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.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

A record maybe?

Okay...so I wasn't going to post anymore, staying in one place can be a bit mind numbing and I felt sure I would have nothing to say. But.....saw this and I felt I had to share. Admittedly it is of wildlife but I was amazed at what I saw.

 So the question is, How many ducklings can get under mums wings?




 Ah, and then a few more makes an appearance

Hmmm, Fifteen in all but then....

OMG...Nineteen Ducklings. Where did she hide them all?

Come along children, Nothing to be frightened of!

And after their swim, time for a snooze. All got under except for one.

We have also managed to get on dry dock. Nearly drained of all the water when a Robin came for a bath.

Getting rid of the crud!

Sunday, 14 April 2019

All over for this year.

 8 am and we were away. Our final cruise looked to be perfect with the promise of a nice day, the sun was out and not a breath of wind. But that changed quite quickly when the clouds rolled in and the breeze picked up. And then it became cold, very cold...in fact bl**dy freezing.

I didn't bother with too many photos, been there, done it all, got the T-Shirt but I thought I would show three of the four very low bridges that have to be negotiated carefully when entering or exiting at Sandiacre, Hallam Fields, Potters and Shipley locks.




 Also, another necessary item needed on this canal is a handcuff key, also known as the anti-vandal key. To keep the 'little darlings' from emptying a pound, a steel plate goes onto the spindle to stop the paddles from being lifted. To open these the anti-vandal key is used. It appears that many are missing from the locks and those that are still there some are not working due to the 'little darlings' already having vandalised them!

 Oh and beware of opening the top lock ground paddles at Barkers Lock to fast as you are likely to get soaked! Much to my amusement and Ian's annoyance, it's the sudden whoosh of air as the paddle is lifted that caused a jet of water to shoot up drenching Ian from the waist upwards.

Just before the final three locks of today, a fishing match was taking place. Apart from having to creep past so as not to disturb their swim, which in itself is a pain, the fact that on every lock they were also fishing from the lock landing making my blood boil. I think its time C&RT explain to the fishing clubs that a lock landing is not an acceptable fishing platform.

Took us nearly 6 hours to get back because, apart from two, every lock had to be turned which added another 60 minutes on our timings. We have settled FS on her moorings, the aerial is up and we have hooked up to the electrics. What will happen to us now is mainly dependent on the NHS appointment waiting times and hospital visits.

So to everyone who will be starting their cruising at Easter, to everyone that is already underway and to all of you that cruise continuously, we wish you all a great Summer season filled full of adventure and masses of fun.

And the final wildlife of today.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

And the Police came a knocking

Hey...I didn't get legless last night even though we went with Alan and Carol to the Eaton Farm in Long Eaton for a meal and finished off the evening at the Railway Inn for final drinks. So I wasn't quite as inebriated as the night before, having paced myself and, shock horror, actually refusing a fourth glass of wine!

This morning we left fairly early and was most surprised to see a volunteer Lockie on at Sawley locks. With Easter being late this year (they normally start at Easter) the volunteers decided to start the season earlier.

 The sun was low as we cruised toward Sawley lock and the glare of the water was quite strong.

Volunteer Lockie opening the gate/

He mentioned that there had been a body found in a wooded area between the Erewash Canal and the River Erewash near Long Eaton. Apparently, this was the second death that had occurred by the canal in the last month. Gosh, it all happens around here, don't it, and all in the month we have been gone! Now, what do they say about things happening in threes? Anyway, at the Railway Inn, a local paper was on the counter with an article about it so I did have an inkling of the story

Back on the Erewash and my mood changed from happy to miserable in an instant. Not that I dislike the canal, far from it but the fact we are heading back to the Mill and this was to be the penultimate cruise before securing FS on her moorings for the rest of the year. We had to stop at Sandiacre to fetch the car and then store the roof furniture back in the garage. Deciding to stay for the rest of the day, we were having a spot of lunch when a knock on the side of FS alerted us to two policemen standing by the side hatch. After pleasantries, a photo was thrust in my hand and we were questioned as to whether we knew anything about a deceased man named Robert Chatwin.  As an ongoing investigation they were walking the towpath stopping everyone they came across asking for any information. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could tell them and I suppose both officers were understandably evasive when I asked how he had died. To read the news article about Robert Chatwin click here  and to read about the first body found back in March, Thomas Boyle click here

Not many photos of the journey today as it is one we do regularly. Tomorrow we leave early to get to Langley. Rather fancy a Carvery at the Great Northern but as they close for meals at 4pm its a must to get there before then.

Onto the River Trent

That's the Erewash junction on the left.

Some boat must have hit this pretty hard.

And Wildlife today,

 And the Swallows have returned and are starting to nest in the walls at Sawley lock. (Thanks to Paul he reliably informs me these birds are Sand Martins and not Swallows)

Friday, 12 April 2019

Bad influence maybe?

Today we stayed at Sawley and very glad of it too as I woke this morning with a raging slight headache and feeling a bit worse for wear. Tad too much Merlot drunk yesterday me thinks! We were only going to Daves micropub for a quick pint, took two attempts to get in mind as we arrived at the door at 3pm only to discover the opening time was at 4! Anyway, I'm not a massive fan of real ale, even after a taster of a pale ale offered, it just wasn't for me. So, of course, it stood to reason that wine would be more to my liking.

That quick pint turned into 3 pints for Ian and 3 glasses of wine for me. We had a call from Alan and Carol and knowing we were at The Lockkeeper Rest they did a 30-minute walk from Trent lock to see us.  It was nearer 6.30pm before we left, us back to FS and them the 30-minute walk back home.  The night was still young so after cooking dinner (I'm amazed the fajitas didn't get burnt), another bottle of wine opened for me and more beer drunk by Ian. Will we ever learn when to stop? Nop is the answer to that! So I blame them both for my sore head this morning although really it was the extra booze during the evening that was the fault. We are due to see them again tonight, I had better make sure the painkillers are near to hand for tomorrow! 

Todays wildlife.


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