Boats are like children

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Hope you have had an excellent Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year.

Children are fantastic to have around and can be very exciting and brilliant etc but they do give you concerns especially when they are away and you don't see them for awhile - just like narrowboats especially in bad weather.

What with my eye operation and the weather over the last 5 weeks we have been unable to visit the boat and hopefully the engineer in Wigrams was able to give her the once over which may save us some concerns-time will tell.

We did have a great trip to London over the weekend of the 11 December with our son and girlfriend. They treated us to tickets for Faithless at the O2 they were great. We stayed in a B&B in Greenwich, the weather was very cold and bright. On the Sunday we managed a boat trip from Greenwich to Charing Cross pier past Limehouse- so we have been along part of the Thames that we must do in BB- it doesn't seem as bad as I thought- time will tell.

Walking back to London Bridge station there was a lovely sunset behind Cannon Street Station.

A view of the lock entrance to Limehouse Basin.

A view locking from Greenwich Park towards Greenwich College and Canary Wharf.

A bit of culture, during the summer there was an Antony Gormley exhibition at The De la Warr Pavilion in Bexhill called Critical Mass. It involved 60 lifesize body casts all based on the artist himself. It was very disturbing it felt as if they had fallen from space and just been frozen in time.
I decided not to put any pictures of snow on the blog as I have had enough at the moment and I expect so have you- so one of a nice sunny day.

Things work against cruising

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Since the return from our trip in June we have had a very difficult time. Anne's father had been in an assisted living home and during our trip Anne had returned back to Fleet a few times as he was not very well at all. On our return he deteriorated further and we had to move him into a nursing home. He became very weak and passed away peacefully at the beginning of September. We have been dealing with his estate which hopefully is now nearly completed.

We have only managed one quick trip to the boat in October to check her out and do a few jobs to get her ready for winter. Although when we were their we had one nice day so we did a quick cruise to The Bridge Inn and back.

I started to suffer from another trigger finger whilst we were out which has gradually got worse and resulted in a small operation in October which has taken 6 weeks to heal. A small cut but very painful in the middle of your palm.

When I had the detached retina last year there was a high probability of a cataract. Well one has developed and I am due to have an operation this Friday. Hopefully that will be the end of it for a while. Mind you everything that goes wrong now seems to be put down to old age!!!!!- something that really p...s me off.

I include a few pictures covering the last few months which included a trip to North Somerset.

Our lunch stop mooring near The Bridge Inn on a lovely October afternoon.

We passed this Kestrel on a post as we left the marina.

When we were in North Somerset I went to look at Watchet Station on the West Somerset Railway.On coming out I saw this lovely restored 1950's Jaguar S class.

A Green Woodpecker making big/deep holes in the lawn.

We went to Topsham on the River Exe which has a sunken boat just like they do on canals!!!

Day75 back in Marina and now home

Saturday, 3 July 2010

We rushed back up the Oxford canal and on our last day we did 14 miles and 14 locks in 9 hours cruising in glorious hot sunshine. The only delay was following a boat down the Napton flight that was towing a hulk that will require major rebuilding. All because we had been invited to a lunch party and to watch the England match therefore we needed to be home Saturday evening. The lunch was the best football wake we have ever been to.

Our final totals for the trip which ended on Friday 25 June are;-
380 miles, 289 locks, 54 swing/lift bridges, 16 cappuccinos and 6 events. A great trip made even better by the weather and the fact that we only cruised in the rain twice!

Coming round Napton on the Hill we saw this lovely foal with mum.

As I ascended Cropredy lock the Song Thrush serenaded me from the wall next to the lock.

Whilst I watched the boat being lifted out Anne was making sure BB didn't get away.

Again whilst waiting for the boat lift- a picture of the Old Toll House next to Cropredy Wharf.

My picture of BW removing an untaxed boat at Cropredy.

I have passed this boat on several occasions and at last managed to get a photo. There cannot be many boats on the system with their own lawn.

Day 73 back in Banbury

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Our mooring Tuesday evening above Kings Sutton lock- what it does not show is the hum from the M40 about quarter mile away. sorry about the underlining-its doing it again

Totals to date are now 360 miles , 268 locks, 16 cappuccinos and 7 events. Only a few days left of the trip now- ahaaaaaa.

The 7 events in no order are;-

1.Going up and down the Caen Hill flight- I have just seen that they are currently closed until further notice as a boat has hit a gate and they need to assess the damage- if a gate collapsed when it was holding back a head of water it would be a problem.
2.Going through the Reading Oracle shopping centre when the K&A was still in flood ie we were going against a still strong current.
3.Going along the side of the Avon Valley as we entered Bath in spring time.
4. Steam days seeing Crofton Pumping Station in steam and seeing Tornado go through Great Bedwyn both on the same day.
5. I always wave at passenger trains that pass us and we have been close to the railway during this trip. In April I waved at a train as we came out of Aynho Weir lock. We moored near a boat at Pewsey the owner of which said I saw you wave to the train as I was on that train.
6. Mooring alongside Mike and Dini's GRP boat outside Tesco's at Reading on the Thames. A GRP boater moored near us at Goring had seen it and was amazed.
7. It continues to be the people we have met and talked to all the way along our journey- it really makes the trip so enjoyable and interesting-long may it last as it confirms that the UK is still a great place to live.

The ultimate driving seat!!!! not sure if it was fixed down so could be interesting if you got the boat on the plane.

As we came towards Aynho Weir lock we saw a Black Prince hire boat come out. As they got near they all shouted at us. It was the Atterill tribe from Battle out cruising for a week. They had only mentioned us yesterday when hey presto we appeared. A quick stop and a lovely chat in mid channel. A very pleasant surprise to a great days cruising in glorious sunshine.

The South Oxford canal is famous for its lift bridges. This is No 193 Chisnell Lift Bridge - they all have names but don't know why its called this. Its in a lovely location and just connects two fields.

Somerton Deep lock is at 12ft one of the deepest. The lock cottage like all the others is a private dwelling. This one though has no road access and the property comes with its own boat as the nearest road is about a quarter mile away.

We had to stop again at one of our favourite places- Somerton Meadows where we were greeted by the locals again.

Our first night's stop on the canal was at Thrupp which has a very good community spirit and a great bunch of people. There was a gathering of boat bloggers who met in the Boat Inn on the Saturday evening. They were Sue & Vic nb No Problem, Maffie on nb Millie M, Bones on
nb Bones and Sheila and Bruce on nb Sanity Again . It was great to meet you all and thanks for a very enjoyable evening.

We had decided to go back on the Oxford canal through Oxford and this is the first lock -Isis lock which is the other name for the Thames.

Just a lovely building as we approached Folly bridge on the Thames at Oxford.

As we left our mooring at Sandford lock on the River Thames we passed this 3 storey tuppaware boat it was really tall. I do need to add that narrow boats are also refered to as ditch crawlers which is just as bad as tuppaware boats.

Day68 Sandford on Thames

Friday, 18 June 2010

Day68 Friday- I found the dot in the sky so thst Anne can watch the England game whilst I update the blog.

To date we have now done 329 miles, 248 locks, 48 swing/lift bridges , I have found 16 cappuccino places and 6 events.

The trip back up the Thames has taken 5 nights and the weather has been good to us again although there has been that chilly wind at times. The wildlife has again been excellent with buzzards, red kites, various unidentified raptors and kingfishers. We stopped in mid river to watch one fishing for about 5 minutes - it was brilliant.

Tomorrow we go the final 4 miles to Oxford and then go onto the Oxford canal to do the part through Oxford that we haven't done before. We have always bypassed it via Dukes Cut and the Thames. We really need to do it to tick it off the list. It will be slow with many moored boats and more lift bridges.

We are moored above Sandford lock which is the deepest above Teddington and 3MIAB
went past.

Radley College Rowing Club.

BB moored amongst the "tuppaware" at Abingdon in brilliant warm sunshine. A very friendly boat town.

Salters still operate ferry services along the river in their elegant boats. One of them approaching Abingdon bridge going downriver to Wallingford.

Coming into Abingdon .

We had been recommended to stop above Days lock by Mike and Dini. This is our mooring from which it was a 25 minute walk into Dorchester on Thames- which was well worth the effort it was lovely.

Dorchester Abbey built in 1140 which has a great tea room run by volunteers who serve the most lovely home made cakes- they made £16000 last year which went to local charities.

Rotton Row Dorchester.

A view towards Castle Hill from our mooring above Days Lock.

We moored below Goring lock which has a huge weir arrangement.

Whilst we were moored at Beale Park we took the opportunity to go round the bird sanctuary which was set up by Gilbert Beale who died in 1967 age 99. It is really worth a visit as there are some real surprises, I really like owls and their collection did not disappoint.

A spectacled owl- good name.

I cannot remember the breed but the face and look is just wonderfull.

There is also a great model ship collection of which this is but a small sample.

Day64 Beale Park River Thames

Monday, 14 June 2010

Our mooring tonight looking out of the side hatch - today we did 10 locks and 15 miles.

We left Theale at 09.00 and cruised down to Reading and then stopped at the Tesco right next to the River Thames-its a mere 100yds into the store. The best part of it and to the amazement of the other grp cruisers on the Tesco moorings is that we moored against the side of Mike and Dini's ( friends from Bexhill Sailing Club)lovely grp cruiser Lisendell- I think thats the correct name but apologies if I am wrong. Something thats not done at all!!!! A very pleasant few hours was spent going over each others boats and the telling of various boaty stories.

We left them about 3pm and cruised up river and saw some lovely wildlife- a kingfisher, little grebes, heron, moorhens with chicks and loads of canada geese with all their goslings in creches!

There are also some big cats on this part of the river.

This bowls club is on Fry's Island and can only be reached by the blue ferry- great place.

Anne abandoned ship to enjoy Mike and Dini's grp cruiser- next stop the Med would be nice.

Coming down the last section of the K&A after Blakes Lock we saw this moorhen's nest built on old rubbish - thats recycling in the extreme.

I had time this trip to take a picture going through the Oracle in Reading which shows how narrow it is. Its one way traffic only controlled by traffic lights.

As we left Aldermarston the other day we went through Padworth lock on the K&A which used to have very large barges coming up from Reading - note the size of the bollards.

Day62 Still at Frouds Bridge Marina

Saturday, 12 June 2010

We have spent 5 days in Frouds Bridge Marina which is a really nice and friendly place. We had the engine serviced by Richard Poole Marine Services who did an excellent job. We have also both been back to Fleet for a meeting in connection with Anne's father. The level of care has had to be increased which hopefully will help them through this difficult time with him.

We will leave the marina tomorrow and head for the Thames at Reading. The plan is still to go the short way back to Wigram's via Oxford and the Oxford canal. We will save the lower Grand Union for another day.

We continue to meet boaters that make it part way along the K&A and then decide its not for them and turn round. It is not the easiest of canals - the locks can be difficult, the paddles are hard or are difficult to use unless you lean over the canal- which is not good for the back, the beams are at different heights which makes getting on and off them very awkward and the mooring can be difficult and problematic. There are only about two places that have any armco at all, which is a favourite for narrow boaters from the main system. But and its a big BUT its worth persevering as it does get better from Hungerford onwards. The scenery near Honeystreet,Crofton,Claverton and the Avon Valley going into Bath is just wonderfull.

There are also a lot of wide beams of various types but this is one that actualy looks nice with it.

Just before we came into the Marina we moored near Woolhampton lock and I walked into the village.This is a water fountain erected in 1897 for Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee. Its a listed monument that is due to be restored soon.

Day58 Frouds Bridge Marina

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

We are now in Frouds Bridge Marina which is watched over by this wise old owl carved on an old tree trunk.

Cumulative totals to date are now 283 miles, 225 locks, 42 swing/lift bridges, 15 cappuccinos and 4 events.
(its doing that underlining thing again- but now stopped)

Today we had a really busy day as we did 1 swing bridge, 1 lock, 1mile in 1 hour - time to rest for the rest of the day.
We are in the marina for a few days primarily to get an engine service tomorrow but to also charge the various batteries fully and have a shower where I can stand under it for 10 minutes without worrying about the water.

This was our mooring the other night at Froxfield which is only 500 yards away from the A4.

The scenery on this canal is lovely- this is Dunmill Lock near Hungerford.

This moorhen spent 10 minutes in front of the side hatch cleaning itself and then drying his wings.