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.

Monday 31 August 2015

Batten down the hatches, it's a typical summers day.

A definite day for stopping indoors and getting those bits and bobs done that's been put off for a rainy day. Ian has been the most productive, removing the bathroom window frame and re varnishing the rim. The window surrounds have also been rubbed back to bare wood and varnished, getting rid of all the black staining in the corners.

Having been inactive since getting up (sorting photos again) and with a brief lull in the torrential rain, I took myself off for a short walk. These signs were on a bridge further back along the towpath. Wouldn't it be great if those speeding cyclists could read!!! I know I'm being cynical but only a small minority actually do slow down!

Only just made it back to FS before the heavens opened. We had thought of moving on so I could get some bait at Abbots Langley. Maggots needed and they stock all sort of live bait. Well they did the last time we visited back in 2013 so fingers crossed they still do. With the inclement weather set for the rest of the afternoon, we decided to stay. I managed an hour of fishing, staying dry under the cratch cover but, with what bait I had left, sat for ages and then when the float did disappear, only small fry caught.

Took this photo yesterday and think it's a Sedge Warbler. Bit difficult to identify and my bird book is a waste of space as far as this bird is concerned. Ian being totally practical said. It's a bird!! Thanks for that luv. Helpful as always 

Sunday 30 August 2015

It's a 'push me pull you' moment at the lock

Never a dull moment when the Jameisons are around. Today was no exception. Setting off relatively early as, according to the met office, rain was coming in at 1pm, we joined a boat with no name to ascend Lot Mead lock. All on board hailed from New Zealand and were moving the boat for a friend. They were to leave the boat at Watford and then, after a quick pack up, collect the car and head for Thrupp where another boat was to be moved. As self confessed narrowboat fanatics this was the best way to see our country and not pay extortionate hire boat prices. 

 Below Cassio Bridge lock we came upon Bridgewater boat yard. With Diesel at 70p Ltr this was not to be sneezed at.

 Our Kiwi friends had already gone ahead to set the lock and, with Ian walking on, all I had was a longingful look at the pump before sailing right past. No open sign so I felt slightly relieved. Anyway up we goes and we say farewell to new found friends before stopping for water above the lock. Then Ian decides to walk back to the boat yard 'just in case.' .As luck would have it the open sign was on display. So now we had a dilemma. Next winding hole was above Iron Bridge lock about a mile away, do we go and wind round or do we reverse.  Ian in his infinite wisdom decided that reversing back down the lock would be a good idea. Getting ready to do the deed a boater happened along at that very moment. I cheekily asked if he would allow us to join him in the lock, toe to tail. Cant believe our luck as he was also going to the boatyard, not for diesel but to leave the boat for a few days. Once I had attempted to reversed FS into the lock, (no easy feat with a boat already in it) Ian then stern hauled me in. Freddy ( as we found out his name later) suggest roping the two boats together so he could take us to the boatyard. What a star he was so Freddy, if your reading this, a very big thank you for helping us out.

Our saviour Freddy

Having taken nearly 89 litres we set off for the lock. A boat had passed us earlier on it's way to the lock but we didn't think we would make it in time before it ascended. Luck was again on our side as a descending boat delayed his passage. After sidling next to him I found out the boat was Serafina another fellow blogger but not one I had come across until now. Kelvin and Rachael were from Australia, another couple from across the seas. Small world 'ain't it, first Kiwi's and now Aussies!!! We stayed with them until we got to above Iron Bridge lock where we again said our farewells. Really hope to see them again as we all got on so well in the short space of time and would love to have a proper bloggers meeting.

So typically, the Met office got it wrong. It didn't rain at 1pm and we could have continued on further. In a way I wish we had. Some sort of party is going on across the canal at the playing fields and the music is that loud and certainly not to our taste.!!! Are we getting old fuddy duddies I hear one ask???? Ian suggested moving on but I was against it, surely it cant go on all night............. can it? Question Mark

Then as I was trying to make FS sound proof (Cratch cover side down all windows shut) what should come past but another two boats back to front! This time the boat Merlin had his throttle cable break several miles away and Theo was taking him all the way back to Copper Mill. Just when we thought we were unique and the only boaters to have done the push me pull you bit and then another comes along to spoil the illusion!

Only three photos today.

Reed Warbler

I wonder how far North these parrots get?

Saturday 29 August 2015

Third time lucky and piles of boat contents on the towpath

Didn't intend to go far so a latish start. Had a boat go past so we tagged on behind to share the locks. Glad we had someone to help as top gates had been left open at every lock. Both gates not just the one and the only boat going past early this morning was a narrowboat. Signs are on gates asking for both gates to be closed and paddles dropped to conserve water so why cant people just do that.

Copper Mill lock. New houses being costing above £600,000. And mainly 3 bed town houses!!! Bit to pricey for us to buy in this area.

As we only wanted to go as far as Tesco about 4 locks ahead and a couple of miles we waved farewell to our locking companions at Rickmansworth and found a mooring before Mill End bridge. Bit of a walk but in the past we have never been able to get onto the Tesco moorings. This time we would have been lucky but never mind, the walk did us good and we noted a mooring opposite that would do for tonight. So shopping stowed and pins pulled we slid into that mooring. Hmmm, we wondered why this long open stretch was free. On the towpath two piles of boat contents without any sign of the boat. Most strange we thought and Ian wondered if it was because a boat inspection was due and the boater had taken the boat elsewhere. We had already tied FS but I wasn't happy about staying, especially as a generator was also in evidence. Still find it a bit worrying that all this was left in plain view for anyone to steal. Hope the boat hasn't been nicked and all the owners belongings dumped on the side. Doubt if I will ever know, though.

Moored here before moving further on.

 So we moved again after judging that we could fit in between two boats further along. I then went for a walk around Rickmansworth Aquadrome Nothing very much in the way of wildlife but got some great shots of a water skier.

When I returned Ian was about pulling what little hair he had out! No TV signal no matter in which direction he pointed the aerial. Wanted to see the athletics so I suggested yet another move!. Had to go up Bratchworth lock and almost blocking the lock, a blooming great dutch barge on the facilities. Only just managed to squeeze by but even so, nudged his front. No hope for a wide beam if they happened along.

Finally and the third stop of the day, we stopped before Lots mead lock. Telly now tuned and both of us happy bunnies. I'm going fishing while Ian watches telly. Actually telly is just his excuse for a snooze. No sooner does his bottom hit the chair he's asleep. Maybe I'm working him to hard, me thinks.Widely Grinning

Some OTT sights although what a great pram top this car makes.
 And the wildlife.

Friday 28 August 2015

Peacocks, crocodiles and caterwauling........whatever next!

Not sure why we woke early but in away I'm so glad we did. Felt more like an Autumnal morning with the mist rising and the distinctive chill in the air.

By 9ish we were ready to leave and had hoped for a clear passage. Not to be as over night more Pennywort had crept along with the flow and blocked the channel. So back to Ian as fender offer and me at the helm in stealth mode once again.

The junction wasn't far and before we knew it we were doing the left turn and heading for Uxbridge. Stopping before Cowley lock we did the toilety thing but didnt bother filling with water. Then a boat came past and we knew we were in luck. Love it when the lock is set ready for us.

Hardly any boats on the move, just line upon line of moored boats. In fact nearly 2 miles of going at tick over meant it took an age to reach Uxbridge lock. Thankfully above lock was much better so we could give FS a bit of a run.

Uxbridge lock to the left

Got to Denham Deep lock and wondered how we were going to get onto the landing. So many boats along the towpath side and nearly right up to the lock including a floating dry dock. Only place to get off was on the offside. Bollards were visible.....just...but the grass and overhanging Sloe bush made life a little difficult.

The big boat in the center with a narrowboat next to it ( blue rim round it's edge) is a floating dry dock!
By the time we reached Black Jacks Lock it was gone 1pm. Towpath looked decent for a BBQ so, even though it was a tad difficult to get right into the side, we moored. I went for a walk and came across these.

Peacock seen near Black Jacks Lock

And a Peahen followed in his wake. Not something seen on the canals every day!

And also lording it over his territory  and hoping the rabbit would make a nice snack was this Crocodile! The things folk do to bring attention to themselves eh!!!

Hadnt long been back and was debating whether to bring the rod out when an awful sound reached our ears. It came from one of the residential boats opposite. The booming and caterwauling from the so called music of today was horrible. It was that loud that we could stand it for only 30 minutes before upping stakes and heading away. This meant going above Black Jacks lock but oh a much better mooring, deeper water so we cold get into the side and NO noise!!!!

BBQ is still on the cards and in away it means we wont disturb anyone as we could have done below lock. So all in all it's a win win situation.

As I heard water running I had a walk to the bridge. Turns out it was a weir so I'm pretty convinced that we must be on the River Colne. Too much water running over the weir for it not to be a river in my opinion.. Be interested to find out if I'm correct.

Nice spot for a BBQ
And seen on my walk.

Common Hawker

Common Backswimmer

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