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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

International Wedding plans--Wiccan and British

It is with great Joy 
we announce our 
upcoming nuptials:

Les C. Biggs
Jaqueline M. Almdale
will be handfasted
in an official 
Wiccan wedding ceremony
Saturday, June 18, 2011
10:00 am
Kamiak Butte
Pullman, WA USA
 Private luncheon 
to follow at the home 
Jim and Karen Barron
320 NW Joe Street.

An open reception 
will be held on
Saturday, July ninth, 2011
Keith and Chrisi Kincaid's farm
1251 Enman-Kincaid Rd. 

Living on a narrow boat 
means space is at a premium;
We ask guests to bring 
a pot luck dish to share 
in lieu of wedding gifts Please!
Join us for dinner, 
wedding cake, sparkling wine,
and dancing under 
the summer evening sky!

With joy and 
for having 
found each other,
Les & Jaqueline Biggs
will reaffirm 
their vows of marriage
in the presence 
family and friends,
sometime in September, 2011
at a British church
to be announced. 
Reception after
also to be announced. 
We will be
in residence at home 
aboard NB Valerie, 
somewhere on the
canals of England!

Hi everyone, 
     It's me, Jaqueline--or Jaq. Les asked me to write this blog post--typical init? The wedding plans always fall to the Bride!! ;) 
     Given that we come from two different countries with different laws regarding marriage and immigration, we have an international wedding team!
     After a thorough perusal of the U.K. Border Agency web site we determined it is less time consuming, far less expensive ($2400.00 vs. $3600.00 and one less visa step) if we married here in the States and I applied for a Spouse Visa.
     In the United States one may get married literally anywhere. One goes to the county clerk's office in the county where one resides, pays a fee of $58.00, flashes one's birth certificates, tells the clerk names, dates of birth, and place of birth of one's parents, show a photo I.D, and the marriage certificate is issued. 
     The happy couple wait a minimum of three days, and then get hitched by the judge or clergy of their choice, in the presence of a minimum of two witnesses. A church wedding will have additional fees attached.
Kamiak Butte, Washington USA
We will be married in the morning on Kamiak Butte in a Wiccan handfast. My dear friend Patti Gora McRavin has gone and gotten herself ordained by the Church of Scientific and Spiritual Humanism, and the Right Reverend Patti will officiate at our ceremony. (For her inspiring love story which is intertwined with ours please continue to follow my blog.)   
     Since we will already be married when we return together in late August, we will arrange an affirmation of our wedding vows through the Church of England. These arrangements will be firmed up while I am over visiting from May 22nd-June 11th.
     While I may visit England on a visa waiver for a period of six months, Les may only visit America on a visa waiver for a period of three months. Les and I will fly back to Pullman together in June, get married, and begin the daunting Spouse Visa application process.
     There is only one shot at this--make a mistake or leave something out--the British Embassy issues an automatic denial and there is no appeal process.
     It can take up to three months--and sometimes longer for a Spouse visa to be issued, and if the British Embassy clerk in Los Angeles, California has any questions about my application they may request an in person interview at their convenience. 
     We must file a five page application, pay an initial $1200.00 fee, and include my passport, our birth certificates, Val's death certificate, my divorce decree, our marriage license, six months worth of our bank statements,  a year's phone records and any emails we have sent one another; a letter from my employer about telecommuting from the U.K., and I must have my biometrics taken at the Federal courthouse in Spokane, which will be kept on file for ten years. (And this is the easiest route for lovers from our respective countries to make legally abiding arrangements to live together until death us do part!)
     In the meantime I must find a good home for my feline friend Wee Man, who would never survive the six month quarantine required by the U.K., put my home up for sale, and winnow out most of my belongings, paring everything down to the essentials. While I am blessed with a home full of lovely things--they are only "things" and with very few exceptions, most of them are meaningless without Les.
      My deepest thanks to all who have offered their good wishes and blessings to us both. I look forward to meeting you all on the cut.
May you have joy in your journey!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My route is on the Gd. Union that started life as the Gd. Jct. Canal following the granting of an act of Parliament in 1793. The Oxford canal company`s route to London via the Thames was long and the Gd. Jct. was to be a much shorter and therefore more competitive.
Braunston Tunnel opened in 1796 was originally planned at 1,600yds long but ended up at 2000+ to reduce the long cuttings at each end. At the same time the canal opened to Weedon.

My first overnight stop is Norton Jct. at the top of the Buckby flight of  7 locks, take heart fellow boaters that if the original plans had stood this flight would have been 10 locks.
Down the Buckby flight and just a short distance brings me to the scene of much tree felling. The trees are on the

 Brockhall estate and are being commercially harvested and the site will be replanted soon after. Now the two men on site were not going to let me take any large pieces but were quite happy for me to remove small cuttings and my top box was soon full of a lot of good oak logs. Making them Coffee seemed to speed negotiations to the benefit of all.
I decided to stop the night at Weedon but so far this has stretched into 2 nights because of the lovely sunshine and the need to touch up the paintwork below the Gunnel's.

The mooring next to the church has it`s good and bad points, the bad being the close proximity of the railway and the bell practise in the church last night but the deciding factor was the very low concrete edging that made it 

easier to do the paintwork. The temptation now is to wind the boat and do the other side but i`ll wait and see how the weather is tomorrow. Time is on my side as i`m meeting Jaq at Heathrow in May so have plenty of time to get down to the Watford area which will be easier by cab when i pick her up. Together we have made plans for our future and i will reveal these perhaps in the next blog.

                                                        Signs of summer are all around.

Monday, March 21, 2011


It`s been quite pleasant here in Braunston waiting for post to arrive but the time has now come to break out and head for pastures new.
A meal out with Sue,Vic,Chas & Anne was lovely as was chatting to other non-blogging friends. The arrival of George & Carol on Rock `n` Roll resulted in a lovely evening aboard their boat for drinks, thank you it was a lovely evening.

Over the w`end the BCBM boat share show took place and Braunston marina was a hive of activity with 2 days of good weather attracting a steady flow of people. Marques were erected and several commercial outlets were

 present including Barrus Engines, Kinver Furniture, Top Box, and i spotted  Waterway Routes with a fine collection of DVDs. Also the Cheese Boat was attracting a crowd.
What interested me most, i have no need of a boat share, was the stand for the restoration of NB Lucy.  A lot of boaters will remember her sunk along the Puddle Banks here in Braunston and might wonder what became of her. Nb Lucy has been raised and now resides on dry land just next door to Midland Chandlers.

Another interesting exhibit was the old working boat Raymond the last wooden narrowboat built for carrying and
launched here in Braunston in 1958. The only wooden boat built since on the canals is i believe `Maid of Oak` built for Julie and Peter Thorn the hull being launched in Jan 2004 at the yard of Bates Boats on the Grand Union Aylesbury Arm. I had the honour of being shown around the boat by Julie back in 2006.

Away heading south past the Admiral Nelson
Into Braunston Tunnel

Monday, March 14, 2011

BRAUNSTON with a problem

The plan was to head north for a while and then return south for Jaqueline`s visit in May but an electrical problem has dictated a change of plan. The Alternator on NB Valerie started mis-behaving back in August and i removed it and had it problem says the man. Back on it went and ever since has behaved itself at least 99.9% of the time. Perhaps it was happy being on NB Valerie and decided to mend it`s ways. Just lately, the past 3 weeks, it has been playing up with the warning light/buzzer faintly coming on although the volt meter shows most of the time to be fully charging, most being 75%.
So no second chance Mr. Alternator you have to realise i need power all the time. All is well now with a new one installed and performing admirably although it seems strange not hearing that faint buzzing.

Depending on our wonderful Royal Mail i might be around for a day or two waiting on post from my son`s house via the Poste Restante sevice. I`m also waiting on a card from Jaqueline in the states which is coming direct to the local post office  but will probably go off and collect that on the way back through.

Jaqueline flys back home June 11th after her stay on board and i have booked a seat on the same flight for an extended stay and will reveal more as time goes on.

In the meantime i have been busy making alterations for when Jaq and I permanently live aboard.

The Bow has an extra step for easier access, Jaq felt it seemed steep. Can`t do enough for the woman i love.

The Fridge & top cupboard have been re-located
 The fridge space below will now house the washing machine giving more cothing storage in the bedroom area. This now needs a panel to neatly box it all in.
The plumbing for the washing machine is almost complete and will have the benifit of Hot & Cold fill.

I would just like to say hello to the crew of NB Juliana? who offered their congratulations as we passed each other, thankyou.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Well the time had come to move on after a lovely w`end. Well yes i know it`s Wednesday but a boater`s w`end can be that long, sorry you working folks. Chas and Anne had moved off i think on Tuesday and when i awoke Del & Al  had arrived on Dewent6 and had stopped by just to say hello, thanks guys.

So time for goodbyes as Sue & Vic move off followed by Del & Al with me off in the opposite direction towards Rugby for some plumbing parts for my re-location of the washing machine. Jaq you will have space for your clothes i promise.

The new marina at Barby looks much the same as the last time i passed. Just a big hole, no pontoons and more

worrying for the intending moorers, no sign of any work force. The site says opening Spring 2011 somehow i think this might be a bit optimistic.

I had just approached the last of the 3 locks at Hillmorton when a boat approached. There are 2 single locks side by side here and as i was dropping in one the other boat was heading for the adjacent lock.

 As the boat got closer i realised it was Mo & Ness on Balmaha so congratulations on my engagement to Jaq  were their first words and after a long chat with us both using a lock each, good job the season isn`t in full swing, we both carried on our journey`s.
So 4 fellow bloggers have crossed my path in as many days, hold on make that 5 as Paul & Lyn on Piston Broke stopped by briefly to help Sue & Vic with a minor wiring problem but were gone before i realised.

Monday, March 07, 2011


I knew Sue and Vic on No Problem were not to far from me and as it has been quite a long time since we last
met up a phone call brought us together for a w`end at Barby. On arrival i found Chas And Ann on Moore to Life 

No Problem then Moore to Life and Valerie just out of site.
were also moored up so a nice chance to catch up on the news of our travels. Of course they wanted to know more of my engagement to Jaq and our plans but that will have to be a future blog for you readers as everything has yet to be finalised.

I have had a pocket PC for a very long time with the intention of loading maps and using it to guide me along the 
footpaths, via GPS, leading off the canal system as many of these are just not signed very well. The problem was i just could not get them to load onto the PC. Sue, bless her took it upon herself to spend a lot of time solving the problem, thank you so so much Sue. Also a big thank you for the invite aboard No Problem to join hubby Vic and Chas & Ann for a lovely Sunday roast. Vic and i did enjoy the wine that flowed over our legs, accidents will happen but i`ll leave that bit out in case Sue blogs it.

So off i go to walk to the village of Barby 2 birthday cards and the GPS in hand. Easy way to avoid the mud is along the lane but that would be boring with my new toy to test. So across the muddy pathways i trudged one eye
on the screen following the little red dot. Very impressed with this bit of technology and i`m now keen to start Geo cache searching. On the way i came across this old Mill that looked deralict but might have been home to someone, at least the small lake was being well fished by a few anglers.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Getting under way from Napton after 3 weeks  felt good and my intention was to moor in Braunston for a few days to catch up on sleep. Even after crashing out for 15hrs the first night back my body clock still seemed dis-orientated with the 8 hrs time difference and arriving back earlier than the time i left the day before. I never did make Braunston as i decided why not spend a few days in the countryside, for those not living aboard this is one of the bonuses-city, town or farmland the choice is yours.

Anyway my body clock has adjusted with the help of a few daytime naps, the Wind Genny is up and putting in a few amps, the Satellite signal is good as is the Internet. I`ve food in the fridge freezer and a full tank of water so for now that other world can carry on while i enjoy some solitude in my world, ok so i share with a few thousand others but at the moment there`s just me in this particular spot.

The view out of the windows is of nothing but open fields, i`ve seen just two groups of walkers in the last 2 days and the only noise is from the Sparrows in the hedgerow and the odd duck. Boring you non boaters might think
but remember at the turn of the key i can be back in a town or city, you just don`t get that choice with bricks & mortar.
As you all know Jaq and I will be sharing our lives aboard NB Valerie in the near future. NO i am not going to say when as at the moment we are going through the motions with immigration sites here and in the States trying to figure out the best method of Jaq`s entry into the UK, choices are Fiancee or Spouse and all i will say at this time is keep reading the blog.
The bachelor life aboard has meant my not having to much of an issue with storage but that is due to change and one idea Jaq and I have decided is to move the fridge up on top of the worktop, after i re-locate the cupboard, and put the washing machine in it`s place. Also while i`m plumbing in the washer i`ll sort out a hot & cold fill. This will then free up some space in the rear of the boat for a full length wardrobe. I have some other ideas but will hold fire on those until Jaq`s visit in May when we she can let me know her opinion as they concern galley storage. This lady is a great cook and having sampled her dishes i`m for sure gonna make room for all her ingredients and cooking utensils.
My good friend Sue on board NO PROBLEM , Vic do you realise how lucky you are, has e mailed to say she has recovered most of my lost comments and will give them to me when we meet up shortly. This has put me in a very good mood as the loss of  all the best wishes you folks out there sent recently was to say the least a pain and i hope all being well they will be back in place soon.
Who Wants A Book, Just recently i was going through the dozens of blogs i read and also some i don`t read often enough. The thing is someone mentioned their looking for a missing title in the Ian Rankin Rebus series. I commented on their blog i might have the book, Hanging garden, i think, but my mind being either jet lagged or loved up, not sure which as i can`t even remember when this was, means i have no idea whose blog it was. So if the blogger or anyone else remembers reading the particular post please let me know.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs