Thursday, 30 September 2010

Had a trundle down to Milton Keynes and managed to met up for a couple of hours with those busy people – Pete and Mel. Great to see you both. Sorry if you had a bad head the next day. Nothing to do with us. !!!! will see you in the fens.

Sadly didn’t manage a meet-up with Ricky and Val, this time. But I know for sure we will be seeing them over the autumn/winter.

Anyway we arrived at Cosgrove Lock on Monday. We ended up staying all day and night as sadly, a boater had been found in the lock. 2 boats moving down the lock on Monday morning, one had gone on his way, and unfortunately the other boat, got the man caught in their prop. It is thought that he had fallen into the lock on Sunday night and drowned. Shocking for the boat that caught him and very sad . Locks are so dangerous and some of the things you see being done at locks beggars belief, especially where children are concerned.

So, with that, we pushed off on Tuesday morning to met-up with Steph on Witchboy and the new pup, Midge . She still has dear old Bess ( 14yrs) and now has Midge( 13 weeks). All dogs got on fine. Midge had a great time annoying them all.Not really, her and Ben, had a great game of tag, making us howl with laughter.

Then we sort of lost her, but she had only fallen asleep in the hedge !.. come on, everybody aaaahhhhh. Finlay waited until I wasn’t looking and boggered off through the hedge( he didn’t fall asleep !). He found a bunny-filled field. BUT eventually came back via the road and hump-backed bridge. Just standing in middle of road. No sence.
Then that Midge tried to get on NB Barron, didn’t quite make it, and we heard her crying and hanging by one paw to the side. She had quite a soggy backside and it was the first time that she had fallen in, but she onl’y half fell in, anyway.

At the moment, she is small enough to sit in the life-ring, whilst on top of the boat, and she will be nearly as big as Finlay, when fully grown. Nice size.Well Steph is totally captivated by her, and that the way it should be

So we sat on the tow-path and had pre-dinner drinks as you do, and the next morning we set off with J&M+2, in the rain. Steph not ready to come home yet, so she is trundling off down to MK, as well.

Now we are back on the lovely Nene, and I have the laundry out in the cow-pat filled meadow. ( there you go, Scoob. A picture of the washing! Don’t think I have done another pic, this time, have I ?)

Sorry, keep losing signal. will put it on, later.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Trundle from Cracks Hill, Crick.

Trundle with candles lit. !
Well, since there was to be no meet-up with Scooby and RitaRose, we decided to really shift and got through Nottingham, Loughborough and up Foxton and down the Watford flights. This meant 2 x7hr – 8hr days. Unheard of for us. But quite normal for hire boats.

I had a bit of an accident at Mountsorrel lock. Lockside is quite high, so had my leg up in the air( so to speak) and was pushing off the boat with my other leg,and the mat slipped. ! ( I thought it was my small beer belly getting in the way, but Mick assures me it was the mat). Anyway I fell backward twixt side of lock and Trundle, but was grabbed by my hero( that would be Mick, not a part of my anatomy).I was just about to be squashed like a bug. Felt a bit of a twit, at the time. And now a few days later, I have some colourful bruises on knee, arm and bottom.

Came to Cracks Hill at Crick.This is a place where all NB’s want to moor up, then walk up the hill and take a pic of the boat. See pic. But the name is quite unusual , so I sent out some texts for anyone wanting to Crack a Joke. Out of 6, 3 replies. ! First one up was a phone call from Scooby, 5 mins after receiving the text asking “ are you cracking up “. Oooh my sides are aching –NOT. 2nd was a text from Yorky Chris saying “in view of micks age should be called crocks hill “ ! not bad, not bad. The 3rd was from Jim and Mar +2, saying “ as our minds are pure, we can;’t think of any jokes relating to cracks ! “.. Hooo Hooo. Yeah, right. !

Got as far as Norton Junction, to find chums Jim and Maralyn + 2( cairns) on NB Barron No 1, were at the bottom of the Buckby flight. ! Quel surpreese !

So after waiting for our shopping to be delivered by Mr Tesco, they kindly got the locks ready and helped us down the flight. This was to cost us in scotch, but fait price to pay. !!!!
After enquring as to what they were up to. They have decided to have a trundle down to Milton Keynes, with us.
We are hoping to see Mel and Pete.( becoming a bit of a tradition now, that when we finish our travels around canals, and before we go down to Northampton, we cruise to bridge 81, moor up and have a few winy old evenings with them. Handy as they live 2 mins from the bridge ).
Also attempting to meet up with Rick and Val( another tradition). However, if not to be I am sure they will come and visit us in The Fens, duck. !

Weather has turned a bit grim, but we are on a pretty tow-path, and its pre-dinner drinks on the boat behind tonight.

Oooh, while I remember and not sure if Richard is still looking at the blog, but “Have a good cruise to York. Hope the tidal Great Ouse treats thee kindly “.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Newark again.

A picture of a nice brewery building for Mikey !

We had fun and games on the BW mooring, but hopefully things may be addressed now. To cut a very long story short. We rolled up to the 48hr mooring
to find continous cruisers taking up space and all the electric, and they had been there for more then 48h rs. In my capacity as Menopausal Woman, I stormed into BW office and did a loooooonnnngggg email and a little ditty,to boot.

I received a fairly good response, so I have to accept that BW are going to keep an eye on these folks.They were rude to Mick and gave not a thought to the boaters who abide by the rules. Heyho.

Anyway Newark, what a gem of a town. Look at this little schoolhouse built in 1529. !

Well,, we had been moving along in the hope that we were going to be able to meet up with Scooby and Rita on FestinaLente. But the timings were off. We really needed to get some canal under our belt to bump up the batteries. So it was sad to know that our meet-up with them wasn’t going to happen. HOWEVER, it looks like they may be going the same place as us next year. So we will definitely see them. Whey hey. And they are coming to visit us during the winter ! Hey and NO MORE STITCH-UPS, YOU TWO!!!!

When we came through Cromwell Lock, we had moored up next to another boater, who just happened to be a lock-keeper there.He is also a chum of Scooby and Rita. Anyway, he came out of his boat and we started a bit of chit-chat . After a few moments he asked us the name of our boat “Trundle”. “ oh, I know this boat” says he.
I’m thinking , yeah, lots of folks know the Weed boats, she’s lovely isn’t she. “ this boats a stolen one, isn’t it ?”. “YER WHAT?” says I. (Mick, in the meantime has spotted his name tag, and knows exactly who he is, and is willing to keep it going. Most of you know how gullible, I am !!!!). “ I don’t bleddy think so”” she is an ex-hire boat!” My eyes are firing dasggers at this bloke. He takes note and then says “ sorry, I can’t keep this going, SCOOBY asked me to wind you up!” well, he did a very good job, and it still makes us laugh. We’ll getcha, Scoob !!!!! when you are least expecting it. !!!!

Monday, 20 September 2010

NEWARK and Great Beer

So, after saying Hasta Luego( bye but see you again) to Richard, we trundled back to Keadby for our Sunday crossing to Cromwell Lock. We were only doing this in one go,as it was a very high tide and that would move us along quickly before it turned. So, little Trundle, instead of moseying along at 3/4mph, was fair galloping at 6/7 mph.

There was a Lincoln chapter of Harley Davidson riders out for a jaunt, and they had stopped at Keadby to see what was going on, so they gave us a send-off, as we shot out of the lock. Whey hey. I am putting a picture on here for Brian Hight in Spain.come on then Brian, get yerself a jacket like this. ! dump that one you got from Lidl. !!!!

So all uneventful, got to Cromwell and managed to get on a pontoon, so no probs getting Finlay on and off. Cromwell lock is great for boaters and anyone who likes the water, there are bbq tables, and its lovely and clean. Great place for a party. !

Next day, Newark on Trent. Wow, what a great town.
Full of history, castle ruins on the river bank, hanging baskets and tubs of flowers everywhere. A square that is so big,it reminded us of a Spanish plaza. And the icing on the cake was………

Just Beers – micropub. I will explain. As we had come through the lock, the lock-keeper had given us a postcard about this place, and said we should try it, he had never been in anything like it before etc etc. So moored up,and went in search of this place.. After a while and after asking a few folks, we arrived at the door, poked in our heads ………………and decided to try just one beer, before our return later that evening.

Let me try and give you a clear picture. A long room,benches along the sides, so that no-one has their back to anyone else, a selection of 7 real ales and 1 cider..NO spirits, NO alcopops, no coffee.

Just real beer, and conversation. As soon as we walked in, (I had thought we might have to walk out again as we had FINLAY, bleddy dog always ruins our fun !!! only joking, finno, ), we were talking to strangers. Mick was quite animated, and then he mentioned Gordon Brown, and everyone glazed over and we all said that we didn’t want to talk politics. Anyway it was a good crack, and as I said we had to take Finlay back for his dinner, so we only had the one.

But we would return………………….about 1 hour later actually !!! We had a great night, and would be returning the following evening.We did and had another lovely evening. Only wished we could have stopped for another pint. Boy , that beer was something.

So here is the website, and I urge anyone passing near or through Newark to pay them a visit.
and have a look at the website anyway, we like their ethics. !

We would like to wish Phil and his team every success. Such a great idea.
Next Post= Newark and BWW( British Waterways Wallies),

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

In the next flight of locks there are 23 in about 1.25 miles.
Each and every one really pretty, Each and every one walkable. Each and every one with a Trevor.

The world could do with a few more Trevors. This lovely man has been involved with the Chesterfield Canal for about 30 odd years. He has helped to clear it, dredge it and now he looks after it and helps everyone through the locks.

After our pump-out, sorry to keep mentioning this, but we realised that we did not have any Elsan Blue( this is needed , as it sort of looks after the holding tank, by keeping it sweet smelling, well not really, but it stops it from smelling, if you know what I mean). We had asked the other BW guys, and they said that there was a caravan park nearby, So Mick and I thought we might hop on a bus and go get some.

Trevor at some point got to hear of this.( that could have been via moi !)

Anyway, the weather was glorious, and the 2 boats and Trevor made a steady progress up the flight. And what a pretty flight of locks.

At the end its was a bit of an anti-climax, as there is a filled-in tunnel, and a winding hole and you have to turn around, moor up, and happily get yourself off t’pub.
We did. and as there is only one pub ( slightly dodgy), it wasn’t hard for Trevor to find us. He had got in his vehicle and gone to the caravan site and got us our Elsan Blue, and I , received a lovely bunch of wild mint. Mmmmmmm.
By the time we negotiated our way from t’pub and t’boat.after a LOT of BEER. It had become all scrumpled up, but it went into the freeze box, and I made some mint sauce. So that was it.
Just a case of coming all the way down again, and with Trevors help. Great weather yet again. Are we righteous ? or what ?. !!!

Richard came back part of the way with us and we had the “ last nights pre-dinner drinkies” at Osberton Hall, where we had moored on the way up. Not actually "at the Hall". but on our lovely bit of tow-path, amongst the reeds and flowery stuff, that Richard/Botanist knew all the names of. !!!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Sat 4th sept. and we set off further onto the canal. Getting prettier and prettier, loads of kingfishers etc.( my self set task is to get a really good pic of one,so I am looking for a nice bit of twig that will act as a portable perch )

The canal has to be cruised at a very slow pace as it is shallow in parts. But that suits us, as its so lovely. We passed through the town of Retford ( if you remember, this is where we all went on the bus, yesterday ). Moored up to stock up, and freshly washed Finlay, decided to get off the boat, whilst still attached to his safety harness. Yep, he took another bath, this time in the canal.

So, all stocked up again. Wine, gin, whisky , a bit of food ! you know how it is.

Then we eventually arrived at a set of locks called Forest locks.They are so very pretty and as it is not a busy canal, sometimes you are free to moor on the lock mooring . I big no-no on busier canals. However, if you choose to moor on the lock mooring, then you have to be prepared with other boaters “using” your boat to get to the lock.

This canal also has loads of woods and forests along its length, so great birdlife and great walking

Anyway , one pound was so shallow, we were almost skimming along on the mud. However, we got Richard and his boat through one of the locks, and we (foolishly) said, “Oh we will be ok here,”. Well we weren’t.! We awoke “ on the tilt”, so to speak and nothing to do with the previous nights jollies. We were well and truly stuck in the mud .A phone call to the BW guys got us going again, after they had flushed water into the pound. However, there were some slightly odd folks living on some of the moorings. One was a NB covered in camaflouge ?( is this splet correctly?) paint, and also with some sort of webbing or netting over the front of his boat. Creepy.
Richard was, by this time, at the top lock, with the BW guy, who was trying to flush us out of the pound. Also hanging about on the top mooring with her boat, was a woman with dreadlocks, who got her knickers in a twist about what was going on. When we finally passed her boat , we saw that she advertised her services as a healer, and all that holistic stuff. I thought these sort of people were all “ hey, chill out’Man” types

We are on the move again, and the weather is glorious. Next nights Stop-over was just past Osberton House, with very nice views.

We got the chairs out onto the tow path, read the papers, and Richard wandered along to our bit of towpath, and we all partook of refreshments and nibbles, as one does. !

We still need a pumpout.

Next day – Shireoaks Marina,( the site of a former coal pit). Bit of a strange set-up and I got myself stranded.
As you pass under a wee bridge, you spy the loos, showers, pump out facility etc. so I stepped off Trundle and left Mick to taker her over to the 24hr mooring, and then I looked around I couldn’t get over to him. For security reasons, the liveaboards are all on one side of the marina, with a locked gate to get in and out of( I do have a key but hadn’t got it about my person). So As Richard negotiated the bridge, I used Firefly as a stepping stone, to get across. What fun.
Having a problem getting pics uploaded. !

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Lovely Chesterfield Canal.

So, we arrived at the lock to this hidden gem of a canal. And the entrance was once again a bit like getting into Keadby. We were cruising swiftly along, and
Mick had to execute a turn into the tide and then nose into the opening of the canal. And the minute we rose up the lock and saw what was ahead of us, I just knew that this was going to be one very special exploration.

It had been a long day, so we moored just past the marina and enjoyed a chat and a drink with Richard, (on NB Firefly), on the sunny towpath. He was to be our travelling companion along this lovely canal.

Next morning, it was dewy underfoot and the sun was just burning off the morning mist. We had decided to get off early. This is quite a narrow canal, a bit shallow, so basically you cruise at tick-over speed. Just the job really. The canal is incredibly lovely and one to be enjoyed at as slow a pace , as possible.

It meanders through the Nottinghamshire countryside and farmland. At some points there are no roads, no traffic noise, just the sound of bird-song. Warblers, buntings, kingfishers, and its all sooooo quiet. You can just hear the swish of the water as we pass by. It goes to say that the weather is just perfect. Blue sky, sunny and warm. It would be a bit of a different picture if it was pouring down.

2nd Night we pulled up at the Retford and Worksop Boat club, moorings. Richard is a member of the South Pennine boat club, so it’s a case of who you know, helping a bit here. They found us somewhere to moor up. It’s the week-end of their summer rally, and we have been invited to join them, if we wish,for a spot of welly boot slinging, egg rolling etc. Sat night there is some sort of C & W crooner, who has sung in the US. Mick said we would stay if it was Dolly.
However, we need A PUMPOUT

Also, its combine-harvesting time around here,and bleddy hell, do these tractors, balers, combines etc move. !!! Nothing like those old things we saw in Gargrave. These have enormous bouncy wheels, with brawny young country boys at the wheel,bouncing merrily along the village roads. Just as we had gone to bed thurs night, we heard a screech of brakes , as one flew across the bridge, but there was no following crunch of metal , so I assume some poor driver had had a lucky escape, and just needed a change of kecks.

!!!. We stayed Thursday night, and then the 2 year old tv went blink blink. So Friday morning, 3 ( me and 2 old chaps – sorry Mick and Richard!) of us got on a bus and went into Retford. Very nice town. Got a tv, wandered about a bit. I tried to spend some money, but to no avail, so we arrived back at the bus station to find…..NO BUS, we had another 45 mins to wait. Hm, hm. Err. I had mis-read the bustimes on the timetable. Oh come on guys, its easily done. !

Friday night we went into the R and W boatclub clubhouse for a spot of conviviality, with other boaters. Red wine and Bread and dripping. Mmmmm. Not proper dripping though, as it had no black jelly in it. Saturday morning and off we go again. Loads more to follow

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Beers @ Pollington, and Thorne. Tanqueray @ Keadby

Friend Steph on NB Witchboy was on her way from Selby, and going in the same direction as us. She had her chums Butch and Joan aboard. So we all agreed to meet at Pollington, there we were joined by new friend Richard on his NB Firefly, and as we were all going in the same direction for a few days, its was “sundowners” together for 3 nights running. !!!!! So we all had some beer and good times at Pollington. Next day on to Thorne. Found a good pub .!We needed it , after the fun n games at the lock.

Whilst at Polington, this lady had a super dog called Calder( after aire and calder). Sue in Spain likes these dogs, so here are some pics just for you,Sue. He was very shy.

These people were NOT shy. !

Fun n Games @ Thorne Lock.

4 boats, lock only takes 2 boats at a time, with the added attraction that there is a swing bridge 3 foot before the lock. So one prepares the lock, then opens swing bridge, boats in, close lock doors, and CLOSE SWING BRIDGE. This was a big point here, with the following problems.
Now, this is all actioned by a key, and you can’t get your key OUT until all procedures have been done in the correct order. Something to remember.

So lady with key, in the boat going in with us, asks if she is doing all ok. yep says I. , she has the lock prepared, so I go and open swingbridge, in come her boat and mine(Trundle).I then ask a bloke in a striped t-shirt ( for future reference, keep well away from blokes in striped t-shirts), if it’s a busy road, no says he its only a footpath. So methinks “AAAH, I will leave it open, for NB Witchboy and NB Firefly, as they
will be using lock next, hence saving a bit of time and energy” WRONG.

By this time a load of gongoozlers have turned up. Hey quite a crowd.

So boats are in, they have descended the lock, gone out the gates, and we are ready for next 2 boats( Steph and Richard) except that this woman can’t get her key out, so can’t go anywhere until she has. ! a slightly bigger crowd now and that bloke with the striped t-shirt has disappeared.

We try closing swing bridge gates in different sets of sequences, to no avail, and then this small voice from a bush in his garden says “ aH you ‘avin’a bit of trouble ?”. no mate, we just like to create a bit of diversion and fun at locks. Steph is flying about yanking on gates and shouting “ I’ve got it, I’ve got it”. Err, no you haven’t.
Various people have a go at pulling and tugging the key. the nice lady and I let them get on with it, as we have just discovered that she lives nr Spalding, and are engrossed in “ do you know?” “ have you been?” conversations. Mick and her husband are standing by their boats looking quizzical, and Micks also stating “ we have got to go, as we need wine, cheese, wine , milk wine etc “ “ leave them to it “

Finally the small voice from the bushes in his garden gets through to us, that we have to do everything in sequence as its all to do with the dreaded “ elf n safety”.The swing bridge MUST be closed each time, in case an ambulance needs to use the FOOTPATH.
We finally get it sorted. . the punters have all pushed off now, as they have had their laughs, and I am looking for the bloke in the striped t-shirt to give him a slap .

A few beers in the pub put everything right.

Steph reversing into to raft up against us. Finlay and Bessy. Rafted up, almost. !

Next day , and its another lovely one, we move off to Keadby.

The lock here will put us onto the tidal Trent, where we will then positively fly along with the tide ( 8mph ! that’s very fast for us ). However, the description of the “ town” of Keadby,( from the book we use to find our way around the system) states it as “ a dull settlement gone into a decline “. Hee hee, they weren’t wrong. However, the moorings were fine, nice grass, trees etc.We all had time to pass, so it was buckets and sponges out to clean down the boats. ( once one starts, they all start). I said that I would "save my cleaning", until a better time. ( Sue-ism).

We had a lovely evening, Butch supplied a bottle of tanqueray gin(bit of a toff gin, this one, nice and strong though), I brought tonic, lemons to the table, and there were offerings of nibbles too. We all had a couple, hic. wheres the boat ? Richard likes to stick with his cider. and then back to our respective boats ready for the morning. I think after 2 nights of partying, we were all starting to feel a bit knackered

Checking anchors and chains. We borrowed Life preservers from Ri chard. One bloke asked me If I wanted to borrow his spare VHF radio???? I wouldn’t know how to use one. We never even bothered with all this on the way up. But better safe than sorry. though

So Steph and crew went off at 9.30, as they had further to go. Trundle and Firefly went at 11.30 as we were off to explore the Chesterfield Canal.
Out onto the Trent.