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.

Wednesday 31 December 2014


2014...a year of highs and lows. We welcomed Thomas our 4th Grandson in May but lost our beloved Jade in October. We traveled 698 miles and worked 582 locks. Attended two rallies, Blackboy and Stafford. Cruised the Erewash, Upper River Trent, T&M, Staff &Worc, Coventry, Birm & Faz, GU to Milton Keynes, Macclesfield, Peak forest, Huddersfield Narrow, Huddersfield Broad, Calder & Hebble, Rochdale  Bridgwater, Shroppie, North Oxford, GU Leicester branch, Welford arm and finally River Soar.  We also had the most fantastic news that Ian was finally in remission and are now looking forward to doing many more miles and locks this year. Have a very Happy and wonderful New Year and hopefully we will meet many more of our readers and fellow bloggers on our travels.    

Monday 29 December 2014

Why do things always pack up in threes?

First it was the washing machine. Then 2 days ago the freeview box gave up the ghost and we had to take another visit to Currys to buy a new one. More expense which we could have done without, and now it's the camera which is causing me grief and what a time for my camera lens to pack up. I'm in a bit of a dilemma now 'cause its just  5 days before we leave for our 3 week cruise to Dubai. Both of us keep packing and re packing to try to keep the baggage weight limit down to 23kg. Not for the cruise, mind, but because we are flying back from Dubai. So why the dilemma. Well a lot of it is to do with the weight limit and whether I take my Canon camera. I have the 70-300mm zoom lens which I use all the time. For a day or two I have noticed most of my photos are out of focus. Thinking it was operator error I reset the camera to it's factory default. This made no difference so I then changed the lens back to the one that came with the Canon camera, the original 18-135mm. I then tried first taking a photo with the original lens, and then with the same focus range of 135mm with the zoom lens. This was the result.

with the original lens 18-135 at a zoom range of 135mm

With the zoom lens 70-300 also at a zoom range 135mm


zoom lens.
I checked that the stabiliser mode was engaged on the zoom lens ,which it was, so that wasn't the problem. So now I don't know whether to take this camera with me. If I don't it means I can pack more clothes but then I wont be able to zoom in on the wildlife I'm hoping to capture on the excursions. My only other option is to take the Panasonic Lumix which has a 24x zoom and is nearly as good at zooming in as my Canon lens. The benefit of taking this camera is the weight, much lighter, but the down side I can only shoot in JPEG and not in RAW. So I'm wondering if anyone could shed light on why the lens should behave as it does. Could it be that the stabiliser isn't functioning properly? and if it is, can it be repaired? To late to do that before we go on holiday and buying a new lens is not something I would relish. So any suggestions would be appreciated.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Last nights snow

Okay we were not quite snowed in this morning, although a good few inches had fallen. It was more the ice that became the problem. Several cars abandoned the idea of getting onto the road from the Basin. With the gate to open and a steep incline before getting onto the road above no one managed to make it.on the slippery surface. In fact one lady who attempted the hill slid back right into the gate post making a nasty dent in the rear wing.

Gave up as a bad job and backed back to their parking space.
  I doubt she would have enjoyed the icy roads though. Even if she had of made it, the road conditions left a lot to be desired.. I'm pretty sure no salt spreading had been done during the night judging by the state of the roads, but what a bonus for us.....for once no traffic noise to contend with.

 I love this time of year with everywhere looking fresh and white, so armed with camera out I went to see what was about. Not much in the way of wildlife but two Kingfisher (I'm assuming a mating pair) flew past landing on a distant branch. Only managed to take the one photo and this wasn't brilliant.  Nice to see them still around the upper Erewash.

The horses were feeling frisky

I've put together a few wintery photos for tonight's post
Last nights snow of the winter

And this morning

And an earlier visit from an ungrateful swan

Wholemeal bread for breakfast

Wanting more

Well that's no way to treat the hand that feeds you!

Friday 26 December 2014

What a performance

And all because we bought a new washing machine from Currys this morning, in the Boxing Day sale, reduced from £299 to £165 and got a bargain. Good energy rating, low water consumption, numerous programs and 1300 spin speed.  I was really looking forward to seeing it working in the galley. Now one would think that installing a new washing machine would be easy to do. Well it would be if one lived in a house or bungalow with plenty of space. On a boat only marginally wider then 6ft, it's almost, but not quite, a near impossible task. First disconnect all the machine fittings, unplug and pull the machine forward. Then try to slide a mat under the feet so it can be pulled across the wooden floor. Next remove door handles on drawers because the machine is to wide to fit through the gap. That done, drag the machine to the front doors. Now to get the machine out of the boat. First pull the mud weight from the bottom (took both of us to do this as it was stuck in all the gluttonous mud ) then go fetch a ladder from the workshop so Ian could climb the tree where the mooring rope was tied to and release that.

Mud weight is in there somewhere

Untie the mooring rope!
Start engine and reverse FS back to the towpath. Man handle machine up and over the front door step and into the well deck. Then try to lift it over the gunnel and onto the towpath without doing oneself a mischief! With that mission accomplished carry to car and take the new machine out.

Moored on the bank

Washing the mud weight

New out and old in
Now do it all again in reverse order without damaging the new machine. Get it to the galley and find this machine is slightly wider then the old. This time not just the door handles have to be removed but all the drawer fronts and cupboard doors including the handles on the cooker!

  Finally connect the water hose and outlet to the waste pipe. Then slide into place, load the machine and let the wash commence.

 Time taken from getting the old out and new in 2 hours 20 minutes!!!! Living on a boat???? No problem Smiley

Thursday 25 December 2014


And from all the Jameison family

Colin & Iwona with Oscar and Oliver

Christine & Kev with Josh & Thomas

Thomas 1st Christmas

And not forgetting Echo, Jades sister..

Waiting to see Santa's Sledge. ( The international space station zoomed across the sky at approx 17.22 and we told the boys it was the reindeer's pulling Santa's sleigh)

Clear skies last night showing the moon in it's waxing crescent phase

Tuesday 23 December 2014

The price of washing clothes!

Slight change of plan from yesterdays post. We have put off buying a new washing machine until Boxing day when the sales start. Well.... we may as well get as much off as possible, after all, why pay full whack when you can get one at a considerable reduced price? So instead I walked up to the launderette armed with sheets, duvet cover and a mountain of clothes. Stood in the doorway looking a bit baffled and wondering how to operate the machines. So many of them and no idea of how much they cost or where to put the powder in.  Just two slots for coinage which I assumed were for £1 coins and 50p's. Luckily the owner of the launderette took pity, looked at how much washing I had and took me to the 'large' load machine.
There he informed me it was £5.20 for a hot wash at 40 degrees (40 degrees to me isn't a a hot wash!). Anyway washing powder went in the drum followed by the clothes. He then took my large fabric conditioner bottle and poured about half of it into the top draw (I couldn't even see the draw let alone reach it). I thought that was a bit OTT but, hey ho, he must know what he was doing. Leaving the machine to do it's work I headed for the shops to do the last minute Christmas food shop. 30 minutes later I was back at the Laundrette and washing had finished. Now for the drying. The drums were huge so in went all the wet stuff . Over comes the launderette owner, again, who informed me there was too much in the drum. What!! The drum was enormous so why couldn't I load it up?. 'Absolutely not' says he. 2 dryers were to be used. He made me unload the dryer leaving only the bedding stuff in. 2nd dryer took every thing else. At £1 for 10 minutes I was not best pleased. Ended up paying £5 for the dryers and then not everything was dry. So total spent because of my defunct washing machine..... £10.40. Outrageous!!!

Ian had another problem to sort out. Tar was running down the outside of the flew again. We thought it had been resolved when Ian dug all the old wadding out and replaced it with new. Obviously it hadn't been sealed properly the first time so back to the same procedure again but this time stuffed the gaps with loads of heat proof silicon in the surround. Keeping everything crossed it works this time. Instead of relighting the fire tonight on went the diesel heating. Ian wants as long as possible for the silicone to dry. With the weather turning colder over the Christmas period lets hope the stove can be relit in the morning.

Before the silicon

And after.
A couple of wildlife pics seen today.

Monday 22 December 2014

It's aways the way is'nt it.

Just typical. Christmas three days away and the washing machine decides to give up the ghost! There was me, with the bed stripped and the sheets ready for washing, pressing the machine buttons like mad and nothing happening. Ian, who was still trying to put the finishing touches to the bathroom, had to drop everything and have a go at fixing it. He had to spend all day, first on the circuit board which he ruled out as the problem and then on the door catch which he did suspect as the problem. He even took a trip to Shelly to get a new door part. But it was to no avail. Machine still refused to turn on. So we have come to the decision to purchase a new one. No delivery date available until the New Year so tomorrow we will head for Currys, choose a machine we like and attempt to get it in the car. It means moving from this mooring as the only way to get the old machine out and new one in is from the bow. Unless we can walk on water that will be impossible without pulling the boat back.  If all else fails we do luckily have a laundrette about quarter mile away so not all is lost. It's just a blooming nuisance.  Smiley

One of the three circuit boards

New door catch
 And now to the shower reveal. It's not quite finished because of the blasted washing machine, but last night Ian and I had our first showers in two weeks.The shelves still need to have the edging put on and the molding needs to go down the side of the wood and along the top of the shower. But other then that it's all done and we both are lovely and clean and even smell a lot better.

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