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.

Wednesday 31 July 2019

One set back after another.

30th July.
Up in the 30 degrees plus and another sweltering day. Departure time on the Wizz air flight was 16.50 and by midday, we had cases already in the car for the journey to John Paul 11 Balize international airport. Colin checked the airline to make sure it was on time only to discover the flight wouldn't be leaving until 18.40. Okay so we leave for the airport a bit later then but no even though the flight was delayed, we still had to be checked in before 16.15. Watching the clock ticking away the minutes until the flight was called, well, nearly two hours of mind boggling boredom!

The flight home was anything but smooth. The nearer we got to the UK the worse the weather. And when it came to the landing....well...I thought the end had come! Ian knew all about my terror because after I released his hand, so tight had I grabbed it all his fingers had turned white.

Evening shadow which shows how far back in the plane we sat. Couldn't get much nearer to the tail without sitting on top of it!

 Then as the plane taxied toward the stand Ian happened to ask Colin (jokingly) if he had the house keys. The look of horror that appeared on our son's face was priceless. Had he remembered to pick them up when leaving Nowy Sacz? Did he actually remember seeing them there? Had he left them in the security trays when he went through customs?  Or worse, had he dropped them leaving the taxi on the way to Luton? "Never mind," said I "You can come back to the boat with us and organise a locksmith for the morning". Then Ian dropped the bombshell. "No can do" he replied "Seeing as the car keys are on the bed at Colin's house." "Oh eck", thought I "Now we were in a pickle". Once through customs, Colin checked with lost property and although there must have been over 50 sets of keys left, not one set was his. He phoned Iwona (daughter in law who happened to be staying at her parents for another few days) but after a thorough search of the house, no keys were found. Last resort was to phone the taxi company that had taken us to the airport 5 days previous. Well, talk about a lucky break. He had dropped them in the first taxi which was found later by the driver. After several phone calls, the arrangement was made by the driver to meet Colin at his house and sure enough, he was waiting when we arrived and the keys returned.  A hefty tip was left as a thankyou.

Now, one would think nothing else would go wrong, but during my stay in Poland, I developed severe swelling of my left leg. Previous to flying to Poland I tripped over a step and damaged my shin. The resulting trauma rapidly developed into a huge lump. A bruise quickly followed and travelled all the way down from below the knee to my foot. Today Ian took me to the walk-in centre to get it checked out where I discovered to my horror that I had developed a DVT. So tomorrow I'm off to Derby Hospital to see a consultant and have already been put on blood-thinning tablets. I have also been given strict instructions that if I develop shortness of breath and chest pains to dial 999. Eeek.....What does it say about it never rains but it pours?

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Poland final part

I very nearly got myself killed! Sounds dramatic but it was a fact! Easy mistake....anyone visiting a foreign country could have done the same thing. You see I forgot to look right when crossing the road, I looked left instead! Thought it was all clear and stepped out which was fine until I reached the middle. I should have then looked right. Lots of loud hooting and verbal abuse from the driver, understandable, and looks of horror on my families faces! Did I feel an idiot? You bet I did!

To continue the Polish visit Colin and Iwona took us to Nowy Sacz town centre. The square offered a lovely place to chill out and watch the boys playing by the fountain whilst indulging in an ice-cold beer.

This was a great idea. Water is sprayed between the posts, a great way to cool off.

 St Margaret's church was also visited.

 As the day got hotter a suggestion of a walk by the river was made so the boys could have a paddle.

Dunajec River

The visit wouldn't be complete without a BBQ.

The fire pit lit, although we didn't really need it for the heat. Still to humid a night for that but there is something about staring into flames.....

The final day was spent at the lakes. Boys with no# son went swimming. Such a great end to the visit. One slight hitch though (and thankfully found before we left for the airport) a flat tyre.

Now all that is left to do is pack and get the Wizz Air flight home.

And wildlife. Even the pigeons needed to keep cool.

Monday 29 July 2019

Poland visit part one.

Poland, just 2.5 hours flying Wizz Air ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ sounded a bit of a dodgy if you ask me, but gave us a very smooth journey to Krakow. Daughter in Law picked us up and 90 minutes later arrived at Nowa Sacz.

Strip farming is the way in Poland.
 Gosh, it was hot! The UK had it bad but I swear that was a different kind of heat. Humidity inland was draining, possibly because of the mountains nearby.

Iwona's parent's house.
 Plenty of activities planned for our visit and the first was a trip to the Krynicka Mountains, the playground for skiers in winter. The ski lifts remained static, but the cable car took us all the way to the top. Noticeably colder here, what a relief from all that heat. Then dark clouds appeared and a thunderstorm with sheet lightening was watched from the restaurant balcony, quite spectacular until we had to scuttle inside to avoid the deluge that followed.

Going up (that's grandson Oliver)

Us with son Colin and Daughter in Law Iwona

Storm getting closer

Now that is what I call a woodpile

Ready to descend

The weather changed again once we had descended.
  The main reason for the visit to Poland was to celebrate Iwona's mum, Wladyslawa and dad Josef's Golden Wedding Anniversary. Saturday's itinerary was all about the party, fetching drink and cake to the venue. It was also a day of relaxing for us and keeping the grandchildren entertained. By 4.30pm we were ready and after a 15-minute amble, arrived at the restaurant. I cannot believe the amount of food that was served. 2 courses followed by lots of different cakes. No sooner had we finished and the buffet food arrived. Toasts followed and then anniversary cake was wheeled in. More cake to eat!

Unfortunately, Josef had a bad fall several years ago ending up in hospital with two badly broken legs. He also has dementia but we all saw the glimmer of his old self when the family arrived.

The drink also flowed freely, more with the JD and coke then Vodka, which was surprising. A great night was had and it's amazing how one can communicate with hand signals when neither side can speak the language.

As an anniversary gift, Colin and Iwona bought a patio set. The delivery was quite late in the evening but the set just had to be put together to show Wladyslawa. So this is how to do it in the dark.

Taken with flash

the phones came in useful!

and how it actually was.

The completed set.

 To be continued.....

and wildlife,

Friday 19 July 2019

And the sky turned black

Wow, what a spectacle to behold last night. Although I said I wouldn't post again for a while, I felt I just had to share this with you all.

It was getting toward dusk and the sky had a tint of red. Then in the distance the sound of crows getting ever closer. Suddenly the sky turned dark and flying overhead was hundreds, if not thousands, of crows. Is there is a murmuration of crows? (I know Starlings do this) ( thanks to a comment left by Sahah it is called a Murder of Crows)They circled, changed direction, dropped down and then rose up again. At one point I watched them dive down and land in trees just beyond the campsite, only for them to take off in unison in one black mass and start all over again. The sound was deafining but we couldn't drag ourselves away. Finally, after a good 10 minutes, trees were chosen, the noise almost stopped and as one down they went.

 Not long after we had gone back inside another sound drew us out. What on earth were those strange-looking things flying past? Looked like and sounded like helicopters but they look all wrong for that as the vertical rotor blades were non-existent. Instead, the blades appeared on long horizontal wings. So has anyone any ideas?   It certainly made the end of this holiday very memorable.

Many thanks go to Grant, Tom and Jan for identifying this as an V-22 Osprey

We are now back on FS after having a very slow journey home. The great holiday getaway was underway and the roads were pretty clogged up. And what with the torrential rain slowing everything down....wipers had to work overtime!

Thursday 18 July 2019

Wrong turn? Maybe not

Awoke to rain in the wee hours. That loud incessant drumming which at first very noisy but then became somewhat soothing. It's the same on FS unless we happened to be moored under a tree...and with the wind blowing...and the leaves depositing the moisture in an unrhythmic way! Then it's just blooming annoying. And sadly, it's also our final day in Norfolk for tomorrow we head back to Langley Mill.

Having done nearly all the Norfolk steam railways, the last on the list was The Mid Norfolk railway. Leaving from Dereham it's about a 40-minute journey to Wymondham.  Thankfully the rain stopped as we boarded an almost empty train and we didn't have to wait long for the refreshment trolly to arrive. Yep, this was the only one that offered refreshments and we couldn't resist the lemon tarts that just begged to be bought.

Some of the request stations.

Seen from the locomotive.

Because the weather turned wet at Wymondham staying in the carriage seemed the best idea. We wanted to see the Abbey but after a very brief discussion unanimously agreed to take the Beast there instead.

What a parlava that was! Trying to find a parking spot was almost impossible. Mostly street parking and of course we are far too big to fit in any parking bays. To make matters worse we took a wrong turn down this very narrow street and ended up at the Wymondham level crossing. Actually, this turned out to be rather beneficial. Leaving Ian to try and turn the Beast,  I happened to see the loco getting ready for the return journey.

 Finally found a car park about 10 minutes walk away from the Abbey. Although the interior was pretty spectacular, we did wonder if it had been worth all the hassle in trying to park just to see it. Maybe we should have braved the rain and caught the next loco back instead.

So no more blogging for the time being. We will be going to Poland soon so maybe I will put a few photos of that visit later.

And wildlife

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