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.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Dairy of our Northern Lights cruise

  "Diary Entry","Thursday 20th. Start of our Northern Lights holiday. Weather cloudy with intermittent rain

Up early feeling excited. Things to do, let fire go out, cap chimney, switch off fridge, clean through boat, empty cassette ( Ians job ) take cases to cottage ready for when Howard picks us up to take to Broadmarsh Bus station. By 10.30am we were about ready to go but with our coach booked for 12.40 pm it was a little early to set off for Nottingham. Quick walk to Lidl for sweeties for on the journey and ready to leave by 11am. Arrived at bus station 11.50.

Coach 10 minutes late and journey was horrible. Took over 7 hours. Nottingham to Leicester and the driver had to take his 40 minute break.  Left by 14.15pm and then stopped to pick up passengers at Coventry, Lemington Spa, Bambury and Oxford where we changed coach. This then stopped at Newbury, Winchester, and finally Southampton.  Had a 10 minute walk to the Ibis hotel
 pulling along 2 large cases, one holdall, small travel bag and rucksack full of camera equipment.
 Booked into hotel by 8pm, had a chili con carne for a meal followed by bottle of wine £16 and 2 coffees. Check out tomorrow is 12pm and embarkation of Boudicca at 14.30pm tomorrow.

View from the Hotel Ibis bedroom window. Boudicca's red funnel can be seen through the trees on the left.'

Friday 21st. Weather mainly sunny

Breakfast 8.30am then off for a walk to look at Boudicca.

Now 13.00pm and waiting for a taxi to take us off to our long awaited holiday.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Had a bit of a rough night

I suppose it was to be expected and with me still lying awake at midnight took another dose of Paracetamols  At around 4am the pain in my jaw woke me up yet again. So more pain killers ( not sure if I'm starting to overdose on them) but they worked a treat because before I knew it Ian was sidling past the bed at 7am with Jade in hot pursuit as she was desperate to go out. With me awake Ian brought me my first hot cup of tea since the extractions. It wasn't as easy as I thought, only being able to take fluids on one side of my mouth. I had to have a tea towel to stop me dribbling all over my nightie. Still I relished every mouthful and with the pain starting to ease slowly I have every hope for a quick recovery.

Loads have been achieved today. I have ironed, packed more clothes, brushed the dog, filled the bird feeders and started the boat clean. Ian has packed his suitcase, chopped wood, watered up, emptied one of the loo cassettes and sorted out things like passports and tickets. Tomorrow Jade goes to her boot camp at Christine's. I have almost packed as much for her as for us and, knowing how much both of us are going to miss her, have enclosed a few special treats to keep her happy.

Took this photo late this afternoon. We were bathed in a strange orange light .

I don't expect to do another post for awhile. Not sure about on board Wi Fi on the cruise so may have to wait for an internet cafe to do a short post. Will have to wait and see.

And finally:-

Monday, 17 February 2014

Groan!!! Bad toothache

And only a few more days to go before our cruise. I was beginning to feel more like my old self when last night my upper jaw started throbbing. Today has been hell and I have been pill popping with pain killers throughout the day so a phone call to the dentist saw me getting an emergency appointment at 3.20pm. By 3.40pm I was called in and by 5.10pm I was out. Lighter by 2 teeth, my wisdom and the one next to it! I couldn't believe how long it took but when I heard a loud crack as the second tooth was being pulled and the dentist said she had just snapped the tooth from its roots leaving them in the gum, I panicked slightly. I had been warned that if that happened I may have to go to hospital and have the gum cut to remove the pieces left inside. I was relieved when another more senior dentist was called to rectify the situation and sure enough within minutes out came the root. Result! I came out very thankful that my jaw was numb but knew that once the anesthetic wore off I would be pill popping again tonight! I'm praying that this will be the final thing to go wrong before we set sail because both of us have certainly had our fair share of ailments!

I must just show you this photo taken this morning. My total page views had reached all the 1's.

and finally:-

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Countdown has started.

It's been one of those days where I've been rushing around like a headless chicken yet have very little to show for it. With the days racing by before our first ever cruise I have tried to get on top of things like changing the bed linen, sorting clothes and washing Jades bedding in readiness for Jades boot camp to Christine's. And it is Jades 'boot camp' because she really cant be doing with our Grandson Josh chasing and hugging her every 5 minutes. She has never been able to understand little people and Josh just loves to follow Jade around. Christine owns Echo, Jades sister, who tolerates Josh's every move which doesn't really help matters. Christine now resorts to tucking Jade under the dining table where she is happier and threatens Josh with no treats if he does pester her. Anyway there is still masses to do and never having experienced life on board a cruise liner am really at a lose as to what needs to be packed. One thing we are not going to be doing is going glitzy just to go in the posh dining room.  I don't own a posh frock and Ian doesn't do tux's! Anyway I have stopped doing the essentials as the winter Olympics ice dance is on. I don't suppose we will ever get another Torvil and Dean but I'm routing for our GB couple Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland.

And finally:-

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The clear up after the storm

After the storms of the past few days a mass of debris lay littering the ground. With this mooring having a secure grassed area, which is ideal for the Woofit, there is beyond the fence, a small coppice full of shrubs and gnarled trees which has continually deposited small branches and twigs on top of Free Spirit during the high winds. So this is where it was decided by ECP&DA Fridays work party to concentrate their energy. I was very surprised by the amount of branches and twigs that had accumulated throughout these storms. And this was only a fraction of what was cleared, the rest already been stacked in the dumper and taken off for burning.

Not just twigs but some substantial sized branches had also come down and as an added bonus we got to keep the larger bits instead of it going to the Society to keep the cottage warm. It's all very wet though, and not good for burning so Ian's job is to cut it up to manageable lengths and take it back to our garage to dry out.

 This morning I was peeved to see that it was raining. I've been going stir crazy the last few weeks being stuck in the boat and not being able to get out and about. Ian has had loads to do now that he has the use of ECP&DA workshop. He's never happier then when he's got a tool in his hand (-: But what with me being unwell and Jade only allowed to do short walks I've had to resort to watching daytime TV!!!( God help me!!) So when Ian suggested a day out I was overjoyed. Then we awoke to the rain and wind. A day out was no longer on the cards but with a lull in the rain we did managed a walk in Shipley park. To say it was blustery was an understatement. Take a look at this Cygnet. That shows how windy it was.

Wind ruffling it's feathers.

Jade in Shipley park today. Her antibiotics have finished so we keep fingers crossed that there is no return of the middle ear infection.

Loads of Snowdrops.
We arrived back to the boat just before another heavy rain storm hit. So I am again sat watching daytime TV but at least it's something I'm interested in. I keep changing channels 'cause I cant decide whether to watch the Winter Olympics or The Birmingham Grand Prix. (Athletics )

And finally:-

Friday, 14 February 2014

A birds eye view

So this was our chimney on our bungalow the beginning of this year. It was very evident that some damage had been sustained during the high winds last year. In fact the chimney pot was so loose it was easily picked up a chap erecting the scaffold and he placed it on the boards for safety's sake. It's a wonder the thing hadn't fallen down on its own! It had to be sorted and sooner rather then later so enter ECP&DA who came to the rescue.

 It was Mick Gold doing the main work with Ian helping and doing his bit while Micks wife Carol set to mixing the cement and keeping the men supplied with coffee.  All that was left for Ian to do was reinstall the aerial. It got a bit bent during the work so Ian brought it back to the workshop for some TLC. While Ian was up on the scaffold platform I asked if I was possible that I might come up as well. Not used to climbing ladders I was a bit apprehensive but it was well worth the effort to see the surrounding area from a birds perspective.

C&RT were in the process of removing the scaffolding below and it was a great opportunity for me to grab a photo. The work repairing the lock walls had finished ahead of schedule, and water once more flowed into the lock.

View from the top

In the distance is part of Toton freight yard.  A planned station is to be built for HS2 so I suppose noise levels may be reduced but it really is very close to our bungalow!

Erewash canal to the right and Derby canal arm to the left.
 Back on firm ground I walked round the back of the cottage to see how the clean up was coming along. It sure is a mess round the back. Hope it all gets cleared and tidied and left as they found it!.

And finally:-

Thursday, 13 February 2014

A wild evening

It's all about the weather. We talk about it non stop to anyone who will stop and listen. It's what us Brits do best I suppose, and we have certainly had a lot of weather to talk about since Christmas. Last night was yet another typical night of rocking and rolling but this time the wind reached gale force and branches started bombarding our roof with every gust. Even Jade, who's nearly deaf, was unnerved by the loud bangs! Leaving the boat this morning I found the bird feeder had fared pretty badly having come off it's fixing and scattered nuts and seeds in all directions.

On my walk I noticed this tree with only 2 branches covered in blossom. Seems a bit early but then everything is appearing earlier and we still have weeks to go before Spring officially arrives.

This came through on my Facebook page from C&RT. This time a guide on keeping your boat safe during the floods. Click here.   It's well worth a look although most of it is common sense. With yet another storm on it's way over the weekend I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever end!

And finally:-

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Notes from C&RT meeting in Nottingham

It came through to me via Facebook so many will probably have read them already. But for those that haven't and are interested in C&RT reply's to the questions posed click here ( I will just mention that they got Ian's name wrong. Seems I'm married to a Johnson now not a Jameison!)

And finally:-

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Good one day, bad the next.

Just when I thought I was getting better I was up and down several times during the night with crippling pains in my lower abdomen. Seems I just cant shake off this Diverticulitis. The antibiotics are all finished so all I can do now is to go back to clear liquids, white bread and rice. This is definitely starting to worry me as we have only 9 days to go before we leave on our cruise and come hell or high water I'm not going to miss that!

So with more rain falling last night and this morning it seems we have yet another storm on it's way.  This time snow and ice has also been in the forecast for the Midlands but thankfully we are free from floods. Watching the news this morning and seeing the floods all along the Thames makes me realise how lucky we are. All those people who can only watch in horror as the water engulfs their property. It must be so demoralising for them. Sometimes, no matter what life throws at us, we must thank our lucky stars that we are at least safe.

On a lighter note I saw the first blue tit inspect the nest box on the opposite side of the basin this afternoon. Might have to save Jades hair for the birds now rather then throw it away.

And with a lull in the atrocious weather this afternoon, took myself and Jade for a gentle walk and found the first Snowdrops and Daffs growing along the hedge bottom.

This chap was pumping water from his flooded garden. A sizable lake had formed in the middle due to a prolonged deluge this morning. At least it's only his garden underwater and not his house!

The flooded garden

And finally:-

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