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

Saturday 31 December 2016

Smoke Gets in you Eyes.

Hi Friends.

Whether you are near or far, I wish you all the very best for 2017. May it bring you joy, health and happiness.
We do not go over board for New Years Eve. We will celebrate it on the boat with a glass or possibly two at midnight, well that is if we can stay awake. Long gone are the days when we would want to go out partying. To be honest I cannot remember ever going to a New Year's Eve party. Neither of us are the partying type. I can see no reason to go out and get drunk, which then means you feel rubbish New Years Day and you cannot remember what you did the night before. Of course this could be an age thing, I like to think I am just sensible 😁.
On the 1st January our boy turns 13 years old. In doggie years that would be 91 years old. He nearly died on us a couple of years ago, so to still have him with us now is amazing. Of course he is looking his age.
Only last night he stood in the galley and was away with the fairies for sometime. This appears to be happening more and more of late. He is happy and still doing well on his feeding. His weight has gone up a little and so whilst he appears to be doing alright we will keep him with us. There will be no celebration treats for Paddy though, because he has a delicate tum, but he will know its his Birthday.

So here we are New Years Eve and it is just another day. This morning I got off to a late start. I did not wake until 8 am, so was behind before I started. Paddy got his walk and I then fed him and mog, before we had toast for our breakfast. The stove in the saloon had been smoking a bit and the CO alarm was showing read when I open the door to stoke up the fire, so I decided to check the flue. Now with it being New Years Eve, I decided to wear a skirt, so cleaning the flue in a skit was going to be challenging. I did manage to climb up on the roof with the flue brush and began the job of trying to clean the flue, but the brush was going no where, so there was only one way of doing it and that was to put my arm up the flue from the inside, to see if I could feel the blockage. With the fire still going, this was not only a warm task, but also a smokey one. I opened all the doors and windows before getting down to find the blockage. Having taken out the baffle plate, I soon discovered that there was a soot blockage, which was restricting the flue. The smoke not only filled the room but my eyes as well. Yeah I know the sensible think to do, would have been to let the fire go out, but since when have I ever been sensible 😃.  I managed to clear the blockage, but ended up smelling like a flue and covered in tar. I then climbed back onto the roof of the boat and got the flue brush all the way down the flue, hooray job done. Of course with any mess comes the clear-up, which was soon done and I then got myself sorted out. With that job done, I then did a laundry wash in the Arm's laundry. I got to sit in peace and quiet for 30 minutes. We have a good selection of books in the laundry, so I got to look through some and came home with a nature and wildflower book.
With the time pressing on, we decided to then walk into town to pick up a couple of things and to have lunch in Wetherspoons, this saved me cooking lunch. Back home the Tv went on, feet up and time for New Years Eve films.

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Magic Christmas.

Hi Friends.

Well it is all over bar the shouting. How did it go for you?

We had a fabulous time, after a bit of a drama Christmas Eve going into Christmas Day. We spent Christmas Eve watching films and bedtime was at 10 pm, after all we needed to give Santa time to squeeze down our flue. Around 11.45 am, I woke to hear Keith moaning and groaning and even though I tried to ignore it I could not, so I put the light on to find him sitting up in bed. He had chest pain around his Sternum and yes I know the first thought is always heart, but knowing Keith as I do, there was no panic. Because Keith does not have a Gallbladder, he can have issues with acid and so I gave him his Omeprazole, we tried one at first. After about 15 minutes he said that it was settling down and so I got him up and sat him in the saloon. I gave him another Omeprazole and made a cup of tea. By 1 am he was feeling better and so we went back to bed, but sleeping by this time had passed us by and we did not really get much sleep. Christmas Day was with us and we could only presume Santa had made his way down our flue, when we were not looking, because presents had been delivered, not even Paddy or Marmite stirred.
8 am we were up and I was up with Paddy and unlocking the gates on the site. It was then time for mog and dogs breakfast, then Keith and I had toast, before I riddled the fire, got rid of the ash and then made the fire back up. After all of the boat jobs, I washed my hair and got changed for the day, because we were going to our friend Jack's for lunch along with Maria and Tony. Hair washed, we opened our presents and our Christmas day had begun.
11.45 am Maria text to say she was ready to go, so we collected up our bits and set off to Jack's. Poor Maria was playing a taxi service, because Tony had broken down, so she had to collect him as well once she dropped us at Jack's.
Jack cooked us an amazing Christmas lunch, Turkey with all the trimmings. Pudding we had a choice of Christmas pudding, Lemon pudding or Trifle. The Lemon pudding was to die for and the Christmas pudding was scrummy. All this was washed down with Jack's homemade Damson Gin, and some bubbly which we took along to celebrate the occasion. Presents were handed out and then we played a game of Charades, which was hugely funny. An amazing day was had and all to soon it had to end, because we needed to get home to let Paddy out and feed both him and Marmite. Back home, the fire was stoked, animals fed because Marmite was making sure we knew she was unhappy at being left home with Paddy all day. Coffee was made and the TV was switched on as we wanted to watch Maigret at 9 pm on ITV. Rowan Atkinson is brilliant in the role of Maigret. 11pm we crawled into bed and I did not hear another thing until 8 am and so we were into Boxing Day.
You can only imagine my shock, horror on turning on the BBC 1 news to hear that George Michael had passed away at the age of 53 years of age. What a dreadful year we have had for the passing of some wonderful people?
I grew up with George's music and still love his music. Another sad loss to the world of entertainment. Christmas Day we also heard that Rick Parfitt had died, so Status Quo will never be the same. Yep like so many others in the 70's and 80's I used to headband to Rocking All Over The World. It makes you realize that as we grow older those around us are passing away. With George being 53 years old, he is actually a year younger than me, so it seems very scary.
Despite waking at 8 am, Paddy was not stirring, so I made Keith and I a cuppa and we watched the news, before finally crawling out of bed at 9 am. Paddy was then up and ready for his walk, whilst all's Marmite could think about was food. With us both still feeling full, we did have some toast for breakfast. I then got on with doing the stove and getting rid of the ash. The plan for the day was, there was no plan. Just as well we had no plan, because I spent most of my day doing my family tree and finding out some wonderful things, including a photograph of a relative. It is always nice to put names to faces, sadly he died in World War I.
Albert William Cosser.
The evening was taken up with watching Tom Hanks in 'Captain Phillips'. OMG it was brilliant and really gripping. As always Tom Hanks was brilliant.
Holiday Tuesday morning got off to a late start for me, I did not wake until 8 am, after a fabulous nights sleep. The news was on and a cuppa was made and with much sadness we heard of the death of the lovely Liz Smith. I loved her in The Vicar of Dibley.
Up and about, Paddy walked and jobs all done. We walked into town to get my glasses repaired at Vision Express first and then a saunter around the town, which was really quiet. Not many of the shops bothered to open.
Our afternoon was taken up by watching films, eating Quality Street and watching more films.
Christmas for us is now done and dusted, but we always leave the decorations up until the 12th night, mainly because we do not want any bad luck.
So I guess I will see you all in the New Year, if not before.

Saturday 24 December 2016

One more sleep to go.

Hi Friends.

Yes it is true, we have one more sleep to go till the big man tries fitting down our chimney's. I can but hope he has not been on the Mince Pies and Yule Log by the time he gets to us, because our flue is a tiny one and even with his magic it maybe difficult for him to fit.
With it being Christmas Eve, I decided I wanted to go out if the weather was kind.
We woke to find it dry but breezy, so had our first brew of the day and as usual watched the morning news on the BBC. Christmas maybe a festive time for peace and goodwill, but it seems to be in short supply again this year. Still we will all keep on going. I do not get political on my blog, but we can all hope the New Year brings more clarity.
Paddy got his walk around the block and I unlocked the gates to the Arm. No one was stirring yet, so we had it all to ourselves. After breakfast, we took ourselves off into town for a nose around the market and shops. It was busy, but not manic which was nice, so we had a nose around some of the shops before going into Wetherspoons for a Veggie Breakfast and another cuppa. Even thought the Christmas lights are up they were not switched on, so in someway it did not feel very festive. I also would have thought they would have had a band playing Christmas music, but non of that. Santa was outside of Sainsbury collecting for local charities which was nice. So it seemed that there was not much festive cheer in Warwick. We did the charity shops as always and bought some DVD's. I got a fabulous Per Una cardigan and a necklace and Keith found a pair of jeans. So it was a worth while the walk up and down the town.

Keith was diagnosed with high Cholesterol and so we are sorting out his diet. We both eat a healthy diet, but as always there is always something more you can do to improve things. As we walked past Holland and Barrett, we decided to ask what they offer to help with reducing Cholesterol, because if doing things with his diet does not help, he will go on to Statin's, which we would like to avoid. So we were advised to try Soya Lecithin, which we will give a go. Another thing they suggested is Apple Vinegar, so I am going to look into the pros and cons of that.
Walk done and steps achieved for the day, we were back home and the smell of boiling bacon wafting around the boat. The smell was making me feel peckish, but having already eaten no lunch was required.
First film of the day for was 'Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone'. We love a bit of Harry. Second film was '101 Dalmation's' the animated version. We are now watching 'A Muppet Christmas Carol' and I am signing off.

May you have a wonderful Christmas. May you be happy, safe and with loved ones this festive time.

Friday 23 December 2016

Two sleeps.

Hi Friends.

Two sleeps to go. If you are not ready, you are going to be going into the world of the crazy people. Shopping center's and supermarkets across the land, will be bedlam today and tomorrow. If you are going shopping remember to stay calm and count to 10 when breathing, because you can guarantee there will be trolley wars in the supermarket isles and people will be rude. Christmas is but one day and the shops will be open again on Boxing Day. I have been told that some shops are even opening on Christmas Day, so no panic required.
Yesterday in Stratford-upon-Avon, the atmosphere was very relaxed, which was nice to see. I am not bothered about standing in queue's, what does bother me is the huffing and puffing of people in front and behind me and the fact that they feel the need to sneeze their germs all over me. THANKS. This is why I get the shopping done nice and early, so I do not have to cope with either. I worked on the tills at Christmas and oh boy people can be so rude and yet I smiled sweetly and packed the bags, whilst feeling like I would actually like to shout. Christmas cheer can be in short supply at the checkouts, so please think of the poor person processing your shopping.

After yesterday's fun in Stratford, today it was back down to reality. The laundry needed to be done, so that is what I got on with first. One quick wash load all done in 32 minutes, then hung in the engine room for drying. I re-lit the back cabin stove and stoked up the saloon stove, so we are nice and snug as Storm Barbara comes a calling. I do not think we will get it very bad, but the north is set for a tough time. Coal and wood bought in and stowed away, ash pans emptied. Christmas lights are on and then lunch had to be thought about. With rich food coming up over the Christmas period, I like to keep things nice and simple before the big day, so we do not have an over load, especially now as I have this bloomin Hiatus Hernia, which is giving me jip still. I feel a visit to the GP in the New Year is calling. The tablets I am on have helped with my rib and sternum pain, but not with the hernia, so it will be back to see what we do next. Anyway lunch was Smoked Haddock, Peas and Potato and very nice it was.
The afternoon was spent helping one of the Winter moorer's with her crochet. I had got her started Tuesday night at the games evening, but she had gotten herself in a pickle, so I dropped round to sort her out and get her back on the right track. Back home, I set about doing more to my family tree. I am hoping to do more on it next year. I have such a lot I want to know about both my grand fathers, who I never really knew and their lives seem to be a bit of a mystery, or people are just not talking about them.
Storm Barbara has begun to rock the boat and with it she has bought the rain, which was thumping down on the roof of the boat. I think we may have a rocky night. Just seen on Twitter, that another storm is following on from Barbara and they have named it Conor, it will be with us later on Christmas day and into Boxing day, deep joy. So much for the coldest winter ever.

Winter's Stare.

Winters stare.
Winter comes, the cold winds blow.
Days are in darkness early, streetlights shine
The bird song has now all but gone.
Jack Frosts lying on the ground.
Blanketing all in his icy glow.
Snow is coming I can see from the sky.
Sparkling snow falling to the ground.
The earth turns white, sparkling against the grey dull sky.
The ground is thick with sleet and slush.
I find it hard to keep my feet.
Catching cold crystals on my tongue.
Making snowmen in the yard.
Warmth from coats, mittens and hats.
Icy roads, salt trucks are running.
Shops full of Christmas fare.
People rushing here and there.
Houses decked out in Christmas lights
Log fires burning, snuggle up so tight.
Sipping Hot chocolate into the night.
Colds and Flu forever in the air.
Coughs and sneezes hankies at hand
As we all come to grips with winters stare.

Written by Jo Lodge.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Out for the day.

Hi Friends.

Are you excited yet?
Or are you a little Ba Humbug?
This Christmas I am looking forward to it, because last Christmas I was so poorly for the whole of the festive period. I must have been one of the only people to lose weight over Christmas. I managed to lose 7 Kg and I have managed to keep most of it off, but this Christmas it maybe a different story, because I plan to enjoy myself.

The festivities began in earnest today, when this morning I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon with Jacky and Dawne. We were having a girlie day. Dawne and I left our husbands to do their own thing. We were picked up by Jacky at 9.30 am, first port of call was to M&S to collect Jacky's Turkey. We then headed into Stratford and the multi-story car park. Good job Jacky knew where she was going because I would have been completely lost. I am hopeless with direction.
The festive decorations are beautiful in Stratford, they really have gone to town with them.
Today was the craft market up the main street. There must have been over 40 stalls, all running back to back up the main street. There was everything festive from Mulled Wine, decorations, scarves, socks, toys and food. We had a lovely time mooching around the stalls, we all bout some little decorations which were half price. We had tea and teacakes in Huffkins Tea Room. Beautiful place if you are ever in Stratford.
The living statues were in town.
We had actually seen this one, getting dressed in the car park. She looked amazing. I am not sure I could stand still for so long in the cold.
After our tea break we went and found the Nutcracker Christmas Shop, which sells Christmas decorations all year round and cannot fail to make you feel festive. Having done the market, we walked around the shops and got a few bits, before having a late lunch in M&S. They say the time flies when you are having fun and it sure did today. Having enjoyed our day, we ended up going back to Jacky's lovely cottage for a cuppa and a natter before she dropped us back to our boats in the Arm.
When I got home, Keith was watching the TV, he had had a nice morning in Coventry. He visited BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and caught up with everyone there. He had a breakfast in Wetherspoons and bought a jumper, so we both had time out away from the boat and had a nice time.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Chutney and music.

Or panic if you have done nothing so far :-).

Hi Friends.

There was a welcome appearance in the Arm at 8 am this morning. It was Mark on the coal and diesel boat Callisto. Mark had not been able to get to the boaters in the Arm. Hatton bottom lock was being worked on and because the Arm was losing water, due to boaters coming up through Cape Locks, winding and then going back through Cape Locks or mooring up, our water was disappearing, which meant we were on the list a lot. So C&RT closed Cape Locks to stop the water loss and the moorer's complaining to them about no water beneath our base plates. So whilst Mark was late in getting to the Winter moorer's and Residential boaters, he was very welcome to some.
Coal and diesel boats work incredibly hard at this time of the year, supplying to boaters around the country. When we did the coal run on the Leicester Line, we were supplying coal to boats, houses and a pub once every two weeks and our run was from Market Harborough to Crick and back again. We both loved the job we did and the customers we had were fantastic.

Up and about after the morning refreshment and the news, which at the moment is pretty gloomy, so we will not dwell on it. After all the usual stuff, we walked up into the town as I wanted to get a jar of Caramalised Red Onion Chutney. I had only planned to buy one jar, but with a 3 for 2 offer, I came home with three jars scrummy.
I love it with cheese, but it goes well with Turkey, boiled Gammon. I reckon you can have it with pretty much anything. As you can tell as I wax lyrical I am a huge fan of this chutney 👍.
Deep Heat was bought for Keith's neck which is playing up and has given him a headache for over a week now and I got a new waterproof mascara, as I had heard that mascara, like our toothbrushes, should be replaced every three months. How many of us changes these items every three months?
When did you last toss your Mascara in the bin?
It turns out that every time you use your mascara and put the brush back into the tube you are transmitting bacteria into the tube. I will be honest, I do not toss my Mascara every three months, but I do have a friend whose eyes were becoming irritable and she was asked my her GP about when she last changed her Mascara. Thankfully having changed her Mascara and some drops her eyes got better. I guess it is up to the individual.
We did the usual stroll around the charity shops and I picked up these heart decorations for 50 pence for the four. I am a sucker for anything with hearts on it. With nothing else required from a very quiet Warwick, we strolled back home and I made us both a warming coffee. Lunch today was Sardines on toast for a change. Once a week, we like to have something on toast for a change. I spent the afternoon downloading more music for my MP3 player and enjoying a rather loud sing song. I was rather surprised that the boat was not surrounded by hoards of cats, hoping to join the cats choir. When I was a child I belonged to a church choir and would always join the choirs at school for singing events. I do not pretend to be a good singer, I just love singing. I guess to know if I am any good I should tape myself and listen to myself. Ha ha tape myself, blimey that is really ageing me, we have not used tape recorders for donkey's year. I suppose I should have record myself instead. Maybe I will do that, just to see how bad my singing actually is 😉😉😉.
Before I knew it, it was mog and dogs tea time and ours too. It was dark outside and the fire required stoking. They say time flies when you are having fun and it certainly did for me today. 

Winter Solstice.

Happy Winter Solstice to everyone. After today the dark nights will get shorter and we will be thinking of Spring 2017.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

All done and dusted.

Hi Friends.

Yes there are just five days to go and then it will all be over for another year. 
Are you all done?
We are all done and dusted. Keith went food shopping this morning, for the few bits we needed to last us over the Christmas period. I am not one for over spending or buying, because more often than not things end up getting wasted and thrown in the bin. So we have enough to keep us going. Apparently Aldi was quiet first thing. I bet it will not be like that come Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Whilst Keith was food shopping, I got on with sweeping the saloon stoves flue. I like to do it once a week, to make sure it stays clean. I remember a few years ago whilst we were out, a woman on a boat passing by, looked at me with the flue brush in my hand and asked what I was doing. When I told her I was cleaning my stoves flue, she looked at me in amazement. She said "I have been boating Fourteen years and I have never cleaned my flue". My reply was "Do you not have a fire". Apparently she did, but she did not know she should clean the flue. All flues need cleaning for them to work properly and to stop a build up of Carbon-monoxide. I explained this to the lady, who was shocked to know what could happen and she would be cleaning her flue from now on. I may just have saved her life. Flue cleaned and stove fire riddled out and stoked up for the day. I then got on with the hoovering and washing the floors. When ever I hoover, both Paddy and Marmite disappear, they both hate the hoover. Keith was soon back with the shopping, which I stowed away. Coffee was made and lunch was on the go. We finished off the curry we had yesterday. Curries always taste better the following day. The spices are more vibrant I always think. The afternoon began with me doing a laundry wash, which ask always got hung in the engine room to dry. 

I am not lost for words very often and I can natter for England. But today I am finding it hard to think of things to say, because yet another of our friends has been diagnosed with Cancer and has been told it is going to be a tough fight. At the moment it seems to many of the people I love and are friends with are fighting Cancer. I sincerely hope that they all fight the good fight, because this world would be worse off without them. We are keeping them all in our thoughts right now. No time is a good time to hear you have Cancer, but just before Christmas is the worst time. Feeling sad tonight.

Saturday 17 December 2016

Another day closer.

Cutey for today.

Hi Friends.

A week to go, and I know you are probably running around like a headless chicken buying presents, food and drink, but hey put your feet up and have a coffee for five minutes.

We are already for Christmas, I am not gloating I know you are busy. I just like to get things done early, so I can enjoy the run up to Christmas. I do know some people like the buzz of doing everything at the last minute. I personally cannot think of anything worse than standing in queues with people, coughing their germs over everyone and you just know that at least one in the queue will be huffing and puffing because they hate being in queues. My advice to them would be, start shopping earlier. I know some like to do their shopping late, in the hope for a bargain. Bargains are only bargains if you actually need that item in my opinion. Next week we will buy the last of the food which will last us into the New Year, such as milk, bread etc and then that will be it. If we have not go it, then we will go without. So much is bought for Christmas and thrown away a few days later it is crazy nonsense. Not only that most shops are open on Boxing Day anyway.
This morning we walked into town to get our Satsumas off the market, they are really lovely and I know I will eat a lot of them over the festive time. The market was already pretty busy when we got up their just after 9 am. Satsumas bought, it was back home. I got on with stoking the fire, emptying the ash pan and organising something lunch. The postman arrived bearing gifts, actually it was boxes for Keith containing more bits for his railway. He is gathering the buildings he needs, because they quite often discontinue the ones he wants, so it looked like Christmas had come early to our boat. 
After lunch, the TV went on. It is now the time for Christmas movies, so I began watching 'Black Nativity' with Forrest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson. Then it was 'Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium' with Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman. It is one of my favourite movies. Following on from that was 'Paddington' with Hugh Bonniville, Julie Walters etc. Heard a lot about it, but first time watching it and I loved it. It made me giggle like a child, but then I am a huge fan of bears, the teddy kind as well as the animal kind. Finally for the evening entertainment, it was going to be 'The Hobbit' with Martin Freeman, 

We are creeping ever closer towards the winter solstice (21st December) and the shortest day and Winter is truly coming. I do not take out the perspex and shut the galley doors until the very last of the light is gone. Of course we all know that the day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June and warmer weather if we are lucky. Every hour of light is precious, it gives me time to tend the fire, walk the dog, do all the usual chores before bed time. I get to natter and clean, cook and tidy and then rest with a cup of coffee. Paddy snoozes in his bed and Marmite meows for food. Before the sun goes down, Paddy gets his walk and we then settle in for the remainder of the evening before tired eyes lead me to my bed.

Friday 16 December 2016

You go your way...............

Cutey for the day.

Hi Friends.

Deep joy, we are another day closer to Christmas, mince pies and dinner with friends. All's I want now is a cold and snowy Christmas Day, but I am not holding my breath on that one.
Today began, yep you guessed it, with a cup of tea sat up in bed watching the BBC 1 news. With Christmas supposed to be about Peace and Goodwill to all, it is devastating to see what is happening across the world, with war zones and people of all ages suffering. You only have to see all the charity adverts on the TV to know how desperate things are getting out there and I feel for all those people who just want to find Peace.
Paddy must have gotten chilly in the night, because he moved his bed closer to the stove. He is a funny boy.

Jobs for the day today, began with Keith and I going our separate ways. I went and did the laundry and Keith went to do the food shopping. He goes off with his trolley, rucksack and bus pass and heads off to Aldi. I think he quite enjoys going food shopping and it means I can get on with jobs on the boat and in the laundry.
Laundry done and hung in the engine room. Next on my hit list was the stove, I swept the chimney and riddled the grate before stoking up with coal for the day. I then got on with cooking lunch. 
Today I am cooking two meals. I had a 500 gram pack of mince, so split it in half. Half was going into a curry and the second half of mince was going into a Spagetti Bolognaise. The curry began with me frying off the mince with onions. I then added a dessert spoon and a half of Rogan Josh curry paste, having stirred it all in, I added a tin of baked beans and tinned tomatoes. This all got stirred in and then it went into the oven. Whilst frying the mince for the curry, I also fried the mince and onions for the Spagetti Bolognaise. I added herbs, Mushrooms and pasta sauce. It then joined the curry in the oven for an hour. I will be putting either the Curry or the Bolognaise in the freezer when it has cooled.
Keith arrived back with the small shop, so I got the kettle on for coffee and put the items of shopping away.
Decision for lunch today was Spagetti Bolognaise. Towards the end of cooking I always add a dessert spoon of Marmite to the pot, this gives the Bolognaise some extra flavour. I remember once seeing a menu with Spagetti Bolognaise on it and they wanted over £14 for it. I can make it for a fraction of that and it will do us for more then one day.
After our enjoyable lunch, I took Paddy out for his walk and today we went over the the cemetery. I know it sounds a little morbid, but it is a lovely walk around this one and I was also hoping to find some large pine cones. I always take my camera in case I see the friendly Squirrels, who just love to have their photographs taken. Sadly no Squirrels or pine cones, but we did enjoy a nice walk.
The afternoon was spent watching films and catching up with mail.
Do you ever write letters by hand anymore?
I remember a time, when all letters were written either by hand or typed. These days most mail is done by e-mail I have found, or conversations are had on Twitter and Facebook. I actually think it is nice to give and receive a real hand written letter and so for the New Year that is what I am going to do more of. Blimey I have not gotten through Christmas yet and I am already making a New Year's resolution. Now I just need to stick to it. The only problem with this idea is the cost of the stamps. It really is getting expensive to send things through the post these days and I know some of my friends have been sending online Christmas cards. I still prefer to send cards through the post. There is nothing nicer than sending and receiving a card.
As the afternoon climbed into the evening, Paddy went out with Keith for his evening walk and I got on with doing very little. The news came on and it sounds like the whole world has gone mad. Then there was the Christmas advert for what is on TV this Christmas. OMG the music lone for Eastender's sounded grim, but the story line shows it will be yet another miserable Christmas for Albert Square. I gave up watching the soaps back in 2000 and nothing I have seen will ever get me watching any of them again. They are always so depressing, with to much shouting and screaming going on. I will stick to watching Christmas films and have joy in my life.

Thursday 15 December 2016

A Right Giggle.

Cute Christmas picture for the day.

Hi Friends.

The above photograph reminds me of the Guinea Pig I used to have as a child called Dougal, after the dog on the Magic Roundabout. Yep I know I am showing my age with this one.

Our day began as usual. It was really miserable out, but still remarkably mild for December. Paddy and I went on a longer walk this morning, which he did not seem to appreciate as much as I did, but as I have the lead he has to go with me.
Back on board on the radio was our local radio station and this morning the phone is was all about things that have driven you mad about your partner and lead to a split!
 Vic was talking about this article she's spotted. The funny and sometimes serious reasons people just had to end their relationship. Has it happened to you or is there something you do that drives your partner to despair?
 One woman split from her partner, because his head was to big..... The mind boggles.
I married for better or worse and I took my vows seriously. I dare say there are things I do that drives Keith bandy, but we muddle along. I take him for who he is and do not judge him on the things he does that drive me crackers. We are all different after all.
Giggling done, it was time to get some jobs done and the first of the morning for me was to stoke the fire and then put the hoover around. Paddy's hair is still rolling around the boat like tumbleweed in a western town. He never stops molting. It was water tank filling day. I like to top the tank up every two weeks. To remind me I always write it on the calendar and today was that day. Hosepipe rolled out from the water tap to the water tank, I set the timer for half an hour and left it to do it's thing. Half an hour later the timer went off and I forgot until another half hour had gone by, so the water tank was well and truly filled as was the canal, because the tank overflowed into the canal. Hosepipe rolled up and put away for another two weeks, the postman had been and I got my parcel which was posted yesterday, so a very prompt service from my supplier.
These days I cannot wear shoes with heels. To be honest, I have never been able to wear high heels. I think the highest heels I have worn was for my first wedding and they were 3 inch heels. They only got worn once and then never saw the light of day again, until I was told that my ex-husband had a bonfire and they were on it with my wedding dress :-), long story. I only do up to an inch heels these days and I love brogues, so when I saw these blue brogues on Ebay I was in love. I have always wanted a blue pair of shoes and now I have them. They came from Shu Crazy. To say I was a little excited when I saw them, is a bit of an understatement. They are fabulous and fir like a glove. They are not leather, but for me that is fine, because I am allergic to some leather items. They only cost me £14.99 and so did not break the bank. I can wear them with either trousers or my denim or corduroy skirt. I know what I am wearing this Christmas, how about you? I was once told by a GP, that if you have a back problem, the best height of heel to wear is an inch. As I have suffered from Sciatica for many years, and inch heel is idea and yet I cannot have completely flat shoes, they do not suit my back either.

Heard it all now on the BBC1 news. It seems that next years New Years celebrations could be very quiet, because councillors are to do a report on the impact of the noise of their fireworks. Now I know many of our furry and feathered friends do not cope well with the bangs and whistles of huge fireworks, but really is this taking things to far?
Both Paddy and Marmite have gotten used to the fireworks over the years. We have had some huge bangs from the ones in Warwick and they have both coped with it. This story seems to say that it is the residence who are complaining about the noise and so next years Hogmanay maybe a very quiet affair. 

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Lovely day out.

Hi Friends.

Early old start to our day today. Keith had an appointment with the Advanced Nurse Practitioner. He had a Cholesterol blood test last week and the results were in. His level was higher than they like, so she wanted to talk about the options. We had to be there for 7.30 am, so were up at 6 am to get the boat jobs done before leaving. Paddy was less than impressed with having to get out of bed that early and yet Marmite was just pleased she got fed early.
The visit to the medical center was fine. His Cholesterol is slightly higher than the 5 or below they like, and so we have decided with her help to change a couple of things in Keith's diet. Both of us eat a pretty healthy diet and we do plenty of exercise. We do not smoke or drink is excess, so both of us are going to cut down on the sweets and crisps and see if that helps. The nurse was not to worried and has said she will do the test again sometime next year.
Back home on the boat, we decided to catch the bus to Coventry. We managed to cross the Birmingham road outside of the middle gate of the Arm. Luckily the peak time of the morning rush hour was almost at an end. We walked up St. Michael's Road to catch the X17 bus.
Whilst waiting for the bus, a taxi passed by on the other side of the road and I clocked him talking on his mobile phone. He also saw that I had seen him, and so quickly put his phone down. Grrrrrrrrrr what is it with people. Leave your flippen phone alone whilst driving. Do you really want to kill someone, is this your desire? Mobile phones should be banned in cars, or the manufacturers need to come up with a way of disabling phones in cars, when on the move.
Ok rant over back to going to Coventry. The bus arrived pretty much on time. Keith goes for free with his bus pass, but it cost me £8.60, which was a bit of shock, because we both thought it was a lot less than that. Still I handed over the money and we did a country tour by bus. The X17 goes all around the houses, through Leamington-Spa and Kenilworth, before it reaches Coventry. The joy of this was I got to see all the Christmas lights on peoples houses and in the towns. First place we went to was a Wetherspoon's for a cup of tea. We always like a cuppa before we begin shopping.
Coventry is in a very festive mood, with its lights up and a festive market going on with music and a fun fair.
You cannot but help feel festive when you see this and hear people singing Christmas Carols. We walked past a bank and there were a group of school children singing and signing carols, which was so lovely. The reason for visiting Coventry was not just for the festive feel, I wanted to go to Wilkinson's for new heads for our tooth brushes. We use their battery brushes and buy replacement heads. I do not see the point in paying for expensive electric/battery brushes. Some of the ones we have seen are as much as £50 to over £100, which is mad. We have used the Wilkinson's brushes for years and our teeth are really good. So tooth brush heads bought and a nosey around the store. We then headed off into Primark, where I bought there 80 denier tights. They are good quality and for £3.50 for three pairs last for ages. I wanted blue and black ones. I know many people do not like Primark for different reasons, but you cannot beat their prices and their quality. With living and working on a boat, it does not pay to buy expensive clothing, so Primark is great for that. Poundland we got our batteries from and then we went to The Red Panda, Chinese Buffet for lunch. It is not as good as our favourite one in Leamington-Spa, but it was adequate for what we wanted. 

After lunch, we went for a further stroll around the shops and then around the Cathedrals. To get into the modern Cathedral it is £6 an adult, so we gave that a miss, but you can look through the huge glass windows and doors. The old Cathedral is free to wander around.
In previous visits to the Cathedral, it has been shrouded in scaffolding, because of renovation work taking place. But today it was completely open and looking fabulous in the sunshine. St Michael's, a 14th-century Gothic church was designated a cathedral. It remains a ruined shell after its bombing during the Second World War. The new Cathedral, which stands along side the ruin, is also called St Michael's. The new cathedral was consecrated on 25 May 1962, and Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, composed for the occasion, was premiered in the new cathedral on 30 May to mark its consecration. 
This cheeky Squirrel was being hand fed by some visitors. It made sure the pigeons did not get any food, by chasing them off at every opportunity, it was really funny to watch. 

We had a lovely day in Coventry, but all to soon it was time to catch the X17 bus back. We decided on route that we could catch the bus back to the Warwick bus station and then catch the G1 bus, which would drop us outside the middle gate at the Arm, this would save us having to walk down St Michael's road and having problems crossing, with it being late in the day, the road is a nightmare to cross. Back home and mog and dog were very happy to see us both. Marmite gave me the fifth degree, she wanted to know, where we had been and had we bought her anything. Paddy just stood wagging his tall, he is a dog of very few words. Mind you with Marmite around he would not get a woof in anyway. 
With us still being full from our lunch, neither of us needed any dinner, so I just made us a coffee before putting my feet up.
A fabulous day was had by us both.

Saturday 10 December 2016

How times change.

Hi Friends.

I have been helping Keith to research farm yards for his model railway. As I grew up on a farm in Hurstbourne Priors, I thought I would start with that, so I drew the layout for him and then decided I would find it on Google Maps. It change many nears ago from a dairy and arable farm to an Equestrian Centre and so changes were made to the layout in places, but it is pretty much as I remember it when growing up. The early morning starts to feed the calves, the bale cart every Summer, the moving of the cows across the road to the milking parlour. The house I grew up in is still there, but I was dismayed to see on another page that an application was put into the council for its demolition and another dwelling to be built in its place. Now whilst I have many happy memories of that old thatched cottage, I also have many unhappy memories, which have bought me in some way to the life I live today, which of cause has given excellent memories, so it I suppose it is bitter sweet to see the old house will be demolished. I lived in that house from the age of about 5 yrs old until I was 17 yrs old. The village was a lovely place and I had a lot of friends, some of whom I still keep in touch with. Not only is my old home changing the only pub in the village, which also holds many memories has been changed from a pub into a dwelling, which means the village has nothing now. It used to have two garages, a post office and the pub and they have all gone over the years, which I find incredibly sad.
Anyway enough reminiscing, and back to today.

Today we were going to the Saltisford Christmas dinner, which was being held in the Tilted Wig in the town. With that in mind, I had very little planned apart from the usual boat stuff I do every morning. So dog walked, mog and dog fed, stove riddled and made up, laundry checked for post. Yeah I know really exciting.
11.00 am we made our way into town, on what was turning into a damp day. I wanted to buy stamps before going to lunch, but there was a queue in the Post Office, so I decided to go to WH Smith, where the queue was shorter. Stamps bought, we made our way to the Tilted Wig, where Graham was already there. What we did not find was our tables set up for Twelve. It seemed like there was some confusion on where they were seating us. Once the others arrived, Jack sorted out the seating problem and we were finally seated. Starters arrived, Keith and I went for the spiced pumpkin soup, which was extremely yummy. Main was of course Turkey and all the trimmings and then we both went for Cheese and Biscuits. The meal was really good and we all thought it was better than last year, when we ate there. The time certainly flew by, because we were there for 12 noon and we did not leave until gone 4 pm. Everyone had a wonderful time and so our festivities have begun in a really nice way.
The walk home was in the rain, so I looked a little like a drowned rat. If I had taken my shampoo with me, I could have washed my hair whilst walking home.
Back in the warmth and dryness of the boat, the fairy lights went on and a coffee was made. Film for the evening was 'We Bought A Zoo' with Matt Damon, followed by 'Men In Black II'.
Christmas is coming yayyyyyyyyyyy.

Friday 9 December 2016

Christmas is coming.

Hi Friends.

You would need to be on the moon if you do not know by now we are getting closer to Christmas Day and all it brings with it. Eating to much, drinking to much, snoozing through the Queen's speech (how dare you), family rows and mountains of toys and presents which will never get played with or used. Ha ha ha I jest honest.

My Christmas preparations are pretty much done. We have what we need and if we do not then tough we will go without, because we do try not to go over the top. It is after all one day, or two if you count Boxing Day or Three if you count Christmas Eve. I am no one of the Bah Humbug group, but I do feel we all go over the top.
Ok enough of that.

After the cold snap we had, now we are having Spring like weather, it has been really mild this past couple of days, which has begun to confuse plants, birds and even the local ducks, who were definitely in the mood for love. I did try to explain to them it is December, but the Drake was definitely not listening. Luckily the Mallard flew off, she had a narrow escape bless her.

Today began like every day. A cup of tea in bed, watching BBC1 news and catching up with what is happening in the world. Marmite then came in to ask if we were actually getting up. It was rather dull and dark out, even at 7.45 am. On getting up, I stripped the bed to do the laundry, this is always a bit of fun as we kind of sleep in a cupboard and it can take a bit of acrobatics to strip and then remake the bed, especially with a double duvet cover, but it was soon all stripped. Cupboard door shut and washing in the laundry bag, it was time to walk Paddy and then feed both him and Marmite. Now I know they are both different animals, but their approaches to being fed is so different as well. Paddy sits in his bed all patient and waits for his biscuits. Marmite runs about and then jumps up on to the worktop meowing constantly, until her meat is put in her dish, it is only then she shuts up. Dogs have a lot more patience, well Paddy does anyway.
The usual narrowboat stuff was done, the saloon stove was riddled, ash taken out and then the stove was made up for the day. I was then off to the laundry to get the bedding washed, whilst in the laundry, I sat down with a fellow resident in the Arm to talk about the C word, yes Christmas and what his plans were. I think we managed to also cover most of the news topics of the day and how to lose things on our boats, that we never find again. In our case it was a pair of Keith's walking shoes, which we have never found. The laundry is a great place to catch-up with people for a natter whilst our washing does an express wash in 32 + minutes if we are lucky, which is not bad for a £1.
Laundry done and hung up in the engine room, I then had to turn my attention to preparing something for lunch and today it was to be Liver and Onions, which we both love. By cooking it early, it can sit on top of the stove and simmer to its hearts content, whilst we drool over the aromatic smell wafting around the boat..... ok maybe not aromatic, but we both love the smell of Liver and Onions.
Yesterday I sold one of my cards on Ebay, so that got parceled up and posted to its new owner. I was so cuffed to have sold my first card on Ebay. I am hoping it is the start of something good.
My afternoon was spent doing some pruning in our garden and nattering to just about anyone who would listen. If you know me, you will know I like to natter.
As the afternoon, dissolved into the evening and the dark blocked out the daylight, we closed the boat up and the Christmas lights on. The fire was glowing, Marmite and Paddy were settled for the night and I have had a lovely day one way or another. It does not take much to make me happy.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Laundry, Food and Freezer.

Cute picture for the day.

Hi Friends.

The thaw has taken place and now we are back into Summer like temperatures. Ok I know I am exaggerating a little, but having lit the back cabin stove yesterday morning, by the afternoon we were sweltering with both stoves going, so today I only have the saloon stove on, which seems to have upset Marmite, because she has been sat close to the saloon stove. Obviously she is feeling a tad chilly. 

Our day began early, because Keith had an appointment with the practice nurse reviewing his medication. He had to be at the surgery for 8.20 am, so we were up and about just after 7 am. Paddy was confused, because he does not get out of his pit until gone 8 am and then off for his walk. I had him out of the boat at 7.30 am, which confused him, but then he did get his breakfast early, which also pleased Marmite.
With Keith off to the nurse, we had notification that our new freezer would be arriving between 2 pm and 3 pm, so I cleaned the shelf down ready for the freezer to go in. I then got on with the morning's chores, which included sorting the stove out, getting the coal in. Floors swept and washed, laundry sorted and ready to wash. I usually get a lot done when Keith is away from the boat, I have no idea why. 
Keith came home to a coffee being made, so I went and did the laundry. Whilst doing the laundry, the post man arrived bearing lots of post and parcels, so I sorted them out and put them in their places for people to collect. Keith's railway building had arrived, so he was really chuffed.
Keith is looking forward to starting his railways layout in the hold. You can follow the story on his website

Our Tesco delivery was due between 11 am and 12 noon. At 10.45 am as I was leaving the laundry, reversing into the car park was my Tesco van and my food delivery. I do so love it when they are early. This delivery contained some of our Christmas goodies, which I bought with our Christmas vouchers. I am really feeling festive now and so looking forward to it all this year. 
Food stowed away, I made us some lunch, which was washed down by half an Old Speckled Hen. I am not drinking much alcohol because of the tablets I am on, but I figured a half would not hurt me and I was right, I felt fine. I will however be a good girl over Christmas.
Our new freezer was due to arrive with DPD between 2 to 3 pm. Keith was following the tracker on the DPD website. We knew it was close, but it actually arrived before it turned up on the tracker. Keith stood in the hold, whilst I passed the boxed freezer under the sheeting. We then man-handled the freezer into the galley and put it on the shelf where the old freezer had been. Before we could turn it on, we had to leave it for at least 3 hours to settle down, because of the coolant needed to settle down. We will turn it on so it runs in overnight and hopefully tomorrow we will have a new working freezer. You can find out the outcome tomorrow :-).
TV viewing this evening will be the follow-up program for 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'. Where we will get to see what they got up to once out of the jungle. 

Monday 5 December 2016

It's Fixed.

Cute photograph for today.

Hi Friends.

Christmas is coming don't you know?
Yep it is going to be a good Christmas this year, I just know it is. For me it cannot be any worse than last year, when I was very poorly throughout Christmas and the New Year. I am so looking forward to this one and it was made all the better by the visit of our fridge/freezer repairman. As I told you in my last posting, our freezer has died and the hope was he could repair our fridge/freezer. He thought it was the thermostat and so came armed with a new one. Having looked at the back of the fridge/freezer and heard Keith's explanation on what happened, it turned out not to be the thermostat at all. A connector had broken and just needed replacing phew. So instead of having to fork out hundreds of pounds we got the bill of £40, which is a huge bonus. We both are feeling much happier now. Having let the appliance get down to a proper temperature, we have stowed all our goodies back into the fridge and the freezer. Honestly we are mad, because we have been watching the temperature going down with the use of our indoor outdoor thermometer. At one point it was not switching off, so we turned the thermostat down till the light went out and then there was panic, because the light did not come back on arghhhh. I told Keith to leave the fridge door open for a couple of minutes and hey presto the light clicked on and all was running well again. You do become a little paranoid when everything around you begins to go wrong all at the same time.

The rest of my day has been a little more relaxing thankfully. It was another cold and frosty start. I woke at 7.45 am to see a red glow coming in through the pigeon box portholes. The sun was coming up and giving us a red sky.
I got up to make a cup of tea and could not resist sitting inside the engine room doors and taking these photographs.
With ice on the cut and a beautiful sunrise, I just knew we were in for a good day. This is why I love the cold weather. I love ice on the cut and the cold mornings. I just wish Paddy felt the same way. He was less than interested in going out this morning. it was as much as I could do to get him out of his bed, but I guess at the age of 84 he has every right to be lazy. Once out and off the boat, the fresh smells soon got his interest and he felt the need to cover them all. I have always wondered how he goes from 6 pm till 8 am in the morning. I still think he has hollow legs.
No sooner we were home, it was animals breakfast time and time for me to light the back cabin stove, because as Marmite kept telling me with her constant meowing, it was parky in there. As you have probably realized she does not do cold at all. 
Last night we missed 'I'm A Celebrity', so we caught up on it on iplayer and congratulations to Scarlett, she was fantastic, as were all the celebs. We did think she would win it. Now I am looking forward to the coming out show on Wednesday at 8 pm. I know a lot of people have moaned about there not being any row in the jungle this year, but it was actually a nice change to have them all getting along on the whole. Here's to the next one.
With John the repairman coming, I got on with lunch early, so we would have it done and dusted before he arrived. I almost made it, we had just about eaten lunch when he knocked on the side of the boat. 
After John had left, I popped into the office to have a natter with Jack about all things Christmas and the Arm. We are so looking forward to sharing her first Christmas in her cottage. She is a wonderful friend and I think of her as my sister, because we are so alike. We always have a lot to natter about and have a good laugh.
As we have been watching our fridge/freezer, time past me by so quickly, it was time for a hot shower and then feet up for the evening.
What joys would there be on the box tonight and if all else fails I can watch the first series of 'Game of Thrones'. We do not have Sky and so I have not seen any of this series, but so many people I know have raved about it, so when I saw the first series on DVD in a charity shop for £2.45 I just had to get it. I am hoping it lives up to what I have been told. If I like it then I will be looking out to get the other series. If I don't like it, then the five DVD's will go back to the charity shop or in our laundry room where we have DVD's people can take for a donation. I was thinking of saving it till Christmas, but if TV is boring, then I will dip into early, after all Christmas is not far away now.

First Sunday of December.

Cute photograph for today.

Hi Friends.

It is the first Sunday of December and it all began with a heavy frost and the temperature of -4.4 C. 
Having had a couple of days of warmer weather, the cut had defrosted, but this morning it was frozen over again. I do so love to see ice on the cut. I know, I know it is not good when you need to move and especially if you are worried about your blacking. But I love it anyway. When we were doing the coal run on the Leicester Line, no one was bothered by their blacking as long as we made it through with their coal. We did not have a vehicle, so the only way was by water and when your feeling cold and miserable, the sound of the coal boat crunching through the ice is a welcome sound. We would regularly take the blacking off, so our policy was when the boat was high in the water we would slap the blacking back on, ready for her loading and her hull being back down low in the water. It worked perfectly and of course she got blacked every two years as well.
With ice all around, the sun was coming up and casting a warm glow, enough to warm the cockles of anyone's heart. Paddy however was non to keen to go to far this morning and so did what he had to do, then he did an about turn and legged it back to the boat to the warmth of the cabin. Marmite was being very vocal for her breakfast as is usual for her, she is not a cat that likes to wait for anything, but particularly her breakfast.

Yesterday evening I did something to my back, which meant I was walking a little lopsided, thankfully this morning it had eased and although my Sciatica has kicked in again, at least I am more comfortable. Oh the joys of the body telling me I am not a teenager anymore. As for my other issues, they have settled down a little. Having had a week of taking 20 mg Amitriptyline a day, I am now back to 10 mg again and so far so good. I am on them until the New Year, when I hope that my pain will have ceased and I can come off the tablets, but we will of course cross that bridge when we get to it.

News on the freezer and fridge/freezer front. Sadly we received a phone call from the repairer to say that our small freezer is leaking gas and is not repairable. This is bad news indeed, because we have had it no more than 3 years. We are still waiting for the repairman to come and repair our fridge/freezer. We can but hope there is better news on that front, otherwise it is going to be an expensive time. We have not sorted the generator out yet, but have asked that someone come and look at it for us. 


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