Google+ Followers

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Stratford to Shroppy

Stratford was wonderful. The weekend straddled our birthdays and we squeezed in two theatre trips. One to a fringe theatre to see at the Importance of Being Earnest" which was great fun if a little hammed up! The RSC production of "Death of a Salesman" was in a different class altogether. I think I studied this play for O level or maybe A level. Can't remember but perhaps Frankie will have a better memory? 

When we left Stratford it was decided that I  should be doing more of the driving, particularly manoeuvring in and out of locks. So as we left the basin in Stratford the first challenge was a 90 degree turn into a very narrow bridge. That went well and I waited under the bridge while John emptied the lock. Unfortunately the clearance was so tight that the water emptying from the lock made the boat rise enough to knock out the solar lights in the flower boxes. I am firmly of the opinion that every time I take the tiller there is a catastrophe! Even John had to agree that I am jinxed.
Shakespeare's birthplace. 
Kind of Blue in Stratford. 

I would like to pass on a housekeeping tip. Those of you that know me well would agree that I am not a domestic goddess but this discovery was a revelation. You know those milky white marks that you get on some wood surfaces caused by damp heat. We inherited several on the table on the boat (and yes they have been added to) and no amount of polishing has any affect. But one day I was doing my nails and spilled a tiny drop of acetone on said white mark and it seemed to revert to its original colour. So with nothing to lose I poured acetone over all the marks and miraculously the table look like new. Obviously I wouldn't recommend trying this on granny's antiques but it worked for me. A happy accident. 

This weekend we welcomed our first visitors this season so I am passing over to Gill for a few comment:-
"Well second trip to Market Drayton in a week but very different weather and a very different experience.  I love mucking around on boats even when it rains and the b&b is excellent. Good exercise too 
although our locking techniques were a 
bit rusty to start with we made it to the pub in time for tea!"

Quite a few new ducklings this week and some great kingfisher photo opportunities if only the camera was ready !! One day. However here is a photo I have entered into a canal magazine competition. 
Couldn't decide between this one and ...
Hope I chose the right one😊

Well on our way to Liverpool now but taking a few days off for a visit to see my daddy who has been a bit poorly. 

Just a reminder to anyone who follows our travels.  This is our last season in the canals so last chance for anyone to come for a visit. You will be most welcome. Bookings now being taken ! 
That's all for now. 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Gloucester to Stratford on Avon

The week started with just about the worst problem you can get on a boat. A blocked toilet. It has happened before and and it's usually something stuck in the macerator. It's not a pleasant job to take it all apart but relatively easy ( or so I'm told job - I don't get involved!) This time, however, the blockage was somewhere along the pipe from the toilet to the poo tank. After lots of poking with a length of garden hose, we finally shifted whatever it was ( I dread to think) and nervously flushed water through which we could hear going through to the tank. We are still too scared to put anything down which hasn't gone through us first! 
This all happened on the day we were planning to leave Gloucester docks and head up the Severn. As it happened we were delayed anyway by 40mph winds and the white horses re-appeared on the canal. 

One of the great things about this journey is chatting to people along the way and hearing their stories. My favourite one this week came from the lock keeper near Bidford. There is a caravan park opposite the lock which is very prone to flooding. To get insurance the caravans have to be fitted with flotation tanks so the when the river rises, they rise with them. The lock keeper joked that he gets his licence book out and goes round the floating caravans collecting fees. 
This is the lock keepers house. Very unusual and much photographed. In 2006 it flooded up to the top of the sign on the balcony. 

The River Avon is really beautiful. We stopped overnight in some lovely villages and passed some very picturesque spots..
400 year old bridge near Pershore
And another one at Bidford. 
Pretty spot
Spectacular weir
First t shirt day of the year
Off to Liverpool. Got to be there by 6th May. God help us!!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

On the (watery) road again

Actually we have been out of the marina for about a month but still in the Gloucester area. The winter was fine. No really bad weather but at times we were glad of the shelter from the wind and rain. Other than that I would say that marina life did not really suit us. We were lucky with our neighbours on one side ( Dave and Maggie ) who have become great friends but John on the other side was an arse! It took less a day for him to bang on our door to complain about the noise of the central heating and less than a week to register an official complaint about noise. We felt like naughty teenagers. Apparently there is an unwritten rule that heating systems should not be run after 9pm. If we ever forgot to turn it off he would be banging on the door at 3minutes past 9. So not a great start to our stay at Saul and things didn't get much better with no phone signal, intermittent Internet (at extra cost) and feeling very cooped up. 
On a more positive note we had a very different Christmas on the boats with Jamie and Dominique. We bought nearly all the ingredients for Christmas dinner from a farm in Frampton and it was delicious. Hannah came after Boxing Day and learnt to knit!

In January we were dry!! Joined the gym, lost weight, felt fitter. In February we went to Cornwall and Hayling Island, ate and drank loads, put on weight and had a great time!!! Dad turned 80 and we celebrated with the whole family at Warners. Lots of fun. 
This is the whole gang including Laura who made a surprise appearance from America. Lovely to see her:)
In March we explored the Gloucester area and some of the Cotswold towns. John has started training for Ride London in August. His road bike was in Solva in a West Wales (having been lent to his friend Dave) so John hatched a plan to get a lift down there and cycle back. Only 120 miles! I joined him on the second day as back up crew. 
That's all for now but here's a few more photos and a promise to write every week from now on. 
View from bow of boat in the marina. 
Near Slimbridge. 

River Severn at Sharpness
Dave and John jammin
Laura in St. Ives