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 31 October 2013

Gosh I'm famous!

Well not really, but Ian was chatting to the chap off of Nb Stanley on the water point at Armitage and, as he was bringing his hose to the tap, suddenly recognised Free Spirit. Apparently his wife reads my blog and admired my photos. I wish I had got their names but if they are reading this thank you so much for reading my ramblings and your kind comments. Then would you credit it, heading toward Handsacre, we passed Nb Invincible and they also took one look at the boat and said they read my blog. How amazing to be hailed and recognised twice in one day! I sort of hoped I'd get a third as most things happen in threes but it was not to be!

You may have gathered that were on the move again and this time our destination is Fradley. Leaving Rugeley before 9am we had a relatively good journey but for one little heart stopping incident when a co ownership boat approached us with family on board. The parents had allowed their kid of about 6 or 7y to stand on the roof. The boy, in his exuberance to wave at us, toppled over and only just saved himself from going in! The dad didn't look in the least concerned and just said to the lad ' I told you so!'  Not much more to say on the subject really other then to say how idiotic can one get!!!! Anyway we arrived at Shade House and instead of descending the three locks to the junction decided it was much nicer and maybe quieter to stay at the top. After all it is Halloween and the youngsters may be about! As I haven't stocked up with any treats its best we keep out of their way!

Armitage Tunnel. This used to be a tunnel, but was opened out to form this deep cutting in about 1970.
I found a photo of the same section taken in 1972

Wood End Lock

Shadehouse Lock

Could this nest box be for rodents?

Tonight's mooring above Shadehouse lock

And finally:-

Top two photos taken from this one.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

A catch up blog, another meet and greet.and a hidden Gem

Walking towards the Hall in the afternoon we were a little dismayed to see that the actual house was closed and wouldn't reopen until March 2014. The gardens were open though, and with Jade being wet through cause she was allowed to go for a swim after all, we thought a good brisk walk would dry her off nicely.

The gardens were full of colour at this time of year so it was a real treat to walk around the grounds.

Having returned to the boat we found it wasn't such a great mooring by Shugborough Hall after all. Having arrived and moored at the end of a 48hour mooring with Nb Persis, who was already moored at the start of the moorings, another boat  turned up a while later and pulled back onto Persis. This left a decent 60ft gap between us and the second boat. Then Ian heard a boat go into reverse and when he stuck his head out of the back hatch, he was confronted by this bloke who had stopped, looked at the space and started muttering about inconsiderate boaters not sharing rings! Ian being Ian took one look at the length of their boat, smiled sweetly and said there was plenty of room for them to squeeze in . Still muttering to himself and not at all amused by Ians comment, he eventually got the boat moored up. Now I don't know if he wanted to get his own back but later that night (9pm) he turned on his engine and continued to run it for over an hour. If they hadn't switched off when they did Ian as all for going round and having words!  Having Mr Grumpy behind us wasn't the only reason why the mooring wasn't great.

Mr Grumpy second boat in.

I adore owls. I have tried and failed miserably to photograph them for ages so hearing an owl later over the sound of Mr Grumpy s engine I was all for going out to try and find it. Then another two owls started hooting loudly to each other. Abandoning the idea of trying to find them cause it was much to dark, the 3 owls constante hooting got louder and louder. It felt as if the tree opposite was one of the owls preferred perch as the loudest hoot came from there! They shut up for a while long enough for both of us to fall asleep then woke us up again at 3 am when they started screeching and hooting at the top of their voices again. So having finally got back to sleep we didn't wake until 8ish. Jade was crossing her legs and couldn't wait to get outside. With Mr Crumpy so close, not relishing another sleepless night and because TV and internet wasnt to good where we were we decided to move 100yds through the bridge and moor into the open.

Unfortunately the internet signal was no better in fact it seemed worse. The telly was okay though, so that was a bonus. I was outside on the back deck with my computer, the 3 broadband dongle plugged directly into one of the ports and was hoping to get some sort of signal when I heard someone asking if  I was trying to do the blog! Looking round I was flabbergasted to see James and Debbie Nb Lois Jane. What a surprise! So of course we invited them in for tea and biscuits and didn't stop chatting for nearly two hours. Isn't it great that blogs bring people together like that.  It's almost like were are all one big blogging family knowing the trials and tribulations, laughter and sadness of everyone of the blogging fraternity. Long may it continue.

Debbie, James and Ian

Having had an invite to return to Lois Jane later in the afternoon, I went off for a walk while Ian continued with moving our shore line plug from the outside back deck to the inside. Then it was off to admire Lois Jane. She is a fully electric boat. Not a gas burner in sight. So impressive and what I loved was that James just a pressed a button from somewhere in the galley and the engine roared into life. How good was that!!! No turning keys and waiting for the glow plugs to warm up! We had home made welsh cake baked by James's fair hand, tea, coffee and a winter warmer tipple (hic) to finish the afternoon. We loved spending time with them both but I really feel that they need to put their clocks right. Getting all rebellious James, and putting the clocks forward instead of back, will catch you out one day, mark my words! Mind you there is something to be said for putting the clocks 1 hour forwards instead one hour back. James and Debbie got up at when their clock read 8am. Really it was 6am. They upped and went for a 10 kilometer walk watching the sun rise and greeting the dawn. This is always a magical time of the day, one that most of us miss, so to be up and about at that hour instead of laying in bed must be wonderful. Just as we were about to set off for Rugeley they returned in time for us to say our farewells. For us the time was 9.30am. For them on their time of 11.30am lunch was only 30 minutes away. I wonder how long they will keep this up before they fall foul and arrive to early for an appointment?

So we have made the few miles to Rugeley, done all our shopping ( by the way a new Tesco has opened a month ago and is by bridge 66), relit the fire and we are now cosy and warm listening to the rain and wind howling outside.

Colwick lock

Most baffling. Anyone know what it's supposed to mean?
Oh and my hidden Gem................

And finally:-

This was the biggest wasp I have ever seen. Must have been nearly 2" long. I don't think kit was a hornet.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

just my pictures today

Almost impossible to get Internet here.

And finally:-

Monday 28 October 2013

Storm? What storm!

Okay......... I know South has had a pretty miserable time of it judging by the news coverage but all our preparations to make the boat hurricane proof was all in vain. Everything that could move came of the roof and was stashed inside. The space is small at the best of times and with roof furniture lining the floor, made it even worse. Even Jade had to try and negotiate her way to her bed! The predicted winds never arrived and the torrential rain was no more then a drizzle! Still I would much rather the weather forecasters get it wrong for our region then have the worry of fallen trees blocking our progress.

Hint of things to come.......or so I thought! Photo taken yesterday at 3.15 pm
Tixall Gatehouse is a 16th-century gatehouse situated at Tixall, and is all that remains of Tixall Hall. It is a Grade 1 listed building  The hall was demolished in 1927. This home of the Aston family was used a prison for Mary Queen of Scots

 Instead of having to sit it out on the Wide, we moved onto a mooring by Sbhugborough hall. On route another sunkan boat came into view.

With us heading toward Great Hayward we had the perfect opportunity to call into Anglo Welsh and see Keith the manager. Ian had previously made several phone calls to get a price on a Isuzu head casket. Cheapest was from Anglo welsh at a tad under £100. Other quotes were in the region of  2 to 300 pounds! Once back at Langley Mill Ian is going to change the casket and hopefully all our water coolant problems will be solved. If not we will have spent all that money for nothing and we will still be no wiser as to what the problem is.One question we did ask Keith and that was about the sunken boat. Apparently it has been there for nearly 18months. Keith tried floating it but to no avail and asked C&RT if they could deal with it. With the cost of removing just that one boat totaling up to £6000 they didn't feel inclined to raise it from the depths!.

So now we are moored at Great Hayward opposite Shugborough Hall for the rest of the day. The river Trent is in Spate so I don't think I will let Woofit have a swim today.

And finally:-

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