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 29 August 2016

The final leg

 Strange leaving Sandiacre this morning full of excitement knowing that we will now only have a short time left on FS before we leave for Oz. So much to do and so little time to do it in. In under 6 weeks we will be on our way and then wont be back to the UK until the beginning of April 2017.  So the final journey to Langley Mill was one to be savoured.

After a grey start the sun soon made an appearance. We had the first two locks in our favour meeting descending boats on both. From thereon every lock was full with most having gates left open at the top. We encountered a tree down and almost blocking the canal. Managed to get FS past but not before leaving a long shallow scar on her paintwork. Hopefully a good polish will take most on it out.

 Between Barkers and Potters lock the pound was down, so much so that a passing cyclist told of a wide beam stuck by Potters lock. This pound must be a good mile long and Ian decided he would be better off staying on the bank and for me to keep FS going slowly and in the middle.

New fishing pegs put in but why on a bend?

We did see the widebeam but not stuck as we expected. He managed to get into Potters lock after running down some water and we caught up with him at Stenson lock. Ian got chatting and mentioned the fallen tree. We thought our scratch was bad but you should see the side of his boat. Ian reckons it would need a complete repaint on that side. Not sure why he ploughed through it knowing that it would damage the super structure. Oh well he must have had his reasons.

 Reached Eastwood lock and that horrible Azolla weed was present. Spreads like wildfire and can reduce light levels below the dense mats that form. This causes die off of water plants and algae and reduce water oxygenation levels with serious impacts on fish and other fauna. A Weevil had been introduced to control the plant but didn't see any sign of it on this stretch.

Only one more lock to do, Langley Bridge, and then it was reverse FS towards the swing bridge and 
 moor up. We plugged into the electrics then put up the aerial. Cratch cover was then washed and removed in readiness for taking it for repair after ripping it on a tree stump on the Huddersfield narrow at the facilities and finally we went to see Pete about dry docking FS later this week.  So there you have it. Not much in the way of posts to do now that we are static but there may be the odd one now and then, only, that is, if there is anything to blog about.

And seen on route,

No one home. Sorry to have missed you Debby and Dave.

A weird moth

And lunch time

Sunday 28 August 2016

Bl**dy 'ell who turned the water off!

7.30pm. What a time to run out of water!  We had plenty in the canal, for once, so that wasn't the problem but as for the water tank in FS.....oh 'eck how could we have used so much in under a week? There I was in the shower when the pressure drops. All lathered up and only a trickle comes from the shower head. Immediately I blames Ian for turning on the galley tap on. "Nothing to do with me" he shouts back and then we hear the pump...making a horrible chuntering whirling sound. "We're running out of water" shouts Ian. "You had better get rinsed quickly". So with the pump grumbling and the water coming out in the odd spurt, I just about managed to get the soap off. "Suppose I'd better go fill the tank" says he begrudgingly, and was about to disappear off the boat when the rain started big time. "Not going out in this!" said he. "Just have to make do with drinking beer and wine!". So for the rest of that evening  that's what we did, but to flush the loo and fill the kettle for the morn we had to rely on our bottled water kept for emergency's... just in case....a bit like this one I suppose.

Sunday 28th
Not a bad start to the day. Up early to fill the tank. Suppose we are lucky that we can get water from our bungalow. The tenants are ever so obliging although quite what they thought of us running the water and cutting down of their water pressure so early this morning, well heavens knows. Anyway nothing was said when we saw them so expect all was okay. This was to be our final day at Sandiacre and those last jobs were being done round the bungalow when I had a surprise visit. Coming toward me was Debby Nb Chuffed  Wow how lovely to meet at last. Felt like greeting an old friend especially as we follow each other blogs. Having walked round to the lock to say hi to Dave I helped them up the lock (well I opened and closed a gate anyway!) I expect we will meet again tomorrow when we head off to Langley Mill and they head back down to Trent lock. Time for another quick natter as we pass each other I hope.

And seen during this week.

Emerged from the depths right outside our side hatch.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Stop press....narrowboat attacked by giant dragonfly!

Had the fright of my life this morning. There I was enjoying a well earned cup of tea,( having walked three miles into town and back in this heat with a back pack full of shopping) when through the open side hatch I spies this thing flying around and emitting a very loud buzzing sound.

Now, I hear you say, it's only a dragonfly but have you ever had one flying erratically through the boat crashing into windows, furniture and more frightening aiming for ones head! In between trying to duck out of it's way I managed to get a several photos. Thinking of sending one of them to the Friends of President only I cant find anywhere to send the photo. Anyone have any ideas? Anyway taking life in ones hand (metaphorically speaking) I managed to get to the front of FS, open the doors, unzip the cratch cover and with it whizzing past my head, away it flew.

And seen out of the side hatch

Friday 19 August 2016

So who would come off worse.

A little after 8am and FS was finally afloat. There didnt seem to be any change in water levels when we first got up but C&RT must have run more water down early. Crested Lark was still at an angle but after 30 minutes she started floating as well. With more water under our hull we pulled FS forward to lie alongside. The idea of stern first was abandoned as getting off Crested Larks bow was easy and it was the lesser of two evils.

It's been a day of sorting out clothes to take to the charity shops (most of mine all to big for me now, yippee) taking roof furniture off FS and generally tidying up round the bungalow. We have given ourselves till the later part of next week before travelling up to our mooring at Langley Mill so no more posts for a while. Just some of my wildlife photos today and all seen the from the back deck.

And now for my title. This German Shepherd was asking for trouble.

The dog got a vicious peck on it's muzzle. Didn't stop him from trying again but from a distance.

Brown Hawker

Well well well.. so these pond skaters need to come out of water to do the deed.
Emerging Damselfly (I think)

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