Tuesday, 27 December 2011

It’s All Over Bar the Shouting ……

Don’t know what it means but it’s the sort of thing my mum would now be saying.  Perhaps it’s all about the large amounts of money we have been tempted and succumbed  to spend – all over bar the paying for things that have been put on credit card!!

We have had a completely different Christmas from any we have had before.  Despite my reservations about not being in Staines, it’s been really nice Ben coming here to us for a change.  He seemed happy enough being back on a narrowboat, was very observant and complimentary about anything we have done on board “Ellen” and definitely appreciated being catered for and waited on!!  Probably like everybody else, we’ve eaten too much and drunken FAR too much.  Do hope that everyone else out there has also had a nice Christmas.

Christmas 009 (600x800)

A new ruler for the tool box!!

                                              Christmas 007 (800x600)Do I smoke it, eat it or ……. HIDE it!!


Maisie has enjoyed having someone else to sleep with (! – she gets right down under the covers given half a chance) and play with – fighting with poor old Mr Lion.  We gave her a large bone/biscuit thing for Christmas and she didn’t know what to do with it!  She just wanted to hide it and then guard it!!  Maggie on the other hand got well stuck in!!

On Boxing Day we thought it was a good idea to take Ben to Foxton to show him the locks and the incline plane.   THE PLACE WAS HEAVING!  Car parks both top and bottom were virtually full, both pubs, both cafes and the shop were all chock-a-block.  Investment in the development of this area as a tourist attraction is certainly paying off.  We were staggered at just how busy it was.  A quiet stroll around Foxton it was not!  I’m still hoping to get out on the boat and go there whilst the canals are not frozen – from Crick to Foxton is one of my favourite stretches.       Christmas 013 (800x600)                                

 Looking over the Inclined Plane at Foxton Locks.

                                     I like the way this sign has been made to look like a lock beam.Christmas 014 (600x800)

Ben left this afternoon (borrowed my brother’s car rather than come up on his motor bike).  Bye Ben – maybe he’ll come again next year.


      Christmas 020 (800x600)

Friday, 23 December 2011

A Moment of Extravagant Madness!

Today it has rained …… and rained …………….. and rained ………….. and rained!!

The reservoirs need it really badly so no grumbles.  It’s a necessary delivery of what we float on!

But what to do on a day like today?  Go to the posh kitchen shop in The Heart of the Shires complex and buy a lovely new set of saucepans of course!!  I had NO idea how many different types of saucepan there are!  But, yes, a moment of extravagant madness took place.  I blame Nigella and all that scrummy Christmas cooking she has been broadcasting on the tele this week.

BUT ….. if you had seen the old ones ……………… !!!  UGH! 

It’s really quite dangerous having access to a car!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A Year ago Today

…………… I lost my mum and …………….. I’m still so very, very sad.  I’m still on the side of that invisible assault wall where you feel  agonising sorrow for what you  have lost.  On the other side of the wall I’m told you feel intense joy at what you had but ……. how to get over???!!!

Anyway, special memories today of my mum ……………

                                St-Davids-Day-daffodils-007                 dragon


Saturday, 17 December 2011

We Salute Them!

We awoke this morning to find a thin layer of ice all over the surface of the water – for the first time this winter, we are frozen in!

In this month’s “Canal Boat” magazine there are pictures of boats trapped in the ice out on the cut last year.  This time last year the cut had already been frozen over for at least a month.  The ice was really thick and boaters were trapped for weeks on end.  The article in the magazine states that:-

“during severe weather liveaboard boating is not for the faint-hearted and that whilst resourceful boaters take wintry conditions in their stride, others should consider more conventional accommodation”!

Well, we are amongst those ‘others’ – yes, we are faint-hearted and less resourceful and our chosen winter ‘accommodation’ is in the marina with all it’s comfortable facilities close at hand.  We know/know of more than a few hardy boaters who choose to stay out on the cut even in the most bitter weather and embrace the challenge. We salute them.  Thumbs up    When groups of boaters are frozen in close to each other they have the opportunity of getting to know each other well and, on reading their blogs, it is clear to see that there is lots of camaraderie.              I envy them that.   Green with envy

I’ve had a letter published!  (I rather suspect though that anyone who bothers to write in about something does!)                                          In November’s issue there was a letter which, to my mind, was a blatant attack against continual cruisers – those who have no home mooring.  I suspect that it was really attacking boaters who abuse the mooring rules but that’s not how it came across.  I don’t consider us to be continual cruisers because we pay to moor up and stay put over the winter but, in defence of those who don’t, I sent in a (somewhat sarcastic!) response.   Sarcastic smile

We seem to be back on track.  The ‘incident’ (we had a prang in Meg’s car!!  NOT OUR FAULT!) has been sorted, the dentist has given us the all-clear this time round and anything that needed to be delivered to Staines in readiness for Christmas …………….. has been.  For the first time in my life I will be spending Christmas Day away from Staines.  Ben is coming up here instead.  On the plus side there won’t be associated sad memories but on the downside, I won’t be able to catch up with lots of old friends.  Crying face

Can anyone help?   Computer  Our computer skills are elementary at best and we keep getting the blue screen!  The computer freezes and says that it’s crashed.  Baring teeth smile  Can anyone explain to us why this is happening and what we need to do to resolve it.                                               We would be grateful for any advice.

Crochet Cotton  I have sourced a little ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ in Rugby so, at last, it’s all systems go again.  I need to do about 27 feet of cabin lace altogether.  At the speed I go this is going to be a long-term project and a test of discipline and perseverance.  John says it will keep me out of trouble!!  Stupid comment!!  Annoyed

Megan  Today Megan is leaving Florianopolis and travelling 12 hours on a coach/bus to get to a place called Paraty where she will be spending Christmas.  She is then going to Rio for the New Year.      Island with a palm tree              

                                                I MUST NOT WORRY   I MUST NOT WORRY   I MUST NOT WORRY!!!!   

Friday, 9 December 2011

Welcome to the Cut

Another new boater has arrived at Crick marina.  This is 12 week old Megs – a chocolate Labrador.

Megs 004 (800x600)

Megs 009 (800x600)


I just know that she and her owner, Rob, are going to have a lovely time living together and cruising round the system on their narrowboat “Green Manalishi”.


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Everything Comes to those who wait …..

Well, I’m sure that’s not true in reality but …………… after searching for well over a year, we have finally managed to find someone who could supply us with kits to fit electric motors onto our Brompton bikes.  It would have been so easy just to go out and buy new bikes that were already motorised but …………. we like our Bromptons because they fold up really neatly and fit tidily on a shelf in the engine room.

The company (small – existing of only two guys!) is based just outside Marlborough so, needing to go back to Staines for a few days, we went via Marlborough!  It was further than we thought!  Unfortunately, the solitary guy there was way behind schedule with what he was doing so we left our bikes with him arranging to pick them back up three days later.  It’s a sad tale in one way but encouraging in another.  This nice chap used to be a really keen cyclist but, several years ago he had a devastating accident that has left him severely disabled.  He can now only walk with two sticks and finds it really difficult to use his hands.  Being determined not to give up on life and wanting to get back on a bike, he engineered a way to motorise a Brompton.  He now markets this.  Everything takes him a long, long time and his patience with himself is amazing!  I don’t know how it all came about that we ended up having them fitted for us rather than John fitting them – it just happened that way!

Anyway ……………. I now have electric wheels!  No more struggling up hills going slower than a snail with arthritis.  Now, me with a rucksack full of shopping and Maggie in the basket will exhibit oodles of va-va-voom!  I’ve even had a rack fitted on the back so I can carry extra! (John declined this accessory! He says it was the price that was prohibitive.  Rubbish!  He just wants ME to carry the beers!)

                               ALichfield 010 (800x600)    ALichfield 011 (800x600)

My mum was a keen cyclist all her life.  Back in the 20’s and 30’s she belonged to what was probably one of the first type of cycling clubs.  She told me how it took her ages to save up enough money to buy what was then akin to a racing bike. She had me riding my first two-wheeler when I was only four years old and, from then on, we cycled all around the local area together.  My bikes just got progressively bigger – always Christmas presents and always second-hand and I always loved them.

These newly acquired motors (John wasn’t going to be left out!) are from you, mum.  You kept riding your bike well into your 80’s.  Now, if you’d had one of these motors ……………….. you would have been down-right dangerous!!!

In Staines we had the soul-destroying task of completely emptying John’s mum’s bungalow. The charity shops didn’t want the larger, more dated items of furniture – display cabinet, dressing table and sideboard so …….. John had to break them up.  He made that dressing table for me 37 years ago – I couldn’t watch.

On the plus side we got to spend some time with Ben and I met my ex colleague, Lorraine, for a pub lunch – and a good old gossip!

On the minus side, we were involved in a bit of an incident on the way back to the marina – nothing serious but hassle we could do without.