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 31 October 2011

Another Burnt boat

Another day of seeing fellow bloggers. I only know them by reading nb No Problem bloggers list but it was nice to see them and give them a wave. We came across NB Oakfield and NB Go For It when we were traveling toward Atherstone Lock. We also met Roy on NB Gerald while descending Atherstone Locks. He was moored at Kilby Bridge  a couple of years ago at the same time as us and he kindly ordered our coal from one of his contacts because we were getting a bit desperate. No doubt they will all have encountered the sunken boat by bridge 21. It's a bit of a hazard having been sunk so near the bridge 'ole', and I wonder how long it will take for BW to remove it. This is the second plastic cruiser we have seen burnt. this year!

.    As I usually take the boat through the locks imagine my surprise, and horror, when Ian announced that it was about time I did the hard work for a change. I started off full of enthusiasm and raced round like a person demented. After the 4th lock I was starting to wilt and by the time Ian called a halt between lock 9 and 10 I had given up the will to live!!! The moral to this tale is "Ian," you can do the last 2 tomorrow"!!!!!

Ian waiting for me to set the next lock.

Still game but starting to wilt!!

Sunday 30 October 2011

This one is for Maffi !!!

 I had a comment on my last blog about black plastic bags and rubbish!!! Well Maffi as you can see the car park looks pretty good to me. So keep up the good work. In fact we should all take a leaf out of your book. Leave it to BW or the council and nothing gets done. You need to see Maffi posts to see what I mean!

One you missed???? or just not a bag big enough!!!
I found this porta potty just past the car park in Oaks Wood. Is this what they mean by an 'outside loo'.

I know the clocks went back this morning but why can't dogs tell the time!!! Jade was adamant that it was time to go out even though it was only 6 am! Once up we decided we might as well make a move. By 11 am we were starving and the thought of waiting another hour for lunch was awful. Still the best bit was the lack of boat traffic. Now that half term is over the only boats about are us hardened ( or mad  ) continues cruisers. We were aiming for a mooring point  just past Marston Junction and we found a lovely quiet spot  by 12 .30 pm. We could have travelled further but whats the point. We need to be past Stenson Lock by the 8th November because that's when the stoppage starts. As far as we are concerned that is easily achievable from this point. After all it is another week away.
Leaving Oaks Wood.

Saturday 29 October 2011

The Pheasant Shoot

You know what they say about buses, well.... Three fellow bloggers in 2 days is unheard of. Well it is for me anyway! So yesterday we said hello to Maffi on NB Milly M, and then this morning after leaving Hillmorton bottom lock who should sail past but NB Briar Rose with Adam and Adrian at the helm and, following closely behind, was NB Chance with Doug and James. Again only a brief conversation was had by us all but at least I can now say I have finally met them.

We decided not to go to far today, and after a brief stop at Rugby for the usual supplies, ( beer & wine ) we found a very quiet mooring just after bridge 35 at Hungerfield near All Oaks Wood. Did I say it was quiet?? Suddenly across the field from us a group of what I assumed were walkers strode purposely toward the wood. They were all carrying either sticks or flags and were flanged by numerous gun dogs. That rang alarm bells to me, as having lived  a previous existence near a farm which raised pheasants, I guessed what was about to occur.
Not long after there were loud shouts, whistles and calls. Then came the sound of sticks being thumped hard on wooden posts. The beaters had arrived.

Then came the sound of gunfire. Jade nearly jumped out of her skin and shot behind Ian's chair. Now, I saw the perfect opportunity to get Jade used to loud bangs without the quivering and shaking. So, cruel as it may seem, I took Jade out in the direction of the shoot and hoped for the best. Sure enough at first she tried to get back to the boat, but I must say that she is a very obedient dog and my command to stay with me was obeyed. Do you know what!!!! It worked!!! We spent a good 30 minutes observing the shoot and by the end of it Jade was quite happy to sit by my side and even appeared quite relaxed. All I have to do now is to get her over her terror of Guy Fawkes night!!! I have left you with more pictures of the pheasant shoot.

And the one that got away. Yippee. ( Its a bit blurred but I was quite a long way away.)
And finally. A lovely Autumnal shot of the changing leaves in Oak Wood.

Friday 28 October 2011

Back on the Oxford again

Our visit to Norma in Eastbourne went better then expected. Her condition is stable and she only needs oxygen now and then. I suppose the most worrying thing was that she seems to have completely forgotten that Dad died last month.  She doesn't even remember going to the funeral. It was very hard to convince her that Dad wasn't coming back but I think toward the end of our visit she came to except it.

We left Stoke Bruerne on Wednesday morning and decided to stop for the night at Nether Heyford. On the way and with camera to hand I spied a Heron on the bank hoping to catch its breakfast. Knowing that Herons usually take off as soon as the boat gets too near, I had my camera on and ready for the moment. The Heron took off. I pressed the shutter and.....................

I'm sure I'm not the only one to make a right mess of it. Nice view of its bottom though!!!!

Yesterday morning, during a lull in the very welcome rain, we set of for Long Buckby. It wasn't long before a fine drizzle set in. This was okay until it slowly got heavier and heavier. By the time we got to Long Buckby locks I was cold, wet and miserable. Ian wanted to get up the flight to Anchor Cottage, the shop that sells loads of canalania but is also famous for their Buckby Cans. As we loved the can that Tricia painted for us at the end of last year, we decided to order another larger one to compliment it. We moored for the night between the locks.  That was a bad bad  move. Boats get locking down and that, combined with bottom gate leakage, left us tilting alarmingly. The poor dog kept slidding toward the table. It was only by moving her bed  toward the wall did she manage to stay put! Thankfully the volunteer lock keepers arrived early the next morning and managed to fill the pound enough for us to get away from the side. So, this morning, Instead of rain we had fog. As it started to lift and the sun came up, this scene presented itself and as I normally have my camera nearby, managed to capture the moment.  It was only after I had downloaded the photo on my computer that I noticed how vibrant our flowers were against the backdrop of the mist and the willow tree.

On the way to Hillmorton and between bridge 80 and 81 on the Oxford, who should we spy but Maffi on NB Milly M. We gave the usual greeting and as we passed his boat I noticed the Muddy Waters poster in the window. That's when it clicked who the boat belonged to. Unfortunately we didn't stop but I'm hopeful that as he is in this neck of the woods, our paths will eventually cross and we will finally get to say hello.

Monday 24 October 2011

Yipee!!!! PC working again!!

My son is a genius!!! When we arrived at Stoke Bruerne last Friday, the first thing we did was to drop my Netbook to Colin. He kept it all weekend, backed up all my files and then after completely wiping the hard drive, reinstalled Windows. Then Ian took over, put the anti virus program back on, then did a virus scan on every one of my files to see if they were infected and finally returned it to me in perfect working order. Ian is ever so pleased that he doesn't have to share his Laptop any more. No longer will there be any more bickering over who's turn it is to use the PC!!!

Now to update my blog.

As you may have gathered we are at Stoke Bruerne. Our daughter in law Iwona's parents are visiting from Poland, so luckily the timing was right for us to spend some time with them. Language of course was a barrier as we don't speak Polish and they don't speak English. but its amazing how one can communicate with a load of hand gestures!!

Joseph and Vwacha with Oliver
While moored on the visitor moorings above the first lock, Colin brought young Oscar to visit. |Now that he is 3 Colin was keen to show him the workings of the locks so we joined the throngs of gongoozelers viewing the proceedings. Back on our boat Oscar decided he wanted to walk over the roof, and being the" independent little sole that he is," didn't want Colin to hold him. I was having kittens by this stage but when he tried to walk on our solar panel, Colin decided enough was enough.
It wasn't long after, that we decided to go for a jaunt to the pub for a pint. Just before we set off a 60ft boat went passed and told us they wanted to wind round before the locks. I really thought that it couldn't be done seeing as the trip boat was usually moored there. Well sure enough they tried and tried and tried again. So close but not close enough!! In the end they took the button fenders off forward and aft and finally they completed the turn,.

I am always looking out for the unusual and I found it on a roof by the Boat Inn. What I want to know is why these animals are Incorporated in the thatch. Is it to ward off evil spirits?  Isn't it a work of art though. So impressive.

Today we decided to move down the locks to what Ian calls the ' Long Pound'. As we wanted as much sun as possible to fall on our solar panels we found a decent mooring not far from the third lock down and away from any over hanging trees. Ian decided to walk down to the facilities and empty the loo. On the way down he saw this cruiser which had seen better days. Now last Saturday, on our way to Colin's by car,  we noticed in the distance something burning and giving off loads of smoke. Judging by this picture I assume this was the cause!

 Tomorrow we go to Eastbourne again. My stepmum Norma, is just about 'holding her own'. Her condition hasn't deteriorated but also its not to good. I'm still unsure if she will make her 85th birthday in December, but stranger things have happened. Now you may think I,m mad but just before Dad died both my sister Susannah and I asked him, if at all possible, to send us a sign that there is life after death. We asked for a white feather. Well yesterday Susannah told me she found a feather on her bed. Could this mean that he has told us there is???? I will leave you to ponder over it.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

More news on Hillmorton.

Leaving Hillmorton behind and the awful thought of what was to become of it, we headed off for Long Buckby and arrived in plenty of time to secure a mooring just before the lock. The night was decidedly chilly.  Ian is one of those people that walks around in his T shirt while I cover up with a vest, T shirt and then jumper to stave off the cold. So far I have managed to keep warm but last night I persuaded Ian to light the fire. In the end though even I had to open the window as the boat got to warm. After all the years of boating I must finally be getting used to the cold.

This morning we locked down with a shared ownership boat Somerton. Just chatting as you do, he informed me that he lived in Rugby and knew all about the plans for the radio station at Hillmorton. He also informed me that to develop the site will be a major undertaking as the amount of copper cables underground is phenomenal. Unfortunately this hasn't stopped the developers from submitting their plans to the council and according to the co owner of NB Somerton the plans are on the verge of being passed. So it appears that Hillmorton will be developed after all!!!

We are now moored just before Blisworth and yes, the fire will be lit again tonight!

I had to leave you with this wonderful sunrise.  It proved very true with the saying, "red sky in the morning shepherd's warning". We certainly had plenty of welcome rain this afternoon!

Sunday 16 October 2011

Devastating news regarding Hillmorton

I have just heard from one of the locals here in Hillmorton that a planning application to build 6000 new houses, and that will also include industrial units, are in the process of being reviewed by Rugby Borough Council. The plan is to erect the buildings on the green area that holds all the radio masks.This will probably mean that instead of looking at lovely open countryside, we will all be looking at someone's back garden or worse still, factory units. I'm gutted!!! This lovely area will be completely destroyed. I love mooring here. Apart from the odd train, it's ever so peaceful. With a clear sky last night we saw loads of stars but with the coming of the development there will be the inevitable light pollution with the stars just fading into the background.All is not lost yet as it is still under debate whether to allow the building works to proceed. All the locals are up in arms about it and I for one am hoping and keeping everything crossed that it doesn't happen!!

All this will be lost!!

Saturday 15 October 2011

Have managed to post some pictures

Is this a wren?? Taken yesterday not long after we arrived at Hillmorton 
 This morning was quite magical. I took the first picture at 7 am and once the sun came up the mist in the following  pictures gave it a whole new prospective.

Very atmospheric.

What would have killed this??? The beast of Bodmin Moor came to mind! The Magpie's were certainly enjoying their breakfast.

And on a lighter note!!!!!!!!!

Friday 14 October 2011

Blue Screen of Death!!!

Its happened. The virus has killed my Netbook. Ian tried in vain to destroy the nasty bug, even trying to open windows in Safe Mode, but to no avail. I have 2 choices to make now. Get my son Colin the computer wizz kid to have a look at it, or buy a new one. Having only one laptop doesn't work for us. When I want to use it,sods law says Ian needs it, and when he's on the net, I want it. Its a no hoper whatever happens.

Our decision to stay on the Ashby was short lived. We have decided to make for Milton Keynes. It makes sense as our car will be at Colin's and traveling to Eastbourne from there cuts an hour and a half off our journey. As my Step mum's condition appears to be stable at the moment, I think we have enough time to make it to either Stoke Bruerne or Cosgrove. At the moment we are moored topside of Hillmorton Locks. Traveling along the Oxford who should we meet? Mo and Ness on Balmaha. As usual we only managed to pass pleasantries as we both sped past in opposite directions. One day we might be able to chat longer. We also spied Valerie moored along the Oxford.  We saw Les briefly on the Ashby but we still haven't been able to say Hello. As he is facing in our direction we might be able to chat if he passes us at Hillmorton. Heres hoping.

I cant post any pictures at the moment. Ian wont have Picaso on his Laptop and as most of my pictures end up there so I can edit them, I'm a bit stumped.  I WANT MY NETBOOK BACK !!!!!

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Blog update and another phone call from the Police

Ian and I are back from Eastbourne. My dad died on September 29th and the funeral took place yesterday.

He had a wonderful life ( his words not mine ) and even though he had no arms his disability never held him back. R.I.P Dad. I will always miss your smile, your love and a great sense of humour. Xx  My step mum Norma is still in the hospital. The news on her condition is not good. Nothing more can be done for her so all we can do is to visit as often as we can. Tomorrow we leave Trinity Marina and will head up the Ashby toward Shackerstone. Staying in the vicinity is now a priority so we may become one of those continues cruisers who only travel short distances. Hopefully, BW will understand if we are challenged.

Just a short while ago Ian had a phone call from PC Kate Medlum. It appears the Crown Prosecution want to proceed with prosecuting our friendly con man Jason. As I was the only one to make a statement, they now want Ian to make a statement as well. I have a horrible feeling that both Ian and I may be asked to be witnesses in the case. This will probably mean another trip up to Kidderminster by car to attend the court proceedings in the near future.

While I was away I discovered a problem with my Netbook. Strange things started to happen every time I tried to open a web page. Turns out I have a particularly nasty virus on my computer. Ian is trying to sort it out for me but he feels the only thing for it is to backup all my files and then delete everything else. He talks about reinstalling Windows from scratch. ( He talked a lot of computer jargon that went straight over my head!!) Luckily I have managed to grab his Laptop while he is sorting out the rear fender so that I can write this blog. Hopefully, my next post will be back on my Netbook with everything working as it should.

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