Sunday, June 29, 2014

Web site updates

Just to let you know that I have updated the Book pages with an edited text and added links to the picture pages.  Also just added a political page with text taken from the book.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spring Watch

Yes I know it is nearly Summer with the longest day next weekend but I came across this in my book.

Near Tixel

The field opposite is full of sheep and lambs, all with their heads down eating breakfast in the morning. Later the lambs were seen gathering together away from their mothers. Like they were going to school and getting to know each other in the playground, pushing, shoving and exploring the field. At one time they were all down at the edge of the canal getting a drink. "Oh, don't fall in please." Mothers and babies have numbers painted on their woolly coats so they know who belongs to whom! After their adventures in late afternoon all the lambs were running around bleating and looking for their mums. If they went to the wrong mum they were pushed away. Eventually they all settled down for the night together again as families.

We enjoyed watching Spring Watch on the BBC having recorded the programs earlier. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer 2006

Here is an extract from our book/blog when we were travelling with Sue n Vic on the river Nene.

Sweltering heat
Over the weekend we enjoyed the sunshine with temperatures in the 30s. The willow trees have been producing a lot of seed that float down like fluffy snow and the boats are getting covered. A lot of spiders have been making their webs, which have captured the seed as well as flies. Tables, chairs and sun brollies have been out on the grass for several days. Sitting out for an hour or so, especially in the afternoon or evening when the sun has gone behind the trees.

Keep Britain tidy?
We had enjoyed a very hot weekend when many boaters were out and about. There were BBQ's, children in small boats, and swimming in the river. The countryside and nature provide a place to relax. BUT after the invasion we were upset to find so much left behind with bags of rubbish and BBQ trays thrown into the bushes. A black burnt patch where the BBQ lay on the grass and uneaten crusts of bread left for the dogs to find. The Environment Agency do not seem to provide any means of proper disposal at their moorings.

Fotheringhay Castle
We arrived here and moored at the castle mound. A local farmer owns the site and charged us to stay. Fotheringhay Castle is no more than a hill with the remains of a moat round it. The first Earl of Northampton originally built it in 1100. Richard the third was born here in 1451, made himself king in 1483 but was killed in battle at Bosworth in 1485. When the Queen of Scots abdicated she was incarcerated here in 1567 and had planted Scottish Thistles that are still growing here! She was seen as the figurehead of the English Catholics and executed here by Queen Elizabeth the first in 1587.

Boating gave us the opportunity to travel, meet people and learn some history of places we visited.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

'D' Day Dad

My father was the Navigator on board HMS Argonaut in 1944.
He was one of the first to know the date of 'D' Day when he sent this Top Secret 'Chit' to key Officers.

This is his story:-

HMS ARGONAUT - Our Task in the Invasion off GOLD Beach

On D-Day 1944 I was aged 27 and Navigating Officer of a fast modern cruiser, HMS ARGONAUT, armed with a powerful battery of eight 5.25-inch dual-purpose (air or surface) guns. At 0515 as dawn broke we reached our allocated position as one of a line of 35 Allied cruisers, battleships and monitors, each of which had been tasked with putting out of action one German coastal battery. We were tensed up expecting a hail of enemy fire but to our surprise all was quiet, we anchored and I fixed the position of the ship. Another surprise was that our spotting Spitfire circling over our battery reported no sign of activity. However it was not long before the next cruiser to us, HMS AJAX, asked for our assistance in knocking out the German Naval Battery on the cliffs at Longues-sur-Mer. This consisted of four 6-inch guns in massive concrete emplacements. History records that AJAX and ARGONAUT fired 179 shells at the battery, scoring direct hits on two of the guns and finally silencing it by 0845. This was the only German heavy battery to return the attacking ships' fire on D-Day. Too huge to demolish it remains there to this day, and photos of it have appeared in the recent flood of D-Day media coverage.

There were further calls for fire from our forward army observers on shore or from Spitfire spotters. We moved about off the Normandy coast for a further 4 weeks, firing a total of 4,395 shells at enemy targets. We re-ammunitioned once in Portsmouth, but by the end our guns were so worn that they all had to be replaced before our next operation which was in support of the landings in the South of France on 15 August 1944. The Germans admitted that the cruisers' fire was very effective, e.g. on one occasion we destroyed Tiger tanks about 10 miles inland.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Wildlife Garden

This cheeky squirrel is called 'Fluffy'.  It actually got up the bird pole which was meant to stop the rodent!  We have many other visitors to our garden.  There are two jays, two great spotted woodpeckers, two pigeons that Molly chases off, crows, rooks, magpies and a multitude of song birds.  A robin is often on the ground after we have done the weeding.

Their food is now on our Tesco favourite list!

New Forest

We drove out through Beaulieu to Hatchet Pond.  The deep lake was dug out in the 18 th century to serve an Iron Works.
There were some swans and ducks on the water, not seen by us since leaving our boat on the inland waterways.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

EMail scams

If you have received an email which appears to be from us that has a link to a private message do not click on the link.  If you do you had better change your password, I have been caught twice and changed my password twice.  You may find lots of strange messages in your Sent Mail and Inbox.  Delete them all.  Reduce your contact list to a minimum because they may get this scam as well!