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, 25 July 2017

And yet another crew member trying it on!

The chap, (farmer/bailiff/mooring officer call him what you will) arrived to collect his money ....very late yesterday evening so no free night then. Never mind, it's lovely to moor on this meadow so don't begrudge paying the £7 for the privilege.

Had a fabulous sunset and the Egyptian geese came to roost (do they roost?) right by FS's bow.





This morning the first lock was Hambledon. Another side fill but his time the lock keeper was ever so gentle in bringing us up.





Here we gained another freeloader in the form of a duck. Having disliked the force of water coming in she took off to land on FS's roof!







Going through Henley no boats to interfere with our cruise other than two men in a rowing boat each playing tennis!



 But on the approach to Sonning lock, it was a game of dodgems with all and sundry.





Trying to find a mooring at Tesco in Reading was impossible. We still gave it a go though as you never know someone may have moved! In the end, we winded and moored on a stretch just before the K&A canal. A tad difficult as only the bow made contact with the shore. FS's arse-end sticks out by at least 4 foot!



Tesco moorings
 Walked to Tesco from our mooring, not too far really but with a full trolly as well as a backpack, heavy going on the way back.

One other bit of good news. Anglo Welsh at Haywood (Carl who we know very well as our other boat Merlin is in the fleet) has managed to source a head casket set with bolts and mountings at trade price. Still, nearly £200 but cheaper than we can get anywhere else...and boy did we try to find cheaper! So now when we pass their yard at Eynsham it will be ready and waiting for us, as well as the bill!

And seen on route,

Henley

Oh to be rich!




And wildlife,



Rubbish photo but fish looked to bif for it to swallow.


I was wrong.







Monday, 24 July 2017

Equality rules.

There was only one way to leave the bankside mooring yesterday, forget using the engine to get us away but use the pole instead. After undoing the ropes we first pushed the stern away with the pole. We were aware of the current pushing the boat back in and a lot of oomph was needed by Ian. Once the stern was clear of that bush it was slow reverse while Ian rushed down the front and did the same with the bow. FS was now going backwards and gathering momentum fast, going downstream, but no way could the forward throttle be used until the bow was clear of the green buoy. As soon as we thought we had the room to get round, it was throttle forward and tiller to the right. Missed that buoy by inches but at least we had compleated our mission.

Photo shown yesterday but to refresh the memory. Stern had to clear this.

Although time was about 5 pm we still found a mooring on the island. Further up this time and equally as challenging to get into.





So this morning we had almost the same procedure to carry out as yesterday. The only difference was the depth of water as this was way deeper than Ian imagined and trying to pole us out meant getting down on his knees. So long as he stayed on the boat and didn't end up head first into the river that was alright by me.







Back to today and not a pleasant start of our cruise as the rain came on and off all morning. Had 4 locks to do and at Temple lock, it was self service which took an age.  A boat had entered from the top and, although having descended, no gates were opened. In the end, Ian walked up to see if he could help. It was a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth because the couple on that boat kept pressing buttons. The paddles were going up and down and nothing was being achieved.  Ian stepped in and saved the day by taking over.


 Of course with this holdup boats kept coming and not only below lock but above too.


 The next lock Hurley was manned and Ian breathed a sigh of relief. The lock keeper seemed more interested in what was going on above lock to notice me, once again, trying to hang on for dear life. Paddles lifted fully and FS was rapidly swept back and nearly onto a plastic cruiser. Only on the exit did we see what had taken the lock keepers attention.





How could a chain wrap itself around the prop but that is exactly what happened. I'm sure she must have volunteered...well I would like to think she did.

Who remembers the 2014 Thames floods? We happened to be in Marlow as spectators at that time and remember how the water lapped over the garden eating area at the Compleat Angler. Took photos then of the floods if you fancy a look. click here to view.

Compleat Angler now





and in 2014 floods
Found moorings at Medmenham on the meadow. Signs everywhere saying a £7 fee payable on demand to SRB. We still await the bailiff.




Wildlife seen at the meadow,


Meadow Brown

Kite

Buzzard

Looks like this swan has Angel wing


Grebe with chick


Kite


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