift, but more often than not we will go out for a meal.
Today we went to our favourite Thai for lunch. Again we do not go for a set Valentine's Day menu, we eat what we want too eat. Also eating at lunchtime it means it is quieter. Neither of us are cheapskates, but why go for all the hype.
I guess Valentine's Day hype is really aimed at those who are smitten on someone or those who have just got together, not happily married folk like us :-).

Our day began like most others, sat in bed with a cup of tea and the news on. There is something that annoys me about the news these days and that is the fact that the reports feel the need to use puns to get their point across. There is absolutely no need for it. I want the facts and the truth, not puns. The political reports are the worst. They also like to make mountains out of mole hills, when there is absolutely no need. I wish they would just stick the facts of the story and not put add-on's to help fuel their careers.
All too soon, it was time to roll the bed away and close the door on the bed 'ole. Boat chores were sorted out and then I got on with a laundry wash. The bedding wash is always the largest wash I ever do, but once done it is always hung up in the boat to dry. Stove stoked and ash gotten rid of, it was time for coffee. By the time we got around to heading out it was 11.30 am and I was very much looking forward to lunch in our favourite Thai. Totally Thai does the most beautiful food, which is always cooked to a high standard and the service is excellent. After lunch, we had a walk around the town, hubby got his glasses fixed at Vision Express and I was the last of the big spenders and bought a new loo brush from the Factory Store ( I know how to spend big). The reason for the new brush is because the old one has broken and anyway we could do with a new one. It was a breezy walk back home, it feels like Storm Dennis is brewing up, the temperature had also dropped. We will be battening down the hatches again over the weekend. I have made sure everything is tied down again just in case. We are expecting a lot of rain as well, so we may need to slacken off the ropes as well. Oh the joys of Winter.
It is now time for me to put the kettle on and make a coffee.
Stay safe out there and have a lovely weekend. I will be back rambling after the weekend.

Pop back soon xxx

Thursday, 13 February 2020

New shoes.

Dear family, friends and followers.

Another day closer to going cruising I hope. Being a boater who goes out cruising, I do a lot of walking, whether it be working locks, or just enjoy a good old stroll, so I need walking/hiking shoes which are comfortable and sturdy. Over the years I have tried all sorts of footwear for this task and have had varying degrees of success. My recent footwear however, which I bought from Mountain Warehouse a couple of years ago, was not a success. Although they felt great when I bought them and did so for a few months, they soon lost their waterproofing and became uncomfortable. I had been on the lookout for another pair of walking/hiking shoes which would not break the bank, but nothing was floating my boat (excuse the pun), until I spotted a pair of Peter Snow leather shoes on Ebay.
Now normally I would not buy footwear off of Ebay. I like to go into a shop normally and try shoes on, to make sure they fit properly, because I have wide feet. I was not searching for shoes, when these appeared in a side bar on the Ebay website and they got my attention. I decided I would take a chance and bid on them. They started at £5 and as you can see from the photograph, still had their tags on. I was in contact with the lady selling them and was told they had never been worn, which was obvious because of the labels. Looking at them, they looked like a wider fit, so I watched them for a few days and then put my bid in of £7. My thought was they would go for a heck of a lot more, so I was shocked to get a message to say I had bought myself a pair of shoes Yippee. I paid immediately and the lady posted them the next day.
They have had their first trial run (walk) and they are a huge success and extremely comfortable. I want to wear them in a bit before we go off cruising, that way I will not get blisters when we go off hiking. I am one extremely happy lady. I think I have finally found my perfect walking/hiking shoes. When we are boating, I wear my steel toecap shoes, which are great because they are also anti slip.
My new shoes have brilliant soles on them. I will not be sliding anywhere in these.

What are your favourite shoes?
Do you have a favourite maker and colour?

I am a lady who does not do fashion. I only ever buy for comfort. I cannot abide wearing shoes which make my feet hurt or I feel unsafe in. I have never been a fashion ikon. I wear clothes I feel comfortable in as well. I do not have the legs or the body shape to do fashion and anyway fashion and boating do not really go together. I do not even own a pair of high heeled shoes, mainly because I cannot wear them. I think the last time I was wearing anything fashionable was in the 1970's when I had a pair of red and white hot pants and I thought I was the bees knees. There is absolutely no way I would wear anything like that these days, but I am a more mature woman now a days and have more sense. Boating clothing and footwear has to be sensible and useful in all weathers and conditions. Boating clothing is usually bought from charity shops, because it can get ruined and thrown. Shoes and wet weather gear is always bought brand new and has to be fit for purpose.

Pop back soon xxx


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