Thursday 25 December 2008

Foxton is the "I Spy" of bloggers

It is also the "it girl" of the cut. Unfortuately, I have absolutely no connection whilst there so I've just popped on a few recent

photos whilst I can - I make no apology for including one of Ted at Blake Mere earlier this year on the Llangollen.

This is the most social time we've had since taking up residence on MR and I would love to mention everyone we've met and whose company we have so much enjoyed whilst lurking in this area, but the list is so long (and my ability to get names right is c**p) & you all know who you are - we'll be back soon & ready to play in good time for New Year .

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Big Ted has left us with a very empty space

My big old , lovely, beautiful, Ted went out last Friday & came back when I called after 10 mins in a bad way-his back end was paralysed & it wasn't going to get any better and he was in pain. We did what we had to do.

He was nearly 19 & knowing he'd had a good innings doesn't actually make it any better, because he's been in our lives longer &, therefore, played a longer part in our lives and is missed even more.

We've had nearly 19 years of gorgeous affection & cuddles - thank you Ted.

Tuesday 16 December 2008

Defeated by gloop!

Having moored up just before the Welford arm on Sunday, we walked down the arm into the village shop-absolutely magic carving of Postman Pat & his black & white cat (I'll show you one day if I ever get a signal!). On the return journey, Lesley pointed out that we needed to get a wriggle on if we were to get back to the boats before dark (no torches & pretty poor tow path). At which point "leg it" Lesley hit her turbo charge button & Jo & I never saw her again until we got home. Graham (who'd stayed behind to make dinner) reckoned Fletcher arrived first, followed by Lesley 5mins later and Jo & I and the remainder of the dogs 45 mins later (I NEVER exaggerate!).

The following day we did a round walk through the village taking in the two reservoirs that feed the Leicester line of the GU & had time for a pint & a bite in the pub at the end of the arm & found fellow bloggers in their spanking new NB Derwent 6 moored in front of us. Today we set off for the top of Foxton locks with Lesley & I walking the dogs as usual; the tow path got narrower & gloopier & then took on a 45 degree slant - not my idea of fun, so I left Lesley & the labs to it & did something really radical - hitched a ride on Matilda Rose!

Had lunch on Caxton after mooring up - a kingfisher sat outside for 5-10 mins - I might get that photo up one day too.

Saturday 13 December 2008

Conned again!

Having listened to the wind & rain most of the night, I suggested G text NB Caxton to see if they were changing plans & staying put (what I actually said was something along the lines of, "if those daft buggers are moving in this lot, they can go by themselves"). Having been informed (by my social secretary) that, "not bloody likely" were they moving I turned over for another 30mins & then sorted out a couple of very important items such as the start times of both lots of Strictly & would it clash with either lot of X Factor - no it wouln't. Leisurely cooked poached eggs on toast for breakfast & we had the makings of a VERY nice day, despite the weather. Nicely chilled, I started peeling a ton of veg for a big heartwarming pot of soup (for chilly cruisers on the morrow), when I became aware of further comms between boats, "....forecast not clearing...we need water.....dogs need walking.....leaving in 40 mins"
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

Xmas past (or passing)

It's strange that, when you're living on the cut, how "mainstream life" passes you by. I was heard to say today, when we & NB Caxton's crew were walking in to Crick, that the day was probably Thursday the 11th or 12th November! We did our usual on a non-cruising day; went for a walk, plastered ourselves & the dogs in mud, walked to the village & stocked up on fresh veg and popped into the local for a pint. Absolutely could not think, for a mo, why a village pub would be heaving on a Thursday lunchtime. Sat in mud splattered dogs, boots & trousers whilst everyone else was turning up in their finery for their office Xmas lunch.
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

One of those days

Very little sleep last night due to the noise from the rain. G put the (cross) bed up this morning & everything was as normal; I wandered through a few minutes later & squelched round to the far side of the bed!!!! Turned off the water and pulled everything out, assuming it was the calorifier: nothing. Cautiously turned the water back on, followed by the boiler, water heaters, ran taps, showers: nothing. No sound of pump running, no increase in the amount of water, all pipes dry. Cut a new inspection hatch(!) in the floor: nothing, bone dry (although I did find it somewhat diconcerting to watch him drilling holes in the floor of the boat). How can that much water find it's way in ,that quickly, without leaving any trace of it's source? It has to be something that filled up & tilted or something that "burst", under pressure maybe, but no trace. The worry is that it might do it again, but not stop this time and we might be out.

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

Wind in twig's sail

G's final gesture before leaving the Marina was to wash the mud off his boots, leaving them nicely clean but also cold & wet on the outside; however, we're a bit out of practice at living out on the cut again and, having let Baxter out for a 7.00am pee, he left the cratch cover undone & dangling inside the boat - cratch covers make a fantastic funnel for filling boots with rain & snow! He doesn't have a spare pair!.

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.
Back to this a.m. and visitors, 2 big labs my 2 Tibetans & 2 cats & a boat in chaos - will someone tell me how Greygal does it on a permanent basis, let alone how the mad woman is contemplating a 6th!!!!! Had a brill day today, my man set off with new GPS in search of geo cache & Joe, me & dogs in Pursuit. Got hopelessly lost, then found it, then found pub, then found by Lesley returning from Essex!! Nice relief after sorting out young lass who turned her car over in the ice on the back lane last night.

Monday 1 December 2008

Dirty Dash

Finished off most (but not all) of our "things to be done before we go" yesterday. Himself is still suffering with a spot of man flu & didn't feel up to moving on in the claggy cold. Woke this morning to glorious sunshine at last, walked the dogs & Daisy for an hour and then something snapped-returned to the boat & suggested we leave...NOW. Paused long enough to settle our electric bill, buy some coal & pump out. We haven't gone far & we're pointing the wrong way(!), but we're out. I don't like what we become when we stay in the Marina, we start watching TV indiscriminately, using the car instead of walking and, generally, taking everything for granted. So tonight we moored up to find we have no TV signal & thought we'd have to talk to each other, but Caxton's crew rang to say they were 150 yds away & did we fancy going to the pub-lucky escape: we can start clean living tomorrow (or maybe the day after).
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.