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

Monday 28 February 2011

Crick to Mountain Barn Br 27.

Hi Friends.

We are now moored at Mountain Barn bridge 27 after a short hop, skip and a jump. The chill in the wind made it a cold run, but we are now toastie warm inside the boat, with both fires stoked up.
The morning began early with a Robin singing a merry little tune outside. He was then followed by a Wren, who was trying to sing louder and longer it seemed. Before we knew it the bird song was filling the dull morning air. I got up and made us both a coffee, and returned back to bed to enjoy it under the duvet (The coffee that is).
The temperature over night dropped to -0.6c, so it was a chilly start as we set off from our weekend mooring. First port of call was the sanitary station to empty the toilet cassette and to get rid of rubbish. Jo and John on NB Acen were moored opposite and John gave us a cheery hello and a wave as we set off towards the tunnel. Just as we approached Crick Tunnel, we were hailed down for two bags of Taybrite, which I delivered on the way back. When we are going through tunnels, if I am not at the tiller, I usually potter around in the cabin. The kettle is usually on the stove boiling ready for the next cuppa.
Due to the cold start to Monday, there was nothing else moving until we reached Yelvertoft, where NB Euphoria was just leaving their Winter mooring. They are off to do the Leeds and Liverpool, so we wished them a safe journey and hope to see them sometime throughout the year.
Having arrived at the Mountain Barn mooring, we tied up and closed the boat up against the weather, which has gotten worse, it is now raining and there is a breeze blowing. Paddy has been running up and down the boat like a loony because their is a gas gun going off in the field close by. Gas guns are used by farmers to scare the pigeons off of their crops.
What ever happened to the good old scarecrow?
Paddy does not like loud bangs, so this is driving him nuts, but he must learn to live with it. Marmite is fast asleep in the engine room on her bed which has a lovely view out of the engine room porthole. She has a nice view of the birds.
As the afternoon is wearing on, my mind must drift towards thinking about tonights dinner. I have Apple Crumble for pudding, but not sure what to have for dinner. I guess I will have to do a raid on the cupboard to see what delights are hidden.
Tomorrow we are heading for Welford, so I will post more then if we have a signal.

Chat soon xx

Sunday 27 February 2011

That Sunday feeling.

Hi Folks.

What started out as a beautiful morning, has ended the day raining again.

This morning as I lay in bed, I could see the sun pouring through the pigeon box port holes. I thought that this looked promising for the day, but I was so wrong. The morning was lovely with Spring sunshine and the warmth to go with it, but as the morning stepped into the afternoon, the rain began to fall. I did at least manage to get the photograph of Marmite sniffing the Daffodils Paul and Merleen bought me on Friday afternoon. The Daffodils are the only thing brightening the galley at the moment, because as the afternoon is diving into evening, the light is fading fast, made worse by the overcast sky.
The day has been some what quiet, I sold two bags of kindling and two bags of coal, which is not bad for a Sunday. I managed to tidy the hold a little and sweep the floor right through the boat. For such a short cabin space, there always seems to be a lot of dirt and dog hairs to clear up. Paddy moults all year round and it gets everywhere. Most days his hair blows up and down the cabin on the floor like tumbleweed in the desert and yet his coat never gets any thinner. It is just as well Marmites coat is short, otherwise I would be ankle deep in pet hair by now. I also managed to get a load of washing done, which is now hanging in the engine room and back cabin, so they both look like a chinese laundry on a good day. The great thing is the washing will dry pretty fast in both areas, even the rag rug from yesterday's accident is drying nicely. I did put the rag rug out on the slide and Marmite thought it was there for her benefit. That soon changed when the rain began to fall, she was in quick smart and so was the rug. For a Sunday it has been a restful day of watching movies and sniffing a lot. My could does however seem to be going little by little. I have at least got rid of the sore throat, which I can never abide, I now just have the coughing stage to go through again (deep joy). Hopefully once this cold has gone, I will be cold free for the remainder of the year. Spring is not far away, I believe it officially starts on the 20th March, and then we will have the Summer to look forward to, my shorts are eager to get out of the plastic box in the hold already. I do so look forward to putting my Winter clothing away for another year.
Well I have rambled on for another day. I would however like to say "Well Done" to England for beating the French yesterday in the rugby, we took them down 17-9 in the Six Nations Championship and we are still on for the grand slam being the only team who has not lost a match yet. Go boys go.
The Oscars take place later so good luck to all the Brits. The King's Speech is expected to sweep the boards tonight, so fingers crossed for all concerned.
There is so much going on in the world at the moment, it does make me wonder what is coming next and whether the whole world is going to descend into chaos. Let's hope for everyone's sake this is not the case.
Chat soon xx

Saturday 26 February 2011

Downton Bridge to Crick.

Hi Friends old and new.

Yesterday we moved from Downton Bridge 36 to Crick, but due to poor internet signal I was unable to get on here. Isn't it funny how moving just 200metres up the towpath this morning can give you a better signal, and even better TV reception.

Yesterday began with the sound of the Skylark's singing in the field opposite the boat. They were really singing their little hearts out as Paddy and I walked the towpath to a field where he could have a good run. Not that Paddy is much of a runner, but he likes to make an attempt. The weather was a little gloomy, but it did brighten as the day wore on. Whilst we were on the move, I put some Sausage Rolls in the oven and we had them on the move with Coffee. I got to take the tiller just after Yelvertoft and all the way to Crick. My confidence grows the more I handle the boat. Because she handles differently when loaded and unloaded, I need to keep working her. Hadar does not handle like our old boat, but then our old boat was only a 50ft floating cottage. As they say practice makes perfect. Not that any boater is perfect, even though some seem to think they are. We arrived at Crick and moored up near Crick Bridge, which was fine, but for the internet and TV siganl, they were pretty none existent. Watching the tv was bad on the eyes, because it looked like the picture was coming through a snow storm. During the afternoon Paul and Merleen friends of ours from Warwick came and paid us a visit. It was lovely to catch up with them both and all their news. They bought me some lovely Daffodiles.

So far today we have delivered coal to three customers in the rain. It has not stopped raining all day, which means the canals are going to be nice and full. With coal deliveries done, I relit the back cabin stove, made an Apple Crumble and got the usual jobs done. We are going to be at Crick for the weekend, so we will get to watch the coming's and going's of the boats in the marina. I would love to say I feel on top of the world, but that is far from the truth, because yesterday I came down with a sore throat and a headache, which laid me up during the early afternoon. I am not one for laying down for nap, but yesterday I took myself into the back cabin and laid down for an hour. I did not really sleep, but dozed a little which helped. Today the sore throat has all but gone and now I just have a head full of cotton wool. Not sure where it came from, but I could really do without it.
Oh deep joy Paddy has just peed on the back cabin floor making one of the rag rugs wet grrrrr. This is very unlike him. I just took him off of the boat and he peed for England. I guess I have to go and wash the mat out now, which will be fun.

Chat soon xx

Thursday 24 February 2011

From Foxton to Bridge 36, near Kilworth.

Hi Friends.

Thankfully we had no rude awakening this morning, so slept in a little for a change.
A dismal smart weatherwise gradually turned into a lovely afternoon, and we are now enjoying the warm sunshine and fresh air wafting through the boat, which certainly lifts the spirits.
Our run today was a nice one despite the weather being a little damp to begin with. We left Black Horse Bridge and headed up the Foxton Flight. Mark off of Callisto was moored up at the bottom of the flight. Having come up the flight with NB Winds of Change and NB Vanyar following us, we were then heading off into the countryside. At one point Pheasants flew up in front of the boat with gay abandon. It was as if they knew they had no fear of being shot, because the shooting season is over with. The only predators they have to worry about now are the wild ones. The Market Harborough hire boats were out and about, all heading back to base after their time out. It was typical that we met everyone at bridge 'oles. They all very kindly let us through and were very keen to keep out of our way. There have been a few boats on the move today, sadly none of them needing coal or other supplies. The only thing I have sold today is a bag of kindling. I think that with the weather warming up, we will see sales declining, but that is just part and parcel of the business.
Marmite and Paddy are enjoying the sunshine. Paddy is out on the back counter and Marmite has been out on the bank on her lead. She is only allowed so far and then she moans she cannot get that little bit further. The two things she hates are the wind and rain, so as a puff of wind blows past the boat, Marmite dashes for cover in the galley. She likes the comforts of home to much to go wandering to far.
This evening I think I am going to open a bottle of wine and settle down to watch something half decent on the TV, especially as the signal here is very good. So I will draw this posting to a close and will chat again soon xx.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Busy couple of days.

Hi Friends.

I have had a busy couple of days and no energy to sit and write a posting. My brain went numb to be honest and you really would not want to sit and look at a blank page.

Monday as you read on a previous posting was a bit of a washout weatherwise. Yesterday with no real plans to go shopping, this did happen after more coal deliveries to customers. Keith came up with a plan to eat out at the Angel Hotel with the voucher we were given at Christmas. I did a swift change of clothes, because the Angel Hotel is quite posh and I was covered in coal dust and mud. We sat down to lunch just after 12 noon and did not leave until 1.30pm, this was mainly due to waiting for our Waffle puddings. I never realised Waffles took so long to cook. The food was excellent though, so the wait was not to much of an issue.
After leaving the hotel, we then went to the Army and Navy store because I wanted a new pair of waterproof boots as my ones have developed a split. They did have the same boots I now have, which I absolutely love because they are so comfortable, but they have gone up by over £10 and I was not prepared to shell out £50 for a pair of boots, so we decided to go to the outdoor shop opposite, where hooray I found a pair of waterproof boots for £39, that was a real result and I left the shop with a huge some on my face. With living on and working the boat, I do like to make sure I have good footwear, but I am not going to spend a fortune on something which may only last a year. I am pretty hard on my footwear. We then had a trip to Homebase for some electrical items, so that Keith can put a new plug and socket in for our new TV. Before heading back to the boat, we picked up a few other items. On returning to the boat, I then got a call from a customer who needed coal, so having changed out of my posh clothes and back into my rags, Keith and I unloaded the order and wheeled it to the customer, who very kindly made us both a cup of tea. We enjoyed a lovely chat with Jill and Don, before going back to our boat. Jull and Don will be leaving their winter mooring soon, heading off into the wind bluew yonder, just like us. I cannot believe our coal run is almost at an end for this winter. Keith and I are looking forward to pastures new. Whilst we were down in the town, I spotted this road sign, which clearly needed putting up the right way. It did make me giggle. Maybe your supposed to stand on your head to read it properly LOL.

Today (Tuesday) began with an early wake up call at 5am. Our carbon monoxide alarm was going off in the back cabin above our heads. Keith leapt up and turned it off. I got up to investigate the problem, to find the chimney had become blocked. With the rain we had had, it had washed some of the tar down the chimney which had then set again, closing the gap in the chimney, so the fumes were coming back into the boat. I managed to clear the small blockage and vented the back cabin leaving the doors open for a while. We had a cuppa and then went back to sleep for a couple of hours before getting up properly. Even though I clean our chimneys regularly, it just goes to show blockages can still occur.
On leaving our overnight mooring we paid a visit to the sanitary station. We filled up with water, emptied the cassette and got rid of rubbish, whilst the water tank was being filled we delivered coal to Chrissie and Richard on NB Digitalis. Sadly they had decided to sell up and move to Norfolk. They will be very much missed on the canal by all their floating friends. We are hoping they may get itchy feet and want a trip out with us sometime.
On our way to Foxton, we supplied a couple more customers on route. We are now moored up at Black Horse Bridge waiting for Tesco to come out and bring our food order. Keith is fitting a plug and socket for our new TV and I am about to put the curry I have made in the back stove. Both mog and dog are out for the count, anyone would think they have worked hard this morning.

I am off now as things to do so chat soon xx

Monday 21 February 2011

Damp around the edges.

Hi Folks.

Ok I know I have been rambling on this past week or so about Spring coming, I think someone up there over heard me and decided to throw a curve ball because this morning it was trying to snow when we moved away from our weekend mooring at Foxton Locks.
We left Foxton at 9am, I opened the first of the two swing bridges, we then stopped to drop of coal to one of our regular winter customers. Before heading for swing bridge number two, we had a natter with Caroline and John. I then met Caroline at the Foxton village swing bridge, where a boat was already coming through the bridge opening. It would have been nice if they had waited for us to go through, but they saw fit to close the bridge in front of us. I cannot say what I was thinking at that point, because I would get taken off of blogger, but I can say I was not to impressed. If anyone is approaching a swing or lift bridge and I am operating it, I will wait for them to use it as well and then I will close it. Oh well some people just have no manners. I did say good morning to them as I walked on to the bridge. Caroline and I read the notice on the new electric box. It tells you how to work the barriers and the bridge. The stupid thing about it is the electric box only works the barriers, you still have to push the flippen bridge open and for anyone who knows the swing bridge at Foxton village, you will know you need to have muscles upon muscles, because it is a pain in the rear most of the time. Even though they are supposed to have repaired it, it is still no better, so they BW think that this new system is a good idea I have no idea. Unless they plan on electrifying the bridge at a later date, which would be fantastic.
Due to the rain there was nothing else moving as we made it to bridge 14, the Old Union Canal Society moorings. We pulled in and I then walked down to Logan Street Wharf to see if anyone was moored up. Huge relief there was nothing there, so I rang Keith so he could come on down with the boat. I then walked towards the basin at Market Harborough to see if there was any moorings there for a 70ft boat. Great joy there was enough room for three 70 foot boats. Because did not see me at Logan Street Wharf, he came down to the basin moorings and we tied up with the rain still pouring down.
Once tied up Keith legged it down to Argos to pick up a TV for the back cabin which he had reserved online. We can now watch TV in bed yayyyyyyyy. I made us some lunch, which was ready when he got back, I then went down town myself to buy fruit and veg, with the rain still coming down.
It has been a wet and soggy day, but this is how life is on the cut. You do have to take the rough with the smooth. That is what I love about my wonderful way of life.

Chat soon xx.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Baking up a storm.

Hi Friends.

Saturday was a somewhat quiet affair, so I did some baking, which should last us the week, if I do not get a Chocolate rush moment.
Saturday evening was spent in Bridge 61 pub, where four people were celebrating birthday's. Sam was celebrating his 40th and the others which includes Roy off of NB Gerald who is celebrating his 70th birthday on Tuesday. It was a great evening where everyone celebrated together. Local musicians played and some of us joined in with the singing. I spent most of the evening chatting to Jane from the North Kilworth Boatyard (CLICK), she was there with her husband John. They have been running the boatyard since 2007 and are a lovely couple. The noise level crept up throughout the evening and by the time we left, which was at 9.45am my ears were ringing. I am not one for lots of loud music and people the worst for drink, so was quiet happy to go back to the boat, where we sat and watched 'The Body Guard', until neither of us could keep our eyes open any longer. The Foxton Locks Inn, were also holding a celebration of some kind with a live band playing very loud music, this went on until after 11pm, when everything fell silent and peace was restored to the pool.

Sunday morning and the weather was looking very sad for itself. No sunshine to be seen, it looked like another day of doom and gloom. The temperature was nothing to right home about either when I took Paddy for his stroll up the towpath. A couple of cobs (male swan's) were fighting for the right to stay on the stretch of canal, with the older of the two winning. The juvenile will have to find himself another area to patrol. When Paddy and I got back to the boat, Keith was making us toast and Marmalade for breakfast, whilst he did that I made up the back stove, so that I could get the kettle boiling and put a caserole in the oven, which would be for dinner later on.
After breakfast I walked up to the bins to get rid of rubbish and met up with Caroline off of NB Vanyar, we got to talking about recycling and the lack of bins at BW rubbish points and how at some places you can recyle one thing but another. I think that BW and the local councils need to get their heads together and make more of an effort when it comes to recycling for boaters.The other evening a customer bought us a piece of metal for our new trolley. The piece of metal is for a back plate, so that the coal bags do not rub on the wheel of the trolley. After breakfast Keith got our his drill and cable ties and fitted the back plate to the trolley and very nice it looks too. It will make my life so much easier.
The afternoon is wearing on and there has been no sign of the sunshine and it is still cold outside, so having opened the boat up this morning, I have now shut it up again against the elements. The fires are stoked and dinner is cooking. Keith is playing on his computer game and the TV is showing the film 'Silverado' on FiveUSA. I do not expect to sell any coal today, even though I am open for business. Tomorrow we will be heading into Market Harborough to supply customers. I will also go shopping for fruit and veg.
I will catch up with you then xx.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Adopt a waterway.

Hi Friends.

Have you ever wanted the opportunity to get involved with your local waterway, whether it be a river or canal, then why not adopt it.
Yes it is a new British Waterways scheme, whereby you adopt a stretch of river or canal. We are looking into doing just this very thing with some friends and customers. http://www.waterscape.com/features-and-articles/features/british-waterways-canal-adoption-schemes

Women at the tiller.

Hi Friends.

I wrote a post the other day, which spoke about women at the tiller and how I thought that more women should learn how to operate and manoeuvre the boat. It seems that I am not a lone in this.
I know of many lone women boater’s, who are excellent boatwomen. Infact they could teach some men a thing or two. I feel that many women are put off from taking the tiller because they are scared of the size of the boat, or that they will get shouted at if they do something wrong, or they just do not have the courage to take the tiller of something that could potentially kill someone or damage something. If you are a liveaboard, continuous cruiser, then as a woman you should be able to operate the boat.
What would you do if your partner or husband suddenly fell ill whilst at the tiller?
Would you know how to moor the boat up or get it out of a sticky situation?
For some woman they may steer away from learning to operate the boat, because their husband or partner shows no patience when teaching them anything. We all know this happens when you learn to drive a car with a husband and partner. So when learning to drive a car you take lessons with a driving instructor. It is no different when wanting to learn how to operate a boat; you can take a helmsman’s course, where you will be taught all you need to know. There are 1 day, 2 day or 3 days courses out there, depending on your knowledge or lack of knowledge on your boat and how to handle it. Come on ladies do not be scared of your boat, get out there and take the tiller.
I was a failure at driving a car. First my ex-husband tried to teach me. He is not my ex because of the driving lessons :0). That is a whole different long story. I then took lessons with an instructor, but that did not work either. I was told I would end up killing someone, when I failed to stop at a junction. In my defence I should say I was 7 months pregnant at the time, which turns out not to be a good time to learn to drive, not just because I was the size of a house, but because my hormones were totally in overdrive. I ended up getting out of the car and falling to pieces. I never tried again and I do not regret it at all, because we do not have a car since living on the canal. I am fortunate that I do have a patient teacher on the canal and he is Keith. Keith was taught by a working boatman who was born and bought up on the boats, so I feel very happy with Keith teaching me the skills to operate the boat safely. He never gets impatient with me and is a very calm person when it comes to giving instruction. This I realise is not the same in every partnership and if you do not have the same sort of partner then a helmsman’s course maybe just what you need. When I take the tiller, I feel very relaxed with being taught things by Keith. I still have many things to learn and one would say you never actually stop learning. I do now feel that if something should happen to Keith whilst we are on the move, I could take over and get us to a safe place to moor.
Everything with learning about boating should be taken a step at a time. I know some women who are scared of going through tunnels. This is not something that bothers me, but if it is one of your pet hates, then take it a step at a time. Sit at the fore-end of the boat with someone for a few minutes each time before hiding in the boat and hopefully in time you will be able to enjoy the tunnel experience. You should then be able to steer the boat through a tunnel as well without having a panic attack. There is nothing about boating I am scared off. Immediately I stepped on to the first boat I embraced everything about it. I want to learn all there is to know. I do of course realise that boating is not for every woman and some are only doing it because it is their husband or partner’s thing. But as I
liveaboard and continually cruise I feel I need to know all there is to know, this also includes how to service the engine and generator, change the stern gear packing (I took a course). It also pays to know a little about electrics and plumbing, because in the end you can save yourself a fortune.
My challenge to the ladies on the cut is if you have not done it yet, take the tiller from your husband or partner and learn how to operate your boat.

Funding fears for radio station - DIY Petition - Harborough Mail

Funding fears for radio station - DIY Petition - Harborough Mail

Friday 18 February 2011

Crows, Daffodils and Coffee.

Hi Friends.

I must be getting old, because I was in bed by 9.15pm last night. I think listening to Keith snoring in the chair and the lack of decent programs on the TV made me want my bed. I cannot remember my head snuggling down on my pillow, so I must have been tired. I have no idea why though, as yesterday was not that busy and I only came down the Foxton flight. I hope I am not coming down with something.

This morning as usual we were awake way to early, so Keith made us a cup of tea, which we drank whilst discussing the day's chores. By 7.15am I was up and dressed. Because my side of the bed is next to the engine room, I always stack my clothes for the morning on the engine, ready for me to climb into. There is no wardrobe on our boat, we only have cupboards and draws, so I use every available space. Up and about I laid on breakfast, which was toast and marmalade this morning. The stoves then got stoked and the ashpans emptied. By then Paddy was asking to go out for his walk. He is never desperate to go, just impatient. We walked up the towpath towards Debdale and until we had cleared the moored boats he was kept on his lead. Once we cleared the last of the boats, I allowed him off of his lead, so he could run free. I am a stickler for keeping him under control passed other peoples boats, because there is nothing worse than a dog weeing on boat ropes or even worse leaving a package by the boat. I do not like other people's dogs doing it near our boat, and so I do not allow Paddy to do it near others boats. We walked up to Pat's Bridge and on the offside the Crow's were busy nest building.
There is an old wives tale told, that if the Crow's and Rook's nest in the tops of the tree's we are in for a good Summer. If however they nest lower down, it is going to be a Summer of bad weather.
So what do you reckon good or bad Summer?

Another Crow's tale is:
One's bad,
Two's luck,
Three's health,
Four's wealth,
Five's sickness,
Six is death.

Coming from a farming background, I know lots of old wives tales.
The sight of Daffodils popping up out of the ground, really does mean that the ground is warming, so Spring is not far away, but with the temperature dropping like a stone, it does not feel much like Spring is on its way. As the morning wore on the temperature seemed to drop even futher.
I delivered some coal to a customer early on, and stood nattering about the wildlife around. Just as we were chatting about Badgers a Kestrel flew up into the tree near her boat. Just typical though I did not have my camera on me. Having then put the world to right, I walked back to the boat with my trolley. Keith had been wrestling with our printer, which has a mind of its own. Thankfully he was all finished when I got back. I made a Chicken Casserole which is cooking in the back cabin stove for tonights dinner. If the temperature outside continues to drop, the casserole will be very welcome.
With all my jobs done, I wanted to go and have a look at the enamel ware in the shop, so we shut the boat up and walked over Rainbow Bridge to Tony Matt's shop. Keith bought a book on the FMC boats (Fellows, Moreton and Clayton) and I bought an enamel ware jug, which will be ideal in the back cabin. Even though we are only moored over the canal, we popped into Bridge 61 for a coffee and a natter with anyone in there. It was however rather quiet, so after coffee we walked back to the boat.
As the afternoon is wearing on it is very quiet outside, the only boats moving are the hire boats and there are not many people about, so Film4 is on and we are watching old movies. I do not expect to get many customers today with it being so quiet, so it looks like I am going to have a quiet afternoon.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Foxton top lock to the bottom.

Hi Friends.

Yesterday was a good day which ended up with us going to the Bridge 61 pub in the evening with Roy off of NB Gerald No13. We enjoyed a lovely evening with other boaters, chatting about anything and everything. Neither Keith or I are big drinkers, we normally only drink when we eat a meal, so for us to sit in a pub and just drink does not happen everyday. Not only do we not drink much, we could not afford to drink much at £3 a pint. I am amazed how people manage to sit and drink 5 or 6 pints at the price they are these days. But we did enjoy the evening with like minded people.

This morning we woke to another foggy morning, but there was no frost which was nice. Despite a late night, we were awake early and yes we did have a cuppa in bed.
Once up and about the usual routine got underway. This morning breakfast came first, then Paddy got walked. I then stoked both the fires, filled the Copper Kettle and fed the pets. We were then ready for the off down the flight. I took the TV ariel down and untied the fore-end rope, whilst Keith fired the old girl into life. When he was ready, I then walked on to the first lock to set it.Yesterday we had geese in the mist, today we had boater in the mist as Keith moved the boat towards Foxton Top Lock.At the top of the locks, the fog was thick, so I could not see the bottom of the flight to see if anyone else was coming up the locks, so I had to go and check to be on the safe side. With nothing coming, we set off down the flight at a leisurely pace. Working locks is all about doing it in the most effective way without wearing yourself out. I have a routine which works very well for me and saves my energy, not that the Foxton flight is difficult. if you remember to work the paddles in the right order, the locks are the easiest on the system in my opinion. Just as we reached the bottom lock Roy off of NB Gerald arrived with Thomas his dog to help us through the final lock of the flight. We thanked him for his assistance and off we went under Rainbow Bridge and onward towards Debdale. We stopped to unload some coal for a customer on the way, who was very pleased to see me.

The fog was still persisting as we moved towards Debdale winding point. A gentleman on the bank shouted out that there were a couple of boats adrift near the next bridge, I thanked him for his warning and we sped on our way. He was not wrong about the boats.It was just as well we did not want to go any further than Debdale, because there was a dutch barge looking boat in the bridge 'ole marooned all alone. Apparently British Waterway's had been called out to move the boat. We winded in the winding hole where a couple of boats were moored and made our way back to Foxton. Thankfully there was one mooring space available in front of the Foxton Locks Inn, so we moored up immediately. I tied up the fore-end and Keith did the stern, this is another of our routines. I have realised that boating is all about routines. I have set routines, which means I then never forget to do anything. Keith has his own routines as well. maybe this is a sign of getting old arghhhhhh.
Since being moored up, I have delivered coal to a customer who collects by car. I then did a bit of reshuffling in the hold, so all is tidy once more. I do like a tidy hold ;0). I am hoping that over the weekend I can get out with my camera to take some wildlife photographs, so watch this space for photographs. I am hoping the weather will be kind this weekend, so I can go out and about with my camera and tripod. As the day has worn on the sun has come out a little, warming the air, so Marmite and Paddy are on the back counter watching the world go by. Keith is working on his railway and I am of course working on this posting, I need to start thinking about tonights dinner as well, so I am off now.
Chat soon xx

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Welford to Foxton Top Lock.

Hi Friends.

It was a foggy and frosty start to Wednesday morning. There was a heavy frost on the ground and the foggy was getting a little like pea soup.
We left our overnight mooring and set off for the junction, where we did not see another boat. Infact that applied throughout our cruise, there was not another soul moving, or wanting coal. There is something quite eerie about cruising in the fog. I got to take the tiller, whilst Keith went inside. I love working the boat when I get the chance. There is something impowering about moving a boat through the water. There are those who feel it is a man's job to move the boats, but that is poppy cock. Women were good enough to work the boats during World War II, when the men were off fighting for our fine country and they are most certainly more than capable of doing the same today. I have many girly friends who are lone boaters and love moving from place to place. Infact I think I can safely say that some women do a far better job than the men.... I know I have stirred the pot with that comment, but I feel in some cases a woman is better at the job. I still have much to learn, but do enjoy my times at the tiller.
By 9.15am the sun was trying hard to come out and a warm glow was reflecting on the water. Unfortunately the sunshine did not last ling, and before we knew it we were plunged back into the fog again, which meant the temperature really dropped once more. We have all heard of the film 'Gorillas in the mist', well I have a new film idea 'Geese in the mist'. I just about spotted these two Canadian Geese in the field.
We arrived at Foxton Top Lock and immediately found a mooring long enough for the boat. Roy on NB Gerald came in behind our boat, having changed his mooring position. We are going to the pub with him later for a pint or two and an evening of chatting, which every nice boater enjoys.
I will say cheerio for now, as I should get on with a few jobs.
Chat soon. xx

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Bridge 36 to Welford.

Hi Friends.

Brrrrr Winter is not giving up without a fight.
When we woke up early, I thought I could hear the wind blowing, but Keith reckoned it was coming from the A14. On opening the back cabin doors, I was proven right, when I was hit by an icy blast of cold air. It was blowing outside and it was cold. I did not need to think twice, I jumped beneath the duvet and snuggled down whilst drinking a cuppa. It would have been so easy to have gone back to sleep, but nope I was up and dressed. The fires both needed stoking to keep the cabin warm. The back cabin stove always takes me longer to do, because I have to rake out the ash which I placed on the top to keep the fire in over night. This morning there was not much fire left underneath to keep in, because with the howling winds the fire had almost burnt itself out. I got it going again though with a few sticks from my store and it was soon roaring away once more, with the kettle gently humping away on the top of the stove.
Paddy and I took a run across the field, when I say Paddy and I, I mean Paddy did the running and I just strolled. It has been a long time since I ran anywhere, I am not a runner and never have been. I remember at secondary school, I was always put into the 100 metres for sports day, and I always came last.
Back on the boat after looking at the stunning views across the valley, Keith was cooking breakfast. He did us Two Poached Eggs, Two Sausages, Two Breakfast Mushrooms and Two slices of toast. It was very yummy and went down extremely well on such a chilly morning.
We only had a short run this morning to customers down the Welford Arm. When we set off it was dull but not raining, however the wind was blowing a bit, making for cold hand and faces. I always wrap up against the elements, but this has its problems when trying to unload coal, so I usually end up stripping off when delving into the hold for coal.
When we arrived at Welford, we winded at the arm end and moored on the jetty to deliver coal to customers, we then moved back down the arm to the visitor moorings close to the marina, which is where we will be for the night. The TV signal here is pants, so we will probably end up watching a DVD.
I would like to wish Sharon a very Happy Birthday today xx
Also get well soon to Bruce who is in hospital xx
At the moment I have meatballs cooking in the back cabin stove for tonights dinner, they smell devine and are making me hungry. Paddy and Marmite are both asleep. Keith is repairing his waistcoat, which is falling apart.

I am off to make a coffee so will chat soon xx.

Monday 14 February 2011

From Crick to Downton Bridge.

Hi Friends.

We headed off from our weekend mooring at Crick and through Crick tunnel to the winding hole by the M1 motorway bridge just above Watford locks. The motorway was jam packed with lorries and cars all going at a snails pace, so something was amiss. We then returned through the tunnel and passed by The Moorings, which was called Edwards (CLICK). It is still run by the same people. We continued on to Downton Bridge 36, a new mooring for us, but a pleasant surprise as it is deep and has rings, ticks all the boxes, with excellent views across the Avon valley towards Stanford Reservoir and South Kilworth. The other side of the canal is the site of the medieval village of Downton, but no sign of Downton Abbey!
I can honestly say it has been a wonderful day's cruising. I managed to sell 4 bags of coal and a bottle toilet blue, so not a total waste of time. Tomorrow we will be heading for Welford.

Chat soon xx

Sunday 13 February 2011

How to spoil my Sunday morning!!!!!!!!

Hi Friends.

I hope your Sunday is going to be a good one?

Mine got off to a good start, but was then ruined by a thoughtless person.
As always I took Paddy for his morning stroll. he is always on his lead when passing other boats and when we come into contact with other dogs. This is not because he is not friendly, this is because i never know what someone elses dog, which is normally off its lead will do. Paddy is the most laid back dog and does not have an evil bone in his body, so will always hide behind me when faced with another dog who is in destroy mode. This was the case this morning, when a woman came towards us with three dogs. The mongrel looking of the three immediately began to show it was up for a fight with Paddy as it charged towards us and started growling and lurching at Paddy. I fended it off, whilst asking the owner to put her dog on a lead. Her reply was "I am trying". The dog then lurched at Paddy again who was hiding behind me. I took action and pushed the dog away from Paddy and sternly told the woman to get her dog on a lead. At no time did she apologise for her dogs actions. The next time this happens the owner is going to end up in the cut I swear, because I am sick to death with dog owners who allow their dogs to beat up on Paddy. He is going to end up a nervous wreck.

I can but hope by day gets better ;0).

Chat more later xx

Saturday 12 February 2011

Fears over 1000 new homes.

We made it on to the front page.


Spring is on its way.

Hi Friends.

I have a dreaful signal at the moment. Crick must have the worst internet signal in the whole area, so I will keep my posting as brief as possible.

Thursday we enjoyed a nice time at Welford Junction. We met up with Jane and Tom on NB Calypso, who wanted there coal order. Jane then very kindly invited us in for Coffee. Without any problem at all 2 hours passed by as we chatted about the world and his wife. By the time we said cheerio to them, it was well past 2.30pm and we still had not had lunch. Back on board our boat I made us a sandwich, because dinner was going to be the last of the Pheasant Casserole and Dumplings.

Friday morning saw the sun up and the birds singing. It looked and felt like a Spring morning as we left our over night mooring. It seemed that where ever I looked I just saw dead animals in the water. Floating in the canal I saw 1 Fish, 1 Rabbit, 1 Badger, 1 Fox and 3 Sheep. The death toll is rising on the Leicester Line for dead animals in the water, which I always find very sad. At Yelvertoft I dropped off coal to a customer before we carried on to Crick where Kerry's ponies were over looking the canal near Crick Marina. I thought this was a lovely photograph.
Could someone please help me up?
We moored up on the towpath opposite the marina and realised that the water level was down, no wonder our cruising progress had been some what slow. We could not get right into the bank so tied up as we were in a hope that the water level would come up. It turned out that they were having issues at Watford Locks, which was causing the water level to drop.
Our good friend Roy on NB Gerald No 13 was moored up, but we knew he was not on board because he had phoned me to say he was at Crick and off to the pub, but we were fortunate to catch up with him later in the afternoon. Jackie and Ray on NB Roehaise came in behind us and moored up, it was then Roy came back from the pub and shop bearing goodies. He had a box of Butterfly cakes and was willing to share them if I put the kettle on. Jackie offered to make the Coffee, so I took her my boiling Copper kettle to use, it saved her having to use her gas to boil a kettle. There was Jackie and Ray, Roy and his dog Thomas, Keith and I stood on the towpath drinking coffee, eating Butterfly cakes and nattering, it was the perfect end to a lovely day. it had been over a year since we had seen Roy, so we had an awful lot of catching up to do. There will be more chatting over the weekend no doubt.
The Crick mooring may have a back internet signal, but the TV signal is fantastic, so we have digital TV, which means we have an excellent picture for a change. Just a shame there was nothing much on. I did start to watch Braveheart on More4, but my eyes were getting heavy, so I therefore gave up and went to bed.
Saturday began with a shower, but as I type this posting the sun is shining and it feels like Spring. With the sun out, my first job was to take Paddy for his morning stroll, whilst I was gone Keith made us toast for breakfast. After breakfast I walked to the post office and store to buy a loaf and of course got chatting to Caroline and John on NB Vanyar, they have been very good friends and customers over this Winter.
Back on the boat, Keith and I sorted out the gas locker and under the back counter. Unfortunately it has been very wet under our back counter, which has ruined our two man tent and sleeping bag, so they are going in the skip. Keith stacked up our tins of paint under the counter and I made us a Coffee.
During the morning there was much talking between us with Jackie and Ray and Roy who came by on his way to the shop. There was also a lot of boats on the move, but sadly none of them requiring coal.
I cleaned the chimney again on the back cabin stove. Keith has a long crow bar which is ideal for getting rid of the tar and soot in the chimney. With the chimney cleared, I then relit the fire ready to put some minced Beef in the oven for dinner tonight.
Keith is now working on his railway layout and of course I am typing this whilst listening to the John Wayne film on the TV.
It is so nice to have the doors and side windows open letting in the fresh air and bird song. Spring is coming and so is the opportunity to Spring Clean.
Have a lovely weekend.
Chat soon. xx
As the morning wore into the afternoon,

Thursday 10 February 2011

Two forms of horse power.

Hi friends.

I could not resist taking this photo this morning of our boat and horse crossing over the bridge. We set off up the Foxton flight this morning and are now moored up at Welford Junction.
We had not seen another boat moving all morning, but no sooner we moored up, two have gone past us.
Was it something we said?
Not only were boats not moving, I did not have many customers either. I only had two customers. Now that the ice has gone and the weather is warming up, people are moving off of the section, so it is expected that things will get quieter.
Not seeing any other boats moving, meant the wildlife was happy to stick around whilst we cruised past. We saw Three Kingfisher's, Two Heron's, a couple of Squirrels and numerous ducks and birds. It has been a lovely day, even though it was mainly cruised in the drizzle.
I hope your day has been a lovely one?

Chat soon xx

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Market Harborough to Black Horse.

I took the photograph of Marmite on Sunday, she was doing a great job og chilling out whilst not watching the Sunday film D.A.R.Y.L. Nothing was going to stop her from dozing.
We were awake at 5.30am, so Keith made us a cuppa. Because I was so wide awake, I decided to get up early to get a few jobs done. We did not leave the mooring until 9.25am, which was when we winded the boat in the basin, pulled into the Sanitary Station mooring, to empty the toilet cassette, get rid of rubbish and top the water tank up. We then unloaded some coal for Chrissie and Richard. On leaving Market Harborough we approached the Old Union Canal Society moorings and noticed a group of people being photographed by a man up a ladder, so I could not resist taking their photo. Some of the faces looked familiar, so I think it was a photograph of some of the Old Union Canal Society members, but not sure what for. For that explanation I will have to wait for the next news letter.On our way to Foxton Bill and Virginia off NB Wilver flagged us down for a couple of bags of Supertherm, so we pulled moored in front of them and unloaded a couple of bags of coal to keep them going. Gunner their retriever had been very poorly, but is thankfully now on the mend, thanks to a local vet. Gunner certainly looked on fine form this morning. Bill very kindly gave the fore-end a push off with his boat pole because we were stuck on the mud. The Leicester Line is very shallow in places and really does need dredging. Thank you Bill. It was lovely catching up with Bill and Virginia, we always have a good laugh with them.Having dropped off coal to a customer at Foxton, we are now moored up at Black Horse Bridge for the night. This afternoon our Tesco food delivery should arrive between 3pm and 4pm, which will replenish the fridge and food store, which is looking a little depleated at the moment.
The weather is so Spring like, I have all the doors and windows open allowing some fresh air to come into the boat. It is so nice to have the galley doors open to the elements for a change. Marmite and Paddy are on the back counter enjoying the afternoon sunshine.
I am off now to think about what jobs need to be done next.
Chat soon xx

Tuesday 8 February 2011

What a difference.

Hiya Folks.

What a difference a day makes.
Yesterday it was blowing a gale and overnight the wind just disappeared, leaving us with a frosty morning and no wind at all. This ment the sun came out and the day was almost Spring like.
My day began like most day's way to early. I was woken up by Keith climbing over me at 5.30am grrrrrrrr. Whilst he was doing what he had to do, I made us a cuppa and re-lit the stove as it was a little chilly in the back cabin. No sooner I struck the match and lit the firelighter, I was aware that there was smoke coming out around the chimney stack, which ment only one thing, the chimney was blocking up with tar and soot. So I pulled on my trousers and t-shirt and climbed out on to the back counter with my chimney stick, to give it a good poke. The chimney that is. With the chimney cleared I climbed back into the cabin, with my feet freezing and I lit the fire all over again, this time success the fire was roaring away and all the smoke was going up the cleared chimney. By the time Keith climbed back into bed, the back cabin was smoke free and his cuppa was going cold. Despite the fact that I could have settled back down under the duvet, I decided to get up, because I had shopping to do, plus other tasks in the town, so I was up and dressed and out with the dog. It was a chilly but beautiful start to the day, even the ducks were quacking away.
After breakfast, Keith fired up his laptop, which he had got back from repair yesterday and the flippen thing did not work. To say he was cross was an understatement. Dell have really let him down with this laptop. So he rammed it into a rucksack and I donned by coat and rucksack, we then set off down the town, first destination the shop where he bought his Dell laptop from. Keith told them that he had had enough with the thing. He either wanted a complete replacement or his money back, so he has left it in his hands to see what they can do with Dell. With that done, we headed off to the Royal Mail sorting office where we wanted to find out about redirecting mail. The gentleman behind the counter was very helpful and left us feeling we are making progress with our quest to get a mailing address in Market Harborough, next destination was the council offices to find out about planning, but before that we headed to the indoor market place for a much needed coffee, as we had already walked a couple of miles ;0(. Whilst there I bought a Lamb Shank and a Hock which are now in the freezer.
At the council offices we sat down and chatted to one of the council staff who deals with planning and he is going to help us set up a post box. Fingers crossed it is not a difficult process. By the time we came out of the council offices it was almost lunchtime, so Keith suggested we eat out and he fancied an Indian, so we were just about to set off for Shagorika our favourite place for an Indian meal, when we met up with Chrissie and Richard off of NB Digitalis, who gave us some shock news, which left me stunned, they are selling up and moving. Things change in our lives and we all have dreams we must follow, so I wish them luck with their new adventure. We will of course keep in touch and they are always welcome to come out on our boat.
I am beginning to wonder if I smell, because people we know seem to be leaving the waterways thick and fast, which is all very sad for us and the waterways, because these people are lovely and actually love the canals. I am saddened but we must all do what we must do.
Lunch was very yummy as always at Shagorika, it is always a treat to eat there. On the way back to the boat, I called into the fruit and veg shop to buy my supply of fruit and veg, this will have to last us a couple of weeks.
Back at the boat it was time to do some coal deliveries, which would help work off my lunch. With all this heavy work, I should be as thin as a rack, but I am not grrrrrrr.
I have had a wonderful day in many way's, I hope yours has been as good.

Chat soon xx

Monday 7 February 2011

Getting blown away.

This is my bird of the day. The Long Tailed Tit. It is such a beautiful little bird and I was fortunate enough to get a few nice photographs of one yesterday, when I went out with my camera and tripod.

So here we are on another Monday and it is blowing a gale still, with no let up in sight it seems if the weather forecast for the area is to be believed. The wind has been blowing so much that we have taken to letting the back stove out at night, which means I have been re-lighting it in the mornings. This morning I also chose to give the chimney a quick clean before lighting the fire. Once that was all done, I stripped down the Pheasant carcass and put the meat to one side. The stock went back into the pan, along with Carrots, Onions, Swede and Potatoes and is cooking in the back cabin oven. I will add the Pheasant and Mushrooms later on.

After I had put the casserole in the oven, we thought we should attempt to move off even though it was blowing up a storm outside, so we untied the ropes and off we chugged. I stepped off of the boat at Foxton Bridge to walk to the swingbridge, hoping beyond hope that it would be working ok. As I was about to unlock the padlocks and close the barriers, I let a car pass over the bridge only for it to park up on the other side. It turned out to be a British Waterway's man, who had come to check on how the bridge was working. He stood and watched as I struggled to open the flippen thing, and then asked me "How was it then". I felt like saying to him "How did it look". I politely explained to him that it was very hard to move and he agreed that it was causing some issues, which they are trying to fix. Making it work properly cannot come quick enough for me, because at this rate it is going to give me a hernia.

All the way to Market Harborough we were fighting with the wind. The boat at times was moving sideways along the cut. I was keeping a very close eye on the trees, which were bowing their heads very deeply as we passed beneath them. I had visions of one coming down in front of us, or even worse on top of us. But as they say 'The show must go on'. We got to bridge 14, the Union Canal Society moorings and dropped off Four bags of coal to a customer, I then walked to the 48 hour moorings near the basin, to see if there were any moorings and low and behold there was one big enough for us to get into.

We are now safely all moored up and lunch has been eaten. I have been and collected our post and Keith has gone down the town to collect his laptop, which has been repaired. We will be here for a couple of days, because we have customers to deliver coal to and jobs to sort out. I am now about to venture out to put the TV ariel up. This should be fun.
Have a great Monday everyone.
Chat soon xx

Sunday 6 February 2011

Foxton Weighbridge.

Yesterday I told you I would show you the weighbridge in Foxton. Well here it is in the driveway of Forge House. The house was apparently there before the canal was built, and later became the coal wharf. There was also a Blacksmiths in the grounds, which was the building near the wheelie bins. Both the businesses were run by the Saddington Family, who were one of the main families in Foxton.

Saturday 5 February 2011

A woman with a plan.

Hi Friends.

Having been woken up by the wind yet again through the night, my mind turned its attention to the day ahead as I sat drinking a cup of tea. As we have been battered by winds now for the past couple of days, I am ignoring any banging noise or the slapping of the waves against the boat. It is actually quite rhythmical at times.
So a plan was being hatches as I sipped my tea.

1st. Get dressed.
2nd. Walk the dog.
3rd. Re-light the back cabin stove.
4th. Cook Steak and Kidney for tonights dinner. (this would go in the stove once the fire was lit).

See I told you I had a plan. But this could only begin after another hours kip beneath the very warm and inviting duvet. I felt like a Dormouse hibernating as I curled up into a ball beneath the duvet and very nice it was too. But all good things must come to an end and no sooner I had dozed off, I was awake again and contemplating my plan for the day.

Up and dressed, Paddy and I set off across the field with the sky looking a little moody. The wind was still blowing a gale, but as it was not cold it really did not affect me much. The one thing the wind did was blow the cobwebs away. After some breakfast and a coffee, Keith and I donned our coats and headed out for a walk. We took a couple of shopping bags with us, but with no intention of buying food, we were off to collect sticks along the way. Because of the strong winds, there were plenty of twigs lying on the ground, just waiting for us to pick them up. I had persuaded Keith over to the dark side, he was now a stick collector like me ;0).

We arrived back to the boat with our bags full to bursting point and a need for another cup of coffee. It was nice to go out walking, it really gives you the chance to check out what is around you. Tomorrow I will tell you about the Foxton Weighbridge we found, when I have done a little more research.

Right now I am sat here typing this and watching a film on BBC2. The Steak and Kidney is cooking in the back stove and yes the wind is still blowing a gale. Two hire boats have come past us at speed and a private boat as well, so the wind is not putting people off from moving. I hope you have a lovely Saturday.

Chat soon xx

Friday 4 February 2011

Blowing a Hooley.

Hi Friends.
What a night..... No not that sort of night ;0).
Both Keith and I were tucked up in bed just after 9.30pm, because we were both tired. I think once again my head hit the pillow and I was out for the count but unfortunately the wind was so strong, it kept waking me up for most of the night. Keith got up twice, once to move our fenders off of the roof incase they got blown off of the roof and secondly to open the slide, because the fire was roaring away, making the cabin rather warm, this was all due to the strong gusty winds blowing up Hadar's rear. Whilst we were awake, I made us a cuppa and checked the fire, but the fire had burnt itself out, so there was very little left in the bottom.
Even as we got up there was still very strong winds, so I cleaned out the back stove fire and left it out, with the thought of lighting it later on once we had descended the locks.
We set off early to go down through the locks, so early the locky hadn't unlocked the top lock when I arrived there. Fortunately when Hadar is fully loaded she handles easily in the wind as she has a lot of boat sitting in the water, 2'6" along the whole boat, and as the sheeting is sloped, unlike the steep cabin sides, the wind just glances off it and over the top. Keith managed to hold Hadar in the lock entrance whilst the locky Gerald opened up the locks. We waited whilst he also filled a couple of the side ponds, because they were a little low on water. We were soon setting off down the flight. The wind was gusting so much that it almost knocked me off of my feet as it cut across the flight. The wind was not cold, just very strong. Hire boat NB Lady Dubois followed us down the flight, she had just come back from being painted in her new livery. As we approached the bottom lock, I saw another hire boat coming through the swingbridge. I explained to the steerer he would have to moor up as there was a boat coming down behind us, but he had no control over the boat in the wind. Eventually he wrestled the boat on to a mooring in front of the Foxton Locks Inn, and we could finally get out of the bottom lock. Keith swung the boat around in front of the pub and on to the water point at the bottom of the inclined plane, where we unloaded coal for a customer who lives down the arm. Having delivered her coal, I then opened the swingbridge for the hire boat Lady Dubois, who was being taken back to Market Harborough to join the fleet. Keith then reversed Hadar out of the arm, whilst I opened the swingbridge again for us. We are now moored at one of our favourite moorings just through the foot swingbridge down the Harborough Arm, where we will be for the weekend.
Since being moored up, the wind has really got up, so much so we have waves on the canal. I am thinking of offering the ducks surf boards.
The one really great thing about the strong winds is the twigs that are falling from the trees. These twigs are an ideal size for my back stove fire, so I will be out with my bucket over the weekend collecting sticks.
I am off now to see if I can buy a TV paper, so I will say cheerio for now.
Chat soon xx

Thursday 3 February 2011

Up hill and down dale

Hello Friends.

9pm and I was in bed last night after what had been a busy old day. My head hit the pillow and I was out. But this did mean I was then awake early this morning, quarter to six to be precise arghhhh. Keith got up and made us both a cuppa, which we enjoyed whilst Marmite jumped all over us, hoping this would get us out of bed, she was out of luck, because we settled back down for a further hours kip.
Once up and the usual morning jobs done, Keith suggested we take a walk up to Gumley, which is a half mile walk up hill and down dale. It is an incredibly pretty area, with some stunning views across the Welland Valley.
It was lovely to see the Snowdrops have put in an appearance, maybe this means Spring is coming our way.
Having walked along the road, we made it to Gumley. The name Gumley is a contraction of the Anglo-Saxon “Gutmundesleah” which means Godmund’s clearing. Gumley is surrounded by pasture. It shows a fine example of medieval ridge and furrow method of working the land. The fields are subject to preservation orders, which I think is fantastic. Where ever you are in the village the Clock Town is seen.
The Clock tower and stable block are the only bits left of Gumley Hall. Gumley Hall was built in
1764 by Joseph Craddock. It is said that Queen Victoria once visited the hall. The hall was lived in for the last 70 years of its life by Murray-Smith family before they had the hall demolished in 1962. It is also reported that Leonard Cheshire, the World War 2 bomber pilot and founder of the Cheshire Homes for ex-service men and women, had his first community project called 'The VIP's", at Gumley Hall in 1946. It is sad that the hall no longer exists. From the end of the 1st World War, the Fernie Hunt used the hall's grounds as its traditional Gumley meeting place. The Fernie Hunt still takes place today. Ther Fernie Hunt was established in 1919. (CLICK)
To the left of the Clock Tower stands St Helens Church. It sits perched on its own little hill and looked really picturesque. The church is mainly from the 14th century, but there may have been a church on the same site previously. Sadly as is the case is most places these days the church was locked up. We took a walk around the grave yard and saw quite a few family plots. There was also the grave of G.W Lygo who fought in WWll and died at the age of 19 on the 17th March 1941. Other names which I hope to investigate are Murray-Smiths and Bingley. I have already made a start on Benjamin Simons, who I have discovered was a gentleman, grazier, so perhaps he owned one of the seven farms which used to be in Gumley. There are but two remaining. Benjamin was also an inn keeper around the year of 1820. It would appear that they were definitely a farming family.There is but one public house in Gumley now called The Bell Inn. But in the 1840's there were two. The Hartopp Arms and the Bluebell, which later became The Bell. We did not have the opportunity to sample the wares of the pub, because it was closed.But even if it had been 12 noon and the pub had been open, we would have had to read the list of rules on the blackboard first before entering. I wonder if they get very busy?
In a time when pubs are going to the wall, it is odd to see a pub laying down such rules.
Having enjoyed our stroll around the village we walked back to the bottom of Foxton Locks across the fields along a bridle way. We were about to go into Bridge 61 pub for a coffee, when we spotted Jackie and Ray on NB Roehaise in the bottom lock. Jackie asked if we would like a coffee with them on the boat when they had moored up, so who were we to refuse.
We are now back on the boat and after some lunch, Keith began working on his railway, I am of course typing this and watching a film at the same time. Yes it is so true that women can multi-task.
I am now going to make a coffee and check tonights dinner which is cooking in the back stove.
Chat soon xx

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Welford to Foxton Top Lock.

We were up at 5:00am this morning to be ready for our coal delivery of 4.5tonnes, which arrived at 7:45am and took all of 35mins to load into the hold.
After delivering some of this coal to 3 customers. We then set off for Foxton, lunch was bacon sandwiches on the move. There is always someone watching us when we pass ;0).

Although we were still pushing ice in places it was not to bad. We stopped at North Kilworth to visit the Chandlery and to say hello to Jane. We picked up some grease and a couple of Mars Bar's. I need a chocolate fix and an energy boost.

We cruised through Husbands Bosworth tunnel and on exiting the tunnel we noticed there was a boat just entering the tunnel behind us. It occured to the both of us that it could be Jackie and Ray on NB Roehaise, but could not see the boat, so were not sure. It was not until we reached the top of Foxton Locks and had moored up, that who should come into view but Jackie and Ray. They moored up to take on water, they then invited us in for a brew, which of course got us nattering for a good couple of hours. Time flies when your having fun with friends.
We are now snuggled up inside the boat, just as well because it is raining outside. I am looking forward to another early night, because I am cream crackered after loading the coal in the hold.
So I will say cheerio xx

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Welford Junction to the Wharf at Welford.

Hello Friends.

I had another early wake up call this morning, Marmite was laying on my feet at 6am. I think she was trying to tell me she had no food in her dish, either that or she just wanted some where warm to sleep, because it was chilly in the cabin this morning, because the fire was on its way out. Whilst Keith got up to visit the smallest room, I raked out the fire and tried to breath some life into it, which was successful. As I was up, I put the kettle on for a warming cuppa, which we drank in bed, whilst we listened to the silence outside, before setttling back down beneath the duvet for another few minutes which turned into an hour. When I woke up for the second time, it was raining outside, which had been forecast and was welcome. The ice was still on the canal when I took Paddy out for his walk, despite the brief spell of rain. As Paddy and I walked along the towpath, I picked up sticks for the back stove fire. Paddy got rather excited when a young Heron flew up the canal. His excitement was echoed by me, because we do not see Heron's up here and this was the first one we have seen on the Leicester Line in three years. It was a youngster and is probably trying to find itself a territory. It is certainly welcome to stay up here with us.
When we left the mooring the ice was still about 1" thick from the moorings to the junction, but once into the Welford arm it thinned to about 1/4" and helpfully someone had travelled between the 2 winding points so had cleared most of the ice, which helped with the winding, which we had thought we wouldn't be able to do if it was icy. We are ready for our coal delivery in the morning from Hills the Coal Merchants, bright and early no doubt, but we will have to be up earlier, to move the boat over to the delivery point and to get the hold ready. I already have orders for coal in the morning, so once the delivery of 4.5 tonne has been stowed away in the hold, we will then deliver coal to our customers, one of which is new to us. All new customers are very welcome, especially in the Welford Arm.
As we came down the Welford Arm and approached the lock, who should we see but Jackie and Ray off of NB Roehaise, with Tess their dog. They very kindly opened the lock gates for me so I offered to make them a cuppa for their trouble. They had walked down the arm to check on the availability of a mooring on the towpath, they did not have to worry because there was plenty of room. Once we had moored up, I made us all a cuppa of tea and coffee. We then got down to some nattering about all things boating.
We are now settled in for the evening and have just enjoyed the last of the Sausage Casserole and Rubarb Crumble. I am looking forward to an early night, because of the early morning tomorrow, so I will bid you a good night now.

Chat soon xx


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