Saturday, October 28, 2006

Returned home.

Well - isn't it great just to get away for a while! I was only out for 5 days but thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. A very interesting trip down the Grand Union to Norton Junction and back home again. The weather ranged from glorious sunshine to freezing cold, flat calm to howling gale and pouring rain thrown in for good measure! I have attached a picture above of us passing a Willow Wren hire boat with a somewhat over-animated group of kids dancing on the roof who then decided to spit atthe ducks and throw the centre rope over the side of the boat in an attempt to hit the ducks with it! According to Willow Wren, it was a party of school children who had been told not to climb on the roof while the boat was under-way!?

One of the most memorbale occasions was the lady we met at Hillmorton locks. A boat had just risen and left the locks and so I positioned the boat to use their water downhill. My father went ahead to be ready for me only to be met by a large woman who insisted that this was HER lock. My father looked around thinking we must have queue jumped but the only boat around was one at the bottom of the lock waiting to come up. A BW engineer was present so my father looked across to him and calmly said, 'have I missed something here?' to which he smiled and replied, 'no, you haven't missed a thing!' The BW engineer then attempted to explain tot he lady how the boat whose favour the lock is in has right of way rather than whoever gets there first! My father then overheard her saying that they were complete novices! - what blind ignorance to be so adamant that you are right when you know nothing and how about an apology once she had been explained too?

A little later on, we were approaching a narrow section and clearly had the right of way as we were almost into it, when an approaching boat manouvered himself out into the middle of the cut to push through - being polite, we backed out and let him through which caused the wind to catch us and we then had a hard struggle to re-gain control of our 55 foot vessel while the old codger on the 30 foot vessel that had pushed through simply sailed on by smiling at us - even a man working on his moored boat who saw the whole thing simply threw his hands up in the air in dismay as we looked back at him!

Is it me, or are there more and more people coming onto the waterways who haven't got a clue and why oh why does the ignorant rudeness of the shore based world have to be rapidly spreading like a disease onto the waterways?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Off for a week!

Well,half term is here at last and tomorrow morning, I, and Simba are travelling south to Hampshire to help my brother move house and decorate. I hope to return by Tuesday and then plan a trip for the rest of the week down the Grand Union Canal as far as I get!

While I'm away, visit the 'Save our Waterways' websiteand write to your local MP on our behalf to insist that boaters don't have to subsidise for the serious cuts British Waterways have had in their grants in order to pay for the fines ocurred by DEFRA due to their complete incompetence.
Visit the website at

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weekend trip

Just returned again from another good weekend away. Left yesterday morning and got up to Battlefield for a lovely evening.So dark, last night with plenty of owls hooting to listen to as I drifted off to sleep. The wind was not kind to me on th ereturn journey this week and a howling gale as I entered the marina meant a hard fight to prevent myself being blown against the bank or worse - broadside on other boats.
I have posted a couple of pictures of an Ashby boat 'moored' up at Battlefield. He was hogging several good spaces with mooring ropes stretching offseveral metres long in an attempt to reach a ring which meant the bow was slewing out across the cut every time anyone went past. The stern mooring was even more funny as that picture shows! I watched the hirer return with his family and, after much banging and crashing, running and shouting, they eventually cast off and continued their cruise, less than a few yards in front of a passing boat which caused them to slam hard astern to avoid a collision - why oh why!?

Anyway, last weekend away before my trip down the Grand Union in just over a weeks time.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

That time of year again.

Well, it's that time of year again! The stove has been lit most evenings and although I haven't yet left it burring 24/7, it has been a most welcome and cosy focus in the evenings. I can't imagine those boats who don't have a solid fuel stove - what's a little mess for the warmth and cosiness it gives off?

Just returned from a weekend up at Battlefield again. I was very unsure on Saturday wether to go or not but I'm most glad I did now. The trip up was lovely with the warmth of the sunshine on my back and only the sound of the birds over the hum of the engine. Last night was lovely with a full moon casting eery shadows through the trees that lined both sides of my mooring. In fact, I didn't even need a torch for the late night dog walk at 11.00pm. The return journey started off warm and calm but gradually got colder and more windy as I approached the marina making me dread the awkward turns into my pontoon, however, the weather was kind and as I turned into the entrance and began the reverse back up to my pontoon, the wind died down allowing me to dock relatively easily. I now sit typing this, with the wind, once again, rocking me from side to side!

Only 2 weeks to half term. I have promised my brother some time at the early stages of the week to help him move house so my travels won't begin until Monday or Tuesday but I then plan to go down the Grand Union as far as I can before returning. I don't plan on going down far but would like to break some new territory and 'believe it or not' have never really explored much of the Grand Union, the Oxford being my preferred option South usually.

Ah well - who knows, may be I'll get a few more weekend trips in before the weather properly prohibits me getting in or out!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Weekend news

Well, Saturday morning and the sun was shining, Steve, Julia and James were up on NB Even Balance so we all left at about mid-day and headed up towards Battlefield. The rain just about held off with a few showers as we arrived but the sun was shining so much as I left Hinckley that I spotted this little terrapin sun bathing on a branch beside the canal. Enjoyed a very pleasant weekend and returned back this afternoon in torrential rain, thunder and flashes of lightening! At least the wind was kind and dropped in time for my return to the marina. Spent the rest of the afternoon, hoovering, ironing, taking on water and school work.

Oh, I did fill up with diesel and get a bag of coal from our local working boat 'Ghostly Hill' just as it was getting dark on Saturday evening.