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.

Thursday 30 December 2010

Listing again

We had a very rude awakening at 2 am this morning. There was an almighty bang and the boat shuddered. Ian shot out of bed only to fall back rather heavily. The boat was listing alarmingly so Ian did no more then throw on some clothes and rush round to the lock. As he guessed someone had lifted the ground paddle and as the bottom gates were open, it dropped the water levels in the top pound by nearly 2 ft. Another boater had also arrived just before Ian and he closed the bottom gates and dropped the paddle to conserve what water we had left. Back to bed we went but a worrying night was ahead of us as the boat creaked and groaned continuously because the ice kept cracking. Next morning Ian phoned BW and they eventually ran water from above the last lock but so far we are still listing.

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Damaged fender eye

The chain securing our boat to the bank had so much force on it from the water level dropping that it sheared the fender eye away from the boat. This we assume was the bang we heard at 2 in the morning.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Slow thaw

28th December and a mild night. Could this be the start of the big thaw? Ian broke the ice this morning to judge when we would be able to leave Sandiacre. As you can see it's still about 3" thick so not for sometime yet then!!!
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Wednesday 22 December 2010

Jade and Judy

We only had a bit of snow this morning. About 1/2 ". The dogs loved it though!! I wish the freeze would end. Looks like a white Christmas for us after all.
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Monday 20 December 2010


Today started as any other day. -6 and freezing. Ian decided to take the dogs to the park and Jade fetched her ball to take with her. So that Ian's hand wouldn't get cold picking up the ball, I suggested he took our ball chucker which was in the front locker in the well deck. So I lifted the lid and as I pulled a towel out of the way, a large rat leapt out and frightened me to death!!! I screamed loudly! Ian came running thinking I had fallen through the ice only to find me laughing hysterically shouting "Rat Rat" Unfortunately I have no idea where it went. The cratch cover was open but so were the doors to our lounge. Hopefully he made a bid for freedom outwards and not into the boat. So far there is no sign of it. If we suddenly find bits of food missing and droppings all over the place then we are in a bit of trouble and a rat catcher will have to be purchased.

Photo taken from the internet

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Sunday 19 December 2010

Big Freeze still with us

When will this freeze end!!!!! 6 days to go until Christmas and still stuck fast. At least we haven't had the snow just -8 temperatures. The birds are suffering in the frozen conditions and these young swans are no exception. They come every day for there breakfast. Buying in extra bread just to keep them fed. Somehow I don't think we will be leaving our moorings here at Sandiacre for some time to come. We have to be through Long Eaton before the 4th of January otherwise the stoppage will mean we are stuck on the Erewash for another month. I am getting bored. There is only so much cleaning and walking one can do. Even the dogs look at us pleadingly Its almost as if they are saying " not another walk " "Just leave us to sleep". I have resorted to playing computer games and watching endless telly. PLEASE LET THE FREEZE END!!
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Sunday 5 December 2010


We arrived back from I O W on Friday 3rd December to find we were still iced in! The boat was freezing so we did no more then start up the diesel heater, dump our cases and go shopping. When we got back the boat had started to warm up and after Ian lit the fire we were cosy in no time. I'm a bit concerned that our Christmas with our son at Milton Keynes will be a "no go". Even if the ice melted on the canal we would have problems with the River Soar. Just a hint of rain and the Soar floods so with all the snow melt it could be some time before we get off the Erewash. Ian reckons that we could still make Cosgrove by Christmas if we could get away by Wednesday of next week. Fingers crossed.
The snowy scene at our hotel in Shanklin. Most of my pictures are posted on http://nbfreespirit2.blogspot.com

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Saturday 27 November 2010

First snow of winter

The cold spell is well and truly with us. Ice and snow met us when we woke up this morning. Unfortunately it has come at the wrong time. We were due to travel up to Langley Mill today as we had arranged for a secure mooring there. We were also due to pick up the coach from Langley to take us to the Isle of White . So.... we set of at 8.30.am or tried to!!!!!! It took us nearly 15 minuets to get away from the side. The ice was thicker then we had imagined. Once we got moving I wish I could say we made good progress but after 45 minutes of very slow going and only having managed about a mile we gave up and reversed all the way back.Posted by PicasaLuckily the coach taking us to Portsmouth for the crossing to I O W on Monday also stops at Sandiacre so all was not lost after all. The weather forecast is for this freeze to continue for the next 10 days or so. I wonder if we will be able to leave for Milton Keynes when we get back!!! If not our Christmas will be a bit lonely as our son expects us there for the festive season.

Monday 8 November 2010

Back at Sandiacre

The stay at Zouch was everything I hoped it would be. Hardly any fireworks and those that did go off were out toward Redhill and far enough away for it not to bother the dogs. One to remember for this time next year.

We left for Sandiacre on a glorious sunny afternoon on Sunday. Our barometer was dropping toward stormy and all the weather channels gave out weather warnings for Monday. Originally our plan had been to stay at Zouch Sunday because unfortunately Guy Fawkes night doesn't only fall on 5th November ( mores the pity ) but because of the forecast for gales and heavy rain we came back a day early. I'm writing this feeling warm and cosy with rain beating against the sides and roof of the boat thanking our lucky stars that we made the right decision to leave on Sunday. Our plan is to stay in this area for a few weeks tiding our hedges on our bungalow and getting ready for the trip to the IOW toward the end of November.

Friday 5 November 2010

Another good fish

We have arrived at Zouch and will stay for a few days. As the dogs hate fireworks we are hoping that this small village will be quieter then most. I'm seriously considering putting the washing machine on tonight to drown out the bangs as well as turning the TV up really loud. No doubt both dogs will be hiding in the bathroom again as this seems to be their bolt hole when it all gets to traumatic for them! The fishing here has been excellent. This looks like a roach but although this picture doesn't show it the fish had a golden colour to it. I wondered if it could be a golden Rudd. Maybe someone could put me right. Good news!!! Its raining. Maybe the fireworks will be abandoned tonight. Lets hope it continues to rain for the next few days!
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Tuesday 2 November 2010


A bit windy today and by Jove we have suffered because of it. Leaves are carpeted across the canal making our progress very slow. Every few minutes we are having to reverse hard just to clear them from around our prop. On a lighter note the trees look amazing with the rich colours of Autumn. Its a lovely time of year.
How many of you have been through Saddington tunnel? and how many have seen the bats? I was honored to have them circling the boat just before we exited the north portal. What with seeing 3 kingfisher, a monk jack, buzzards, quail, loads of pheasants and numerous squirrels all in the space of two days, I cant think of a better way to spending my time.
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Saturday 30 October 2010

Our new Buckby Can

On our way to Milton Keynes in September we stopped between Buckby flight to a small canal- side shop selling original Buckby cans. I had always hankered after one but none of those on display took my fancy. The owner of the shop said she would paint one in our boat colours and my only stipulation was the roses had to be blue and cream not the traditional red. The can looks stunning and the shop owner liked it so much she is going to paint a few more in these colours for next years trade.
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Mysterious leg

This bush appears to be pushing the boat away from the side. It is actually the work of some clever person doing a bit of topiary.
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WHAT THE ????????

No I'm not seeing things!!! It really does say Goats Eggs £1.50 a dozenPosted by Picasa

Friday 29 October 2010

Huge Perch at Bugbrook

One of the biggest caught so far. It got its own back when it pierced my palm with one of its spines. Blood everywhere!
After catching this fish the diesel boat arrived to diesel the boat in front. Completely ruined the rest of my fishing.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Family again

As we have been moored in Gifford Park for several days we decided to move the boat back to Cosgrove. Our niece Elizabeth came over from Australia and as she has never been on a narrow boat we gave her the tiller and with some trepidation told her to get on with it. A very good job she made of it too!. Christine, Kev and Josh came along for the ride.
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Wednesday 20 October 2010

Goodbye jeep

Had the call from the garage, today, that I was dreading. Our new car Peugeot 206 would be ready to collect at 3pm today. Its like losing a reliable friend, okay not so reliable this last year, but for 9 years now she has been a good old workhorse!

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Burnt boat

Travelling toward Gifford park we saw this sorry looking sight. I wonder what sort of boat this was?
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Sunday 17 October 2010

Ian finally allowed me to do a lock. Although my wrist ached afterwards I felt pleased that I could manage again. Now if only my knees would stop hurting............!
Posted by PicasaThe dogs favourite place when we travel.

Thursday 14 October 2010

The first picture was taken on our way back from Marsworth and the second picture is also on our way back but 5 weeks later.

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Monday 11 October 2010

Wendover restoration

Top left is Ian and woofits standing at the end of the new restored bit of canal . Top right speaks for itself. Bottom left shows the work to have almost reached the rest of the canal and bottom right is one of the new bridges. The sides and steps are full of plaques of those that have helped in some way to make it all possible.
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