Sunday, 30 January 2011

Burns Night - Again!

After having a practice at Burns night last week with just Dave and I, we had the full works again last night with ten of us, including the ode to a haggis, recited with gusto by Bruno (brother in law), as he's the one with the full Glasgow accent.  We had two haggis, as shown in the picutre, one meat and one vegetarian. I didn't know haggis grew that big! 

I promised that I'd put up a picture of Nia's perfectly folded napkins in the shape of lotus flowers so here it is...  thank you again Nia
It's all very quiet here at Mums now Rachel & co have departed.  We just have to clear up the debris outside and in, due to kids and dogs!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Great Haywood

We're now moored at Great Haywood, where we'll stay for a few days - well Dave will - I'm visiting Mum for a few days, for a family get together - not that Dave isn't family!, but leaving the boat unattended in January with more cold weather on the way is not an option, besides there's Nemo cat to consider (who, by the way, has gone 7 days without falling in the canal, unlike some people).  I have got some lovely photos of  Shugborough Hall and Essex Bridge but I can't download them onto Mum's computer (long story, new phone, no software etc, etc).   I'm busy making soup, some vegetarian, some dairy free, some with onion, some without, while awaiting the arrival of the Frenguelli's - things won't be so quiet then!

However, I don't want this blog to be photo-less, so here's a random one of my Dad, taken many years ago.....

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Happy Burns Night

We've got our Great Chieftain o'the puddin-race - in other words - a haggis, ready for Burns Night tonight.  No, we're not Scottish, but it seems the only time of the year when you can buy haggis (courtesy of Morrisons at Rugeley).  Don't think we'll bother with the piper though!
I would insert the poem "to a haggis", but it does go on a bit,
the Selkirk Grace is a bit shorter:
Some hae meat and canna eat, and some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat, and sae Lord be thankful.

My blogs are like buses - none for over a week, then two on the same day.  Must try harder.

Catching Up

We're now on the Trent & Mersey and it's lovely to be cruising in this neck of the woods again, It's a couple of years since we last pottered around here.  We did come down the T & M in October 2009, but we were on a mission at the time to get to Stourbridge, so didn't have time to stop.

Dave is sorting out the wood which we have collected over the last few days between Fradley and Armitage.  This load is particularly appreciated due to the efforts involved in getting it.  I positioned the bow of the boat to the off side bank for Dave to get off, however he stepped instead of jumped, and missed the bank completely & slid down into the water.  Of course he had an audience of Sunday afternoon walkers but I did refrain from taking any photos.  We caught up with the BW tree trimming boat gang yesterday which we had been following for the last couple of days, but there wasn't much wood left to be picked up - I don't know where it was going, I know boaters are quick when there's wood lying around, but not that quick!
 We've had some beautiful full moons the last few days
 A bit of action while we were moored at Fradley - BW were removing a sunken boat from the visitor moorings above Shadehouse lock.  At least it'll mean there's room for a visitor mooring.  Out of the 6 boats moored there, only 2 were occupied.
 It's been a frustrating few days cruising between Fazeley and Fradley - We've seen the same boats in the same place year after year, some with a licence, some without & none with a mooring sticker.  I see the T-shirt boat is still at Fradley, although he has actually moved 200 yds away from the junction. That's one of the reasons I haven't blogged for a while - I don't want to moan - that and getting over the 'flu after 3 weeks!  Like Nemo cat - I should just chill out ........
Some friends who moor at Wychnor came to visit while we were at Fradley, and also took us shopping into Lichfield which was helpful.  We also discovered that there is now a Co-op 400yds up from the new bridge between Br90 & Br91.   

Friday, 14 January 2011

Off We Go

We finally moved off from below the locks yesterday - after waiting for a coal delivery which was ordered on Monday morning, with delivery scheduled for Wednesday.  It finally appeared 4.15pm on Thursday.  So as soon as the bags were on the roof, we moved off, just to get away & moor in one of our favourite spots - which is also a favourite of Derwent 6 who i'm sure were a bit miffed when we turned up as it was getting dark & moored not far away.  Unfortunately we can't stay as we're now running on fumes & need to get diesel pretty soon!   

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Free at last!

We've finally moved - thanks to the large work boats who cleared a path yesterday.  Apparently Gosty Hill was 'following a day behind', but unfortunately this was not the case, as they were staying at Sutton Stop to wait for a delivery Mon/Tues and then possibly going up the Ashby, so we won't be seeing them as we have to move today and their "patch" finishes at the top of the locks.

Thats what you call a bow .....

There was a flurry of activity this morning, with boats coming up and going down Atherstone locks, due to stoppage on Lock 11  from tomorrow (mon) till 25th Feb.  We said our goodbyes to our fellow captives who were all making a break for it either going up or down the locks.  We are extremely grateful to (sister) Rachel, Bruno and the girls who came to do the locks for us today as I've been in bed with the flu for days & Dave's still not 100% after his bout.  We've stopped at the bottom of the locks, which is just fine for us.  Dave is extremely happy he's got Midlands Today back on the telly - instead of East Midlands with dancing Des the weatherman, overposturing & exaggerated hand & arm waving (funny how small things irritate).  Very nice to have a different view after 6 weeks of looking at a disused factory with broken windows.  Unfortunately, about 5 minutes after we stopped here this afternoon 2 boats pulled in right in front of us, despite there being 1/2 mile of empty piling in front, so we're still looking at the back end of a boat from the front window.  Never mind, we wont be here long ........

Monday, 3 January 2011

Blue skies - but the ice is still too thick

I've been to Chirk for a week over the new year, with Dave joining me for a couple of days.  Nice to see all the family.  All the skiers returned safely after their christmas trip - thankfully all in one piece.  I returned to the boat today by train, following the line of the canal for alot of the way.  It was lovely to see a blue sky for a change - you begin to think that the world had turned grey forever.  However, the double-figure temperatures and the blue skies has not seemed to have had any impact on the ice on the canals.  I did a few walks along the canal around Chirk & Fron while I was there, and am pleased to report that the Llangollen canal is now free of ice from the Lion Quays up to Llangollen, with the water level in Fron back to 'normal'.  Things weren't looking so rosey for the other canals I saw.  No sign of any movement around Wolverhampton Locks, with ice still evident.  Just coming out of Wolverhampton on the train, I saw a set of step ladders, a TV and the front bumper of a car sitting on the ice in the middle of the canal.  Around Tipton on the main line there was a 19kg bottle of propane on the ice - 19kg!!! how thick is the ice there then?!  There has been no boat movement whatsoever on the main line.  The train passed over Glascote at the Tamworth Boat Club, again, the ice still thick with all the detritus sitting on the surface of the ice, with no sign of any boat movement.  Things havent improved around here either, so it looks like we'll be here for a few days yet before we have to decend the locks before the stoppage on 10th Jan - otherwise we'll be here till the end of Feb!