Lived onboard Hadar

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Leighton Buzzard to near Slapton.

Thursday 20th November.

Leighton Buzzard to near Slapton. 3.6 miles and 2 locks.

We had a breezy night onboard, with strong winds blowing at the stern. But the morning brought sunshine, mild conditions and the wind had dropped. Paddy enjoyed his walk a long the towpath. He like most dogs love new areas to sniff around in, it always means he takes longer to do what all dogs must do in the morning, having waited to 9.30am for me to take him. Yes we had a nice lie in this morning. Paddy really amazes us because he goes out of an evening at 6pm for his last walk and wee of the day, and then does not go again until I take him the next morning, I am sure he must have hollow legs. So having made up the back stove, put away the bed, had breakfast etc, we took a walk in to Leighton Buzzard, which is a short walk from the canal. Like most towns these days it has its fair share of Charity shops all of which we visited, but did not find much to excite us this time. Leighton Buzzard is a nice little town with all the usual shops, banks, eating and drinking places. It is a pleasant little place and worth a visit. Although we did decide, that it was probably not a place to be moored up in over the weekend. So we went to Tesco and stocked up on a few extra items, which included a duck crown for our Christmas dinner, which is in the freezer awaiting its fate on Christmas day. We thought it would be a nice change from the usual turkey. Back onboard I made lunch and put the supplies away. We were just about to leave the mooring for somewhere quieter, when a a young man we later found out named Paul, stopped and asked if we could drop off a bag of coal to his boat above Grove Lock, which we of course said we would be happy to do. So he handed over the money and left for work on his bike, whilst we chugged off towards Grove Lock and its pub with the same name, we were getting the first glimpses of the downs out in front of us. As promised we stopped above the lock and put a bag of coal on Paul’s Dutch barge, so he will be nice and warm over this coming weekend, which is supposed to be cold. We were honoured to see a Kingfisher sitting in a tree, unfortunately though I did not have my camera to hand darn, and the Kingfisher just sat there asking for its photograph to be taken. We also saw a few Heron’s which would fly up in front of the boat as we approached Church Lock at Grove. Just as I was about to alight from the boat with the centre rope, a gentleman called to me asking for two bags of house coal, as he was expecting cold weather. I went up to the lock first to set it for Keith, and then I unloaded two bags of house coal. I love being a coal woman, and us working our boat, we meet some truly lovely people, who want to have a chat whilst waiting for their coal. We left the gentleman with his coal and made it up through Church Lock. The light was now beginning to fade, with what would turn out to be a beautiful sunset.We then found a one boat mooring place, with views of the downs, so I leapt off with the centre rope and we moored up. It had been a lovely time of day to cruise, which ended with an amazing sunset.Before shutting the boat up we spent a bit of time collecting sticks from under a tree for kindling, I then stoked the fires as the temperature was beginning to drop. Paddy and Marmite took the opportunity to sit out on the back counter to enjoy the last of the daylight, before I shut the doors to the darkness and the wind which was growing in strength. We settled down for the evening watching 2 hours of I’m a celebrity get me out of here. Well what can I say to the two new jungle mates. Everyone remembers Timmy Mallet, and I do wonder whether he will drive people nuts after a while. David Van Day who the heck does he think he is. When both he and Timmy had to spend the night in the cages, I thought it was totally the right decision by the group. They had after all gone without food etc. What is one night without food for goodness sake. But according to David they should have given up their luxuries. I bet if the boot had been on the other foot, he would have said No. He is already getting up my nose, so I have changed my mind on who I dislike the most ha ha. I know I am a fickle woman he he he. This time there are some real characters in the jungle and as it unwinds I think we will see more of their personalities. Well done to Robert Kilroy-Silk for doing the gym challenge, he is proving to be much better than I expected. For those who are not into I’m a celebrity I am sorry if you dozed off when reading that part ha ha. Soon after that we were off to bed.

Friday 21st November.

We had had a rough night windwise, with the water lapping heavily under the stern of the boat. We both slept well and awoke to the water still lapping heavily under Hadar’s stern. The wind had not decreased and was in fact coming from a westerly direction, which is not what the forecaster said last night. Oh well they cannot always get it right. Marmite who was laying on the tool box in the engine room on her blanket, let out a yawn and a meow, before climbing down onto the engine and then jumping on to the bed with a thud. She was now awake so it meant it must be time to get up. Having rolled the bedding up into the bed’ole and closing the door behind it, I opened up the back cabin fire, placed some of the twigs we collected yesterday on to the dying embers and hoped that it would catch. Keith put the kettle on and laid out breakfast. Having dressed, I donned by boots and coat to take his lordship, Paddy that is, for his walk. He did not waste anytime in doing his business and was soon back on the boat, sitting in his bed waiting for his breakfast biscuits, along with Marmite, who gets half a pouch of Whiskers meat. We were not going to move due to the strong winds, so it was a chance for me to get in the hold and move some coal. The bow was sitting a little low in the water, meaning the outlets for the gas locker were sometimes under water. So I set about moving some of the coal back further in the hold, thus allowing the bow would lift out of the water. As I have been suffering with Sciatica for the past few days, I did wonder if this would just make things worse, but it does not seem to have done it any harm. Whilst I moved the coal, Keith was putting up hooks for me and screwing his boating trophies to the walls in the saloon. They had been hidden in the back cabins cupboard, which was a real shame. So now they are on view, which is how they should be. Having done all of that, we were then looking at what to have for lunch. In the freezer I found some Crispy Duck Pancakes from Iceland. I just had to put the shredded duck in the oven for 15 minutes, steam the pancakes for a couple of minutes, spread the sauce over the pancakes, add chopped spring onions, cucumber and the now hot roasted duck, roll the pancakes up and hey presto lunch was done.
After lunch we did very little, Keith did some more to his rag rug, whilst I finished the knitted red, white and blue blanket for the back cabin side bed. I began my next project, which was another boatwoman’s shawl, this time in Maroon. I have developed my own pattern and it seems to work well, so if anyone wants a boatwoman’s shawl let me know, I would be happy to knit you one.
During the evening whilst we sat down to watch TV. Paddy and Marmite decided it was time to play. Now their idea of playing is to chase each other up and down the boat. Marmite of course always wins, Paddy I think is just glad to have someone to play with. We had to curtail their fun and games when Paddy knocked over their water bowl, sending the water everywhere. So they were both told to go to bed. Paddy always obeys, but Marmite just gave us a smug look and curled up on the side bed in the back cabin. It was not long before bed seemed like such a good idea.

Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd November.

Keith was up first and took this lovely photograph of the sun rising over the downs through our galley window.A bright sunny morning greeted Paddy and I as we alighted from the boat, there was a chilly breeze blowing, which meant it was pretty chilly. The back cabin stove was almost out, so having walked Paddy I decided it was a good time to check the flue. I took the chimney off, whilst standing on the hatch I rammed a pole down the chimney over and over again, dislodging all the crud that had stuck to the flues sides. The rubbish gathered at the bottom of the flue, where I was able to scoop it up into a bucket. With the flue now clear, I relit the stove, which now went in to overdrive, due to no more blockages. If you have a coal stove onboard, do make sure regularly that your chimney and flue is kept clear. Not only will it make sure your stove works properly, it will also make sure you do not have a build up of carbon monoxide in your boat. You should also make sure you test your carbon monoxide alarm and fire alarms if you have them. If you do not have either, my question to you is WHY NOT? We have two Carbon Monoxide alarms, one in each cabin, and it has saved our lives already since we have been onboard Hadar. The flue on the saloon stove got block and the alarm alerted us to a problem. I really do not like to think of what could have been if we did not have that alarm, or the batteries were dead. So check or fit alarms. Ok so having got the back stove going, I made meat balls in pasta sauce for dinner, which went in to the back stove to cook. The kettle was on as well to boil for coffee.
Keith then had the floor up in the back cabin to check the batteries, as our voltage has been running a little low again. They needed topping up with de-ionised water, but having done two of the four domestic batteries he ran out of water. So we will need to get some more in Aylesbury when we get there. Keith also took the opportunity to grease all the grease nipples, before putting the floor back down. Another job almost done, once we get some more water for the batteries. After lunch I got a little more of my knitting done and read some more of ‘Troubled Waters’ by Margaret Cornish. From reading the book and my love of the waterways, I could have seen myself being a boatwoman in the war years. I reckon I would have coped well with the conditions and hard work. Keith was busy on the computer, browsing and playing games. The time seemed to fly by and soon it was time for the usual Saturday evening TV of the X-Factor and I’m a Celebrity. Rachel went this week on X-Factor; she had been in my bottom two this week along with Diana. Everyone seems to be raving about Diana, but I cannot quite see why. She sounds as though she is singing down her nose. It was great to see and hear Rhydian again and I for one would buy his new album. He has the most amazing voice. Keith and I both reckon Alexander will win the competition, she has a fantastic voice. So then came I’m a Celebrity, now what a laugh that was, watching David Van Day do his challenge. To be fair he did ok, but like Nicola I don’t like the guy. I often write about courtesy to others, and it is clear he has none. It was written on I’m a Celebrity website, that David is hoping to find love in the jungle. Ha ha, he should not hold his breath. I won’t rant on any more about the program, I could fill a whole posting with what I think and that would really bore you. So 11pm came and we went to bed. I was hoping for snow as promised by the weather forecasters.
So think of my disappointment when I looked out to find only a dusting of snow on the ground. We were awake around 6am, Keith got up for the loo and I thought I would stoke the fire. But on touching the stove it was clear it was pretty much out. So I had to rake it out and begin all over again. I had it going by the time Keith came back to bed. I also had a pot of tea on the brew. We both slid back down beneath the duvet for another couple of hours, enjoying our cup of tea. Marmite had thought it was time to get up, so she began playing with the pegs on the washing line. Keith soon put her in her place and she settled back down on the tool box until it was time to get up. With the temperature being below zero, I wrapped up to take Paddy out. Now he is normally the one who wants to get back to the boat quick smart, but it was my turn to hope that he would hurry up. It was definitely not a morning to be away from the warmth of the boat. So once back onboard we battened down the hatches against the wind. Instead of the forecast snow we now have heavy rain thudding on the roof of the boat. I was so looking forward to a blanket of snow covering the towpath and boat. What I really wanted was a great photograph to use in this year’s Christmas cards. Yes folks it is almost that time of year again. So another Sunday is passing us by and a new week will begin. I wonder what it will have in store for us. We wish you a happy, safe and warm week.

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