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.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019


Can you believe it, the stove had to be lit...and it's nearly summer for God's sake. Feeling damp and chilly it was no fun to sit and endure the cold. And the rain....relentless for at least 24 hours. Sleep was disturbed by the incessant drumming on the cabin top and yesterday morning we had a mini flood right where we step off the boat. To drop the water levels in the basin both the top gate and bottom gate paddles had to be raised. The Nutbrook feeder watercourse, fed from the reservoir overflow at Moorgreen, certainly brought the basin levels right up. And to think not 5 days ago the back pump had to be switched on to raise the levels, that low we were on water.

So the reason for the post is just to say all is well on the Jameison front. Plans can now be made for us to take the Beast on a two-week trip once we have seen the Consultant in early July. But that's not all. We are off to Poland for our Daughter-in-Law's parents Golden wedding anniversary towards the end of July as well. And...and....(can you tell I'm excited) my twin brother is arriving from Australia at the end of this month for a very short visit. He has a job to do in Ireland first and will 'pop in' on his way back to Oz.

We have had a bit of drama here with the wildlife. Another duck produced 11 ducklings, lovely to see after the predation of all 19 ducklings earlier in the year. But unfortunately, all those went the same way as the first. I was blaming the Pike until I witnessed a Magpie snatching a baby when it was off the water. 

That's mum looking for her ducklings

That's one of the ducklings. This is the sad side of nature but we have to remember that the Magpie also has young to feed.
 Then the 'above lock' Swans had a right 'hows your father' with the 'below lock' Swans. Cygnets were the reason and thankfully the 'above locks' didn't venture to the  'below locks' to have a confrontation.  Blood would have been spilt if they had met!

There were calming moments to be had though. This Moorhen showed her tender side and real motherly love to the chick.

 And sheltering under a grass leaf this Cinnabar Moth.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Brilliant news.

Wow, exciting news, ECP&DA (Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association) has been awarded  The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) the equivalent to the MBE.

This is what was written on the ECP&DA facebook site,

Formed on 18th January 1968 to save the Erewash canal from closure, the ECP&DA spent two years restoring the original terminus of the Cromford and Nottingham canals which connected with the Erewash at Langley Mill. The Great Northern Basin was officially reopened in May 1973. In December 2017 the Lock Cottages at Sandiacre were purchased by the Association, which has looked after them for 50 years.
Norman Cornwell, Chairman, and his lovely wife Shirley Cornwell, Membership Secretary, attended a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
ECP&DA is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteers helping people overcome mental health problems through sport, volunteers using caravans as mobile cafe/information centres in geographically remote locations and another group mentoring children who have a parent in prison.
Representatives of ECP&DA will receive the award later this summer, from Mr. William Tucker the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire.
ECP&DA Chairman, Norman Cornwell said “The award is known as the “MBE for volunteer groups” and our award recognises all of our members’ efforts over 51 years, initially in preventing the closure of the Erewash canal and the ongoing work to ensure the canal remains available for everybody to enjoy”

  I left a comment on their FB  page

So very proud to be part of this society. All the hard work the volunteers, past and present, have done over the years have deservedly been acknowledged

But that is not all. ECP&DA has also been chosen as finalists in the East Midlands Charity Awards - Small Charity Big Impact! The Awards Ceremony is on 27th June so watch this space!

Keeping up with the good news, everything is going according to plan for Ian and myself and we hope to be back on the move (motorhoming) sometime in early July. Cruising is still out of the question for the foreseeable future but not ruling out a short break sometime in September.

I have a few wildlife photos to show,


Sunday, 19 May 2019

Cruising & touring finally put on hold.

It has all happened very fast. The date for the shackles to be firmly attached has finally arrived. With a five days notice from the hospital, it was decided to have a mini break, take the Beast and head to Norfolk. Needless to say, we packed into four days which we would normally have taken a week. So instead of the length I usually write, a shortened version of the mini-break, mainly with photos and captions, instead. 

The pub at Gedney Drove End.
 So leaving on Wednesday and after stopping for lunch with Margaret and Dennis (nb Icing) we headed for Spalding, the first overnight stop was at a lovely out of the way pub at Gedney Drove End. A scrumptious steak with trimmings was enjoyed by us both.

Thursday am and off to Norfolk and Castle Rising.

 Castle Rising with the finest example of a Keep in the country.

Jackdaws nesting in the stonework
 Next Hunstanton a typical seaside resort. The big problem with the Beast is the height. With bars across the entrance to the majority of car parks, it made it impossible to find somewhere suitable so we choose to stop away from the town and walk along the cliff top instead.

Miles of empty beach

We did have the compulsory ice cream!
Turning at Honeystones (bar and grill) this made me wonder though. Seen in their car park surrounded by roads and not a drop of water in sight, how did this Duck and ducklings get there in the first place unless she nested in the undergrowth. All she has to do is somehow get her ducklings to a pond.

 The final stop of the day was at Titchwell Marsh nature reserve. Loads to see at the fresh water and salt marshes ponds, in my element and wanting to linger, Ian had to keep reminding me that we only had three hours to get around the 420 acres!

That night wild camping in a lane somewhere near Sandringham.

Very isolated but wonderfully peaceful
Thursday evening and a sight to behold. Not every day we see Muntjac walking across a field full of Hares!

View from the Beast's window.

Friday and off to the Wells and Walsingham light railway

Plenty of Pheasants to keep the drivers on their toes.
Mid-afternoon and we stopped at Sandringham camping ground. Another quiet place full of wildlife. There was even a nesting Tawny Owl near the main office. Even though I staked it out for a good hour, nothing was seen.😞

So onto Saturday at Sandringham. What a wonderful place to spend the day. It was about a mile from the campsite so we decided to take our bikes but then discovered we couldn't ride them in the main grounds. Good job we had the bike locks with us. Shame the weather wasn't better but hey ho we were viewing the house when the heavy rain burst came over. Spent a tiring 5 hours walking around but wow was it worth it. The church, St Mary Magdalene, where the Queen and royal family attend when in residence, was equally impressive. The silver pulpit and alter was a sight to behold.

Bikes all safely locked for the duration of our visit.

And a camera selfie

Some of the royal families dog graves scattered around the grounds
St Mary Magdalene
Silver Pulpit and Alter
Royal transport.

And wildlife seen on the Sandringham estate

Back to FS today (Sunday) Beast cleaned and put away and all heavy tasks completed. 6 weeks of inactivity.....stir crazy comes to mind!

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