About Us

My photo
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.

Monday, 29 October 2012

A shattering experience

Saturday was a busy day, first walking Jade in Shipley Park, and then taking a drive over to Derby to visit our daughter Christine.  There we were constantly plagued by our grandson Josh as he wanted to play policeman and the villain ( we of course were the villains and had to be taken to jail )so when we left later that afternoon completely exhausted and drained ( we are definitely getting to old to be crawling around on hands and knees ) , both of us looked forward to an evening watching Strictly , Merlin and Casualty in front of a roaring log fire and a glass of wine. By 10pm we decided that bed was calling us and Ian did his usual banking up of the fire, emptying the ash pan and riddling the grate. Thats when disaster struck. As Ian was was stoking the fire, an ember literally lept out of the open door onto the hearth. Ian did no more then slam the door shut with the poker to stop any more of the embers leaping out and that's when the glass fire door cracked and shattered. We couldn't believe that had happened and, as the fire was still roaring away, there was noway we could go to bed and leave the fire unattended. There was nothing for it but to settle down again with yet another glass of wine, put the telly back on, and continue watching what Ian describes as dross TV.

Picture taken on Sunday morning


Saturday night was chilly and for the first time this year we put an extra blanket on the bed. I felt really sorry for Jade having to curl up on her bed without any heat but then I thought, hang on a minute, she has got a fur coat which sheds constantly ( tumbleweed all over the boat ) so keeping warm was probably not an issue. First thing Sunday morning Ian removed the fire door and what was left of any glass in the fire, managed to unscrew the bolts holding the glass remains onto the door, and then set of to Midland Chandlers at Mercia Marina, Willington where he purchased a new glass and seal for £20. The rest of Sunday saw us toasty warm again once the glass was replaced so we had no need for the extra blanket that night.

Today was the usual blood test and chemo day and so nothing productive ever gets done. Still there is always tomorrow, and the next day, and the next........................!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Update on Ian, good and the bad

We have just arrived back from seeing the consultant. The good news is he thinks there has been some shrinkage to the size of the tumour. To make absolutely sure, Ian will have to have another scan. Before that can take place, Ian is to have another 4 week cycle of the chemo, see the consultant again, and then the scan can be booked. We reckon it will be sometime in December. The bad news is his liver function is still on the high side. At the moment the reading is stable ( around 300 ) but if it goes above 600 then chemo will have to be stopped. So far the consultant isn't to concerned, so as long as the reading stays the same or goes down, then all will be okay

We had a visit this weekend from new boat owners Fred and Lisa. They took possession  of their boat Nb Chyandour from Mike and John at Kingfishers, Trent lock. I must say the boat is immaculate and the fixtures and fittings finished to a very high standard.  Its lovely to meet new bloggers and if you want to read their blog click here.


Last week we had a visit from C&RT. They were very interested at the work ECP&DA had done to the new swing bridge as well as the start of the restoration of the Cromford canal. To see the Cromford back in water and navicable would be something that hopefully will come of fruition some time in the future. I very much doubt if it will happen in our cruising days but one can live in hopes.

Work completed as far as ECP&DA can go for the moment on the Cromford
John Bayliss IWA. Howard Smith ( chairman of the ECP&DA ) 2 C&RT bods, Ernie ( ECP&DA member and Mike Gold work party organiser. The two ladies are also something to do with C&RT but I have no idea in what!

Monday, 22 October 2012

A great weekend

For weeks now emails had been sent backward and forward from various family members regarding Ian's surprise 60th birthday gift. We had contemplated a skydive, something Ian always wanted to do, but I was the one who put a stop to that sugestion. There were the usual boys toys adventure days but in the end we all agreed that go carting would be the most fun for Ian, as well as family members who wanted to have a go. So on Sunday morning we left Colin's  to go to the Daytona Go Cart center. Ian was thrilled with his surprise and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I would have loved to have had a go but looking at the size of the go cart seats, decided that my bum was definitely to big to fit in!!! So I became official photographer instead.

From L to R:- Chris ( brother-in-law ) Kevin ( son-in-law ), Shelia ( sister ), Iwona ( daughter-in-law ), Colin ( son ) and finally Ian, ( birthday boy )

Helmet did'nt look to comfortable.

Ian in car No 5


Out of the 6 family members taking part, Ian came in 3rd. Kevin was 1st followed by Colin. Iwona 4th, Chris 5th and finally Mrs slow coach herself Shelia.
Also as a treat we took Ian to a Thai restaurant.  Unbeknown to us all, but arranged by Colin and Christine, a cake was presented to Ian after the meal. I couldn't believe the work that had gone into making the cake. You would have thought it had been made by a professional but everything you see was made by our daughter Christine. I didn't even know she could bake like that. I think she should have a career change and start baking instead.

Christine wanted to show in the cake decoration what dad had done throughout his life. The silver circles on the side depicts gas turbine blades ( Ian's job was in Gas turbines ) The tape measure and spanner to show how handy he is to have around, our boat as his retirement and the only thing missing from the man sitting on the cake, was the ball hanging out of his pocket  ( Ian walks round with the cork ball from the boat keys always protruding from his pocket. ) She said she had made one but it kept falling off, so the idea was abandoned


Me with my usual large glass of wine

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The little greeneyed monster

Yep that's me! It's reared it's ugly head! Two of our friends from the ECP&DA are off on their boats for a three week cruise up the T&M and onto the Caldon canal. Normally we would have joined them but of course, at the moment, we are tied to the NHS.  To say I was envious was an understatement especially as it was 4 years ago that the BIF's ( Bracken, Icing & Freespirit ) set off as a convoy for our first epic cruise, crossing the tidal Ribble and onto the Lancaster canal. Last night we all went out for a farewell dinner at The Great Northern and then back on board the party boat, Nb Icing, ( so called because of her long fore deck ) for  a game of Mexican Train.  Today, as they entered Langley Bridge lock, I set off armed with windlass, handcuff key and Jade to walk ahead and get both Eastwood and Shipley locks ready for them. Then it was only a matter of waiting for them to arrive at Shipley before wishing them bon voyage as they cruised off into the distance.

Nb Icing with Dennis at Helm reversing out of the Great Northern Basin.


Dave and Heather on Nb Bracken getting ready to set off.

Nb Bracken first into Eastwood lock

Closely followed by Dennis and Margaret on Nb Icing
 On my way back to Langley, I decided to take an excursion along the disused Nottingham canal. Most of what is left in water is covered in weed and reeds, ideal habitat for water vole. Three years ago walking the same stretch I came across 8 voles within a half mile section. Unfortunately I saw no sign of any vole today but  mink has been frequently spotted around here so I am assuming that is  why the vole is no longer around. What I did come across, though, was a farrier on the lane leading to Gadsby bridge hot shoeing a horse.




Back at our boat Ian and I made a decision. As we also own another boat, Nb Merlin, kept in the  fleet at the Anglo Welsh hire base at Trevor on the Llangollen, we are going to see if she is available for us to take out for 5 days in November.  A phone call later today will give us our answer!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Update on Ian

Common Ragwort. Flying hoverfly is an Episyrphus balteatus

I made a cake yesterday, vanilla sponge filled with coffee buttercream. I then went shopping for a card and Ian's favorite tipple, a bottle of Captain Morgan Spice. All this I did while Ian was out and why? Because yesterday Ian had his 60th birthday.  So now he can have his free eye test but, mores the pity, will still have to wait for the bus pass!
Surprisingly we had a phone call last night from Ian's Consultant apologising for not seeing us on our last appointment. He said it was due to unforeseen circumstances. Fair enough but there was still no excuse in not getting his registrar up to speed with the case. He then told Ian that he had full intentions of seeing him on the next appointment, until, that is, his secretary informed him of a prior engagement on the same afternoon. However, because of the fact  that the last blood test still showed the liver function to be above what was the norm, he said he would make every effort to be available for the allotted time. So with any luck we should be able to see the man himself. Watch this space!!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Friday, 5 October 2012

Coach line painted on back panel plus another quick update on Ian

It's typical! Masking done and dusted days ago and then down came the rain for the next two days!! Luckily the low tack masking tape can withstand numerous wetting and drying out and so didn't cause any bleeding from the new paint when it was first brushed on. When the final 3rd coat was applied yesterday the result was everything I had hoped. Now we only have the rest of this side to finish before we start all over again on the other side.

Before

and after.
We had a nice surprise today. Maureen and Terry on Nb Motex came up Langley Bridge lock just before noon. Back in July 2008 we met them at the end of the Ruford Arm as, like us, they too were also waiting to attempted the Ribble link and ultimately get onto the Lancaster canal. They told me they had been trying for weeks to reach us here at Langley, but what with the Erewash closure and then the river Trent being on red boards, they just had to stay put and wait it out.We reckon this weekend should be a hoot now that they have arrived. We're going to make the most of their visit with frequenting the local eateries and hostelry's.


Ian is doing okay. His chemo went ahead on Monday and for once we only had to wait 30 minutes before getting into 'the chair'. Unfortunately the nurse who redressed the arm to secure his pic line, didn't quite get the adapter in the right place and consequently he suffered with some discomfort every time he rested his arm on the chair or tried to lay on his side to sleep. Next day he went back to the chemo ward to have it dressed again. The girl on the reception told him he would be seen very quickly. Well 3 hours of waiting later, he not only found a nurse and asked her how long it would be before he was seen , he also spoke to the receptionist again who repeated what she had told him 3 hour previously. By now Ian had got himself into a right state. To change the dressing would have taken no more then 5 minutes but it appeared that no one was going to be bothered about doing it. In the end he told the staff exactly what he thought of their ' it wont be long' speech and stormed out. By the time he returned to the boat steam was coming out of his ears so I did no more then remove the dressing myself, adjust the pic line adapter ( had some concerns that I might have dislodged something and he would end up bleeding all over the boat ) and with the lint we had in our first aid box as well as a bandage, managed to make the dressing much more comfortable. This is not quite the end of the tale as this morning his arm under the pic line looked very red and swollen. I worried that I may have done some damage but Ian assured me it was looking red even before I fiddled with it So Ian took himself off to the walk-in center at Ilkeston. There they thought he may have an infection and so they issued yet more antibiotics with strict instructions that he must inform the consultant if it doesn't get better. So now we wait for the drugs to do their job. Not sure I'm going to enjoy going back to the chemo ward with Ian next Monday, especially after he let rip at the staff there. Still, the nurses are there to nurse and, although we are fully aware that they are rushed off there feet due to staff shortages, I'm sure one of them could have manged a 5 minute dressing change!

Blog Archive