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, 22 April 2019

Excitement at T' Mill.

It was bound to happen, 19 ducklings are now down to 7. Plenty of cats around which could have taken a few but the biggest culprit is by far, the Pike  Daughter Christine and family arrived on Sunday and Son-in-Law Kevin came armed with a spinning rod to do a spot of fishing. Within 30 minutes he pulled out a Pike. Look at the second photo and you can see how easily even a small Pike can take a duckling.

Huge Pike mouth and this was just a small fish
I'm not holding out much hope that the remaining will survive!

Only 7 under her but they are growing fast

So there has been a bit of excitement here at the Mill. Four days ago a chap arrives early am with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier and plonks himself down on the bench. Late afternoon he has consumed at least 12 bottles of beer. I'm walking back from Lidl when I see him collapse onto the floor. Oh, dear...now what.  A bit of dilemma here. Should I go over to ask if he is alright or walk on by? I'm sorry to say I would have chosen the latter except as I went to walk past, crunching was heard underfoot. Glass lay everywhere! Concerned about the dog cutting a paw I bent to pick them up but then the chap spoke. "I've been stabbed," said he. "Where," I asked. He pointed to his chest. Hmmm, nothing showed from that area but blood was pouring from his hand.  "I'll get an ambulance," said I. With no phone on me I legged it up to the White House to see Paul. As an ex-cop, I felt sure he would know what to do. Anyway to cut a long story short it turns out all he had done was to cut his hand on the broken glass. Paul got him bandaged and managed to send him staggering on his way. Now, you would think that was the end of the story but no. 2 days ago he is back. A really hot day he lays down by the bench with the dog and goes to sleep. After 4 hours I was beginning to think maybe he had died, not a movement was seen. The dog was loose and being really hot got under the bench. Chatting to Margaret (Nb Icing) suddenly it sounded as if WW111 had started!!! Screams, shouts, yelps and there, by the lock, was the Staffy and in its jaws was a Labradors front leg. The screams and yelps were from that poor Lab and the shouts came from a man, his wife and three small children.  Well, the owner of the Staffy came to life pretty quick just in time to see the Lab's owner grab the Staffy by its harness shaking it and swinging the dog high in the air. He told us later he felt like throwing it in the canal! There ensued an almighty row about allowing the Staffy to run free which culminated in the Staffys owner throwing a bottle at the Lab's owner narrowly missing his head. The Lab's owner retaliated by grabbing hold of the Staffys owner and the language which came from his mouth was beyond belief, and in front of the shocked kids too. Anyway, another long story short, Police were called as the Lab's owner also had been bitten but they never arrived, That obnoxious man was not going to hang around, grabbed his dog and legged it still shouting obscenities at us all. That Lab had a hole through her right front leg near to the elbow but in typical Lab fashion, still wagged her tail as we walked up to her. The wound looked deep but no blood was present and with the help of another moorer bathed it in antiseptic solution which hopefully will make do until they can get her to the vets. So far that chap has not returned and hopefully, if he has any sense, won't again.

Today we took ourselves to Hardwick Hall and Stainsby Mill. Both NT properties and not a penny was spent on entrance fees or car parking as we are NT members. We even took our own lunch saving the extortionate costs of food and drink. Just a few photos of the day to show.

Old Hall

New Hall

 And some wildlife today,

Laid six but wont sit so again, not looking hopeful to getting Cygnets.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

A record maybe?

Okay...so I wasn't going to post anymore, staying in one place can be a bit mind numbing and I felt sure I would have nothing to say. But.....saw this and I felt I had to share. Admittedly it is of wildlife but I was amazed at what I saw.

 So the question is, How many ducklings can get under mums wings?




 Ah, and then a few more makes an appearance

Hmmm, Fifteen in all but then....

OMG...Nineteen Ducklings. Where did she hide them all?

Come along children, Nothing to be frightened of!

And after their swim, time for a snooze. All got under except for one.

We have also managed to get on dry dock. Nearly drained of all the water when a Robin came for a bath.

Getting rid of the crud!

Sunday, 14 April 2019

All over for this year.

 8 am and we were away. Our final cruise looked to be perfect with the promise of a nice day, the sun was out and not a breath of wind. But that changed quite quickly when the clouds rolled in and the breeze picked up. And then it became cold, very cold...in fact bl**dy freezing.

I didn't bother with too many photos, been there, done it all, got the T-Shirt but I thought I would show three of the four very low bridges that have to be negotiated carefully when entering or exiting at Sandiacre, Hallam Fields, Potters and Shipley locks.




 Also, another necessary item needed on this canal is a handcuff key, also known as the anti-vandal key. To keep the 'little darlings' from emptying a pound, a steel plate goes onto the spindle to stop the paddles from being lifted. To open these the anti-vandal key is used. It appears that many are missing from the locks and those that are still there some are not working due to the 'little darlings' already having vandalised them!

 Oh and beware of opening the top lock ground paddles at Barkers Lock to fast as you are likely to get soaked! Much to my amusement and Ian's annoyance, it's the sudden whoosh of air as the paddle is lifted that caused a jet of water to shoot up drenching Ian from the waist upwards.

Just before the final three locks of today, a fishing match was taking place. Apart from having to creep past so as not to disturb their swim, which in itself is a pain, the fact that on every lock they were also fishing from the lock landing making my blood boil. I think its time C&RT explain to the fishing clubs that a lock landing is not an acceptable fishing platform.

Took us nearly 6 hours to get back because, apart from two, every lock had to be turned which added another 60 minutes on our timings. We have settled FS on her moorings, the aerial is up and we have hooked up to the electrics. What will happen to us now is mainly dependent on the NHS appointment waiting times and hospital visits.

So to everyone who will be starting their cruising at Easter, to everyone that is already underway and to all of you that cruise continuously, we wish you all a great Summer season filled full of adventure and masses of fun.

And the final wildlife of today.

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