About Us

My photo
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.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

A walk down the Stoke Bruerne flight

Took ourselves off for the weekend to visit no 1 son, daughter in law and the Grandchildren. A request had been made by the boys for nanny to join them on the PlayStation for a game of Kung Fo Panda, a game that beats the sh*t out of Tai Lung an evil warrior. Only one problem...as far as those sort of games go I'm a dinosaur and have no idea how to use the controls so instead I was made to watch as the boys clicked, waggled and pressed buttons on the controller at amazing speeds both determined to be the victor! Anyway, after trying to show interest in the 'said' game, I was very glad that a suggestion made by me to go visit Stoke Bruerne Locks followed by a meal at the Navigation was agreed upon. And the day couldn't have been better with rising temperatures and sunny conditions. The boys were fascinated by the lack of water and a barrage of questions had to be answered. Oliver's concern about what had happened to the fish was, I thought, quite touching. Without a camera and with Ian's phone dead because he forgot to charge the battery I resigned myself to just viewing the work being done but then....a brilliant idea by Ian, why not use my Samsung tablet. Although I had never used the camera on the tablet the quality isn't too bad even though the glare on the screen from the sun made the taking of the photos 'Pot Luck.'

The Navigation was heaving and without a booking, we felt sure we would be turned away. But a table was found, drinks and meal ordered and then we waited...and waited...and waited some more. A whole hour went by and only by Iwona asking when the meals would be coming out was anything done! Anyway, another 15 minutes and the meals were brought to the table. Such a shame about the wait because the meals were well cooked and quite delicious.  It has put us off going there again though.

Friday, 15 February 2019

BBC pays a visit.

Slight change of plans to when we leave. No longer is it to be next weekend as the NHS has taken a hold of us again! Nothing serious but nevertheless a necessary visit. So maybe the beginning of March will be our new 'escape' date. In the meantime several things have occurred, one of which you may find welcoming.

 Remember the post back in December about restrictions to the residence during restoration work to expose the first lock on the Derby and Sandiacre canal? Well, the work to excavate the lock was changed from the beginning of December to February this year.  Ian popped down last week to see how far the dig had progressed and was pleasantly surprised to find most of the work completed. There had been one major setback though when a second sewage pipe was found. Only one had shown on the plans and unfortunately, the second pipe had been damaged during the work. So the expected works, which should have been finished within the week, ended up a tad longer than expected. With the brickwork exposed the Trust are now in the position to repair the lock walls and cill at a later date. A more detailed explanation can be read by visiting The Derby and Sandiacre web page  Maybe the canal WILL be finished in our cruising lifetime after all!

Then yesterday our Chairman, Norman (ECP&DA) had a message to say the BBC East Midland team wanted to take a trip on the societies workboat, Pentland, to see what sort of work the society was to undertake for C&RT. One of the first jobs is to replace the rubbing plates on the bottom gates of Eastwood lock. Today, then, bright and early Carolyn Moses (presenter) and Boris (cameraman) boarded Pentland and, accompanied by Roland, Mac, Mike and Norman, made the two-mile journey to Eastwood. Muggins here walked the route to take photos and I must say I only just kept ahead of Pentland as this workboat certainly had a good turn of speed. Considering she is nearly 40 years old and has a reconditioned engine, she's not doing badly!

Being filmed going through the swing bridge.

Into Langley Bridge Lock.

Norman posing for the camera

The plate is positioned

Carolyn Moses
 Hopefully East Midlands Today will show this on tonight's programme at 6.30pm and fingers, toes and anything else that can be crossed that no major news bulletin will take precedence over today's feature.  If it is shown then those not in this region can iplayer it at a later date.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Winter Update

Here we are into February and finally, I get to put pen to paper (figuratively speaking that is). Christmas long gone and only 320 days to the next! Presents this year was as every other year...zilch! Well, not quite zilch as this year our daughter decided we must have something to open so Ian got a book on how to be an OAP (This made amusing reading) and I got a cross stitch kit of a Bee to attempt. I ask you, can any gift be more difficult to master. I tried, I really did, counted all the squares across and down to get to a middle point, looked at the pattern and decided my brain was not clever enough to work out where to start! And to make matters worse the cotton were not colour coded so working out what colour goes where....well forget it. I suppose I will try again, maybe when my brain has recovered from drinking all the wine consumed over the festivities (and still carrying on into this year!)

Before Christmas, I had to close down the blog for a short while. I had too many hits during a two week period (over 1000 a day) which one would think would be a good thing, but not these hits! Seems my blog was being used as a means to get to a porn site. Thankfully by changing the settings from public to invited readers only seemed to resolve this.  So apologies to those that clicked on the blog and was unable to access it but I think most will understand why I felt it necessary to do this.

We have not been ideal since moored at Langley. Both suddenly agreed that the boat needed some TLC and this time inside instead of out. So armed with a colour chart and some idea of what colour to paint all the panels, we came away from B&Q armed with a mix of cream paints (B&Q do this for you) to get the correct colour. Over three days we washed walls, removed plates and wall furniture and masked everything which needed to stay wood. Then I set to giving all the panels (lounge, kitchen, corridor and bedroom) three coats. Removing the masking tape was fun. Fingernails ground down as I attempted to remove those bits that had torn when pulling the tape and then there was the 'touching up' with a small brush as paint came away at the same time as the tape! Anyway, ever the gluttons for punishment we are now starting on the bathroom!


Now can anyone tell us why there is no Newark Boat jumble this year? All set to go this weekend when a friend informed us it wasn't listed on the Newark Show Ground web site. Hmmm, that's scuppered our chance of getting Bitumen for blacking the hull at a cheaper price and we were hoping to replace the ropes!  Thankfully we know the trip to the Motorhome show in Brum is still on mid-Feb and who knows what will be on offer there.

Our plans to leave Langley has now been talked about and sort of agreed. Weather permitting the last week of February seems favourable so I don't expect to post again until then.

And on the feeder, (and below)


Long Tailed Tits


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Has Spring Sprung?

6th Feb and already the Daffs are out! The seasons must be changing!!!

Monday, 24 December 2018


 At this wonderful time of year, Ian and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Homeward bound

Friday 14th

New Year's Eve was a bit of a letdown. First a Devon cream tea was looked forward to but, as was the norm in this hotel, a tiny scone with a small dollop of cream with a coffee to follow was the only offering. Don't get me wrong it was delicious and I suppose with dinner at 6 pm a bigger portion would have been pure gluttony. Then the festive quiz started with 20 questions and boy did we do abysmally! 3 questions unanswered and 12 wrong it was no surprise that we came an embarrassingly last!

Dinner finished by 8pm and the waitress mentioned the New Year Eve party would start at 10pm. Had we misheard when arriving in the dining room at the allotted time because a glass of Prosecco was thrust into our hand and Old Lang Syne sang. What????!!!! It's only 10pm! Where was the midnight toast and what about the music and dancing? Apparently, this had started soon after dinner had finished and, with us in the room, we hadn't realised the festivities had begun. But never one to let this get us down we joined the rest of our party and made our own entertainment by being very rude and silly (some photos I just can't show!)and we did toast the New Year in at Midnight!

Good on you Carol

From L to R:- Kath, Hilda, Ernie, Ian, Heather, Michael and Carol.

There were a lot of rude photos after this one. You get the picture??

Friday morning, bleary-eyed and a little worse for wear we were down for breakfast by 7.45am. A 9.20am departure time had been given and we still had to finish packing and settle the bar bill. At £34 Ian was pleasantly surprised at the total and on the coach, checking the receipt, realised all of Thursday nights dinner drinks hadn't been included. Oops, too late to rectify this so two smug people congratulated themselves on saving about fifteen quid.

The journey home with the typical Friday hold-ups and loads of traffic didn't really delay the journey. But waiting for a taxi did. The taxi had been ordered by KM Travel to take us back to the Great Northern but we found that no taxis would be available for at least 30 minutes. I felt for those waiting on the coach who was to continue the journey to Chesterfield as they had another 90-minute journey to contend with. The coach driver refused to leave us stranded and waited until the taxi arrived. Well done KM travel because, after the farce of the tickets and timings on leaving last Monday, they have redeemed themselves by this one action. Finally, we made it back to FS, the diesel heating fired up, the gas and water pump switched on and within 30 minutes we had unpacked and settled back to life in our floating home.

Countdown to Christmas has begun and for once both of us are really looking forward to it.
All the family together and I get to cook dinner at our son's house with his big kitchen and modern appliances. Far cry from putting a casserole on the stove and having to cope with a small cooker! Just hope I can work them all! Then the board games come out, first with the grandchildren and then the traditional game of Poker. Oh and of course plenty of the falling down liquid to keep us all happy.🎄🎅🍷🍺

Friday, 14 December 2018

I think these fisherman were just a bit P'd off!

Thursday 13thDecember (New Year's Eve)  

The weather looked favourable today so our plans to travel to Brixham went ahead. The number 12 bus was the one to catch but there was a slight snag to getting to the stop. Oh, we knew where it ought to be but hadn't planned on that road to be closed. It was the weather once again that put a fly in the ointment. You will see why in these photos!

Funnily enough, we had wondered if the wind was at gale force when switching on the TV this morning the 'no service and check your aerial' message came up. Sure enough, the hotel had a problem with its aerials but having reported this to the main reception, within 10 minutes the TV was up and running. Someone must have had access to the roof! Anyway, we walked along the front to where the road was still open until we found a bus stop, hailed the 12 as it came around the roundabout and blow me down if it didn't go past the hotel and stop not 50 yds from the front porch. Would have saved us a 20-minute walk along the prom!

Took roughly 45 minutes to arrive at Brixham and would have been a great place to visit if the attractions had been open! Even the famous replica of the Golden Hind was closed to the public!

As it was we walked to where the fishing fleet was moored and noticed banners across one of the fishing boats showing how disgruntled the fishermen were with Theresa May and the Brexit deal.

An hour was spent looking at the shops, having coffee and buying DVD's from charity shops before catching the 13.30 bus back to the hotel. A few more hours to kill until the quiz and cream tea at 4pm followed by the New Year Eve festivities. No doubt it will be a very late night!

Thursday, 13 December 2018

A Boxing day treat.

Wednesday 12th December (Boxing Day)

First the photos of the 6 course Christmas dinner (although I forgot to take a photo of the tiny mackerel fillet for starters and the Strawberry coulis).

A tiny cup of Pea soup was the first of the 6 courses. The pepper MIll shows the size.

Christmas dinner was sufficient and delicious. (but no sprouts or Yorkshire Pud)!

Set custard with chocolate ice cream and jelly (Cubes) for dessert. Yes, that is a teaspoon.

Tiny Mince Pie with coffee.

The waiter decided to get in on the photo (on the tray was the Pea soup)

Had to get Ian's jumper in the photo. It reads- Stuff the Turkey I'm off to the pub!
Today's excursion was to Plymouth and most upset with the BBC weather as the overcast day forecasted, turned out to be wet and cold. A short break of about 40 minutes whilst at Plymouth Hoe with the hint of blue skies had us hoping the day would buck up but t'was not to be. I think Ian regretted not taking his coat, a thick cardi was his outer attire which, being made of wool, held the water instead of repelling it.  Anyway, the Eddystone Smeaton Lighthouse was open and a charge of £3.50 for concessions which we felt was most reasonable. Even had a guide thrown in, very informative, and all in all, a pleasant way to spend 30 minutes.

Smeaton Lighthouse

Two beds for the lightkeepers. They must have been tiny people!

Views from the top. Check out the bad weather coming in.

Plymouth Hoe with Drakes statue and the war memorial.
 Another surprise awaited us. Leaving Plymouth the coach driver took us to Buckfast Abbey. What a magnificent building and one we would like to explore further. A trip in the motorhome next year should see us back for a second visit.
Buckfast Abbey

By the time we left to get back to the hotel, it was dark and quite late so changing for dinner wasn't an option as tonight another excursion had been planned. A trip to Babbacombe Theatre to see a variety show called Christmas Cracker. Instead of a 6pm meal the earlier time of 5.45pm was necessary as the coach would be ready and waiting for 7.30pm. We managed five of the six courses but the coffee and petit fore had to be abandoned as time was marching on.

The show was a resounding success, I can't remember the last time I have laughed so much.Singers, dancers, magicians and comedians made the whole experience memorable and we have been assured that next years T&T at Thursford, Norfolk will also have a show during the 4 days. Needless to say we have booked for the trip already!

It's a free day tomorrow so we may well take the bus to Brixham. To be decided after the weather forecast has been listened to in the morning.

Blog Archive