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

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

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

Life on the cut through my eyes.

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

Thursday 30 August 2012

Day 7. Shackerstone and the sun is out.

Hello from yes we are at Shackerstone, as if you did not already know. This morning after running the generator, Keith and I changed the oil in the generator as it had done 200 hundred hours. We like to make sure we change it every 200 hours to keep it fresh. We had a great chat with Brian on NB Kyle who we have known for years and he is moored behind us alongside Kingfisher. Brian arrived last night with his dog Ghost and I am quite sure we will do a lot of catching up over the next few days, as well as downing some wine along the way.
With boat jobs done, I then went off with my camera along the towpath to capture the new arrives both on the field and on the towpath. It is wonderful to see it building and that includes my excitement.
The festival site is growing steadily.
More fun fair lorries have arrived.
The campers and caravan field is also getting busier.
Despite the heavy rain yesterday the festival field is coping really rather well.
A few more private boats have turned up.
The historic boat moorings are filling up fast.
I have a feeling that if they all turn up, there maybe a few mooring issues. But we will see what happens over the next couple of days. 
As I was starting this posting, my phone rang which it does not do very often. It was Tesco, they had rung me to apologise for the fact that I did not get my delivery hour text. The gentleman was very interested to hear about our life on the water and how important the Tesco delivery is to us. He told me that he would be contacting the store where our delivery came from to make sure they did text customers in future. I told him that for us to sometimes collect our delivery we need to walk to the nearest bridge so the delivery time is important to us and it also means we do not have to stand out in all weathers for a couple of hours waiting. He apologised and then thanked me for shopping with Tesco. It was nice that someone took the time to ring me, especially as I had sent them a message via their website and via their driver. So thank you Tesco.
Thursday has been a somewhat quieter day for me, but tomorrow I know I am going to be busy baking cakes, hovering the boat through and endless other jobs.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Day 6 Shackerstone. To Shallow.

The Ashby Canal has always been known for how shallow it is and nothing has changed in that department. Keith can tell you how silted up it was in the late 60's after the last pair of coal boats came long it. He bought Pisces up and down the Ashby Canal and in the two months since the coal pair had used the canal it had silted up good and proper, so it is nothing new. The difference today is the canal is used by many shallow drafted pleasure craft, and so the silting up will more than likely get worse if it is not dredged. The other thing now is that Gosty Hill the coal and diesel boat will no longer be coming up and down the Ashby because Ian and Alison are no longer trading, so their deep drafted boat will not be keeping a channel cut. With hardly any deep drafted boats using the Ashby Canal for most of the year it will mean silting up will get worse. I think I am right in saying, the only time you will see a mass of deep drafted boats going up and down the Ashby Canal will be at the Shackerstone Festival once a year. It does not take much to silt up a canal, so what is going to happen for the rest of the year?
Boaters have already been complaining that the bends are to shallow and the canal has no channel. There has been no offside cutting back, so trees are hanging over the water in dangerous places. It would be a crying shame if after the deep drafted boats have gone from this weekends festival the canal gets even shallower. It may see many of the historic boats staying away from next years event if they cannot get to Shackerstone due to the depth of water.
The weather today was not great, it rained one and off till lunchtime and then heavier until 3pm.
During the morning more pleasure and historic boats began arriving.
We decided that we would go and have lunch at The Rising Sun, partly because the cupboard and fridge were bare, but also because over the weekend the pub will be heaving and it would be hard to get a table unless booking first. So at 11.45am we walked up to the pub in the rain.
We got to the pub a few minutes early, so sheltered in the smoking shelter until the pub doors were opened.

We both enjoyed a lovely lunch and a pint, whilst we watched the rain lashing down for an hour. I am quite sure the place will be very busy over the weekend, especially as their food is so good. After walking back to the boat, we then had to get ready for our Tesco food delivery which was due between 3 and 5 pm. The rain was still lashing down, so collecting our shopping was going to be a wet affair. Unfortunately Tesco had not text me to tell me which hour they would be arriving, so we had to don our wet weather gear and head off to wait for the delivery to arrive.
 Some boaters have lit their stoves and fires because it was so depressing and damp.

As we waited the rain stopped and some bright patches began to appear, which would cheer any boater arriving for the festival. At 3.45pm Mr Tesco man rang me to say he was 10 minutes away. I let him know we were ready and waiting for him on the bridge near the railway station. He duly arrived, we stashed everything into our boxes and bags, before saying "thank you" to the lovely man who delivered our festival shopping. Keith wheeled the trolley back along the towpath, whilst I carried the bags. Back at the boat he then handed everything to me through the galley doors. I then stowed the shopping away, so now we have a full cupboard, fridge and freezer yayyyy.
Tonight is the Para-Olympic opening ceremony so I will be glued to the TV. I am expecting a lot more boats to arrive during the evening.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Day 5 at Shackerstone.

Historic boats are arriving now.
As expected most of them are coming from the Alvecote do.
The site has not changed much, a couple of fun fair wagons have arrived and some fencing has been erected, but apart from that it has been quiet. Cyril the organiser came and introduced himself, we had met him a few years ago, but it was nice to meet him again. We discussed our mooring spot and were told we were fine where we are, which is a huge relief, because with all the boats arriving, we would now be hard pushed to find anywhere else to moor where we can get Paddy off. With the boats all coming past us, we are slowly getting closer to the bank and by the weekend, we will be able to get rid of the gang plank which will please Paddy.
I just love this dragon kite, which is flying from one of the boats.
I have had a great day chatting to friends who we have not seen for a few years. It is always a joy to catch up with old friends and to meet new people who will be friends of the future. I have not got much work done, but did manage to get a wash done, which is hanging in the engine room. Keith put some boots on our new battery and checked the gearbox oil, which seems to have gone down, so it looks like we may have a leak somewhere on the gearbox. I have put down some more nappies and hopefully it will show us where the oil is leaking from. I hope this will not mean more expense.
The day is now heading towards the evening and I am all talked out I think, so it is time to cook some dinner and to put my feet up. 

Day 4 Shackestone, build up to the festival.

A rather overcast day today, with a sprinkling of rain during the morning, and the wind has been blowing a bit as well.
The site has not changed from yesterday, which was surprising, I thought other things may have been set up today, what with people going back to work tomorrow, but maybe people will arrive tomorrow to begin setting up more things.
During the morning, I cleaned all the brass on the boat, as it was beginning to look tarnished, so it will definitely rain now.
Boats have begun arriving. Yesterday Panther arrived and today more historic boats have shown up.
The moorings are filling up fast with private boats. I think with the Alvecote do now over with, boats will be arriving from now on. I have sold toilet blue and Brasso today which has been a bonus.

As the afternoon wore on, I was about to go off to take some photographs, when I saw a boat in the distance arriving which I knew. It was Roger and Teresa on Azalea, who have breasted up alongside us which is lovely. I invited them in for a cuppa and we caught up with all their news, they came up from Alvecote ready for the festival.
It is now 16.27pm and time to cook dinner, tonight we are having Sweet Chilli Chicken and Rice. My poor fridge is looking rather bare, so I am looking forward to a food delivery on Wednesday.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Day 3 at Shackerstone. The Change begins.


Saturday ended with what looked like a huge thunderstorm heading our way. I went out with my camera to take some snaps and legged it back to the boat when the thunder got louder and louder and the sky grew darker by the second. We closed the boat up and waited for the downpour to kick in and we waited, but nothing. The thunder still rumbled and there was the odd flash of lightening but no rain, so we opened the boat up again and the sun came out again.

I was very sad to here that US astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, died at the age of 82 from complications following heart surgery. What an amazing man and an inspiration to many. He will be sadly missed.

My evening was spent cooking dinner, feeding mog, dog and the other half and then I happily settled down in front of the TV until bedtime.

Sunday morning and even though I was awake relatively early, I made a cuppa and sat in bed watching old episodes of 'The Crystal Maze' with Richard O'Brian in charge. I always thought he was so much better than Ed Tudor whatsit. Breakfast was cooked by Keith, whilst I walked Paddy along a soggy towpath. We had had rain early hours, which did make me stir in my sleep but not for long.

As the day wore on people began to arrive to start the work on getting the site ready for the Shackerstone Festival.


Marquees are going up.



We are moored adjacent to one of the entrances to the site from the towpath, and today they were repairing the steps between the field and the towpath.


It started off with Keith, Chris and a a couple of others. Our tools on board came in real handy, they used our axe, saw, limp hammer, claw hammer and spade. It pays to carry everything when living on a boat.


The digger got stuck in a ditch, so had to be rescued.


1-2-3 pull.


More workers.


And then a crowd to see the finished steps.


Whilst Keith helped out on site, I took the opportunity to get on with making the back cabin Winter curtains. I have decided that the Winter curtains will not be having any lace on them, because it is just to difficult to keep clean, so they will be lace free making it easier when it come to washing the curtains after a Winter of coal fires. The sewing machine came out and so far I have made the main curtains and partly put together the porthole curtains. I will post photographs when they are done.

All in all it has been a lovely day and that includes the weather. The hand washing I did earlier in the day dried whilst hanging on a line on the back counter and so that is now stowed away. Paddy and Marmite have both made the most of the lovely weather. Boats have been arriving for the festival and this included the first Historic Boat Panther. I was told today they maybe expecting 50 historic boats at the festival, so should be a good turn out.

The day is now drawing to a close and I have had a Chicken salad for dinner. The TV is now on and I am going to put my feet up and enjoy a quiet evening, before it is time to retire to my bed.


and basic good manners are fading fast

Saturday 25 August 2012

Battlefield Line.

We had a lazy morning, with tea and toast in bed whilst watching the TV. I then got up to take Paddy out for his walk.


Walking the gang plank was not his favourite moment, but he did it with a scrabble at the end to make sure he was on dry land. Poor old Pad is a real wimp. We managed to get our walk in whilst it was quiet and not other dogs around, which is always bonus, because we then do not feel we are running the gauntlet.

After running the generator and a coffee, we locked the boat up and walked up to the railway station to the Battlefield Line.



There is always something so wonderful about watching a train in steam, especially as it comes towards you. The GWR 3803 arriving at the station. She is a 2884 class of 2-8-0 steam locomotive designed for heavy freight work for the GWR (Great Western Railway) and was built in 1939. C. B. Collett's 2884 class is a development of G. J. Churchward's highly capable 28xx class of heavy freight locomotives of 1903 which were the first engines to pull 2000 tons.


Unfortunately we were not allowed on to the station platform with out a ticket, so the photographs were taken outside of the station, but I think I did the locomotive justice.


This class 08 is looking splendid, it has had a paint job.


The moorings for the Shackerstone Festival are beginning to fill up.


No historic boats on their reserved moorings yet.


Once the weekend is over they will begin to arrive, a lot of them will probably come from the Alvecote Rally. Then the fun will begin. For lunch I made us some bacon rolls, I do love the smell of cooking bacon, grilled not fried of course. With little else planned for the day, I am going to enjoy a film before thinking about dinner. There have been a few boats coming past us, if they are not coming to the festival, they must wonder where the hell they are going to moor up.

Friday 24 August 2012

Where has it gone??

Well, well I cannot believe it, we are into the late August bank holiday weekend and don't you just know it the weather is set to be unsettled, thankfully it is not the weekend for the Shackerstone Festival, that happens on the 1st and 2nd September, so fingers crossed.

Does anyone know where our summer has flown off to?

To be fair, the weather of this Summer has not really bothered me, Ok of course I do like the sun, but hey it has not stopped us cruising and it is only a drop of rain. I do however feel for the farms who have really been struggling to get their harvests in.


With the wet weather some farmers are still trying to get their hay baled.


Wheat in the fields will go black if not harvested soon and it will start sprouting and then only be good enough for chicken feed, which of course will lose the farmers yet more money.


To combine wheat the moisture should not be more than 15% and so for many farmers they have to wait patiently for the sun to dry their crops. You can combine and then dry the crop in the sheds, but that costs a lot of money, which many farmers just do not have.

I remember as a child harvesting was a fun time. We would go on bale cart, helping to stack the bales on the trailers, then we would get a lift back to the farm on top of the stacked bales. Sadly that does not seem to happen any more all due to Health and Safety. I remember using a pitch fork to lift the lighter bales on to the trailers or to stack the bales in the field ready for collection. Don't get me wrong working on a farm is in no way romantic, but when you a child it can seem that way, especially when you get paid to pick up bales and stack them LOL.

I still have friends in farming and they are all over the place with their harvests, it has been stop start, stop start and now they just want it over with.

Stoke Golding Marina to Shackerstone.

Map image

Travelled 9.25 miles in a time of 4 hours 5 minutes.


I had the best nights sleep, having had a dreadful one the night before and so woke up totally refreshed at 7am. The sun was shining and the birds were singing, so a good start to a day which is supposed to end in rain. We were ready for the off at 8.30am.


A couple of boats up from us was NB Garnet, Mike was sat in the cratch when we cruised passed. We said a quick “hello” to Mike who follows our Hadar Blog. Hopefully we will see him again as he is coming our way for a proper chat.


At the Stoke Golding moorings we saw Chris on NB Bog Woppit and again said a quick "hello". Chris also informed us that the moorings at Shackerstone were heaving.  Chris and his wife bought a rag rug from a us a few days ago.


At Sutton Cheney we stopped to top up with water and were pleased to find the water point was empty. Keith went off to empty the cassette and I got rid of rubbish for the last time for a couple of weeks. I got chatting to a gentleman on NB Joanie M and he was telling me that the moorings at Shackerstone we busy, which did not bode to well for us. We need a deep water mooring and at least a tight 80 foot long. So there was I hoping that boats would have moved off by the time we got there.


From there we made our way to Shackerstone, meeting boats coming towards us, which made me hopeful that there would be space for us bank side. But as we got towards Shackerstone it became clear that there were already lots of boats already moored up. We came through Bridge 51 Bates Wharf Bridge to find the moorings pretty much taken. Keith then reckoned we would have to wind and go back to Bridge 49 ish arghhhhh, my first thought was how far I was gonna have to wheel my Tesco food delivery. We passed the moored boats and as we approached the aqueduct corner, I spotted a space in front of the NB Plum, who sell solar panels and are called Solar Afloat.


I walked down the gunwale to the bow and jumped off with the bow rope, it then became clear that we would not be getting anywhere near the bank, so we would need the gang plank for Paddy. All moored up with at least 2 foot gap between the boat and the bank, I managed to wrestle the gang plank out of the hold.  As always at any festival it is wonderful to see people we know and that has already happened. I can see it is going to be a lot of fun over the next few days as we wait for the festival to gather pace. We have offered help with setting up the festival site, so no doubt we will probably be busy as the week wears on.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Burton Hastings to outside Stoke Golding Marina.

Map image

Travelled 5.75 miles in a time of 2 hours and 35 minutes.


Yesterday afternoon Keith and I took ourselves off for a walk to the village of Burton-Hastings. It is named after the Hastings family who held the manor until 1529. It is a tiny little village with the Church of St Botolph at the centre of the village. We got chatting to a gentleman cutting the grass and were told that the church is now only open at the weekends because of some low life's who caused some damage to the inside of the church when it was open to the public every day of the week. Such a shame because apparently it is a very pretty church inside.


This dear little pony deserved to have its photograph taken as we walked back to the boat.


The weather last night was sunshine and showers, this did not help the farmer who was trying to turn his hay. He was fighting a losing battle with the rain.


We left our overnight mooring at 9.10am after what I can only describe as a dreadful nights sleep. I went to bed with something playing on my mind and this caused me to have a bad nights sleep. Thankfully I woke up in a better frame of mind. We set off in warm sunshine.


The Church of St Botolph at Burton Hastings can be seen from the canal.


I have previously described the Ashby Canal as fields and bridges which it is, but there are also farms and lots of beautiful countryside.


At bridge 14 the Canal and River Trust guys were busy repairing the bank, we had passed some of the bank they had already repaired which looked very good. It was a morning of meeting boats at bridge 'oles for us. We tend to let boats coming in the opposite direction come on through, because it is easier for us to wait for them, one occasion though we let through two boat bridge 22 and one of the boats got stuck on the mud as we then passed him. It just shows how shallow the Ashby is in places. He did get off the mud and waved to let us know he was ok.

Our morning jaunt ended outside of Stoke Golding Marina, where we squeezed into the last remaining space. The sun is still shining and I now have lunch to prepare.


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