Thursday, 25 December 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Saturday, 13 December 2008
How did we get from, "not bloody likely", to, "leaving in 40 mins"?
So, here we are, just beyond Yelvertoft having watered, walked, disposed of rubbish & re-moored: surrounded by wet things steaming & dripping from every available surface - I promise to let Graham & the boys down when the worst of them has dripped dry. The walk wasn't, actually, too bad because Lesley & I eschewed the tow path (canal winds & loops) for the direct, shingled, path straight into the village & hung a right down the road, rejoining the boats at the water point with only one flash flood to be negotiated.
Despite the continuing heavy rain, Daisy insisted on going out & caught 4 mice in less than 45 mins, at one point I spotted her pouncing whilst another she'd caught was still in her mouth (Lesley suggested I try feeding her, but that seems a bit radical). In fact, since we started travelling with Caxton, Daisy has been quite the drama queen - I think it was the first afternoon we moored up together and only just had time for Lesley to pop the champagne cork for Joe & Lesleys inaugaral cruise on Caxton (collection to Marina doesn,t really count) when Graham spotted her (Daisy, not Lesley) swimming down the far side of the boat! We hadn't even had time to put her escape fenders down, but was very gratifed to see that she scrambled out over the arnco with little difficulty. A day or two later, both boats were ready to pull pins, but we were a Daisy short of a crew. Wandered up and down calling her until I heard her distress call: she was on an old barge hull on the OTHER side of ths canal & clearly not wanting to swim back to me if there was an alternative on offer. One day, when she's old enough to understand, I'll sit her down & explain to her that she is a cat.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
After lunch, Lesley & I left G & Joe to log the wood we picked up yesterday and walked up Cracks Hill with the dogs. I had to stop & admire the view twice on the way up (pause to breathe!) whilst "leg it" Lesley got up in one! The lass clearly walks on water as she has not only blogged but uploaded pics. This is the first connection I've managed in days & no chance of photos, which is a shame as I have some nice ones. Maybe another day.
One of my greatest pleasures, and there have been many, of travelling the two boats together recently, has been the company of someone who loves to walk as much as I do & share the sheer joy of watching dogs being dogs & forming their happy pack together. Each morning, when they are re-united, Floyd bumbles up & mouths B & M's ears - they stand on their back legs & have a quick paw box & then Fletcher & Muttley are off & running. I have loads more to catch up on - besides photos - but 'puter's telling me this may fail grrrrrrrr!
Thursday, 4 December 2008
Then I broke a mug. Then I broke a bowl. Then the new cat flap to the office jammed (allows cats access to their food, but not the dogs). It's taken Big Ted a few days to learn to use it to get his food, so now we're back to square one & he's sitting in the food prep area of the galley (very hygenic!) shouting, "feed me, feed me" & boy can that cat shout! He's clearly tried to use it today when it was jammed and now, at time of writing, is refusing to have any more to do with it.
So, one way or another, the day was spent putting things right-even the dog's walk was thwarted, as the water was over the towpath & we had to give up. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Ambled down on MR to collect the wood I'd put out the day before (delighted to find it hadn't been filched) & rooted about for more whilst himself tried to ram a way through into the old Brinklow arm (smelt the beer!). He says he was winding but, what the heck, we are now pointing the right way & we have logs again. More later we have visitors!
Loving this photo- a boat came past this morning, broke the ice & left an icy "sail" embedded on a floating, vertical, twig.
Monday, 1 December 2008
Walked the dogs up, ahead of the boat, after mooring & sorted wood into position ready to put on the boat as we pass tomorrow-the next two days will be happily passed replenishing our wood supplies which will stop my withdrawal symptoms and, hopefully, start to reduce my thickening middle from 5 weeks of too easy living.
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Friday, 14 November 2008
Whilst I was back in Norfolk, Graham had been desribing the canine capers between Caxton's crew & ours. I'd only been back 30 mins yesterday when I had the chance to witness this for myself. Above is a short clip of Floyd trying to drown Fletcher (I think that's the right way round) with Muttley stood by waiting for the ball to escape (it does sometimes).
Setting out for our first walk with all of us together, I found that the adult crew were easily trained too....note how Lesley is carrying poo bags and Joe is carrying my wood!
By the time we returned to the marina the sun was setting & then Muttley went to bed & slept & slept & slept.
Monday, 10 November 2008
At this point I was going to pull up pictures of everybody crashed out round the fire, but my connection is crap again & I can't be bothered to wrestle with it. I think Graham has custody of the 'puter while I'm in Norfolk so you'll be high tech or silent for the next few days.
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
Arrived back at the Marina Thurs eve to bump straight into James from NB Spirit-Dougiehad gone to fetch their motor home & they are leaving their boat here for a bit over winter. Isn't it always the way - I recognised their dog Oscar first. We hadn't seen them since Julyish on the Oxford. Have had a few glasses & caught up a little tonight but they are off tomorrow. Whilst chatting to James & trying to catch up yesterday eve & unloading car & unloading cats,poor Ted hit the nearest warm boat (which was Pete's, up a bit) & got himself stuck on the waterside gunnel. Bless you Pete for coming to find me even after he panicked & scratched you - so nice to be back in a world that understands us, but I think Muttley needs retraining at a correctional institution- I was seriously mortified!
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Saturday, 1 November 2008
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Today we came up the Stockton flight with some great guys, Dave & Carol on Bronnington, waved farewell at the top of the flight &, about 40 minutes later hit the last 3 locks with the wind howling across the Marina-some poor chap broken down on the lock moorings (right where everyone coming round the bend bashed into him) doing everything he could to help both Barry & Bonnie on Audierne & us get into the lock - neither of us could have managed it without his help. The weather went from fine to scary in moments. Moored at the first opportunity!
I have a feeling I still won't have enough signal to load photos - but at least we have a connection tonight.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
Last few days since leaving the Hatton flight have been quiet but interesting, We had a night out on Friday in the Cape of Good Hope pub (locally known as the Cape of good Dope!) in Warwick, had a good meal and were in a prime position to sit and listen to a band who played 60s and 70s music, they were good, PJK Pees I think they were called, worth seeing if your in the area. However we did leave at the 1st interval (about an hours playing) as we didn't want to have to cross the lock in darkness and a little worse for ware, rumour has it that he has lost atleast one customer this way!!!
Moved on out of Warwick and Leamington Spa to give the animals a chance to have a good run, and also a chance for Baxter to have a change of diet! See above.
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
In 23 days we operated 4 lift bridges & 144 locks, whilst travelling 72 miles - I travelled on the boat 22 miles, walking all the rest plus, of course, running up to set the next lock & running back to close gates behind MR where necessary & dog walking on non-cruising days. When I imparted this info to Graham it took him about 3 seconds to calculate that it worked out at about 2 miles a day, "oh" he added as an afterthought, "and 6 locks". Oh well, I certainly wore Muttley out. I wonder if I should try working out how many HOURS I spent walking.......
The purchase of the boots has also presented me with another dilemma. We have a rather important "boat" rule - if you bring something new onto the boat, something of a similar size has to go off. I've always enjoyed this one as it's never applied to ME before. I've now convinced him that this rule can be bent because it makes sense to keep a spare pair of boots in case I fall in - boots can't be dried out overnight in winter. However I now have a spare & an heir & even I can't justify keeping 3 pairs, so what shall I do? Do I bin a brand new pare of Gortex boots that slip & rub my ankles or do I bin my trusty friends that leak?
I also have to make a confession: as you probably gathered that wasn't a photo of my log pile (I wish). Tesco boxes and cratches don't lend themselves to such log "walling" perfection. I have now been banned from any further log collections as the cratch is full and the weight on the roof is in danger of de-stabilising the boat. I saw some smashing branches whilst out with the dogs today-oh well, cold turkey it is (for a week or so anyway).
Monday, 13 October 2008
In a panic I bought a pair on the net & had them delivered to the friends that were visiting the following weekend - boots were absolutely rigid around the ankle &, worse still, had nowhere near enough grip: coming very close to depositing me feet first (under heavy bottom gates) into the cut whilst locking down the Lapworth in the wet.
Whilst in Stratford , the first time , I noticed that my beloved "Ecco" shoe company (sooooo....... comfy) was now doing proper walking boots-so given that we had to go back to Stratford again ........
I am now the proud owner of the most gorgeously comfy Yak hide & Gortex boots. Environmentally sustainable Yaks? Don't know, don't care, but I have very, very sustainable & happy feet.
Walked thelast 2 miles & 9 locks back onto the Grand Union in a trice!
Saturday, 11 October 2008
I'm trying to get over this wood thing, but I just had to sneak in one photo - pretty yeah?
Particularly sad our friends couldn't be here as the weather this weekend has to be some of the best we've seen all year. We came down to Wootton Wawen after finding out that they couldn't come because, on enquiring with the bank why our card was refused for a Tesco order, we discovered that it had been cloned & was being used up North -the bank had picked it up immediately and cancelled the card. Therefore had to hang around until they sent through new cards/accounts to the Stratford branch. Went in by bus to Stratford today - neither of us could remember when we were last on a bus - to collect new cards. Bit chaotic as a fair on in the town centre & we had to swap buses on the way back (not at all sure why). Anyway, all sorted, thanks to good old Nationwide so back on our travels tomorrow. Have been looking at winter travels & stoppages & think we might head down towards London on the Grand Union after sorting out the BSC at Rugby & a, slightly dramatic, problem with the central heating boiler - LOADS of wood, so no problem! Only one last job to be done in this neck of the woods - a delivery of dog food at Lowsonford.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
a) I hadn't seen her
b) No financial approach had been made to her owners
c) She hadn't been surveyed
20ish years ago we had a 22ft Norman at the top of the Thames called Contented Sole II (sadly, she blew up & sank - but that's a different story!) so we adapted her name for this blog in anticipation of our hoped for state of mind in our new lifestyle.
Talking of, "state of mind" I am beginning to suffer from a serious case of OCD with regard to wood. When I said we finished chopping and sorting wood, what I didn't say was what I(he's not to blame) had sorted it into! I now have sections for lighting (dried leaves & stalks etc); kindling (up to 1"); early stage (about 1/2" in diameter); quick burn (Leylandi etc); slow burn (dense wood like Hawthorn) and wet (to smoke out any annoying neighbours-although we haven't had any YET). Up to now, he's treated this growing obsession with mild, albeit slightly patronising, humour-but when I went to take photos of each section for the blog, I could tell by the look on his face that I've gone a bit too far. I'll have the last laugh when winter sets in big time!