Thursday, 10 April 2014

Whilst some of us are getting stressed

Others aren't much bothered. Whilst G was still at his Mum's this morning and I was flapping about the boat like a headless chicken unable to decide which job to do that would cause the least disruption to our lives; certain members of the MR crew couldn't give a damn after yesterdays energetic walks and hunting
 I must add that I took these photos around 12.00 today - lazy tykes
Daisy eventually stood up when a boat charged passed us
it was a bit of an effort
and on this note I give up for the night as it's taking 5 minutes a photo to load.

PS Kevin and Debbie on WB Avalon are coming out in the morning  - they are slurping wine out of mugs as we speak. Everything else is packed they say.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Our last few days in England

I tried to throw that in casually; but it's pretty close now and, I have to admit, neither of us are sleeping that well. I was up at 7.00 this morning after pontificating about life in general for at least 2 hours. G was reading/on the 'net until gone 3. We seem to be sleeping in shifts.

We moved a mile or so down the canal yesterday to Kings Langley - the overnight rain continued pretty much all day; so full wets and a walk into the dog friendly Saracens Head for a pint to celebrate his 60th; no pensioners deals on the menu but it (the menu) did look good and was very reasonably priced. A nice atmosphere in there and quite busy for a Monday afternoon. We returned to the boat to dry out and eat the greasy slops I'd prepared earlier - with G away at his Mum's for the next 2 days I want to eat up all the odds and ends before I re-stock with fresh veg on Saturday. I can also thoroughly recommend the very reasonably priced butcher - we ate some of his rump steak tonight (we needed to use up the mushrooms and tomatoes); excellent.

You can just see MR's nose peeking around the corner
A beautiful day today although it was quite nippy in the sunshine
and a bit of a scary encounter en route
after two nights and one day of solid rain, the rivers Bulbourne and Gade were swelling the GU.
and we had to wait awhile whilst C & RT did some gate repairs
never saw a single boat on the move today until after we moored up - amazing considering it's the Easter holidays
oops .. camera on the wrong setting but I rather like it

Now is that a bridge, a cratch cover, or just someone failing to apply their breaks in time? Despite it looking pointy it is the stern

happy man in the sunshine

The pictures above and below remind me of my beloved River Nene

More monsters, potentially, lurking

Moored at Cassiobury Park. Happy Daisy me and the boys - we love it here
We have masses to do but, frustratingly, we can't do any of it until the last day - anyone who's ever lived on a narra will tell you that the minute you start trying to move things about your home becomes uninhabitable. We have glasses to wrap; everything to come off of the shelves; cupboards to tape up; all the contents of the roof to come inside; cratch cover and pram hood to come off and the contents of the well deck to come inside. If we do that now we'll have nowhere to live.

We had a 'phone call from our transporter yesterday to make sure we were still going - evidently quite a few people cry off in the last few days - not us brave little soldiers. Well, not yet.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Rip offs, wet paint and pussy cat face-offs

How much money do you reckon you could make in a shop/garage on a 12 hour shift if you rounded every customer's cash change down to the nearest 10p?

Before we left Hemel on Saturday I wandered across the field to get some bits from the Spar at the Jet garage. When I'd been in earlier in the week I realised that I didn't get my penny change. When I went in on Saturday I didn't get my eight pennies change - I was given £15.30; not the £15.38 owed. When I held my hand out and said, "change?" he threw me a look, opened the till, handed me 8p and slammed the till shut. This was clearly deliberate behaviour and not a mistake. Charming.

Only 6 locks to do on the Saturday; although 5 were against us, all the paddles and gates were in the right places and appeared to be better maintained.
After we cleared the second lock by the cricket club I jumped on the boat and grabbed the finished washing out of the machine and put another load on before leaping off again to set the next lock. Only then did I realise that my hands and boots had wet, bright blue paint all over them - now transferred to the boat deck, dog, carpet and both loads of washing ............grrrrrrrrrrrr. Thank goodness it was a water-based paint, but I still couldn't get it off of everything. G had spotted that the end of the lock arm (facing the cricket club) was bright blue - but not, of course, that the paint was wet. There was no warning sign. Any ideas as to why someone would paint the end of the arm bright blue instead of leaving it white?
I took this photo to show this boat reversing into the lock with another boat! Doh ... you've no idea which way it's moving - I worry about me sometimes!

We moored below Red Lion lock to meet G's cousin Steve in the afore-mentioned hostelry. What can I say? They did let the dogs in. The staff were friendly. Oh, and there was loads of space.

When I called Daisy in she, most unusually, didn't come. So I wandered out to see what she was up to.

To the left of MR in the field was puddy cat Mal of the canal who lived on the boat moored in front of us - heart wrenchingly reminding us of our cat Big Ted who moved onto MR and had to be put down at Foxton Locks at the grand age of 19.
10 yards away to the right of MR was Daisy. Neither were going to move for fear of attack from the other. They were both so 'casually' ignoring each other. In the end I scooped Daisy up and we went home - there are only so many hours you can spend pandering to puddy cat mentality. 
Onwards then, down the towpath to Kings Langley - rather nice
an awful lot of water pouring over the sluices off of the GU
G's 60th birthday today - we shall both be available for a pensioners lunch at the next pub we go to; or have they been put back 6 years along with our state pensions and bus passes?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Low roads and high roads

With G away on Wednesday and Thursday the days were pretty much my own. No-one else to worry about or cook for and the weather was lovely so I took off with the boys down the valley of the R. Bulbourne
My dogs are turning into right old water boys
 Trouble is, they still expect to sit on our laps whilst soaking wet and can't understand why we won't let them
 Wednesday we followed the River into Apsley and beyond

 Believe it or not that rather grand looking 'county house' is a MacDonald!
 so much wood to be had

this Heron has taken up residence opposite the boat
Thursday we made for the high ground up to Roughdown and Feldon commons
 the woodlands here showing less signs of storm damage

 with great views across the valley to Hemel
Looking out over Hemel the other side of the valley
Arrived home in time to meet G's Mum and Sister in The Fisheries for a drink on their way back up to Grantham - a very long day for them and I don't think Baxter will be going far for a day or two either.

Friday, 4 April 2014

A hard day

4 1/2 miles and 11 locks took us from Berkhamsted on Monday to Hemel Hempstead - well Boxmoor to be more accurate

Our moorings from the bridge at Berkhamsted
 I love this Gothic house with it's 3 door boathouse attached
 Those 11 locks were seriously hard work; big heavy doubles all against us due to a requirement to leave a bottom paddle up on the majority - made worse by some louts that went down before us who left both paddles up and both gates open on all of them. It would, of course, have made going up the flight easy but we've never been up this section - just down twice
 This little semi-detached lock keepers cottage is up for sale - a cinch at offers over £700,000

 The Three Horseshoes by Winkwell swing bridge. Quite a lot of people sat outside enjoying the sunshine but everytime the bridge is operated it makes that awful bleeping warning noise - it would have driven me insane.
The Fisheries Inn is under even more scaffolding than last time we were through this way - I must have whacked it harder than I thought when  I 'lost' MR in the wind on my handling test!

The boys enjoyed a well earned paddle in the River Bulbourne
 A massive amount of wood available just when we can't use it - everything has to come off the roof and be stowed inside the boat. The recent strong winds really tore through this patch up-rooting multiples of trees - five on their side here; felled in one go.
 Then the dogs collapsed whilst we hoovered and cleaned round them - G's cousin Steve coming to supper on Tuesday and doing a shuffle to help recover our car which had been left at his house - when you're in such close proximity with local London commuter stations, finding somewhere to leave the car isn't easy. 
Our plans for dog sitters didn't work out, so I stayed at the boat whilst G and his daughter attended Brian's funeral near Brize Norton on Wednesday and John's in Bournemouth, with his mum and a sister, on Thursday. Not the best of weeks.

A bit of a chill-out day today to get our heads back, sort out some paperwork and move the car on a bit to a place I'd found yesterday before walking back with the dogs and stopping for an excellent lunch at the dog friendly Steam Coach across the park from Bridge 150. Moving on in the morning.