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!
Monday 31 January 2011
Saturday 29 January 2011
With the temperature getting down to -6c overnight, once more the canal has a film of ice on it. Just as well we had no plans to move today.
I had allsorts of ideas on what to do today, and as always first on my list of things to do was walk Paddy up the towpath. Just as I stepped off of the boat, I could hear a boat crashing through the ice. NB Red Red Wine made short work of the ice as it headed for Crick Tunnel. If you have never heard ice on the hull of a boat, it is an eerie sort of noise as it cracks against the steel. From inside the boat it sounds a lot louder.
After toast for breakfast, I walked up to the Post Office to post a Birthday card and to get some frozen peas. It was one thing I did not order when I placed my Tesco food order and I always like to keep peas in the freezer for emergencies.
Back on board, I decided that Saturday was going to be my baking day instead of Sunday. So I began with making my Lemon Drizzle Cake.
Friday 28 January 2011
It was a very cold night last night. When we woke up it was -5c and there was a thin layer of ice on the canal again. I made sure I put on more layers for our journey from Welford Junction to Crick.A long the way we saw workmen cutting back the hedges and banks and a very good job they were making. It is so nice to see everything cut back properly. As to whether they will keep it up throughout the Spring and Summer we will have to see.
At Mountain Barn, we stoppped to supply three customers with their coal orders and as always had a nice natter.
Whilst on the move I made us toasted Crumpets for lunch with Butter and Marmite (not the cat) spread on them and they were very yummy.
We had a really pleasant journey and met up with Four other boats on the move.
Having moved through Crick tunnel we were back out into the open countryside and saw plenty of Lambs. Two weeks previous we had only seen a couple of lambs in the same field, but now there were hundreds. They certainly needed their woolly coats. This field of Sheep made me giggle as they were playing follow my leader. I just hope the leader knew where she was going. There is something very cute about watching Lambs feeding from their mum, with their little tails wagging behind them. We eventually moored up at 2.45pm and immediately began supplying coal to our customers, who knew were were arriving today. It is always nice to be welcomed. We will be staying here all weekend, and hope to supply other people with coal as they are passing.
I hope you have a lovely weekend and thank you for popping in.
Chat soon xx
Thursday 27 January 2011
Brrrrrrrrrr it has been a freezing day, with flurries of snow in the air.
My alarm went off at 7am. We had to be up early to take Mog and Dog to the vets for their second vaccinations. But before that, I had a customer to supply with coal and toilet blue. Delivery and a good old chinwag done, we put Mog in her box and Dog on his lead and set off into town for the vets appointment. We got there early and were fortunate to be sent in no sooner we had sat down. Marmite and Paddy were very well behaved whilst having their needles, so we were only in there five minutes, but we still had to pay out over £50 for the treatment, which I find silly money. I will be shopping around for next years vaccinations.
We left Market Harborough at 10.35 am heading for the Foxton flight of locks. It was very chilly indeed, so we were both well wrapped up against the cold.
It is fast approaching the season to be amourous and I have noticed that the Swan's on our stretch have been getting very territorial. So as we cruised through Foxton Village a Cob was seeing off another Cob, who had wandered on to his patch. Thankfully it did not end up with them fighting, the Cob who was in the wrong place, was soon off to find another place to set up his territory. Or maybe he will come back to try his luck another day.
I managed to do the Foxton Village Swing Bridge with a little help from one of the May Gurney workmen, who are working once more on the Swing Bridge. I got chatting to the workman who agreed with me that the bridge was still no better, even though he had swept the runners. I do wonder if it will ever be any good. It took us just 45 minutes to get up the flight of 10 locks and I was now rather warm. There were no gongoozlers, just one man and his Whippet. I suppose the weather had clearly put people off of coming out. As we left the flight, Keith and i tucked into the Sausage Rolls I had cooking in the back cabin stove. They certainly warmed my core up, which was beginning to cool rapidly.
Tuesday 25 January 2011
We had a slow start to our day because we had to wait for a Tesco food delivery to arrive, which was due between 11am and 1pm, so the morning began with a cuppa in bed and a discussion as to what we will do when in dry dock in May. For those wondering why we are going into dry dock. Our boat needs to have her hull blacked at the beginning of May and to do this you can either have the boat lifted out of the water by crane and put out on to the bank at a boat yard, or you can move the boat into a dry dock. Of course it is not dry when you move the boat in, the water has to be pumped out of the dock, this then creates a dry dock where you can work on your boat. Keith and I always black the hull ourselves, which is not particularly hard work if you know what your doing. When we get to that day I will post photograph's and an explanation. Discussions then moved on to where we would go after we finish our Winter coal run at the end of March. I suggested that we should go down to Braunston, as we need to get a few bits from Midland Chandlers for the boat, this will only take us a few days, we can then come back up on to the Leicester Line to wait for our dry docking. Whilst we were chatting Marmite was making it quite clear she wanted us to get up, because her food dishes were empty, so we obliged and rolled the bed up and closed the bed'ole door for the day. Keith laid up breakfast, whilst I raked out the back cabin stove fire. I needed to leave the bottom door open to get the fire going as it was a little dead. Breakfast eaten Paddy was next to get my attention. He was quick to get ready for his walk and was sat by the back doors with his tail wagging. No sooner we were up the towpath he did what he needed to do and then legged it back to the boat for his breakfast.
Whilst waiting for our food delivery, which by text I was informed would be between 11am and 12 noon, Keith went on the online to the Gildings Auction Room (CLICK) site to listen and watch today's auction taking place. We had interest in the auction, because Keith had placed two Beatles records into the auction, but because we were lot two hundred and three he had a long wait (CLICK). We did not expect to get much for the LP's, but we did not see any point them laying on the boat going to ruin. As it turned out Keith got £35 for the pair, which was much more than we expected. Of course he has to pay commission, so he will end up with about £29, which is still great and the records will have gone to a good home we hope.
I am still struggling with the cold I developed back before the New Year. I do not feel ill, because if I did I would be down at the doctors quick smart, I just wish I could get rid of the cough I have been left with. I wake up in the morning coughing like I have been smoking all night long. I have a dreadful feeling I am stuck with it now until the weather warms up grrrrr. If all else fails I will visit the GP to see if there is anything he can do, just in case it has caused an infection.
With auction over, we slipped our mooring in the rain and set off through Foxton Swing Bridge to deliver coal to a customer. That bridge is a pain in the rear even though it has been fixed. I am no weakling, but I still struggle with it.
Coal delivered we cruised to Bridge 14 and the Union Canal Society Moorings, which is where we will be staying for the night. The rain has stopped, leaving a very dull afternoon. I am not sure what the rest of the day will bring, but I am quite happy to put my feet up until dinner time. Then I will be busy again with the usual mundane things that us women have to do, so I will sign off now and wish you a lovely day.
Chat soon xx
Monday 24 January 2011
There is not much to say about today, as it has been pretty uneventful. We did the usual stuff this morning, which of course is not that entertaining when you read the same thing everyday.
We eventually moved off and cruised for 15 minutes before mooring up at Black Horse Bridge, Foxton, which is where I will be getting my Tesco food delivery tomorrow all being well. Since we have been here at Black Horse Bridge, I have had one customer and seen one narrowboat, which was NB Wilver owned by William and Virginia and their dog Gunner, they are now moored up behind us waiting for a coal delivery of their own from DMW fuels (CLICK).
With so little going on today, I will comment on last nights TV and 'Dancing on Ice'. With the 12 remaining skaters now in a competition to take the 2011 crown, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. There are already some stars in the making, Sam Attwater is clearly heads and tails above the rest at the moment. Steven Arnold was the first to be voted off by the judging panel, which was not surprizing because he was not very good. Steven also failed to turn up on Monday for his choreography class which was unforgiveable. So let the competition begin and may the best man or woman win.
Right with my battery almost dead, I am off now to make a cuppa.
Chat soon xx
Whilst the advert drives some people to distraction, others adore the little critters. What is there not to love to be honest?
Sunday 23 January 2011
As I was watching the bird feeders, I spotted this little Tree Creeper on Rainbow Bridge looking for bugs. It was not so much a tree creeper, but more like a bridge creeper. Unfortunately I did not get a very good photograph, because it did not hang around for long. I had much more luck with the bird feeders. This little Robin was happy enough to pick up what the Blue Tits dropped. The Robin sat in the bush just waiting its turn to eat from the fat feeder. Robins really are such majestic little birds, with oodles of character.
Saturday 22 January 2011
It's Saturday and brrrr it was cold with a very chilly wind which would freeze anyones bones.
Last evening, before settling inside the boat for the evening, I took this lovely photo of the sunset hitting the trees above Foxton. They look like they are painted in Gold.
This morning as I said was cold but at least it was dry. Today British Waterway's (BW) were holding an open day at Foxton Locks, for people from all walks of life to volunteer to become lock keepers and educational voluteers, where you get to chat to the public.
Having done all the usual morning jobs, Keith and I headed off up the locks at 9.45am to take a sneaky peek at what was going to be going on. I was interested to see how many people would actually turn up to volunteer, because this new scheme is not going down well with many. It has all come about because as of next year British Waterways will become a charitable trust and will therefore be in need of volunteers to do many of the jobs, Bw staff had been paid to do in the past. (CLICK). As you can imagine this has not gone down well with many people. I am however willing to keep an open mind at the moment.
Setting up in the Stable block were Karen and Sarah. Karen was recruiting volunteers for BW and Sarah was looking for volunteers to help with WOW (Wild About Waterways) (CLICK). Bill and Jez the lock keepers were on hand to chat to the public and to help with any boat wishing to go down the flight. They were hoping that if a boat was to go down this would give them an opportunity to show the new volunteers what their job would entail. As it was no boats went down or up the flight when they were required, so one was drafted in later in the day. Before the public arrived to ask about volunteering to become lock keepers, Karen from BW laid out information packs and plates of biscuits for anyone who wanted to take part. The first to volunteer to sample the biscuits was this Robin, who was cheeky enough to make straight for the Chocolate Chip biscuits without as much as a by or leave.It has to be said it was freezing cold if you stood around for to long, so I kept on the move whilst watching proceedings. Across the valley heading towards Gumley, the local hunt were out on horseback galloping across the countryside, but there was not a hound in sight or the sound of the hunting horn. At lunchtime we headed back to the boat for some lunch and to get warm. After a soup and crusty bread lunch, Keith went back up the flight, whilst I delivered coal to one of our regular customers. I then donned my down jacket, hat and gloves and set off back up the flight, to find more people asking about the volunteer jobs available. East Midlands Today arrived towards the end of the session with a camera man and an interviewer to film NB Winds of Change going into and out of the top lock and to interview BW staff Jez, Karen and a member of the public who has signed up to become a volunteer lock keeper. On the whole I think it went well and everyone concerned seemed happy with the way the day went, even if they were freezing their socks off. Keith and I decided that with the film crew there we would head off back to the boat, because the event was almost over.
Friday 21 January 2011
I really need to make a mental note to self that I should not bash a frozen mop on the towpath because as you can see from the photograph it will not survive. I am pretty sure there must have been a crack in the wood because it was such a clean break. Oh well we will have to invest in a new mop handle when we are in town next.The temperature got down to a rather chilly -5.3c overnight, which meant we woke to see ice on the surface of the canal again this morning. It painted a very pretty picture though, especially as the sun came up. When we were ready to leave the mooring, I had to gingerly step on to the bow to untie the rope, because it was very slippery. I had no intention of slipping over and falling into the canal. Everything must always be done with caution when it is icey.With the thin layer of ice on the canal this morning, we set off down through Foxton locks and headed to Debdale Wharf to fill up with diesel (CLICK). Whilst there we saw work being carried out on Large Woolwich Aber and very smart she is looking so far. Nicky very kindly showed us around her.
Aber was built by Harland and Wolff of Woolwich as a town class, Grand Union motor boat, fleet number 101 in July 1936.
Having taken on diesel and we then returned to Foxton Junction and we will be here for the weekend.
At the moment the sun is out and it is beautiful out. Both the fires are going well and we are nice and snug inside. I am not sure what the rest of the day will bring, but I am hoping for a quiet afternoon.
Tomorrow there is a Volunteer Open Day at Foxton Locks. (CLICK)
Come and find out about being a volunteer lock keeper or canal ranger.
Thursday 20 January 2011
As yesterday drew to a close and the sun began to set, I just had to go and photograph it as it set over the canal near Laughton Hill. As the sun went down the birds got quieter and quieter and a stillness descended over the canal. It was as if the day had begun to shut up shop. The day may have been drawing to a close, but I still had plenty of things to do. I had dinner to think about. I made us Lemon and Chilli Chicken with Rice and to go along with that we had a Garlic and Butter flatbread. Next came the washing up, before sitting down to a cup of coffee. With the Indiana Jones film on BBC1 at 8pm, I wanted to get all the other jobs done before then so I could actually sit down and watch the film, so both fire's were stoked up for the night by 8pm, all tidying up was done by 8pm. I caught some of the One Show on BBC1, the guest was Ruth Jones from Gavin and Stacey, she was on the show to promote her role as Hattie Jacques. As lovely as she is Ruth that is, what did annoy me was the fact that she sat on the sofa with her legs curled up beneath her and she kept her boots on. I find that very rude, because someone else will be sitting on that sofa after her. I was always taught to take my shoes/boots off, if I wanted to put my feet on the furniture. Standards really are dropping. I would have thought she would have known better.
Jobs all done, it was time to sit back and watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Sean Connery plays Harrison Ford's father. Ok the film is not the best, but I do love all of them. Keith dropped off to sleep, as he does most evening's, so I was left watching it alone.Before turning in for the night to watch the film, I looked out of the galley window and even at 8pm it still looked very light outside, so whilst I went for the ash bin which stood on the back counter of the boat, I stood for a few minutes and watched the night sky which was clear as a bell. The stars were shining brightly, I could clearly see The Plough, Orions Belt and the North Star. I thought the moon looked so beautiful with its reflection on the surface of the canal that I just had to photograph it.
After the film it was time for bed. I went off to bed and left Keith to turn out the lights and switch off the TV. By the time he climbed into bed, I was snuggled down ready for a goodnights sleep.
Despite the temperature getting down to -4.6c overnight, the back cabin was nice and cosy as we drank our early morning cuppa in bed. The topic of conversation this morning was, how the new trust status for the Waterway's is going to work. I guess only time will tell on that count, we also chatted about the Waterway projects which may go by the way as money becomes tight. Keith and I have some meaningful conversations whilst drinking tea in bed. Marmite came and paid us a visit, she was wondering if she was going to get any breakfast. Like all cats, she only cares about herself. Mind you a lot of people are like that as well ;0)
Wednesday 19 January 2011
Brrrr another chilly morning after it got down to -2.6c at Welford. By the time we were up and about the temperature was just above freezing. As I stepped off of the boat with Paddy, the mist was thickening across Welford Basin.
We were in for a misty start to our morning's cruising. The marina at Welford took on a rather spooky feel in the odd light as we left our overnight mooring at 9.20am. I worked the only lock at Welford, which has become rather leaky of late.
Tuesday 18 January 2011
I just love it when I sleep like a baby and wake up completely refreshed. Just such a thing happened last night and I woke this morning feeling wonderful. Keith was up before me and made us both a cup of tea, which we drank in bed. From the temperature in the cabin, it was clear either the stove had gone out, or we had had a very cold night. It was the latter, because overnight we had a very heavy frost. I opened up the back cabin doors to a misty morning and the birds singing a merry tune. As I lay in bed, I could smell a delightful smell coming from the Saloon. Last night I had put the Chicken carcase from Sunday dinner on the stove over night to stew in water and from the smell permiatting throughout the cabin, the Chicken was well and truly stewed. I wanted the broth from the Chicken for soup.
I got out of a very warm bed, someone had to make the first move. I thought the order of the day should be Porridge for breakfast, because we would need something to warm the bodies core whilst on the move. Paddy got his walk up the towpath and decided he was going to behave like a puppy. He was sprinting up and down the towpath like a total loony. We walked passed a narrowboat, which has been damaged by fire. Unfortunately the mooring pins had been pulled out and one mooring pin had completely disappeared. The boat was only moored on a centre rope, so I tied the boat to the piling and hoped that the owner would return to sort their boat out. Back onboard the boat, I stripped down the Chicken carcase and poured the broth into a large pan. To the pan I then added Garlic, Carrots, Onion, Potatoes and Mushrooms. After adding some Pepper, I put the lid on and stood it on top of the back cabin stove, so it could simmer slowly whilst we were on the move. We started the boat up, sending a plume of smoke into the cold air. I love it when she blows smoke rings.
As we left the mooring, there was mist rolling along the surface of the water, just like smoke on the water. Yep that is a song title. Deep Purple bought out a song called "Smoke on the Water". It was first released on their 1972 album Machine Head. Not that I was a huge Deep Purple fan ;0). We had an uneventful cruise back to the Welford Arm, but it was nice and fresh and the views were stunning across the valley. I kept the Coffee coming, but of course when you drink so much, you have to keep visiting the smallest room on our boat. This gave me the opportunity to steer the boat for a bit. I do love getting my hands on the tiller when I can. After all it is the only way to learn and I am still learning I am happy to say.
As we moored up at Welford, we were met by a hedge cutter, slashing its way along the hedgerow. I pitty anything that gets in the way of the blades, because it was making mincemeat of fair sized branches. As the cutter did its work, a man walked behind the tractor cleaning up the mess, which was very kind of him. I am sure the people driving their cars along the track will be most grateful. Having secured the boat, I blitzed the soup simmering on the back stove with a whisk, added some chilli for a kick. We enjoyed the warming soup with some Bread and Butter before washing it down with a Coffee. Our TV signal is really poor here, but we have the afternoon film on Channel 4, "The password is courage" which is in Black and White, this is just as well, because it is like watching something through a snow storm ;0(. I feel a DVD moment coming on later on if all else fails. We have been here now for a couple of hours and no customers yet. So it looks like it will be a quiet afternoon.
Right I am off to think about tonights dinner. So will chat soon. xx
Monday 17 January 2011
I had a lovely weekend at Crick. It was very restful after a busy few days. The weather was a little indifferent, but that did not bother us, as we did not go to far from the boat. During the morning Keith and I got our climbing gear rucksack out from under the back counter and really wished we had not bothered. Keith wanted to try and sell some of the gear, because it is unlikely that we will go rock climbing again. But on opening the rucksack we saw a devastating sight. The inside of the bag had condensated ruining all of the climbing gear. Not only did it smell revolting, the Cimbing Nuts, Karabiners, Belay Devices, Abseil Devices and tapes were covered in mildew, so absolutely no use to man nor beast. We managed to salvage some of the tapes, but the rest was heading for the skip sadly. The upside is our climbing boots were in another box, and we can still use them should we want to go climbing at an indoor climbing wall. The rucksack I managed to salvage, it needed drying out and a good stiff brush, which I am so pleased about, because I bought that rucksack for Keith.
Tony from NB Jubilee paid us a visit and I had a lovely chat with him about his boat and the work being done on it. Keith remained inside the boat trying to get his laptop working. Unfortunately since he bought it before Christmas it has been playing up. For some stupid reason the USB ports work when they feel like it. Keith did take it back to the shop and they sorted out one of the issues we thought, but low and behold it is still playing up, so it will be going back no sooner we get back to Market Harborough.
Yesterday being a Sunday, I thought I would make an effort and cook a proper Sunday dinner, so I put a small Chicken in the back cabin stove to roast away to it's hearts content all morning. The smell was mmmmmm so scrummy. Keith headed off to see Tony on his boat. He wanted to see what they had, had done to NB Jubilee, because the last time we saw her she was still being used by the IWA. Whilst he was gone, I swept the floors and washed them, dusted all surfaces (cough and splutter). I even managed to find time to sit down and watch a film, before Keith came back for some lunch. I am not ashamed to say I did very little else all day, after all it was a Sunday. Dinner was very nice. I did us Chicken, Mashed Potato, Veg and Stuffing with Chicken gravy.
Today (Monday). The start of another week, January seems to be flying past so quickly. I was up first as always. First job of the morning was to stoke the back stove, which felt like it was on its way out. I raked out all of the old ash and left the bottom door open and hoped that this would spark the fire into life. I was not to be disappointed because whilst walking back to the boat with Paddy from his walk, I saw smoke pouring out of the chimney. Fire two was next to get the ashpan treatment. If the weather stays mild like it is at the moment, I will be letting one of the fire's out, because it has been getting very warm in the cabin. Fire's done, pet's fed and breakfast eaten, we started the boat up and set off across the canal to the Sanitary Station. I had rubbish to disgard, which included all of our climbing equipment. Keith then announced that maybe A.B.N.B (CLICK) may like the rope for their boat's, so whilst he took the rope to them I emptied the toilet and got rid of the rubbish. See I keep telling you a woman's work is never done.
After doing the Sanitary Station jobs, I got chatting to a gentleman who has just bought his boat from A.B.N.B, but due to the weather has not yet left their basin. Today will be the day when he moves it for a pumpout. They have had a boat before, so know exactly what they are letting themselves in for unlike so many these days, who are buying a boat with little or no experience. But that is another story. Having had a nice chat about toilets, boating and dog poo, we said our goodbye's and we left Crick to head for Yelvertoft.
We only had a short distance to travel and in just over an hour we had arrived at Yelvertoft, where I wanted to check on a customer to make sure they were ok for coal. As we arrived at the moorings. Caroline on NB Vanyar was on the waterpoint, so Keith dropped me off in the bridge 'ole to see my customer. I said "good morning" to Caroline and whilst chatting to my customer, Ray and Jackie on NB Roehaise also arrived to use the waterpoint. You do not see anyone for ages then all of a sudden you see two boats at the same time, both of which are customers.
We moored up at Yelvertoft, which is a change for us, because normally we carry on. But as they say a change is as good as a rest. I immediately hung out my bird feeders and wooo hooo a cheeky Blue Tit was immedialty interested in my goodies.
I bet it was so excited to see free food. Talking of food, I made us some sandwiches for lunch and a coffee, we then took a stroll into Yelvertoft (CLICK). The village is a mixture of old and new houses, there is a Post Office, which also has a small shop. Further into the village there is also a Butcher, which I am told is very good. The village church is extremely pretty and well worth a look. I love looking around church yards, because you can find out a lot about a village history. Like for instance Yelvertoft had families living in the village with the Surnames of Cattell, Norton and Malin and they had large family plots in the graveyard. I am going to do some delving into these names to see what their position was in the village. I already know that William Cattell was a farmer and grazier, just by searching on the web. I do love village history.
So after what has been another quiet and enjoyable day. I am about to sort out something for dinner tonight. Will chat again, take care my friend xx
Saturday 15 January 2011
It is Saturday morning and blowing a gale, but at least it is not raining.
Already this morning, I have sorted out both fire's, collected a coal bag of sticks and had a clear out on the boat. Spring must be on the way ;0).
I was sent this by my brother a couple of day's ago, so thought I would post it on my diary, because it touched my heart.
THE FINAL INSPECTION.
The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
'Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true?'
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
'Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'
It's the Military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It's the Military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It's the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.
If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the military, please pass this on and pray for our men and women who have served and are currently serving our country and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Friday 14 January 2011
Sorry I did not post yesterday.
We arrived at Welford and found we had a dreadful signal so there was little point in me posting, so instead we went to The Wharf Inn for dinner after a busy day.
The day began with us working our way up the Foxton Locks after an almost false start, because someone had forgotten to unlock the top paddle, so we had to call out our friendly BW man Mike, who let us through. A BW man had been out to unlock the flight, but only did the gates arghhhhhhh. Anyway we eventually got going and enjoyed a lovely cruise to Welford, where we saw the first ice of the day. We got to see lots of Kingfisher's along the way, so clearly the Winter so far has not been to disasterous for them so far. Once moored up at Welford we met up with Mark on Callisto, who had taken on a coal and diesel delivery, ready for going down on to the River Soar, which is in flood at the moment, we had a natter with Mark and then supplied The Wharf Inn and one of our customers with their coal. It was then time to get out of my working clothes and change into something a little more fitting for dinner at the pub, in my case jeans and a jumper. Despite scrubbing my hands, they were still looking grubby from the coal dust, that is the joy of my job. I would be a manicurists dream at the moment. We walked into the pub to find a packed bar, it turned out there was going to be live music during the evening. Keith and I sat down to dinner and both had the Beef and Ale Pie which was extremely yummy. For a change I did not bother with the chips, I had mashed potato, with seasonal veg and there was not a pea in sight. It was all washed down with a lovely local Cider. We had planned on staying for the love music, but by 9pm as the music had not started and we were both shattered the only place we wanted to be was in our bed, so we headed home. Within Fifiteen minutes we were both tucked up in bed and dead to the world.
This morning began a bit damp and windy, but this did not stop us delivering coal to our remaining Welford customers before setting off for Crick and more waiting customers.
Whilst we cruised Paddy and Marmite curled up in bed together. Usually Marmite knicks Paddy's bed and Paddy sleeps on the floor, but today they decided to be bedfellows.
We are fortunate that Mog and Dog get on so well together. So every now and again they will curl up in Paddy's bed. They really look cute together.
Whilst we made our way to Welford, we unfortunately came across two sheep dead in the canal. They had probably walked on to the ice from an unfenced field and fallen through the ice and then could not get out. It is very sad because not only has the farmer lost two Ewe's he will have probably lost the lambs they were carrying. On a happier note we saw our first lambs of 2011, which is very early. A Ewe was out in the field with her twins, which was very cute and bought forward thoughts of Spring. I did notice that some of the trees are already in bud, so they must be ever hopeful that Spring is coming early.Whilst on route to Crick we stopped off and unloaded coal for a couple of boats and of course we got nattering about the Winter so far and how they had coped with the ice. At least it made a change from chatting about toilets. I made us lots of cups of coffee as it was a little bit parkie with the wind. Lunch was also eaten on the move, as there was no time to stop and eat. We arrived at Crick in the dusk having winded at Kilsby Bridge. The plan is to stay at Crick for the Weekend as we have had a busy couple of days. Not only that it will give any customers here a chance to collect their coal.
Having moored up, it was time to shut the boat up against the cold and dark, as the light was fading fast. Marmite and Paddy were very welcoming as we walked through the door, I think they really just wanted feeding. I then got on with dinner, which consisted of a Chicken and Bacon Pie, which we had with Potatoes, Sprouts and Beans and a healthy Yogurt for pudding. Both the fire's needed attention, so it was a matter of gathering coal and raking out the ash. Oh a woman's work is never done ;0). The most pleasing part of the day had to be getting into a very hot shower and allowing the water to wash away the aches and pains of the day. I really did feel a little more refreshed when I stepped out of the shower. But having said that, I still reckon I will be in bed early again tonight. I am off now to relax before bedtime, so chat soon xx
Wednesday 12 January 2011
I'm Free. I sound like Mr Humphries from Are you being served. But that is how I feel.
Yes we broke free this morning from the tie which has been Market Harborough for the past six and half weeks.
My mobile phone alarm went off, singing out "Hey Sexy Lady". I don't feel that sexy at 6am in the morning, but it does always make me smile. I pressed the snooze button which gave me 10 minutes of grace and then I really did have to get out of bed. I was so unimpressed by the sound on the roof of the boat. It was hammering down with rain, which did not bode well for our coal delivery. All our deliveries have so far been done in the dry (someone up there looks after me). Up and dressed the kettle went on and I did us Mushroom on Toast. We had just sat down to eat, when there was a knock on the boat, it was Chris from Hill's Coal Merchants. He was early and raring to go. So I downed my breakfast, grabbed my donkey jacket and leapt off of the boat to open up the sheeting. It was a miracle the rain had stopped as if ordered too. Because it was still dark, Keith switched the hold lights on, so I could see what I was doing. Whilst I sorted the sheeting out, Chris began to unload our coal. Keith then started handing the bags of coal to me and I stacked them in the hold. We had loaded half of the 2 tonne load, when another Chris arrived to collect his coal for his steam loco, so there was time for a coffee and a natter, before we loaded the other 2 tonne. With it all safely stowed away in the hold, we paid Chris and sent him on his way to his next delivery. Whilst Keith washed down the steps and stones, where we had been walking in the coal dust, I got the hoover out and gave the boat a clean through. With two coal stoves we have such a lot of dust on board. Keith having washed the steps etc, topped up the water tank and then put the hose away. With all jobs completed and coal deliveries made, it was time to bid Market Harborough fairwell, so we waved goodbye to everyone and set off. Of course we were ever hopeful that we would not have to return due to the thick ice. The first quarter of a mile was fine, but we then began to hit the ice, first it was 1/2", then 1" and it went up to 3" and we though heck this was not great. Whilst Keith fought with the ice, I put some Sausage Rolls in the back cabin stove and the Kettle was already boiling ready for a much needed coffee. We then had 3" ice for about half a mile and then it died out. There were clear places especially between Gallows Hill Bridge and Bowden Bridge. After that the ice was patchy. Some 2 hours and 25 minutes after setting off we arrived at Foxton and moored up. It felt very satisifying moving for the first time in ages. I rang the hire company to let them know that they can get their boat back as it was clear for them.
Since being moored up people have been getting in touch with me to find out if we made it and because we have they are going to follow us to Foxton. I have that pioneer feeling ;0).
Having eaten lunch and settled in for the day, I have just noticed I have coal miner's hands again. They are covered in coal dust grime and not looking to pleasant. I will be cutting my nails again tonight, because they are split and looking unhappy. Oh the joys of being a coalwoman. I do love my job though.
Yesterday with us moored up on the Sanitary station mooring overnight, Marmite had a visit from Benny. Benny and Marmite have a love, hate friendship. Marmite taught Benny a lesson last Summer, when he ventured to close, she bopped him on the nose, but Benny still likes to pay her a visit.
Tuesday 11 January 2011
After a night of strong winds and rain, the canal outside of the boat looks completely ice free, there is not a block of ice to be seen and having walked with Paddy up the towpath, the ice is slowly going, so it all bodes well for moving tomorrow. With this in mind and the fact that we have a coal delivery arriving in the morning, we thought we should move the boat on to the Sanitary Station mooring's in the basin ready. So Keith went and asked at the office when it would be ok to come in. He was told, to go in when we liked because no one was using the services, so at 10.30am we started up the engine which coughed and spluttered into life. She was only running on one cylinder, so needed warming up. Whilst the engine belched out smoke my phone rang to tell me my Tesco food order had arrived at the Waterfront Restaurant, bless him he was 15 minutes early. We had hoped to be moved into the basin before he arrived between 11am and 12pm, but he was early so I sped off down the towpath with my boxes, whilst Keith waited for the engine to run on two cylinders. We are known to the Tesco van driver, so he was happy to drive round to the sanitary station and help me with the shopping. I then waited for Keith to bring the boat alongside, this took a further 15 minutes because the engine was slow to kick into the second cylinder.
Having moored up, it was clear out time of the bags of rubbish which we had stored in the hold. I also had bags of rubbish after my Spring clean. In all we had Eight bags of rubbish, a mat and a wheel (don't ask). Keith connected us to the eletric hook-up, so I got the washing machine cranked up with the first load. I get quite excited when we are on electric hook-up, because I can get a lot of jobs done. The washing and drying of our washing is the most important thing, next comes the hoovering and then finally charging things up like the phones and the camera batteries. To anyone living in a house, these are things which are taken for granted, but when living on a boat and relying on the battery bank you do have to think about what you put on and when. We do have the luxury of an inbuilt generator, which I run the washing machine off of, but even so being on hook-up for the night means I can get the bigger items washed and dried in the drier, so the boat does not look like a Chinese laundry over night.
Having just eaten lunch, I am now thinking about what I can do next?
Coal order's will be filled this afternoon, as people arrive to collect their order's. Then once we are full again tomorrow we will head off towards Foxton and hope that we will get through the ice.
We cannot get a TV signal where we are, so we will be watching DVD's tonight from our extensive collection. I will then be off to bed early, ready for getting up early in the morning.
What ever you are doing today, I hope you have a wonderful day. Chat soon xx
We all moan about the weather, no matter whether it is to hot, to wet or to cold, but my thoughts are very much with the Austrailian's caught up in the floods. (CLICK)
I have family and friends in Austrailia and this morning I was so pleased to get an e-mail from my oldest friend Hilary who is caught up in the floods in Queensland. Hilary and I have been friends since we were at Primary School. We went through schooling together and spent much of our childhood together and have remained in contact ever since.
Thankfully Hilary and her family live on a hill, but they are cut off and are running low on food supplies. The main thing is they are at the moment dry and safe.
According to the news Nine people have lost their lives, which is appauling. Here we have been battling the Big freeze as the news likes to put it and on the otherside of the world they are battling the floods. It appears Mother Nature is fighting back with everything she has and in some way's who can blame her, when we treat her with such contempt. If you are caught up in the Australian flood my thoughts are with you, Please stay safe and do not take any risks.
Monday 10 January 2011
|Scones for lunch anyone?|
So how was your Sunday?
Mine was a rather quiet affair to be honest. It all began very quietly and pretty much stayed that way. It was so quiet infact that I did some baking. Yep I got out my rolling pin, scales and ingredients and made some fruit Scones. I just wish I had bought some Jam and Cream to go with them now. During the Winter month's I like to do a lot of baking. My school cookery lesson's have never gone to waste. Thank you Miss Hack for being my inspiration ;0).
For a Sunday there was nothing much on the TV either, which I thought was a poor show. The only decent film's were on Channel 5, which we cannot get here grrrr. So having done my baking and cleaning up, we resulted to going through the DVD collection. I thought we should watch a properly Sunday afternoon film, so plumbed for "Ben Hur" with Charlton Heston. We have good old dependable movies in our collection "Ben Hur" is one, we also have the likes of John Wayne movies, and Clint Eastwood movies, plus the old war time movies such as Tora, Tora, Tora. These I see as the old dependables. "Ben Hur" took up a few hours and before we knew it, it was 6pm and time for Paddy's walk and for our dinner. Time flies when your having fun.
With dinner done and dusted, it was time for 'Dancing on Ice' (CLICK) woooo hoooo, at last something entertaining to watch. For anyone reading this who has never heard of or seen the program, I will do my best to describe the program. Basically Britain's best-known ice-skating duo and former Olympic champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean help to train the aspiring dancers who are celebrities from TV, films etc. The celebs are partnered by profession ice skaters and every week they have to perform live to the nation an ice dance routine. A panel of judges gives them marks and the public then decide who goes and who stays. It is of course not without its accidents, because after all these celebs are trying to dance on ice on knives, but it does make for great entertainment. Of course I am easily pleased and I dare say some would find it boring. This year's series is a little different, because there are Sixteen celebs starting out and for the first two weeks two people are voted off. Last night Angela Rippon and Nadia Sawalha were the first two celebs to leave the program, which in Angela's case was a real shame. The Inspirational story of the night was from Johnson Beharry VC. Johnson Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross after his actions in 2004 whilst in Iraq. Beharry drove a crippled Army vehicle to safety and then he extracted his wounded comrades from the vehicle, all the time exposed to further enemy fire. Also in 2004 Beharry's vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. Beharry suffered received serious shrapnel injuries to his face and brain. Despite life threatening injuries, he managed to get his vehicle out of danger. He required brain surgery and nearly did not make it. But after an amazing recovery Johnson is now dancing on ice with the other celebs. He is a true inspiration to us all and I wish him well. So I now have twelve weeks of fun and games, laughter and tears to look forward to yayyyyy. I am sure it will be just as good as the previous years. My evening's TV watching ended with 'That Sunday Night Show' with Adrian Chiles, where he and other's take a light hearted look at the weeks news. It seemed a little short at only 30 minutes long, so a little hurried in my opinion.
So here we are and it is another Monday. The canal had another covering of ice on it, this was due to the temperature getting down to at least -2c overnight. All the usual thing's happened like every other morning. Fire's stoked, dog walked, breakfast eaten and e-mails checked. I then donned my rucksack and walked down into the town to buy our fruit and veg. I like to go to Frutas in the town, they have a wide range of fresh fruit and veg, where you can select your own, which is what I love to do. On the way back I called into the basin office to see if we had any mail and had a chat with Deb. When we hopefully move on Wednesday, we will check on her hire boat which is still stranded out in the sticks. If the ice is not to bad I will let Deb's know, so she can go and bring her boat in. Whilst walking back to the boat, I got chatting with our customers about taking on coal before we go on Wednesday. I like to make sure everyone is supplied with fuel, in case we get stuck out in the wilds. Back on the boat, it was then time for lunch, which consisted of Malt Loaf, Cheese and Pickled Onions mmmmmm. As I type this posting I am also looking at the news.
Congratulations to David and Victoria Beckham who have announced they are expecting their Fourth child. Speculation now is rife as to whether it will be another boy. I would think neither of them will mind as long as the baby is well. (CLICK)
Edinburgh Zoo is to get a couple of Giant Panda's. They will be the first to live in this country for some 17 years. I am sure they will being in a huge crowd. (CLICK)
Haiti one year on from the earthquake and there has not been any changes it seems. Where has all the money donated gone, because the country is still living in rubble. (CLICK). We are living in the 21st century and yet se are still unable to sort out support for a country in desperate need WHY?
Sunday 9 January 2011
A grandfather has given part of his Liver to his grandson in a hope that it will save his life. John Targett, of Ashford, Kent, donated part of his Liver in a hope that it will offer life to his Fourteen-month-old grandson Owen Targett (CLICK)
This is such a lovely story and I sincerly hope that the transplant works and little Owen will go on to live a long and happy life.
I am now off to get some jobs done, so chat later maybe xx