Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The shortest day

That’ll be Thursday the 22 nd with a long night either side! As Christmas fast approaches we can look forward to those longer days to soak up the vitamin D when the sun shines. The longest day was back in June.
A thought for the day:- Why does the new year start 9 days later? The shortest day should be the last day of the year in mid winter. Then the longestday would be in mid summer. “Anyone care to suggest the change?” I think it was Julius Caesar in Roman times that set December as the 10 th and last month.
Then along came Pope Gregory to add a few more months. If I had my way Christmas day would then be on January 3 rd . The Chasiann calendar perhaps? With those changes since Christ was born who really knows when his birthday was?
The convoy has reached Market Drayton. It was one of those dull cool grey days to endure the 4 hour trip. The thought of hot soup on board Seyella kept us all going! It was midday when we arrived at the top of the Tyrley locks where we all topped up with water. “Yes, the water supply has been restored here.”
Our journey down the locks was assistedby a good Samaritan with a windlass of his own but no boat! A willing gentleman who enjoys helping boaters through the locks, winter or summer. It was quite late when we all gathered on Seyella to enjoy that hot soup and rolls. Our thanks to Margaret for making the soup for us all.
And now for something completely different. Have you noticed that when charging batteries the voltage has increased to 14.7V. Do not worry. It is because the batteries are cold. I find that they do not deliver so much power in terms of Amp Hours either. Charging twice a day now helps to keep them happy.
Tree n gifts

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Deep mid winter

An icy rope 'cheese' at our mooring
Ooo is he on the way already?
Mind how you go on the white grass!

A top up of water and diesel at Norbury Wharf.
As promised the day warmed a bit with some sunshine as we moved through the deep cuttings and along the embankments of the Shropshire Union. We were well wrapped up and had hot soup on the way. All members of the convoy moved off a bit further north and gathered for refreshments on Seyella just past Knighton. Ann had made some mince pies that went down with the tea. Margaret made chocolate cake which also disappeared!
David Moore's art (c) 1976

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Birthday

It was Facebook that told us that it was Carol's birthday! We had some lovely lamb steaks with mint sauce, roast potatoes and parsnips on board Moore 2 Life. Ann also made a pineapple upside down pudding.

After all that we went for a walk in the sunshine to High bridge and back. Back on board for a cup of tea and a surprise birthday cake for Carol.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A long weekend

Well being retired is like a long weekend off work only better. A boating friend once told me that a bad day on the boat was better than a good day at work. I just mean that we stayed in one place for four days and it happened to include Saturday and Sunday.
We set off from that mooring in the middle of nowhere heading north. The side wind made the bow point northwest! We were the first to arrive at Gnosall to fill up with water. There are two taps here so Rock n Roll got in behind us. There was only just enough room for the three boat convoy so we advised Geoff to grab the first space that we had passed. We backed up into the spaces just by the bridge.
Next day we all got the bus Stafford, a good service here with two an hour. The one we were on got so full that many people were standing. Got some presents, clothes and some lunch before returning to the boat. Geoff moved Seyella up to get water and found a space just before the old railway bridge.
Margaret invited us in for Sunday lunch which was very enjoyable with the wine and mince pies later! Time marched on with us chatting and putting the world to rights that it got dark before we returned to M2L.
The convoy moved off one by one heading for Norbury, not far, only a few miles. We left last as Ann went off to the butcher while the washing machine did its work. Another load got put in for the journey. It took the rest of the day to dry while Ann went off for a long walk with the gang. I finished off writing all those Christmas cards.
Andrew Tidy from Wand Ring Bark gets my vote for offering his services on the Canal & River Trust as a boater rep. There are to be only four boaters to represent our views. I am sure that we all wish him well and can only hope that things will get better.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Moving Onn

I continued to Wheaton Aston while the others stopped at Brewood. I got to the top lock and settled down for the evening & occupied myself with the cooking and walking out with Molly. Next day I waved at Margaret through the window as Seyella passed. Geoff set up the lock and kindly beckoned me to take it. He let me down to head for the water point while setting the lock for himself. We both ended up filling the water tanks and then moving on. I stopped opposite Turners while Geoff continued to Little Onn.
Later after picking up a Tesco order and diesel Rock n Roll passed by to catch up with Seyella. Ann came back to me by bus from Stafford bringing with her a bag full of goodies and a pile of post. Despite doing most of our business on line it is staggering how much paper comes to us to deal with. We have decided to get a Gold Licence for next year so we can go down on the Thames. BW sent us a renewal notice for the standard licence but an attempt to convert it to Gold failed on line. Anyway BW charge £7.50 to use a card. “How silly is that?” Now they will have to process a cheque by hand!
On a walk up to the shop and Post Office we discovered a light dusting of frozen snow. No sign of it down in the cutting surrounded by trees. Backed up to Turners to fill up the diesel tank with 130 litres at 75.9 pence a litre. Then it was full steam ahead to catch up with the convoy at Little Onn.
That evening the ‘gang’ came round to our boat. Last year we were all stuck in ice but now we can move about. “So where to go?” Might have gone down to Stourport but the river may be wild. North then to Market Drayton and maybe later to the Welsh canal. It is Christmas on board, then for us a train from Stafford heading south to see the family.

Friday, December 02, 2011

A single hander

No, not some one with one hand, but a skipper of a boat with no crew on board! It is I because Ann has gone home for a week to do Christmas shopping with our grand children. “Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.” Shakespeare? Ann plans to return on Monday.
A convoy of boats have gathered at Gailey and already the occupants have got together for two evenings in a row! No picture taken but it was good company during these cold winter months. Plans for the next move were made and even arrangements for visitors when we get to the destination.
Geoff suggested getting some hot soup ready for the trip and offered his Thermos flask because I could not find ours. I made the soup and buttered some rolls. It was one of the coldest days even though it was sunny and I was well wrapped up for the four-hour journey. Only two locks to deal with, the one at Gailey and one at Autherley junction. Both George and Geoff were there with the ‘windies’ in their hands to lock the three boats through some time after 10.
Although I had Rock n Roll in front and Seyella behind I still felt lonely on Moore 2 Life without Ann travelling with me on board. I managed to get the soup and rolls down my neck during the trip. Molly was let off at one point but promptly got back on without taking advantage of the grass!
This is a 'library' picture from January just to show the convoy.
Having turned on to the ‘Shroppie’ I was the first to arrive at the moorings past bridge 7 and got the fire going. Then we all gathered on board Seyella for a welcome warm drink of tea and a mince pie to eat! Is this the start of the Christmas season? I see that Derwent6 have already started.