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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Another week passes

Work is progressing on the boat but slowly. Lost a whole day to rain but had a shopping day instead. We finally got John's iPad. He settled on a mini after much deliberation but has had no chance  to use it so far as the signal is so weak here on his network. 02 is even struggling. 
This week's visitors have been rob and pat Mann, Phil and Suzy, Colin and Julie, Fred and  I think that's it. 
Boat painting is a new and challenging experience. Firstly it's a moving target! Every time another boat goes past or someone moves on the boat the whole boat shifts and you have to go with it. We were painting red stripes standing on the gunwales and hanging onto a rope on the canal side! Other problems are dust debris and dead insects. Makes it quite hard to get a nice smooth finish. However , it's already looking much better. Back to work now. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Practical matters

I am writing this in the launderette in pinner!  This is how we roll. Although we have a washing machine on board, things like bedding are difficult to get dry, especially when you look at the week ahead weather wise. But enough of our laundry problems. 
Had a brilliant weekend at the rickmansworth canal festival. I had no idea how big it is. Hard to believe that it's been going for 20 years and for 15!of those I have lived in the area and never been. The canal people certainly know how to party and it would have been rude to not join in. Great to see Hannah and Stephen for drinks and a burger.  Bumped into some old friends (Lynette and her lovely family) and some friends (Helen, Marie and Natasha)from Furneux who made a special trip to see the boat and catch up. 
On Sunday we had our first kids on board. Lots of baby animals to keep them entertained. We were quite surprised and pleased by how much they enjoyed it. 
Lots of priming, painting and polishing to be done on the boat this week. Was hoping for sunshine and warm weather but clearly that was a wish too far. Before and after photos coming soon. In the rickmansworth area for 2weeks now and always ready to welcome visitors especially early evening for a potter up and down. We are moored on the towpath near batch worth lock almost opposite tesco. See you soon:)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


A miserable day weather wise which was brightened up by some memorable wildlife moments. A sky full of swifts by the reservoirs at tring making the most of a swarm of gnats. A duckling stranded in the canal abandoned by its family, which eventually scrambled up the bank and chased after its mother( bad mother!). A heron diving for a fish right in front of the boat. A swan fast asleep on it's nest . Unfortunately too slow with the camera to capture these magic moments but there is a video clip on Facebook of the swifts. One of those occasions though when you really needed to be there. It was like a scene from Hitchcock's The Birds! 
15 or 16 locks today -?lost count. Shoulders aching and soaked but being revived by costa 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

More visitors

Today we welcomed Miriam and John aboard who brought with them a picnic of smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels and a bottle of wine. Very nice too:) pity the weather closed in on us, so not much chugging today. In fact we haven't been very far at all in the last few days but have now decided to head for rickmansworth for the canal festival this weekend. Quite a few locks ahead in the next couple of days.
13th may
Only travelled 6 miles today but 10 locks so feeling a bit tired. We were held up for about an hour by workmen at a lock but somehow it didn't matter. Just put the kettle on and offered them a cuppa.
Now that John has reached 60 he thinks our conversations have become more anal and we call them 60plus chat. Today's 60chat was about the colour taupe. Mainly because John has a pair of taupe socks sold to him by a chap in Cornwall in a "proper" shop in Penzance. it seems that the colour taupe is very hard to define. Try googling it if you are bored:)

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A day in the smoke

We both had appointments back home today and despite allowing loads of time to get there we made each one by the skin off the teeth due to traffic, arrived stressed and found ourselves wondering how people cope with this on a daily basis. Not so long ago this was our daily routine and it is truly not missed. We were longing for the sanctuary of our boat by the end if the day ( not to mention the thought of a couple of drinks at the pub)
Looking forward to welcoming some more guests aboard tomorrow.. John's friends Rob and Paul.. And heading a bit further south. Planning a trip to America at the end of the month and hoping to have the boat in the apsley/kings Langley area so anyone who would like to take a turn keeping an eye on it and/or making use of it would be most appreciated.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Life in Fenny Stratford

A very strange place. What used to be a little village is being swallowed up by the sprawling growth of Milton Keynes. It has a interesting mix of shops- nowhere to buy food, but it does have an enormous gay, transvestite, lesbian bar called Pink Punters, a sex shop, 4more pubs ,2 wool/craft shops and a huge ironmongery, so something to keep us both happy!!
Life in the water is so tranquil. When I was cooking there was a tap on the window. Not so strange you may think but it was on the canal side. 2swans thought my food smelt ok and decided it was feeding time. They kept on tapping until I fed them. There are lots of ducks , geese and swans with young broods. Yesterday I saw 3adult geese with chicks. It looked like 2females and a male. Is this normal behaviour? Or is it just because this is Fenny Stratford:)

Monday, 6 May 2013

You win some...

Marathon day for John. Things didn't go as well as hoped mainly due to a dodgy knee but he is in one piece and very merry as we speak! It was very lovely to welcome aboard a few more guests. Thanks to Sarah and Mollie, Steve and Terri , Fred , Angela and Jim for their support and for sharing a few beers. Hope they all enjoyed a little chug along the canal. Cheers everyone :)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

And on the 8th day.....

We welcomed our first visitor aboard. Nice to see Gill Grocott for a glass of wine, lunch and a gossip. Other than that it was supposed to be a rest day but we found ourselves (John especially) rubbing down paintwork, polishing chrome, t-cutting, rust treating , priming....there is a long list of things to do but we can already see what a difference it will make. We will probably stay around here (Fenny Stratford) for a few more days after the marathon and crack on with the work. Anyone within striking distance is more than welcome to visit. We are moored near the lock. Over the swing bridge and turn left. Ours will be the bright shiny boat :)

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Not such plain sailing!

If anything could have gone wrong today it did! A very strong wind caused a couple of very tricky situations. At one point the boat was at right angles to the bank with John trying to pull it in. Not very elegant but we weathered the storm.
On a more positive note we have met some lovely people, bought fresh lamb from a farm and have arrived in Milton Keynes a full day ahead of schedule. A rest day tomorrow before john's marathon on Monday.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Plain sailing

A beautiful stretch of 23 miles of lock free canal today between Foxton locks and Watford locks. Two quite long tunnels though which are interesting if you meet a boat coming the other way. John avoided a head on collision with a boat coming into the tunnel which hadn't slowed down at all on the tricky approach!
Having an easy day gave us a chance to think about how we would like the boat to look and we have decided to introduce some red to the colour scheme. Quite looking forward to being a bit creative.
Next stop Stoke Bruerne after the Blisworth tunnel which is over a mile and a half long!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Well that was hard work.

1st may
Kilby bridge to Foxton locks. 10miles and 22locks. 8hours
An exhausting day however the flight of 10 locks at the end of the day was not as bad as we were anticipating, given that there is a lock keeper to help a bit. Well earned pint or two at the end of the day.
Although we are happy with the boat internally we have come to realise that it is looking a bit unloved on the outside compared to many of the boats we are passing. It seems that people spend the whole winter getting their post pristine for the boating season. Probably going to spend some time working on it after the marathon before we head north. So we will keep heading south after Milton Keynes.

A beautiful day weather wise. We went from 3layers yesterday down to a t shirt for some of the day today. Sunburnt noses!