About Us

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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

It's all about Ned Kelly

A small town like Beechworth and you couldn't imagine the amount of things to see and do. We knew about the Ned Kelly connections but hadn't realised that the town grew up on the gold rush days of the 1850s.

 Ned Kelly was what we had come for and a small fee got us into the courthouse for a look around.

L to R. Dan Kelly, Ned Kelly (notice the bullet indentation) Steve Hart and Joe Byrne's body armour. The Kelly Gang.

Yesterday on our way to Beechworth, we drove past Glenrowan also very much Ned Kelly territory. In fact he lived only 10 minutes from the town and this was where the 'last stand' took place and  ultimately his capture. He was shot 28 times, his armour helped him to survive. So deciding to drive back (only 40km) we wanted to learn even more of his history. Here we met a very colourful character called Roger Hempel the owner of the museum. At 80 he claimed that he was the last of his line to be directly linked to Ned Kelly. His great grandmother butchered the cattle they rustled and then sold back to the original owners. Another of his ancestor Herman Hempel was the blacksmith who supposedly made one of the metal suits.  Having been enthralled with his knowledge and story telling. (Not sure how true it all was but he was very convincing) we paid to look around the museum and take in the show. All I can say it was a Walt Disney themed show, a bit rough round the edges but filled with humour, horror, fright and thoroughly entertaining.

The day wasn't just about Ned Kelly. We took a drive along the gorge at Beechworth to risk live and limb to see the Spring Greek Cascades. Climbing down smooth rocks as well as rugged terrain (no path to follow) we had a spectacular view of the cascades.

'twas a long day and instead of cooking we treated ourselves to a 12" pizza. Would have sat outside to eat but those flies..... Now that the temperature is rising they are out in force!

And wildlife,

Underside of a Redback spider

See next photo to see how tiny this spider was.

Bees nest in one of the exhibits at Glenrowan

Type of Daddy long legs spider.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

My dog fix with the lovely Klara

Monday 5th Dec

Although we got up early Mick had already left for work so we didn't get to say a proper goodbye. But I did get to go for a walk with Elly taking Klara for a run. Lovely to have that dog fix again. By 9.30am we were ready to leave and it was with great reluctance that our farewells were said. Maybe in the future they will return to the UK and hopefully we will meet up. As for us our journey was the longest to date. We reckoned we did about 340km going via Echuca to see the historic port and steam boats and then ending up at Beechworth. Will probably stay for a couple of days to see what is around here before setting off for the final leg of this stage of our adventure.

The mist rolled in which was a shame as the views were supposed to be stunning.

Seen on the way back from our walk.

Having checked the wheel nuts were tight (bit paranoid about that at the moment) the long straight quiet roads stretched endlessly before us. But Abba was playing on an app on the phone so singing along helped and when that finished War of the Worlds was a must listen too. Stopping at Echuca we first had lunch while listening to the cicada chirping away (not so bad this time) and then walked to the Murray river to see the steam boats. So disappointed that we couldn't get close. We asked at the booking office if we could take a few photos but the answer was only if we paid to go into the museum. So we had to make do with photos from afar.

Alexander Arbuthnot
 By 6pm we had arrived at Beechworth. Having checked in, given free WiFi access and a cable so we could watch TV through their aerial, a very welcome beer for Ian and wine for me saw us sitting and relaxing while enjoying the last of the sun. Still at 24° we think we are in for a sticky night.
The wildlife,

Australian wood duck male

And female

On the fly screen.

Another Lorikeet????

Monday, 5 December 2016

Finally we meet after all the planning

Sunday 4th

Finally the weather is on the turn...for the better. Already up at 20° it was lovely for once not to make the dash to the loo first thing in morning in jumpers. By 9.30am we were ready for the off. Today we had planned to meet with Mick and Elli previous owners of Parisian Star. Reaching Castlemaine a phone call to Elli for the address and......  a good job we stopped when we did because not in Bendigo as we thought but 35km from the town and, as luck would have it, we had stopped on the right side of their address otherwise we would have done more mileage then we aught. Mick met us at the petrol station and took us to their property. Plenty of room for us to park the caravan and under cover where it was that bit cooler. Yes the temperatures had shot up to 29° and inside the house, lovely and cool too. Lots of catching up and canal chat first before lunch and then armed with hand drawn maps of places to visit we set off for the afternoon, first to Bendigo and then to a lovely historic town with it's steam railway at Maldon.

Then the weather turned windy and the rain arrived. Warm rain so not unpleasant. Stopped to look at the mine but the cost was astronomical to go down the shaft on a mine tour. $85 per person. Just to look around the mine was $30. We had a browse in the gift shop and left.

On the way to Maldon we came across this dredger and dragline. So in the pouring rain I grabbed the camera for a quick photo before dashing back  to the car. Not quite wet through but enough to feel slightly 'moist.'

Finding Maldon station we had just parked the car when we were told the train was arriving. Still raining and temperature which, incidently, had cooled down considerably to the upper teens.

That evening a BBQ had been planned. Micks wonderful home made BBQ consisting of an old gas oven, cooked the Lamb chops and Kebabs to perfection and with a scrumptious prepared salad by Elli the meal went down a treat.. Talk went well into the evening, mostly of canals and boats but their gorgeous Labrador Klara was often mentioned. So loving and gentle she has almost made our mind up about getting another dog when we return home next April. Tomorrow we say our farewells and continue the journey to Kiama.

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