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.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Look what we pulled out of the canal! Had to get the Police involved.

So now to the main event. Our orders from Michael ECP&DA work party organiser was to meet at Barkers lock for 8.30am. Kitted out for a mucky day's work we duly arrived at the allocated time fully expecting a horde of helpers to be milling around but no one was in sight. So....... okay maybe we heard the time wrong and perched ourselves on the lock beam to wait. And there we waited and waited and waited. By 8.45am Ian got on the phone to find out where every one was, only to be told everyone was now meeting at Bridge Inn.  Michael thought he had let everyone know but somehow forgot to tell us. Still we got to the right place eventually and C&RT  gave us the briefing on how to cleanup the canal (as if we didn't know!) and issued the majority of us with life jackets, high viz jackets, litter pickers, grappling hooks, bin liners etc. .After signing in, those with steel toecaps on boots were allowed on the butties while the rest either litter picked or used the grappling hooks to see what could be fished out.
Meeting point at Bridge Inn

Mountain of kit to be dished out

First piece out. Nothing exciting

John Baylis to Sean..........All present and correct sir.

First shopping trolley

Waiting for the buttie to arrive.

At Stenson lock a gentleman turned up clutching a bag full of camera gear and introduced himself as Mathew, a journalist from the Nottingham Post. Several people had their photos taken including me so you never know I may be in the papers sometime this week.

Good job the car wasn't attached

And another shopping trolley
It was amazing how quick the day was going. I had filled my 7th bag with general rubbish and soon we had the nod from Scot to say a brew was being mashed by Sean. By now the time was gone midday so the consensuses of opinion was that now was as good a time as any to stop for lunch.

Scott (in charge) and watching the proceedings.
 Sean making us a decent cup of tea. Mind you the amount of tea breaks C&RT have they should have perfected the brew.
Wasn't long before we all got back to the grindstone once again. Then we had a real wow moment when the men with the grapples hooked onto something big! It took several of them heaving with all their might to bring this to the surface.

Motor bikes are often pulled out on these cleanup days but this one was slightly different. For one it looked in pretty good condition and two there was still 6 months road tax left on the licence. It all looked a bit suspicious so when  John Baylis turned up on the other buttie he gave the local constabulary a ring to inform them of our findings.

 In the meantime one of the men had carried on with the search for more underwater debris and found themselves in a bit of a pickle when the hook got stuck into something. After throwing in a few more hooks and with a lot of heaving and pulling, they  brought this up and this within about 10feet from where the bike had been found.

Scot looking very pleased with the find

Not only that but John had found this trophy in the reed bed. We were wondering if we should award it to the one who found the most bizarre object.

The police turned up not long after this find. After getting onto the radio with details of the bike, found it to be the one stolen from in the vicinity a week ago. With the copper wanting to deal with it, he phoned a tow truck to come and take it away. With groans from the men having made all that effort heaving it onto the buttie the men now had to bring it back down again.

Nearly at the finish by Gallows Inn and it had to rain. No shelter for any of us so very thankful that it only lasted 5 minutes.

And the work boat returning with it's spoils.

Some of the items found.

The cleanup mob. I'm the one wearing the silly hat standing behind the trophy.
  And the trophy goes to..........

Michael and Nixie for recovering this bra!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Prelude to the canal cleanup

Seems like only yesterday that the Erewash had its massive de clutter of debris lying in, out and around the canal. But it's been nearly a year since the last C&RT butty was full of rusty bikes, the usual shopping trolleys, tyres, general rubbish, etc and the odd motor bike or two. With the main canal cleanup event happening in a few days,  ECP&DA were asked by C&RT to do a rubbish pickup along the towpath from Langley Mill to Shipley lock.

Getting ready

Dave, Ernie, Paul and Ian


C&RT moving the butty in readiness of the main event.

 After a couple of hours of hard graph, 7 complete bags of rubbish and 5 very weary volunteers, we eventually met Michael (work party organiser ) at Shipley lock. There he filled his van with all the full black bags and, while Ian went back to Langley with Michael in the van, Paul, Dave and Ernie walked the couple of miles back to grab a well earned cup of tea.  As for me, I took myself and Jade for a walk along the disused Nottingham canal and came across the first sighting of ducklings this year.

I managed to get a photograph of an elusive wren and even got a couple of shots of a heron taking flight when I came across it unexpectedly and all on a canal barely in water. Proves that fish must still exist in even the shallowest of water.

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