Monday, 21 August 2017

It's been a bit quiet on the blog for a while!

I've not had the inclination to blog much during the last 6-7 months. I won't apologise for that as something far more important has taken my time, fingers crossed that is settling down now and I can start functioning with a bit of normality. 

Back in March my mum had a stroke, the second one in two years, after the first she did amazingly well and led her life as she had before it, with some minor adjustments. But this one was far more serious and life changing. I spent 6 weeks visiting mum in hospital every day, the enormity of the challenges ahead were very real and scary.

The down side is that mum is now in a nursing home, requiring 24hr nursing care, and will never go back home, nor will I be able to take her out to lunch, (happened most Saturdays) Christmas or birthday stay overs or see my mum as the witty loving person I know.

My brother and I will instead see very rare glimpses of the mum we knew, but will be there fighting her corner in every way we can or need to.

During all of this Martin and I have managed to steel some weekends away on the boat, a total relax from the stresses and strains.

So we are planning a bit bigger break in a little while, mum used to read this blog and join us from the comfort of her armchair, she'll never do that again, so I may or may not blog about our next trip but then again....

Saturday, 13 May 2017

In search of somewhere to relax and chill

Friday 5 May - We made an early start from home, encountered no travel problems along the M5 or M42 and arrived at the boat for a 9.30 breakfast. We pushed off from the pontoon and turned left out of the marina, the wind being very gusty we crabbed along the canal for a while, but soon the shelter of some of the hedges made it a little easier.

Soon we were arriving at the Moorings just through bridge 47, no problem mooring here, the wind pinned the boat to the bank in no time at all. it was just before lunchtime so a quick coffee and relax before making the short walk to the pub the Horse and Jockey in Congerstone.  I've been past here on my walks but always before opening time, so today we were in the right place at the right time!

A pint of ale each was ordered and being enjoyed while we perused the menu. I really fancied a fish finger sandwich, never had one before but it seems to appear on quite a few menus. Lunch was delicious, and the character of the place great, very tastefully decorated, with lots of original features on show. Another pint each consumed and it was time to go back to the boat. 

The wind had not subsided at all, and steerers were finding it really difficult to hold their boats on course.  One in particular bounced along our gunwale a few times, we have some additional blacking on top of some of our blue paintwork.

At four we set off again, wanting to make it to the end of the navigation, turn and moor back through the tunnel. The wind had abated a little and the sky was still brilliant blue.  There were vacant moorings near to the Globe so we slipped into one, had dinner aboard and walked to the pub to round off the evening, its a busy place these days with a nice atmosphere.
A small posy to add some cheer to the weekend
Saturday 6 May - We had a peaceful night, and woke to a grey day with drizzle in the air, we pulled pins by 10.00 (no rush we only had an hour at the most to go) We stopped just after bridge 57 a break in the wooded areas and a view of some fields the oil seed rape making the distance look sunny.  We stayed here for the day, I got my knitting out and Martin carried on with some jobs, it was a lovely day.

We don't have a stove on board having decided against it late into our build, but we are not missing it, our bedroom is nice and cosy and we are finding the winter quilt too much, it'll have to change for our next trip! This morning was lovely and warm in the sunshine, and soon the side hatch doors were flung open, to reveal my country retreat.
My country retreat.
And the other view from the front garden room

Sunday 7 May - Return trip to the marina. we aimed to get back to the marina for lunch time where we would eat, load the car and return home, in time for dancing that evening, everything worked out to plan and in no time we were heading home. Another great mini break and boy do I need it at the moment.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

New covers

Thurs 13 April - Kathy and Fraser from AJ Canopies have been visiting us for a few weeks now, measuring and templating for our front cover (this being a replacement for a badly made leaky cover by Karl of KC Covers) and creating a new pram cover for the rear.

We went to see them back in October at Braunston, we looked at materials, Kathy was very good at going into detail about the wear of different material types and letting us know what was most suitable for our intended use. 

Orders placed and deposit paid Suzanne from the office was on the phone again in March arranging available dates with us to meet Kathy and Fraser at the boat.

Having made and fitted both canopies the only thing left was a thorough walk through of how to take the rear canopy down and put it back up.  We thanked them both for the smart new look we have, it's also meant that when the rear deck is in canopy up position we gain a further 8ft of useable space, result.

So if you are in need of any canopies I cannot recommend them enough, good communications, stuck to their timescales and kept us informed throughout, as well as forwarding us some photos of both canopies before the walk through. photos curtesy of AJ Canopies, Braunston.

Front canopy, using the existing fittings to the boat, with the added bonus that water is kept out!

New rear pram cover, 10 mins to take down/put up.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

First cruise with visitors

Friday 7 Feb - Sunday 9 Feb - We got to the boat at midday on Friday, having collected two friends en-route., Jimmy and Lindsay.  The cloud started to break as we neared the marina, big smiles all round at the prospect of such a perfect boating weekend.  After unpacking, which was done very quickly indeed, we untied and turned left out of the marina.

The weather by now was warm and sunny with more blue appearing with every second. The woodland areas alongside the canal were alive with birdsong, and the hedgerows bursting into life, hawthorn blossom, catkins and pussy willow all visible.

Lunch was taken alfresco style on the back deck, just by bridge 47, after 3 we pushed off.

After a couple of hours we were at the end of the Ashby and turning at the winding hole.  The moorings here at the end were busy, a boat that had been back at the rubbish point while we turned had a mild panic when they thought we'd be mooring, to many boats here for our liking and all now in shade, so mooring there was not our intention.  We carried on through the short tunnel, out the other side, past the tree lined part of the canal and out into the sunlight, still quite warm at 6 o'clock.

Having settled in to the mooring we went for a short walk to the Globe, where we all had a lovely evening meal with good service.
Trying to impress a lady in the morning sunshine, Snarestone

Saturday - We had a lazy breakfast, enjoying the sunshine.  Our guests reported they had a comfortable night on the dinette bed, good news, it's the first time it's been used!

Todays trip was to be along the canal, past the marina and on to Stoke Golding where we hoped to moor for the night.

What a perfect day, made by the still dry, warm and sunny weather, we passed by plenty of happy walkers, and met one or two boats along the way.

We moored just before Shenton Aqueduct in a peaceful location, overlooking fields of gold oil seed rape, and the sound of the steam train in the background.

We pootled on to Stoke Golding, passing a very busy Sutton Wharf, everyone was out enjoying this rather lovely weather.  Having moored a walk to the village was on the cards to get a paper.  drinks on the back deck reading and relaxing were the order for the rest of the afternoon.  We walked up to the White Swan for the evening , having booked a table a couple of weeks ago, a lovely warm welcome and great food.
Three days of perfect weather, keep the liquid intake up

Sunday - Sunhats and shorts were the order of the day, along with sun cream, glad we still had some on board.  We travelled past Ashy boats, the hire fleet were all out, so it was easy to get through the bridge, usually we have passed here and they hire boats are moored three abreast, making it difficult to manoeuvre. Just before bridge 22 we winded (turned) and moored outside Spinney Bank Farm Shop.  Ice creams sausages and hot cross buns amongst our purchases we returned to the boat to enjoy the ice creams.

Pootling on again, with hardly any other boats on the move we moved on towards our lunch stop, Sunday roast was enjoyed moored at Shenton Aqueduct.  A shout out from a someone on a nearing boat saw us exchanging comments with the Marina Manager Chris, such a happy chappy :-)

The afternoon was enjoyed before we reluctantly made our way back for the last hour to the marina, in true fashion the wind had picked up especially for our return, but on the second attempt to get back onto our pontoon there was a perfect manoeuvre that saw us tying up with no problems at all. 

All that was left to do was a quick pack up and transfer of stuff to the car and the drive home.

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