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

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Foxton Top Lock to Union Wharf, Market Harborough.

Hi Friends.

Ambition of the day was to get a replacement part for our poorly Candy washing machine.

Before I write about todays event, I thought I would post this photo of the Green slime in the water yesterday. It was not all the way along the canal, just in pockets.

Does anyone know what it is????Ok on to today's events. After a rather disturbed night due to Keith feeling a little under the weather, we were awake pretty early, so rather than lay in bed tossing and turning we got up to a rather cloudy start to Wednesday. With the threat of rain in yesterdays weather forecast, we decided to set off down through the Foxton locks, but before we tackled the locks behind a hire boat, we filled up with water. Whilst I watched the boat, Keith went to sign in with the lockie, who happened to be Terry who we know quite well.Also whilst waiting for the water tank to fill, I got chatting to the workers who were preparing the towpath for re-tarmacing. It did make me wonder how many men does it actually take to do this job and working it out I could have but the work force three, when infact there were six men doing the job. Apparently British Waterways had given the job to May Gurney, but they did not want it so passed it on to another contractor who were working away in their vivid Orange gear, which looked very new. We had a lovely chat about how they had come from the Olympic site to work at Foxton Locks and instead of starting and finishing the job, they would be off to Stoke-On-Trent tomorrow to start another job, then come back to this one. It sounded to me that the left had did not know what the right hand was doing, which means more money was being waisted. With the water tank full we descended the flight of locks behind a hire boat and moved onward to Union Wharf for lunch.

After lunch we walked into town to the domestic appliance shop where we were hopefully we could get a replacement part for the washing machine ordered today. But on arriving at the shop, they tested our pump to discover it was working fine, so clearly that is not the problem. Back to square one me thinks. The gentleman helping us was called Ian and we learnt that we have been passing his narrowboat Quo Vardis throughout the winter. Ian and his wife are not new to boating they have hired for many years and decided to take the plunge and buy a boat. So we had plenty to natter about. Keith offered him some useful tips, which Ian was only to happy to accept. In return Ian is happy to help us out with the washing machine, should it fail to work when we put it back together. We must have chatted for an hour, just as well they were not busy.

Yesterday Keith received a voicemail on his phone to say our new prop is ready for despatch, and needs paying for, ouch! there is always a downside, lol. So we have written the cheque for the new prop and look forward to it arriving at Welford for when we go in for blacking. Back on the boat my homemade Chicken Tikka is cooking nicely in the back cabin stove, the smell is sublime, it is making me feel very hungry.

Before I go I thought I would post this photograph. Tell me what is wrong with it???????

I will tell you that the number is for fishing.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Symbolds Spinney to Welford to Foxton Top Lock.

Hi Friends.

A brand new day began with sunshine pouring through the pigeon box portholes, this was a welcome start, as we had, had mist for the past couple of days. Keith got up and I had a nose out of the back cabin doors. Standing on the towpath were two Cock Pheasants. I reckon they had been eating the bird food I had spilt on the ground. If only they had been in season, we could have had them for dinner. In the reeds behind the boat Mr Frog was croaking away, hoping to attract a mate and the birds were singing, so it was most definitely a good day for travelling, warm, sunny, no wind and very few boats on the move. Before we left our mooring for the past few days, Brian and Sylvia on NB Golden Valley stopped for a bag of coal. I got to see their new addition to the boat, a beautiful pale Ginger kitten and her mum who has adopted Brian and Sylvia. We let them go off first and followed them all the way to Welford, where we delivered our last few bags of coal for this Winter. I then suggested we had lunch at the Wharf Inn. We both had the Haddock, large size, which consists of two pieces of fish instead of one, Chips and Peas. We both soon polished it off to the surprise of the people on the next table and washed it down with a pint of beer each. Having eaten such a large lunch we walked it off, by walking into the village to find a postbox, so I could post our census.

Maybe I should have given it to Postman Pat. He is one of two wooden statues which stands by Welford Pocket Park. Census posted we can now forget about it for another Ten years.

Once back at the boat we decided that we would set off for Foxton because the weather was so nice. At Welford Lock a British Waterways boat is moored on the lock moorings, which was rather annoying, because Keith could not drop me off at the lock. On the bank were these three large coping stones, which have been fished out of the water and will at some point be cemented back into place all ready for boats to knock them off again no doubt.

Already waiting to go into the lock was NB Chisbury a shared ownership boat, who was heading back to Calcutt, so we waited for them to exit the lock, before it was our turn.We left the Welford Arm and headed for Foxton so it has been a longish day for us, but rather wonderful in the sunshine. We are moored above Foxton Locks and will probably go down the flight in the morning.

Because of the sunshine today, the boat is rather warm, this is not helped by the fires which have gone into overtime for some strange reason. I am going to let the saloon stove out tonight and just keep the back cabin stove in.

I am off now to arrange some dinner for us both, whilst Keith takes Paddy for his evening stroll.

Chat soon xx.

Monday 28 March 2011

Washing Machine, Painting and Birdlife.

Hi Friends.
With another misty start to the morning we decided to strip our ailing washing machine down to find out why it has been misbehaving, whilst waiting to start the next coat of paint on the cabinside. Recently I have had problems with running the washing machine, and I have been finding a horrible black sludge trapped in the drain pump filter, I have also been complaining of a horrible smell and smoke coming from the machine. Keith smell senses are not the best o he had to take my word for it. So we dragged the machine out into the galley and started taking it apart. Having removed panels, and pipework, Keith took out the drain pump and whilst drying it with a cloth noticed very black water coming from the rubber ring seal, so he removed the ring, and the black water was coming from behind this, and ultimately from the motor part of the pump. It looks like a new pump is needed, so we have left it out and put the washing machine temporarily in the hold until we can get a replacement pump. Hopefully it won't take too long to source one once we are back in Harborough. Having got as far as we could with this, Keith started to clear up inside the galley, whilst I made a start on the 2nd coat of blue on the cabinside. Having finished tidying up Keith joined me outside and put another coat of blue on the large mop pole, and a 1st coat of blue on his 2nd water can. Before I knew it, it was lunchtime, so I made us something to eat and drink, with thoughts of what needed doing next. Because I now want the paint to dry completely, there is very little I can do with my paintbrush, so there was nothing for it but to get out my camera and tripod. I sat by the boat watching the birds on the feeders and these are some of the birds I snapped today.

Male Chaffinch.

Female Chaffinch.

Male Reed Bunting.

Female Reed Bunting enjoying some free food.

Snapping done and the temperature dropping, it was time to pack everything away once more and to retreat into the boat. My Lamb Shank Casserole is cooking in the back cabin stove for dinner, all's I need to do is add some Dumplings. Marmite is snoozing on top of the freezer, she looks so peaceful. Paddy is horizontal in his bed. So all is well with our world.

Chat soon xx

Sunday 27 March 2011

Painting and Birdsong.

Hi Friends. A rather chilly beginning to the day, but at least the mist had gone away, so I was ever hopeful of getting some painting done. Whilst I waited for the sun to appear, I made up the fires, walked the dog, whilst Keith cooked the breakfast. Still no sign of the sun, so I stripped down the Lamb Shank which had been cooking in the back cabin stove over night. Into the broth I put Potatoes, Carrots, Soya Beans, Onions and Mushrooms, the Lamb would go back in later. I popped the pot back into the oven, so the stew could carry on cooking (There's a film title there somewhere LOL). With all my jobs done and a coffee made, I stepped off of the boat to see how warm it was. It was neither cold nor warm, so I bit the bullet and decided that the paintwork had to be started, after we had spent yesterday afternoon masking the cabin sides. Keith started painting the slide, mops and pole, whilst I got on with rubbing down the cabin side. We then both started painting the cabin side, Keith at one end and me at the other. In no time at all it was done and we could stand back and admire our handy work. It will need at least another coat of Blue, but at least we have made a start. I then painted a second coat of Blue on the back bulkhead, front locker and cross beam. A good mornings work all done. Both Keith and I are in agreement, that we do love the new colour, it is a rich and vibrant colour, more in keeping with the boat. Whilst the paint was left to dry, I made us some lunch and a coffee. The sun was still showing no real sign of coming out.Whilst we had very little to do, Keith spotted this Common Buzzard sitting in a tree, no more than 100 metres away from the boat. It kept flying around the area looking for some lunch. Such a magestic looking bird.Not far from the boat are some cut down reeds and sitting on them was this delightful Reed Bunting. Until last week, I had never seen one, and now I am seeing them everyday. There were several going in and out of the reeds. As I stood watching them flying in and out of the reeds, I could hear a Frog croaking, calling a mate no doubt. It will not be long before there will be Frog spawn in evidence.The paint on the cabin sides was still drying, so I took myself off with my camera and tripod to see what birdlife I could snap. There seemed no point in listening to the birds singing, if I could not photograph them. Of course some of my photographs do not turn out very clear, but because I have a digital camera I can dump them if I do not like them. I had been watching Yellow Hammers search for seeds in the field by the boat and was able to snap this one sitting in the tree. They are such colourful little birds with a song which sounds like 'little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheese', which always makes me smile.

With the paint still tacky we called it a day, which ment everything had to be tidied away.

Why is it the tidying up takes longer than getting the stuff out?

With paint brushes in White Spirit, Sandpaper stowed away in the engine room and workbench put in the hold, we climbed into a very cosy boat, with Paddy and Marmite snoozing in their beds.

The Lamb Shank casserole was almost cooked, so I added the Lamb and some dumplings and put it back into the stove to finish off.

As I type the film 'Oliver' has just come on Channel 5, so I am off now to watch that, it will then be time for dinner. We cannot watch the final of 'Dancing On Ice' because we do not have ITV1 and our connection speed is only GPRS, so I cannot even watch it online arghhhhh. I guess we will have to watch the flims on 5 instead tonight.

Hope your Sunday has been a lovely one?

Chat soon xx.

Saturday 26 March 2011

Life Is?

Life is short,
Break the rules,
Forgive quickly,
Kiss slowly,
Love truly,
Laugh uncontrollably,
And never regret anything that made you smile.

Great News.

Hi Friends.

Great News.

We heard yesterday by email that Hadar has her BSS exemption for not having a silencer fitted to her engine. We just have to wait for the letter to arrive by post. We appreciate very much the hard work that Philip Rickett did for us on our behalf representing us at the BSS technical committee. It is a huge relief for us and our customers that we will be trading again this Winter.

Misty start and down in the bilges.

Hi Friends.

A first happened last night. We were in bed at 8.30pm ;0) and no hanky panky was had, because both of us were way to tired after spending over twelve hours painting. The only other time you would find me in bed that early is if I am poorly. I wish I could say I actually slept all night, but unfortunately at midnight I was up feeling a little unwell. I am not sure if it was the dreaded Menopause playing her games or the fumes from the paint on the engine room floor, which I had painted earlier in the day, but something had got to me and it made me feel a little strange.

Oi I heard that, I know I am already strange, but lets say the fumes made me feel stranger than normal.
I got up and sat in the saloon with a glass of water until the strange feeling went off, then I crept back to bed, but Keith was awake worried about me awww.

Having tossed and turned for the rest of the night, I was awake just before 6am feeling very jaded and not looking forward to getting out of bed. But just after 7am we were up. I opened the galley door to see a very misty, cold morning, which was not what I had ordered for the day. I ordered another bright sunny start to the day, so we could get on with the huge painting task. So the boat is all masked up, but as the clock ticked around to 8.30am no rubbing down or painting had been started, because there was little point whilst if was still so misty, instead I ate breakfast and then took Paddy for a run across the field. The Skylarks were singing a merry tune as was the Robin perched in a tree near the boat. Back on board I cleaned out the back cabin fire and got it going because the cabin was a bit on the chilly side. Whilst it kicked into life, I filled the Copper kettle with water, this would sit on the stove all day boiling ready for cup's of coffee's when needed. Both Keith and I looked out of the galley doors and decided that painting was out of the question because it was still to misty and cold, so I got on with sorting the empty hold out. When I say empty, I only have around Twenty bags of coal left, there is of course other stuff in the hold, and it all needed tidying. Keith and I had taken the anchor, chain and rope out of the front locker, so I stashed that away against the front bulkhead, it now sits in front of the coal hidden away. I stacked the last of the coal and swept the floor. Whilst I did that, Keith got his axe out and chopped the logs we have been carrying, once chopped up they were put into old coal bags. With the hold tidy and the logs stacked away, I made us both a coffee before tackling the next job, which is one I am not that keen on but it has to be done. This glamorous job is cleaning out the bilges. I started on the galley one, which filled two buckets. Keith removed the floor in the engine room to get to the bilge under the engine, this was partly full of oily water and Paddy's hair. His hair gets everywhere. Finally we did the bilge under the back cabin floor, which was very unpleasant, because the water was mixed with the grease from the propshaft, so it was a slimy mess. Keith managed to wire up a pump to remove most of the water, and the grease we will tackle when it dries out a bit more. I plan to put cat litter on the floor to soak the grease up, then we can just shovel it out.
Who say's boating is glamorous??
With these jobs done the time had rolled on to 1.30pm and my stomach was grumbling. Clearly we had gone past lunchtime, so with everything put back the way it should be, I made us some lunch and we sat down to watch the Australian F1 qualifying. It is still misty and cold outside, so there will definitely be no painting today, we can but hope tomorrow is better.

Chat soon xx

Friday 25 March 2011

Paint and more paint jobs done and dusted.

Hi Friends.

We had the most beautiful sunset last night, which could be seen from our galley window.
I went to bed at 9.30pm and left Keith watching a Clint Eastwood movie. I was dead to the world when he eventually came to bed.

We awoke to a bright sunny morning once again, so I made us a cuppa, which we drank in bed and discussed the plans for the day. The main plan was to start the blue repaint on the boat.

Having got up, taken Paddy for his walk, I started the paintwork off by finishing off the blacking in the front locker, this took me all of 10 minutes. I then rubbed down the engine room hatches, edging around the front locker lid, front deck cross beam and cross beam across the cabin top. I then started painting on the new blue and immediately I saw a huge difference. Whilst I was doing this Keith was filling the top of the back cabin doors, so that they could be undercoated. He then got on with his water cans. 10am came and it was time for a well earned coffee, so we got the chairs out for the first time this year and sat and enjoyed our coffee in the glorious sunshine. Across the field a Tawney Owl began hooting, which was a little strange for 10am in the morning. The Skylarks then joined in with their song and before we knew it, there was bird song all around us and no other sound could be heard. I am so pleased we stopped here. Break over with it eas back to the paint pit until lunch time, when I made us some Cheese and Tomato rolls, which again were deserved and much needed. As we sat down to lunch we could hear a Peacock from a local farm, it as certainly a day for the birds. After lunch I emptied the engine room and rubbed the floor down, I then painted that with Red Oxide, so that it is protected when wet. This meant Paddy had to stay in the boat. Marmite however was let out of the galley window on her lead, she enjoyed the afternoon sunshine and the birds on the feeders. We have had a very busy day which did not end until 4pm when we called it a day.
One of the first things I painted was the engine room door hatches. Thankfully changing the blue on the boat is pretty straight forward, because we are painting over blue, but it does time and patience to make sure there are no streaks in the paintwork, because they will look unsightly when it is dry.Whilst I was painting the boat, Keith was painting his water can. He had the shading to do on the sign writing. It looks really lovely now that it has been finished. He is now working on the second one.What would you like, I can make you a cuppa, or sell you an ice cream?
I am thinking of sending Paddy out to work as an assistant in an ice cream van ;0)
Chat soon xx

Thursday 24 March 2011

Black Horse Bridge, Foxton to Symbolds Spinney Mooring.

Hi Friends.

I opened the back cabin doors this morning to reveal a very foggy start to our day, but it soon cleared to reveal a lovely sunny and warm morning, just was needed to do the Foxton Flight, but before we could climb the flight, I booked in with the lockie and waited for a hire boat to descend the flight. No sooner the hire boat had left the locks, we were allowed into the bottom lock. Glyn the lockie had to help us thorough the first couple of locks this morning as they have a section fenced off whilst repairing the damaged footpath alongside the locks. Due to H&S (Health and Safety) he was the only person allowed in the fenced off area, H&S gone barmy again. I enjoyed a good old chin wag with Glyn as we worked our way up the flight, he is clearly enjoying his new job.We had a very pleasant cruise, with no other boats on the move, this is partly due to a stoppage on the Watford Flight for a few days whilst they replace a broken gate. We stopped at a new mooring for us, but one I had been eyeing up for ages, it is near Symbolds Spinney, midway between bridge 38 & 39. Having moored up I made us some lunch and a Coffee, we then discussed what we would be doing for the rest of the afternoon. The decision was to spend the weekend here painting Hadar, and if this weather holds we may even get the majority of the blue repainted. My first paint job was to black the bow on one side, having done it in less than an hour, we decided to move the boat to the winding hole on the otherside of bridge 36 and come back to the Symbolds Spinney mooring, so that I could then black the other side of the bow. I have blacked the bow now because the boat is not going into dry dock for blacking until the beginning of May, so the bare steel needs some protection now that it is out of the water. With the bow done I then got inside the gas locker and started backing the floor, I managed to do half of it, but the other half was still a little damp, so I will finish it tomorrow hopefully. Whilst I was doing the blacking, Keith was adding another coat of paint to his water can. Paddy and Marmite were out on the towpath enjoying the lovely sunshine. Marmite thought rolling in the dirt was pure joy. With jobs done for the day, I have some pasties baking in the back cabin stove and potatoes and veg cooking on the top. I have done enough for one day, but will be busy again tomorrow if the weather is good.
I am now off to put my feet up, so Chat soon xx.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Market Harborough to Black Horse again.

Hi Friends.

Having made our last coal delivery of the season to Market Harborough yesterday, we said our goodbye's to some of our regular customers until October.
Yesterday ended up with us both being in bed by 9.30pm, we were both too cream crackered to sit up any longer. I was thankful that I kept the back cabin stove in overnight, because when we woke up at 5.30am it was a tad chilly. I racked out the fire and got it roaring away, whilst I made us both a cuppa. There was little to discuss about what the day would bring, because we only had one coal drop off.
Before leaving Market Harborough we winded in the basin, stopped on the sanitary station to get rid of rubbish and to top the tank up with water. Whilst the the tank was filling we had a natter with Malcolm who helps with the hire fleet. It has been an early and busy start for them with most of their boats already out. I hope this bodes well for the company this year, after there were some cancellantion due to being frozen in. Water tank filled, we set off for Foxton Village. The sun was shining, it felt like a summer's morning. It was so warm I was in my t-shirt and of course my trousers, shorts would have been going a little far, they are still in the box. We have noticed increased traffic this past week or so and today was no different. It seems we always meet up with boats at bridge holes and today was no exception. The crew on the other boat very kindly allowed us through even though it was 50/50. As we passed by I thanked them and we passed the time of day. If only all boaters were this gracious at bridge holes towards working boats ;0). By the time we reached the Foxton Village swingbridge, there was one boat moored on the bridge bollards, it looked loike he was single handed and waiting for some help, that help came in the shape of a gentleman on the boat behind us, who very kindly opened the swingbridge for us all. My heart was however in my mouth when his Springer Spaniel who was not on a lead, jumped from the moving swingbridge on to the bank. It then did an about turn to jump back, but we were already half way through the gap. If it had tried to jump back it would have missed, which would have ment it would have been in the water as we came through the gap. I dread to think what could have happened. I thank the gentleman for his help and he went on his way.
We are now moored up at Black Horse Bridge waiting for a Tesco food delivery. Before lunch I delivered a couple of bags of coal to a regular customer, on my return to the boat I then made us both a Sausage sandwich with the remaining Sausages from yesterdays purchase at the market.
I am not sure what this afternoon will bring, but at the moment I am enjoying a coffee whilst listening to our local radio station. Have a lovely day.

Chat soon xx

HFM 102.3 Harborough Radio for Market Harborough - 2011

HFM (CLICK) is the best local radio station in the country. Everyone there makes us feel like we are part of the family. They now have to raise half of their own funding to survive due to government funding cuts. We all know that the cuts have to take place if this country is ever to get back into the black, but to lose the local radio station would be a step to far, so we are hoping they manage to find the funding. If you have a local radio station, they are probably going through the same funding cuts, so if you do not want to lose them, then support them.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Busy Tuesday.

Hi Friends.

Another morning began with us drinking tea in bed, this time a little more snuggled beneath the duvet as it was a little chilly. I had let both fires out yesterday because it was to warm in the boat. As we sat in bed discussing the days plans, we could hear people walking and jogging past the boat. Anyone that jogs must need their head read (just my opinion). I cannot think of anything worse to do as far as exercise is concerned.

Have you ever seen a happy jogger?

7.30 am I was up and dressed, with thoughts of lighting the back cabin stove, so bring a little warmth into the cabin. I also wanted to cook today's dinner on it, so once Keith was up, dressed and the he had folded the bed away, I cleaned out the fire and relit it with some housecoal to begin with, then I threw on some Excel for good measure, that will soon have the boat warm again. The weather at the moment is so hit and miss, still on the 27th March it is the beginning of British Summer Time, so fingers crossed we will be in for some good weather. Here am I living in hope ;0).
Fire was going a good one, so Paddy was next on my list, he was ready and waiting for his walk. Along the towpath at Market Harborough he does not get a chance to run off of the lead, because there are usually a lot of other dogs and their walkers about and I prefer to keep him under control when there are other dogs around. I wish others were as considerate.

With all the usual jobs done, I left Keith on the boat and headed off down the town. Keith had a dental appointment at 10.10am, so there was no point him coming fruit and veg shopping with me. In my head I had a list of things I wanted to do whilst in town. Firstly I went to the bank, then to the sewing shop to find a 26"/27" zip for my waistcoat. For some odd reason the teeth have started falling out of the zip, so I needed a new zip to replace the old. Unfortunately they only had a 22" zip and it was dark Brown, this would have to do, because I could not wait around for them to order me one. I am sure no one will notice once I have fitted it. I then made my way to the indoor market for some Sausages. Three packs of their homemade Sausages for £4.50 a real bargain, some of these would end up in rolls for lunch, with of course Onion and Tomato Sauce. As I was well ahead of myself, I decided to scour the charity shops in the hunt for a wool blanket. I did not find a wool blanket but did find the next best thing, a piece of wool material which will do the job. I will tell you what I want it for in a later post, hopefully with photographs. Outside the indoor market they have a chap selling fruit and veg for £1 a bowl, so I bought two veg bowls and one fruit, this will keep us going for a couple of weeks. With my list of purchases all done and dusted I then lugged my rucksack back up the hill to the boat, where I found the boat all locked up, which meant Keith had gone to the doctors.
No sooner I was on board and the kettle on, my phone rang and a customer asked if he could come and get some coal straight away, so I put the kettle on the stove and went and unloaded some coal for my customer waiting for me in the car park. I wheeled the coal around the basin on my sack barrow to a waiting car, where Rob loaded the coal into his boot. Another very satisfied customer. I only had one other customer to supply later in the afternoon and that is Market Harborough done. This is our last coal delivery to Market Harborough until October.
Four of the Sausages I bought from the market, were placed in the back stove oven with Onions to roast ready for lunch. Keith eventually arrived back at the boat having been to the dentist, he goes back again in two weeks to have his crown fitted. Lunch was cooked so I made us both a couple of Hotdogs and a Coffee, which went down a treat.

After lunch it was time for me to get on with painting the other side of the forward bulkhead. Keith removed the navigation light, I rubbed it all down and started to paint on the Red Oxide paint, whilst I got on with the painting, Keith set off to buy a gas bottle from Brandon's hire company, where we can get a 13kg bottle of gas for £20, the cheapest in the area. By the time Keith got back, the first coat of Red Oxide was all done and was drying nicely in the sunshine. I managed to get a second coat on later in the afternoon.

Today has been a wonderful day for getting lots of things done. Dinner tonight is a Mince Beef Curry, which is cooking in the back cabin stove. After dinner I may sit down and take the zip out of my waistcoat, but that is only if I can keep my eyes open. I am feeling a little worn out now after such a busy old day.
Paddy is snoozing in the back cabin having had his tea and Marmite is perched on a shelf in the galley.
I am now off to check dinner so chat soon xx.

Monday 21 March 2011

Just a quickie.

Hello Friends.

I am feeling everso slightly cream crackered after having a rotten nights sleep, all due to the Menopause. If your a man and your reading this, you do not know how lucky you are. I am going to be so glad when it finally ends.
So having had a rotten nights sleep, we were awake early so I made a cuppa and we sat in bed discussing what the day was going to bring. We both had shopping lists for Market Harborough and had also agreed that we would have lunch at the Angel Hotel. With there being no chance of me going back to sleep, I got up and laid up breakfast. Paddy then got his walk. On returning to the boat, I relit the back cabin stove, which I let out last night, because it was rather warm in the cabin. I love to have the Copper Kettle on the stove ready for Coffee, so whilst the weather is still a little uncertain I will light the back cabin stove in the mornings.
Summer seems to have arrived early as it is definitely warming up nicely, by 8.30am we were ready for the off, we had a warm sunny trip to Union Wharf, Market Harborough behind a hire boat from the basin. We caught up with the hire boat at the Foxton Village swing bridge and I was not amused when despite seeing us coming, they closed the bridge on us. As I ran towards the bridge to ask him to leave it open, I noticed school children crossing with their parents, so I think he may have closed it to let them over, so I gave him the benefit of doubt on this occasion. We carried on behind them all the way to Bridge 14, Union Canal Society Moorings, where we pulled in so I could get off to walk to Logan Street Wharf to see if there were any moorings, we could of got in there, so I rang Keith and let it ring three times, before walking onwards towards the basin to see if there were any moorings on the towpath. Hey presto we were in luck. because Keith did not find we waiting at Logan Street Wharf he carried on towards the basin to meet up with me. We moored up in front of Jim and Jenny on NB Jolly Roger. Having sorted everything out on the boat, we walked into Market Harborough where we had our last lunch on our Christmas voucher at the Angel Hotel, which was very scrummy as always. We then popped into Hfm studios (CLICK) to pick up our tickets for the battle of the DJ's on the 15th April and I got to have a look around the new studios, which are fantastic. Moley showed me around and I got to go into the studio as Dave Smith was broadcasting. Everyone at the station are wonderful and we love them dearly. We also collected out post and found that we had received our Census form in the post, which is amazing as we are not on the electoral roll, and even amazed the girl at the Council Offices as we popped in to register for the electoral roll. I wonder how they found us? lol.
It really has been a busy old day and I am cream crackered after we delivered coal to all our remaining customers in Market Harborough, this will be our last delivery of coal to the basin. Jill and Don on NB Idunno very kindly gave us both a glass of Merlot, which went down very well. I hope you cannot be had up for being drunk in charge of a sack barrow LOL. I only had half a glass honest ;0). The hold is looking very empty now and is getting difficult to climb out of, I am stretching muscles that have never been stretched before ;0). As we got back to the boat Alan and Frances on NB Lazy Days came past, winded in the basin and came back and found a mooring, I did catch a quick chat with them as I delivered coal to a customer, and with any luck we will chat further tomorrow. Dinner tonight will be sandwiches and I have a feeling bed will be calling me very early this evening. I am off now to see what I can find in the fridge.

Chat soon xx.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Paint jobs and nattering.

Hi Friends.

Another weekend and yet another change in the weather. Overnight the temperature had dropped to below -3 C, so we woke to a frosty morning. Because the night was so clear, I got a lovely photograph of The Foxton Locks Inn at night.
With all the usual morning jobs out of the way yesterday, it was time for the us to repaint the Blue on Hadar. After a frosty start, it was followed by the warm sunshine, so the conditions were right to make a start on repainting the blue in the correct shade, Lauderdale Blue. Now I should say that when Tina our painter painted our boat, she did a fabulous job and we chose the Blue she is painted in now, but once the boat came out of the boat shed we realised the Blue we had chosen was way to light and although we have liked it for the past 4 years, it is now time to change it to the correct Blue which is Lauderdale Blue. So for a while if you see her she may be sporting two differents shades of Blue lol. AlreaI am already in love with the new Blue. I also painted the forward bulkhead which had been painted in the lighter Blue, but we have decided to change it to red oxide as can be seen in the photo. At the time of Hadar's original painting Keith could not decide which way to go and opted for the Blue, which upon reflection, was the wrong decision. Having changed one side yesterday it already looks much better. It also means where we have the rings on the bulkhead rails, the damage and rust won't show up so much. Also in the photo can be seen the pigeon box and the further cross beam in the new Blue, which looks great, even if I do say so myself. Having done all of the painting jobs for the day we then got chatting to lots of passers-by, who were visiting the locks for the day. By the time the afternoon crept into the evening, I was feeling everso slightly cream crackered, so after tea we sat down to watch the TV and Keith fell asleep. By the time it got to 9pm I was ready for my bed, so going to the pub was out of the question. We were both in bed at 9.30pm and I do not remember a thing after that.
This morning (Sunday), there was no frost, just a dull start to the day with spots of rain, so painting looked out of the question today. But as the morning wore on the sun began to come out, soKeith restarted the 1st of his new water cans, he has begun to sign write the name on the front. He then started the 2nd one with the 1st coat of primer. We have donated the 2 old ones to the Foxton Canal Museum. I got on with painting another coat of Lauderdale Blue on the pigeon box, swan neck and cross beam, which is now drying. I then turned my attention to a new mop handle, which was a freebie out of the hedge. After a coat of White primer/undercoat, it is looking great. I am not one to throw things away, so the old one which I broke when we had the freeze, had the handle shortened. We then spent 15 minutes getting the mop head off the broken part of the handle. The head has now been re-united with the other half of the handle, giving us a shorter mop which is ideal for the gunwales. I do want to make a tradition mip head, but need to find an old woollen blanket, so that job is on hold at the moment.
The locks have been busy again today and we have spent a lot of the afternoon nattering to folk. I also spent time chatting to Ann and Steve on NB Fox, which is only a short boat, but has a huge amount of character. I so love this life where I get to chat to loads of people I would probably never normally meet. This also includes you lovely people who read my blog and send me e-mails, so thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Chat soon xx.

Friday 18 March 2011

Top to Bottom of Foxton Locks.

Hi Friends.

We had a fairly uneventful trip down through the locks this morning. We left the mooring at 8.15 am expecting to be the first to use the flight, but we were mistaken. We had the new lock keeper Glyn on today, he was getting to know the ins and outs, so Keith was happy to give him a helping hand. We had to wait for 2 boats to come up before setting off down the flight, and had to pass a third at the midpoint. Whilst coming down the flight I got chatting to Chris and his wife off of NB Meanders, who have a Winter mooring in Yelvertoft Marina. They are a lovely couple who we first met when they came down to Market Harborough and moored in the basin for a couple of days. Chris very kindly helped with the gates as we descended the flight. We are now moored up at our favourite spot at the junction opposite Foxton Locks Inn and Bridge 61. We will be here for the weekend.
I have taken avantage of using Tony Matts washing machine, which is an industrial machine, I managed to do all the bedding including the mattress covers. Having got it all washed I then paid to use the tumble drier, in all it cost me £7.10, which is not bad at all, because it was a large load and it saved our little machine on the boat. Tomorrow I want to wash all of the crocheted blankets and towels ready for the Summer.
As I type this Paddy is collapsed on the floor by my feet, Marmite is asleep in the back cabin and Keith is standing on the back counter nattering to a passer-by. The sun is shining and we are looking forward to a lovely weekend.
It is Red Nose Day (CLICK) today and we will be watching the fun on BBC1 later no doubt. Have you done something funny for Money?????

Cuat soon xxx

Thursday 17 March 2011

Watford Locks Stoppage.

The top gate of lock 6 of the Watford locks on the Grand Union Canal was temporarily repaired in the summer of 2010. The gate now needs to be replaced and the lock flight will be closed from 21st to 25th March 2011 to allow this work to be done. There will be no passage through the locks during this time.

Tit's on parade.

Hi Friends.

I guess you realise by now from my photographs, I am a bird lover. Yesterday I was out with my camera and tripod to see what was about. When we moored up I put the bird feeders out and in no time at all, I had little visitors. The first to arrive were the Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), they always seem to be the first to check out the food source, then if they think it is safe, other birds will come and join in. You will always find them on peanut feeders and are easily encouraged to come in to your garden. The second tit to arrive was the Great Tit (Parus major). Another pretty little bird, who tends to be a little bit bossy when it comes to whose first on the feeders. The Great Tit is the largest of the tit family, hence their name. In winter it joins with blue tits and others to form roaming flocks which scour gardens and countryside in search of food. All the tits were very welcome on my feeders, I did spot a Chaffinch and a Brambling, but could not get a photograph of either of them, so will have to try again when they are around.
Of the Tit family the Long Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)is my favourite. It is such an agile and active little bird, usally found in hedgerows and woodland. It tends to stay in flocks as there is safety in numbers.
We have had another foggy day, but still a pleasant run to Foxton top lock. We passed Jackie and Ray on RoeHaise heading off to the River Nene, although we may see them at Crick on our return trip. Yet again there was very little moving, either people are not setting off yet, or people could not be bothered to move due to the fog. I really do not care what the weather is like, it does not stop us moving, unless of course we are frozen in and then no one is going anywhere. Since arriving at Foxton, I have restacked the coal in the hold as far forward as it will go because we only have just over 1 tonne left and the bow needs to be kept down otherwise we may not clear a couple of bridges heading into Market Harborough next week. We are coming to the end of our Winter coal run and I am getting quite excited about our Summer cruising plans. Not that we ever make any firm plans now, because we did that last Summer and it was chaos with Keith being so poorly, so none of the plans were fulfilled. The hope is to travel north so watch this space. The hold is all sorted and tidy now and I am very happy with it looks now. Lunch has been eaten and tonight's dinner is cooking in the back cabin oven. Tonight we are having Honey and Mustard Chicken with New Potatoes and Veggies mmmmmmmmm.

Chat soon xxx

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Welford to Laughton Hills

Hi Friends.

Last night we had a wonderful time with our friends Al and Del on NB Derwent 6 (CLICK). We met them at the Wharf Inn for an evening of chit chat, plus a couple of pints and some chips. Thank you Al and Del for the chips, they were very yummy. I know your thinking chips yummy?
We very rarely eat chips, so it was actually a real treat to have some last night, with salt and vinegar on mmmm. It was absolutely wonderful catching up with Al and Del, we had such a lot to talk about, but as usual withy most boating conversations, we talked about toilets. I have never under stood why all boaters end up chatting about loo's. The evening ended at 11 pm, we were the only people left in the pub, so thought we should leave Darren and Alex to close-up, also Al and Del had to be up early to start blacking their boat.
It was another very foggy start to our day, and yet it was very, very warm inside the boat. I should have let the back cabin stove go out last night, because we were both sweating buckets this morning. I was in need of a drink, so got up and made us both a Coffee. As the clock ticked closer to 8 am, I could no longer lay in bed, so got up and dressed. After cereal for breakfast, Paddy got his walk. I made up both fires for the day, before we left out mooring to head for Bridge 51. We descended Welford lock and headed for the junction, where a hire boat pulled out ahead of us. The guy must have realised he was going to be a lot slower than us, because he pulled over and let us pass him on the starboard side, giving us the deep water, which was probably not by design but pure luck. I thanked him and we went on our way towards Husbands Bosworth Tunnel. We only did a short hop this morning, but it was still lovely to move. Neither of us like staying anywhere to long.
We are now moored below Laughton Hills and we would have a lovely view of them if it wasn't for the fog! I am hoping it will lift later and the Orange thing may appear in the sky. I could really do with getting the Blacking tin out, because the bow is rather bare after ploughing ice through the Winter. The lack of blacking really shows now that the bow is right out of the water. The boat is going into dry dock at the beginning of May for a properly blacking, but I would like to get some blacking on to protect the metal until then and now is a good time to do it, because the hold is almost empty of coal, so the bow is sitting nice and high.
We have just had Cheese on toast for lunch, Marmite is asleep in the back cabin and Paddy is going daft because a gas gun keeps going off in a field near by. Paddy hates loud bangs.
I have put the bird feeders out and immediately a Blue Tit came to investigate, they love free food as do most birds.
I will finish today on a heart warming tale. A regular customer has been feeding a stray cat over the Winter, and over the past few days the cat has spent more and more time on their boat. The other night she decided to stay on the boat, but kept meowing, which was worrying our customers, who thought she might have been poorly. They went off to bed and left the cat curled up on a blanket, only to be woken up in the early hours of the morning by the cat. She had given birth to one very small Ginger kitten. awwwwwwwwww so cute. Obviously this cat knew where she was well off and welcome. The couple now plan on keeping the kitten and the mother if she wants to stay.
Chat soon xx

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Bridge 36 to Welford again.

Hi Friends.
It was a foggy start to the day, as I opened the back cabin doors to the world. Even by the time we set off it was still like pea soup, but not even the weather stops us from moving if at all possible. Just before Bridge 40 we had our first customers of the day Tom and Jane. We passed the time of day with them before arriving at Bridge 40 and our next lot of customers. Ade and Mick were waiting wheelbarrow at the ready for there coal. Although we are having some nice days, the evenings are still cold as is first thing in the morning, so people are either keeping their fires in or lighting them up when they get up in the morning. We pulled in alongside the towpath, I took the centre rope off and pulled the boat in and moored her on the centre line. Having put the sheeting up, I climbed into the depleated hold and passed the coal up to Keith. We have a system which works well for us. With the coal off loaded, we had time for another natter, before saying our goodbyes, until the next time. I always love meeting fellow bloggers and new boaters and today was no exception. Colin and Tina on NB Go For It (CLICK) were coming our way up from Leicester, so we knew we would probably meet up with them at some point. We in fact met up with them just before the turning into the Welford Arm. Colin asked for some coal, so we pulled in on the moorings at Welford Junction and unloaded some coal for them. Tina showed me around their lovely boat. Colin and Tina are heading for the K&A, so if you see them give them a wave, as they set off on their adventures. It was lovely putting names to faces, as Colin had left us messages on our Facebook page for the the boat. We said cheerio to them both, and hope that they have a lovely Summer cruising, I am sure we will see them again.
We left them and turned into the Welford Arm. I worked the lock and just as we approached the first of the winding holes, a boat was coming at speed towards us. The steerer could not stop so hit a moored boat, he bounced off of that boat and hit us. I smiled at the woman on the bow and said "good morning" to which she gave a rye smile. Now we are a 70ft boat and do not bend in the middle, but the steerer clearly was not going to give way, and so he bullied his way past us, which meant we were sitting on the mud. If Hadar had been loaded she would have pushed him out of the way, but never mind. As they made their way towards the lock without so much as a sorry, Keith managed to get our boat off of the mud and we continued down to the end of the warm where we winded, whilst taking on water, I immediately started unloading coal for customers. In dry dock are our friends Al and Del on Derwent 6 (CLICK), who are in for blacking. We are looking forward to meeting up with Del & Al off of Derwent 6 this evening in the pub for a good old catch-up, as it has been sometime since we have spoken. We do of course read their blog, but there is nothing better than actually speaking to someone. So I reckon a few pints maybe drunk tonight.
I am off now to get a few things done and to decide what to have for dinner tonight.
Chat soon xx

Monday 14 March 2011

Crick to Bridge 36.

Hi Friends.

Having enjoyed a nice weekend at Crick, we had a superb spring morning's run today. The flowers are starting to appear, along with blossom and leaves on the trees. The birds were singing and we were both in fine fetal. We waved goodbye to John on NB Acen and Richard on Digitalis as we left Crick. Having winded at Watford Locks we then returned through Crick tunnel. Despite the lovely morning, there was very little boat movement, so I had a lovely time at the tiller. I do enjoy testing myself whilst in charge of the tiller and that usually happens when I have to negotiate moored boats in odd places or sharp bends. Thankfully today there was nothing to taxing to get around and I managed not to meet a boat in a bridge 'ole, so handling the boat was an absolute joy. We are moored at Downton Bridge 36 and it is a lovely afternoon. Marmite is enjoying being able to roll about on the towpath and Paddy is lead on the back counter. I took advantage of the lovely sunshine by talking my tripod and camera out to see what I could snap. There were very few birds about, so I had to turn my camera on to something else.

Whilst out I spotted Muntjac footprints in dried mud. It is amazing what you can see when you look down at the ground. I also looked up and spotted these Four areoplanes crossing the sky. I wonder if they were actually going to the same destination?? Any ideas folks as to what this bird is?

I am thinking a Reed Bunting, but maybe you know better.??

It is not a Sparrow as it does not match pictures or the call.

It has been a lovely day. I now have a Cottage Pie cooking in the back cabin stove and Vegetables cooking on top of the stove for tonights dinner. I have swept the engine room out, having shaken the mats. I am now covered in dust and in need of a shower, so that will be on the cards for tonight after dinner.

Just read this article online, after hearing about the story from a Taxi driver friend.

Tell me what you think, was the driver right???
Mother charge £40 soiling fee, after giving birth in the back of a taxi. (CLICK).
I think he was out of order. She did not plan to give birth in his taxi. Not only that he charge her a further £14 for the journey. ;0(
Chat soon. xx

Saturday 12 March 2011

No spin cycle.

Hi Friends.

It's a beautiful Saturday Afternoon. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. I wish my day had begun so well though.
4.30 am there I was drinking a cuppa in bed, because we were awake. With there being no way I was getting up at such a stupid hour on a Saturday, we both settled back down to get at least another couple of hours kip. I was actually woken up at 8 am by a knocking on the side of the boat. Paddy barked and Keith jumped out of bed, stuck his head out of the back cabin doors and said we are closed. The man on the towpath apologised that he had not seen our large Closed sign on the roof arghhhhhhh. With us now both being wide awake, there was little point in us going back to sleep. Not only that Paddy was asking to go out anyway.
Paddy and I stepped off of the boat to head up the towpath, which was drying out nicely thankfully, because the towpath at Crick can be a muddy mess when wet. As we got to the end of the moorings, a woman and her Newfoundland dog were approaching us. What followed was hysterical and you really had to be there to see it to understand. The woman was struggling to keep the dog under control as it excitedly marched towards us, so she tried in vain to pull her rather large dog into the hedge. When Paddy and I got closer, she was actually trying to tie it to a tree, because it was pulling her arms off. I asked her if her dog was friendly, which she replied yes. So I said to her " Mine is too, so why not let them say hello to each other, that way you will not get your arms pulled out of their sockets". She was night relieved and Paddy and her beautiful dog got on like a house on fire. I had visions of this woman being dragged through the hedge and down the towpath.
Why do people have such large dogs if they cannot control them?
The dog was lovely and very friendly, but the woman was clearly struggling.
Paddy and I continued on our walk in the sunshine before heading back to the boat.
Last night I did a wash in the washing machine and the damn thing would not spin the wash properly, so this morning I emptied the filter and put another small wash on to see if it made a difference. Unfortunately this failed to work, so it looks like we have a washing machine on the blink. Which is just what we could do without. I took the filter out again and it had black gritty stuff in it, just like compacted coal dust, so it is not looking great. We now have to find a repair man, another expense.
Yesterday I ordered a loaf of bread from the shop, so I left Keith on the boat and headed up the towpath to the road, just as I go there I then realised I had left my wallet on the boat arghhhh, so I trudged back to the boat to collect said wallet. I did managed to get my loaf of bread and some other bits from the shop, but was rather hot and sweaty by the time I got back to the boat. At this rate I am going to become a stick insect, with the weight I am losing.
Richard off of NB Digitalis came and requested some coal, which I then delivered to his boat whilst he walked Rio up the towpath.
Tonight's dinner is now cooking in the back stove, I have shaken the back cabin rag rugs and swept the floor, wiped down surfaces and made Coffee. It is now lunchtime and I am wondering what to do this afternoon, which will not involve something else breaking down?
Thankfully Keith's new laptop seems to be performing well, so that is one blessing. Right I am off to make us some lunch.

I do realise that me moaning about the washing machine is actually a small thing, when I think of what the people in Japan are going through, I realise how lucky I am.
Chat soon xx.

Friday 11 March 2011

Top of Foxton Locks to Crick.

Hi Friends.

I was in bed by 9.30 pm last night, with a view to getting up at the crack of dawn. I set my alarm on my mobile phone and on the battery alarm clock, I wanted to make sure I was woken up. I need not have worried because Keith and I were awake at 4 am arghhhhhhh. Keith started coughing so had to get up, which meant not only were we awake so was Marmite and Paddy. We did settle back down under the duvet until the alarms went off. I was then up, bed folded away and Porridge on the go. After breakfast I made up the stoves and then took Paddy out for a walk down the locks. It was lovely to watch the sun coming up over the canal.
By 6.25 am we were ready for the off. We crept past the moored boats, destination Crick.
There is something very majestic about being up at the crack of dawn. I really felt quite honoured to be able to listen to the dawn chorus as it started off and built into an orchestra of bird song. If you have never heard the dawn chorus I completely recommend it. If nothing else it will put a smile on your face. I love travelling early in the morning. Normally if we move early we stop early, but we wanted to get to Crick for around lunchtime, a lot depended on if we had to stop to unload coal though.With us being up so early, the Porridge did not sustain us for very long, so I made us some Bacon rolls, which certainly hit the spot. I think the smell of the Bacon cooking made Keith even hungrier, because he was standing above the stove. They most certainly went down a treat with a cup of Coffee to wash them down.We have a lone Heron on our coal run and I have named it Hector. I am of course presuming it is a male ;0). Hector has taken up residence on the summit and at the moment does not have a love interest, so if there is a female Heron out there looking for love the Leicester Line Summit is the place to be. Of course if Hector should turn out to be female only males need apply.
I got to take the tiller for a while, which is boosting my confidence no end. Keith got me to do an emergency stop, which I managed pretty well. It is all about using the wheels in the right order, I will need to practice it a few times to get it completely right, but was chuffed with my effort, as I managed to keep the boat in the middle of the canal. One of the other joys about moving so early in the morning, is the fact that there are no other boats on the move. We did not encounter another boat until 10 o'clockish.
We arrived at Crick at 12.10 pm and found a mooring without any problem at all. There was only Four boats on the moorings and one boat moving off, that boat turned out to be NB Derwent 6 with Al and Del onboard heading for Welford and an appointment with the blacking brush. We said our good mornings and will catch up with them properly on Tuesday when we make our deliveries up the arm. I can see an evening in the pub coming on.
Having moored up, Keith started playing with his new laptop. He has all his stuff to load on to it, so he will be busy all weekend. I made us some lunch before heading to the shop, whilst walking along the footpath I bumped into Jo and John off of NB Acen, we passed the time of day before we both went on our way. I got to the Post Office come shop but unfortunately they did not have the bread I wanted, they had sold out so the lady offered to put me a loaf by for the morning, which was great. On my back to the boat, I stopped to natter to Chrissie and Richard on NB Digitalis and got invited in for a Coffee and further conversation. Chrissie and Richard are selling their boat Digitalis with ABNB (CLICK) and moving to Norfolk. It will be a sad day when they leave the canal and their boat. But we all have things we want to do in our lives, so we wish them lots of luck with their new adventures.
Back onboard our boat, Keith is still working on his new laptop, he seems to have ironed out the teething problems and is loading on all his stuff.
I have just heard the news on the radio about the earthquake in Japan, my prayers and thoughts go out to everyone caught up in the tragedy.
Chat soon xx

Thursday 10 March 2011

A late start.

Hi Friends.

We had a late start to our cruising day because having placed an online order for a new laptop on Tuesday Keith was waiting for it to arrive. According to the delivery company it was due to arrive today, which it did at about 11:30 this morning, so Keith caught the bus Foxton bus into Market Harborough to pick it up, leaving me home alone, to tidy the boat and cook tonights dinner which is Meatballs and play on the computer for five minutes. Upon returning we decided that we would move, we had time to deliver some coal to a customer and get up through the locks before they were shut for the day. Coming up behind us was NB Lady Gwendoline, who are off to Crick as their boat is for sale. The wind was blowing an absolute gale moving up the flight, which kept blowing the lock gates open. Having moored up I walked back down the flight to help NB Lady Gwendoline up the last few locks, but found they had family assisting them. But it give me a chance to have a natter as we walked back up the flight.
Keith is now playing with his new computer now :-)) and I have my fingers crossed that this one does not play up like the last one. If that happens I am going to throw the flippen thing in the canal.
Right time for me to go and stir the balls, so that they do not stick. Have a lovely morning, afternoon or evening.

Chat soon. xx

A sad reflection.

Hi friends.

For those of you reading this from abroad you will probably not have a clue what I am writing about, but I still feel the need to post on a TV program I watched last night. The program was 'Jamie's Dream School' (CLICK), where Jamie Oliver sets up a school with some famous teachers from a wide variety of areas in society. He then takes 20 young people who have failed in ordinary schooling, to see if he can encourage them to give school another chance. Last night's program was the second in the series and still these young people have no idea about rules and respect for their elders. It really is disturbing that these young people think that they deserve respect. I was always taught, to get respect you had to earn it and so far non of them are earning respect as far as I can see. They sit talking in class, which is extremely rude, they play on their laptops and mobiles whilst the celebrity teacher is trying to instill some structure into their lives. I felt really sorry for Simon Gallow again last night, he was trying to talk to them about Shakespeare, in the end he ended up shouting at the group. Two of the girls got into a slanging match and were nearly expelled, which is probably why they failed schooling in the first place. I am all for engaging the youngsters to get them interested in education, but sometimes you are just hitting your head against a brick wall.
I really feel that since discipline in schools has been stopped, schooling has gone down the pan. When I was at school, which is not that many moons ago, we respected the teachers and if we did not you felt the wrath of the headmaster or deputy headmaster. I can honestly say, hand on heart I never visited either of them when I was at secondary school. The deputy headmaster was actually a lot more feared than the headmaster. I really do feel that discipline has to be bought back, because it is clear there is no or very little discipline in the home these days. I was always taught to respect my elders, always say please and thank you and to listen when talked too. My hope is that as this series goes on, we will see some of these young people turn a corner, but at the moment it is hard to see how this is going to happen. If you have not seen it you can watch it online and I think Youtube even has it to watch. Maybe I am getting old, but this is just my opinion.

Chat soon xx

Horse drawn barge.

Marple Aqueduct - Horseboating the Peak Forest Canal

This is not an old video but gives you the general idea of horseboating.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Jam 'ole The Brays

Long Tailed Tit's

I put out the bird feeders and was so pleased to have these little visitors, who were quite happily tucking into the fat ball whilst I clicked away.

Market Harborough to Black Horse again.

Hi Friends.

Moving day again and for some odd reason we were awake at 3.30am. I really must adjust my internal alarm clock, I am not cut out for waking that early in the morning. Thankfully I did go back to sleep until 6.30am ish. I was then in need of a cuppa, so got up and put the kettle on. Marmite was doing her level best to get our attention, what with scratching at the back cabin curtains and running up and down the boat. This told me that both her food dishes were empty and she wanted feeding, but as she does not rule the boat, she would have to wait until Paddy was walked. He did not get walked until we had had our Porridge for breakfast. As we stepped off of the boat, it was clear we had had some rain over night, so the towpath was muddy once again underfoot. A couple of Mallard's were seeing who could quack the loudest, they were making quite a din. I then heard the whooshing of wings in the air which could mean only one thing. A Swan was coming into land. The local cob had been on his own for a couple of days with no sign of the Pen, so people were a little worried as to where she had gone, but the worry was over because she swooped down over the basin and landed with extreme grace alongside the boat. I just wish I had had my camera to hand, because I would have got some stunning photographs.
We made the boat ready for the off. Firstly we winded in the basin, took on water, disposed of rubbish, etc. Then we headed off for Foxton, and Black Horse Bridge where we would be taking on a food delivery. The cruise was only an hour and half, but was lovely in the intermittent sunshine.
We arrived at Foxton at 11.35am and moored up in our usual place with no other boats on the moorings. The morning sunshine has now turned into sunshine and showers, April seems to have arrived early. Marmite is a sleep in the back cabin and Paddy keeps popping his head out of the back cabin doors to see if anyone is around. He loves to greet people walking along the towpath. I am now waiting for our Tesco food delivery to arrive. Then we can have a Coffee, because we have run out, which is not usual for us. I blame myself, I usually know exactly what we have in the cupboard. I know I have ordered two jars this time, so one in use and one in stock. I like to keep a good stock of everything, just in case we should get stuck somewhere, where there are no shops. With a new food delivery arriving later, I have washed out the fridge and the food cupboard, so they are spick and span for the food to go into. Spring must be here ;0).
Not sure if we are moving tomorrow, because Keith may have to go back into Market Harborough to collect his new laptop which he has ordered. The fiasco of the old one went on until yesterday, when Keith finally asked for his money back because Dell were just messing him around and as this had been going on since December, enough was enough. So hopefully coming in the post tomorrow will be another laptop, which I sincerely hope does not let us down.
I now have to decide what we will be having for dinner tonight. There are days when I really have no desire to cook anything and I think this is one of them.

I hope your day is a good one or has been a good one, depending on where you are in the world.

Chat soon xx

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Pancake Day.

Hi Friends.

Another chilly night meant we got a glorious morning. There was not a breath of wind, which gave beautiful reflections on the canal. The temperature over night got down to -4.1c at least, so a crisp start to the day and to how it made me feel. There is something really wonderful about a sunny start to the day, it really does help my start to the day.It has been a busy day one way or another for us. We had dentist's appointment at 10.25am and this was really something I was not looking forward too. I am not a dentist fan, but I need not have worried because my new dentist was very nice. I was fortunate that I only needed a check-up, Keith on the other hand has to have two fillings and a crown, so I will leave you to do the maths on how much that is going to cost. I can tell you it is not going to be cheap. With the dentist appointment over with much to my relief, we headed into the town to the Indoor Market, because Keith needed new cordroy trousers, as his have become thread bare. He got a good deal with the store holder who we have got to know, he let Keith have two pairs of trousers for £30, which is very good. We then went our seperate ways, Keith went off to buy dog food and I went to buy fruit and veg. We then met back at the boat eventually. I was back long before he was. I delivered some coal to a customer and spent the rest of the time chatting to boating friends. I am happy to say I can chat for England as you have probably worked out by the length of my posts ;0).
Before dinner a customer came and collected their coal order and of course I stood nattering to them after delivering their coal to their boat. I think we managed to put the world to right. If only it was that easy. With it being Pancake Day, of course I had to join in with the celebration, there was one slight problem though, I only had 2 Eggs and no Plain Flour, so had to think on my feet as to what to do. Hey presto I came up with Scotch Pancakes or Drop Scones, which only required 2 Eggs and Self-raising Flour, so I mixed up the batter and began cooking a mountain of Pancakes on the back cabin stove, which even though I say it myself tasted very yummy with Lemon and Caster Sugar on them. After a very busy day, I am not taking it easy for five minutes, before I have to tackle the washing-up. I will then have the fires to stoke up for the night and odds and sods to do before bedtime, which will probably be early tonight because I am feel everso slightly chream crackered.

Chat soon xx

Happy International Women's Day

Hi Friends.

To all my girlie followers.
Happy International Women's Day. (CLICK)
International Women's Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
There isn't a International Men's Day, so what does this tell us????????

Monday 7 March 2011

Market Harborough here we come.

Hi Friends.

The over night temperature got down to at least -2.6c, so we woke up to a nice crisp white morning. This also meant the sun was also shining. See the sun shining through the port holes on the pigeon box, certainly made me feel glad to be alive. Due to a chilly back cabin, after getting dressed my first job was to get the back stove fire going. I raked out all of the old ash and topped the fire up with some more coal. It was not long before the fire was roaring away and plumes of smoke were wafting out of the chimney. Fires all stoked up, it was time for some breakfast and a cuppa. Paddy was next on my list, he was sitting in the back cabin waiting patiently for his walk. Because it was so nice out, I let him run off down the field. He roared off after the Rabbits munching on the grass, but of course he did not catch anything. Even if he had caught up with a Rabbit, he would not have had a clue what to do with it. The Rabbit's all dived for cover down their burrow's, probably quaking in case Paddy started digging again.
Having sorted ourselves out, we got prepared for the off, destination Market Harborough and our waiting customers. I needed Popeye's muscles to move the Foxton Village swingbridge, which is very heavy and an absolute pain in the arse to move. British Waterway's in their wisdom worked on the bridge over the winter, and magnitised the barriers, so you do not have to undo padlocks anymore, you just put your BW key into a box and it allows you to work the barriers. This has not solved the problem of the bridge though and I have serious doubts that it will ever be sorted out properly. I have visions of me struggling with the swingbridge in my old age. We had a nice sunny mornings trip to Union Wharf there was not another soul moving and not many people on the towpath either. When we arrived at Union Wharf, Market Harborough, there was plenty of space on the towpath moorings, in fact no one else here! Maybe they heard we were coming ;0). Having moored up, turned the engine off, I suggested we had our second discounted lunch at the Angel Hotel today, 15% off. Keith thought that was a great idea, so we did a quick clothes change and headed down to the hotel for a fantastic lunch. After lunch we did some general shopping, but mostly stocking up with rollers, paint brushes, etc. ready for when we dry dock in May to black the boats hull. Keith called into the computer shop to see if they had sorted out his computer, but alas no nothing has been sorted out with Dell yet, so we have given them till tomorrow to get things sorted, as they have had over a month. Fingers crossed Keith will get his money back tomorrow. Rarely is our shopping exciting for either of us, even though we enjoy shopping, we do not buy exciting things very often and I am not into shoes and handbags, infact I am not really into girlie things, there is little point when you spend most of your year covered in coal dust ;0).
So back on the boat the sun is still shining, so we have the doors open to allow the sun and fresh air in. There are lots of people strolling along the towpath with their dogs and children. We are going to enjoy a quiet evening on board and possibly an early night ;0).
Chat soon xx


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