Thursday, April 26, 2012

Somewhere different

I have moved down south to stay a while in Gosport with my brother.  Ann is looking after herself, Molly and the boat.

This is a Victorian Post box outside Gosport Station.  Queen Victoria passed this way when travelling to the Isle of Wight.  I first saw it in the 1960's.


Went across Portsmouth Harbour on the Gosport Ferry to see the Victory.

The Spinnaker Tower as seen from Gun Wharf in Portsmouth.

A lot of military land has been opened up to the public since I haunted this part of the world!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It all happened at Great Haywood

We moved on all the way to Tixall Wide in sunshine then it rained!  We found a space amongst the boats and stayed the night while the wind blew.  We had appointments with the Hygienist and Dentist so went in to find a mooring OK.  My Doctor wants me to get a blood test but the surgery won’t do it without seeing him so I make plans to go ‘home’.
A large Union flag was flying above a boat called Plum.  Dave and his wife sell and fit Solar panels from the boat.  “Solar Afloat” can be found at www . solarafloat . co . uk.  They provide a range of regulators and make and fit their own mounting kits.  We were impressed with a demonstration on Plum.  Our two panels are just about working but really need replacing after 6 years of use.  I have convinced myself that they are good for the batteries when the sun shines.  The new panels are more efficient and cheaper these days and can supply more than just a ‘trickle charge’.  Unfortunately it has rained most days so the framework cannot yet be screwed and glued to the roof.
It was while we were getting water and diesel when Ann fell in the canal!  She had the rope in hand and wrapped round a bollard when it slipped off.  The boat was still moving and pulled her in.  I ran to the front to help her out but could not do it.  We both shouted for help.  Two men came from somewhere to pull her out and secured the boat as it was drifting away in the breeze!  Ann got on the boat, handed me the wet phone and went in for a hot shower.  I put the kettle on for a warming cup of tea.  I quickly took the phone apart to dry off.  Back off, battery and sim card out and all available apertures open.  The camera lens was misty so not much hope for survival after drowning.
One of the men was from the boat yard and proceeded to fill our diesel tank at 89p/l allowing a declaration of 0% because we planned to stay a while.  Ann has recovered well after that hot shower and a full set of dry clothes.  She rinsed out her mouth before drinking the tea.  She has a few bruises.  We are now back out at Tixall Wide.
We will be going into Stafford to sort the phone out and for Chas to catch the train on Monday.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We have moved on

Ann came back to me on the boat. I planned to provide the dinner after we both went shopping for supplies. On the way back we spotted our friends on Day Dreamer from Market Drayton. They were getting their diesel tank filled and on their way back home. Continuing back to our boat we passed Jandai. Sorry we did not make contact but time was against us and we were hungry. It is one of those times when things do not work out.

In the morning we cut off all the roots and moved the boat backwards through the lock to get water. Then it was full steam ahead to move down the Shroppie, turn left at the end and finally stop after five hours. It was while we were on our way when we got a message from Vanessa back at Wheaton Aston wondering where we were! “Just bad timing again!”

Our first journey together again was mainly in sunshine but ended at Moat House Bridge on the Staff. n Worc. The clouds had gathered, the air turned cold and it had started to rain. We stayed there a day while it continued to rain all day. Time to catch up with news from home, deal with a mountain of post and place an order with Tesco.

We continued to Gaily next day to receive the delivery. The location triggered memories of our long stay here when we had been stuck in ice with Rock n Roll and Seyella. These were the same two boats with Carol, George, Margaret and Geoff who we had spent this winter with.

Next move was to Penkridge where we celebrated Ann’s birthday.
Breakfast in bed while opening all those cards.
Then it was off to The Boat for lunch.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Easter week

I have been walking round a field with Molly getting her to run after sticks. I think about what my web site should look like. Then I have to learn how to tell the computer how to display what I want. The idea came in a flash but changing the code will take a while. Is it a sort of translation of intelligence? After it had rained on another day I was out again when some bloke told me to get off the field. The field is for livestock and I should have Molly on a lead and keep to the path.

It was wet and windy on Wednesday so we did not go out till late afternoon. Needless to say we walked to the next bridge along the towpath. No cyclists, fishermen or farmers to spoil the walk. The boat is hanging on to the ropes sheltered partly by a tall hedge. I had to wash the side after the storm because it was covered in green stuff off the hedge. The trees were loosing twigs and branches. Some trees elsewhere were being blown across the canal.

The Holy Day approaches and the queues at the lock grow to two or three. All unknown to me and no friendly faces! Such a shame that the weather changed so they all have to wrap up to explore the waterways.

Latest news is that the waterways have nearly been privatized to become the ‘Canal and River Trust’ with charitable status. So lets all look forward to seeing green shoots of prosperity after we have celebrated Easter.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Bits and pieces

We took the bus to Stafford to collect the train tickets.
It was wonderful to walk through the park from the station to the shops. The gardens were so colourful.
The local pond has almost dried up here in the field where I go walkabout with Molly. Seems that the rivers are getting low as well. Thankfully, at the moment, the Shropshire Union canal is full.
Where ever you are make sure that the lock below you is shut with all the paddles closed. I keep notes in my diary when it rains. On average it has rained on 2 or 3 days each month since 2010. So perhaps we are using more water now? During that brief hot spell in March the temperature in the front cratch went from freezing to boiling in one day! A huge range that made the boat groan and creek as it cooled down in the evening.

Much time and effort is being spent updating and reformatting our web site. I have done most of the navigable Rivers and included the Weaver.

Don’t panic for fuel over Easter holy days. Celebrate the new life that spring brings us with an egg for breakfast.