Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 is history

Here's wishing all our readers a happy  and enjoyable 2017.

Molly had some teeth out after Christmas and is recovering well.

Chas enjoyed his 75th birthday party with family round for a roast beef lunch.

Yet another mole met its end underground.

Many upgrades for next year.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Christmas & New Year

We got the tree decorated
 and Ann did some baking
Mince pie any one?  Slice of cake then?

A few days ago we watched Mary Berry make a fish pie.  We made one for ourselves and it was delicious with the wine!

We are having Venison for Christmas!  Got some ideas off the internet on how to cook it.  Red wine and some herbs browned off in the pan and left to marinate in the pot over night.  Slow cook all morning while roasting spuds and steaming veg.  Ann made the pudding a while ago using her well tried recipe.  That will go down well with Brandy butter for me and dairy free ice cream for Ann.

It is Christmas Eve and we wish all our readers a happy Christmas and hope you all enjoy some time with family and friends to the end of the year.  Hope to see you in the New.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Tree and another mole

This is the one I decorated on line.  Not done a real one yet!
We looked out the window to see yet another hill of earth made by another mole!  The Forest Pest Control man has been contacted again.

Had an email from Yahoo.  I had completely forgot that for some reason I had an account with them.  They gave me a code to log in and change my password.  I never had setup an email with them.  Not happy to know that they had been hacked.  We must all be careful what we put up on the internet.  I decided to delete that account.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter cheer

Our dear molie is no more.  Time now to be spent repairing the damage caused.

This snowperson is here to brighten the dull grey winter days.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The garden pest

Molie has moved up to new territory.  Andy our pest controller visits every other day to re position the traps.  It usually takes about a week to resolve the problem.
 The Winter Jasmine is turning yellow with its flowers.  A welcome sight from our front window.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Un welcome Pest

They appeared in our garden several months ago.  Mole hills.
At first I just flattened them and spread the earth thinly over the ground. Just one or two in the flower bed.  Then they were in the lawn!  The ground became soft with tunnels below the surface.  Having spent many an hour digging out the weeds and reseeding patches it is sad to see the state of  the lawn now.

A mole catcher has set a few traps.  He said there could be only one mole in our garden.  It is surprising how such a little molie can do so much damage!  It may take a week to catch the little beast.

Monday, October 31, 2016

A walk in the Forest

As my mum would say, to see the autumn tints.
 At Dibden
and Kings Hat
But even at the end of October we are a bit early down south!  The leaves are falling and no doubt clogging your prop!

Monday, October 24, 2016

A visit to Portsmouth

 The big grey boats have been active escorting that Russian convoy through the English channel.
 The Mary Rose was built for Henry VIII in Portsmouth.  She was heavily modernised and sank outside the harbour during a battle with the invading French.
Here we are on the deck of HMS Victory.

The historic Dockyard is very well worth a visit.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Waterway finance?

I am a member of NABO.  A group of volunteers who represent boat owners at meetings with CRT.
Their latest News booklet includes a report by Stella Ridgway about the CRT Annual Report.  I wonder what the charity is doing with their income.

Apparently the total income was £188.7m.  Some of that comes from DEFRA, Boating and Property Investment.  Us boaters paid £42.4m.

Strangely it cost the charity £39.4m to raise funds!   Charitable giving alone cost 1.1m.  Apparently it cost £7.20 for every £5 given! What is the point of that?

Trustees do not get paid but get expenses to the tune of £19,897.  Richard Parry was paid £189,847, Stuart Mills got £207,161 and redundancy payments were a whopping £870,000.

Rubbish disposal costs CRT £1.2m every year!  Not all rubbish provided by boaters.

Finance it seems is a subject that can pull wool over ones eyes!  However the proof is in the pudding.  The charity has to maintain Navigation of the waterways.  That is their task.  As we boaters know the system is falling apart rapidly.  Vegetation is growing faster than contractors can cut it back!  The lock equipment is not being repaired quickly enough.

It is no wonder that that there has been less boat movement on various canals.  The Oxford canal in particular has become overgrown in many places.  I wonder if I will be able to get the boat out of the marina next year!

The latest news is that local councils are considering charging rates if your boat is your only residence if you stay too long in one place.  Even if you are in a marina.  CRT are considering relaxing the 'Continuous Cruising' rules if you have children going to school!  What then about going to work!

Sadly our boat is closed down for the winter.  Diesel tank filled and water tank emptied.  We hope to visit at least once a month to stay 'rough camping' for a few days during the winter months.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Winter works

While my brother was on board he went with Ann to see the Morris Men and Women dancing in the Banbury street.
This paddle at Broadmoor lock has been broken for many months. We saw it again while walking round with Molly.
October has been kind to us while on the move but it has been a bit cold in the mornings and evenings.  Now it is time to prepare for the winter months.  Just filled the diesel tank @ 70 pence a litre, zero rate.  Moore To Life only needs 0.7 litres an hour for the engine or heater so we are pleased with that.  Next thing to do is empty the water tank and get air in the pipes.

Then it is short visits each month till the spring.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

On the boat again

This time Brod met us on the boat at Cropredy.
Heading south and stopped below Bourton lock
As you see we found the 'Fine Lady' by Banbury Cross and Brod spotted the frog!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Our Heavenly Earth

We are explorers and have discovered the world that we live on.  As explorers we have sent out scouts to discover other worlds in the space beyond our blue sky.

So far we have found nothing out there that can keep us alive without protection.  Some of our human scouts have gone as far as the moon and back. Others have stayed longer on an orbiting space station.   We begin to realise that our long evolution on earth makes us vulnerable above the protection of that blue sky.

Our latest scouts, Rosetta and Philae, have just ended their robotic mission.  They sent back data and pictures to study and admire.  But it seems no life was found on that lump of rock.  Even though the building blocks for life exist out there beyond our blue sky.

Only our earth, it seems, has provided that blue sky protection for us to live under.  Let us do all we can to protect the earth so that we can continue to live in it's protection.

Monday, September 12, 2016


We met friends at Titchfield Mill for lunch on Sunday. Then walked through the quaint old village and found a stream for Molly to swim in.  May well have been a canal?

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Back down Claydon

We turned round by the pub and headed down the Claydon locks after a day of rain.
Here we are waiting in the queue of two in front at the top lock.
It was slow going because both boats in front were single handed! But at least they were helpful with Ann sharing the work.  Many boats coming up as well.
No TV signal at the bottom so we got on line to see the end of the F1 racing and Bake off.

Getting 'on line' to watch TV is a new skill to learn.  I had to register and log on to Channel 4 to watch the F1 race.  My account with them even knows my home address!  The iPad refused to run the selected program because it lacked some essential facility.  I am collecting specific Apps on the iPad to get the various TV channels either live or 'catch up'.  OK on the Mac without Apps once I had logged back on to C4!  The screen is bigger anyway and my head hurts after all that!

I have a 'smart phone' now to get on line by making it a 'Personal Hotspot'. I have nearly abandoned the use of the 'Osprey' MyFi dongle because I only use it on the boat, not at home. Not worth the  monthly expense when we are not on board!

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Company to Fenny

 We are pleased with the pram canopy made by A J Canopies Ltd from Braunston
 Our sister in law Ann came to stay on board and we headed up to Fenny.
The moorings filled up after we arrived on Friday.  Went off for a meal at the Wharf Inn.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Fairport, Cropredy

Our friends Terry n Myra came to visit us on board and we all walked the canal and through the village. All still very busy and full of people. One food outlet was serving up Buffalo burgers and ice-cream from the farm at Napton. The two pubs were serving food from their gardens, no tables inside.

Narrowboats were mored 'nose to tail' for miles either side of the village. Broadmore lock had been under repair with the navigation closed for a morning. Not sure what CRT had achieved because we saw that the failed paddle had not been fixed! Consequently the queue of boats took a while to get through either way.

Radio Oxford broadcast the music from Cropredy during Saturday evening so we were able to get a flavour of the convention from the outside.

Meanwhile Great Britain were doing very well at the Rio Olympics having gained 10 gold, 13 silver and 7 bronze by Saturday. Apparently more expected later.

On Sunday we drove down to Banbury early to meet our friends once again. After a walk round Spiceball park we had a drink and parted company. On our way back the traffic was 'nose to tail' between Cropredy and Banbury leaving the show site. It is all quiet now as the village gets back to normal. Many boaters are also leaving and getting diesel from the marina.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fairport, Cropredy

We had a walk round to the shop. Just so much happening on the first day.
 The campsite is in the field on the other side of the river Cherwell
The shop is well stocked up for the event
Many of the villagers were providing food and drink during the day

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Never mind the depth, feel the width!

I have traveled down the Oxford canal from Cropredy to Banbury and back during July and August.  Due to many boats moored I was obliged to get too close to the offside vegetation as a moving boat came towards me.

Unfortunately a hard branch conspired to scratch the boats paintwork. There seems to be too much vegetation that desperately needs cutting back.  Not only causing damage to boat paint but blocking the view at corners and bridges.
What ever happened to the 'Veg Pledge' previously made by British Waterways and now presumably  the Navigation Charity 'Canal And River Trust'. 

Monday, August 01, 2016

Visitors at Banbury

 Rosie and Jim now have a place on board.
 Then John and Jean stopped for a chat.  And we admired each others 'new' boats!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

In Banbury

So we got to Banbury went for a walk round the park with Molly and set about altering things inside and outside the boat.  There will always be something to do to make things easy on a boat!
 Next to the park
Stick on registration numbers make the boat 'legal'. C&RT insisted because like cars they will soon not send out the disk to stick in the window.

Ann later spotted 'Rock n Roll' here at Banbury.

Got Instagram on the ipad.  Cannot quite get my head round how to publish a picture!  Will have to ask my grandson!  It is another way to keep in touch with family.  Facebook is the other!

When our TV fails to display a picture we can now watch the TV on that ipad using our 4GEE dongle.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Back to the boat for a trip out

We got away from home down south and headed north on the A34.  It took a bit longer due a 15 minute stand still among the cars and lorries.  The time parked there seemed much longer due to not knowing the cause and not moving.  Eventually we passed, single file, the police and road repair site.  Another delay to our journey was caused when the road to Cropredy was closed off the M40!  'Tom Tom' recalculated the route and we eventually arrived later than usual.
Stopped at the "Bridge Store' for a few provisions.
Moore to Life was woken up on arrival at the marina.  We unpacked the car and put the kettle on for a refreshing cuppa.  We were too tired to consider moving out that day and resolved to get away the next day.

We moved out as planned and headed south.  Another problem was that Slat Mill lock was to be closed for inspection so we needed to get past that.  The moorings through Cropredy were already occupied by boats ready for the 'music festival' due in August!  It was almost single file due to the considerable over growth.  What ever happened to the 'Veg Pledge'?

Then we just had to stop because NB Derwent 6  was spotted ahead.  Del and Al came on board for a drink and chat.  Then it started to rain!  Must get going with wet gear on to pass that lock.  But first a quick snack!
The canal trust were already making preparations at the lock and  told us that no less than two paddles were to be repaired!  On at each end.  If another had failed then the navigation would have been closed!

Got all the way to Banbury as the rain cleared and we walked round Spiceball park.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Music in Hythe

Went down to the village to listen in the sunshine.
 New Forest  Meddlers Morris Dancers
And the Hythe Ukulele Group

Thursday, July 07, 2016

The Garden

It had grown up while we were away.  I have cut the grass and pulled a mountain of weeds out.  You can see it in the background!
My poor roses were hidden and needed a good trim.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


We have a few more days on board so returned to the marina for diesel and use their washing machine! 
 Then moved out to stay at Cropredy for a few days.  Better for walks to the shop and going off with Molly.
 In the river Cherwell
Ann saw these Poppies on the Grand Union when seeing the launch of No Problem-XL

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Are we IN or OUT

One good thing about all the political activity is that the general public have been stimulated!

If we leave or stay we will need to be more proactive.  Let our elected representatives know what we want.  Above all do not waste your vote.  It is your democratic right.

We are told it will be a close call and I will be a bit more surprised if the result is out.  It does depend on your personal view and how you are affected by the law.

The Government offer advice about many aspects of life but many can choose to ignore it.

This month we have had politicians and footballers on our TV screens and not much else!  Roll on the anticlimax of next month when a normal service may return!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Things to do and done

When Ann returned to me we had a meal in the Wharf Inn. Well worth a visit for food and provisions from their small shop. As we do not have a washing machine on board we take note when we find one near the canal. The Wharf Inn has one.

All work done to Ann's satisfaction regarding the minor/major refit. Not much really but it means a lot to us. Roy Freeman at Fenny Compton did us proud. I had done most of the varnishing while Ann was away.

Next day we moved down to Cropredy marina taking all of two days to get there slowly. We took advantage of the washing machine and got all the laundry done at 40 degrees. Much cleaner than at 30 degrees. Topped up our large water tank and disposed of the 'unwanted'.

What ever has happened to this years summer so far? Just too much rain and some thunder with it. Sitting out on the back deck while the sun shines and keeping an eye on those large dark clouds coming our way. Then the wind cooled us down and we went inside to ride out the storm.

Next day it was dry n warm so we drove the car to Banbury. Yes, after those few months the car started OK. Off to get things from BnQ and book an MOT at Halfords.

By now we had had enough of the marina. So off we went towards Banbury by boat. Stopping short at Bourton Lock in sunshine.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A walk every day

Molly is still taking me for walks.  Today we got to see a Butterfly field, but did not see any flutter by!

Monday, June 06, 2016

A walk in the sunshine

At last those dull grey clouds have given way to the blue sky and the hot sun.  During my stay at Fenny Compton Molly takes me for a walk to the 'Tunnel'.
 Bridge 137A

What happened to the 'Veg Pledge' ?  The 'Tunnel' is quite restrictive even with it's roof off!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Canal problems

I find it a bit depressing to read in 'Narrowboat world' about too many waterway problems.  Several canals are closed, Aston, Macclesfield and Rochdale to name a few.  And now Peel Holdings are going to charge £40 to use the Bridgewater!

I was also concerned about the 'Braunston Stink' !  The elsan disposal facilities are often blocked there.

The use of our waterways require respect and support from boaters and CART. I find it incredible that CART have actually got to teach us boaters some manners!

Where there is a will there is a way.

Meanwhile I do so enjoy the way of life traveling the waterways again after a few years back on the bank.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

More room

There is less space in a narrowboat than in a land based property!  So to make more room in the boat you need cupboards and shelves!  We asked Roy Freeman at Fenny Compton marina to help.  We had found his card back at Cropredy and have seen his work fitting out a boat. Excellent quality.
This cupboard is in the galley, another is in the bathroom and we now have a few shelves in existing cupboards.  So when I have varnished it all much stuff can be put away out of sight!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Up on the summit

Moving on down the South Oxford proved to be an obstacle course at bridge 107! The canal has a double bend to get under the straight road. Unbelievably a boater had moored on one of the blind bends! Room only for one boat to pass and of course another boat came round the bend. Toot, toot and instant reverse. We never hit and a lady popped her head out of the side door and just smiled! I had to ignore her, otherwise I would have said something nasty! As we continued under the bridge several other boats were traveling through so we warned them about the obstruction.

Going up the Napton flight the next day was enjoyable during the sunny day with several boats going up n down. We stopped at the mast eventually. You know, it is in front of you as you get on the summit at Marston Doles. It is not that far away but the canal twists and turns so much that it take ages to get there! At least our TV reception was perfect there.

Next day we stopped for water at The Wharf Inn. They have a small shop for provisions and a laundry worth stopping for.
Now we are waiting outside Fenny Compton marina for a minor refit. Having lived on the boat now for 35 days we need more cupboards and shelves and a cross bed.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Down to Braunston

As we passed Del n Al we took pictures of each other!  We were all pleased with each other to be back on the waterways.

We moved on through the bent Braunston tunnel, following a slow coach to the locks and hoping to get help on the way down. The skipper of the boat was a single hander but quite agile. Several boats were on the way up with help from a volunteer. Then near the bottom another volunteer lent a hand.

Found a space to more by Butcher's bridge as Braunston filled up during the day. Getting TV is a bit of a lottery and our reception was touch and go. At least the phones were better than they were at Crick.

We decided next day to get the bus into Daventry. Number 12 it is and you get it up at the church. Luckily we were able to catch the 9:40. A completely different route now. It does not pass the entrance to the marina. To return you get the Number 12 every 2 hours at 10 past 12. Enough time to walk round the shops.

We decided to move on out to use the facilities on the way. No luck at the Elsan as it was blocked. CRT tend to blame the boaters! Luckily we were not desperate and went on to Bridge 99 where TV reception and internet was excellent.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I don't believe it

Our trip has been mostly enjoyable being able to travel the waterways again. We have spent much time finding our friends and celebrating in the local public houses. The Leicester line has once again proved to be one of the best with many places to stop on the way to Foxton. But now it is time for us to head back the way we came.

We have plans to add shelves in cupboards, add cupboards in the galley and bathroom and change the bed to be across the boat. The longer you live on a boat the more ideas you have to improve the accommodation. Hopefully we have a boat fitter to help us when we get to Fenny Compton.

So after another meal at the Red Lion in Crick, previously with Terry and Myra and now with Dave n Lyn we moved off. Through the wet tunnel and down the Watford locks with many volunteers making for a quick decent.

Waiting for our turn at Watford.  The noisy M1 is just behind us.
Then on to more just short of Norton Jn. We were just tying up when Molly ran off and wanted to get on the next boat! She got told off by Ann and moments later called by no less than Del and Al. How wonderful to see them after such a long time. Much has happened to us and them since we last met.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Power management

The boat runs on diesel and generates electrical power that is stored in batteries. We have been on board for over 26 days and found that at least three hours running was required to keep the three batteries charged up between 8 AM and 8 PM.

Having had no less than five batteries and solar panels on our previous boat I was concerned about a certain lack of power.

Those early days in April and May 2016 had cold mornings and evenings and occasional damp days. We were obliged to have the boiler on for many hours each day. Not only did this consume electrical power it burnt diesel along with the engine at a rate of 0.8 litres an hour.

One of our batteries demanded water most days and finally got hot and boiled. The charging voltage had dropped to 13! Now it seems that we had been coping with a bad set of batteries. Often dropping below 12V in the morning and evening.

We were at Foxton and my friend Terry helped to disconnect the failed item. It was fortunate that we were not far from North Kilworth Wharf where they had batteries and an engineer on hand to fit a new set of three 110AH batteries. Always best to replace them all.

We moved on to Bridge 33 on the Leicester Arm near Hemplow Hills and stayed for the weekend. It was warm and sunny so I set up our temporary solar panel and watched the F1 race from Spain. Even after having the heating on before breakfast and not running the engine the voltage has remained above 12.

Friday, May 13, 2016


 Boy and his horse at Foxton
 Our boats at Foxton
It had happened before at Great Heywood many years ago.  Right place right time.  Music at Shugburgh Hall then.  This time we were at Foxton.  Lunch with friends at the Foxton Inn where a jazz band entertained us with dancers while we ate our meal.

Monday, May 09, 2016


We found friends near Welford and went down/up the arm.  (one lock takes the boat up).
 Managed to get Plaidy and Moore to Life tucked in the end mooring. 
Then went to the Wharf Inn for Lunch.