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.

Friday 31 May 2013

The unscheduled collapse of Langley Mill flour mill.

Talk about leaving Langley with a bang! I had no sooner returned to the boat at 4pm after dropping the car back at Sandiacre when suddenly there was a terrific roar and clouds of dust filled the air. I rushed out of the boat wondering if the world was coming to an end and for a moment couldn't understand where the dust was coming from. Then Alan, who was standing by Mick and Carole's boat Electra, said he saw the mill collapse. For months now work had been going on at the mill, pulling it down stage by stage but I'm pretty sure this wasn't planned. Of course I had to grab the camera and knowing where I could get some good photos, rushed round to have a good look. No one was on site in fact it was eerily quiet. This seemed a bit strange but it wasnt until later that it was pointed out to me that it was a Friday and the workman would probably have already gone home. All I can say it was a good job they had because otherwise goodness knows what injury or even fatalities there may have been. If you would like to read more about the mill  click here

The large blue building on the right was the one that collapsed. (Photo taken from the net) The buildings to the side had already been removed.

Quite a few of the ECP&DA mob are due to go to Pelsall but because those visiting the rally had left their boats in the basin, it was impossible for them to leave their moorings. So with the help of the work party all the visiting boats were shoveled about until those that wanted to leave could. Three had already left the basin making it a bit easier but there were still a few to shift. John and Chris Baylis wanted to join us tomorrow when we left for Sandiacre but his boat was well and truly wedged in. So armed with trusty pole and rope the men pulled and pushed the rally boats out of the way. With a lot of maneuvering John got Nb Thornbury out and he's now moored alongside us ready for the off with us tomorrow morning.

Three boats ready to leave. One cruiser, one 42ft narrowboat and a 57ft all shared the one lock.
And finally, I just had to show you this photo of Jade and the swan. Taken on our walk this morning.

The look of terror on Jades face

She turned tail and refused to come past. Swan 1 Jade nil!

Thursday 30 May 2013

Only one more day to go.

Both Ian and I are getting really excited about our immanent departure from Langley Mill. We are also a bit concerned that there are still some outstanding bits to be completed on the boat. Ive not mentioned much about the galley just lately or our new stove, well they are nearly but not quite finished. With only tomorrow to go before we leave our mooring for good ( more about that later ) Ian has decided to finish grouting the tiles in the galley tonight but the stove will have to wait until after the rally at Pelsall. The fire is in but the flue hasn't been painted and the fire cement needs to be applied.

All finished one side but

the tiles still need grout on the other side.

Be great when the stove is finally working
Then we nearly ran out of diesel. Again its all to do with not having a working stove and the awful cold weather we have had lately. The diesel heating has been run on and off for ages and it was only once we went to bed that it got shut down. It meant a run to Kegworth Marina with 5 20ltr drums so we could at least have a chance of getting to Pelsall before we ran out. Also today we took our friend Pat ( the wife of Keith who died a couple of weeks ago ) to Foxton Locks for her 60th birthday. The lunch at Foxton Inn was delicious and it gave Pat a chance to get out and try to enjoy herself.

Pat and Ian

Side ponds at Foxton
Tomorrow I will drive the car back to Sandiacre and catch the bus back leaving Ian and a few of the ECP&DA work party to try and move 8 boats out of the basin that were left by the boaters attending the rally. Without those boats moved none of our members can get their boats out to leave for Pelsall.

So now a quick mention on our mooring plans. We have been classed as continues cruisers since leaving our bungalow 5 years ago. With tenants having made it their home these last 2 years and having no wish to leave in the immediate future, it didn't feel right to keep coming back. They may have thought we were checking up on them. Since Ian has now twice had to have chemotherapy over the last 3 years we felt that having a permanent base would be beneficial. ECP&DA have offered us a mooring in the basin and we have excepted their offer. It means now that we wont ever have to worry if Ian is recalled for more treatment. We may only use it over 3 months in the winter but for the both of us it's peace of mind.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Arrived home with sanity intact!

What can I say about Twycross zoo. Small but full of character and the added bonus of the dinosaurs exhibit roaring away in the distance threatening to  frighten all the little children. The various animal houses and enclosures were well thought out and if you like primates this is a must for a visit. Josh (our grandson ) was an absolute delight pulling me in all directions, especially at the dinosaur exhibits. The entrance fee for Christine, Josh and myself came to £42 which I thought was pretty good considering the amount of animals to see. The only downside to the visit today was the rain. After a dry start this morning the deluge started around 1 pm. Thankfully we had already visited all the dinosaurs, had a train journey round part of the zoo and enjoyed a good lunch right by the snow leopard enclosure. Shame it never made an appearance. Maybe the dull weather put it off. One thing I loved and thought how clever the designers had been was the leaf cutter ants making there way right through the ladies loo. Didn't have to worry about the kids washing their hands as the ants kept them amused while they washed them. In fact we had trouble getting Josh to leave. With the heavens opening the animals like the meerkats, monkeys, dingos, tapirs etc, all made a hasty retreat inside which was a great shame. A lot of the public also made a hasty departure but as I wanted to see everything on offer, I dragged Christine and Josh around in the pouring rain. Josh kept complaining bitterly of getting wetter and wetter and he didn't like it. Sorry Josh but nana just had to see it all!

This was at the entrance. Wish I could have shown you what it really looked like but the glass spoilt the photo

In the ladies loo

Village Weaver bird

Zebra finch

Hummm a juicy cranefly

Java sparrow

Turquoisine Parrot

Bengalese Finch


Prairie dog

Having a scrap

Amur leopard

Blue Quail


Red Crested Turaco


Not quite as large as a gorilla


On it's nest

Dozy Orangutang

And baby


Another specious of Cormorant



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