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Monday, September 29, 2008

A Superb Meal Out.

It is always nice to be invited out for a meal by friends, and that is exactly what happened yesterday. Having spent the day doing knitting and doing the rag rug, Keith and I were chilling out nicely watching the Singapore F1 grand prix, when I received a text meassage inviting us out for a meal to a place unknown. How could we possibly refuse. So having fed and walked Paddy, we washed and changed for a mystery trip out, destination unknown to us both. Tina and Rob picked us up and we drove off into the countryside. Nothing really looked that familiar as we got close to our destination, but these days we do not have a car, so would not have been by road to this place. As we arrived and turned right into Canal Wharf, we soon realised that we were at The Bridge Inn at Audlem on the Shropshire Union Canal. We have cruised past the Shroppie Fly and The Bridge Inn, but have never visited either. We were all welcomed as we walked through the door, and shown to our table in the new conservatory. The menu gives you a wide choice of meals, all at reasonable prices, it is also well worth checking out the specials board. We were more than pleased with the meals we ordered. They were present well on the plate. Not only did they look good they tasted fantastic. What I liked was the fact that you were given your main part of the meal on the plate with vegetables and potatoes in side dishes, so you could choose how much to put on the plate. Whilst I enjoyed Liver and Onions with cheesy mash and veg, Keith had Gammon Steak with Pineapple, new potatoes and veg. We even found enough room for desserts. Keith had a Sherry Trifle, which you do not see on menu's very often these days and I had a yummy chocolate and orange cheesecake, which was absolutely scrummy. We really enjoyed our evening out with Tina and Rob, not only was the meal and surroundings pleasant, so was the evenings conversation. We would recommend The Bridge Inn at Audlem for a meal, but it would pay to book a table as I can imagine it gets rather busy.
So we are now into another week and October is creeping up on us fast. We have the saloon's stove lit, as it is chilly in the evenings and first thing in the morning. We shall see what the week has to offer as the Stone Food and Drinks Festival draws ever closer. I have been asked to do some of the photos of the event, so I will post some of them as the weekend unfolds. Have a lovely weekend, no matter if you are at work or play.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Time to make a move.

With the jobs all done on Hadar, we paid the bills, unplugged from the electric, which was a luxury, as it meant I could get all the washing and drying done in one go. I filled the water tank and Keith did a few jobs to prepare Hadar for the off from the boatyard. We had lunch and then fired up Hadar's engine to make the long journey to our mooring for the next few days. It took us all of 5 minutes to reach ha ha ha. We are now moored opposite Roger Fuller's boatyard for a few days. It was not long before we were having conversations with the public walking past the boat, whilst we were sat on the roof. I was knitting and Keith was continuing to make our rag rug. One of our visitors was a lovely gentleman, who I said I would give him a mention on the diary. So here goes, Eric it was lovely to meet you and thank you for reading our diary. We wish you lots of luck with finding your boat, and who knows we may meet up on the cut somewhere, when you are afloat. I absolutely love chatting to people who are passing by. I know that working boat people tend to get a bad name for being miserable buggers, who never chat to people, but not on this working boat. I will happily pass the time of day with anyone. I always say ' It costs nothing to be polite'.
So now that Roger has helped us with our boat jobs and Tina has supplied us with hadar's paint, we are all set for the adventures ahead. But first we are staying in Stone for the Food and Drinks Festival on the 3rd, 4th and 5th October. We are then heading for the Grand Union Canal down to our Coal Supplier Fred Tarry's to take on some more coal, as the hold is looking a little empty at the moment. Now that the weather is getting a little chilly, we are beginning to sell coal once more. At present we only have 2 ton on board, so Hadar is sitting high in the water. We are looking forward to taking on some different types of coal this time. So watch this space for pictures of the event.
It is now time to sort out tonights dinner, so I will say good evening and hope to see you over the weekend. Stay safe and enjoy what is supposed to be a good weekend weather wise.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And so the jobs have come to a conclusion.

The rope we had been waiting for arrived from Tradline Rope and Fenders, which meant we could get on with roping up the hold. Keith and I measured the first piece of rope before he sat and spliced loops onto the end.
Keith spent the last couple of days, splicing loops into ropes and making sure they are the right length for the hold.We then set about roping the hold up properly, well according to British Waterways Working Boat Cepheus, which is moored in Roger's Basin. It seems that there are several different ways to rope up a hold, so if you see our roping up and think it does not look right, we have just done it as we have seen others done LOL. With the hold now restrung, we are both much happier with the look of our boat. She looks lovely now.This morning Roger had an emergency lift out of a boat, being crewed by a couple who borrow the boat from a friend of there's. They had moored up near the boat yard last night, with a seriour leak in the bottom of the boat. So having seen the amount of water in the rear of the boat Roger, when he was called round to inspect the situation, Roger decided the only option was to crane the boat out onto the bank at the yard. It was easy to see where the water was getting into the boat, because it was pouring back out again as the boat rose out of the water.Having lowered the boat down gently onto blocks, Roger took a closer look at where the water was leaking from. The boat which is around 40 years old, needs a new bottom.It was clear to see that there was a serious problem at the stern of this boat, and it was not going to be a quick fix. There was a hole in the base plate. The base plate has most definitrly seen better days.The song 'There's a hole in my bucket' comes to mind. In this case 'There's a hole in my boat' But this is no laughing matter, this boat needs it bottom replacing sooner rather than later. So the term B.O.A.T really does mean Bring Out Another Thousand in this case. I really do feel for the owner, as it is an expense which clearly he could do without right now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Poetry Book Success.

Having had very little time to sit and browse the internet over the past few months, due to us cruising most of the time. I had totally forgotten that I had sent my poetry book 'Seasons of the Waterways' off to get an ISBN number. So I was chuffed to bits this afternoon, whilst browsing the internet to see that my book is being advertised with Tesco. When I asked for an ISBN number, I was told that it would appear on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. I of course have my own storefront where my poetry books are available to buy, but it is nice to think that someone else thinks my work is worth selling.
I am still selling 'Precious Moments', which is being used to raise money for Cancer Research. The book has its own Storefront and all profits go to Cancer Research. I am now contemplating whether to get it an ISBN, and see where it takes it, but I have to think about it first.
I am hoping that now we have done the friends and family run this year and been to some boat festivals, I can settle down to writing some more poetry. I have a few already to go into another book, but need a little more inspiration and lots more photographs, before it can become reality.
Keith and I have also been asked about whether we would write a book about Hadar's build and our adventures, which is a huge undertaking, and would probably be best left in the hands of a publisher.
Changing the subject everso slightly, the boat jobs are still on going. Keith is working on the engine as I type. I have been busy washing Hadar's, polishing her brass and giving her a general spruce up. The new rope for her hold arrives Tuesday hopefully, so we can then get on with that job. We have enjoyed a good week of boat jobs, catching up with friends, meals out and last night a bar-b-que with friends, so what a great way to end a week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Busy with boat jobs.

We have been back in Stone for 5 days and it has been non stop, what with catching up with friends and acquaintance's, who have followed the building of our boat. It is always wonderful to catch up with friends, and to hear their news. We have been busy as well doing work on the boat. Firstly we set about taking out the ballast from under the front deck.We added a ton of ballast when the boat was launched, but have now decided that if we take that ton out, we can get another ton or more of coal onboard, which will benefit our customers as we move around the system. So with the help of Nigel from N.B Ensebee, we stacked it into neat piles, ready for it to go into another boat. Roger has been really busy for us, doing the jobs that we have thought of whilst being out. They are all things we never though of when the boat was being built, but now we would like them added. So firstly he made the stays for the hold. The stays stop the top planks from sagging when being walked on. Otherwise it feels like you are bouncing up and down, when walking from one end to the other. Keith has very poor balance so the stays will help no end. Roger has even stamped them so we know which stay goes where, which is brilliant.I spent the weekend, moving and counting the coal we have left onboard. I then stacked it back into neat piles, so I know exactly how much we are carrying. We are planning to take more on once we get back onto the Grand Union Canal, as we have found a coal merchants who is willing to supply us. Roger and Keith took the fuel filter off of the engine as it had been leaking from a joint and through the casing. The filter did not actually have a filter in as we have a modern one fitted, so it was purely there for show. Now that it has been removed and replaced with tidy pipework, it looks a lot better, and even better still no more leaks of diesel. At the moment Roger is putting in a shelf over the generator, which will be a great help.Keith would like to put his tool boxes on it, so they are to hand should he need them. I will still be able to use the washing line above the shelf for small things. I tend to hang larger items in the hold, where they dry really quickly. We have rope on order to re-string the hold sheeting, as the nylon rope we have at the moment, does not look very nice, but it is also falling apart due to the UV. The sun has rotted it and if you just lean against it, it snaps which is hopeless. So we have ordered something more in keeping with the boat.
I said a few days ago that I had, had a new boatwoman's bonnet made to go with my boatwoman's costume, which I wear at boat festivals, and as promised I would show you a photograph of the bonnet, so here it is in all its glory. I am so very happy with it, and cannot wait to wear it now. Special thanks goes out to Becky for making it for me. I will be wearing it with pride.
Apart from helping with all the boat jobs, Keith and I have been around all the charity shops in Stone of which there are many. We love charity shops and what they have to offer. If you have ever been to Stone you will know they have at least seven charity shops. I have also been dog walking with Tina, which was great fun. So we will see what the rest of the week has to offer.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Sunny Busy Weekend.

Having seen rain almost everyday for the past few weeks, it has been a miracle that this weekend has been totally dry and sunny. It has given Keith and I the chance to start the jobs on Hadar, which need doing before we set off all over again. But before the jobs we had a visit from Graham onboard N.B Suits us. We have known Graham for 3 years now and he is in Stone for a couple of days so came over to the boat yard to catch up on all the news. He bought with him his dogs Meg and Max and we sat and drank coffee whilst catching up on, where he had been and where we had been etc. If you see Graham on your travels do say hello to him, as he is such a nice gentleman. You cannot miss his boat, as it has hippo's on both sides. During Saturday we walked down into Stone, to see if there had been any changes. We also caught up with Jill who is helping to run the Food and Drinks Festival. Keith and I are taking the photographs at the event. Once back at the boat we began to move the coal about in the hold, so that we could get the wooden flooring up for an inspection hatch to be cut into it. Today we have been to an Antiques Market at the Staffordshire Show Ground with Tina (Boat Painter), and bought a couple of nice items. Back onboard the boat, we needed to start moving all our clutter which has been stored in the bow, so we can get the ton of ballast out of the boat. The idea is that if we take the ton of ballast out, we can get more coal onboard. So I began by taking up some of the wooden flooring, to get out the engineering bricks. Keith then took over handing the bricks to me, I then handed them to Nigel from N.B Ensebee, who kindly stacked them in neat piles. Tomorrow we have the job of getting the bricks out from behind the water tank, which should be fun as they are under the gas locker. So the weekend has been a busy one, but we need to get these jobs done before we head off down onto the Grand Union Canal.
This coming week is going to be a little busy, as we discuss with Roger what we would like done, so I will post when I can. In the meantime have a good week and stay safe.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Marston Jabbett to Stone.

Wednesday 10th September.

Marston Jabbett to Alvecote Marina 14.8 miles, 11 locks, 7.40 hours.


A lovely start to the day, with the sun shining and warmth in the air. The wind was still hustling up a strong breeze, in the unprotected areas. We left our mooring at 8am and headed for Marston Junction of the Ashby and Coventry Canal.There was no one coming either way so we turned Hadar back onto the Coventry canal. And made our way to Nuneaton, where there are lots of allotments, all displaying fruit and veg for the season. I heard on the radio this morning that security guards are now patrolling allotments, because veg is being stolen. What is this world coming to, when you cannot grow your own food, and know that it will still be there to pick when it’s ready. The people who steal other people’s food are the lowest of low as far as I am concerned.
Whilst leaving Nuneaton we spotted this boat moored up advertising tarot readings for £5.I am not sure how much business he gets. Does anyone else know of a tarot card reader on the canal?
The journey to Atherstone was pretty uneventful, we had a boat in front of us, but he was much quicker than we were. We got to enjoy beautiful scenery and much nicer day weather wise. There were plenty of boats moving in the opposite direction, Rose hire boats, Canal Time, hire boats and a few private boats. We arrived at the Atherstone flight to find we were not the only ones going down. The boat in front of us had moored up for water. We were soon to find out that we were 4th in line for the flight. As we arrived at bridge 41, a Canal Time hirer made it known that they were 3rd in line for the lock, which was a little late as we had already gone under the bridge. They were tied up, showing no sign that they were in a queue. So because the wind was blowing Hadar on, we had no choice but to moor up on the lock moorings.Another gentleman on the other Canal Time boat, then came along and made it quite clear that they were 2nd in the queue. I told him that we had no intention of queue jumping, they had left it to late to tell us the situation, so we had no option but to moor up before them, I reassured him they would still be going before us. I have never seen anyone so precious about where he was in a queue. NB Nic Nac was first to go down, so whilst the Canal Time boats sorted themselves out, Keith and I chatted to the lock keepers wife. She could not believe the fuss they were making, and thought that surely it was quicker to just let us go, as we would clearly be quicker through the locks. If this had been a few years ago when working boats were still using the canals to transport goods, the working boat was always given precedence, so we would have been allowed to go. But these days it is a free for all it seems. We are not queue jumpers, but neither are we precious about where we go in a queue. They still arrived back at Alvecote in good time.
Anyway we did the flight of locks, with boats coming up to aid our passage, and we left the hire boats to do their locks. Whilst getting near the bottom of the lock flight we met up with Tony the lock keeper, and wished him a good day.
We cruised through Polesworth and past Pooley Country Park, where I experienced the apple throwing incident. Thankfully there was no one there this time, it was all shit up. The police never did come and see us at Shackerstone. Obviously it was not important enough.
We arrived at Alvecote passing the Remains of the Alvecote Benedictine Priory, which can be seen through the trees. We moored up opposite Alvecote Marina for the day at 3.40pm. The wind has become quite strong and gusty now, so it is a good time to call it a day.Thursday 11th September.

Alvecote to Great Haywood. 26.1 miles, 6 locks in 10 hrs 35 minutes.


After a night of wind and rain, not to mention the alarm going off at the Samuel Barlow at 2.45am, we were woken up by our own alarm clock at 5am, for our early morning call. When I looked out, it was pitch black, and nothing was stirring except us LOL. Paddy had a walk in the dark, and as I am not a lover of walking in the dark it was a quick stroll. Keith readied Hadar for the off at 5.55am and we headed off as dawn began to wake up. We enjoyed a wonderful early morning stint, watching Mother Nature wake up with the first bird song of the day. We then caught up with the gentleman from Tuesday, who was having engine problems, but was not prepared to let us pass. Thankfully this was not the case today, after a short distance he did allow us to pass him on a bend, but was clearly not happy at having to allow us by, because as we passed his boat and were stern to stern, he turned his back on us. Now normally I would thank the person for allowing us to pass, but as he deliberately turned his back on us, so he would not have to acknowledge us, I kept my thanks to myself. People who know me know I am normally a very polite person, but he bought out the worst in me. It costs nothing to be polite, my Nan used to tell me, when I was a child. I suppose I should have shouted thank you to him anyway, but why waste my breath. We followed N.B Pike as that, as we arrived at Fradley Junction we followed N.B Pike through the swing bridge. They turned right and we were turning left. So we waved them goodbye.We were now back onto the Trent and Mersey Canal and stuck on the mud on the bend. It was not made any easier by the fact that there were moored boats outside the Swan Inn, and a boat was taking on diesel in front of N.B Monarch, making for a tight turn for a 70ft boat. I walked down the gunwale to take charge at the bow, whilst Keith reversed Hadar off of the mud. He was given some assistance from another boater, who helped by pushing the stern of the boat out from the bank. Inch by inch we managed to wiggly Hadar around the boats and into the straight for the first of the locks. I thanked the gentleman for his help and was on our way up through the Fradley Locks, with N.B Wild 1 behind us, he had patiently waited as we negotiated the junction. We were now on our way to Rugeley, where once again the four cooling towers of the power station dominate the sky line. If they were ever taken down it would leave a huge hole on the horizon. The sun had come out after a drizzly start to the day, so it was now turning into a lovely day as we approached Woodend Lock, where a boat was already coming down. After we left the lock N.B Belle took over and I then disappeared into the galley to make lunch, which we would eat on the run. As we made our way to Colwich Lock, Keith spotted a smiley face on a tree stump; it is nice to see someone has a sense of humour. It certainly made us smile.We got to Colwich Lock and an ex-Challenger boat was coming down. One of the bottom gate paddles was not working, which we reported to BW. They would be sending out an engineer as soon as they could. According to the ex-challenger boat crew, it had been fine yesterday when they had used it.
So we had reached Great Haywood and a mooring for the night. It had been a long day, but a good one for many reasons. But the main reason is that Keith and I are celebrating our 4th Wedding Anniversary today. He has managed to put up with me for four years married ha ha ha. We are very lucky as we have a very good relationship. Keith is not just my husband; he is also my soul mate, friend and lover. Here is to the next 4 years.

Friday 12th September.

Great Haywood to Stone.

Our alarm clock kicked into life at 5am, and we were up eating breakfast and enjoying a cup of tea, whilst outside it was pitch black. Before we set off Paddy needed his walk, so having put his lead on we stepped off of the boat into the darkness. The only sounds I could hear were a pair of owls hooting to each other, and then the Shugbrough cockerel crowed into life, joining in with the owls conversation. Having slipped our mooring at 5.50am, I walked to Haywood Lock to get it ready for Hadar to glide into the lock chamber. So we were on our way back to Stone on what was a drizzly beginning to our journey, but things did improve. Through out the trip we saw boats moving from around 8am. having not been in the area since February, we noticed a few changes, such as Colwich and Sanford Lock Cottages were now empty, which is a real shame. It also appeared that the Aston Marina has got the go ahead, after previous planning permission had been denied. According to the banners in the field the marina whould be ready Autumn 2009. One of the cottages by Aston Lock is now up for sale. After a pretty uneventful journey we arrived in Stone, to see the new towpath and moorings below Star Lock. We moored up and went and did a food shop. Our fridge was really empty and we had to result to eating our emergency tinned food supply of Spam ha ha ha. So with the food shop done, we had an early lunch before heading up the locks to Roger Fullers Boatyard, where we are having a few jobs done to Hadar. These are things we have though of since being onboard her, such as an inspection hatch in the holds timber flooring. As we arrived at the boatyard, we were given a very warm welcome by Roger, Tina and Nigel from N.B Ensebee. It felt like coming home. We moored in the basin, and then got chatting to everyone, went through our mail, which included my new boatwomans bonnet, which was made by a friend. It is absolutely gorgeous, I will post a picture over the weekend. I also recieved my cabin lace for my curtains from Lockside Antiques. Evelyn very kindly put my cabin lace in the post. Now I just need to find some curtain material.
Lockside Antiques, specialises in lace old and new, Measham wear, Antique Ribbon Plates, Brass and much more.
So the day has been a good one, next week we will begin the jobs which need to be tackled before we head off winter cruising.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Shackerstone to Marston Jabbett

Monday 8th September.

Shackerstone to Battlefields Moorings, Shenton. 13.2 miles.

It was time to say goodbye to Shackerstone and head for Snarestone to turn at the Canal terminus, where we would empty the toilet cassettes. Like us other boats were leaving and it was not long before we found ourselves behind the steam boat Emily Anne.
Onboard the Emily Anne was Dan and his family. There steam boat has a certain grace through the water, and it is wonderful to hear the steam whistle, with its haunting toot toot. They allowed us to pass at an appropriate place and we continued on to Snarestone tunnel. Where we found ourselves behind a Canal time hire boat, which was going so slowly towards the tunnel, we thought they must be waiting for a boat to come out the other end, but this was not the case, they were just going slowly. Infact they were going at a snails pace through the tunnel, Keith had to put Hadar into reverse at one point because otherwise we would have been pushing the Canal time boat through the tunnel. That would of infact been far quicker. Once out of the tunnel they did allow us to pass and we headed for the terminus. The countryside along this part of the Ashby canal is very picturesque, with wonderful views across the valley. We arrived at the terminus and winded in the winding hole with two other boats, who moored up for water. Having winded Hadar we also moored up to empty the toilet cassettes, it also gave us the chance to get rid of all our rubbish, which we had gathered over the week at Shackerstone.Having moored up Emily Anne arrived and winded behind us. We spent a few moments chatting to Dan and his family, before we were off again heading back to Shackerstone. Coming in the opposite direction was NB Pickles No2, with Pete, Lisa and dog Sam onboard. It had been wonderful to meet Pete and Lisa and we really hope to see them again sometime.The weather had been pretty good, we did have a couple of light drizzly showers, but it soon cleared to give us a really nice day. Just a shame we know it will not last. Our cruising for the day ended when we reached the Battlefield Moorings, near Shenton. We moored up and took Paddy for a walk up to the Bosworth Battle Centre, we did not go into the museum part this time, but enjoyed the walk to find out where it was. We will go and pay them a visit another time. Back at Hadar, we got out the chairs and sat outside enjoying a coffee. Marmite and Paddy enjoyed playing off of the boat, before the temperature dropped enough for us to call it a day. We have enjoyed a lovely day, and a great weekend.

Tuesday 9th September.

Battlefield mooring to Marston Jabbett bridge 3 near Bedworth. 12.1 miles.

It has been a day of strong winds, rain, with the sun briefly putting in an appearance. There is little to say about today's jaunt. We did not set off until 11.10am, as it was raining hard when we got up this morning. we decided there was no point in getting soaked, so waited until the weather improved a little. There were plenty of boats moving in both directions, and by the end of the day we were in a convly of four boats. Unfortunately we seemed to have got behind the slowest of the other boats, and for what ever reason they would not let us pass. The gentleman was in and out of the engine room, so clearly had a problem, but he was not for budging from the centre of the canal, so in the end we decided to moor up at 3.40pm. So we are now moored up and enjoying the warmth from our back cabin stove. We will spend the night here and move off in the morning, so I will post when our signal allows.

The weekend is winding down.

Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September.

The weekend is winding down
.

Like most events organised the Shackerstone Festival was not the only one to fall by the way side due to the weather. But we have made the best of it, spending time chatting to other boaters, making new friends, and chatting with old friends. We even spent Friday evening in the beer tent, having had our evening meal at The Rising Sun. We joined friends on their boat first of all, before all of us walked gingerly to the beer tent. The ground was absolutely sodden, so it was clear there was no way they could of held the festival.
Saturday morning things were no better weather wise, it was still raining. But we were not deterred, having had breakfast we headed off to Shackerstone Railway Station for our concessionary ride on the steam train. Getting there was a bit of an ordeal as the towpath near the historic boats was just awful. You really had to be careful where you put your feet, otherwise it would have been so easy to slip over.As we made slow progress to the station, we chatted to the boat owners, who all seemed in good cheer, even though it was chucking it down again. But the way I look at it is. If you have the right foot wear and water proof clothing it does not matter.
We arrived at the station and paid just £3 each for our trip on the steam train. Today it was Mayflower running.Seeing the steam train, reminded me of the film The Railway Children. We had to get on the train at platform 2, so we crossed over the track on the bridge and boarded the train. The trip is only about 20 minutes there, and 20 minutes back, but it was really nice to be out of the rain, which was hammering on the roof. Due to the rain you could see little out of the carriage windows, but it did not matter. Sadly the Market Bosworth signal box had been destroyed by vandals, so the ticket collector was also collecting donations for the rebuilding of the signal box. The thugs who did this awful deed, should be made to help out with the restoration of this signal box, then they may well appreciate, the dedication these volunteers put into the railway. I get so angry when I see things like this happen. They think nothing of destroying a bit of this countries history. Once back at the station I spent £1 on some raffle ticket and won a tea towel. It’s not often I win anything.
To get to and from the station you have to cross over the aqueduct, which a small stream runs under. Due to all the rain this stream was now a raging river.Not only was it bursting its banks, the aqueduct could not cope with the flow of the water and was backing up under the arches.We had heard the river had flooded into the beer tent, so they had to take the bar down and move it. But compared to a lot of place in the UK we were getting off very lightly.
On the way back to Hadar we got chatting to other working boat owners, it was actually a lovely picture seeing all the chimneys smoking on such an awful day.It was also nice to catch up with Viv off of Monarch, the boat has had her paint work done and looks absolutely fabulous. We look forward to seeing Viv again soon, she is such a lovely lady.
Whilst chatting I just could not resist this photo of the fenders. All backed up to each other as if holding a conversation. If only they could talk, what a tale they would tell. The remainder of the day was spent back onboard Hadar, watching a film and enjoying our sausage casserole with dumplings. We were in bed at 11.30pm having watch King Kong, but it took a while to go to sleep as the pub had live music going on. It sounded like heavy rock, I felt for the neighbours as we could hear every word from inside the boat, they must have all been deaf.

Sunday and things had not improved much when we got up, it was drizzling. Many of the boats have left today, including most of the historic boats, we on the other hand are staying put, we may move tomorrow as we need to empty the loo’s cassettes and possibly take on water. The rain finally stopped so we donned our coats and boots and headed out for a walk, we have spent the morning once again chatting to boaters, we also caught up with Roger, Martin and Teresa Fuller before they head off home. With a lot of the boats gone it feels a little lonely here now. But we have enjoyed our time here, and the cancellation of the festival did not spoil our weekend at all. We will more than likely come next year, if our calendar allows

Saturday, September 06, 2008

After all we are British.

Saturday 6th September.

Last night we went to The Rising Sun and had another lovely meal. The pub was very busy, with people eating and there were those who were there for the music. We then joined friends on their boat for a coffee and a chat, before we all made our way to the beer tent, which was staying open throughout the weekend. There is something wonderful about us brits, we are all so stoic, we seem to let nothing get us down, not even the weather. It was easy to see why the organisers of the festival cancelled the event, as the field being used for the event was under water. As we walked to and from the beer tent we were sloshing about in the water and mud. The rain did not lay off even through the night, and when we woke up this morning it was still pouring. So although it was a difficult decision to cancel, it was the right one. No one seems to be down hearted this morning. Some people have been leaving, but it looks like the majority of boaters are staying for the weekend. I am pretty sure we will all make our own fun. The Shackerstone Railway is still running, so we will take a steam train ride later today.
My heart goes out to the organisers of the festival and all the volunteers who gave up their time, to make this event a success, they must all be feeling pretty gutted, but this is Britain and we cannot predict the weather. Still there is always next year, when it will be the 15th year of the Shackerstone festival. having watched the news last night it seems some areas have been hit hard with the weather, and all events acorss the country have been cancelled, so we are not alone. So on this note I am off to make us some lunch. we shall see what the afternoon has to offer.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Shackerstone Festival Cancelled.

We have just been told that the Shackerstone Festival has been cancelled due to the weather conditions, and the site conditions. So if you were planning to come over the weekend, there is no point. Please pass on the sad tidings to others you may know who were planning to come.

Rain, rain and yet more rain

Wednesday 3rd August.

Rain, Rain and yet more rain.


Yesterday evening ended in us seeing a beautiful rainbow on the offside of the canal. It certainly brightened the end of what had been a hit and miss day weather wise.So when we woke up this morning and the sun looked to be shining we thought we may just be able to enjoy some decent weather, but that was to be short lived. As we enjoyed a conversation with Nancy and Donald who own N.B Xanthus who are moored behind us, dark skies gathered behind us and rain began to fall yet again, with it came strong winds.Have you noticed that this year has been a windy one?
So we cocooned ourselves inside Hadar again, with the back stove once again burning, to keep out the damp and the chilly wind. The wind was blowing down the canal producing waves on the waters surface. Even the ducks had gone into hiding. We had a day of sunshine and showers, the showers then merged into a longer spell of rain as the day wore on. At 6.15pm Mal on N.B Becky arrived and breasted up along side of us, and yes it was raining again. We introduced ourselves to Mal and then disappeared back into the warmth of the boat. I am sure we will get to speak to Mal more over the next few days. It is definitely not the weather to be outside of an evening. It is TV watching weather, thank goodness for a good signal.

Thursday 4th and Friday 5th September.

The less said about yesterday (Thursday) the better, as it rained for most of the day, only brightening up towards the evening. Despite the heavy rain, boats were arriving for the historic boat exhibition and there are plenty of ordinary boats gathering as well, which is fantastic considering the weather conditions.The festival site is also coming a long despite the muddy conditions. They have been assembling the fun fair; we now have a large wheel opposite out boat over the hedge.More porta loo’s have arrived, so at least no one will get taken short. So yesterday was not great weather wise, but hey it can only improve. We spent the evening watching TV. We sat and watch ‘Ghost Hunting with Paul O’Grady and Friends’ on ITV2. I found it a little un-nerving, but it was one of those programs you just had to watch. The Catacombs in Palermo were a bit gruesome, and not sure I could have gone down there like Paul and the others did. I am surprised with his heart condition they allowed him to do the program.
So Thursday was a dead loss as far as the weather was concerned, and this morning did not start out any better. As soon as we woke up we were aware of rain hitting the boats roof. At least I don’t need to wash the boat, or polish the brass, there is little point right now. Paddy had a wet walk along the towpath, which is holding up pretty well as far as mud is concerned. I do however wish that the dog owners at this festival would pick up after their dogs. I know most are because I have seen them, but there seems to be at least one dog owner who does not keep an eye on their pooch when they allow her off of the boat. Because it is so awful out, I decided to go into baking mode. I made a Victoria Sandwich for over the weekend, and a sausage casserole which is cooking in the back cabin stove, that will tide us over the next couple of days. We are off to the pub again this evening for a meal, after we collect our welcome pack for the festival at 6pm. Lets hope it is not chucking it down, like it is at the moment. Ann has taken my order for the local store, who will deliver at lunch time. We have a good stock of everything food wise onboard, but it is always nice to have a fresh loaf of bread, it means I can leave the one I have in the freezer for another day. So with severe weather warnings being given out on the radio, for heavy rain and strong winds, it looks like today will be a wash out. I really feel for those people organising this festival, and those who are trying to put everything up, the conditions are not pleasant at all. I did have a giggle to myself earlier. I saw a lady and gentleman walking a long the towpath donned in yellow waterproof clothing, carrying bin liners and litter picking sticks. BW had sent them out to collect litter along the towpath. Now surely that would have been best done over the weekend when the festival is on? As far as I could see there was no litter to pick, all the boaters were being very tidy, as good boaters always are. So this couple were getting wet for no reason. I wonder if BW will have anyone out over the weekend or does that mean they get paid over time?
I would suggest if you are coming to the Shackerstone Festival, you bring either wellies, or good walking boats, plus waterproof clothing, as the forecast if sunshine and showers. But do not let the weather put you off coming, it should be a fantastic weekend. We are both really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Shackerstone Festival Mooring.

Monday 1st September.

Shackerstone Festival Mooring – autumn is on its way.

Can anyone tell me where this year has gone please?

It is the 1st September and for many this marks the beginning of autumn. I can certainly report that it had a feel of autumn when I took Paddy for his morning jaunt, although I did only have shorts and a t-shirt on so maybe that was why I was felling more than a little chilly. Not only that we have a brisk breeze blowing down the canal, causing waves on the surface of the water. September and we are into the 28th week of our adventures. It only seems like yesterday we set off, but infact it was Tuesday 26th February, which was a cold, windy but bright morning, a little like this morning. All morning the rain clouds have been threatening us with a down pour, but it has not arrived yet. We are still glad however that we put the sheeting back on the hold last night, as we did not want the hold filling with rain water, we will have a trap door put in the timber flooring, when we get back to Stone, so we can lift the trap door and be able to mop up any rain water lying in the bottom of the boat. So the day began as I said with Paddy’s walk. Keith and I took a stroll to see how things were progressing with the site, they have the marques up and some fencing in place, like wise with the porta-loo’s, so it is coming a long. As with any event where there are a lot of boats, you get chatting to other boaters, discussing the weather, boating, problems encountered on the trip up etc etc. Towpath banter would make a great book. In the next village of Newton Burgoland, there is a post office and general store, who will deliver to the boats if the order is £20 and over, so Ann from N.B Taliesin took orders for any food needed, we then waited for it to arrive. Now that is what I call service. Unfortunately Shackerstone does not have its own village shop; it does have The Rising Sun public house, a post box and a church, along with all the village houses.
Before lunch we sat down a cut up some more of the t-shirts for our rag rug, but after a time your fingers cramp up, with using the scissors, so we have to take regular breaks, well that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it ha ha ha.
Having laid out the Hessian and marked out the patterned which Keith would follow, he then set about applying the material with the rag rugger tool.
Whilst sat doing the rug, we heard a toot toot, from a steam horn, N.B Adamant came past in the pouring rain, and they were heading for the moorings reserved for the historical boat exhibition.Sadly the day ended very wet and windy. We have to hope that the weather improves for the weekend, although I do not think anything will dampen our spirits, e are having such a wonderful time. We had a table at The Rising Sun Pub booked for 7pm, so Keith walked Paddy and we went for our meal at the pub. The food was mmmmm yummy, we both had the steak and ale pie, which was excellent, the meat was so succulent and you could still taste the ale in the gravy. We had eaten here two years ago, and the food is still as good as then. It pays to book a table though as it does get busy. The pub has a very good reputation, which is hardly surprising. The pub has a great atmosphere and you are made to feel very welcome. Which I suppose you could say is expected after all they want you to spend your money. But I think that in some pubs, you just feel more at home, and this pub makes you feel very at home. So a lovely evening was had by the both of us.

Tuesday 2nd September.

Boaters to the rescue.

I finally managed a decent night’s kip, having had a week of broken nights. I was woken at 5am by a cat calling. At first I thought it was a tom cat calling after Marmite, but it soon became clear that this cat was in distress. I then heard voices belonging to Jimmy and Alan. They were involved in a cat rescue. A cat from one of the other boat’s who had arrived late yesterday afternoon, had taken the wrong turn off the boat and fallen in during the early hours of the morning. She was struggling on the off side of the canal to get out, so Jimmy and Alan set about rescuing her from her watery trap. By the time they managed to haul her out of the water, she was already very exhausted and they feared the worst as she was very lifeless. Ann came and knocked on our boat fearing it was Marmite, they had rescued, but I assured her, that Marmite was sleeping in her basket. They managed to find the owner and get them out of bed; the owners then put their cat on a hot water bottle, and massaged her to get the blood pumping. They then rushed her to the vets. Thankfully the cat is none the worst for her adventure and is now back on the boat with her owners. I am so pleased we do not allow Marmite to wander.
I would never sleep if we did allow her off at night. I reckon I would be a nervous wreck. As we were awake, I made us a nice hot cuppa, before we settled back down for another couple of hours sleep. We eventually woke up at 8.30am to sunlight pouring through the engine rooms port holes, this looked like we maybe in for a nice day. The sun may have been out, but brrrr it was chilly when I took Paddy for his walk. Having had breakfast, I lit the back cabin stove, to take the chill of the cabin and to air everything. It soon felt nice and cosy, so Marmite made sure she found a warm spot to take a snooze. Keith and I then set about pricing up all the bits and bobs we hope to sell at the festival. I also sorted out my notices for selling my Cancer Research Book ‘Precious Moments’. So with the notices done and items priced, it was onto the next task, which was ironing my boatwoman’s costume, which had been washed and stuffed into a bag. So it looked like old rags, until I applied the iron over it all. Like with the past few days we did not escape the rain. As Keith and I were chatting to N.B Gilbert owners the rain began to fall again, with a shower which did not last to long, but you cannot help but notice how quickly the temperature drops as the rain falls. I made sure the stove was stoked up, and then put a beef curry in the oven for dinner tonight.