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 January 2014

Time out.

Christmas may be a long and distant memory in every ones minds but we have yet to see some of the family, so for the next week we will be busy visiting and be visited by Ian's brother, sister, nephew and nieces. I cant see me having much time to put pen to paper so, sorry folks, it's those darned wildlife photos again.

And finally:-

Thursday 30 January 2014

Brrrrrrr..... blooming cold aint it.

Nearly into February and today saw the first snow fall of the winter. Didn't amount to much, more wet stuff really but it has meant a considerable drop in temperature, so much so that we have had to crank up the stove to keep the boat up to a comfortable temperature.

Took Jade with us today when we went to Sandiacre. She's very much on the mend, only the occasional wobble every now and then but we feel like anxious parents wanting to keep an eye on their child so wont let her out of our sight. It would be awful if she had a funny turn while we were away. Ian dropped me off at the hairdresser while he continue to the bungalow to fetch more wood. It's going down rather rapidly now that we're continually feeding the fire. The work on the lock is progressing nicely although it looks totally different from the open day last Sunday. More like a builders site but C&RT appear to be on target to finish on time for when the canal reopens on the 17th.

And finally:-

Wednesday 29 January 2014

A footpath to nowhere.

Haven't we had some dreadful weather just lately, rain, gales thunder, hail...... but has it deterred the men from working on that blooming 'footpath'. No it hasn't, mores the pity. It now has a gate (which doesn't work properly) and a path that winds its way across the field instead of going straight. It's to add imterest according to the contractors. I suppose to those anoraks who love to look at winding paths it must be a work of art. Do I sound cynical? Well your right 'cause I am! I will never get the reasoning behind those idiots in the council that said the 'footpath to nowhere' must be built !

Could a push chair be pushed through this? I doubt it! If a job is to be done it should be done well. Definitely not like this.

What a mess

Where it joins the private moorings

Looking along the moorings to where the footpath ends

And looking back from the very end

Beyond the mound of earth is nothing but quagmire. The A610 runs alongside

A nice meandering path.

And finally:-

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Running the Outlook

 Well who would have thought it! Ian and me being asked to take over the running of the ECP&DA's quarterly magazine. Yesterday afternoon Ian was collared by Howard, ECP&DA Chairman. After inviting him in and offering light refreshment, he started the conversation with "I have come to ask you both a favour". Well the mind boggled as to what on earth he could want from us. Turns out Arthur, a long standing member of the ECP&DA who had run the magazine The Outlook for years, wanted to leave the position and consequently put forward our names. Well you could have knocked us down with a feather. We both looked at each other and Ian muttered something about being away cruising for most of the year but Howard readily poo pooed that argument saying it could all be done by email. People would send in their articles, photos, story's etc and we would have to edit them, decide best on how the magazine would look and put in our own input.  Once every three months the publishers would receive a disc from us with the finished product and, once published, another of our members would collect and distribute them. Well what could we say. Both of us have contributed articles and photos over the past 4 years and what with me doing a blog and being known as that 'crazy paparazzi women' because I'm never seen without my camera, Arthur just knew it would be the right job for us. So now we have become part of ECP&DA committee members having to attend meetings when we can. Our first task is to redesign and decide what the front cover will look like. In the past a canal related picture has always been hand drawn but with both of us being hopeless at drawing we will have to think again.

And finally:-

Monday 27 January 2014

Sandiacre Lock open day and a meeting with Richard Parry.

Considering the horrendous weather we had yesterday the open day was a triumph. All credit to C&RT for putting on a good show in very difficult conditions. One of the benefits and much appreciated by one and all was a clear tarpaulin that had been slung over a mountain of scaffolding protecting everyone from the pouring rain. When the scaffolding was being erected earlier in the week we all thought C&RT had lost the plot with  their OTT design, and it was a real bone of contention by the many canal enthusiasts around these parts about how much it must have cost them. However, with the lock walls needing not just brickwork replacement but pointing as well, the covered lock now provided the perfect conditions for C&RT to carry out the work; so it seems it was needed after all. Anyway to get back to the day. It all kicked off at 10am with a few bodies turning up early braving the conditions. Within half an hour there were a steady stream and by close of play so to speak (4pm) the footfall count amounted to well over 600. ECP&DA did a fantastic job showing people around the cottage. Micheal Golds showing a slide show about the Great Northern Basin restoration and for the children there were plenty to keep them occupied upstairs with crayoning and painting. Tea and coffee were in great demand and at one stage they ran out of milk and worst of all, the biscuits! My main job was to stand at the exit point from the lock with a donations bucket to which the public seem to donate quite generously.  All in all it was a fantastic day. We did have Richard Parry and Sean Mcginley in attendance and it wasn't until mid afternoon that Ian and I got to have a chat. We expressed our concerns over how our licence money was being spent especially on non boating issues such as the footpath at Langley mill and upgrading the towpath to a race track for those cyclist who had no respect for boat crews or walkers alike. He assured us that on the cycling issue it was very much in the forefront and one of the many important items to be sorted on the agenda this year. He went on to say that, in some of the inner city area's, Rangers had been put into place to 'have words' with those that speed and have no regard to those that share the towpath with them. Apparently they are given a severe reprimanded and told to conform to "towpath etiquette". Hmmm.....do you really think that will work?. I think it's more like trying to brush it under the carpet and hope it will go away! As to the footpath at Langley, Richard said it was out of C&RT's hands as the council had insisted that the path be reinstated and basically both BW (as was) and now C&RT didn't have the stomach to argue the case so just paid up and got on with it!! So a lot of answers are still to be had as we didn't feel our questions had been properly addressed and going to the meeting at Nottingham on the 8th February is now top of our agenda!

  Anyway, enough said and I'll leave you with my many photo's of Sunday. Oh and to let everyone know that Jade is well on the way to recovery (:

A very wet start. From L to R, Ian, Mark Owen, John Baylis and Stuart Gadsby

John Baylis, Richard Parry, Sean Mcginley

A welcoming cup of tea or coffee made this the most popular room

Watching the slide show


My walk through the lock

Pointing started on the walls

The hole and reason for the stoppage.

And the stone to be replaced

Looking inside the culvert

Doing a good job in keeping the water out.

We even had a boat turn up. Good job it was only little!

First boat on the Derby perhaps? Unique design from the Derby and Sandiacre canal society to carry there merchandise.

Derby and Sandiacre marquee.

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