Lived on-board Hadar

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Radio Broadcast Live from onboard Hadar

Go on-line tomorrow, New Year's Day, via between 3.00pm and 7.00pm GMT.

We can't promise anything but the local radio station here in Market Harborough, HFM, may be doing a live broadcast from onboard Hadar.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Still in Market Harborough.

We hope that everyone enjoyed a happy and safe Christmas. We like you all are on the countdown to 2010 and hope that it is kind to us, our friends and family.

We had a quiet Christmas onboard. The high light was having Christmas dinner cooked for us by the chef at The Union Inn. We enjoyed a five course meal, which included the good old Turkey. The chef certainly did us and all the others eating at the Union Inn proud. It was so nice not to have to spend all morning cooking the dinner, for it to be polished off in a couple of minutes and then to have all the washing up to do. The rest of the day was spent watching Christmas TV and picking at nibbles. It has to be said that Christmas Day TV has not been that impressive, maybe the New Years Day TV will be better.
We are still frozen in at Market Harborough. There are signs that the ice is thawing, but because we need to wind in the basin, which is still frozen solid, we are going nowhere at the moment. The basin is frozen, but it is nowhere near hard enough to walk on and yet people have allowed their dogs to go out on the ice and on Christmas Eve, one man and his dog ( I feel a program coming on) actually walked across the basin and thought it fun. I think he was an idiot, but hey that is just my opinion. One things certain if he had gone under, there would have been no getting him out in the dark of night.
This morning I walked Paddy along the towpath to see if there was any progress of thawing further up the canal and there is not.
Talking of the towpath. On Boxing Day the towpath was like glass. We managed to take on some water and whilst doing so I watched in dread and horror as people out for a Boxing Day walk, slipped and slid their way alongside our boat. On a couple of occasions, from inside the boat we heard people actually slide into our boat, it was the only thing that saved them from sliding into the canal. Whilst waiting for the water tank to finish filling, I actually advised some people not to continue their walk, because it was far too dangerous. Those that did continue, soon came back saying that they had thought better of it. Thankfully at the moment the towpath is much improved.
So here we stay for the time being. I will keep you updated on here or you can visit out Facebook page. Have a lovely day and stay safe out there.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Foxton to Marktet Harborough.

Hadar set off on an epic journey yesterday morning, to get to Market Harborough to deliver coal to boaters. The 5.5 miles would on a normal day take in the region of 1 hour 50 minutes, but this was not a normal day.
The canal was well and truly frozen with a dusting of snow topping it off. We set off breaking ice as we made our way to Foxton Swing Bridge, which was an absolute pig to move. We had to use the boat to open and close the bridge, because man power was never going to shift the thing. I am no weakling, but I could not move the darn thing. Keith used ropes to make the job easier. We have reported the problem to British Waterways, as it is now a real issue for anyone trying to get to and from Market Harborough. It was playing up before the freeze and now the ice has compounded the problem.
Once we cleared the swing bridge, we were breaking ice up to 2 inches thick, which meant it was slow going in places.Hadar did us proud and we eventually arrived at Market Harborough some 6 hours and 40 minutes later. It was the most incredible days cruising. We became a source of entertainment as people walking their dogs, or just walking took out their phone camera's to take photos of us breaking ice. I don't suppose it is something they see everyday. Having arrived at the Market Harborough moorings, we cleared the ice between the mooring and the boat, so that we could get Hadar in to the bank. By the time we had tied up it was well and truly dark and we were both feeling shattered. This will now be our home until after Christmas, as we cannot turn around as the basin is frozen and we are having our Christmas dinner out this year.
Keith and I would like to thank everyone for reading our blog.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Very Happy New Year. We look forward to 2010.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Market Harborough to Foxton

It was fantastic to wake up this morning, to snow falling in Market Harborough. Paddy loved his walk in the snow, which was a little scary under foot, because the snow was covering frozen puddles. I nearly landed on my behind a few times. Before setting off we made a coal delivery to one of the boats on the towpath moorings. Having wrapped up in all our winter clothing, we left our mooring, with the snow falling gently. It was not long before we were in the middle of a snowstorm. Keith could have done with windscreen wipers on his eyeballs. He did look very festive covered in snow. At no point was he cold though, as he had the heat from the back cabin stove travelling up his legs.
We got to the Foxton Swing Bridge and had real problems getting it open, which has been an issue for us on a couple of occasions. So Keith used the bow to push the bridge open. Closing it had been fine, until today when no amount of pushing would shift the bridge. So Keith had to reverse Hadar against the half shut bridge to help it on its way. We have reported it to BW, but not sure they can do much at the moment with the weather conditions.
We arrived at Foxton after cruising for a couple of hours and moored up in front of Ann and Kev on NB Endeavour, they had left Market Harborough a few minutes before us.
We could not resist walking up the locks in the snow, to see if the work has been completed. We were greeted by a winter wonderland and Gerald the Lock Keeper, who was in the process of filling the pounds and locks with water.
We have no idea how long Gerald had been working out in the snow, but I would think it takes quite sometime to fill the flight and its side ponds, but he seemed to be enjoying it in the snow. We were the only ones brave enough to be out in the snowstorm.We love the snow, so to have this much and to be able to cruise in it was just wonderous. There was some ice on the canal, but not enough to worry us and it was patchy. Having had a chat with Gerald and taken these photographs, we called into the Bridge 61 pub for a coffee, where we found Ann and Kev having a drink. It was nice and warm in the bar as Tony had logs burning on the fire. Having nattered with Ann and Kev we ventured back to the boat.We are now at Foxton for the weekend. We have a few people who want coal over the next couple of days, so we will be making deliveries over the weekend. I am hoping for more snow, so I can get some festive photographs of Hadar.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is back at Market Harborough.

No one can have failed to have noticed that it has got colder, and of course Christmas is now just around the corner. The weather forecasters are saying snow is coming. We have heard from others that it has already arrived down South. We are hoping it comes to us on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal, because we love the snow. Last winter I was like a child all over again. So I say bring it on wooooo hooooo.
Today we have moved from Bridge 14 and have cruised the 1.2 miles into Market Harborough Basin, where we will be until our coal delivery arrives tomorrow. So if the snow is coming our way, could it just wait until our coal arrives from Hills Coal Merchants as we are getting low. We want to make sure we have enough to last us over Christmas and the New Year. Already people have been coming along to collect their coal, just in case the weather should take a turn downward.
We have taken the sheeting ropes off of the hold. They are now getting a hot wash to get rid of the green which has gathered on them over the past few months. We are also going food shopping for Christmas. We will get the bulk of it done today, and then just have bits and bobs to get on Christmas Eve, as I hate food shopping close to Christmas, because it gets to manic and people get rude.
Hope everyone is keeping warm and cosy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Foxton to Old Union Canal Society Moorings, Bridge 14.

We cruised to the Old Union Society Moorings Bridge 14 in light drizzle all the way. The bright spot of the cruise was given by the Kingfishers which scooted ahead of us all the way from Foxton. This will be our mooring for the next couple of days.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Back at Foxton.

After what was a fabulous nights sleep. We were awake at 6am drinking coffee in bed. The only sounds we could hear, were a Tawny Owl and the ticking of our clock. Outside it was heavy with fog and frost. With there being no need to hurry, we did not set off until just gone 10 am. All was quiet, nothing was stirring and were certainly no other boats about.
Having done 2.6 miles we are now back at Foxton Junction for the weekend. So if you need any coal, please come and pay us a visit. I have just put a casserole pan full of mince beef curry in the back cabin stove, which will keep us going for a couple of days. Marmite and Paddy are out on the back counter of the boat. I can always tell when people are about outside, because Paddy's tail wags madly. If the weathers good, they will both spend a lot of time on the back counter. The walkers can have a treat with the smell of the curry wafting out of the back cabin. Maybe that will make them hungry enough to go and eat at the Foxton Locks Inn or The Bridge 61 pub.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kilby Bridge to Smeaton.

We were up early this morning for a 7am coal drop off at Kilby Bridge. We then enjoyed a fantastic morning's cruising from Kilby Bridge to near Smeaton, 7.3 miles and 12 locks. The morning was made even more enjoyable, because we shared the locks with Ann and Kev on NB Endeavour. After lunch, Keith and I got a few boat jobs done, which for me included cleaning the back stoves chimney, as the fire had gone out. Keith added another coat of red paint to our new water can. I even restacked the coal in the hold, as we are expecting another delivery of coal next week wooo hooo.
Tomorrow we are heading to Foxton for the weekend. So if your in need of some coal and are in the area, come and pay us a visit.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Fleckney to Kilby Bridge.

Having spent a peaceful night at Fleckney. We left our mooring at 9.05am on a sunny, chilly morning. It was really tranquil, not even the wind was present. We were definitely not short of water on this jaunt to Kilby Bridge. It was pouring over the lock gates at many of the 12 locks. Roy who had been down to below Crane Lock with his tug and pan, had very kindly left the first five locks in our favour (Thanks Roy). This section of locks are not the kindest of locks, due to the gates being poorly balanced. I spent a fair amount of time walking around the gates to make sure they shut behind us, as we want to make sure we conserve water, whilst Foxton Locks are shut. The exercise does me the world of good. I managed over 5,000 steps this morning wooo hooo. The scenery on this section is absolutely wonderful, and at this time of the year you can see for miles. But what caught our eye, was this fascinating cloud formation. It got me wondering.
Is this what the highway to heaven looks like???With there being no wind at all, everything around us was still, including the water. I know there is a song in this title somewhere LOL 'A bridge over calm water'. We enjoyed the 4 hour cruise along 5.2 miles of pretty canal, taking in 12 locks for the exercise. We did not see another boat moving, it is all very quiet.

Monday, December 07, 2009

On our way to Kilby Bridge.

Having been back to Market Harborough to drop off coal to some of the boaters there on Friday. Keith and I treated ourselves to lunch out at the Union Inn, which was as always, very scrummy. I can recommend their 'Old English' Cider. Keith has taken a shine to 'The Old Speckled Hen' beer. After lunch we walked down to the town to do a bit of shopping before watching the switching on of the Christmas Lights. The Market Harborough Christmas event is really very good. Shops stay open till late. There is plenty of entertainment and food on offer for everyone. it was reckoned that 10,000 people came out to support the town, over the evening. Harborough FM the local radio station were on hand to play christmas music and local youngster Alex Barnes from Fleckney helped to turn on the Christmas lights. Alex who is 6 years old has had life saving proton therapy in the USA to treat a brain tumour. He was joined on stage by Eastenders Louisa Lytton (No idea of her characters name as we do not watch soaps) and other stars who are starring in panto in Northampham. Keith and I have become real fans of Harborough FM and were delighted to meet up with some of the DJ's, which included Dave Smith, who is really wonderful and always makes me laugh with some of the things he says. The whole evening was very well organised and entertaining, however I am not very good in large crowds of people, so after having a coffee and mince pie, we headed back to the boat.
Saturday morning, I headed down to Sainsbury's to do a food shop and left Keith to sell coal. He definitely got the better end of the deal, because Sainsbury's was chaos. Having struggled my way around the store, trying not to get cross with people who clearly had trolley rage. I then almost found it impossible to get a taxi back to the boat. I had visions of me having to trudge up the hill with a huge rucksack and four bags. Finally on the fourth attempt to find a taxi company who were not fully booked up, I got offered a ride if I was prepared to wait 10 minutes. I was not about to turn it down and sure enough after 10 minutes my taxi arrived and I was transported up the hill to Union Wharf. Keith helped me get the shopping on the boat, where I unpacked it all and stored it away. Keith had been busy whilst i was away selling coal, so it had been a very productive morning.
After some lunch, we fired Hadar up and set off back to Foxton for the weekend. Over the weekend we went to the Foxton Inclined Plane Museum on Sunday where they had a Christmas gathering with band music to raise funds for the Inclined Plane. Afterwards we called into the Bridge 61 pub for a coffee, where there was yet more entertainment, this time it was a folk singer and his guitar. I was not afraid to join in with a sing along, although I did see all the ducks take flight outside. It has been said that I sound like a cat crying LOL.
With the weekend done and dusted, this morning (Monday) we left our mooring and set off for Kilby Bridge. It began as a nice morning, ideal for cruising, but as we approached Fleckney dark clouds were rolling in behind us and the wind was gusting, so we decided to moor up having only done 4.7 miles. I had put lunch on the back cabin stove, when I saw a tug pulling up alongside. It was our friend Roy. I climbed out through the engine room doors and was immediately asked "Have you got the kettle on". Onboard Hadar the kettle is always on. We enjoyed a quick chat and a coffee with Roy, who then had to leave as he was supposed to be working.
The rest of our day has been spent inside the boat, as it has been raining constantly since Roy left us. As I type this he has just gone past us going in the opposite direction having dropped off the pan below Cranes lock. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Christmas arrives onboard Hadar.

For Keith and I, the 1st of December signifies the beginning of the festive season, so today we have put up our tree and decorations. I now feel as if I am in a Christmas mood. Over the past couple of days we have moved around a little, but are heading back to Foxton tomorrow as we are expecting a visitor. We will then be back in Market Harborough for coal deliveries and a food shop.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Biopsy Results

Keith got the results of his biopsy today. It appears he has xanthogranulomatous prostatitis with extra prostatic extension. If you want to know what that is google it, that's what the internet is for, lol. Basically it is a benign tumor. Anyway they hope to treat it with a further course of antibiotics, but if they don't work then it will be surgery, but that won't be till after Christmas, so we can both sit back and enjoy our Christmas now.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Foxton Top Lock to Foxton Bottom Lock.

Having spent yesterday tucked up inside Hadar, today we moved down Foxton Locks, 0.6 miles, 10 locks. It was such a beautiful morning, we could see for miles on the way down. The afternoon has been just as glorious, in the late Autumn sunshine. We along with the throng of visitors have made the most of the unseasonal weather, by being out of the boat until gone 4pm, when it began to get chilly. We chatted to people we already knew, and chatted to people who we will get to know over the winter, as we continue our coal run. It has been a wonderful day.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Winter Creeps In.

None of you could of failed to notice that Winter is creeping in, or should I say has come roaring in after last night's storms. We are sat above Foxton Locks and it was a wild night last night (No we were not having a party). The wind was howling and the rain lashed down most of the night, which meant we were rocking and rolling. But as the sun poked through this morning, it seemed like the worst of the weather was over. Ha ha ha how wrong was I, because it is blowing a hooley once more and chucking it down with rain mid way through Saturday afternoon.
With the Winter weather in mind, you may be thinking about lighting your fire. If we are unable to supply you with coal, due to your distance from the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal, why not consider a nice warming log fire. Contact Staffordshire Logs and have some warmth delivered to your door.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Welford Arm to Foxton, 8.4miles 1 lock.

We had a couple of nice day's down the Welford Arm. Tuesday we stopped on the water point and delivered 17 bags of House Coal to the Wharf Inn. As there were no moorings available afterwards, we moved further back down the arm near the Welford Marina Entrance and moored on the 48 hour moorings. After some lunch we walked back down the arm to the boat yard where we met up with Les and Neil who run the marina and yard. We wanted to enquire about dry docking Hadar for her next blacking in 2011.
Wednesday morning, I had a phone call enquiring about coal and would we be able to meet them at the water point, so we had to turn Hadar around at the winding hole and return to the water point, to unload another 11 bags for another customer, who was collecting by truck. it is all part of the service. After all that exercise Keith and I reckoned we deserved a pub lunch, so having spruced myself up a bit, we walked back to the Wharf Inn, where we enjoyed a fabulous lunch and pudding. Keith and I both had Chicken Tikka with rice and naan bread for our main meal. For pudding Keith had Bread and Butter Pudding with Custard and I had the Lemon Cheesecake with Ice Cream. It was all very scrummy. We then took a walk into Welford Village. The entertainment for the day was watching workmen take down the footbridge across the entrance to Welford Marina. We wonder now how long it will be, before a new one is put up?
This morning (Thursday), we woke to a beautiful morning after a night of heavy rain. We set off at 9am on a lovely morning cruise. On our jaunt we saw four Kingfishers, in all their splender. This time of the year they are so easy to spot. We also saw a couple of Heron's and Buzzards. The views across the valley were spectacular this morning. Our cruise ended at the top of Foxton Locks, where we will be moored for a couple of days. We got chatting to the new BW lock keeper and made him aware that we would be up and down the locks until the end of March, as we endeavour to sell coal to boaters, households and pubs along our stretch. Although on the 23rd November till the 18th December Foxton Locks will be shut for maintenance work. So our patch will be cut down for four weeks.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Foxton to Welford Junction.

We have arrived at Welford Junction. Before setting off from Foxton, we supplied Mo and Nessa (NB Balmaha) with some coal. Keith and I then enjoyed a lovely run up through Foxton locks and then on to Welford Junction. We had a misty start, but the sun came out after midday and has left us with a lovely Autumnal afternoon. There is no better way to spend the day. We also sold some coal along the way.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Market Harborough to Foxton

We left Market Harborough yesterday morning (Friday), having said our goodbye's to everyone. Although we will be back there very shortly, because Keith has to go back to Kettering Hospital. We enjoyed a two hour cruise to Foxton, where we are now moored up for the weekend. On our run into Foxton we passed NB Balmaha. At the time there was no one on board, but later Mo and Nessa came and found us. We sat enjoying a cuppa in a rather warm and cosy boat. It was nice to catch up on their news. Keith regaled them with everything he had been through over the past few weeks. Mo wanted all the gory bits included LOL. Time certainly flew and it was then sadly time for them to head back to their boat. We always enjoy chatting to Mo and Nessa. It is amazing how much we chat about when we meet up and it is not all boating stuff.

We woke this morning to a heavy frost. With the sun out it is now fabulous outside. We have been out and dropped off coal fliers to boaters and chatted to people along the way. We will have to wait and see if we get any requests for coal etc. The winter coal prices have now kicked in as has the cold weather, so I have my fingers crossed for a good run over the winter.

Our coal prices for this winter are as follows.
Taybrite 25kg £9.50
Pureglow 25kg £8.50
House Coal 25kg £7.00
Kindling (Large Bag) £4.00
Firelighters £1/£2
Toilet Blue 4 ltr £9.50

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Coal delivery

Keith came home on Monday which was absolutely fantastic. After a train and a couple of taxi's we were safely back on the boat, where Keith received a very excited welcome from Paddy. Marmite was much more laid back, managing a yawn and a meow at the same time. Keith is feeling much better, but is still on antibiotics and pain killers, until we see the consultant in his clinic, where we will get the results of the biopsy taken, this should happen in around two weeks.
Keith has been taking it easy since coming home. I am making sure he does not overdo things, as I do not want him back in hospital again. The one good thing about having him home, is the fact that I have been getting some sleep. It is so wonderful to have him home.

This morning we took on a delivery of coal from W.G Hill Coal Merchants. Tom owns and runs the pair of historic working boats Archimedes and Ara down in London, where he sells coal, diesel etc. Whilst Chris and Tom, unloaded the lorry. I stacked the 25kg bags of coal in the hold. Keith was in charge of taking the photographs. This time we have also taken on some Toilet Blue, increasing the list of things we sell, which include, Smokeless fuels, House coal, Kindling, Firelights and now Toilet Blue. We are limited to how much we can take on. This delivery has bought us back up to 7 tonne. Hadar is sitting down nicely now. We hope to move off tomorrow for a few days. Our only worry now is that we can actually move, because the water level is well down at the moment and has been for the past couple of weeks. We will find out tomorrow if we are going to be going anywhere LOL. We will have to be back at Market Harborough, to get to Keith's hospital appointment, but there seems no point in us just sitting here for the next two weeks. We just as well go off and deliver coal.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another News Update on Keith.

Wonderful news is always followed by not so great news and that came yesterday morning, when the Urologist had a change of heart about taking Keith to theatre. He was on the list for the afternoon. The surgeons had an x-ray meeting and he was one of the patients they chatted about, and it was decided that further investigation was needed. But not before there was arguements between the nursing staff as to whether he was or was not going. Total confusion rained until finally at 2pm he was taken down to theatre, where they did an internal scan and a biopsy. He came back to the ward at 4.15pm wide awake and very happy. I was just relieved that he was alright and that they had looked after him. So with no news on results last night at 6.30pm when I left him, I went back up to the hospital at 7.30am this morning to finally see his consultant.
The news today so far is that if he remains well over the weekend they will allow him home on Monday. We then have to wait for 2 weeks to get the results of the biopsy. We will go up to the clinic for that. So finally they have done something that will show what is wrong with him. The Urology Consultant told us this morning, that it is very unusual what Keith has and therefore they are not sure yet what they are dealing with. He is still going with the cyst idea, but we shall see.Thank you for all your messages of support, it has been a great help.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Exciting update.

Just as I was preparing myself for an early start for tomorrow. Keith rang me to tell me that there will be no operation tomorrow.
What I hear you cry.... You told us he was going down as an Emergency.
Well as of this lunch time that was the case. But this evening Keith's Urologist came up to see another patient and paid Keith a visit. The Urologist had seen the MRI scan, and the decision has been taken that Keith does not now need to go to theatre. It appears the Antibiotics are working, and therefore they do not see the need for surgery at this point in time. Which is such a relief. Because it was a quick visit, Keith will find out more in the morning, when he see's him properly. So at last we are getting some good news. I will keep you posted.

Keith Update.

Over the past few days. Keith has been pushed, prodded and scanned to within an inch of his life. He has also been filled with antibiotics and pills until he rattles. At night he takes nine tablets before bed. Yesterday he was given an MRI scan, which was another step up the very long staircase, which we have both been climbing since he was taken into Kettering Hospital on the 19th October. Hoping that the doctor would be around with the results this morning, I was up early. In fact I was awake at 4.30am, like every other morning since he has been in hospital, so got Paddy and Marmite organised and went to the train station to catch the 8.16am train to Kettering. Five minutes before its due arrival, it was announced it had been cancelled due to signal failure. On talking to another passenger, they told me the same thing had happened yesterday. This meant that I missed seeing Keith's doctor, because I had to wait for the next train. I do understand these things happen, but it was annoying. Anyway I had a lovely visit with Keith. There was no news on the MRI scan results, they should be known later on this afternoon. But the doctor did tell Keith that he is booked on the emergency theatre list for tomorrow, but it will only happen if another emergency does not come in. Such as a road traffic accident or such like. So can everyone pray that there are no such emergencies please. Keith is in good spirits and lapping up the attention from the nurses. The ward he is now in Pretty B, has 4 other male patients in it, 3 of which are waiting to go home. So it is really quiet and he has been able to get plenty of sleep. Well that is when he is not being woken up for his tablets and temperature being taken. So that is where we are at the moment. We are making slow progress, but at least it is progress. I cannot wait to have him home. Kettering Hostpital is excellent and they have certainly been looking after Keith well. They are also very strict on hygiene, with the threat of Swine Flu, MRSA etc. His ward only allows visitors for an hour each evening from 6pm to 7pm. They have given me special permission to go up in the mornings, because of my circumstances. Another wonderful service they offer free of charge is egreeting cards, which is a great way to get around the postal strikes and paying postage LOL. I will post again when I have more information. But for now. No matter where you are, take care and stay safe.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In hospital.

I have spent all day at Kettering hospital with Keith today. He was taken in at 6.30am this morning, after being in extreme pain through the night. He was taken into A&E and then went up on to the Surgical Admissions Unit, where he was seen by a doctor. He is seeing a Urologist tomorrow. Keith was put on a drip for fluids and antibiotics, which we hope will improve his condition, as all the other antibiotics have failed to work, for the water infection he was told he had back in September. He has an infection but they are not sure where yet. Until he is better, the coal run has been put on the back burner. But we will get back in the stride as soon as we can. At the moment my concern is for Keith.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Market Haborough.

Keith and I enjoyed the parade from Foxton to Market Harborough. It took place on a bright sunny morning. Top hat and tails, boatwoman's bonnets and boatsman's attire were the order of the day. It was so nice to see people dressing up for the 200th Anniversary Parade. Hadar was fourth in the parade, behind Vagabond carrying the band, the horse boat Vixen and Laplander the steam boat. All other pleasure craft followed on behind us. Along the way people waved and took their photos. It was a wonderful sight. Arriving at Union Wharf in Market Harborough, the procession of boats was greeted by a fantastic crowd of gongoozlers. Edward Garnier MP and Roger Helmer MEP unveiled a plaque with information about the wharf. With all the speeches over with, we all then paraded down the hill to the Angel Hotel where we were given a sumptious lunch. We were all seated in the very same room that was used for the celebration meal in 1809. On the menu, was local smoked trout, with a salad and horse radish sauce, followed by game casserole, with a herb dumpling, vegetables and roat potatoes, pudding was Bread and Butter Pudding with custard. It was a fabulous meal and everyone had a fantastic time. I am unable to post pictures at this time as our signal here in the basin is poor.

Since the event we have not left the basin, because Keith has been poorly. His water infection reared its ugly head again, and on the Monday he was seeing a GP at the Medical Centre. The doctor has put him on antibiotics again. Keith is also having treatment to sort out a bowel problem caused by his previous antibotics which were given to him at Great Haywood. I will not go into details, but will just say that Keith is in a lot of pain at the moment and it is a bit of a worry. We have not been able to progress with our coal run, which is unfortunate. People have been very understanding and have been coming to us for their coal. Debbie at Canaltime has been wonderful in letting us stay in the basin. Keith is seeing the GP again on Monday morning, so we will see what she has to say. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

We are now at Foxton.

We are now moored at Foxton, 9.8miles 12 locks, all ready for the celebrations this coming Saturday, having spent today's jaunt in the company of Pat and Terry on their narrowboat Victoria, who are also at Foxton for Saturday's events.

We are taking part in the Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Union Canal 200th anniversary, Foxton Locks to Market Harborough Basin, Leics. To celebrate its 200th anniversary, the Old Unions Canal Society will be holding a re-enactment of the 1809 opening of the Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Union Canal to Market Harborough. At 10am boats will leave from Foxton Locks, arriving at Market Harborough basin by 11.30am. From there at 12.30pm there will be a parade from the canal basin to the Angel Pub. Hadar is one of the main parade boats, she will behind Vagabond, which is carrying the band, then Vixen the horse boat, followed by Laplander the steam boat and then Hadar. All other boats will follow on behind. It should be a wonderful event, so if you have time to spare, why not come along.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

King's Lock to Kilby Bridge.

Is now at Kilby Bridge for the day so we can go food shopping. We have had our first coal sales of the winter coal run on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal and are looking forward to a great winter, getting to know our new customers.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Is now at King's Lock

After a few trying days, what with Keith still being under the weather and Hadar over heating, we seem to have sorted out both problems. This is all that remains of our Impeller, no wonder Hadar's engine was getting hot under the collar. We have replaced the Impeller and now her engine is very happy.
After a lovely days cruising along the River Soar, we are now moored above King's lock. We met up with NB Forever Young earlier at the Castle Garden moorings in Leicester, where we had lunch. On arriving at King's Lock we enjoyed a coffee and something to eat at the Tearoom by the lock. It was a real treat after a trying time of late, but all is fine now. Hadar is cooling nicely and Keith is almost back to normal.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shardlow to Loughborough

We are now moored at Loughborough Wharf, 11.8miles 8 locks. It has been a lovely first run up the River Soar from the Trent, and as per usual as soon as we hit broad locks, not another boat in sight to share them with.

Having moored up at the Wharf, I heard something hit the roof of the boat, so I jumped out of the boat, to see a couple of school kids walking off. They had also thrown stones at another boat.
Soon after that the 3 other boats that were moored up left, So we decided to move out of the wharf after I did a small shop at Sainsbury's, as we didn't fancy staying there on our own overnight. We have now moved to Miller's Br.34, 1.1miles no locks, to a nice countryside mooring just outside Loughborough. We both feel a lot happier now we are out in the country.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Swarkestone to Shardlow

We left Swarkestone at 8.35am on a misty Autumn morning, and had a pleasant cruise. We are now moored above Derwent Mouth lock 6.8miles 4 locks, as there were no free moorings in Shardlow. We will have to leave visiting there to another time. We could walk back into Shardlow but Keith still hasn't fully recovered from being poorly and feels knackered despite having done nothing all morning, apart from steering the boat of course. So we will visit Shardlow another time, when it is quieter and Keith is 100%.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Branston to Swarkestone

Having left Branston at 7am this morning. We have found a nice countryside mooring near Swarkestone. We had a nice 11.8 mile cruise with 3 locks. We got to share Stenson lock with Narrowboat Blakeney this morning. We are settled in now having lunch and ready to watch the F1 qualifying at 2pm.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Alrewas to Branston

The mooring at Alrewas was rather nice as was the time we spent at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas. We walked there, which was a little scary along the A38. Having arrived somewhat shattered, we found out that we could have caught a bus grrrr. So after an emotional walk around the Arboretum, we caught a bus back to the village for £1 each. If you have never visited the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, you should go, it is an amazing place.
We are now moored near the "Bridge Inn" at Branston, where the pickle comes from, 5.2miles 4 locks. We have had some engine overheating problems again today, so whilst we pulled into Barton Marina to buy a replacement pole, I took the thermosta...t out. There is an air lock somewhere and I just can't seem to shift it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fradley to Alrewas

Hadar is now moored at Alrewas, 2.3miles 7 locks. Overnight someone stole our boat pole. I hope they realise that with a fully loaded working boat we are now left very vulnerable to getting stuck especially in this shallow canal, and then having to call BW to... rescue us, using up valuable BW finances. We just hope we can get a replacement soon, hopefully at Sawley. Some people are very thoughtless.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great Haywood to Fradley.

With Keith feeling much better, we decided to move off and head for Fradley. There were plenty of boats moving in the opposite direction, but none of them held us up to much. We are now moored above Shade House lock, Fradley 11.6miles 2 locks. We went hard aground as we approached the moorings and it took ages to get off, even with the assistance of a young man on his bike, but we got there eventually. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Unwell at Great Haywood.

Our journey on to the Leicester Section of the Grand Union for our winter coal run, has been delayed by ill health.
On Tuesday when we arrived below Great Haywood Lock, Keith said he was feeling unwell. He was finding it difficult to pass water and felt as if he had a temperature. On Wednesday morning he was at the doctors in Great Haywood and was put on antibiotics for a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), which is uncommon in men and can be dangerous for a them. Thursday he looked to be improving, but come the afternoon he took a downward turn, with his temperature exploding and he then developed uncontrollable shakes, which made breathing difficult. I immediately called an ambulance and within 2 minutes paramedics were on hand to help him out. Keith had a temperature of 106 degrees F, and was very poorly. They took him into Stafford General Hospital, where he was put on a drip to rehydrate him and bloods were done. His bloods came back clear, which was good, because it meant the infection was water born and not in his blood. With Keith rehydrated, they allowed him back to the boat later in the evening. We came home by taxi and settled in for the evening. After a restless night, Keith is feeling a little better and his temperature is much more acceptable, but I think we will stay put in case he needs further help. I am now waiting for the BW mooring warden to call me back, as we are on a 48 hour mooring and not moving. I have seen the doctor this morning and she does not want us going anywhere, as they want to keep an eye on Keith.
So we are not going far at the moment. I will keep you posted if anything changes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The year flows on and so do we.

Having enjoyed a wonderful summer, cruising with friends, seeing new places and meeting new friends, we finished up back in Stone at Roger Fuller's boatyard, to have some bits and pieces done on the boat.

As of this morning we said our goodbye's and have now left Stone and are moored at Upper Burston Br.86, 3.6miles 5 locks, one of our favourite mooring places. Keith even managed to get through dodgey Br.86 without hitting anything for the first time ever, lol.

We are now making our way towards the Leicester Section of the GU, which will be our home for the winter as we start our winter coal run at the beginning of October until the end of March. You can follow our whereabouts on Facebook as Hadar has her own Fan Club. We both hope that everyone has enjoyed a good boating summer, we know we have.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Don't forget we have opened up a Facebook page for Hadar,
if you want to keep up with our news and location.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


I bet you have been wondering where we are, well I can tell you that we have been to Stratford-upon-Avon, where we stayed in the beautiful Bancroft Basin. There was enough room for us to moor alongside our friends David and Elaine on NB Patience and a good time was had by us all.We did not see a play, as there was nothing we wanted to see at this time, but we hope to come back again and go to the RSC when it is re-opened. At the moment she is going through a lot of changes.We did do the touristy bit, by going around Shakespeare's birth place and other historical attractions. We were advised by the museum that Monday was the quietest day to visit, and it was so. There was no pushing and shoving through the hoards of foreign tourists. The guest book in the museum was a fascinating read, seeing all the different countries which have visited Shakespeare's birth place. I added our name to that guest book, saying that we were from NB Hadar, on the cut, England.
It was a joy to be in such a pretty place, with so much to see and do. We enjoyed lunch out at the Thai Boathouse, over looking the river Avon. The buffet was sublime and worth going to. We were entertained by boats going in and out from below the boathouse, as they were hired out to novices trying to get to grips with oars. It really was hilarious at times. Stratford-upon-Avon was fabulous and we will most certainly be visiting again.
Having left Stratford-upon-Avon, we are now heading slowly for Birmingham. With the weather being so hot, we have only done a couple of hours cruising, allowing us to break up our journey up through all of the locks. Today we have finished up at Waring's Green, so no more locks now for a couple of days. I will be back again when the mood takes me. We are having such a fantastic time, cruising with our friends.
We have opened up a Facebook page for Hadar, if you want to keep up with our news and location.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stoke Bruerne Festival Weekend.

Keith and I are enjoying our summer blogging break, so much so that I have had the urge to post a few photographs from the weekend. We were booked into the Stoke Bruerne Canal Festival and what a fantastic weekend it turned out to be, not just because of the weather, but also because of the company we were with. Thursday evening we went for an Indian meal at the Spice of Bruerne, which we can totally recommend. The food was sublime.
Elland was legged through Blisworth Tunnel, before being towed by Bilbo the horse.
Bilbo looked splendid in his harness, with Sue Day following on behind. There were crowds of people over the weekend, no doubt brought out by the weather. We were up with the working boats and David and Elaine on NB Patience who we are crusing with this summer were on the long pound, but we got to see each other over the weekend. We were fortunate to meet up with Al and Del from NB Derwent6 , and a good time was had with them all over the weekend. Hilary and Andy off of NB The Maisibert also came and joined in, it was lovely to see them both again. We also got to meet up with the Pinnock family again with their boats Alder, Clover and Fazeley. It is always a pleasure to be in their company. Hadar and I were well protected by the Pitsford Home Guard who were on patrol, looking out for a German attack. What no one expected was a pirate attack, which crept into the festival onboard Historic Working Boat George, one of the last remaining Royalty Class. The pirates were about to empty peoples pockets of their loose change in aid of the "Friends of the Museum". What was so wonderful, were the amount of people crowding into Stoke Bruerne over the weekend. The place was heaving at times.But when the festival closed down for the day, peace and tranquility was restored.

On Friday evening we got our dinner from the fish and chip van. They were excellent. We were then entertained by Ramshackle a folk group. It was wonderful to be amongst friends enjoying a evening of singing and laughter. Saturday evening a B-B-Q was laid on, but Keith and I ate onboard Hadar as we had plenty of food. After dinner we joined Elaine, David, Al and Del and the Pinnocks at the entertainment tent for the evening. Music was played by Suffolk N' Watt who were excellent. They were so good that we were all joining in with most of the songs played, it was a complete blast. Hilary and Andy joined us a little later as they had been having a few problems with their boat. Sunday after the festival closed down we had dinner then headed to The Boat Inn to meet up with Elaine, David, Al and Del for a last get together before we would all go our seperate ways. We are now at High House for a couple of days, before we leave on the next leg of our Summer cruise with Elaine and David. As I type Elaine has just delivered our post, so I am off to open the box. I may possibly post again when we get to Stratford-upon-Avon, I will wait for the next urge to come over me. Happy cruising.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Taking a blogging summer break

Keith and I have enjoyed a fantastic time at the Wendover Canal Festival. The weather certainly brought the public out. We got to meet up with many friends and made some lovely new friends as well. Unfortunately because we have a very poor signal here in Bulbourne, I have been unable to post photographs or blog since getting to Bulbourne. Which has made us come to a decision about blogging over the summer.
We have decided to take a summer break from the blog. We have been blogging now for 5 years and feel a break is needed. We are going cruising with friends Elaine and David on NB Patience to Stratford-upon-Avon and want it to be blog free. We are not giving up on the blog completely, we just feel that we need some time out.
We both wish you a wonderful summer no matter where you are and we will post again when we feel the urge. Thank you to all of those people who read our blog and post messages, please do not abandon us as we will be back.

P.S. Keith took part in the RYA/IWA Helmsman's Certificate yesterday and passed along with the other 3 boatman taking the course. They have had to take this as all commercial craft have to be operated or under supervision by someone who is qualified to operate the boat. Even the examiner felt it was ridiculous as, in his own words, he reckoned Keith could teach him more about boating and canals, but such is life and red tape!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kings Langley to Dudswell.

Thursday 21st May

Kings Langley to Dudswell, 7.8 miles and 22 locks.

This is just a short posting because we are both shattered after an eventful days cruising. The weather was absolutely glorious all day. It was a shame that the people we met up with on our travels were not the same. On saying that one gentleman we shared a few locks with was a real diamond. Dennis on NB Narrow Escape, proudly told me that he is in his 80th year and has only been boating for 15 months. He reckoned that life was to short to be sat around getting old, so he took to the canals to see this beautiful country of ours before his time is up. We shared lots of laughs as well as a few moans, as he asked me "What has happened to being polite?". My answer to that was "I was hoping you could tell me", which had us both laughing. We left Dennis and his collie Shadow above the Winkwell Locks, where he produced a bag of doughnuts from his galley and offered us both one, which was really sweet of him. he can share locks with us anytime, It has been ages since we had doughnuts. I wish there were more like him around. Hopefully we will see him again at the Wendover Arm Festival over this coming weekend. Our day has ended in between the Dudswell locks, leaving us just 2 locks to the summit. After what we have experienced today, it is making us both think of going back to 6am starts and finishing at between 9 and 10am, so that we miss the individuals who seem to think the canal is just for them or those people who want to use it as a race track. On at least three occasions today we could have got confrontational with people, but decided what was the point. On that note I am off to enjoy a nice dinner and a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Heading for the Tring Canal Festival.

Wednesday 20th May.

Rickmansworth to Langley Wides, near Kings Langley. 7.3 miles and 13 locks.

With the Rickmansworth Festival over with for another year and all the boats gone, it was time for us to leave this morning. We had stayed on for a couple of extra days, as we met up with Keith's sister and brother-in-law for a meal last night at Tang's Chinese Buffet, which was really yummy.
We heard Frank and Sue leave at 8am on NB Lotus and decided we really should get out of bed. Before we could do anything, Paddy had to have his walk and as we left the boat, I was greeted by a Heron no more than eight feet away from me and the boat. It sat on the branch like a grumpy old man. But it certainly did not mind me taking its photograph. With breakfast done, we slipped our mooring at 9.15 am and entered Batchworth Lock, whilst in the lock, Keith emptied the toilet cassette and I got rid of the rubbish we had collected over the weekend. We crept slowly past the moored boats on the Permit Holder moorings.
When ever we pass this boat it always makes us smile. NB Crinck Cronk is one of the more interesting boats on this section of the Grand Union. Clearly who ever designed this boat, put a lot of work into it, as it really looks the part. What does not however look the part is its well out of date licence of 08/08 for both the standard licence and the mooring licence. Now it may just be that they have the new licence on the towpath side and have left the old ones on the water side to annoy eagle eyed boaters like me, but if that is the case then they are not the only ones. Because this section of the Grand Union is fast becoming a tick-over area only when cruising, because of all the moored up boats with out of date licences or even no licence at all. It was not until we reached Cassiobury Park that we had some clear water. It seems like all these unlicenced boats have come from out of the blue, maybe they have been moved off other moorings and have converged on this section of the GU. Whatever the case it needs sorting out and soon.We both love the GU and it wide variety of scenery and boats. This meadow at Cassio Bridge lock with its buttercups, would certainly brighten the dullest of days. By the time we reached North Grove Lock we had caught Frank and Sue up on NB Lotus, who had stopped off along the way to take on a gas bottle, they were sharing the locks with NB Vancy. Having enjoyed a pleasant days cruising we decided to stop two locks later on Langley Wides. Once moored up Paddy and Marmite were allowed out to enjoy the afternoon sunshine. Today has been such a contrast to the weekend weather when it was wet at times, windy most of the time and chilly all of the time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Rickmansworth Festival Weekend.

Sunday 17th May.

Our Ricky weekend began on Friday 15th May, when we left Black Jack's Lock mooring and cruised to Rickmansworth with NB Sweet Dreams owned by Jenny and Dave, who were also going to the festival.Having enjoyed a short jaunt up the canal, we arrived at Rickmansworth, where we were told we were mooring up against Joe and iron Joey boat built in 1883. Joe is still working today. For the Ricky weekend she was home to Peter Boyce and Irene, who were using Joe to sell items to raise money for the restoration of NB Lucy. LUCY is a wooden butty built at Braunston for the carrying fleet of John Knill, entering the fleet in 1953. Peter and his team have now taken her out of her watery grave, with the view to restoring her, for further information go to her website.Once we were moored up alongside Joe. Frank and Sue on NB Lotus came alongside us, making us the jam in the narrowboat sandwich.
The weather for the weekend was not supposed to be good, but Saturday turned out to be a great day, although the wind was very gusty. We both dressed up in our traditional boat gear and got to chat to lots of people, which included a visit from Frances and Alan who own NB Lazydays. They were up for the day to enjoy the festival and all it had to offer. Apart from the boats, there was also music, food and stalls. Being our first time at the event, we had a thoroughly great first day. Meeting lots of new people. There were plenty of historic boats to look at, these included. Working boats, Roger, Raymond, Nutfield, Corona, Baldock, Clover, Fazeley, Ara, Archimedes, Lupin, Victoria, Pacific, Caldy, Calysto, Nuneaton, plus others which fail to come to mind at the moment. I guess I am tired.One of the main events of the weekend was the tug of war. Chris Bennett had tried to talk Keith into entering Hadar, but there is no way we would want to risk anything happening to our National DA2. The tug of war was great fun, with NB Clover winning on Saturday and NB Kestral winning Sunday. We enjoyed visits from friends all over the weekend, but one of the highlights of my day on Saturday was meeting Sarah from NB Warrior. I have been wanting to meet Sarah for a long time, as I pop in and out of her blog, so it was great to meet her and Jim. We welcomed them onboard to have a look at our National engine and I gave her a guided tour around a not very tidy Hadar. For some reason when we are at festivals, the only areas that get tidied up are the back cabin and engine room. Paddy and Marmite made Sarah feel very welcome in their own ways. I sincerely hope that we meet up with them again, maybe when they are out on NB Warrior.
We were fortunate with the weather on Saturday, unfortunately Sunday was not so great, so I ditched my boat womans bonnet and shawl for cords and a waistcoat. It began raining early on making the ground a little muddy, this was soon remedied with bales of straw around the arena. Despite the weather, the public were still out in numbers, enjoying the boats, music and the stalls. If you have never been to the Rickmansworth Festival, it is a must for any boater or member of the public. So another festival is over with for another year and the Rickmansworth Festival is in need of a Harbourmaster for 2010.When I asked the harbourmaster about his notice, he told me that it was all true what he wrote. Sounds like a great job to me LOL. Honestly it is hard work, but also rewarding when everything is going well. I think the stress levels maybe go up when things are not going according to plan though.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Welcome Visitor.

Yesterday evening having eaten dinner, we were enjoying a cup of coffee, when my mobile phone rang, which was somewhat of a surprise, because it rarely rings. On the other end the voice asked "Where are you. Are you at Ricky yet". My reply was "No, who is this". His reply was "It's Tom on the Archimedes and Ara. Where are you then?". I told Tom that we were above Black Jack's Lock, so he said he would be coming our way in a short while, as he was taking on a delivery of diesel. An hour later, I happened to look out of the back cabin doors and saw two large bows coming up the canal, so grabbed my windlass and went off down to the lock to set it for Tom. Keith and I helped Tom up through the lock. It was then I enquired if he would like a cup of tea. As he is not one to refuse an offer of either tea or food, he moored up alongside us. We supplied the tea and he supplied the biscuits. Now I do not want to make Tom blush, but he really is the nicest young man, who loves the job he does on Archimedes and Ara. Tom took over the boats and the diesel and coal business from Barney Richardson last year and has made the route his own. Tom sells diesel, coal and gas on the Southern Grand Union Canal and London. He also has Elsan Blue, logs, firelighters and kindling onboard, so he can cater to your every need should you be in his area.
We both love chatting to Tom, because it is so refreshing to chat to a member of the younger generation who knows what he wants to do with his life. So many of the youngsters these days get a bad name, because of a few bad eggs who are involved in illegal things. Tom is living proof that not all young people are living life on the wrong side of the tracks. He has a great knowledge of the boats and the people on the canal, it is a pleasure to know him. Tom runs the coal boats on his own and gets his coal supplies from the family business W.G Hill and Son, Twyford, Buckinghamshire. It really is a family run business, with each member of the family, having a part to play in the business. When Tom is not on the boats he is in the yard filling coal bags.
We spent a good couple of hours chatting about everything to do with boats and boating, before Tom needed to move as he had a customer to supply with diesel before it got totally dark. he was then going to moor up at The Coy Carp overnight ready for his diesel delivery this morning. We will see Tom and the boats again at the Rickmansworth Festival.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Matt Hampson Walk.

We were having a nice quiet day, surfing the internet and playing games, when we heard a strimmer battering the side of the boat, followed closely by a mower. The towpath grass was being cut and that meant the side of the boat would be plastered in grass. There was nothing for it, but to turn the computer off and get outside and wash the boat down. No sooner had we set foot out of the boat, we saw a procession of boats coming down towards Black Jack's Lock, all carrying banners of the 12 premiership rugby clubs.The 12 boats and their crew of over 100 people are taking part in the Walk4Matt09. They are helping to raise money for Matt Hampson, who is paralysed from the neck down.
Matt Hampson played for Leicester and England Under-21 before being paralysed in a scrummage in training in March 2005. The walk began in Rugby.

And will end in Richmond-on-Thames on midday Friday 15th May 2009, the day before the Guinness Premiership Final at Twickenham. If you see them please support them as it is for a good cause. I got chatting to one of the designated skippers, who told me that all of the boats skippers had to take a course to steer the boats, because none of them had done it before. They were all having a wonderful but tiring time. Even the walkers were still smiling. At the end of each day they look forward to an evening in a pub near to the canal. I promised them I would give them a mention and I sincerely hope they continue to enjoy the walk.
The walk has the backing of British Waterways, PRL (Professional Rugby Limited), PRA (The Professional Rugby Players Association) and all 12 Guinness Premiership Rugby Union Clubs, Leicester, Northampton, Bath, Worcester, Gloucester, Bristol, Newcastle, Sale, Harlequins, Wasps, Saracens and London Irish. Good luck to them all on their final leg.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Any advance on Twenty.

Can anyone beat this family with 20 ducklings?
We are not sure if the two fluffy yellow ones are adopted LOL. But they certainly have the cute factor.

On the move again.

Monday 12th May.

Slough Arm to above Black Jack's Lock, Harefield, 5.8 miles and 5 locks.

Our morning began with the usual, dog walking, eating breakfast, oh and not forgetting to get dressed, that comes before the dog walking. Once we were all ship shape, we left our overnight mooring, which was lovely and quiet this time and headed back on to the Grand Union main line. Our first port of call was the sanitary station at the Packet Boat Marina, where we took on water and got rid of rubbish. Whilst filling up with water, we stood and watched as another boater struggled with the £12 pump out, which did not seem to be working correctly. In the hour it took us to fill up with water, it took him as long to pump out his toilet waste. It made us feel so grateful that we do not have a pump out. We left the sanitary station and headed towards Cowley Lock, where one of the Land and Water gravel boats was already beginning its descent. I walked up to help with the lock gates and got chatting to the local police office who was on towpath duty for the day. We had an interesting conversation about the little darlings who tear up the towpaths on motorcycles. Before carrying on with the conversation. I had to help the gravel boat get out of the lock, by opening a paddle to allow water to surge under the boat, enabling the operater to move out of the lock. The gravel boat was at its heaviest with 160 tonne onboard, so every little bit of help was appreciated. With Hadar now in the lock and the paddles raised, Keith and I carried on the conversation with the policeman about the towpath tearaways. The policeman wanted to know if we had encountered any problems with kids on motorcyles, which of course we had. His advice to us was to write down as much detail as we could about the bikes, riders etc and let the police know. I told him I can go one better, we always take photographs, which pleased him no end. It seems that this coming weekend, there is going to be a huge crackdown on the towpath tearaways. They have already caught a few of them and crushed their bikes, but they are not letting up on the crackdown, which is excellent news for anyone else who likes to walk the towpath, because they maybe able to walk them in safety in future. ( I know I am dreaming ).Having wished the policeman well, we carried on our merry way, coming across NB Chiswick at Uxbridge, still decked out in her bunting from the Little Venice Cavalcade. Maybe she is heading for the Ricky festival as well.Before approaching Denham Deep lock, we spotted this boat with its four occupants and one that had abandoned ship into what seemed like the life raft, it just looked like they were all about to jump ship. They greeted us with lots of barking and waggy tails. Which made us both smile, as it was such a cute picture. By the time we reached Denham Deep lock we had been caught up by a Wyvern Shipping Hire Boat, with balloons and bunting on the roof. Having emptied the lock, we shared the lock and the following two locks on our way to Harefield. One of the ladies onboard had been asked, by her husband how she would like to celebrate her 60th birthday, and she told him that she wanted to celebrate it on a boat in London. So they hired a boat with friends and were enjoying a fantastic time. Our time together ended when we exited Black Jack's lock, and moored up on the towpath. It was now time for some lunch. we said our goodbye's and wished them well with the rest of their holiday. After lunch we walked up to see Keith's sister and brother-in-law, where we had a much needed cup of tea, as it is some hike up the hill, but wonderful coming back down to the boat later in the afternoon. We are stopping put for a couple of days, as we do not need to be at Rickmansworth until Friday. The weather today, gave us sunny spells, but once again the wind was a nuisance at times. Still we cannot have everything I guess.Black Jack's Mill, is looking splendid now that it has been given some TLC. It has been turned into a Bed and Breakfast. The mill itself was built in 1840 and is a former watermill. It made an appearance in the film The Bargee.

Monday, May 11, 2009

There and back to see how far it is.

Monday 11th May.

Little Venice to the Slough Arm.

We left Paddington Basin at 9.40am, after a very pleasant stay.
We entered Little Venice Pool from the Basin and turned right. We then cruised up towards Maida Hill Tunnel, destination Camden Market.It was the first time Keith and I had been to Camden Market. We arrived to a very quiet market. Some of the stall holders were still opening up. It wasn't awake properly, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves, which was nice, as neither of us are into large crowds. The Canal Market re-opened on Saturday, after it was destroyed by fire in February 2008.The Horse Tunnel Market is really spectacular, with it large horse statues. The Stables were built in the 19th Century for horses and pit ponies that were used to shunt railway wagons. Today the stables are used as stalls for the market traders, it is all very impressive. Although we found the market interesting, there was very little in the way of things there that we would buy. As neither of us is into Leather and Goth clothing. What you cannot help but notice, is that many of the stalls have the same things. The food hall of the market did get our mouths watering from the fantstic smells permeating through out the market. If it had been lunch time, we may have tried some of what was on offer. With the visit over we headed back to Hadar, which was on the stop and shop moorings, which allows you 4 hours stopping time. Whilst Keith got us underway, I made us a coffee.The weather had been very kind to us all day, with warm sunshine. The only downside was the breeze, which was gusty at times. We head back past London Zoo and back into the Little Venice Pool, where we stopped to empty the toilet cassettes. We have really enjoyed our visit to London once again and will be back again in the future, to carry on to do the Thames again.We saw only a couple of other boats moving today, one of them was a lighter being pushed by a tug. I was a little surprized to see it so quite. We stopped at Alperton to do a food shop at Sainsburys, because our cupboards and fridge were looking rather sad. The one thing we have found on this stretch of the Grand Union is the lack of decent deep moorings. We had hoped to moor at Greenford, near the Black Horse pub, but once again the moorings were taken up by boats that had been there when we went down to Little Venice more than a couple of weeks ago, so they are now officially continual moorers. So we ploughed onwards until 6pm, when we decided to stop on the Slough Arm over night. It has been a long day and we are both shattered now. I do not think either of us will have any problem sleeping tonight.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Following in the tourists steps.

With the Little Venice Cavalcade over for another year and with little to do until we head for the Rickmansworth Boat Festival, we took the opportunity to join the masses on the tourist trail. Yesterday Keith went off to a BT works reunion, where he met up with fellow workers he worked with 27 years ago in London. The one thing about reunions is you meet up with people you had totally lost contact with over the years. A good time was had by all from what Keith said. I was home alone in the afternoon, so took myself off to investigate Edgeware Road and all it had to offer, making sure I knew how to get back to the boat, as I am not that great with directions and can get myself lost easily. The Edgeware Road has a variety of shops, large and small. They supply all nationalities who reside in the area. It was busy as the market was taking place, so after a walk around I headed back to the boat, and the jobs I had left behind when I went out.

Keith is still getting over another virus he picked up since receivering from the one he picked up before we went into dry dock at Uxbridge on the 11th April. He still has a nasty cough, but he assures me that he feels fine. So with his assurance we decided to head into the West End to go and see Harrods.
I have seen it plenty of times on the TV, and always wanted to have a look inside. As Keith had never stepped inside the store either, we joined the throngs of tourists and took the tube from Paddington into the West End and arrived outside of the Harrods store. It really is an immensely grand place, which is just as impressive on the inside. I did find it really rather too posh for my liking and some of the prices of things was quite shocking, but I suppose if you have that sort of money then you can buy anything. For one pair of Jeans they were asking £297. If you bought three pairs you got the third pair at half price hahahaha now that is good of them. After having had a quick peek into another persons life style, which was definitely not for us we left and headed for Covent Garden, with its street entertainers and market stalls, which was much more our scene. The gentleman in the photograph (above), was catching a cup, saucer and spoon on his head after balancing them on his foot. It was really entertaining and he was brilliant at drawing the crowd in. We had thought we may go to the London Transport Museum, but with it being £10 for each adult, we soon changed our minds. Sarah Siddons, the oldest working main line electric locomotive in Britain, which is housed in the museum, will make special trips between Harrow-on-the-Hill, via Rickmansworth to Amersham on Sunday 17 May as part of the Rickmansworth Festival, so we look forward to seeing her there. Before lunch we walked around Somerset House. You cannot help but be amazed at the architecture, it really is quite stunning as are all the old buildings in London. In the courtyard they have 55 fountains which in the summer dance and in the winter you can skate on the ice rink.
Although I find London an exciting and vibrant city, as a country girl born and breed, I do find the crowds of people overpowering, and if it were not for me holding Keith's hand most of the time, I would surely have got lost. Thankfully Keith knows London well, from his days working in the capital, so I just followed as he led the way. We stopped for lunch at the Thai Square Restaurant, where we enjoyed a fabulous lunch. With lunch over, we once more joined the crowds and headed for Chinatown, which dates back to the 17th Century and beyond. It has plenty of places to eat and drink, not to mention the Chinese Supermarkets, where you can buy your very own genuine Chinese produce. If you are coming to London you really must visit Chinatown, and soak up the atmosphere of a place steeped in history.
We also walked around Leicester Square with its cinema's and theatres. We have promised ourselves that one day we will go and see something at one of the many theatres. At the moment there is so much to see.
Having enjoyed our jaunt out, it was time to head back on to the tube at Leicester Square and get off at Paddington Station. The tube was packed today, due to work being carried out on the Circle and Jubilee lines. At times we felt like sardines in a tin. Keith assured me it is far worse on a week day at rush hour. So back onboard Hadar, we have settled in for the rest of the day. I sat watching a film, whilst Keith took a nap. It has been a wonderful day.