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!
Friday 30 June 2017
As of this afternoon, we have left Stockton Marina and are making our way home with our new generator on board. We were fortunate to pair up with another narrowboat Moon Hare to come down the Stockton flight. Our day ended at The Blue Lias, which is our chosen mooring for the night. All moored up, we had a nice pint of Doombar to celebrate the fact that we have a new generator. it is not working yet, because we need the hole drilled in the hull for the raw water cooling system to be connected too and Rob our engineer needs to bleed the system and then hopefully fire her up. After a pint we took a walk around Stockton Reservoir, which was glorious and so quiet.
As a treat we have booked ourselves into The Blue Lias for a meal later. We have often passed the pub, but have never been able to moor up as it has been so busy, so we are making the most of our opportunity with a good mooring, food and drink.
Wednesday 28 June 2017
Hello Dear Friends and Followers.
Two posts in one day, you are truly blessed ha ha ha. Not a particularly bright day. This time last week the overnight temperature was 15 degrees, that is the daytime temperature today and we have had rain and drizzle. This does not stop play though, work has to continue.
Our new generator instillation is coming on a treat. Rob worked on her today. He has done some of the plumbing, the rest will be done after we have a hole cut in the hull for the raw water cooling. Keith has been doing his bit, by helping with the electrics, so it looks like after tomorrow we maybe able to head home.
Exhaust waterlock/silencer installed on the baseplate in the boatman's cabin underneath the drawer under the bedhole.
Exhaust hoses installed through to the engine room, just need connecting to the hull outlet.
Fuel pump attached to the bulkhead where the original fuel filter/water trap was fitted, which will soon be fitted above the pump.
This afternoon we were treated to two boats going back into the water. Before this could happen Hadar had to be moved into the poly tunnel out of the way, well that was the plan. We could not actually get all the way in because it was too shallow, so a fair bit of her was poking out.
This was the monster crane preparing itself for the job in hand.
Narrowboat Jemima was the first to go back into the water after she had her blacking done.
Back in the water safe and sound.
The second boat was Narrowboat Kingfisher, who had come off the Mon and Brec Canal. Her new owners are mooring her at Ventnor Marina.
They were a little nervous, but also excited at seeing her take off.
Almost ready to go back into the water.
Welcome to new waters Narrowboat Kingfisher. Hopefully her new owners will enjoy cruising around this end of the country.
With the working day almost done, we tidied up the engine room and back cabin before settling down for tea. We are both so pleased with the new generator and cannot wait to start it up and see how she runs. Because of the goings on in the engine room, both Paddy and Marmite are shut up all day in the saloon, so when we open the door to the engine room door Marmite makes a bee-line for the back cabin and Paddy is ready for a wee. It is now time to settle in for the evening and watch more of ‘Deadwood’.
Hello Dear Friends and Followers.
I was listening to the radio this morning and they were talking about what would we give up to save money. One person said “They could not possibly give up the window cleaner”. Really?
These days people think they need so much in their lives to make it better and to be honest that is no not the case. I think I would of probably thought that way many moons ago, but since living on the boat, I have realised just how little I need to be happy.
On the same program they spoke to a lady who lives a frugal lifestyle, and yet has an amazing life and this got me thinking about my lifestyle and what we do not bother with and how we save money. I do not have any debts, I like to make sure everything is paid for and if I cannot afford something then I do not buy it or have it.
It only really takes a few days to break old habits and form good new habits. Some of mine may well ring a bell with you and I am sure you could share your ideas with me if you wish.
I am not really a ready meal person, I prefer to cook from scratch. We both like home cooked food and neither us are fancy eaters, so I can cook good tasty meals on the cheap.
I like to repair things, that includes clothing, shoes, gadgets etc. I will only replace if there is absolutely no hope of the old things being repaired. Even then I will check out the charity shops first to see if an item of clothing can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of a high street store. Electrical items are more tricky, but I like to shop around. At the moment we are having to spend out on a new generator, but that is needed and we have the funds for it put by. I am pretty handy with a saw , hammer and nails, so will happily knock things up on my own. We do most of the work on our boat. I am a dab hand at changing oil, painting and general work, which we all need to know about, when living on a boat. It is not like we cannot afford for others to do it, but why bother when we can do it ourselves.
I like to use every last drop, of anything I use and hubby is the same. I always leave sauce bottles standing upside down to get every drop out and this also applies to, laundry liquid bottles, shampoo bottles and jars of sauces etc. I will wash sauce jars out and empty the contents into my cooking. IWe have paid for it and so will use it all. Bars of soap is another thing I will use to the end. if there is a small amount left, I will dampened the thin slice squash it together with a new bar. I know I sound ever so slightly mad, but why change a habit of a lifetime.
We love watching films, but rarely buy DVD’s at the full price. We will look around the charity shops or if near a car boot we will see what they have to offer. I always think why pay the full price for DVD’s. We are fortunate to have a good DVD collection now. We love to pootle around charity shops, markets etc, but only buy if we feel we really need something. The last market we did was Birmingham and hubby bought a shopping trolley for £5.
I am not really a gadget person and therefore I do not have a smart phone. I have an old Sony Ericsson phone, which does me just fine. I cannot see the point in spending mega money on a phone and then the set-up costs and monthly rentals. I just want a phone for emergencies. On saying that hubby did buy a smart phone, but it was the cheapest Carphone Warehouse does and the lowest tariff. This was in case we needed to look up something in an emergency and could not get online.
We changed our food shopping habits a while ago and saved ourselves £20 a month. We used to have a Tesco delivery once a fortnight, but now hubby who has his bus pass goes to Aldi and Lidl on the bus and really enjoys himself. On saying that I did have to get a Tesco delivery to here at Stockton, but only because we are in the middle of nowhere.
We do not have a car, which left us in 2005 and we have never missed it. If we want to go anywhere we either walk or catch public transport. A car for us would be a luxury, that we would have to either store when we are cruising or move around with us, which is not for us.
Living on the boat, I have a philosophy that if it is not used or worn within Six months, then it has to either find a new home or be thrown away. We do not have the space for unwanted items.
How frugal are you?
Tuesday 27 June 2017
Hello Friends and Followers.
How are things in your life right now?
Things for me are coming along I am pleased to say. On one of my last posts about the Braunston weekend, I explained about our dead generator being taken out and how we were without water. Things have moved on a pace since then. Friday and Saturday were hire boat turn around days and Sunday was a well earned day off, so Sunday we took a stroll over to the Stockton Cutting and Tasker's Meadow Reserves, which is just over the road from where we are. You can see the photographs I took on my other BLOG. After such a wonderful stroll, we came back to the boat, changed and headed to The Boat Inn at Birdinbury Wharf, which is alongside the marina we are in right now at Stockton. we had reserved a table for Sunday lunch. On Sunday’s they only do roasts, which was exactly what we required. It has been sometime since we enjoyed a roast out and I for one was looking forward to it. Neither of us was disappointed believe me. The meal was incredible and most definitely the best we have had out. Neither of us could fit in a pudding, but we did not leave anything on our plates, which is testament to how good the food was. This was washed down with a nice pint of beer. After a huge lunch, I spent the afternoon watching ‘Deadwood’ on DVD. I am loving the series, I do however find the language grating, because I am not a lover or user of the F and C words, but the series itself I think is brilliant. Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant are both brilliant in it.
Monday 26th June.
Blimey what a dreadful nights sleep I had. I woke up at 5 am.
The one joy I had from being awake so early was the sunrise over the marina. it was sublime. I kind of said to myself, that maybe I was meant to see it and so should be grateful for being awake so early. Of course the only thing to do at that time of the morning is to make a brew.
Rob our engineer was with us after a turn around of hire boats again.
Our new Fischer Panda Generator was dropped in through the engine room doors.
The generator was then slide into position on a piece of steel. In position, new mounts were welded to the old ones, and the cocoon fitted temporarily. It just needs connecting up, exhaust, water cooling, fuel and electrics. Keith and Rob worked out where all the pipes were going to go and then they got on and put our Calorifier tank back in, so we could have our water back on. Because it was late in the day when the plumbing to the tank was finished, we decided not to turn the water on till Tuesday morning, just in case there were any leaks, so we used the marina shower for a refresh. I spent my evening crocheting and watching more ‘Deadwood’, until 8.45 am when I thought I should go out and wait for our Tesco food delivery to arrive, because something was telling me that it maybe early. I had booked it for between 9 pm and 10 pm. I got off the boat and began to walk up the ramp to see if I had a phone signal, because it is dreadful here. Behind me I heard an engine start up and thought it was a car coming up behind me, it was in fact the Tesco van. They were parked in the car park and I did not even notice them. I need to get new specs. The lovely delivery driver had arrived early and was just trying to work out where we were, so she could ring me, but thankfully with no signal, I was out there to help her with the food trays. It was nice to have some food again. Food on the boat and stowed away in what was an empty fridge, I settled back down to watching ‘Deadwood’ before calling time and going to bed just after 10 pm.
Tuesday 27th June.
We woke to rain stamping its feet on the roof of the back cabin and Marmite purring whilst lying on my legs. The air was certainly refreshed by the rain and the temperature was suitably chilled to a decent and more acceptable level. Tuesday is Robs day off, so we knew nothing was being done on the generator, but this did not stop us getting work done. First job was to turn the water on to fill the Calorifier. we began the fill only to find our water tank was empty, so filling to a halt, I had to fill the water tank before we carried on with the Calorifier fill. Taps running in the galley and bathroom we soon had water flowing again. Keith then got on and wired the new generator in, which is one less job for Rob to do.
So as you can see we are getting there.
Sunday 25 June 2017
Hello friends and followers.
We are still moored up in Stockton Marina awaiting our new generator installation, which should happen this coming week. The people here at Kate Boats have been absolutely wonderful to us. Rob our engineer is so calm about everything and incredibly knowledgeable, so we are in safe hands.
With is being here we have very little to do, but watch films, catch up with online stuff and walk. Yesterday was Wildfest at the Nelson’s Wharf, where they had stalls and people on hand to show you all things wild, with walks around the Stockton Cutting and Tasker's Meadow Reserves. We did not go, because we thought it maybe packed, which would mean we would see very little of the wildlife. So today (Sunday) we decided we would go for a stroll around the reserves. The reserve is mostly made up of meadow land which is great for spotting Butterflies.
The Large Skippers was absolutely stunning. It became clear, with it being nice and sunny the butterflies were bobbing about over the meadows in copious numbers. My thoughts were that I should get some good shots; but then I realised the butterflies were in frisky mood and were always on the move. it amazes me they have time to feed when on the go like they were.
I saw my first Marbled White and beautiful it was too.
Tortoiseshell Butterfly in all its glorious colour.
The meadows have a diverse flora and looked stunning today in the sunshine, although the breeze was getting up, which meant taking photographs was a challenge. The meadows are deliberately managed to maintain the wonderful carpet of flowers and grasses.
Grasshoppers where hopping all over the place. They were a joy to watch, as they leapt from grass to grass.
There were plenty of Orchids on show. I was spoilt for choice as to what one to photograph.
Bees were busy doing what they do best and that is to collect the pollen. I had less problems photographing them. The Marbled Whites Butterflies proved much more difficult to photograph, even though there were plenty of them around me. Getting close enough was was issue, so if the weather is good I may go back tomorrow with a longer lens. As I walked the paths of the meadow I would turn around to look back only to see them dancing in my wake, as if laughing at me for not getting the shot.
We both enjoyed our walk across the meadows. It is such a peaceful place and a lovely way to while away a couple of hours. On returning to the boat, the drizzle began to fall, so it seemed we timed our walk perfectly. After a change of clothes we headed to The Boat Inn, Birdinbury Wharf, for a Sunday roast and oh my goodness we really enjoyed our lunch and a pint. It has to have been one of the best roast we have ever eaten out. If you are ever this way do stop and have a meal in the pub. The staff and service was excellent. Neither of us could fit in a pudding, because the lunch was fabulous. Back on the boat, I vegged out for the rest of the afternoon, whilst catching-up on e-mails and Facebook.
Friday 23 June 2017
Yes we have been in a network blackspot again. We spent a sublime weekend in Braunston. Having arrived their Friday as you would have read from my previous posting and we having found a partly shaded spot, once the sun had gone over the yard arm, we were all settled in. The towpath was surprisingly not too busy, so we able to get our chairs out. Friday we went over the Midland Chandlers and bought paint and a few items which were on the required list. We walked up into the village to the shop to get some more salad items, because I knew we would run short in the heat.
Saturday we took a walk up into the village and popped into the Community Café for a cuppa and to catch-up with Jenni, who volunteers there. We sat down at a table and were served a large teapot of tea between us, which was very refreshing in the heat. We enjoyed the tea so much we even had a top-up. Jenni arrived at 10.45 am and we immediately caught up on a few news items. It was so lovely to see her, as it had been sometime. I have been friends with Jenni on Facebook for a long time and whenever we are in Braunston we try and say “Hello”. If you are in Braunston the café is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 am, it is well worth a visit. All the money they take goes to good causes in the village and is run by volunteers, so a worthwhile giving them your support. Whilst we were their Keith popped into the butchers to buy one of their amazing large pork pies, it cost him £4.99, and did 7 meals so well worth it and it was jam packed with meat. After we had drunk our tea and sad “Cheerio” to Jenni, I also went to the butchers and got a couple of large Sausage rolls, which were equally as good. It is the best butcher in the area. On our way back to the boat I suggested we go to the pub for lunch, so having stowed away our butchers goodies we headed round to The Boat House for a curry lunch and a pint of Pedigree, which went down rather to well on such a hot day. Being in Braunston and moored at the turn is always good for a laugh as boats do ballet with each other and others just plain and simple get in the way. With the Historic Boat Rally coming up, boats were starting to arrive for the weekend.
Chertsey came past. We had not seen Sarah for some considerable time, so it was to say “Hello” again.
Tench also came past, they are at the event to do their Idle Women production. Alex and Brian had boated all night to get to Braunston, so they were both exhausted.
The steam boat Hastie also came past us, I do so love that boat. The rest of our day was spent sitting outside under the tree for a bit of shade, I got on with finishing another blanket and nattered to passing walkers. These days it is rare to sit out on the towpath, because you either get molested by other peoples dogs or run down by cyclists, which spoils the enjoyment we take for granted on our pontoon at home. A good few years ago you could sit out on the towpath and not worry about others coming past, but these days with speeding cyclists it makes sitting out more uncomfortable. This is of course just my opinion.
Sunday was a day of doing nothing much because it was so warm. I nipped up to the shop to buy some Pickle, because we had none on the boat and it goes perfectly with Keith’s pork pie. I also got him some sweets for Fathers and Grandfathers Day. I got on with more crocheting and he just did his crosswords. During the afternoon he was asked about his rag rugs and the gentleman said he would come back on Monday morning to buy one, as he needed to make sure it would fit the back cabin.
Monday morning arrived and so did the gentleman to buy a rag rug. We hope he will be very happy with it. It was moving day, as we do not like to out stay our welcome and with the Historic boats arriving, we wanted to vacate out spot.
We set off down to the marina and winded before heading back to the turn and on our way.
There were a few boats on the move, many of them being met by us in bridge ‘oles. We always wave people through, because it seems it is easier for us to hold station than them. But clearly some people do not understand you waving them on, so they waved at us to do the same thing. We held station till eventually they got the message and came on.
Our mooring for the night was at Napton junction, where we found a nice shady spot. Both Paddy and Marmite enjoyed being out on a nice quiet towpath, where only a couple of people came past on foot. The passing boats were in larger numbers and once again some of them do not know what tick over is. We were sat out until gone 9 pm because it was so much cooler outside than inside the boat.
Tuesday we turned at Napton Junction and headed back to Stockton marina, where we reversed into the basin and settled in ready for our old Generator to be taken out. The marina is only a small one, but is well turned out and has everything to hand. There was a nice meadow area to walk Paddy and once everyone had gone home for the day we let Marmite out on her lead and Paddy out to enjoy the evening breeze. Both of them have been finding the heat a bit much. Paddy is still not eating properly and we think it is due to the heat. It was gone way past 9.30 pm before we started packing things away and getting back on to the boat.
Today was the day we had been looking forward too. Rob and Nick came and sorted out all they required to do the job and whilst Rob got on with preparing the old generator to be taken out Nick got the teleporter ready.
Now we all thought it was going to be a tough job, but it shows when you have the correct tools anything is easy.
We did have to take the calofier out, but that made it easier to slide the generator along and then lift it out through the engine room doors.
Easy peasy when you know how and have the right tools. I then had the job of cleaning up 10 years worth of oil and grime and of course Paddy’s hair. After tidying up we had to move the boat out of the marina and onto one of their side moorings, so they could move their new hireboat into our place to put in the paving slabs which they were using as ballast. We were more than happy to move and wait to come back in, but a boat then arrived who wanted to wind, in what is NOT a designated winding hole. I sat giggling as I could hear his wife giving the man steering a right earful of how if he could not wind, she was going to be late for work and how he should have winded miles back as she said blah de blah de blah. So he reversed back. At this point were told we could go back to our spot in the marina, as they had finished doing the hire boat, which was now back in the paint shed. Obviously this guy on the boat which could not wind, thought oh great I will give it another go, but he could not wait for us to move and almost walloped us, even though one of the Kate Boat guys asked him to wait. Because of his impatience Keith shouted at him “Please Wait, can’t you see we are moving” the guy still kept coming, which made Keith shout even more that the guy should open his eyes. Anyway eventually he winded and was on his way. I can only imagine the ear bashing his wife gave him. Rob came over before the end of the day to do some measuring, because we would need some welding done, as the generator needed to be fixed down and the brackets for the old generator would probably not line up with the new one. After another very hot day, Keith, Paddy, Marmite and I spent the evening sitting outside. I opened the boat right up to allow a breeze to clear the stale hot air inside. It was clear that sleeping was going to be difficult, because it was definitely the hottest evening we had endured. In between crocheting I had been reading. I began with ‘A little bit marvellous’ written by Dawn French. Oh how I giggled reading that book. It was such a laugh and even I could see some similarities with my own life as a teen and a parent. It is a well written book and worth a read. I then went on to ‘Necessary Lies’ written by Diane Chamberlain. This had me gripped from the beginning. It tells of a woman who becomes a Social Worker and how she helps a family who are poor and because of issues they are made part of the Eugenics program in the 1960’s. I will tell you no more, you have to read it and I dare you not to be gripped. It was an excellent read and so well written, as I said it had me gripped from the world go.
I slept surprising well, considering how hot it was. Both of us slept on top of the bed clothes for most of the night. I only covered up after I woke at about 5 am. 6.30 am I got up and made us both a brew. We were getting our water from a tap by the boat, because of no calorifier, we had no pumped water, which was no big deal. I find of liked it. Yeah I know I am strange. I prefer the easy way of life. After all they used to get their water in their cans, there was no plumbing on board. All water had to carried in water cans and that would last the day, before refilling at water taps along the way. Up at 7.30 am and off walking Paddy in the cool morning air. The morning was overcast and we had a sprinkling of rain early doors. It was a blessing to have a cool breeze for a nice change. Apparently the temperature was going to be cooler all day, which I know for those suffering with asthma and hayfever will be so pleased to have a breather. Having fed everyone on board, I filled up the water bottles and we sat in ready for the wait for our new generator. We had no idea what time it was due to arrive. But as we had paid a £100 delivery charge, we had hoped it would be early, so Rob could get a head start with it.
Early it was 9.15 am to be precise. It came in a wooden crate. Rob unscrewed the box to reveal our new generator and wow it was compact and definitely smaller than our old one.
Rob was all for getting started, but he then got a call-out to a hire boat in Birmingham and from the phone call it sounded serious. Rob apologised that he would not be starting today, which was absolutely fine, we know he has call-outs to do for the hire boats. After lunch we had to move the boat again to in front of their paint shed, because Friday and Saturday is turn around for their hire fleet and we would be in the way of the services. So we pulled Hadar back out of the way. Rob came back later in the afternoon, having been sent on a job which was not as serious as was thought and in fact a wasted journey, because it was just a road cone wrapped around the propeller and even though those on the boat had said there was nothing on the propeller, they had clearly not checked, so it was a wasted day for Rob. We do not have any water still, so we used the marina’s shower, which I could not get any hot water from, so I ended up having a cold shower, which was somewhat refreshing. When Keith went to have his he found a pull cord which turns the electric to the shower on. Note to self. Look around more carefully next time of which there is sure to be. As for cooking and kettles etc I am getting water from the tap near the boat, so we are absolutely fine. We are now on the electric as well, so we can watch DVD’
Friday 16 June 2017
Friday 9 June 2017
Hi Friends and Followers.
As promised here is my latest creation. It is another baby blanket. They do sell well and I need a stock for our Heritage Weekend this coming September.
This one as you can see is Blue and White. I am already on my next one which is going to be pale Green and White.
Hello Friends and Followers.
A better start weather wise to the day, with the sun popping in and out between heavy showers. Yesterday evening whilst locking up the site, I got drowned by a prolonged heavy shower, which caught me out as I walked between the gates. By the time Paddy and I got back to the boat, we were both sopping wet. Paddy stood in the saloon looking rather depressed, because he hates getting wet. I on the other hand just stripped off and had a nice hot shower.
So do we all have the day after feeling, following the Election result. I am staying nothing more on the subject. I think the media are doing enough speculating for us all.
Today Warwick welcome the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. Today was Stage 3 - Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa and Warwick in between.
At 11.30 am the police and media bikes came through past the Arm.
Then the peloton came streaming past. British Olympic Champion Katie Archibald (Team WNT) was in the mix.
Blink and you would have missed them.
The support vehicles followed on behind, with other police bikes and an ambulance. It was brilliant to watch even though it was for a few seconds.
CHLOE HOSKING (ALE CIPOLLINI) WINS STAGE 3 as they finish sometime later in Royal Leamington-Spa.