Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Drama at a lock

sorry about blog. It puts pics on where I don't want them and misses stuff off. as the signal goes, it "says" it saves stuff. but it doesn't seem to save stuff correctly.

Hey ho.. anyway the pic before shows their boat " the morning after the night before", curtains closed, snoring sounds etc. and if I had been able to get our boaty pic on- curtains open, doors open, mick jogging around the park ( Ha!) etc.

Anyway after leaving Wendover Arm and with news of forthcoming bad weather, we decided to make for Leighton Buzzard and a bit of retail therapy- for Trundle mainly .

However at a lock we broke one of the cardinal rules when working a boat through a lock.

We got Trundle in the lock and I walked to the paddles, lifted them and started emptying the lock. Mick( who admits it was his fault) thought " I'll nip for a quick pee" and he didn't tell me that he was missing from the back of Trundle.(I would normally wait until " TillerMan" was back in situ before carrying on). I turned around and................saw Trundle on the cill of the lock( for non-boaties this is a ledge) up in the air, nose going down, no Mick. I screamed for him to show himself and after a second started lowering the paddles to stop water leaving the lock then I ran, yes RAN to the gates and started letting water in ( all the time asking mick non politely as to where he had been ??????). We finally got her floating again.I sat on the balance beam and cried my eyes out. What an awful thing to see.And you hear so many sad tales of people inside their boat as it tips over in a lock, with no escape. Ok so I am being a bit dramatic.
Finlay didn't lose his cool or his balance, but for scaring the proverbial out of me, Mick is taking me out for a nice meal tonight at The Globe.I may ask for a bottle of Tattinger ! I will not get it. !

Sorry no pics as blogger is so slow to upload.

So after leaving them we had another 2 nights down the Wendover arm. Took a walk along the canal still to be restored and spotted 2 grebe-lings, on there own now, and watched them swimming underwater and while collected elder berries and blackberries, a little chiff-chaff/warbler sat in the other side of the bush. So close. Back at the boat I tried to make jam, but it seeems to take ages, unlike the damsons. anyway I have made something that I could use as a sauce for duck or lamb as well as croissants. so a result I guess.

The 2nd evening a shout from Mick at the back of the boat- fishing " Jen, Jen, quick I ahve got something big here". Yeah Yeah. OK. anyway I got hold of the landing net and in the water swirled and enormous CARP- on maggotts ! I ask you. However, ( and I know you wont beleive this but I can verify its true) it was so big it broke the line. Mick explained that it shouldn't have been on there really- not on maggotts. But I have a sneaking suspicion that its Finlays left-over dog food that I have been throwing in the canal

Monday, 24 August 2009

So after a few days, we found out that Scooby and RitaRose were only a few hours south of us, so after a text and phone call they came up to Berkhamstead and we went down. We thought that this would be a good place to try and meet up with Rob and Arno, but I think we will have to give them a bit more notice in the future, as they had arrangements for the week-end.

So we liked Berkhamstead. They have a Wetherspoons( which was sampled on Thursday evening !) and they have a Waitrose, which was sampled quite a lot actually. Although I must remember to wear my fancy duds next time. We were browsing the shelves, when along came a lady( and by the way she was dressed she may have been) wearing a fetching, large black straw hat with silk flower, Christian Dior skirt suit, Versace sunglasses- you get the picture? and we trundle up along side of her wearing matching Christian T-shirts ( that would be t-shirts that are holy! if you get my meaning),oil-stained cut offs, flip-flops. !!!!! Well I just looked at him and he looked at me and the word Hobos, tramps etc came to mind. !!! Thank god I didn't see anyone I knew.

Heres pictures of 2 nb's " the morning after the night before". Some people have no stamina !

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Wonderful Wendover Arm

So after 13 single locks( aylesbury arm) and 7 double locks( the marsworth flight and very pretty) we came down the wendover arm. Oooh its really lovely and there are 48 hr moorings at the bottom, but we are hoping for 1 more day, its that lovely. Loads of great walks through hayfields to the reservoirs and to the sight of the future restoration. Finlay is being a really good boy and is not having to be tied all the time. will post some pics, just to prove it. I took Mick for a walk yesterday morning, it was about 1 and a half hours, so I didn't tell him and after half an hour......" How far are we going ?" !!!! anyway we got all around the res, and then through some hayfields and then back along by the dry canal bed. Saw a farmer and his wife training up some new sheep-dog pups. She was " the flock" on a small tractor type vehicle and the farmer was doing his " stay" " git up thur" " cum by" etc. Very entertaining.

I have made some sort of jam ! Thought of my friend Sue Saunders, as she used to make damson jam, and excellent it was too.

Well we saw these things on the trees at a lock. I bit into one and survived. So we picked about 3 llbs plus. I am sure they are damsons, but some woman said they could be Aylesbury Plums. Is she having a laugh ? They were mainly used for dying cloth. Anyway I didn't have the right sugar, but have made it anyway, and it tastes allright. So much so, that I am endeavouring to try it out on Scooby and Rita in a few days !!!!!! We found out that they are only 3 hours down the GU, so we thought it would be a shame if we didn't meet up one last time before we head north . And we have been informed that there is a wetherspoons nearby. result! so I will make some scones to go with "The Jam", ok ????

We keep getting a few jaspers( wasps) in and around and then Finlay found out why. We are quite close to a nest in a bank and someone had stuffed the hole with a piece of bbq coal, which he found and ate, so we had to then stuff it with some paper soaked in paint stripper. Mick has been working on the boat. Yes, you see he doesn't fish all day. I wont let him !!!!

We bought some rump steak on the " reduced to Clear" section.mmmm So tonight it will be a BBQ, down the old wendover arm . No wasps need apply.

Here are some pics .....

Monday, 17 August 2009

So we had a couple of nights in Aylesbury and we enjoyed that. Went to a 15century pub , only to find it had been "gussied up" with that tongue and groove stuff in a pale green colour. Now this stuff is all ok in the correct setting, but I had been looking forward to dark rooms, soft lights, wooden beams etc.some brass, open fire... you get my meaning.

So anyway we walked in and Mick asked for a pint and a medium sized red wine for me. The young lady behind the bar asked what sort of red I preferred. "Strong, nothing wishy-washy and certainly NOT californian, thank you" to which the bloke my side of the bar, dressed like a spanish waiter ( tight black trousers, white shirt, dark slicked back hair, skinny) said " perhaps she would
like to try the .. .............". I looked at him.
I was given a thimble full to try.( oh, this is so tiring !), it was awful. No flavour, not even red( sort of watery pinky ) and it was FRENCH( sorry but I think the frogs have lost it when to it comes to making red wine. they are still good at the white though...... Oooh just remembered," Sorry Arno" no offence meant, and I am sure you will say " none taken )
" have you a tempranillo grape variety, please ?" Spanish waiter-type walks off in a huff. He obviously thinks I am some hick just up from the country, whos watched too many programmes featuring Gillie Goolden. So Mick shells out £6.80 and ........ here we go ........

Rob( mick's son, who after reading our blog,reckons we are a couple of lushes for quaffing so much wine), you will probably know whats coming next?..... "When I was a boy...... and when you were talkng proper money- bobs and shillings- I could have got 48 pints + 4 packets of fags( embassy) + a piece and six( fish and chips) 4 times for that price"

So we had our drink , and bitched about the naff decor, read the Daily Telegraph and then went back to Trundle......................................................with a long stemmed wine glass. oooooops !

Friday, 14 August 2009

wine, bags and ducks

Well some of you may know that we arrived in UK with 20 x 5 litre wine boxes @ approx £7 per box and guess what..................................... they have all gone !!! The very last box that we opened with the Venis family was pronounced " corked" or Gorn Orf, so that was dumped at the rubbish point. So we are now buying the expensive stuff( to us) at £13 per box.for 3 litre
oooerrr. I shall just have to drink more gin. !!!!!

I promised you a picture of Micks new bag ( no rude comments from certain quarters) and here it is ..... what the hand thing is all about is anybodies guess.
Perhaps he requires a second bag .

Anyway this Tesco was at Leighton Buzzard, and fantastic it is too. smack bang by the side of the canal, along with an Aldi and a Homebase.

Views here are great. I asked some scaffolders who were watching me do the lock work. " is that The Chilterns over there?"

" errr don't know, darlin'. could be, nice aint' they?" Hmmm. Yes they are The Chilterns and very pretty.

FTBT - 1. A brand new ball, BRAND NEW!,went rolling down a thorn-infested gulley. Daft dog.
Can anyone remember the count? or do I have to get the bag out and actually count them.

Heres a pic of last nights mooring . Just after lock 34 seabrook.
So on towards Aylesbury. We turned down the arm and how pretty it is. Just after the staircase locks, and at the next lock, there is a house and garden that is a feast for the eyes. I complimented the lady, as she was pottering about. The pics I took didn't come out well, so will try on the way back up .
So we were getting well down the locks. 16 in all and I had informed Mick that I would not feel like cooking tonight so how about fish n chips. but better still we found a wetherspoons( always think of Scooby and Rita when we see these, can;t think why !). I digress.
We came towards a lock, to the left was Granny and Grandad and the kids fishing, and this almighty racket of ducks quacking.We couldn't see them though. Got to the lock, Mum-Duck was on the side( quite frantic) and all the kids( teenagers now) were stuck in the lock, They still can't fly at the moment, so could only get out when a boat came along. The grandma said " Oh thank goodness, we have listened to that for the last 2 hours!!" So as I opened the paddles, they had a short lesson in white water sailing, and then as it rose they slid through the top of the gate
So tonight we are down in Aylesbury Basin, snuggled up with the Aylesbury Canal Society, what a nice bunch of people. We have been slipped into one of their moorings, we have water and leccy, and have been shown all the amenities( whashing machine, tumble dryer , phone etc) and for anyone reading this from Spain. NO I do not need to tumble dry, as it has been hot and sunny and is to continue for a few days so Nah Nah Nee Nah Nah. !!!!
Have a nice week-end all. and by the way Gerry and Pauline on Dash. I haven';t recd an email yet? Are you back out yet ?
Sorry to the Canadians Bruce and Chris and our chums from Yorkshire Chris and Mike. It doesn't look like we will get to meet up, which is sad, as we are too far south now.
Have a great time. We will be thinking of you. X

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

This morning Yaz the lab came flying into the boat to say hello, Buddy didn't. So we had a walk while Mick winded the boat, and unfortunately, when I went to throw some Finlay-poo into the cut with the shovel, I slightly misjudged and threw it at Finlay. ooops.

Pete said he would pass on giving Finno a pat goodbye. Can't think why.

So here is a pic of a sleeping beauty and here is another of a handsome skipper.

Great seeing you all. Same time, same place next year then ????

Tonight we are moored just short of Leighton Buzzard, and again I am enjoying the lovely canal scenery. Good internet connection, but TV signal is rubbish and oh, dear there is a footy match on. Shucks. !!!!!
So we had a great time in MK with Melanie,Pete, Steve and Matthew and labbies Yaz and Buddie. We moor up at Bridge 80, and the Venis family are just 1 minuet walk away. So for future visits they will know exactly where to find us.

Anyhow, we all Trundled off down to Fenny Stratford. Young Steve did some skippering while Young Matt did some sleeping( had a late night !). He started off at the front of boat with his feet sticking out over the bow, then he moved inside to the l-shape sofa, but as he is tall it just wasn;'t quite comfy enough, so I suggested he crash on our bed. " I can't. Finlays' on there" " well, shove him off, then"

Steve did a great job of skippering and helping me with a lock. Mel did a great job of helping me sample some wine and I think, Pete did a great job of jawing to Mick.

So a short break and then they came and collected us to go to a pub for a quiz. We were cra.... not very good.

Monday, 10 August 2009

So we finally left the Leicester arm of the GU and we will be back.
The battery was tested by the manufacturers and pronounced to be fine so, as Mick said its mis-management by the skipper and crew.

Boat names : Moo Moo La Rouge - Could he be the landlord of The Red Cow ?
Muchgigglin( like that)
Pooh Sticks - there is a tale to this one. Mick doesn't really know anything about Winnie the Pooh and the game of sticks at the bridge. So when he saw this boat coming towards him, and he couldn't see the artwork on the side, he said " good god, why on earth would someone want to name their boat that ?". I explained and we had muchgigglin about calling your boat such a name !!

We are now at Milton Keynes and plan to go and have a look at the Aylesbury arm and the Wendover arm, before turning around to start our way down The Nene at the end of august.

Hoping to meet up with friends Ricky and Val on the way back ( they follow the blog). and Tonight or tomorrow we are hoping to meet up with Melanie and Pete and family in MK( Spanish Brians daughter).

We think that we are approaching Numpty Country. There is a hire firm down this way that is popular with the thirty-something crowd.( they basically don't give a toss about other boaters) and one has already had a run-in with the lockie at Stoke Bruerne by ignoring the lockies' instructions. Also it's a challenge getting a smile or a hello out of some of them. There are quite a few busty blonde essex-girl types about as well, so Mick'e eyes are like organ stops at times. !

The Canadian's should be here so Howdy? to Bruce and Chris. Have a great time. I bet there will be some stuff supped, up there in BraTford. !!!!

Micks got a brand new bag!......... I will try and get a pic for you all.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Welford Arm, Foxton Locks AGAIN, Mkt Harborough

Sunday 2nd August, and Steve and Debbie Morley came for the day. We meet up with them when passing through Peterborough, but this was the first time that they had been out on Trundle with us. So we were moored down the Welford Arm( lovely) and went for lunch at the wharf inn first. The blokes requested an extra yorky pud, and when the waitress turned up, she said " I hope you all like yorkies" and presented us with a plate of 15 !!!! Whey Hey. The food was excellent and highly recommended and the chef is a little star. Aaaah.

To the right of the lock is a buddleia that was covered with butterflies and bumbles.

Took them for a trundle up the cut, which they really enjoyed, so much so, that they are thinking of going on the broads next year. After saying good bye, we walked back down the track and Mick spied movement in the long grass. It was a baby vole. He was lovely, so we had a quick inspection and put him back close to his home again.

Some NB holidaymakers had asked us where, in my opinion, they should go for 5days( Now now, dont be like that), and I had suggested Foxton Locks and the Welford Arm, to see the Budleia at the lock. ( covered in 6 different butterflies, bumblebees etc) Am I repeating myself ????

Anyway, to cut to the chase. We saw them again, and they did as I suggested and had a wonderful time.

We really, really liked The Welford Arm and will be back.

So On wednesday we had Roger,Bridget and Jackie visiting us, so it was imperative to get back down Foxton Locks and to Mkt H, for a PUMP OUT etc.

Had loads of helpers going down the locks, as usual, and then down the Mkt Harboroug arm, I came to the swing bridge( sometimes quite hard to do), and this young man called Tate( I thought he said Dave) offered to help. Its school hols, so I said OK, thanks. He then informs me that he has been getting a fiver from boaters for his help, WHAT ? I said "well you won't be getting that from us". Then he informes me that another boater gave him £3. " No way, mate, my husband will not be matching that. Bit of an entrepreneur, are you ?". then he looked hopefully at me and said " a quid?". "possibly" says I. I asked Mick if he had a pound. Yes thanks he replied. Ok, ok, we did give him a pound, seeing that its the hols.

Mick informed hi m that is he was still there tomorrow it would be 50p. and NO he wasn;t there. !

Saturday, 1 August 2009


On the way to Welford, we met 3 young men in canoes, who were making their way down to Camden Lock helping the Charity Help for Heroes. They have some friends in Afghanistan. They are not normally allowed through tunnels for obvious reasons, but we said they could come thru behind us. They called themselves Blazing Paddles. Well done, guys.

Dropped off dud battery and now have to wait around for it to come back from the makers to say yeah or nay. So off down the Welford Arm. !

Wow. Its really lovely down here. at the one small lock there is a buddleia? bush and it was abs. covered in butterflies and bumbles.Loads of good walks. Steve and Debbie Morley are visiting on sunday, so we don't mind being down here for a few days.

Now, some of you may know that Mick absolutley loves Bassetts Liquorish

on the floor I found a small, dead slug( how it got there is anyones guess) and I had this thought . S0 I went to the back and said to the skipper " want a liquorish allsort?" " oooh, thanks ( looks at it,), where did you find this? ( as its heading for his cake-hole). I yelled " NO MICK" just in time. phew. I would never have let him put it in his mouth, honest ! can't stop laughing at the moment, though.

Foxton Locks and Ella and Lily.

We love Foxton Locks. They are set in beautiful countryside, they are great fun to do and you meet some really nice folks.
Meet Ella and Lily. They were at the locks on this day with brother and mum and dad.I was working the "red before white you will be alright, but white before red you will get a slap 'round the head" paddles and the girls were watching Mick sitting there waiting for me to do my bit. Anyway he said that if it was ok with mum and dad, would they like to come on the boat and come up a few locks. So they did. I think they enjoyed it, even though Finlay was ignoring them( he's shy . )
Anyway Ella and Lily, enjoy your holidays in Mablethorpe( I know I used to enjoy my hols there) and we hope the sun shines on you.
Further up the locks, I was just about to go and close one of the gates, when these two small boys raced up to the gate and looked up at me expectantly. " would you like to close the gate for me ?" Yes please " go on then". Make use of any help you get !!!!!
Near to the top was Jessica and her grandad. She had spent the last few hours opening and closing the top gate for everyone. She was really enjoying herself and was another nice little girl.
After this we moored up for the day, had an ice cream and then it chucked it down. Then the sun came out, and I looked up and there were 5 small faces peering through the window. It didn't half make me jump. " theres a lady in here" said one and they all giggled , so I retaliated with " Hey Mick theres a load of little kids out here, look", which made them giggle even more. " whats it like in there?" " its dry and warm" I replied, which made there Dads (giggle)laugh.

Cruising beneath the cows !

We did some locks with this load of blokes and they are in a band called the tequila stuntmen- and the drink is as follows : sniff the salt, drink the shot and squeeze the lemon juice in your eye.! I am told that people do DO this. Mad.

Mick got one of my "looks" on the way to Foxton. We had done some locks that were close together and I asked how far to the next one. " oh about 400 yds", says he.................. about 3/4 of a mile later I arrived sodden with rain at the next lock, and the bloke at the lock coming down said, " Oh isn't it far to the next lock, then?" and NO I didn't say " nah. its only 400 yds" but was tempted too. I couldn't call him names, as we were locking with a grandad, a nana and a grandson . But Grandad did say " Don't think much to your idea of 400 yds mate".

Another strange thing; When we go through a tunnel, inside lights have to be switched on, the headlight goes on, and then into the tunnel and it goes dark outside and ............................Finlay goes to bed ! when we emerge the other side, lights get switched off and it gets light outside and ...............................Finlay gets up. At the moment we are in an area where there are 3 longish tunnels within a coulpe of days. Heee heee. what a hoot.
Hope these cows behave themselves as we pass beneath them, if you know what I mean. !!!!