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.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Sods Law

Sunset over Newlands park

We needed water desperately and the nearest place was by Peartree Marina and to the slowest tap on the system! Winding, I left Ian to take the car 'cause we wanted to stop at Peartree for a few days and traveled the 1 1/4 miles back.  Had a slight holdup at bridge 87 where emergency repairs were being undertaken. A large crack had appeared along the brickwork as well as the path on the top deeming it dangerous for boaters as well as pedestrians.

This Wyvern boat had a panic moment and nearly didn't stop in time.

Anyway, on arrival at Peartree a wide beam was just leaving so, taking their vacated spot, we started the fill. Time 11.20am. By 12.15pm our gauge showed only 1/4 full. Lunch was had and we even managed to watch all of Bargain Hunt. Still only 3/4 full. News was seen and finally by 1.35pm our tank overflowed. Now all we needed to do was wind at the Marina entrance and moor at a lovely sunny spot away from those crab apple trees opposite the facilities. We had just about completed the turn when a boat appeared and took our spot!!! Talk about sods law!!! So we made the decision to go to Campbell park sooner rather then later. Dropped Ian at the bridge 'ole so he could once again take the car back, got to bridge 87  and was met by a contractor telling me I couldn't go through and had to wait for at least 30 minutes before they would clear their pontoon. Tried to get into the side to wait and got stuck on the mud! Must have been a good couple of feet away from the bank but FS had to be secured so leapt off with rope and cladding pin to wait. Managing ,just, to get back on I tried phoning Ian to let him know why I hadn't arrived. Another sods law. No phone signal!!! I could imagine him thinking I had sunk the boat and sure enough, after 20 minutes wait and then having to be helped off the mud by the contractors, I spied him walking rather rapidly towards me as I got through the bridge. 

30 minute wait this time.

 I did like this window ornament. I would have be a bit worried that an offside branch would claim it.

At the park we had the pick of the moorings so finding a spot away from overhanging trees, we moored and I went Sloe hunting to continue making more Sloe Gin for Christmas.

Think this will do now for the next week or two, especially as Ian is off to the MK Arena on Thursday, to watch one of the Rugby World Cup matches. I think it's Canada V France but not being a Rugby fan am not really that interested.

Campbell Park Towpath moorings 14 day

Monday, 28 September 2015

Phew....Managed to keep the secret....just

That was difficult! Keeping a secret for nie on 2 months. All to do with our sons 40th birthday party, and to think we, as well as a Facebook post,  nearly gave the game away. Iwona (daughter in law) wanted a surprise party inviting his old University friends as well as work mates. Facebook posts,  texting and Whats App was the means of communications and the one that was nearly our downfall (Facebook) thankfully Colin rarely looked at, so the comment made to except the invitation was removed in double quick time.  Anyway Iwona told Colin a surprise party had been organised for our Grandson's Oscar 7th birthday which meant everyone but Ian could get to the venue in plenty of time. Ian was the chauffeur taking Colin, Oscar and Oliver at a given time and, apart from a few that got held up on the M1 because of long tailbacks, the setting was complete for when he walked in. So here are a few of the photos with the majority on my Jameisons Afloat 2 blog.

First my picture of the super moon. Couldn't stay awake long enough to see the blood moon, mores the pity. Spectacular pictures on the news this morning made me sorry I missed it especially as the next one wont be until 2033,

Christine made Colin's and Oscar's cakes

Colin has a room just for his drums!!!!

Oscar loves Lego and what a fabulous cake Christine made. She's so talented. Must take after her mother Smiley

The gathering

And surprise

I think he is pleased, Iwona.

No I'm not really a boozer

Colin admiring his sisters cake making skills

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Now here's a tale to tell.

Yesterday we needed to take the cassettes to Fenny Stratford to empty. As soon as we walked toward the facilities we were accosted by a residential boat owner moored by the lock. He's ever such a nice guy, with only his small dog for company and loves to chat to anyone who will listen. And we were all ears after he mentioned how the swing bridge was nearly put out of action by 20 or more Leeds supporters. The story goes that the match was being shown at the Red Lion by the lock. Not sure if it was half time or the end of the game, or even if they were a bit worse for wear but to them it seemed like a good idea to all get to the end of the swing bridge and jump up and down. The consequences were disastrous. Not only did the bridge tip but the locating pin popped away from the supporting ring. Both of us were baffled as how this could have happened. Looking at these two photos taken when ECP&DA were involved in restoring another swingbridge, it appears almost impossible unless they were all bouncing on one corner.

Anyway more by luck then judgement the lads managed to get the bridge working again. We feel that the pin and ring could only have partially been dislodged otherwise we don't see (other then using a crane) how it could have been but back.

We continued to chat together, with him eager to impart news of another boater. He was annoyed by this guy running his generator well into the night seeing as how he was moored opposite.. When a complaint was made the boater moved off the 24 hour mooring (where apparently he had been for nearly a week) to the lock landing below the lock. Here the generator was again run and this time the owners of the cottage came out and told him if he didn't switch it off it would end up in the canal. Time was 23.30, much to late to have a generator running. Then the next day our friendly residential boater asked the guy when he was going to leave. The reply was, 'Im friendly with Glynn the enforcement officer.  ( I think he said his name was Glynn) He is my friend and told me I can stay where I like, when I like and for as long as I like and I chose to stay here!'. What I would give to be a fly on the wall when the sh*t hits the fan.

Magpie having a bath at Campbell Park

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Only £2995 for 30 minutes!

It poured yesterday but we were determined to go out for the day so drove all the way to Cambridge and to the Imperial War Museum Duxford. It's the one place Ian has always hankered after to visit although for me it would be my second time. With Duxford about an hours drive and with the rain causing a massive amount of spray on the roads, it was an interesting journey. In fact at one stage, at a roundabout, the car went into a skid and thankfully, Ian being a skillful driver that he is, managed to correct the skid and get us back on track again. So glad no other car happened to be on the roundabout when it happened.  Anyway we arrived in one piece and was pleasantly surprised that the cost as concessionaires was just under £13 each and well worth every penny. We spent the best part of the day admiring the exhibits and if one felt so inclined, could even have a flight in a Tiger Moth or Havard. Cheapest is £199 for 30 minutes or, if you happened to win the lottery, a 30minute flight in a Spitfire, sitting in the rear seat, would set you back just £2995. Bargain!!!. So loads of photos put on my Jameison Afloat 2 blog if you fancy a look. 

Torrential rain on the way.
 Only flight this Spitfire did before crashing in France.

And restored.

Memphus Belle. B17 flying fortress. More photos on my other blog.

Monday, 21 September 2015

A fond farewell Mo

Devastated by the news that Mo (nb Balmaha) has lost his fight with cancer. Met Mo and Ness for the first time on the Harborough Arm way back in 2008 and a nicer person you couldn't wish to meet. Many times since our paths have crossed and it was only in June this year that we saw them again in Gloucester before their epic journey across the tidal River Severn estuary to Portishead. Our hearts and thoughts go out to Ness and the family.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

X rated

Look at these two photos. It's of a common garden spider but on cropping the photo I noticed something on it's abdomen. Went even closer and was amazed by what I saw.

Yep I reckon that's exactly what it looks like.
Had a visit from Colin and the Grandchildren. Trying to encourage Oscar and Oliver to go fishing and take after their Nan, 2 whips were bought. I attached hook and line and sat them in the well deck keeping fingers crossed they would catch something. After 30 minutes and not even a bite they gave up. Could this be the end of their fishing experience? Anyway to make up for the disappointment we walked to Wileen lake for lunch. The playground beckoned as well as the ducks. Plastic ones which they could fish for. Hooking a duck each they came away with a prize. Much more to their liking then proper fishing.

This was supposed to attract the fish but crabbed by a Coot instead.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

PCDST ( see further down the post for meaning)

The plan was for me to take FS to Peartree to use the facilities and Ian would take the car and meet me there. Waved farewell to Ian after he pushed the bow out and I was surprised how quiet the waterway was. No boat at all on the move and even the row upon row of CM's usually present on this stretch had gone. Yes there were still the few and not displaying a licence but, all in all, it was a very pleasant couple of miles travel. Got to Milton Keynes Marina just before the facilities and was looking to see if Ian had arrived, when a quick glance in the marina entrance showed a boat ready to depart. Turns out it was Jennie and Chris on Tentatrice  Having pulled in to wait for another boat to finish filling with water and with no sign of Ian, Chris and Jennie pulled alongside for a natter. Then after a few minutes Ian joined us. Turns out he was parked in the pub car park after all but a white van obscured his view of FS. Anyway we eventually waved farewell to Jennie and Chris with the hope that maybe we will see them next year. Will have to keep an eye on their blog.

Having got to the tap it was another 3/4 hour before both tanks were full. This must be the slowest tap on the GU and we felt sorry for a Wyvern Hire boat waiting for us to finish. We had to be full you see, as once we get to Newlands we won't be moving again for at least 2 weeks. The loo we can take to the services by car but water is a different matter. Ian once again went off in the car leaving me to do the final mile by myself.

Saw this on a boat and was shocked that this practice was going on. I think we should report this to the PCDST (Prevention of Cruelty to Defenseless Stuffed Toys). What do you think. smiley emoticons

Ian met me at the road bridge and said a boat had just left on our preferred mooring. Right at the end of a line though and by a bush overhanging the water. Cuts the channel by half but we are hoping against hope that one boat will move off so we can get clear of it. Many of these boats are here for years so don't hold out much hope.

Had a comment from Carol on a post on Still Rocking about how she had taken photos of a duck eating Crab apples. Yesterday I posted about a swan attempting to eat one. Funnily enough, on my way to Newlands, I also saw ducks trying to eat them. What would happen if the apples started to ferment. What a sight to see.... ducks and swans staggering along the towpath.

Friday, 18 September 2015

'Edge to edge next time misses' said the lad with the strimmer!

Lovely peaceful night was had without those crab apples falling and, refreshed from a decent night sleep, we were up early so Ian could get the car in for it's MOT by 8.30am. It wasn't long after he left that the sound of a lawn mower and strimmer could be heard. A sound both of us dread when the grass cutting crew arrive and, before I had a chance to get outside, the man with the mower had come and gone. Okay, I know they have a job to do and they must get very frustrated with all those moored boats. I suppose mowing next to the boat isn't too bad but as for the strimmer.... we do however object strongly to that! The chap had to stop when he saw me and I did ask him not to strim next to the boat. He complied with my wishes but said that next time, as it's the last cut of the season, he would have to do an edge to edge cut as it was C&RT's policy that it be done. So I told him in no uncertain terms, not if I have anything to do with it! It's the stones that are picked up and flung damaging the paintwork that we get annoyed at. The bloke said he was dammed if he did and dammed if he didn't. 'Like a double edged sword' says he. Anyway he went off down the line of boats without any thought of the consequences. I wonder if C&RT would carry on this practice if they got a hefty bill from us boaters due to a complete repaint because of the stone chips.

Ian phoned later to say the car had failed the MOT. A wheel bearing had gone and something to do with high carbon emissions. All to do with the Catalytic converter apparently. Would cost over £400 for a replacement or for £100 they could try cleaning it. Well no contest really, Ian said to go ahead with the clean and, as luck would have it, this procedure worked. A new bearing was also put on so we are now road worthy again.. Seems we will be here for another night after all. Mind you with the Rugby starting tonight at least we have a good TV signal. I'm not a big fan so will leave him to it and disappear to the bedroom to watch our small TV instead.

Did you know swans liked Crab Apples??? No neither did I until today.

Eyeing up the apple


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Not really the done thing.

No it wasn't but I hope you will all forgive us for doing it. You see we moved the boat. Not by much, just about 10ft, but enough to get us away from those blasted falling Crab apples! Why should that be a problem I hear you ask? Well we have now left a gap at both ends. Initially it was just behind us by about 30ft but when a wide beam was asked to move on by the C&RT enforcement officer because he had been sat on the 24 hour mooring by the lock for 4 days, he pulled into a space in front of us.  He pulled forward sharing a ring with the boat in front, which meant another 10ft or so gap in front of us! I can just imagine what boaters will be saying 'cause I would have said it too!!!, There is still room on the 24 hour now that the wide beam has left and also right at the end of the line of boats on the 14 day moorings. Still, this really is no excuse for what we have done but we just couldn't envisage another night of being bombarded by those apples.

Thats the wide beam leaving and causing havoc in the process.

Ian left this morning to fetch the car from Nottingham.  Three bus journeys including a National express but so much cheaper than by rail. At £12 for the National express he would have been silly not to have gone with it. Yes it will take him all day and I don't expect him home much before 6pm. With him gone I have at last polished the starboard side of the boat. The torrential rain last night, lasting for a considerable length of time, washed the sides nicely. Then it was off to the salon for a trim , have lunch and then bake a ginger loaf ready for Ian's return. Tomorrow the car gets an MOT and if it passes we may head off to Newlands. We will await the outcome.

And seen opposite FS now that we have moved.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Not the best place to moor.

Late summer/ early Autumn, this is the time of plenty as far as fruits on the hedgerows and trees are concerned. Berries and apples in abundance especially the Crab apples. Trees are laden with this fruit and we found that out to our cost. Maybe we should have moved when we had the opportunity especially as the sound of thumping on the cabin top not long after we had moored made as aware that the apples were falling.
Crab Apples

Not the best place to moor.
 We left it a bit too late to pull forward and away from the tree as a boat pulled in just as we thought we had better go and do it. So last night we did get a few bouncing off the cabin top but luckily not as many as anticipated. Only got woken a few times but disturbed sleep meant we were late up this morning. I was just having a bit of toast around 9.15 when along comes this boat. It just happened to be Harnser with Brian at the helm. No time for anything other then a wave and a smile and Harnser would be well past before I had time to get outside. No sign of Diane though, but maybe next time are paths cross we will be able to meet and greet properly.

Harnser had already disappeared down the lock by the time I took this photo but looks like the leaves are starting to change colour. Autumn has arrived me thinks..
 So many things put off today because we thought a storm was arriving. After all not only has the BBC been telling it to us but the barometer has dropped to stormy conditions. The Starboard side still needed a polish and Ian was set to put another coat of paint of varnish on the exterior of the cratch board. Instead we have twiddled thumbs sitting inside all morning and well into the afternoon. In fact the rain arrived late and we could have done those jobs after all. I suppose catching up on recorded TV programs isn't such a bad thing but I did feel guilty on not doing anything. 

A couple of Autumnal bird photos taken a few days ago.


Yellow Hammer

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