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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, 7 October 2016

Countdown has begun.

Only 9 days left before we fly to Oz and the panic is beginning to set in. Packing is almost done but we still haven't ordered our dollars. We were waiting for the pound to strengthen and after last nights crash in Asia, now wished we had bought them weeks ago. That's the trouble when one keeps looking every day to see what value the pound is at. Kept saying to ourselves, "Surely it cant keep going down". Well we were wrong as no sooner did it rally when down it went again!!!!

All family visits are done bar one, just the spending of our last weekend with son Colin and daughter Christine before we really will feel our trip of a life time will be upon us. We did spend the last weekend with them for Oscars birthday but more of that later.

Our trip to Ian's sister was full of surprises as a visit to Heybridge and a walk along the Chelmer and Blackwater canal. was suggested. Not knowing anything about this waterway other than it was almost impossible to get there by narrowboat, unless that is, one was brave enough to go out via the Thames barrier, Queenborough, Shoeburyness, past the entrance to Crouch, avoid the sandbanks in the tidal Thames estuary and finally, on a high tide, go through the lock on the River Blackwater to enter the canal. But....It has been done, because chatting to an IWA bod (the canal is not a C&RT water but private run by IWA and Essex water) he told me that a narrow boat arrived yesterday with a pilot on board and holding a certificate of sea worthiness.  Most boats are craned in at Springfield further along the canal rather then make that voyage!

Brother in Law Chris, Ian and his sister Shelia.

Weed cutter

Looking at the estuary from the lock

The sand banks would make it an interesting passage into the lock

Having spent several days with them it was a stop at son Colins for Grandson Oscar 8th birthday party on route back to FS. Would so have loved a go in those go carts. Now that my weight has dropped I'm pretty sure my bottom would fit in the seat. Last time Ian went go carting for his 60th birthday, I cried off as I felt a shoe horn would have been needed to get me out!

Oliver, Iwona, Colin and Oscar

Oliver No 4 and Oscar No 82

The boys with the grand parents. Me with Oliver, Ian cuddling me and Iwona's mum Wladyslawa, with Oscar on the right the birthday boy.

Ian's brother Alan and Sister in Law Angela was next for a visit. Another nice surprise whilst we were there as a trip to Croome Court had been organised. A NT house but not knowing about the visit...we hadn't bothered to take our NT cards with us. No matter as Ian had the original email on the computer and with Alan printing it out as proof, got entry for free. Only took a few photos of the outside. The interior needs a huge amount spending on it to get it back to it's best so only the odd bit of furniture had been placed in  the rooms.

Alan and Ian....a pair of bookends!!

I expect my next post will be from Sydney some time in the week after next once the jet-lag has worn off. Speaking to my brother Andre (he's my twin) he mentioned the birds are beginning to nest especially the Kookaburras and parrots. Oh yesssss..... Camera WILL be at the ready!

And the wildlife seen at the Chelmer and Blackwater navigation.

1 comment:

Marilyn McDonald said...

Irene, Don't bother getting more than a few dollars (say $100) before you ehad away. Use your UK credit card to pay for things as you go, and to withdraw money. It is safer and less hassle. Safer from theft, and less hassle as you are not worrying about where to hide/store big wodges of cash.

We never ever get lots of cash before we come to the UK - it's just not necessary. And you know us - we've been travelling to the UK for hundreds of years!

I know you are coming to NZ too, so I hope we are on your list, girl!

Cheers, Marilyn

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