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 30 January 2015

Well look who turned up in town!

Cant believe it. You come thousands of miles away from the Uk and suddenly, there large as life and in the same hotel, are those two fun loving party goers, Doug and James (nb Chance). There ship Queen Mary 2 docked and, with them not disembarking until Friday, thought they would suss out the hotel. What a lovely surprise and an all to short catchup but how great to meet up. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Dubai and hope you got our FB message.

 We are now off to freezing Britain. Plane leaves at 3pm Emirates time (11.00am UK time) so here are the final photos of our stay.

Up on the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa

You can make up QM 2 on the right. Doug and James's ship

Smog over downtown Dubai

The world

Burj Al Arab

Window cleaners on the Burj Khalifa
Speed boat trip round the Palm and Dubai Creek Canal

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House boats

Thursday 29 January 2015

Wonderful Dubai

Wow what a stunning city Dubai is. Our Disembarkation went remarkably well. Got to the Arabian hotel but couldn't check in until 2pm so went exploring. Loads of Gold and Silver to be had and also the tacky things like genuine Rolex watches, designer handbags and sunglasses. Yea right!!! They must think we are all stupid to fall for that. We did get hassled but a firm 'no thank you' with a pleasant smile saw them back off, unlike Egypt where no doesn't mean no! Anyway after we checked into a fabulous room which overlooked the square and most annoyingly the local mosque (wake up call at 5.45am with the screeching of call to prayer) we took the hop on hop off bus for a tour round the city. First stop the gold souk. Ian bought me a beautiful necklace, bracelet and earing set and Ian purchased a puzzle ring all at a very reasonable price. (one must barter and the secret is to offer half the price asked and then settle for around 3/4 of the price.) Rest of the afternoon was spent on the bus. Once back at the hotel we had dinner. The most noticeable thing about the restaurant was everyone was allowed to smoke. Didn't do much for my hacking cough (which I still have nearly 2 weeks from when it started). Managed to persuade the waiter to move us away to a different area. Thank goodness the UK doesn't still adopt that practice. Anyway here are the photos of the day.

From the room window. Mosque in the center

Farewell Balmoral

At the port

Burj Al Arab

Dancing fountains

Base of the Burj Khalifa

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Who's the one with the 'ump'......not me!

Final day on board.

Some catch-up to do first. On the evening of the 26th the crew put on a show for us all. Some very talented people amongst the crew and a lot of what was shown was the traditional dance's.

This was called the fountain dance

Deck hands

Hilariously funny from the Engine room.

So yesterdays trip to Al Ain was long!!! Should have been 8.3 hours but ended up nearly 11 hours. As this was the first time Balmoral had touched Abu Dhabi shores, the tours hadn't been tested hence the reason they got the timings wrong. Still it was pretty good to see the Archeological sites at Hili,  Palm Oasis and Camel market and I got to see a Hoopla bird. Before we set off for the trip we were greeted by an arab welcome. Music played for hours.......same thing over and over again....until all of us were thankful to get away from it.This is more of a photo blog as I took loads especially of the roundabouts!  and I have thrown in a few from the helicopter as Woofagng (security officer) came good again and gave us these photos.

Approaching Abu Dhabai

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And the photos from Woolfgang.


Roundabout of Arab horses

They love their water features

Roundabout with bird. Guy in the middle looks after the irrigation

Grand Mosque built by Sheik Zayed

Wild camels

And at the camel market

Hoopla bird


 Disembarkation for those with a two day stay in Dubai didn't happen until 10am and as we had to vacate our room at 8am it was a longish wait. Got some good pictures of the sunrise and of the Burj Khalifa.

Burj Khalifa

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