Friday, 18 December 2009

Some Pics of our Lilian

She is now almost 6mths old.

I think we have been the luckiest parents on the planet.

Since she was 2 mths she sleeps on average 10-11 hours a night when she decided her bedtime was 8pm sometimes 7pm following a busy baby type day.

She has 2 teeth when others older than her by several weeks have none and her only gripe about teething is a few moans during the day when she is in particular discomfort. The rest of the time she spends testing her teeth on the nose and fingers of Laura and her Godmother Lydia.

last month, with the arrival of her first tooth we decided to try her out on solid food, we had read all the books which told us to be patient and not to expect her to take to it straight away but to keep trying.

She gobbled up her first bowl in 1 sitting often grabbing the spoon to try and feed herself.
Its got to change soon surely, when is she going to turn into the baby monster?

Oh the weather outside is frightful

Its time for a few photo's

We have been aboard Amy now for over a month and what differences have we noticed compared to life aboard Lady Elgar.

Well, Our Reflex Diesel stove has been alight since day 1 with only minor turns of the temperature knob to acquire a pleasant heat aboard. No coal bunker to fill up. No coal bags to manhandle on board, No ash pan to empty, no coal dust settling everywhere.

I do miss the flames of a real fire though.

Its now 1am and there is a blizzard blowing outside.

Remember the space we had aboard LE?

This is a pic of a visit from Laura's brother and sister in law

This is our Living room on Amy

Merry Christmas one and all

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A new home

The day of the Launch finally arrived and we were up bright and early. Not as early as we had expected because Lilian decided she was having a lie in and didn't wake up till quarter to eight meaning she had slept for nearly 12hours.

Its typical isn't it, you trust her to be your alarm clock and get you up at her normal time of 6.30am and she lets you over sleep.

Highline had let us know that the crane would arrive at 8am and maneuvers would commence shortly after. We didn't know the pecking order though as two boats had to be returned to the water in addition to ours and i think another 3 had to come out for surveys and blacking.

Neil and cath from Herbie arrived shortly after 8am and together we all hung around the yard waiting for action.
The crane driver was doing various things to his charge including fitting a wind speed monitor to the boom as the day was gusting very strong.

Finally, following what looked to us to be a lovely mug of tea, the driver and staff of Highline swung into action, and ever so gently and with great care each narrowboat was placed back in the water and another was hauled out ready for a hull survey.

It was then the turn of Amy

Once afloat I turned the key in the ignition and the Barrus Shire 40HP engine kicked into life on the first go. A quick check of the stern gland and engine dials and I set off for the winding hole just a short hop along from Highline so I could turn, and then return to the yard to take on some fuel, giving the staff chance to finish their first leg of craning day.

Lilian had long since fallen asleep obviously finding the sight of a huge crane and flying boats not half as exciting as a plastic rattle or a purple squeaky elephant. Our neighbour Lydia once again came to our aid as she had done for our wedding and took Lilian while we sorted ourselves out for the rest of the day. Without her help we would've really struggled to do, even half of what we achieved.

Amy cruised the short distance to the winding hole with ease and I found the tiller very responsive. I managed the turn in one go, and arrived back at Highline to meet Laura and Neil.
One of the downsides to buying Amy is that we would lose our neighbour Herbie. Thankfully they were not going far and had managed to secure a nice little mooring alongside Nb Humbug which is even closer to the car park and whose owner is a really lovely lady. I think they will get on well.

We filled the fuel tank with over 300 litres of diesel, (The heating system is a Reflexs oil burning drip feed stove) and then with the help of Neil, we moved up to our slot and secured Amy in Lady Elgars place.

The rest of the day was spent moving our belongings from LE to Amy and sorting out wiring for phone lines and satellite TV. Got to get your priorities right :)

So far, life on a widebeam is just fine. All crew members doing well and swinging cats.

Our next mission is to finish the move from Lady Elgar then give her a spring clean before she goes up for sale.
That will be a sad day

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Of Mice and Men

The best laid plans etc.

My dream, once I retired from the force was always to sail Emblem round Europe in particular visiting Norway and the Baltic, I thought it was a very good Best Laid Plan, but, My Best Laid Plan went Awry when I met Laura.

So we joined forces and my Best Laid Plan was to retire and then we would cruise the canals of England. My best Laid Plan went Awry when we were blessed with the arrival of Lilian.

My Best Laid Plan was to bring our family up on our narrow boat enjoying our lifestyle and all it had to offer. My best Laid Plan went Awry when we met AMY.

Amy is a 55' x 10'6" barge, She is brand new, spacious, and waiting for us to move aboard.
I think it finally hit home that we were short of space when I had tripped over one of Lilian's chairs for the forth time in one day, and of course, staying in the caravan in Morecambe showed just how much space can be available if the set up is right.

Lady Elgar was my ideal Narrowboat. She was all I ever wanted in a canal boat. A traditional stern, engine room, top spec fit out from a craftsman, a well designed and attractive hull/shell and a boat to be proud of. She has served us well for these last 2 years and it is with some regret that she is now up for sale.

It is with no regret that by Friday, Amy will be our new home.
So, wide beam cruising here we come.
I haven't told laura yet but I aim to take her as far north on the Grand Union as possible, that should be just short of Birmingham before we meet Narrow locks.

Blisworth and Braunston tunnels will be interesting as I understand wide beam boats are supposed to arrange passage with British Waterways so they can make sure no other boats come the opposite way while you are navigating the 14' wide tunnel.
I have never seen a wide beam north of Milton Keynes and according to the guide book, The Grand Union ceases being a wide canal north of Berkhamstead. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

Dare I even say the words....My Best Laid Plan is...............

Will post some pics as soon as we have the green light

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Canals and pretty lights

Friday saw us visiting Laura's Aunt and Uncle in Hest Bank near Morecambe. Their house is almost alongside the Lancaster Canal so we all took a walk along the towpath for an hour or so. The canal here has some splendid views across Morecambe bay over towards the lakes, sadly we neglected to pick up the camera so no shots of our stoll.

There were a couple of boats moored up around Hest Bank visitor moorings, the most unusual of which was a narrowboat with a Turf roof. Im not quite sure of the advantages or disadvantages of having your roof covered in grass but it was certainly a talking point.

That evening we drove down to Blackpool and joined the line of traffic to view the Illuminations.
Lilian as expected slept through them so missed the attraction. Laura did some videoing so at least she'll be able to see them when she is older.

Today we will be tidying up the caravan and packing ready for the long journey home tomorrow morning.

Geoffs top tip of the day,
Dont take photos using flash through windscreen at night

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The Lancashire Witches

My brother and I used to sit around my Great Grandmothers chair in her little bungalow and listen while she told us both the tales of the Witches of Pendle Hill.
Being just small children we used to lap up the stories of Old Mother Demdyke and not so old mother Chattox and their evil deeds in and around Pendle, Whalley and Clitheroe. So yesterday, the three of us set off over the moors and fells of Lancashire on the trail of the witches.

Its a fantastic drive out of Lancaster climbing high up onto the moors with excellent views over the Lune valley and over to the Lake District. Some may call the Lake District Cumbria but to me it has always been and will always be Lancashire.

We then dropped down off the tops into the Forest of Bowland and parked up alongside the Trough of Bowland which is a small shallow river running through the valley which we used to paddle in as children. Lilian had her feed while Laura and I scoffed some of the butties and pies we had prepared for the journey.

From the trough we continued on over to Barley neath the shadow of Pendle Hill. We passed through some lovely little villages, some with tea rooms and all with what appeared from the outside some very welcoming Inns.

Our day finally ended up at Dovestones Reservoir where we finished our rolls and even lashed out on buying a cup of tea each from a snack wagon.

Sadly we saw no signs of any Witches on the way although we did come across a Sheep called keith who advised us against "stopping in these parts"

Highlight of the day for Laura was "being on my honeymoon, sitting in the car out of the wind eating a meat and potato pie drinking a stewed cup of tea watching my husband feed the baby"

Oh yes, she has now decided she doesnt want a widebeam anymore, she now wants an old farm on the side of a moor looking out onto Pendle.....I may have to start working more overtime.
Lancashire really is one of Englands most beautiful counties.

A small brook or Clough pronounced cluff running through Bowland.

Keith the Sheep and a couple of mates warning travellers not to go any further

Pendle Hill


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Not the Slough Canal Festival

I almost got excited a few weeks ago when I was reminded of the approaching Slough Canal festival during the weekend of 12th Sept. I then thankfully remembered that I was getting married that weekend and laura may not appreciate my non attendance.

Originally we were going to have a couple of weeks away on Lady Elgar for our honeymoon due to peanut still depending on her sterilised bottles and not really being old enough to travel abroad, however, we suddenly came up with the idea of doing something a little different and still giving the illusion of going away.

At short notice, I trolled the t'internet and we found a lovely little static caravan right on the seashore of Morecambe bay in Lancashire.
A quick phone call to the owners Audrey and John showed our choice of week was available and all was then booked.

The Caravan is lovely and the view form the front is stunning with superb sunsets, plentiful wading birds to view through binoculars and views across the bay to Fleetwood and the mountains of the lake district. You can even see Blackpool Tower on the far horizon which is all lit up at night as the Illuminations are currently on in that town.

The downside to this caravan is, I was silly enough to compare it internally with what a wide beam boat would be like. Guess what, Laura is now looking at wide beams lol.

heres a few pics of our journey so far

The view from our window

Sleeping beauties

Ready for a grand day out

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Mr & MRS

Friday 11th September finally saw the joining together of Laura and myself in matrimony.

We met family and friends at the registry office in Sutton for the ceremony then progressed onto the Police sports club in Bromley for an evening reception.

The day went very well albeit very quickly which didnt give me enough time to admire my beautiful bride. (she scrubs up nicely)

Our thanks go to family who travelled some distance to be with us, Lauras Aunt and Uncle from Lancaster, My Brother and Sister in law and nieces from Rochdale and Laura's other Uncle,Aunt and cousins from Birmingham.

Special thanks Go to our Neighbours Ian and Lydia from Nb Serendipity for looking after Lilian overnight into saturday. They missed the reception due to horrendous traffic on the motorway giving them a 3 hour journey to Bromley which should only have taken an hour at the most.

Apart from the bride, the most popular attraction was little Lilian who was introduced for the first time to many of her relatives.

A big thank you again to all those who made our day extra special.

heres a few pics

My mum with Lilian

Lauras mum tending lilian

Monday, 13 July 2009


Her timing was perfect. After waiting 9 months with much anticipation, Peanut finally decided to arrive on her expected due date of 8Th July.

Laura woke me at just after 7am and advised me she was going to phone the hospital as she thought it was time. After explaining to them her Labour symptoms they advised her to come in and so we packed the car and headed off to the maternity ward.

By 8am Laura was in the delivery room and so we settled down for what we thought would be a long, and for her , painful day.
The pain was certainly there but just under 6 hours later, Peanut arrived safely.

She weighed in at 8.7 pounds.

Shortly after she was dressed and placed in a cot, we were suddenly brought back to reality as Laura suddenly began to hemorrhage quite badly. The room then filled with 8 people all working away on Laura, making pin cushions out of her arms with injections and various drips and drugs being introduced intravenously into the back of both her hands.

After a little while the Doctors managed to settle Laura down and peace once again returned to our room. Thankfully Laura soon recovered herself and we once again settled down with our new Daughter to see through the rest of the day.

Lilian Rose aka peanut

Laura had to spend a few days in hospital while they made sure she was fully recovered and eventually we made our way back to Lady Elgar and home.

Our neighbour Lydia made sure our return was aptly marked.

Time seems to have flown by in the couple of days we have been at home and we've had to get used to the shortage of sleep and total attention that Lilian needs but we are both very proud and grateful for this gift we have been given