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

Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.

I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!

Life on the cut through my eyes.

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

Thursday 30 September 2010

Trains, Boats and Christmas Cards.

Hi Friends.

It has been a manic day in many ways. Keith had his check-up at Kettering Hospital with his Urologist, so we knew it was going to be a busy old day. Our day began early as I set the alarm for 6.30am on the clock and as a back-up I set my mobile phone alarm as well, just in case the clock alarm did not go off, or the battery ran out, which would have been my luck. At 6.30am sharp my phone woke me to the tune of "Hey Sexy Lady". and then the alarm clock followed, as it was we were already awake.
Up and about and all jobs done, including walking the hound, we downed our breakfast and a cuppa and then walked round to David and Viv's boat. David very kindly dropped us off at Market Harborough's Railway Station. We bought our tickets, which would get us to and back from Kettering. Having been stood on the platform for 15 minutes the 8.42am train arrived on time and we climbed onboard the train like everyone else. It felt a little bit like being herded into a cattle truck. Some 10 to 15 minutes later we were at Kettering Station. We then had a 20 minute walk to Kettering Hospital. The hardest part of the walk is the up hill bit to the hospital, it certainly gets the heart pumping. You would not want your blood pressure or heart rate taken as soon as you got to the hospital after that climb. We arrived half an hour early, but booked in anyway. We had only been sat down for around 10 minutes when we got called into the Consulting room. Thankfully the news was excellent. Having had his operation in May, the test results came back clear and Keith was signed off by the Consultant, who was very pleased with his progress. Keith still has xanthogranulomatous prostatitis, but it is under control at the moment and not causing him any pain thank goodness. We have been told that it could flare up at anytime, but at least we now know what we are dealing with. With that news that we no longer need to go to the hosptial, we celebrated with a meal at our favourite Chinese Buffet Restuarant Lee Garden. We then did some retail therapy, which I am sad to say included buying Christmas Cards and some lights for our small tree.I did try to resist from buying Christmas things so early, but they were a bargain and I am always happy to bag a bargain. Arghhhhh Christmas is coming folks. All the shops we went into today have their Christmas stock either on the shelves or being put out. After a lovely few hours in Kettering, we caught the train back to Market Harborough and the boat. We checked to see if we had any mail, as my dear friend Tina had posted our mail to us. We also received a new battery to replace the faulty one which was under a year old. Before we settled down to a bit of peace and quiet, we connected the new battery up, under the floor of the back cabin. This ment taking the Rag Rugs and the floor up, but the job was soon done. It was then definitely time for a coffee. It has been a great day all in all and I am now looking forward to a good nights sleep. I hope that you have had a wonderful day??

It is not as quiet as you think.

Hi Folks.

I have no idea what was going on last night, but it sounded like we were either getting a fly past or war had begun without any notice, because at about 8.30pm Air Force jets flew over us several times. Even Keith remarked "Has war begun".

Having had an indifferent nights sleep, we were awake early to the sound of dogs barking like loonies. No idea what these dogs bark at, but they do like the sound of their own voices. I got up and made us a cup of tea and as we sat in bed drink our tea and chatting about what we would be doing for the day, the Sheep in the field over the road began to kick up a rumpus. There was a clanging of gates and the noise of a vehicle, so we could only assume that the farmer had either come to check his flock, or was taking the Sheep elsewhere. It all happens in the countryside. I was born and bought up into farming and belive me the countryside is a noisy old place. I have known many townies who move to the country for a quiet life and then complain about all the noise from the animals, such as Cows, Sheep and such like. I knew one person who actually complained because the cows were calling in the morning and he asked the farmer if he could shut them up. Another family moved into a country house near me, which is also near an Army and Air Force base. On a regular basis they go out on maneuvers, which I grew up with. One this one particular night the Chinook Helicopters were flying over on maneuvers and the gentleman of the family rang the Air Base and asked if they could stop flying over his house because the helicopters were keeping his children awake. The countryside is not as quiet as people think.

Breakfast over and dog walked, we set off for Market Harborough on a short jaunt, which took us just under 2 hours. There are some stunning views on this stretch of the canal and at this time of the year when the leaves are falling, you get to see so much more. When we arrived in Market Harborough basin, we winded and pulled up on the sanitary station to empty the cassette and get rid of rubbish. We then moved out on to the 48 hour moorings, which were very quiet for a change. Having moored up, we took the wheels off of the sack barrow and Keith went off to find somewhere to get them fixed. I headed off down the town to buy fruit and veg and to get a couple of items which did not arrive with our Tesco delivery. The walk down into the town is easy peasy because it is down hill, but it is always a bit of a slog back up to the basin and today I would make that trip twice as I went back down the town to buy some bits for the business. Keith came back from his shopping trip with bits and pieces for the boat, having been into Homebase. He left our wheels at ATS as they need to order new tyres, so we have to wait for a phone call from them. Apparently the tyres were only 4 ply, so he is going to get us some extra strong ones, which should mean they will be up to the task of helping me deliver coal. It is nice to be back in Market Harborough, it always means we get to catch up with friends David and Viv on NB First Fruits and I dare say we will catch up with others over the next couple of day. I now have to think about tonights dinner and what we are going to have, so I will draw this posting to a close and wish you a good evening.

Welford to Foxton.

Hello Dear Readers.

I would firstly like to say thank you anyone who pops in from time to time to read my ramblings. I do try to make them as interesting as possible.

The weekend begins here as it is Friday and the weather must have had that Friday feeling, because as I opened the cabin door this morning, the fog greeted me. Before we set off from the Welford Arm this morning, we had to take on some water, empty a cassette and get rid of rubbish. So after breakfast and our first cuppa of the day, we pulled the boat over the water point, just as we were mooring up an other boat pulled in front of us. Now the water point has two taps on one post and we both connected up our hoses to fill our tanks, but the water pressure was so slow, with us both using it, we disconnected and tried the tap on the sanitary station, which greatly improved things. Whilst the tank was filling, I prepared a Chicken to go in the back cabin oven, so it will be nicely cooked by the time dinner comes around this evening. The other boat which had taken on water winded and left in front of us. They were already going down in the lock as we approached it. We left the Welford Arm at 10.45am and set off towards Foxton. The fog was getting thicker and the temperature was on the cold side. Even in Husbands Bosworth Tunnel it was foggy. So much so that we could not see the exit portal until we were 300 metres from it. Our boat was pushing the fog through the tunnel, it was fun to watch. The only boats we saw this morning were the hire boats from Market Harborough, it looked like all the private boats stayed moored up due to the weather. Even the wildlife were in hiding. At Bridge 49 near Lodge Farm we always see this old Collie. He seems to patrol the towpath between bridges 49 and 50. Maybe he has taken retirement from herding and now thinks he should herd the boats instead.
We arrived at our destination having travelled 8.6 miles in 3 hours 39 minutes and I only worked 1 lock. We moored next to Gumley Road Bridge No.60, just above Foxton top lock. The moorings look full up in front of us. The Chicken in the back cabin stove is cooking nicely and there is a lovely smell coming from the back cabin. The passers-by will be made to feel very hungry as they walk past our boat. Having been followed by the grass cutters yesterday, I reckon most of the mown grass is inside our boat, so I need to get the broom out. Even Paddy has been bring it in on his paws. On saying that, it is nice to see the towpaths and edges cut properly. The contractors have done a good job this year.

Has anyone seen this boat about on the system?This Canal boat has an airlock for doors, a periscope that goes up and down, but isn't quite finished yet, and 360-degree video monitors that enable it to be steered from inside. It has sonar and radar systems, infra-red lighting and storage for dummy torpedoes where the sleeping quarters are. It is certainly going to grab the headlines.

Almost on home ground.

Hi Friends.

I thought before I do a piece on today's events, I would talk about losing pets on boats. As many of you know we have a Cat and a Dog onboard. Since we have been on this boat neither of them have ever been lost. Paddy did get lost once on our other boat, but that was not his fault. He was called off of the boat by someone else and then he wandered. he has not done it since. It is far easier for Cat's to get lost or worse drown in the canal. We see so many posters on posts asking if anyone has seen a Cat.
As we have cruised up this section of the Grand Union, this poster is on almost every post. This black Cat Shadow was lost in June and the people are desperate for news. It actually breaks my heart to read posters like this. We took the decision when Marmite was 12 weeks old to put her on a harness and lead when she wants to go off of the boat. She is now over 3 years old and knows no difference. Some people have questioned me as to why I keep her on a lead and as I tell them, I do not want to lose her. Last Summer we saw two Cats floating in the canal, they had both drowned. I would hate to be sat waiting and hoping for news of Marmite. A friend recently lost her dog and she was beside herself with worry. Thankfully he did turn up at a stables. We do have friends who have Cats on boats and their Cats wander and then return to the boat, but they can spend hours waiting for their Cat to return before they can move off. Having any animal onboard a boat should be really thought about carefully. We are lucky that our animals have adjusted to their lives onboard and are extremely happy, but this is not the case for all pets.

It is Tuesday and the sun has just come out after what was a dull start. The first thing I heard was the roar of the traffic on the Motorway. It is really quite deafening, when you usually have the peace and quiet of the countryside to yourselves. We left our mooring at 8.50am and were straight away were behind another boat nb Annie Rose. As we pulled out behind them, nb Relaine was then behind us. We thought yippee at last someone to share locks with, but our hopes were dashed when nb Annie Rose pulled over below the Buckby flight to allow us past, they were with nb Relaine and wanted to share with them, so we were on our own yet again.
The couples on both boats very kindly helped us with the locks though, so my job was made a little easier. The Buckby Flight Locks can be absolute pigs when they want to be, with heavy gates and stiff paddles. It is a gym workout in one coming up the flight.A Virgin train sped on its way. I am so glad I do not do life in the fast lane these days. What with the trains to our left and the Motorway to our right, it was a noisy old morning. The colours of Autumn are becoming more apparent by the day. We arrived at the top of the Buckby Flight and moored up at 11am having done 1.9 miles and 7 locks. A huge thank you to the crews on Relaine and Annie Rose for their help and chatter.
All tied up, coffee was made whilst Keith emptied one of the toilet cassettes. Then the boat jobs began. We have taken off our terrets for the winter. They have been cleaned and put away with the plume. Keeping the Brass work clean during the Winter is much more time consuming, so it is easier to take some of it off and put it away until the Spring. Lunch time was soon upon us, so we took a break from the jobs to have something to eat and drink. After a little light surfing of the internet, we started on the next round of jobs, which included replacing a water pipe on the generator, tightening a leak on the Calorifier. Neither of these jobs was as simple as they sound, because it meant taking everything out of the engine room to get to the jobs in the first place. At least our mooring has a concrete edge, so great for standing things on. There was lots of groaning and huffing before the jobs were complete, I then bled the skin tank to get any air out of the system, theis entailed me emptying the bed 'ole and climbing into the space with a large screw driver and a lead light. Another job done and dusted. The next job was to move coal around in the hold, which of course meant us both getting covered in coal dust. With deliveries to make at the end of this week, I wanted the coal to be easy to get to. It also gave me the chance to tidy things up once again. So all in all it has been a fantastic day for getting things done. Tomorrow we will be heading on to the Leicester Line and that is home ground for the Winter. We are now settled in for the day now and in front of us is Jayne and Ray on nb No Direction. They were also at the Village at War weekend.

Time to say goodbye.

Hi Friends.

After a fantastic weekend of fun and frolics, it was time to wave cheerio to Stoke Bruerne and our friends. We had to head off back towards the Leicester Line, as I have a coal delivery to make at the end of the week. Leaving a head of us was The Cheese Boat and the Fudge Boat, so we followed them into the tunnel. We should have supplied them with earplugs, as it can get rather noisy in a tunnel with us. We had to make a quick stop at Blisworth to tighten up a cooling pipe which was leaking, but were soon on our way once more. We passed by Blisworth Marina, where Roger was standing on the back of
nb Windsong, so we gave him a wave. We met Jayne, Roger's wife further along the canal, as she was out walking the dog. It was a quick hello and goodbye, but we did get to chat to them at Stoke Bruerne over the weekend. We pulled in at Stowe Hill Wharf to fill up with diesel. The tank took far more than we expected, some 361 litres infact, but that will keep us going for a few months. It should keep us on the move way into next year all being well. At 68p a litre, it made a large dent in this month's bank balance. No treats for us this month.

These two pooches certainly know how to relax. They were snoozing away the day in the sunshine. It sure is a dogs life.
I took a photo of this boat a few days ago, but did not get the stern in and so I thought I would take this photo. I love the smiley face on the back doors. They have moved out of the wood they were camped in, so I wonder if they have been moved on.
On our travels today we met up with two ladies walking their dogs. At first I did not recognise them, as they were not with their respective boats. It was Jill from nb Matilda Rose and Lesley off of nb. Caxton. We could not stop, but I am sure we will see them again sometime.
I made us some lunch on the move, as it was such a wonderful day weatherwise. If only it had been this sunny yesterday. Because I have the back cabin stove on the go, making drinks is easy because the kettle is always on the boil. I even got out the biscuit box for a change. I had bought the biscuits for the weekend, but we were so busy, we did not get time to enjoy them.
Our journey today ended at Bridge 18, Muscott, have cruised 12.8miles, in 5hrs 35mins. Having moored up, we closed the boat up and then walked up to The Heart of the Shires Shopping Village. The Shopping Village is set around a Victorian courtyard, and is very pretty. They have allsorts of shops there, but there was nothing that either caught my eye or I actually needed. Boats do not need any clutter on them, everything has to have its place. We arrived back onboard the boat and there was an almighty bang outside. At first I thought it was a gas gun, but then the bang was followed by a lot of clattering. It turned out to be a lorry on the motorway. He had blown a tyre. Just as well he had plenty of others on that side to compensate. Even so I watched from the bridge as the motorway maintenance men went to the lorry drivers aid.
Dinner tonight was care of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. On one of his programs recently he gave out a recipe for a Sardine meal, so I made it for dinner tonight. If you fancy making this meal, here's how you do it.


2-3 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
1 small onion, or half a medium onion, finely sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tin (about 120g) of sardines in oil, drained
Dash or two of milk.

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Then, in a small frying pan melt a little butter and gently fry onions until softened. Add potatoes and fry for a few minutes longer. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
2. Grease a small gratin dish or oven-proof dish with a little butter then tip in half of the potato and onion mixture. Top with sardines, then tip over remaining potato mixture. Add a dash or two of milk to the dish, then cover (check if covered with foil) and bake for 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Uncover and bake for a further 5 minutes, until golden on top.

I have managed to get a poor TV signal. But it will do for the news. After that it may have to be a DVD, as watching pictures through a snow storm is not good for the eyes.

I am going to say good evening. Have a lovely evening and stay safe.

A brillant weekend had by all.

Hi Folks.

I have had a wicked weekend at The Village at War, at Stoke Bruerne. There were some truly amazing things to see and experience.
On Saturday the weather was wonderful. The sun came out on an off all day, which bought lots of people out. They like us were not disappointed with the atmosphere and the things going on around us. On the main event field, they did re-enactments and had stalls which had vintage clothing, army clothing and all things to do with the 1940's. It was really incredible to see just how well some of the things had survived.
Keith and I both dressed up for the event. I wore both my dungarees and my 1940's dress, head scarf and apron. Some of the people who dressed for the occasion, had thought of every detail. This couple really impressed me, with their American Army uniforms. Not only did we get all things military, civilians were dressed to the nines as well and all of them adding to the atmosphere. PC Plod paid us a visit and very welcome he was too.
We had lots of visitors yesterday, including Pip and Roger off of nb. Windsong, who are moored at Blisworth Marina at the moment.
Today the weather was not wonderful, infect it was pouring with rain for most of the day. It was a day to do the indoor things, but as we are tough boaters, we ventured down on to the events field again, and pottered around the stalls, chatting to folk as we ventured into the tents. Afterwards we went into the Museum as entry was free to ticket holders and on the top floor they had a small quilt exhibition. Low and behold we saw this small quilt by Hilda Goddard. If you look at the middle row, on the left hand side you will see our water cans. Famous again it seems.
Back down on the events field they had a Spitfire and for £35 you could sit in the areoplane and have the engine running. I personally think £35 is a little steep, but I suppose you are sitting in a piece of history.
It has been the most fantastic weekend, we would not have missed it for the world, even with the dodgy weather.

Etiquette Lessons for Towpath Users.

British Waterways has decided it is time towpath users are educated so they have teamed up with etiquette experts Debrett's in a bid to educate towpath users about how to share the capital’s canals politely.
My question is why only London, what about the rest of the system and do they actually think this will make any difference at all?
I fear it is yet another waste of money.
It also appears that they have forgotten the boater yet again. It is no fun trying to moor up and work locks while dodging cyclists racing a long the towpath. I have repeatedly had to stop what I am doing to allow cyclists past because they are going to fast to stop.
Most cyclists are actually very considerate of other users on towpaths but there are a few who really just do not get it and they never will. It costs nothing to be polite, and I always try to think of others. I was taught that as a child. I wonder what some are being taught by their parents.
I really cannot see this making anysort of difference. It may just make some people more angry, because they are being told what to do.
I wonder if this will also include fishermen who insist on having their long poles across the towpaths, making them a hazard. They really are opening a can of worms with this idea.

Wet, Wet Wet.

Hi Friends.

Happy 1st October. Pinch and punch for the first day of the month............. No return.
I would love to be able to say it is bright and sunny outside, but I am sad to say I cannot. It is now throwing it down with rain and the wind is getting up. This is not boding well for the weekend. But hey will I or anyone else here be despondent. No I do not think so, after all we are British.
Going back to yesterday evening. Keith got cold as the afternoon wore into the evening, so after I did him Cheese on Toast for tea, I lit the saloon stove so that he could take his double layered fleece off and the two shirts he had on underneath. I was in my short sleeves and was not cold at all. Fire lit, things soon warmed up and before long he was stripping off (Now ladies calm down) and by the end of the evening he had no shirt on at all it was so hot. The fire had gone into overdrive, but we did at least have a very warm boat. The radiator in the bathroom was working properly as well, which was good news, but we think we have a leak on the pipework going to the calofier, so that circuit has been turned off until we can find the problem. It is probably a leaky joint where we change the stop cocks in the Summer. I did not make the fire up any further, as it was gonna be a hot night in bed as it was. (Get your mind out of the gutter). 8.45pm I made up the back cabin stove, so that it was not to hot for bedtime, but again that stove was also going mad and neither of us slept that well.
I was awake on and off and at 6am we were both laying awake listening to an Owl outside hooting away, but getting no reply. There was nothing else for it but to make us both a nice cup of tea and then settle back down for some extra kip. By the the time we got up, it was very overcast, but it was not raining, so Paddy and I had a nice walk through the woods. Unlike yesterday there were no singing birds, just the wind rustling the Autumn leaves. I have noticed that the Swallows, House Martins and Swifts have all but gone now. They have set off for a warm Winter climate. You just know that when they leave it is a sign that things are on the chill. Yesterday I did see a few straggling House Martins, they were probably this years babies. As we walked through the trees, there were lots sticks to pick up which are ideal for the fire. No sonner we were back onboard, the rain began to fall, at first a drizzle, but it is now rain heavily and looks set for the day. We are going to see if we can find the leak on the heating, which means demolishing the engine room to get to the pipework, that will be real fun in this weather. But it needs doing and as we cannot do anything outside, we just as well get this job out of the way. I may bake a cake as well, ready for the weekend, I will see if the mood takes me. I may be back later, but if not then you all have a wonderful day.

A wonderful day.

Hi Friends.

It has been a wonderful day, which began with a cup of tea in bed. Marmite came and said good morning to us both and then began complaining that we had slept in. I found out when I got up she was miffed because her food bowl was empty. We did not get up till after 9am, which is late for us, but we have nothing to do until the weekend so we can chillout. Once I did crawl out of bed, we rolled the bed up and shut the bed 'ole door, hiding everything away. I then took Paddy for his walk up through the woods. It was beautiful out, with a fine mist on the surface of the canal. The birds were singing their hearts out.
Once back onboard, the animals were fed and then I preceeded to make up the back cabin stove and put the Copper Kettle on ready for coffee.
After a relaxing breakfast of Mushrooms on Toast which Keith made, we set off down the towpath to find nb No Direction, to see if Jayne and Ray were around. Below the second lock, the water was flowing over the gates, making a pretty picture with the trees leaves taking on their Autumn colours. Jayne and Ray were not onboard, but we did meet up with them up near the museum, and got to have a chat. We will see them over the weekend no doubt. The organiser of this weekends event were beginning to set up tents and the Helter Skelter was being put together, which bought back memories of the old fashioned fun fairs. There are obviously still a few operating and we have one of them here for this weekend. I don't suppose I will be allowed to go on it, as it is probably only for children, but hey who knows. They are also putting up swings and other fun fair rides. I will take more photographs as they go up. Whilst chatting to friends outside of the Museum, Geraldine and Michael arrived on the Cheese Boat. Geraldine and Michael sell Welsh Cheeses, Pickles and Chutneys and they are all yummy. It was wonderful to see them both again. There is never any dull moment with them around. By the time we had finished nattering to everyone it was time for lunch, so we went to The Spice of Bruerne for something to eat. They do a lunchtime deal so when ever we are here we go and eat for £6.95 each. There food is excellent and we always enjoy wonderful service. With a full tummy, some work needed to be done to work it off, so back onboard the boat I started cleaning the brass on the outside of the boat. No sooner that was done, I smeared Vaseline over the brass to stop it tarnishing and then I wiped the boat over. She is now looking spick and span. Keith cleaned the brass on the engine. I then cleaned the engine room out, so anyone wanting to look at our rare vintage National engine, will not have to look at all the clutter as well. With all the boat jobs done and dusted, I set off with my wood bucket to collect sticks. These will be used on the back cabin stove at night to help keep the stove in. I enjoy hunting in the woods for wood. I know I am very strange ha ha ha. With the afternoon turning towards the evening, I have shut the boat up as it is beginning to become chilly.
We have had a wonderful day catching up with old friends and meeting up with the public who have come to visit the museum. I love chatting to folk and can honestly say I could probably chat for England sometimes.
I am now off to make dinner and then have a relaxing time in front of the TV. So have a good evening.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Stoke Bruerne for the weekend.

Hi Friends.

We sure had plenty of rain overnight and it did not bode to well for the morning's cruise of 5.3 miles to Stoke Bruerne. But when we got up although it was very overcast, it was not rain yippee. This was not just good for us to move, but also for Paddy who absolutely hates getting wet. He jumped off the boat to a wet towpath, but he still enjoyed running up and down the towpath like a demented hound. By the time I got back to the boat, Keith had already started to fire the engine into life. I fed Mog and Dog their breakfast and then donned my Donkey Jacket. TV ariel down and mooring pins safely stowed away, we were off on what was a gloomy looking morning.
On this stretch of the canal there seems to be no end of moored boats and this does not include the ones on the BW permanant mooring sites, so we spent a lot of time in tick over. We passed by Blisworth Marina and looked out for Pip and Roger on nb Windsong, although the boat was in the marina, there was no sign of them, but who could blame them for staying inside on a dull morning. Maybe we will see them on the return trip.
There was I thinking how wonderful it was to have a dry cruise and then we entered Blisworth Tunnel, which was pouring with water. It was busy with a couple of boats behind us and boats coming towards us. At one point I thought a car was coming towards us head on, because all's I could see was two huge headlights on full blast. If I had not of known better I would have thought it was a car. It was of course a narrowboat with two headlamps, which was total overkill. They could have done with one of those lamps at the stern because they did not have any lights at the stern, meaning anyone following them would not see them until the last moment. They were not the only ones with no stern lighting. Of the Five boats we past in the tunnel the only one to have any stern lighting was a hire boat. Boaters really should think, if you have no stern lighting, then at least put on some cabin lights so you can be seen by other boats following. We always put our stern navigation light, back cabin lights and engine room lights, as well as the headlamp of course. You need to be seen in a tunnel. We exited the tunnel and it was still dry. Keith winded the boat at the winding hole and we then reversed into a mooring. This is so we are facing in the right direction for the return journey after the weekend.
We are now safely moored at Stoke Bruerne ready for the "Village at War" this coming weekend. We have been looking forward to this for some time, and it always nice to know we have arrived in plenty of time and not been held up on the way, phew, what a relief. having locked up the boat, we walked down to the museum to see if anyone was about. So far the Fudge boat has arrived, along with Historic Working Boats Stanton and Cyprus, so not many here yet. NB No Direction is down on the long pound ready for the weekend. I know this because it is written in their blog and I know the Cheese Boat is on its way. Now we just need some decent weather for the weekend. I am so looking forward to this weekend. There is some great entertainment on offer throughout the weekend, so if your at a loose end why not come and have a look.
It is now raining with a passion, which is really not what we need to see with the weekend coming, but on the other hand we do need the water to keep the boats afloat. I hope that it brightens up for the weekend, otherwise it could be a washout, which would be a real shame, especially as this is the 70th Anniversary of the 'Battle of Britain' and we should remember those who gave their lives, so that we may be free.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Crick and beyond.

Hi Folks.

It was time to leave Crick and head in the direction of Stoke Bruerne. Unfortunately the weather was not to impressive when I stepped off the boat with Paddy this morning at 7am for his walk. We were up early, because the idea was to set off early, so we would arrive at the Watford Locks early enough to fill up with water and get down the locks before the queue's start.
7.30am we left the mooring and crept past the moored boats, heading for Crick Tunnel. There were no other boats using the tunnel, but there were Bats flying up and down the tunnel keeping us company. It may well have been we woke them up. It is the first time we have ever seen Bats in Crick Tunnel, so maybe it is a new haunt for them. Crick Tunnel was built in 1814 by engineers James Barnes and Benjamin Bevan, and it is 1528 yards long. We arrived at Watford Locks and Terry the lock keeper was there and the locks were open. He informed us that a boat was coming up and we could then head down, so we decided to fill up the water tank and empty the rubbish whilst we waited. We also got to have a good old natter to Terry about allsorts of things, which included the state of the canals at the moment. Even Watford Locks is in need of some TLC. We waited for about and hour and then it was our turn to descend the flight with a couple of other boasts behind. Terry (lock keeper) told another boater he could come up the flight once we had all got down, but in the meantime, they could come up the first two locks and then pull into the layby. By the time we had worked our way down the staircase the hireboat was coming out of the second lock, but had not pulled into the layby as told, so I had to go and ask them to pullover and tie up, but they were struggling. With my instructions and guidance, I managed to get them to reverse their boat back towards the lock, so that I could grab their centre rope. I then hauled them into the layby and moored them up. Paddles up we descended the flight worked towards the last two locks. The gentleman on the hire boat, said "I now know why you wanted us out of the way, otherwise you would have collided with us". I explained to him, being 70ft we need all the water we can get, which made him laugh. I think it gave them a bit of excitement.
10.50am we arrived at Norton Junction and turned on to the main line heading towards the Buckby Flight. There was a boat already in the double lock and he was closing the gates, so Keith got on the Klaxon to let the gentleman know we were coming and would share the lock with him. He did wait for us, which was apprechiated. It soon became apparent that he was single handed and was grateful for our help, as he was a virgin boater of three weeks. David and his nb Mabel are heading for Milton Keynes and is as he put in on a learning curve. I can honestly say I worked flippin hard working all of the locks for both boats, but I still found it enjoyable. As Keith and David moved the boats, I walked between the locks on the flight. The pounds were very low for the first four locks, which is not good, especially with the amount of boats using the flight. When we arrived to work the last of the flight, there was a queue waiting to work up the flight. We said cheerio to David who moored up and wished him well as we carried on our way. I made lunch on the run as it was now 12.30pm and both of us needed something to eat. I reckon I worked off a few calories.
This boat caught my eye. It is a throw back to the 60's and 70's in its colour scheme. They clearly wanted the whole affect because the fenders are also very colourful. This boat made up a group of boats moored up together a long with a tented village, which has been developing over a few months. We passed our friends Hilary and Andy on nb The Maisibert, but there was no one around. We also passed our friends David and Elaine on their nb Patience, but once again no one at home.
When ever we pass Flore Wharf, I always giggle at these birds, but normally they are going round and round on their posts being blown by the breeze. Today there was no such breeze and so they are stationary.
At Bugbrooke there is a boater with a sense of humour. Or maybe he is really a Grumpy Old Git. We had a long day today travelling from Crick to Bridge 42 on the Grand Union Main line between Bugbrooke and Gayton junction. But it has been a pleasureable day cruising the 14.9 miles, I worked 14 locks, in 8hrs 20mins, phewww! Still just a short run tomorrow to Stoke Bruerne ready for the weekend, which we are both looking forward to ;0)

Monday 27 September 2010

That Monday Feeling.

Hi Friends.

Another weekend has passed us by on our way towards the end of another year and this morning it is very soggy after what looks like some heavy rain overnight. At present it is still drizzling.

So Sunday ended up a quiet affair and us watching the TV. Dinner last night was homemade Moussaka, which although I say it myself was not bad.

When it came to watching the TV delights, I was torn as to what to watch. Of course I watched The X-Factor and was extremely pleased not to see Chloe go through to the judges houses. After seeing the revelations on the front of the Mirror yesterday, there would have been no way that she would have continued in the competition and rightly so. I feel extremely sorry for her daughter, who is growing up in amongst this sordid life she has made for herself. Having seen who has gone through to the judges houses, I feel it is going to be a very strong competition this year, which the girls looking like they are the strongest group and with Cheryl mentoring them, she looks fair to win for a third year. My dilema came at 9pm. Should we watch Downton Abbey on ITV1 or the flim 300 on Channel 5. We went for the film on 5 and I was not impressed with it. I was so un-impressed that I went to bed at 10.30pm, leaving Keith to watch it on his own. He was not over impressed with it either, so now I wish we had watched Downton Abbey. I will have to watch it on i-player to see how good it was. The previews certainly made it look great.

A good nights sleep had, we were awake at 6.30am and by 7am I had made us both a cuppa. Marmite thought it must be playtime, because she was running up and down the boat like a complete mad cat. She then thought we should get up, she jumped on the bed and made it known that it was now time to get out of bed. Marmite certainly knows how to get your attention.

Paddy's walk was in the drizzle. This time we walked up to the Post Office, so that I could post a friends Birthday Card. On returning to the boat, Keith had put the generator on, to charge the batteries. The system is still playing up, but help was on hand in the form of Simon who rang at almost midday to say he was in the marina. So we fired the boat up in heavy drizzle and took her into the marina so Simon could take a look at our inverter. We plugged into a shoreline and he connected his computer to the inverter and ran some diagnostics. It is all way to technical for me. It showed that some temperature sensor thingy ma jig was not working properly, so it was causing the volts to fluctuate. No sooner he disconnected it, the voltage stabalised. But there were still dips happening when the system was loaded, so I put on the washing machine, toaster and immersion on, hoping it would do the trick of turning the inverter off, but yep you guessed it, it did nothing. Simon thinks though it maybe a generator problem, and has given us a few things to try, which of course we will. By this time a couple of hours had passed and Simon was packed up and on the move having of course been paid for his time. We are now back out on the towpath, with a view to moving tomorrow. Keith is now feeling much happier now that he knows what is happening. It is always worrying when you do not know what is causing a problem.

I am now looking forward to getting to Stoke Bruerne for The Village at War Weekend. My only hope is that this weather improves.

Sunday 26 September 2010

Sunday is here.

Hi Friends.

Here we are another Sunday morning and for me it began with a lie in and a cooked breakfast. Keith does a fantastic grilled and poached breakfast. Grilled Bacon and Mushrooms, with Poached Eggs on Toast. There is no better way to start a Sunday.

Before I go on with this morning's rambling, I would like to say something about last night's TV. I will begin with the X-Factor. I dare say some of you do not watch it or cannot get it in your part of the world. I am a fan and I have no idea why. I guess I like to watch new discovered talent. Last night it was the first of two programs at Boot Camp, the second part is tonight. Last night they had to sing and do a bit of dancing. Many of the contestants were taking it very seriously, because they know that if they make it through to the live shows it could change their lives for ever, however there was one person, who felt she did not need to arrive on time or put the work in and yet so far she has made it through, her name is Chloe Victoria. Now whilst she will have her fans, It makes me so cross that despite knowing she had to be at Boot Camp early, she arrived late as she had been out on the razz the night before. Does this sound like someone who is committed to her singing career?
Chloe Victoria is not doing herself or her family and friends any favours with her behaviour or attitude. She is a mother to a young daughter, this is no example to set to her daughter. She is behaving as if, life owes her something. Also who on earth taught her to wear false eye lashes like that?
They look hideous all clumped together with mountains of mascara. I said to Keith, if they stripped the make-up off and dressed her less like a tramp, she would be a beautiful young woman. If she makes it through Boot Camp, I hope someone takes her in hand, because this show could either make or break her, but she needs to really want it, like the other contestants, who are working their socks off. Well done to Mary Byrne for getting through to Boot Camp, she is an inspiration to us more mature women, I hope she gets through to the live shows. One of my favourites at the moment is Cher, she has a wonderful voice and yet she really does not know how talented she is. I can see her going all the way. Since starting this post I have been up to the shop to get some Mushrooms with Keith and he spotted The Mirror newspaper. If the reports about Chloe Victoria are correct in the paper, then she should be thrown off of the show with immediate affect. I knew I was a good judge of character, which in a way is very sad.
After watching the X-Factor we watched 'Simply Red' For the last time. Mick Hucknall has decided it is now time to wind up 'Simply Red' after a career which has lasted 25 years. Like most people sitting watching it at home and in the studio audience, I could not help but join in with all the songs he sang. Mick Hucknall wants to spend more time with his family and from listening to his life, it seems he has finally found what he has been looking for. I wish him the very best for the future. Ok TV ramblings over for another day.

Back to Sunday and breakfast was yummy as always when Keith cooks it. I cook all the other meals, so this is left as his domain. I walked his lordship and made up the back stove, which is smoking away nicely. The generator was put on and we have issues with the Invertor/Charger at the moment. It all began a few weeks ago when a battery was gasing, which it should not do as it is a Gel Battery. we have a man coming hopefully tomorrow to check the Invertor/ Charger over for us, as it is not working properly for some reason, which is worrying me a bit.
Living on a boat is never completely worry free at the moment it seems. If it is not health issues, it is boat issues. I am looking forward to the day when we have no issues at all. Not that this will ever happen, because there is always something going on. We have a Generator built in, this is because with a loud vintage engine, we do not want to just run it to charge the batteries when moored up. So we opted to have a Generator fitted when the boat was built. It is great because I use it for the washing machine, it charges our batteries and we can also use it when doing work on the outside of the boat. Normally to charge the batteries it takes about an hour with the Generator running, maybe a bit longer if I am doing a large wash. We also have the Immersion Heater on for hot water as well. Because our Generator is built into the engine room, when it is running it sounds like a quiet boat engine, so it does not annoy the neighbours. One always has to be respectful of others when living on a boat.
I have some paintwork to sort out today if the weather stays fine and then I am going to put my feet up and watch the F1 Grand Prix from Singapore. We are open for business should anyone need some coal etc, so it could actually end up being a busy old day.
Whatever your doing today, have a lovely Sunday ;0)

Saturday 25 September 2010

The Weekend is here.

Hiya Friends.

Last evening was most certainly the coldest we have had as the Autumn takes a grip. At least with the back cabin stove going, we had the chill taken off of the inside of the boat. As the evening drew on the sky cleared and a frost was on the cards. After dinner we settled in front of the TV for a night of entertainment. I have to say the most entertaining part of the TV schedule was 'The Paul O'Grady Show', on ITV at 9pm. I am over joyed that Paul is back on our TV screens, because he will always make you smile when your feeling down. Not that I am down right now, but you know what I mean. His guests were Kylie, Bob Hoskins and Jo Brand, with fun and laughter thrown in for good measure.
Before watching 'The Paul O'Grady Show', I had to make the back cabin stove up for the night, so the routine of half filling the stove with house coal, then sticks and finally ash was perforned as normal, with a hope that the fire did not go out during the night. This has only ever happened on a couple of occasions. Sliding beneath a warm duvet was so nice. It most definitely gets a good nights sleep off to the perfect start.
The first I knew of this morning was at 7.15am, when Keith climbed over me to go to the toilet, so I got up and stoked the back cabin stove, and raked out the ash to allow the fire to breath back into life. Hey presto the fire was roaring away once more and the back cabin was snug. I placed the kettle on the stove so that it would have a chance to heat up and hopefully boil in time for our morning coffee. As we were awake I got up and made us both a cup of tea and we lay in bed nattering about Eberspächer's and how economical they are. I know a strange thing to natter about in bed, but the boat in front of us has one, which was running and it made me question how economical they are running for hours on end. We have friends who had an Eberspächer on their boat and two Winter's running at the coldest time, the Eberspächer stopped working, meaning they had no heating at all. This was when they realised they should of had a coal stove as back-up. I can imagine that many people make the mistake of not having any sort of back-up heating, which is a huge mistake. I am so thankful we have two coal stoves, so no back-up is required. I am not saying that the Eberspächer does not have a use, but as an only source of heating, it could be a disaster. The salesmen will tell you what you want to hear when you enquire about how effective and economical they are. I bet they never say you should also have a back-up for your heating. Before signing on the dotted line, people need to check out all the options and speak to lots of other boaters before buying anything. Because what suits one boater may not suit another.
After getting up for breakfast, Paddy got his usual morning walk in beautiful sunshine, with a fine mist rising up off the canal, it was stunning.
I took off to the local Co-op for a few supplies. Crick Village is a pretty little place, set in the pleasantly rolling countryside of Northamptonshire. There is an excellent pub in the village called The Red Lion, which does very nice affordable food. Laden down with my rucksack full of goodies, I strolled back to the boat, where Keith was busy on his laptop. I made us a coffee and a Chicken Casserole, which we will have for tonights dinner. The Casserole will slow cook in the back cabin stove all day, so anyone walking past our boat is going to be hit with a delicious smell.
Having a coal stove of any description on a boat is invalid, because not only can it be used for heating the boat, you can also use it to cook on. So many people we chat to have never thought of using the top of their Morso Squirrel for cooking or keeping a kettle hot on. What ever your stove, you can cook a stew or casserole on it, by making it first thing in the morning and leaving it on the stove all day whilst you cruise. By the end of the day you have a nice warming meal already cooked for you to enjoy. The same goes for heating a kettle. It may not boil, but will be hot enough that you can finish it off on the gas, which saves you gas. The ash pan can be used to bake potatoes in as well. It is all about making the most of what you have. And yet many people never think of these things and are amazed when we mention these ideas to them.
The F1 qualifying is on this afternoon, so I will be watching that no doubt and then we will see where the rest of the day takes me. Have a great day.

Friday 24 September 2010

Mountain Barn Bridge to Crick.

Hello Fellow Blogger's and Visitor's.

After settling in yesterday on our mooring, we sat down for our evening meal of Liver and Onions, with Veg and Potatoes and that was followed by a nice hot shower. The evening's TV was pretty average until it came to 9pm on BBC1 when we sat and watched 'Lost Land of the Tiger'. It was a three part documentary following a team searching for tigers in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. It is extremely sad to think that within two decades the Tiger could be gone in the wild, if a solution is not found into keeping them alive in the wild. This program followed nature experts as they searched for Tiger's and tried to discover if they could survive in the Bhutan Mountains. I have to say I was glued to the last episode, as it was confirmed that Tiger's were infact already using the Bhutan Mountains as habitat. So there is hope for this magnificent creature. We ended the evening with 'Mock the Week' and then headed off to bed.

This morning we were awake at 7am and it was time for a cup of tea. I have no idea why we were both awake at this hour, but needs must so the kettle was put on the stove. When I stand in the galley early in the morning waiting for the kettle to boil, I start thinking about the day ahead, and what I need to get done, or what it has in store for us. Marmite followed me into the galley from her bed in the engine room, she was peckish so tucked into her dry food. Paddy on the other hand was still snoozing in his bed. Age is beginning to catch up with him it seems. The kettle began to whistle to announce that it had boiled, this breaks my train of thought, which at 7am is never that deep in the first place. We had a night of heavy rain, so the portholes were covered in rain drops, so I could not see much, but I could tell it was very dull and overcast. Whilst the tea was stewing, Marmite decided it was a good time to play throw the feather, which she has pulled out from under the fridge, freezer. Marmite hides all her feathers under the fridge, freezer. I have no idea why, but that is where she tends to put them, until she wants them. 7am is not in my opinion a good time for playing, but she cannot tell the time ;0). Outside a Chaffinch was singing a merry little tune. Tea stirred it was off back to bed. Sitting in bed, I could hear the traffic from the Motorway and a Blackbird, which seemed to be in a temper over something. After settling down for half an hour, we then were up and about. I took Paddy for a run across the field in the rain, whilst Keith made us a Bacon Sandwich for breakfast. Just after 9am we left our mooring. The rain had now stopped, but the wind was blowing a gale, which would make for some interesting cruising to Crick. The scenery along this stretch is very pretty even in the overcast conditions. With only a couple of other boats on the move, we had a very quiet cruise. We skirted past the new Yelvertoft Marina, where we noticed a man running towards us. I thought me may want coal, but he only wanted to take our photo and to enquire where we were going. Onward past Cracks Hill a curious mound with picturesque views, we arrived at the Crick Moorings and moored up after a couple of attempts to get in, as the moorings are a little shallow. A gentleman asked if we could deliver some coal to his boat, which was not a problem and no sooner we were walking down the towpath to his boat, another boater asked if he could also have some. It was a busy old morning delivering coal. But as the weather has taken a change for the worse, people are looking to keep warm. David and Margaret on nb Adrastea are moored up on the Crick moorings, so we caught up with there news. We will see them over the weekend.
After lunch we put out some coal fliers, because the Crick moorings are used for Winter moorings, so we may get very busy when they are in use. We went over to A.B.N.B to say hello. We bought our first boat 'Misty Lady from them. Keith wanted to enquire if we could load coal on the wharf. We also went to Edwards of Crick to make sure they would be ok with us loading coal if need be. No one had an issue with our request. So it is yet another place we can use, should the need arise. It is always polite to ask. I never take anything for granted.
The TV ariel is up and we have a very good digital signal, so if the weather stays naff, we at least have the TV to watch.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Welford Junction to Mountain Barn Bridge.

Hi Folks.

It was a little damp around the edges this morning. The September Equinox is officially here and it is all down hill to Christmas. Yep I mentioned the C word. Come out from behind those hands, you have to face it Christmas is coming fast, the shops say so. Ok enough of the C word.

We had a lie in this morning, which was very nice, having woken on and off listening to the rain. The rain is so welcome, because the canal up here is in need of some extra water. By the time we got up and dressed it was dry and Paddy did not get a wet coat during his stroll along the towpath. Whilst out walking I took the opportunity to put out some notices about the coal run. Back onboard, we got all the morning chores done before setting off at 10.10am. We were not planning on going far. But no sooner we set off we met up with Mark on Historic Working Boat 'Callisto', and as seems the norm we met them on a bend. It is either on a bend or in a bridge 'ole. It was nice to finally meet Mark, as we had heard that he was coming our way. We got to have a quick chat in passing, with a hope that we would be able to have a proper natter, when he comes back our way. We were so busy nattering, that the boat took herself off into the bank and Hawthorn bush, which wanted to devour our Kebb. So I legged it down the gunwale to retrieve the Kebb, before the bush ate it and we would never see it again. The rain held off for the rest of our jaunt through some really picturesque countryside and we arrived at Mountain Barn Bridge, where we are now moored for the day. All moored up and I did us Ravioli on toast for lunch, we then settled down to watch 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' One of my all time favourite films. I never get fed up of seeing it.
As we are moored at Mountain Barn Bridge (27). I thought it only right and proper to go and have a look at this Barn on a mountain.
It is actually a barn on a hill. Maybe it was Hobbits that named it and to them this hill would look like a mountain, as it certainly gets your heart pumping on the way up. Once up there you get a stunning view of the valley.The barn is derelict, which is a real shame, but not only was there this small barn, hiding behind it was another one.This large one still has some of its roof, but is going the same way as the smaller barn, which is a real pity. I can imagine that in years gone by, they were used to house cattle and feed. These days they are probably home to the wildlife. I have looked online, but cannot find anything reported about the barns. So if anyone knows anything about them, please let me know.Alongside the path up to the barns is a wooded area, which is looked after by the Woodland Trust. It has some very old looking trees in it and a lot of wildlife. Fieldside Covert is made up of 15 acres of woodland, which slopes down to the canal. You can walk through the thicket and listen to the birds in the mature trees, which consist of Oaks, Ash, Sycamores, Sweet Chestnuts and other little gems. We saw plenty of evidence of Rabbits and what looked like a dis-used Badger set. Because the ground is so moist under the canopy of trees, Ferns are growing in abundance. We had a lovely stroll around the thicket, before heading back to the boat. The sun keeps poking its head out, keeping it very warm inside and out. It is so warm that Keith sat watching the TV without a shirt on, and we do not have a fire going. Dinner tonight is going to be Liver and Onions with potatoes and veg again. The 71 pence Liver has done us two meals, which is very good going. Marmite and Paddy our laying out on the back counter enjoying the sunshine, so all is good in our world today.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Kingfisher and Dragonflies.

Hi Folks.

We have had a really lovely mornings cruise from Foxton top lock, up the Welford arm, winded, and returned to the moorings by Welford Junction to be in the sunshine.
Our morning began at a sedate pace this morning, after a great nights sleep. I think I slept better last night than I have for a few weeks. Once up and about, I put the kettle on, laid up the breakfast and then took Paddy for his walk in beautiful sunshine. It was so warm that the Dragonflies were darting and hovering over the canal as we walked along the towpath. I do not suppose they will be around for much longer as the frost creeps in.

We had a later start than normal, with the ropes being unlashed at 9.20am. Off into the wide blue yonder we headed and a lovely time was had. A Kingfisher flew in front of us, gliding over the water, its plummage glistening in the sunshine.

There is already evidence that Autumn is knocking on the door. Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn and some of the leaves on the Horse Chestnut trees are already changing colour, from Greens into Autumnal tones. There were a few boats on the move, many of them hire boats from Market Harborough heading back from their holiday's. We did also meet a couple of private boats on the move as well, they are probably on their hols as well and will be heading for their marina moorings for the Winter. We adore the Winter months cruising on the cut, because it is so quiet. Some days we have it all to ourselves.

I got to wear my new ear defenders for the first time as we cruised through Husbands Bosworth Tunnel. They are absolutely excellent, I could hardly hear a thing. I have tried wearing the ear plugs you put in your ears, but I find them painful and they never fit properly, so I invested in a proper pair of ear defenders. All's I need now is a yellow hat and a high vis jacket LOL. We have to wear some ear defence when we go through the tunnels because our boats engine is a little noisy.
We arrived at Welford Junction and headed down the Welford Arm. There were no moorings near the Wharf Inn, so we winded and stopped on the water point, so that I could go and check if the pub needed any coal yet. They have placed an order for October, so we will be back on our return trip from Stoke Bruerne. As the 14 day moorings are under trees and therefore a little dark, we decided to come out of the Welford Arm and moor up on the junction moorings, where it is lovely and sunny. It has been such a pleasant days cruising. I got chatting to some ladies who were on one of the Market Harborough hire boats. I enquired if they were having a lovely time and was told that they were, but they were also finding it a little scary. My reply to this was "Everyone should scare themselves at least once a day, it is what keeps us alive" This got a laugh, but I think it made them feel a little more at ease. My suggestion was they just relaxed and enjoyed the rest of their time out.

The afternoon was really lovely. We got out our chairs and sat out and enjoyed what was left of the afternoon warmth. We also sold some coal to a lovely couple who have a mooring on the Leicester Arm, we hope to see them again throughout the Winter. This is one of the wonderful things about living on the canal, you get to meet some fantastic people. yet as we discussed, if we living in a house we would probably never speak to them in the street, which I do find rather sad. I should however say, before you all go out and buy a boat. It is not the life for everyone, because it is hard work. People get blinded by the scenery and the TV programs glamourising the canals and boats. You do have to be prepared to work very hard some days, especially in the Winter. I will write a piece on the downsides of being a boater at some point. So the afternoon has now given way to the evening and it is 7.20pm and already getting dark arghhhhh. We do have a good TV signal, so we will be sat inside, nice and cosy watching what ever is on. I look forward to a brand new day and brand new challenges.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Up the flight.

Hi Folks.

I think we were both awake with the larks this morning for some reason. I got woken up by the ducks outside going mad. There was a very gobby duck letting the world know they were about. I love ducks, but not at 6.30am when I am supposed to be asleep. There was nothing for it but to get up and make a cup of tea. Having downed my tea, I snuggled back down and did doze back off to sleep. I had a very strange dream about being moored in a basin, where a boating event was about to happen and we were surrounded by boats. I was selling sweets and bric a brac to passing trad. A small lad bought some penny sweets and he wanted his change in five and one pence pieces, so he could play the machines at the arcade. I know totally odd, as I am not sure you can even get penny sweets anymore and you most definitely can not go to an arcade and spend pennies. I got woken out of the dream by the hire boat behind us starting his engine.
That hire boats company almost had me knocking on their boat in my PJ's last night at 9.50pm when their engine started up grrrrrrrrrr. I sat in the chair watching Jamie Oliver, thinking "if they do not turn that engine off, I am going to go and say something". That thought went on for over half an hour, when the engine went off, thank goodness. I am not one for confrontation, as it only ever causes bad feeling, but people should be more respectful of others.
So there was I up at 8.45am and Paddy and I were off across the field. Paddy was actually steaming across the field like a scolded cat (dog). I think it is his favourite place to run. The sun was out and it was beginning to warm the chill.
Breakfast over with, we prepared for the off. Having left the mooring, I walked up and operated the swing bridge. Keith swung the boat on to the lock mooring and I then walked up and found the Lock Keeper who was at the top of the flight. Phew I was all puffed out having reached the top. There was a definite whiff of Bacon in their air coming from the cafe. Ohhhh I could have done with a Bacon butty. The lockie said we could come on up, and that he did not need to give us a hand as we knew what to do. I should hope we do by now, so it was a quick walk back down the flight and I set the first of the locks, whilst Keith chatted to Tony Matts who runs the Bridge 61 pub and the shop. We had a good run up the flight, with walkers and visitors watching on.

Like many visitors to the flight, some were eager to ask questions and take lots of photographs. As we got past half way, Jo and John from nb Acen walked up with the dogs Purdy and Darcy. They very kindly helped with the gates as we chatted our way up the rest of the locks. Having reached the top we decided to moor up, instead of going on. We moored up and then joined Jo and John at the Top Lock Cafe for a coffee and a catch up, which was very enjoyable indeed.
The weather is superb, it is as though we have the Summer back. Come Thursday we will be into the Autumn and any warm weather will be a bonus. We will stay here today and then head off tomorrow.

On a different theme. I was shocked to hear that Tony Wright MBE the lock keeper at Atherstone is no longer in his job. It seems he has become surplus to requirements and has left his job. That is such a shame, because he and his wife were such lovely people and Tony absolutely loved his job. He was always so pleasant to chat to and looked after the flight really well. He will be sadly missed. I can now see the Atherstone Flight being complete chaos.

Monday 20 September 2010

Coal Deliveries and Squirrels.

Good afternoon friends.

We have left Market Harborough for the time being and are on our way to Stoke Bruerne for the 'Village at War Weekend'. Whilst on the move we had to drop coal off to customers along the way.
I like everyone has days when I do not exactly feeling at my best and yet when I see the wildlife surrounding me, it really does put a smile on my face.
This little Squirrel clearly thought it was blending in with the fence... I have news for it, it was not ha ha ha. I saw a few Squirrels today, one was sitting in a Hawthorn bush eating berries, with not a care in the world. Another animal who was not bothered by us this morning was the Rabbit. I saw a few of them as we were on the move and non of them ran a mile.
We are now moored up at Foxton and I am going to head off up to the Museum after lunch to take them our used stamps and tin foil. These get recycled and it helps to raise money for the Museum. May post later if the mood takes me.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Out on a Limb.

Good Afternoon Friends.

Now you know that I have mentioned a few times that we have problems mooring up due to the depth of water, well as you can see from this photograph taken a few moments ago, I am not telling porkies. This is a designated 48 hour mooring outside of Market Harborough basin and it needs dredging. British Waterway's really need to get on the case of designated moorings and do some dredging. It really annoys me that they do not look after popular mooring places. The moorings here are always busy.

After breakfast and a coffee, we moved the boat into Union Wharf. We winded, used the service block, and moored back out on the first towpath mooring. Of course when I say moored up, we are at least 2' from the bank, the water level has now dropped by at least 6", we just hope it doesn't drop any more!
Even Paddy is wondering if he can jump the gap, when it comes to his evening walk.
Moored up and water tank filled, I donned my rucksack and strolled down to Tesco to do a spot of food shopping. I wanted to replace the things we had eaten over the past few days. In all it took me Three quarters of an hour to walk down the town, shop and walk back. Whilst we are here we have caught up with friends David and Viv who are now back on their mooring on board nb First Fruits. It has been a busy old year for them with funeral's, the wedding of their daughter Charlie who is Lorraine in 'The Jersey Boy's. There has not been a dull moment in their lives this year. We know that feeling only two well. I have had a few customers today for Coal, Kindling and Firelighters, I even sold a couple of pump out cards as well, the weather is certainly on the change according to my customers.

I have found time to sweep the saloon and wash the floor. Oh it is an exciting life I lead, but hey someone has to do it. The back cabin stove has been stoked up ready to cook tonight's dinner on and in it. I think we are having Chicken Kiev, with Potatoes and Veg and for pudding a Raspberry Cheesecake, which was going begging in Tesco and it had my name written all over it mmmmm yummy. It will then be time to sit in front of the Tv and watch tonights offerings. Last night I really enjoyed Phil Collins, For One Night Only which was on ITV. I could not help but sing a long to most of the songs. I should have supplied the other half with ear plugs as I am not that good a singer ha ha ha. I will never make it on to X-Factor or maybe I could, after seeing some of the talentless people who go on to that show. It is the last of the Auditions tonight, we then have the boot camp stages to go through. I know there are many who slag off this show, but it amazes me the amount of really talents youngsters there are out there, and why should they not be given a chance to shine. Ok it is true to say some will only have their 5 minutes of fame, but for a few they will go on to bigger and better things. Good Luck to them all I say. Ok I am going now. Have a lovely Sunday folks.

Saturday 18 September 2010

Becareful who you play for......

A friend posted this on his Facebook and it made me giggle, so thought I would share it with you.
You may need to click on the image to make it larger, otherwise get a magnifying glass out ;0)

Happy Birthday.

Morning All.

Brrrrrrr we had a cold night last night. I kept the back cabin stove in last night, so we would wake up all cosy this morning.
I thought it was November 5th last night. At 8.30pm, I made the back cabin stove up, which is an operation in itself, because it is not like a normal stove which you can shut right down and it will stay in forever. The back cabin stove has no proper sealed doors, so it is constantly burning, so I have a wonderful trick to keep it in over night. Firstly I let the fire burn right down and then I stack it up with coal, I then add a layer of twigs and on top of that I put a thick layer of cold ash on top. If the ash is damp it is even better. I then shut everything down as much as I can and fingers crossed the stove stays in.
Oh yes I was saying I thought it was November 5th. No sooner I opened the back cabin doors to fetch in the ash bucket a Firework went off and several more followed. Me being a big kid, I just had to go and see where they were coming from. They were coming from an offside garden just in front of the boat. I guess it will not be long before we see lots of them going off again as that time of the year draws ever closer. I noticed yesterday that some of the shops have got Halloween stuff on their shelves. With living on the boat we do not get trick or treaters calling. Even when we lived in a house, Keith used to close the curtains and take the batteries out of the door bell, so it looked like no one was at home. I am not against Trick or Treat if it is done properly, but these days it can end up being quite nasty. Where we lived in Felixstowe the shops would not sell Eggs or Flour to youngsters on the run up to Trick or treat, because more often than not they would be used to pelt houses and cars. It was actually lovely to stand on the back counter and watch the Fireworks going off, it bought out the child in me once more. Again when we lived in Felixstowe it seemed as if Fireworks went off all year round.

Today it is Keith's Birthday and I was fortunate to get him a mention on the local radio. The DJ played Keith 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen one of Keith's favourite songs. I am not sure what we will do with the rest of our day, we will see what the day brings.

Have a lovely Saturday.

Friday 17 September 2010

Coffee and cake.

Hi Folks.

It was another very chilly beginning to the day, so yep you guessed it, I have lit the back cabin stove again. The one saving grace is that the wind has finally dropped.
This morning Paddy and I walked across the field. Ok I walked he went off like a steam train until he saw a digger going to work in the field. What is odd, is this digger has been digging up trenches all over this field and I have no idea why. I am wondering if it has something to do with the plans which have been spoken about for a new housing estate and marina. But when we spoke to the firm involved they told us it would not happen for many years. Maybe something happened sooner than they thought. Anyway the sight of this digger put Paddy off of running across the field. He did an about turn and legged it back to the boat.
After breakfast and a cuppa, Keith and I strolled into town to get a few bits and bobs. Keith wanted some electrical wire and a back box for a switch. We also bought some radiator paint, some drawing pins and air freshers. We called into the indoor market and had a coffee. 80p for a mug of coffee, is much more favourable than £2.50 at Costa Coffee. The Tea Cakes looked so inviting, we treated ourselves (last of the big spenders). The walk back to the boat always seems to take longer, because you have to walk up hill for most of it. It certainly gives you a workout.
We took the decision to move closer to Market Harborough for the weekend, with a view to mooring up on the 48 hour moorings. So having prepared the boat for the off, we managed to get ourselves off of the mud and did the 25 minute cruise. We are moored on the wharf before the narrows before the last bend into Union Wharf. We do not know the name of the wharf, so will have to find out if it has one. It is beside the footpath that gives access to Logan Crescent. Before knocking in our mooring pins, I walked up to the basin to see if there were any moorings out on the towpath. There was only one mooring on the 48 hr moorings and as the water level is down, we know we cannot get in there. So we decided to stay put.It was time for cake and coffee. Before settling down to get some e-mails and internet browsing done. I am on the look out for some small wooden storage draws. We want to put them under our printer, as there is space being wasted and that is never a good idea on a boat. But so far, I have not found what I am looking for. I want something like what is in this photograph, but getting it seems to be difficult. I am sure I will eventually find something similar. Storage on a boat is extremely important, especially when you have very little room like us.
Before I sign off, I want to say congratulations to Jamie and Jools on the birth of their son Buddy Bear Maurice Oliver. Jamie and Jules already have three daughters - Poppy Honey, eight, Daisy Boo, seven, and Petal Blossom, 17 months. I am sure Jamie was very excited on the birth of his first son.


Related Posts with Thumbnails