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

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Baking and Coal Deliveries.


It was a hectic day. I had planned on it being a quiet day, with some baking to be done,because the cake box was empty and begging to be filled again.I also wanted to get some tidying done. A tidy boat is a happy boat in my opinion. All started well, with us getting up fairly early as I had a customer coming to collect some coal. Before that happened Paddy and I walked down the towpath and through a gap in a hedge we stood looking at a spendid view from Gallows Hill. It was absolutely stunning on this bright Autumnal morning, with a slight mist over the valley. I at least enjoyed the view, Paddy was more interested in all the new smells in the grass and hedgerow. He has no no taste.Back on the boat Keith had laid on breakfast, which was only cereal and a cuppa, but very welcome all the same. We then settled into what was going to be a quiet day. Steve came and collected his coal and we had a good old natter as you do. It is one of the things I love about being a coalwoman, I get to chat to interesting customers. Steve and Sue went on their way and I went back to my quiet day mode, which ment getting the baking goodies out.First on the list was Chocolate Tiffin. I had a piece of Tiffin with coffee at Costa Coffee in Berkhamstead back in the Summer, when Jenny off of nb Sweet Dreams and I had a girlie couple of hours. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would have a go at making it myself.I then made some Bara Brith cake (Welsh Cake), which I put in the back cabin stove so it could bake slowly. No sooner I had done that and made us a coffee, my phone rang and it was Debbie from the Wharf at Market Harborough. Three parcels had arrived for us and she needed us to collect them as they were rather large and taking up room in her small office. The boxes in question held lots of boat goodies. Actually they were full of spares for the boat. These included oil and fuel filters, water pumps, paint and other bits and bobs. With my cake still baking in the back cabin stove. There is never a dull moment in our lives, because keith has been suffering with a dodgy throat, so I checked to see if there was an appointment available at the doctors for this afternoon, which there was. So it was time to put our plan into action. We set off to wind the boat and then headed back to Market Harborough, our engine was happily thumping away down the cut,on a lovely Autumn morning.Just as we reached the basin, I noticed a Kingfisher sitting in a bush watching us as we passed by.I was was just quick enough with the camera. It looked like a juvenile, who was obviously not up to date on what you should do when you see a boat. Someone forgot to tell it to fly off as quick as your wings can take you. When we arrived at Market harborough we collected our parcels from the office, took on water, emptied the toilet cassettle and rubbish. Oh and we found time to natter to Mike one of the BW lengthsmen. Nb Lady Gwendolyne wanted some coal, so we agreed to meet them out at Bridge 14 the Union Canal Society moorings. As we were heading out that way we met up with Mike the BW man, he was there to try and grab a water tank with a grapling hook, which was floating in the water. We had noticed it on our way to the basin. Keith manage to get the boat into a position where I could actually grab hold of the tank, by lying on my stomach across the back counter. Not exactly lady like, but I have never been that lady like. I pulled it out of the water, only to discover it was just the top half of the tank. It looked like it may have been as a lid for something. I held on to it until we got into the bank where upon I handed it over to Mike, who was by now putting away his grapling hook and gloves. Job done. We moored up and then nb Lady Gwnedolyne pulled in for their coal, so of course we stood and had a good old chat. It is what us boaters do best. Keith then left for the doctors and I set about doing something for dinner. Whilst that was cooking, I unloaded a bag of housecoal from the hold for our use and emptied it into the coal bin in the back cabin. We burn housecoal on our back cabin stove, as it is the only coal that does not get to hot. We have tired to burn smokeless on it, but it gets so hot that the back cabin has been 40 degrees, which is not pleasant when you are trying to sleep. Of course not everyone likes housecoal as it is very smokey, but the way I see it, many years ago there was no such thing as smokeless fuels. Everyone burnt housecoal or wood and no one ever batted an eyelid. Keith did check as to whether this stretch of the canal is a smoke free area and it seems it is not, so we can actually burn what we like, but of course we do try not to upset anyone, so we tend to moor away from houses. Our evening was nice and peaceful. I got a load of washing done and we both enjoyed a lovely hot shower, before watching the TV for a couple of hours. I then had the job of building up the fires for the night and shutting them both down. With the back stove one done, I set about collecting coal for the saloon stove and as I was filling the bucket, it tipped over spilling the coal all over my foot. So much for being nice and clean after my lovely hot shower grrrr.


Brrr a chilly morning. The sun is however shining and it is glorious. Paddy got a run out across the field, which he really enjoyed, I just enjoyed the fresh air and the views across the valley. We set off at 8.15am, destination Foxton Village, as we have a food delivery arriving between 11am and 1pm. On our short jaunt we saw a Squirrel do acrobatics whilst trying to eat Hawthorn berries, a Cormorant took off in front of us and the gypsy camp ponies were all grazing on their tethers. For well over 100 years the gypsies have bred colourful cob horses. They were bred to pull the ornate caravans, but these days you very rarely see the ornate vans on the road. We arrived at Black Horse Bridge in Foxton and now have to wait for our delivery. As I was making up the back cabin stove a boat pulled in behind us and required some coal as they are beginning to feel the cold. I was not suprised as the lady was still in her pyjamas LOL.

11am and our food arrives in a Tesco van. Unfortunately he could not park in the lay-by, as it was full up with cars, so he parked over the otherside of the crossroads. We each carried a tray across the road to the boat, where I unload them through the galley window and Keith stacked the food very artistically on the worktop. The driver regaled us with his childhood memories of the time spent cycling along this very towpath, and the things he and his mates used to get up to. It was all said with a smile on his face, so clearly they were good days. After he left, I stowed all the shopping away. I then came up with the bright idea to move closer to Foxton Locks. But to make sure there would be a mooring to go into, I took Paddy with me for a walk down the towpath to check if there was any room. I need not have worried, there was plenty of space. The reason we were both worried about room, was because when we arrived at the Black Horse Bridge, we saw two fishermen carting all their stuff down the towpath, so we thought there may have been a fishing match on. That worry was unfounded, so I rang Keith and he moved our boat down to where Paddy and I were waiting. As the afternoon has worn on the weather has taken a distinct turn for the wetter, and as I type the rain is pounding on the roof.

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