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 June 2011

Epic blog consisting of the continuing Moorhen saga, Bunting, Historic boats and a wayward fender.

There has been a huge amount happening today so this might be an epic blog. Firstly the Moorhen family, see earlier post. Again  I was woken by screeching and chuntering from one of the birds sitting on the nest early this morning. It sounded like world war three had broken out and then to add insult to injury the other bird started. I finally couldn't stand it any more so up I got to investigate. Another chick was in the nest so maybe that was what all the fuss was about.

After walking the woofits I looked to see if the two that had hatched previously were still swimming about. Unfortunately not a sign of them anywhere even though one of the parents were busy making another nest on the opposite bank. A nice juicy meal for the pike or seagulls (which circle around here frequently) I deduced.  Then a short while later the chick in the nest decided to come out. Bad move on its part as it was much to young to venture out into the world.

As Ian and I needed to go shopping, we left them to it fully expecting it to be in the water with mum. I was wrong. On our return we found it back in the nest and tucked up under one of the parents wings.
Thank goodness for that!!.
Some of the boats around us had started to put their bunting up and not to be left out we did the same. Quite a sight to see and very festive. I'm sure the locals around here wont have seen anything like it before. Should be a talking point for quite some time.

 Then, after a quick lunch, we went off to the Railway Inn for a pint and met Jo and Keith 'Hadar', Jen and Graham 'Best O' Mates, Ian and Caroline 'Indulgence' and Frank and Gill on 'Fragil' A very happy couple of hours was spent with loads of tales of the waterways and much hilarity before we all made the move back to our boats

From left to right:- Frank, Ian, Caroline, Jen,  Ian J, Jo, Keith, Graham and Gill.
 After we got back we noticed that the moorhen chick was in the water after all. I felt very sorry for it as the chick looked exhausted and couldn't even keep itself above water.To watch it die was not in my nature, so grabbing my net I fished it out and held it in my hands to warm up. This did the trick because it revived rapidly and started calling for mum again. I did no more then put it back in its nest and with a bit of bread  managed to intice one of the parents to go back to it. So for now, she is looking after it again. I do hope it stays put for a bit longer this time. It needs to gain some strength before it decides to go swimming . Ian then went off to help with erecting the site while I stayed and watched boat after boat arriving all without a clue as to where they were going to moor. Then Mike Brown came by on the Lichfield and Hatherton trust boat Willenhall.

 Almost immediately after 'Atlas' and butty 'Malus' arrived. Seeing them wind round, or trying to, was well worth watching because the wind, instead of aiding, them was more of an hindrance then a help. What made it worse was on finally completing the turn, the chap at the bow dropped the boat pole into the canal and a nifty bit of maneuvering was needed to retrieve it.

Look toward the bow. That splash is the pole hitting the water.

While all this was going on I happened to glance back and who should I spy on top of 'Hadar'. Jo doing her David Bailey impersonation.

Now if I can just get you to hold still........
 At the end of all that excitement I felt I deserved a nice cup of tea and a sit down. Suddenly our boat banged alarmingly. The dogs shot up, even Judy who's nearly deaf, leapt up. At first I thought it was the boat moored next to us crashing onto the hull, but no the fender Ian had put against the concrete pillar had gone missing and with the wind moving our boat around it was banging on the pillar as well as rubbing off all our paintwork! Luckily Jo, Keith and Graham were about and spotted the said fender floating  toward the boats on the opposite side of the basin. I grabbed my fishing net and with great haste made my way to the boats keeping one eye on Jo telling me where it was and another eye on the fender as it sailed merrily across the basin. In the end I had to knock on the IWA boat, pass him my fishing net, and with the help from him and this very nice gentleman, who I now know as Ivor Caplan on the RBOA boat, managed to retrieve the offending item. A big cheer went up from some of our fellow boaters and I was very pleased to restore it to its rightful place next to our gunwales.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

The story of the con man continues!!

Guess what..... we had another phone call from our friendly con man Jason Barker. Funnily enough we were waiting for the police constable to phone to ask us to unlock the gate leading to the moorings. Imagine our surprise when we got a call from Jason. He told Ian he was sorry he hadn't returned the money and if we were still at Stourport he would come over and repay our £10.  Ian informed him we had moved to Droitwich but of course that was much to far for him to drive and return the cash ( He could drive 80 miles to see his dad but not able to do the few miles to Droitwich!) Anyway he said he would mail it to us, as if we believed him. So not long afterwards a very attractive lady PC ( Ian's words)  Kate Medlum arrived and not the male constable we had expected. The boat was a new experience for her and she had been asked to go instead of her colleague because apparently he was a very big man and he was concerned he wouldn't fit in the boat. She confirmed this when she told us he would have had to be shoehorned  in and once in would never had got out. That's a big fellow!!!!Anyway I digress. We proceeded with the written interview and after I had signed and agreed to go to court if it came to that, she gave us the information that Jason has an ASBO order on him. He is also in breach of his court order that had been put in place in 2007 which states that he is not allowed to solicit money from any member of the public whether given voluntary or seized. So as an update to the comment see post I received from  Bruce and Shelia on Sanity again it sounds like he was still bound by the court when he conned them as well. On leaving us PC Medlum's plan was to go to Kidderminster where his last known address was and arrest him. She has promised to keep us informed but as yet have had no news. I assume that her plan to date has failed as no phone call has materialised. Again I will keep you all informed if and when we are told. One thing she has asked us to do is to tell as many boaters as possible that Jason operates along the stretch of Staffs and worcs canal from Kidderminster to Stourport and not to give him any money whatsoever. Phone West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000 if approached.

Two baby Moorhens have hatched.

It must have been around 6.30 am when I became aware of a faint cheep cheep sound through the bedroom window. I lay there for a moment and then it dawned on me, it must be a new moorhen chick. Sure enough I just caught a glimpse of it before it put its head down. No sign of mum or dad and I was very concerned that it had been abandoned. I needn't have worried as one of the parents returned to keep it warm.

Then Ian and Caroline appeared on nb Indulgence. They told me that this was by no means the first chick hatched and the one that had already left the nest was following the other parent around begging for food.

Unfortunately I missed the second chicks leap of faith into the water below, but at the moment both babies are doing well. She now has 3 eggs left in the nest and, as she is still sitting on them, hopefully another one, if not all, will hatch tomorrow

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Our destination at last..Netherwich basin Droitwich

Isn't it strange that yesterday after a bit of rain the river rose by 2ft. It was still in the green, mind you, but with a fair flow to it. As we were heading downstream we expected to race along at a fair pace. Then this morning it had dropped again, which was a shame because I had been looking forward to the extra push toward Droitwich Barge  canal. The locks on this stretch of the Severn are manned and apart from one boat locking up which made us hang back, we had first the flashing red light, to say the lock was being made ready, and then the green light allowing us to proceed.

 Our time from leaving Stourport to Barge lock was approximately 1 hr 40 mins, and all but the last lock was ours alone.
Making the turn to Droitwich Barge canal lock entrance was a bit hairy to say the least. You almost have to turn back on yourself just to get onto the pontoon. If there had been more flow it could have been very interesting.

Made it, phew! but with some damage to the newly painted gunwales. Check out the height of the pontoon!!!

We came in from the right. Its not easy to see in this picture what I mean about the turn. It will be even more interesting on the way back when once again we head for Stourport and have to negotiate the downward flow.
 I wasn't sure what to expect when we entered the Droitwich canal. I had been told it was weedy and the foliage in places was higher then the boat, but to have a mat of green was beyond believe.

The locks were full of it.

Just like a snail trail!

Where's the water gone?

I'm not sure what this bird is but I don't think it has seen many boats because he swam like the clappers to get away from us.
 After 8 locks and no mishaps apart from a very irate fisherman by a bridge who was so well hidden that if I couldn't see him how the hell could he see the boat? His pole was out and only my quick bit of thinking by pulling the throttle hard into reverse did I save the day and not snap the pole clean in two. Abuse was hurled at me but as I informed him, if he wants to stay hidden then expect the consequences.
Finally arrived at the rally sight to be greeted by Jo and Keith on Hadar, Graham and Jennifer on Best 'o' 'Mates and Ian and ( oh dear I've forgotten his wife's name)  Caroline on Indulgence. We were helped to moor on one of the end pontoons ( pictures tomorrow) and for good measure we have a feathered friend keeping us company and giving us some entertainment by sitting on eggs in a nest built on the pontoon. Poor thing, I feel truly sorry for it. One minute all was peaceful and the next all these steel monstrosities arrive to harass it.

Monday 27 June 2011

Hoorah for the local police.

Another trip to the Police station. At this rate we will know all the local constabularies from Merryhill to Droitwich! But they did come good. At first they asked the general questions about what we can remember, what he said, his appearance what did he look like, and then the usual not much can be done etc etc. Then surprise surprise. The Sergeant got involved and suddenly the interest picked up. Guess what. He was defiantly known to them. This guy has had a string of complaints made all about getting money by criminal deception. Now they wanted more about him. The sergeant was unable to interview us there and then and as we informed him of our plans to be in Droitwich, an appointment was made for him to visit our boat 9 am on Wednesday morning. Oh and by the way, his name is Jason Barker, not Buster as he had stated. So the story continues.

This must be local celebrity duck. Its so tame and poses for anyone who has a camera. I have googled it and found out it is called a crested duck, otherwise known as a topknot duck.

Wash and

Brush up.

Sunday 26 June 2011

Yep we've been had!

The story so far.....At just before 10am I get a phone call. Its from that fellow!!! "Sorry but dad in hospital and I cant get back until this afternoon". "Okay" says I "We will stay put until you arrive". "No don't do that" he says. "Go on to Stourport because its easier for me to park. I'll phone you when I arrive and you can tell me where you are." Of we set and we moor up topside of the basin lock. Then we wait, and wait and wait. As we have his phone number we tried twice to contact him and each time we get a voice mail from a girl called Lisa. Funny that, I thought we were dealing with a fellow!!!! He (or was it a she???) told us his name was Jason Buster so with that information plus the phone number and the number plate of his scooter ( DX 58 CXK ) we will contact the police tomorrow morning.

Today we met  fellow bloggers  http://nblikeducks2water.blogspot.com/ We had pulled over to go to Lidl when they came along and had a bit of a chat as they cruised past. So that's two bloggers met in under a week. ( Note to myself. Must start a 'bloggers I have met' list.) We discovered that Lidl was closed due to refurbishment but if we hadn't stopped we might not have met Jacquie and Stein. I'm a great believer that everything happens for a purpose and we were obviously meant to meet.

I have put together a few photos of Stourport. Well worth a visit but mooring in the Basin's looked to be very difficult. Only a few spaces and most of them overnighter's.

To the right by the Viking boat is the facilities.

The broad river lock.

Only two in the flight.

And the narrow ones. 2 sets of staircase both DIY but  the lock keeper is on hand to keep an eye on things.

Lock landing for the narrow locks.

In the fore ground is the single locks and in the distance to the left is the large broad locks.

 Up river and looking toward the locks

Saturday 25 June 2011

Have we been had by a man on a motor scooter?

We were watching Shark tale ( and thoroughly enjoying it) when a man on a scooter knocked on our window and asked if we had seen someone fishing this stretch. I said no we hadn't and he went on his way. Ian turned to me and said I bet it was the bailiff and that I had been reported for fishing in club waters. Oh well if that's the case, there was no way I would admit to having fished today. Anyway 5 minutes later the same man returns.Again he asked about a person fishing and when I enquired as to why he wanted to know, he said it was his cousin and he just had to find him because he needed some money to fetch his kids. He then proceeded to give us a sob story of how his sick dad has his kids and he left work without his bag which has all his money, phone etc, in and could we possible lend him £10 for some petrol so he could bring his kids home. Now I know that everyone reading this will say "Yeah right!" but this bloke seemed very upset. Alarm bells did ring and both Ian and I looked at each other wondering what to do. In the end after giving him a good quizzing and getting his name, number plate and phone number and with an assurance that he would return before 10 am tomorrow morning and pay us back we gave him the money. I 'll let you know if he returns but I'm pretty sure we wont be seeing our tenner again! What are we? Muggins or what!!!

Mirror image of Jade.

Ive done this blog the wrong way round but wanted to get the above story straight before I forgot it. So this is the how the blog  should have been.
Sudden decision this morning. We'll polish the boat. So before the so called really really hot weather materialised we set to just after 9 am, first giving her a good wash then a thorough  polish. But what happened to the really really hot weather? It has been overcast most of the day and the temperature certainly didn't get to 26 degrees. Still one side of the boat is done and the reflection on the side of the boat tells it all.   Posted by Picasa

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