Friday, 19 December 2008

A very Merry Christmas

The festive period is well and truly upon us.

People are getting into the christmas spirit with Job Parties ranging from office 'do's' to disco's on Thames cruisers and theamed dress-up affairs where Henry the Eighth throws a christmas turkey leg across the dance floor for effect.

Our own works 'do' was organised for last Monday which alas, Laura and myself didnt attend due to family commitments. But we heard all about the usual goings on when we all returned to work on be honest, im glad we didnt go

So, We ourselves have been looking forward to our first proper Christmas, off work together.
We have 4 days off ending on Christmas day then back to work Boxing day for 5 days then off again for New Years eve for 5 days........or so we thought.

Yesterday, The management decided to inform Myself and a few others that, due to bad planning they have cancelled my days off on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, and to make matters worse.....its without any compensation!!!!!!!

IM not a happy bunny order to make me feel better and spread a little good news at this time of year it is with Great Pleasure and Happiness that Laura and myself, announce that we are expecting the arrival of our first child this coming July

Mother and Peanut (for that is its size) doing well

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Roy Orbison

Original Post 28/06/08

Day 21

Our original plan for this day was to cruise down to Denham Country Park and find a little spot for 1 final barbie before doing the last 3 and a bit hours back to base camp. The day dawned overcast and very breezey and a few showers accompanied our meanderings through the locks.

At Batchworth we were aided by orange lifejacketed children who were visiting the canal centre and getting instruction on locks and boats....Geoff, one of the staff was telling Nora that when these groups were being shown around the motorboat 'Roger', the question was asked of them what they thought the boat wouldve carried in its hold. Not one of them thought of Coal, Televisions being the favourite guess. I guess not many kids these days have any concept of coal. Funny the way the world changes.

It was about 3pm as we descended Widewater lock and onto the Denham stretch, Looking at the sky we decided to plod on towards the Slough Arm.

At Cowley Peachey juction, my turn was restricted by a boat moored a few feet too close to the opening so a bit of jiggery pokery was needed to complete the swing onto the arm while the boat owners enjoyed the spectacle from the comfort of their chairs on the towpath.

Just over half an hour later saw us at Highline. We decided not to continue up to the winding hole as is our usual thing, but to tie up for a change on the outside of Herbie as Neil and Cath are heading out for the River Wey on sunday and being alongside the bank will be better for them loading up etc.

Our neighbour Lydia waved us in and kindly took the stern rope and we were promptly visited by 3 of her cats who had apparantly been missing their treats due to a lack of Lady Elgar being alongside.
All finally secure and engine shut down and shore line connected saw us relaxing with a chinese takeaway.

All in all it was an excellent trip with fantastic weather. We met some lovely people, maffi and bones by name others just as faces. Visted some excellent pubs and eating places. Enjoyed the drama's of boaters antics and behaviours which although sometimes are frustrating, they are nothing compared to the behaviour of people on our roads, and what may seem like moans by me about folk, are not really moans...just observations on different behaviours, as im sure other folk would observe on our behaviour.

Valuable hands on knowlegde was learned re the boat such as the starter problem and the prop shaft, but even those incidents all added to the enjoyment of the trip and the experience of owning and running your own boat without the need to call on expert help.
These problems were really very minor, the starter problem only being compounded by the fact we were on the Thames and had to shut down the engine at every lock.

Laura's highlights of the trip were the hundreds of baby fowl and animals that all benefitted from her tesco value bread bag, The Blisworth tunnel. Having her hat rescued by the lockie at Brentford and the memory of the Garlic Mushrooms at the Wharf Inn at Fenny Compton.

For me, just being together in our home cruising through varied and changing landscapes is enough. No bad memories and thats for sure.

The log shows the following data
Engine Hours 132
Distance 250miles
Locks 175
2 Tunnels

back to work Wednesday

Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren

Original Post 27/06/08
Day 20
The morning broke dry and lovely. Following a couple of brews we fired up and cast off, Nora working the swing bridge and 1st lock while we kept looking behind us in the hope of seeing a boat coming down behind us who we might share with. Its wasnt to be so we slowly dropped down the heavily locked Hemel Hempstead section and arrived at the santary station at Apsley to take on and drop off fluids.
A boat had decided to chain themselves up to a large portion of the services mooring so we pulled in behind them and in turn took up a portion of the lock mooring. Knowing it would probably be a long fill, I toddled off over the bridge to nip into Sainsburys for a quick top up on supplies. Rather wish I hadnt as it mustve been pension day and the checkout women were more concerned with chatting to each other about Sandra's 30th wedding anniversary than getting me through with my meagre items.
I eventually exited the store and as I crossed the bridge saw 2 motorboats going up in the lock and a couple of boats just exiting the lock above and Nora looking stressed.
Typical, we'd not seen any other traffic all day then it becomes busy just as ive been a bit cheeky and gone shopping while taking on water.
As it happens, it appears no one wished to use the services while Nora had been using them, the two motorboats decamped from the lock and headed on towards the next lock and the two boats coming down started hammering pins into the ground to tie up, so we fired up, packed away the hose and dropped down the lock.
The next lock at apsley mills was obviously in our favour and the two motors had left both gates open, probably re-living old times. I deposited Nora on the starboard side and brought Lady Elgar to a stop on the portside so we could both close a gate each. I then saw a chap emerge at the steps by the bottom gates and could see the roof of his boat just infront of the bottom gates.
Thats gonna get lively when the paddles are raised thought I and as soon as both top gates were shut, this chap began winding. he then darted across to the other paddle and began winding again, wthin seconds two loud crashes occured and I could see both gates bouncing as this chaps boat began to ram into them.
GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME. He very quickly ran back across the gates and down to his boat, then all I could hear was the sound of an engine being rev'd very hard, obviously in an effort to excape from the draw of the gate paddles. Nora then dropped both gate paddles and some normality returned and the chap managed to reverse away from the gates.
Paddles up again and gate eventually open. This chap now placed himself in front of the open gate as I was exiting. The boat was only about a 40 footer at the most and painted in camoflague. He didnt wait for me to clear but came steadly forward. I managed to just get out of the way avaoiding some very nast looking spikes that he had on the front of his Bow, Obviously used for when attacking the Carthaginian fleet.
Once Id got Nora back on board we agreed that he was obviously in a hurry to get somewhere. Apparantly, it was the spikes on the front of his boat that had got trapped in the gates preventing him from being able to reverse away from them.....what a strange fellow.
Unfortunately, no further excitment occured and we made the steady descent sharing the lock work a couple at a time. It was about half four by the time we reached Lady capels lock and our intention to moor opposite the golf course was thwarted by boats there before us so we dropped down into Cassiobury park and eventually tied up just below Iron bridge lock.
Another BBQ was set up rather quickly as the sky was darkening and the wind freshening, and sure enough, just as Nora had watered the plants and I was finishing off caramalising the Lamb chops, the rain began to fall and we shut up shop and settled down to eat while watching series one of Phoenix Nights.A very pleasent days cruising of 6 hours and 19 locks.
We are now within the M25 boundary and already the thought of having to return to work looms.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Original post 26/06/08

Day 19
According to the Log, we started up the Perkins at 11.30am after I had cleaned away the BBQ from the night before and taken down the Sky dish. The weather didnt look at all promising and there were spots of rain in the air.
Sure enough within 10 mins of setting off a couple of very heavy squalls washed everything down and blew everything about. Then out came the sun for a bit and all was calm again.
Just after passing the flour mill a heavy squall hit us again just at the same point as I saw the nose of a narrowboat come into view. The Wendover arm is very narrow and shallow so trying to see through the rain we slowly passed each other and it turned out to be Ralentando who I think we shared leighton lock with a couple of days earlier. A second boat then passed and out came the sun again this time for good although the wind gusted most of the day.
Turned back onto the main line at bulbourne junction and set off towards Cowroast armed with sausage butties for sustanance. We needed to dump rubbish and the Elsan at Cowroast and as we approached the lock I could see a boat in, about to go down. the gate then opened and it appeared that they would wait for us, which is nice, but I signalled my intention to pull over to use the services and saw they understood by the gate slowly closing.
We pulled over and tied up and were approached by the chap going down the lock.....It was our chums from yesterday on Megan, He said he'd wait at the next lock for us so it was with good company that we descended down to Berkhampstead where we waved goodbye as they stopped to visit waitrose. We didnt need the bank any more as we had solved our problem 'online' earlier.
The wind was still giving it large in gusts but the sun shone throughout. A number of large boughs had obviously been brought down in the strong winds but nothing that blocked the canal. We eventually arrived at our destination, Winkwell swing bridge and the Three Horseshoes pub and moored in the pound just a few meters away from where Lady Elgar once had an old willow tree collapse on her back in 1995.
The guide book states that the Three Horseshoes is haunted by two ghosts. A highwayman and an old lady, So after our very excellent meal we repaired to the tack room and sampled some black sheep ale and a pint of broadside. Although Nora was convinced she had her arm tweeked and saw a shadow in a corner (in a shadowey room) no shouts of STAND AND DELIVER disturbed our evening.


original post 25/06/08

Day 18

We departed the Globe in lovely sunshine and in anticipation of the 18 locks ahead of us.

A planned short stop at Tesco in Leighton Buzzard refilled some cupboards and fluid cabinet however the waterpoint proved to be defective. It doesn't take long to leave the town behind and after Grove lock the rolling hills and fields open up again giving excellent veiws over towards Woburn.

We filled the water tank at the top of slapton lock and noticed a boat just entering the lock behind us. Goodie, if they dont stop for water we can share the climb up towards Marsworth.

Sure enough Megan and crew caught us up as we were preparing the next lock and we spent a very pleasent afternoon working the locks together. Im gonna have to start carrying a pen on the back with me so I can write peoples names down, My memory is shocking. Both the chap and lady were lovely people.We waved goodbye to Megan at Marsworth and we carried on up the seven locks to Bulbourne.

Nora steered the flight. Nothing much worthy of note except when I arrived at the third lock it was half empty or half full depending on your point of view.

I saw a couple of people at the top gates of the next lock but saw no activity to suggest anyone was coming down so I raised the paddles and emptied the half lock of water in our favour. I then saw the next lock being emptied so there was something coming down. They had exited their lock and were holding just in front of ours by the time our lock was nearly full. I think the lady on the narrowboat thought we had deliberatly emptied the lock which was in their favour as my hello was returned by the couple on the cabin cruiser but not by the Nb. Sorry folks, but it really was half an half. I still felt guilty though.

No other traffic saw us at Bulbourne and we turned onto the narrow winding Wendover Arm.
At the terminus 4 boats were in the prime positions but one of which was also moored in the winding hole which the wind managed to lay us alongside nicely. Nora managed to push the bows off and we eventually swung round and plonked ourselves in the same spot we had used last October. Nora made a lovely potato salad with scally onions and chives and I offered up the burt offerings to the BBQ Gods.The Wendover really is a lovely little canal and the moorings at little tring farm are fantastic and quiet.Slow speed on the internet here so no picsToday we start the long descent towards home.

Oh yes, MONEY MONEY MONEY. must vist the bank in Berkhampstead later