Tuesday 14 February 2012

Slowly de-frosting in a 5 mile stretch of water

Feeling like a pair of frozen turkeys we are slowly thawing; the works on the Stoke Bruerne locks are pretty much on schedule to re-open on 24th February. It seems strange to see all of these deliberately empty pounds (as against leaks and vandalism). Until they re-open we have a 5 mile run down to Cosgrove to play in. I'm off to Mum's again on Thursday so, hopefully, we'll be able to break out by the time I return.

Of course, all these repairs have necessitated temporary mooring restrictions

Monday 13 February 2012

Dissension on MR or mutiny on the Grand Union?

We've been going through the C & RT candidates' manifests. One licence one vote, so G and I had to agree on who we were going to vote for (if any) besides Andrew Tidy. One candidate said he wanted to support the share boat owners and that there were 3,000 odd - now, how many boat licences is that? Let's guess at 10 shares per boat, say, and most are likely to be couples - that makes 20 people to agree; it's worse than a jury!!! Can you imagine what would happen if the government said one building on the electoral role = one vote. Two adults and two teenagers of voting age having to agree, collectively, on their vote/s. Or what about a 3 or 4 storey building divided into 20 bedsits for couples and singles. Then there are halls of residence full of hundreds of university students. It's not been very well thought through this, has it?

Last Tuesday we went to The Old Crown at Ashton for our, belated, celebratory meal at the start of our 5th year afloat. Despite a bit of a 'fine dining' thing going on the prices were very reasonable and  dogs are not just allowed in, but allowed in the restaurant area.

No snow in pic below as I took it the week before when they were closed.
If you are just looking for a nice walk with your dogs and a spot of lunch they do a good range of sandwiches with either chips or salad fro £5 to £6.
This was my starter - chicken livers and mushrooms with fried bread and a brandy and cream sauce - yummy comfort food.
G had the king scallops wrapped in bacon with a butternut cream and spinach puree.

For mains I had a hot spicy king prawn salad whilst G stuck to an excellent steak (he doesn't get a lot of meat at home - especially red). I shan't mention the puddings, but the sticky toffee had a lot of sugar work going on and the custard was not Birdseye.

Sunday 12 February 2012

C & RT Elections.

Our favoured candidate is Andrew Tidy aka "Captain Ahab"

TIDY, Andrew J

Sponsored by:
James R Davies
Nicholas M Whear
Ian P Bingham
Christopher Dinsdale
Brian Holt
Adam J Porter
David Moore
Graham Budd
David Baynham
Lesley S Kimantas

Author of “Captain Ahab’s Watery Tales”.

My passion for boating dates from the “dirty ditches” of the 1960’s to the magnificent system of
today. I have travelled widely on our narrowboat Wand’ring Bark, and it has been said that canal
water flows through my veins.
Professionally, I oversee operational integrity within a multinational business, shaping policy, strategy
and applying a commercial approach to planning.
If elected I will approach this Council role as an enthusiast and a professional, combining 30 years
of commercial experience with a 40-year passion for our waterways. It’s crucial that the CRT strikes
the right balance between the needs of the various user groups, particularly the boaters who must
remain core to its operation. I will take a critical view of commercial and strategic aspects of the
Trust’s proposals and plans. I would be honoured to represent the boating community.

Please take the time out to vote; these elections are paramount to the success of the C and RT and we need to have the right caliber  of people representing us and our community.

A vote for Andrew will bring true dedication to a role that needs professional passion and passionate professionalism.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Spitting feathers

My best mate in Norfolk, who acts as our postal drop, rang me today and read out a letter for me that says I shall be receiving my State Pension on 6th September, 2019. That puts me at 65 1/2 years old. I did as the government asked and planned for my retirement, squirreling away money into a private pension fund and banking on receiving my State Pension at the age of 60. By the time I reached the age of 52 the goalposts had been moved to 62.
I reckoned we could cover those two years and continued with the planned early retirement at the age of 53.
Then the wank bankers managed to make a right mess of my private pension and now my state pension has been moved back another 3 1/2 years.
I have paid a full stamp for 37 years (I believe the requirement  for full State Pension is 30 years) and if I decide that I have to go back to work to cover these vast gaps in my income I assume I shall be entitled to job seekers' allowance - oh no, not entitled unless you have paid full stamp for the last  two years. If I had come here from overseas with a work permit and found myself out of work after 2 years I would be allowed job seekers allowance: I, however, am not!
So, does anyone have any ideas on how I'm meant to cover these gaps in my income?
We'll be OK, but many in my shoes won't be.

Sunday 5 February 2012

That's taken the decision out of our hands then

This flight of locks at Stoke Bruerne closes tomorrow for 18 days - so that's us stuck between the bottom of this flight and the works at Cosgrove aqueduct. Oh well, we can get a lot more jobs done and it's a nice enough place to be for Daisy, good walking for the dogs and a good pub for Graham!
Today's world was reduced to monochrome
 Looking totally desolate without even a glimpse of the sun
 This painting under the bridge was the only drop of colour
I knew Baxter needed a bath, but I hadn't realised just how filthy he was until the snow came - this dog is meant to be white!
'Not much of a snowman.....but it's the only one I've got'

Friday 3 February 2012

Checking out the crayfish pot

We decided we'd have a go at being good citizens and see if we could help divest the canal of the Signal Crayfish which are destroying our native breed/s; so we baited our pot and slung it overboard.
 Pulled it up yesterday morning with much anticipation and..nothing...zilch. Oh well, always tomorrow.

Later we walked the dogs and a sudden gust of wind blew us through the door of The Boat Inn. Those of you familiar with this particular hostelry will know how tiny the first room is and there were 3 more dogs than those pictured.
All the dogs let the pup hog the fire
All the dogs were fed with the dog treats on sale in aid of greyhound re-homing/rescue
and despite one of the bitches being on heat, got on famously
Until two walkers came in, the canines out numbered the humans

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Reach for your sunglasses-not due to the sun......

..........but for fear that you should be dazzled by the brilliance of my halo and the sparkle from my oven.
Whilst searching amongst the 'stuff' in the cupboard under the sink the other day, I came across a present from Lesley (NB Caxton/Yarwood) - A box of "Oven Pride". She gave it to me a year or 3 ago.

Next Saturday sees the start of our 5th year on Matilda Rose and I thought I'd give her a treat so, stand back in amazement - I didn't know we had glass in the door!

Following my triumph with the oven, we broke some ice to service the boat and then reversed back up again, just in case we're going to get stuck for awhile. That done we made good use of the car we had today and drove into Northampton to do some shopping and then visited the littleys (the pre-school grandchildren).
 Andre - now walking so fast he blurred the photo
 Mylie upstaging grandad
Tylan - the newest addition
A very nice day and no-one threw up on me so that was a bonus