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.

Tuesday 30 April 2013

If only I had a brain!

Ian didn't arrive back from hospital until well after 2pm and although he said he felt fine, I was concerned that he might 'over do it' if he continued with the cooker install. Ian is not one to stop and sit still so he continued to tittivate by screwing the legs onto our cupboard infill and readjusting the work top levels. Then I had what I can only describe as a senior moment. As I again wouldn't have a cooker to cook on I told Ian that I would nip to Lidl and get a Lasagne to cook in the microwave and dish that up with a side salad and garlic bread. Off I trots and get the said items. It wasn't until I was on my way back when I suddenly realised that garlic bread need to be cooked in the oven!!!! So its just lasagne and salad then!

Thetford Caprice Mk 111

I mentioned yesterday about being worried about snapping the work top. Now you can see why.

Hospital gets it wrong again.

Its a non starter for us this morning as Ian had a phone call last night saying his blood count was low and could he go back to the hospital at 9am for a retest. So off he goes after breakfast and leaves me with the clearing up and walking the dog. Jade, incidentally, didn't have to sleep in our bedroom as space was made for her in the lounge area so I was one very happy bunny even if the dog wasn't.. On my return from our walk, a message arrived by text from Ian to say the hospital got it wrong and his bloods were okay. They had already ordered his treatment so told him he may as well wait for the treatment to arrive and then get his chemo done early. I now await his return and hope he feels up to doing a bit more to our galley. If not it will be another night of takeaways but it really is getting a bit monotonous having either Chinese or fish and chips every night

Photos from our walk this morning

Monday 29 April 2013

ugh!!!! Will my kitchen ever be finished!

No the cooker wasn't in by last night! By the time Ian had sorted out all the fiddly bits, sealing the edges of the floors and trying to work out where to cut the work top for the cooker, and then trying to put together a flat pack unit to fill in the gap left when moving the bulkhead, it was gone 9 pm. Much to late to start bringing the cooker in from the car,( although Ian wanted to carry on) I made him sit down with a glass of rum and coke and admire what he had achieved so far.

Wicker storage boxes from Ikea will fit neatly onto each shelf.
So this morning, after Ian's usual hospital visit for his blood test, we manhandled the cooker from the boot of the car, left it lying on the floor where Jades bed usually goes, then the supports were made for the back of the worktop to fix onto. It was all going so well until a knock on the boat from a fellow boater asked if Ian would help move a boat from inside the basin to the dry dock area. It would have been a very simple task except the boat in question had no engine!! It meant bow hauling the boat to the winding hole, poling it round and then dragging it arse end into the dock. This all took a considerable amount of time and with me having to leave for Christine's to get Jade back, not a lot would be achieved until I returned later in the afternoon. Then the next job was to cut the hole for the cooker to fit into. Ian debated whether to cut the work surface outside but  realised we wouldn't then be able to bring it back into the boat without the threat of snapping it. So the decision was made to cut it in situ. This would mean loads of dust being generated by using the Jigsaw . To try to minimise the amount of work I am bound to have to do after Ian has cut the piece out, I covered as much as I could in dust sheets.

The pencil marks show where the worktop will be cut out and the piece of wood screwed onto the thin bit of worktop left  will hopefully stop the two bits snapping in half.
It is now 6pm and I'm just off to get fish and chips for supper ( again!) I still have no idea if the cooker will be in tonight. Ian still has high hopes that it will but there again he said that yesterday. At the moment Jade is lying on the grass outside our boat as she has nowhere to sleep. I may have to allow her to sleep in the bedroom area for once. I'm sure she will just love that! Anyway, no doubt there will be some more to report tomorrow. Only downside is it's Ian's chemo day so he will only have the morning to do any work.

Sunday 28 April 2013

Work is progressing..........slowly

With good intentions to get the hob, work surface and bulkhead out this morning Ian was up and dressed by 7 am. So before you could say Jack Robinson the hob was removed  and the last means of cooking was gone and then the work surface. No end of screws and brackets held it in place and it would have helped if Ian was a contortionist but in the end after a lot of 'oh my knees and oh my back and shoulder' the work surface came away. Next task was to remove the floor boards so he could get at the bulkhead. Not easy as Ian, being super efficient, nailed several down when he put the flooring in. Again with perseverance he managed to remove the nails without damaging the boards and finally the bulkhead was ready for removal. Off to the workshop where he trimmed the wooden floor boards ready for fitting once the bulkhead had been newly positioned. As I had no cooker hob ( it having been removed earlier ) we broke off the procedings to have a spot of lunch in the Great Northern. Good carvery and plenty of it for only £6.95 and for Ian the added bonus of it being a real ale pub. By the time we came away it was gone 1.30pm and we still had to drive over to our bungalow in Sandiacre to collect the new cooker. That done Ian continued with cutting out the new work surface while I cleaned our old hob and cooker ready for sale. So as we stand at the moment, I have no cooker, no work surface, stuff from the kitchen draws strewn all over the place but Ian has assure me that the cooker will be in tonight. Whether it will be a working cooker is another question.

Robber Fly

Saturday 27 April 2013

The chaos continues

Ian has been busy in ECP&DA work shop marking out and cutting one side of the new work surface in readiness to replace the sink while I have been attempting to remove the tiles from around the sink and cooker area. I don't know if its the norm but our boat builder used Evo stick on the back of the tiles instead of tile adhesive and it was a right B to remove. I had to resort to a big hammer and a chisel and had to forget about keeping the tiles whole. Every one shattered with bits of tile ending up right across the boat. Ian had also turned off the water and unfortunately only filled the kettle and a 2 pint jug thinking that would be sufficient but he forgot about washing hands and flushing the loo! Hey ho the joys of living on a boat. Tomorrow Ian will tackle the cooker area and because we will have nothing to cook on we will just have to eat out. Shame.

New work surface and sink in place.

Chaos reigns in the Jameison boat

Even the dog has left home! Jade couldn't cope with the upheaval especially when her bed disappeared! You see we are completly changing our galley and all because we bought a new cooker from Midland Chandlers freaky Friday event. A Caprice free standing cooker will replace our seperate oven and hob. It means the balk head has to come out and be moved over by about 9" and because we couldnt match the excisting work surface, 2 new ones had to be bought.With Ikea pratically on our doorstep it was ideal for finding just what we wanted at a reasonable price. So as you can see from these photos life is going to be a little difficult for the next few days and poor Jade  had one of her nervous breakdowns going into hyper dribbling panting mode as soon as we started to move things around. I phoned Christine and thankfully Jade can stay with her until Monday. More photos as and when things start progressing.

The old cooker came out last night and is standing next to the chair

Friday 26 April 2013

Hopefully the penultimate update on Ian

Still not sure how I feel about our consult with the consultant yesterday. After waiting an hour and a half before we were called in, we were out within 10 minutes, 5 of them sitting in the consulting room waiting for the consultant to appear. After the usual checks,( heart, lungs weight etc ) and after a quick feel of the offending lump on Ians back, he told us there had been no change from last time. In other words no growth and no shrinkage. I came away wondering why, if the chemo had stopped working, did we need to continue the treatment. The MRI still hasnt been booked but the consultant will try very hard to get it organised before we go to Pelsall boat rally in June. Both of us are a bit worried that our travels may have to be put on hold if there is any delay. If the awaited letter arrives in time and the MRI scan is positive, then one more visit to the oncology outpatients to have Ian's pic line removed means we will be able to high tail it out of Langley.

Last night at around 8pm and with the rain making a drumming sound on the roof, I happened to glance out of the window at the Toll office opposite and noticed a strange glow surrounding it. This got me baffelled as only 2 days before we also had what we called a weird sky. Then on looking out of the other window the whole of the basin was bathed in pink. Normally when we have a red sky at night the same phenomenon occurs but last night it was chucking it down. I found it all very weird. Maybe the War of the Worlds and the Martian invasion is not just a figment of someones imagination!

Red sky and rain????? Most peculiar.

Toll house Office bathed in a weird light and below the peculiar glow of the sky taken a couple of days ago

Your not going to believe this but as I was writing this post it started snowing!!! What is going on with our weather!

Thursday 25 April 2013

Birds in flight part 5

I have no idea what sort of ducks these are. Thanks to Brian and Diane nb Harnser I have found out that they are Shell ducks

Canada Geese


Great Tit

Black headed gull

Oyster catchers

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Sunday 21 April 2013

6 months later..........

We have finally finished the coachline on the port side. The starboard side was done last October but since then we haven't really had any decent weather to even attempt the job. I was beginning to think  that we would be cruising again with a lopsided boat. Ian did point out though, that we can only ever see one side at a time but it's so much nicer having both sides the same. Masking up took the time. I volunteered for the job on Friday seeing as Ian was helping ECP&DA at the work party, and it took me most of that day. It would have helped if I had a decent pair of eyes to see what I was doing and even with my glasses on I got the occasional wavy line. Still Ian wasn't to dissatisfied with my attempt and that's saying something from a perfectionist! It was sods law that Saturday we woke to a frost. Was my attempt at masking all in vain? Thankfully it appeared not and once the hull side was dry Ian started on the painting. 2 coats were applied and we left it over night to harden off. This morning came the anticipated unveiling. It was disastrous!!! In parts the paint had bled through under the tape and in other parts some of the paint had come away with the tape, but we managed to save the day by rubbing along the lines with plenty of white spirit which in turn got most of the excess paint off and then Ian went round with a steady hand and touch up brush to repair the damage. From a distance it looks acceptable and we have even had a few comments on what a good job we made of it. If only they had seen it earlier.

I thought I would post this picture of Starlings. Apparently they are on the decline. Not so around here I can tell you!
Mr Starling keeping a close eye on his misses

Wild primrose

Growing alongside the Nottingham canal

Saturday 20 April 2013

Horses on the towpath? Well fancy that!

Suddenly realised these three were following me
Well.... who would of thought as I set out to walk Jade this morning that I would see equines on the towpath. Reminiscent of the good old days except these horses were running free! Instead of our usual walk along the Nottingham canal and as it was such a glorious morning, I thought I would give Jade a treat and take her for a dip in the River Erewash. On the way back we had to walk across the flood plains, a fast area of open space which is a haven for all sorts of birds and insects. Never has there been any sort of grazing animals on the grass land so I was very surprised to see three horses munching away on the rich grass. The path took me very close to one of the horses who stopped its munching and decided to follow me. It stayed with me right up to the opening onto the towpath and then luckily it turned around to go back to its mates. Jade and I carried on along the towpath heading for home when suddenly I heard the clip clop of hooves behind me. Turning round quickly I came face to face to with all three of them. I managed to halt them and get them to turn round and then attempted to herd them back towards the opening. All was going well until the lead horse just kept on going. It failed to head down the entrance but continued along the towpath. Meanwhile the other two, who had more sense, went back into the field. A couple coming toward the lead horse managed to turn it again and it finally decided to join the others. I am assuming that they have escaped from somewhere as I cant believe any horse owner would leave them in an unsecured area.

Two doing the sensible thing and returning the way they had come

Having been turned and

 heading back to join the others
Jade enjoying the Erewash

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