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Sunday, October 30, 2011

What would you miss

Other than the 3 weeks back in May Jaq has now been in the UK for almost 8 weeks and i was looking through some pics and started wondering what she might be missing or not.Without doubt the family comes top of any list.
Daughters Sparky to my left and Jesseca holding  Connor.
Son in law Ben at rear, G`sons Michael & Matthew(front)

For sure Jaq likes our bacon but does miss American bacon, can`t think why!!!! Anyone who has been across the pond will know it`s like our streaky but in my opinion has less meat and they cook it till it`s so hard it might shatter if dropped. I paid top bucks to find some decent stuff while over there.
Jaq discovered Asda streaky and can`t you just see how happy she is.

Now for sure America is a Coffee nation although Jaq`s preferred beverage was Typhoo tea purchased at a premium price at home. Jaq does enjoy a Cappuccino/ Latte and decided to purchase her own machine to bring over here. At the moment her flavour is Amaretto but has yet to find any others in the supermarkets. For a quick fix Jaq has taken to my instant Tesco Gold but the machine is god.
Jaq`s special import
The above things just sprung to mind as i viewed the pictures on the laptop so how about my beautiful new bride tells us more.

Hi Folks,
It's been wonderful meeting everyone whose blogs I've followed from America. As Les and I discussed what I miss the list grew a bit! I crave a good Mexican take away from Nuevo Vallerta or a Chinese take away from the Green Emerald in Pullman. I miss knowing my way 'round the grocery store, chuck roasts ( I know a cow is a cow but this is not a cut I've found available here); canned green Chile's, Lipton Onion Soup mix, and a few other things. I miss people. My family of course and my friends. I miss women-to-women talks and lunches with my best buds.

I definitely don't miss the climate. We sat out in the soft.misty drizzle today, pootling along from Blisworth to near Yardley Gobion. I wanted a mooring out in the country for Samhain.  I don't think it is wise to be a stranger in the village on Halloween. It just invites pranks. Especially somewhere where village life is small,  juveniles are bored and view passing boats as a novelty.

What I love? My husband, who makes me laugh, and our floating home. I love pulling the pins every few days and cruising to wherever. Les gets a certain happy look on his face when he is at the tiller of a moving boat. Now he tells me I get a certain sparkle in my eye when we are readying to cast off and move. I love the kindness of the people we meet on the canals, and the ever changing view out our windows; I love the sweet smell of wood smoke tinged air, rosy cheeks and chilly hands, and coming inside to the warmth of the cabin. And I still love laying in bed at night listening to the wind sigh in the trees, and the barely perceptible gentle rocking of the boat.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Woody post

When Maffi told of the towpath hedge being attacked by the farmer little did i realise how bad it was. Maffi did mention BW were in talks with him (farmer not Maffi) but it seems that he`s not listening as the mess was still there on the 25th. I would imagine the towpath as covered completely and that walkers have pushed it away from the cut to pass through.

So my regular visit with Andy & Tina before heading south was the reason for choosing this route and now having enjoyed a lovely evening aboard nb Valerie it was time to turn around and head back into Braunston. The plan was to stay the night but we decided to do the flight and lunch before the tunnel then a night stop at the top of the Buckby flight.

So we arrive at the bottom lock as 2 holiday boats start up. Another holiday boat comes behind us so we can comply with the notice(left) posted on the lock beam by BW. So all is well as we rise in the bottom lock until a private boat moored in the first pound turns and enters the second lock leaving one of the 2 boats in front of us left in the pound.
Simple decision for us was to let the holiday boat who came up with
us carry on and we stayed in the pound and put the kettle on, after all we have a lifetime they had just a week.
            According to the second notice on the lock beam advising water    restrictions in the South east we are using the Gd. Union that BW has decided the water to be at an acceptable level, time will tell.
So we arrived at the Buckby top lock and after taking on water and off loading rubbish we decided to just keep going. Having been on the water point for an hour an not seen any boats arrive we had no choice but to go down the flight on our own. Just a short distance from the bottom lock is Brockhall which earlier this year was the scene of much tree cutting and it was nice to find some wood  still available. I imagine this is what was unsuitable for the saw mill but the stove on board is not fussy so a few lengths were loaded on the roof and cut up the following morning on our remote mooring.

As i sit here typing fellow bloggers Derek & Carrie on nb Uccello have
just pulled up in front of us.

The pic on the left is the book shelves i mentioned were next on the list after the double cupboard in the galley. On the right another Billy bookcase has appeared as an above worktop cupboard and as can be seen Jaq finally decided where the spice racks were to be located. Pull out shelving in one of the low level cupboards is the next project.

In case anybody is wondering about the title of this post the name of a post is sometimes hard to decide as just putting Braunston, Rugby or wherever we might be is boring i think. So wood came to  mind. Trees on the towpath, 2 flights of wooden gates, some firewood and some new wood cupboards.
Yes i know much time on my hands.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friends and Bloggers

While moored at Newbold we had a visit from blog followers Mike & Phillipa Muir who happened not to be
just in the area but to be in the country. They were on a visit from Canada not only to visit family but also to check out some boats for sale as they are very soon to be live aboards. Look forward to seeing you both again next year when you return.

Time for a move and we chose what we thought might be a quiet spot between Hillmorton and Braunston. Arriving a bit late on a very windy day we spotted bloggers Lynne & Paul on Piston Broke. The following day we took a break from the alterations on board Nb Valerie and spent a very pleasant time with them both drinking tea and chatting aboard Piston Broke.

We caught the bus into Daventry which conveniently stops outside Rye Hill & Onley prisons that lie just beyond a small wooded area along the towpath. On our return we found contractors cutting down some trees that were getting a little to close to the prison wall so that was my job for the next day, wood gathering.
All the best laid plans can change and they sure did the next day. First Chas & Anne turned up on More 2 Life so the wood still had to be collected an hour or so later after tea and chat.

The wood had no sooner been collected and the chain saw cooled when along came Maffi on Milli M. Having spent a long time on the South Oxford he is now once again off cruising the system. The last time i met Maffi was on the southern gd. union at Winkwell about 4yrs ago. His timing was spot on as Jaq was just doing some lunch and Maffi didn`t take long to tie up and come aboard for lunch and Ginger cake fresh from the oven with warm Toffee sauce, how lucky was that. 

Next arrivals were Carol & George on Rock `n` Roll. So more tea Ginger cake and chatting on board Nb Valerie. Later in the evening together with Maffi we spent a very nice time as guests of George & Carol consuming wine and some home made Irish Cream liquor from a recipe from friend Tina. A new bottle will be prepared for when we see you Tina.

We moved off this morning regrettably to get water in Braunston and are now moored a few miles out in open countryside giving me a chance to get some bookshelves fitted.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Birthday Girl



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Coventry by bus and now by boat

The original plan to visit Coventry by bus worked out fine and we then spent some time on the Ashby Canal. Now having spent some lazy days, or was it weeks? do we care?, anyway time was spent on deciding the best solution to phase one of extra storage on board in the galley area. The inside of our home is mostly an oak finish and matching is not easy unless you purchase an 8`x4` board which then gives rise to more storage problems if not used  in one go
The answer lies in Coventry where in a big Yellow and Blue building Billy sits waiting patiently for someone to collect him and as he is a bit heavy we had to take the boat into Coventry basin to load. A 20min walk with the use of a store trolley soon had everything loaded.Still at least we were rewarded with unlimited plastic bags, rope and clothing to compliment our propeller, didn`t get free gifts when we last went on the bus.

Say hello to Billy the Oak veneered bookcase and optional door. All in flat pack ready to assemble or in this case ready to cannibalise.
The side panels are tall enough for a floor to ceiling fixture in a narrow boat and the shelves can be set at a level to suit, add the doors and...................................

Voila!   The walls of a narrow boat as us boaters know cause the cupboard to start narrow at the top and deepen half way down only to narrow as the floor is reached. Cutting the side panels to fit is the

worst job and almost all the shelves have to be cut to the varying depths depending on the positions decided by SWMBO....She What Must Be Obeyed. Real glad i`ve now got my very own SWMBO life has improved 100%. As you can see Jaq has started filling the shelves before i`ve had chance to put a few finishing touches and decided another one the other side of the galley would be good.

On the left is a dvd/cd holder from the Billy range also in the oak finish and i will cut the long sides to suitable lengths and make book shelves to the right of the cupboard above and  around the radiator. Quite a few of Jaq`s boxes contain books so the extra shelves will be needed.   The dividers will be used along the shelves as separators and supports, I will post a pic when it`s finished.

When we were on the Ashby Ian & Alison came by on Gosty Hill and we took on diesel and coal. Jaq
presented them with 2 large portions of homemade Carrot cake. Sitting here typing the smell from the galley is of  a Chocolate Kahlua Bundt Cake Jaq is baking just for us as previous cakes were for the kids. For the non boaters reading take a look at the front of Gosty and see how low it is in the water compared with the moored boat. A few tons of coal and diesel makes a big difference and Ian had trouble with the shallower than usual canal.
As can be seen Ian is selling fuel at 85p per litre this i noticed compared favourably with Rose boats at Brinklow 91p and Lime Kiln near Newbold at 87p.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ASHBY Canal terminus

The Ashby Canal Association has been busy at the Snarestone terminus of the canal since my last visit some years ago. The winding (turning point) hole has been improved now being larger than i remember or is just the metal piling that has been re-newed that gives an illusion of space.

In the picture above the elsan housed in the little brick building on the left hand towpath marked the end of the canal.

A walk up the path shows the added section complete with swing bridge which will be swung open if you wish to take advantage of the extra mooring space.

The very end and more was due to be dug out within days of our visit so i expect it to be around the bend by our next visit.

At the moment we are making our way along the Coventry towards the Rugby area and eventually south down the Gd Union to collect Jaq`s boxes. The ship is currently in port at the panama canal.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Stormy weather and a ship at sea

At the moment after having some lovely weather we are sitting half way up the Ashby waiting for post on the Poste resante service. My daughter in law Jo Jo sent our post a week ago and it still hasn`t arrived at the local post office.
Still the way the weather has turned we are in no hurry so we will sit and wait for a few days by which
time the post will arrive, the wind will ease and the waves on the canal will subside.

The ship below is `Humboldt Express` and in one of those containers on deck are 22 boxes of Jaq`s possessions. All right the picture is off the web but the ship at this moment probably looks the same

as it makes it`s way at 17.5 knots down the west coast of America heading for Manzanillo, Mexico it`s first port of call since leaving Los Angles at the beginning of this month.  I assume it will then use the Panama Canal on it`s voyage to UK but the Marine traffic site i`m tracking it`s progress on doesn`t
give a route or ports of call. The shipping company in the U S told us the service is door to door but at
34,037tons with a 11metre draught how will they get to us say up the Grand Union. I suppose the boxes will arrive at my son Kev`s house where Joanne will find space till we can get them on board. The ship is due in at Thamesport UK on Oct. 31st.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Bosworth Battle 1485

Along the Ashby canal places to re-stock the galley are limited with Hinckley being the only town in close proximity to the canal. Other places are Stoke Golding with just one shop and a post office(our post will be here on our way back) or Market Bosworth. Both have a bus service back to Hinckley if the small Co-op food supermarket doesn`t quite hit the spot for you.

So here or rather there we were at Stoke Golding and yours truly puts his back out probably stretching to much when sawing wood for the shelves. So after a few days Jaq decides having looked up the bus times to go into Hinckley and get some things the village store didn`t stock. Not sure of the exact bus stop Jaq asked a lady in a car outside the post office and was standing at the said bus stop when the same car pulled up and Jaq was invited to join Liz the post mistress together with friends for a trip to Morrisons on the outskirts of Hinckley.
Replica Steam launch at Stoke Golding

So the back is better and we see a notice advertising Crown hill field open day in aid of the `Get Thomas to America fund`. Crown hill is where Henry VII was crowned after Richard III was killed in the Battle of Bosworth. Historians were on hand to not only discuss the battle history but to explain the recent archaeological finds that have proved the battle did in fact take place 3k from what  has been the suggested site at Ambion Hill. The weather was not kind but a modest turnout raised £600.
View towards the newly discovered Battle site from Crown hill
The Battlefield moorings at Shenton have been popular for visitors to the battlefield site and at the bottom of the embankment is a small field and a monument declaring it the site Richard III was slain in battle. What will happen now in light of recent findings i know not but for sure the Heritage centre will remain as it tells the story so well with a newly opened extension containing recent finds from the new battlefield site.

I suppose for now the visitors will still arrive by car or boat and the heritage centre will continue to alter the information boards. The walk from the moorings via Shenton  station was excellent and Jaq & I rewarded ourselves with a full English breakfast in the restaurant that was walked off by the time we arrived back on the boat.

 I just shudder now when I think of those 3 months in the U S totally dependent on a car. The weight i gained is coming off slowly as i can now button up a pair jeans that previously remained open.

A couple of pics for Jaq`s girls back home. Above mum in the stocks at the Heritage centre and below she tries on the soldiers battle wear as we tour the exhibition.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs