Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside -

Here we are on the last day of January, and the evenings are starting to draw out, more noticeable on a sunny day of which we appear to have had a few.

We've made the most of trying to get out to some nice seaside places, and have taken advantage of the 'out of season' quiet time.

Here are some photos of places we have been in January - both South and North coasts.

Looking over Preston Beach towards Torquay, from Paignton
Fishing off Torquay

Dartmouth, boats in the shelter of the estuary
At Blue Anchor looking towards Dunster and Minehead

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Looking for Christmas

Fri 16 Dec - It's been a while since I wrote anything here, we've been very hectic, and although we've been to the boat, it's been really lovely not to think about the blog! 

We took advantage of the marina pump-out for the first time (we know how to have fun) and also filled the diesel tank.  getting onto the service jetty was really easy - no wind, flat calm fingers crossed it'd be like that on the way back.

With the sun breaking through the low cloud we se off down the Ashby for Stoke Golding, just a couple of hours cruising but enough, we took it in turns steering, I negotiated a couple of the really tight bends through bridges at the beginning, but then chickened out and let the professional do the mooring up manoeuvre.  The trip to stoke Golding corner was uneventful, we passed 3 boats, all jolly and chatty.

We had booked a table at the White Swan, just up the hill, and the first pub you come to in Stoke Golding, this was our third visit since the new landlord took over, glad we booked as they were full! the food was yummy and well priced, well worth a visit, home made grub by the landlord Jamie - we'll be back.

Walking back to the boat in the fog we were pleased that we'd put the Christmas lights up, it certainly gave us something to aim for.

Sat 17 Dec - a Lazy morning, we set off for bridge 22 to wind, the sky was blue and the sun was warm and the air was very still.  Once winded we moored at the farm shop just short of bridge 23 - if you've never visited spinney bank farm shop then you're missing out, Elaine is really helpful, she butchers her own meat.  We stocked up, cleared the shop of chicken sausages (they are yummy scrummy) a few joints of beef and pork.  Even ice cream was purchased! 

Back at the boat coffee was drunk out on the back seats, the sun was really warm and it was lovely just to sit and enjoy it for a while.

We made our way back to the marina, lots of jolly people out for walks what a difference the sun makes.  We had chicken sausage sandwiches for lunch mmmm, and were aiming to get back to our berth by 3 ish, which we did, again there was no breeze, and getting back to the berth was a real treat, no pirouettes today.

Sun 18 Dec - boat winterised, Christmas lights taken down and we set off home, a really festive, relaxing weekend.

Just looked lovely in the sun

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Motor Museum

Mon 29 Aug - After breakfast we decided to walk into Coventry and have a look around the motor museum, it's a short walk from the canal basin, and free entry.  When you enter you are not aware of the sheer scale of the building and how many exhibits it has, we were gobsmacked by this, and spent a good few hours wandering around.

From bicycles, to the world speed record cars, and everything in-between, here are some photos of our visit.

When we returned to the boat the three others that had cruised into the basin with us had left, we decided to leave too after a very late lunch, so at 4 we left, and made our way back to Hawkesbury for the night, facing in a different direction and looking forward to our return to the peace and quiet of the Ashby canal.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts, an armchair, rocking horse, waste bins too

Mon 29 Aug - Coventry, after a disturbed night (too many dogs thinking they own the new area they now find themselves in) we left early, actually Martin untied and set off while I was still in bed.  I joined him shortly after a little bleary eyed, a couple of cups of tea later all was well.

Our cruise into Coventry was uneventful, but showed the not so nice side of where you can take your boat.  It had the blackest stretch of water I have ever seen on a canal, our spirits - well mine- were lifted with the smell of the bakery wafting over to us.

Along the way we encountered, coconuts, so many we lost count, two large waste bins that looked like black icebergs from a distance, a bright pink armchair, a television - no remote control seen though, a matching pair of flip flops, and a matching pair of shoes half a mile apart, many footballs, and a rocking horse, not to mention far too many plastic and glass bottles, drinks cans and rubbish bags, with the odd wooden pallet thrown in (literally) for good measure.

The not so nice:

Some of the many cans, balls and bottles

One of the many coconuts, sadly they'll never take route on an idyllic island setting

Once loved and cherished

Pull up a chair and watch....

...some television
A new art installation?

Friday, 2 September 2016

Weekend at Hawkesbury Junction

Sat 27 Aug - We left the Lime Kilns after a lazy morning, we headed down the Ashby for the 2hr trip to Marston Junction, where we turned left.  The rush hour had gone and we were on our own, lovely, ominous clouds were looming though in the distance, and we hoped it would stay dry at least until we were safely moored up and inside!  the lightening could be seen towards Coventry, and then the thunder, and then it got louder and more frequent.  We turned the corner onto the final approach to Hawkesbury junction and made a bee line for the first stretch of free Armco, where we tied up just in time as within seconds of closing the rear doors and the hatch the heavens opened.

We viewed the hire boats continuing and remembered doing the same when we had hired.

We ventured down to the Greyhound pub in the evening to see what it was like, I don't think we'll be back in a hurry, and certainly not in the summer during the school holidays, the tables were very sticky, glasses everywhere and not somewhere we would like to perch and eat.

Sun 28 Aug - We stayed put today, we're on a nice wide stretch of canal, away from the sometimes chaotic junction and we have a nice wide stretch of grass too.  There are some very large tasty blackberries in the hedging alongside, Sunday crumble here we come!

We ventured down to the Engine house bridge and walked to the convenience store just through the new housing estate, Sunday paper in hand we walked to the other pub in Hawkesbury the Boat, clean and tidy, and a local drinkers pub, but no real Ale as there is no call for it with the clientele.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Bank holiday break

Weds 24 August - We travelled up to the boat late afternoon, with the roads reasonably quiet, arriving at the boat early evening and time to settle in and have a meal on board. On Thursday Martin spent some time ticking some jobs of his to-do-list.  I walked up into the town and had a mooch around the shops, they are quite varied and an hour or so had passed before I returned down the hill.

Seen on my walk

This has to be one of the most interesting gardens I've seen.
Friday 26 August - today we planned to leave after lunch and head down the Ashby to towards Hinckley. We went shopping first though, by car to the farm shop at bridge 23, Elaine and Spinnybank farm and her husband butcher their own meat, we came away with some tasty things, not least some proper pork chops.

We left the Marina just after lunch time, and took our time on such a perfect day, even the cows were cooling off.
Cows cooling off in the canal and seeking the shade of a tree
As we were travelling along we spotted a familiar looking boat, it was Caxton with Sue and George, a quick hello and exchange of our plans and that was that.

We stopped for the day within sight of the Lime Kilns pub and enjoyed the evening from the front cratch.
enjoying the evening from the front cratch of Sonia Louise

Monday, 22 August 2016

Spuddling back to base, and snagging

The best thing we've found is not having a timetable as such, this must be the shortest cruise in the most about of time we have ever done.  We've really relaxed into boating life, we've moored in some familiar places along the way, The Tame Otter, Polesworth and The Lime Kilns amongst them. 

At the Lime Kilns we'd past Tom and Jan on NB Waiouru, once moored I went back and knocked on their boat to introduce myself, I've followed their blog from the start, and it was great to meet them in person, Tom is very talkative and covers so many subjects with knowledge that he is willing to impart, we quite like the stuff Tom puts on his blog - are we sad?

We celebrated our last evening aboard by going to the Lime Kilns for after dinner drinks, it was going to be one drink at the start, we're not into pub singers you see, but little did we know that an evening with Andy Roseby (acoustic singer) was on the cards, he was great and our one drink turned into a lot more! we even joined in the singing, got chatting to his mum and dad and a very proud grandmother, wonderful.

Being back on the Ashby canal was lovely, we were warned by other boaters passing us that the canal was 'shallow' we know this and just nodded our heads and smiled, it's not been a problem for us at all, just caution needed at some narrows and a couple of bends.

Packing the boat up to come home for the first time I found very difficult, really didn't want to leave it, but we'll soon be back.

Our first day back home and we were replying to a Mail from Bluewater asking if we had any snagging issues, we have and they were quick in arranging a visit later in the week to sort most of them, it was nice seeing familiar faces, teas and coffees duly supplied.  We've also had a problem with our generator so the company that supplied it have been out to sort that out too.  Just a couple of other things to arrange dates for and that should be it.
Moored at the Lime Kilns on the Ashby Canal