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 27 March 2020

Further to our plight

Well folks, looks like we won't be seeing good old Blighty for some time to come. The Sydney to Jo-burg flight was cancelled possibly because Johannesburg borders closed as of yesterday! The only light as far as we can see is that Qantas is trying their hardest to sort something out. The A380 Airbus made a historic flight back to the Uk during the earlier part of the week with the last flight having taken off yesterday. But there was talk about putting another flight on direct to the UK in the near future. Almost non-stop (it would stop in Darwin to refuel) the last leg to London would take 16 hours. We have been put on the passenger list but it will only leave if there are enough people to make it worthwhile. We now keep fingers crossed.

As far as our confinement goes, we are all going a bit stir crazy. Non-essential travel is now banned with fines being issued if you are caught out and about. Shopping, banking, doctors, dentist and going to the hairdresser (what is all that about?) is permitted. I suppose we are luckier than those stuck over here without family, they must be having a hard time not knowing which way to turn.

Today is also my brother Andy (Andre) and my birthday. This is only the second time in nearly 50 years that we have celebrated together, the last time being three years ago. That day was so different from what we are all experiencing now. Who would have known eh? As a special treat Sally made us a cake, or should I say cupcakes. No going out for a meal tonight, impossible with all social gathering places closed, just kebabs and champagne, far cry from the revolving restaurant at Sydneys tower on our last birthday.

I trust everyone is still coping okay in the UK and as I still get CRT updates, the ban on cruising must have had an effect on all liveaboards. Hopefully, all managed to moor close to shops and the facilities.

And if you wondered what Kookaburras eat,

Big juicy grub

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Groan...it's all gone pear-shaped.

First full day in Darwin and after having had a great day out to Litchfield National Park, we came back to the news that Australian Northern Territories borders were to close on Tuesday. After a short discussion with Bruv and Sally, it was decided to get back to Sydney as soon as a flight could be arranged. So the hunt was on and later that evening we successfully booked on a Qantas flight leaving the following morning.

The next step was to inform Southern Rail that we would be cancelling the Ghan trip. But before we even had time to pick up the phone an announcement came from the hotel manager that the train was still in Adelaide and would not be travelling to Darwin. Thank goodness we had made that decision and booked the flight because now several of our fellow passengers, all from different states, had a task on their hands to also find a return flight.

Flight back to Sydney was good, again not all the seats were taken. One concern was a woman sitting in a row in front kept coughing so I hope that the reports are true about this virus not being airborne. Our hand sanitiser was in constant use!

Back at Sydney and Ian went to check on our flight back to the UK on the 30th. Flying Emirates we found to our dismay that flight was also cancelled! This makes the third time we have had to rearrange a flight, all at a considerable cost to ourselves. Oh yes, we will get a refund from the airlines but that can take weeks! Both of us were by now despairing that we would get home. We tried every day up to the 31st of March with the only flight showing up at a reasonable price (and I'm talking $2000 each) was for the 28th flying Quantus to Johannesburg and then BA to Heathrow. (other airlines wanted over $6000!) This flight we have booked and is our very last chance to return to the UK. If this one is cancelled then goodness knows how long we will be in Australia.

So this may well be my last post for a while. I'm hoping the next time a write will be from the UK but with our luck on this trip, I'm not holding my breath!

Lock Gate Darwin Harbour

Some photos of our trip the Litchfield.

Banyan Tree

Florence Falls and the swimming hole

The Creek above the falls

Ian, Andy (Bruv) and Sally at Wangi Falls

Tolmer Falls

Termite Mound

Magnetic Termite mounds. These are always built North to South hence the name.

And wildlife,

Saturday 21 March 2020

First part of the Ghan trip successfully completed

Yea we made it to Darwin. A mix up with the taxi first thing this morning as it arrived too early and as we were nowhere near ready, the driver left. But another phone call, slightly heated at our end and it was quickly resolved. 

At Sydney airport, we couldn't believe how empty the domestic terminal was. Even the plane was only a tad over half full. For once the flight was smooth and Ian's hands stayed gripped and squashed free, well until it came to the landing which always terrifies me!

Out of the airport and the heat hit us. Humidity was over 70% and the temperature was well above 35 degrees. Once settled into our rooms it was off to find a cool refreshing beer. So glad I packed the cozzie because a swim in the hotel pool before dinner was absolute luxury.

 Tomorrow we are off to Litchfield national park, an all-day excursion with the coach collecting us at 7 am. With breakfast starting at 6.30am we might just manage to grab a slice of toast and a cup of tea.

And Darwins wildlife


Thursday 19 March 2020

And another update

 Oh, dear, things were not going according to plan. As mentioned yesterday the Ghan is still to go ahead so tomorrow we fly out to Darwin. Thinking everything was now hunky-dory for our return on the 6th, a text from Singapore airlines effectively pulled the carpet from under our feet! It said the second leg of the journey from Singapore to the UK, that flight had been cancelled. Ian spent over two hours on the phone hanging on to speak to an agent and eventually, they agreed to refund our money. So the hunt was on for a new flight. Finally found one leaving Sydney on the 31st with Emirates. So now everything crossed that they don't cancel that flight on us! Watch this space!

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Update... will we or won't we?

To try and contain the spread of Covid 19, the government has effectively stopped all indoor functions banning groups of more than 100 people in enclosed areas. This has drastically affected our travel plans so much so that we are still unsure if the Ghan trip is to go ahead. It is not so much the train journey that is the problem, as stringent cleaning regime is in place on a daily basis but the flights to Darwin where the train would be boarded and then on arrival at Adelaide to fly back to Sydney. With only 2 days to go, we are all on tenterhooks. We have made a massive decision though and that is not to continue with the holiday after returning from the Ghan.

The next part of the trip would have been fly to Queensland on the 14th April to meet with my cousins, spend several days with them and then fly to Singapore for a five-day stopover before returning to the UK 21st April. With so much uncertainty of whether our flights at that late date could be cancelled due to the increase of the Coronavirus, we have managed to get a flight back to the UK on the 6th April. On arrival back to FS, we must immediately go into self-isolation for 14 days. This in itself could be problematic as of course, we stripped the boat of all perishable foodstuff with only a few tins of baked beans and tinned tomatoes remaining in the cupboard. As for loo rolls? Do we still have any??? I cant remember. Anyway, we cross that bridge when we come to it. A phone call to the family to drop food parcels will probably be the sensible course of action.

So just a few more photos to show and hopefully my next post will be from the Ghan trip. If not no doubt I will post on our return to FS. 14 days with nothing to do may make us both crazy and no doubt my ramblings may get even worse then they already are! ๐Ÿ˜

Monday 16 March 2020

Bruny island part 2

Gosh, we had a windy night. Being so exposed the van was buffeted on all sides. Not just the wind but the rain...relentless. We still thought it a great place to have stopped and the isolation felt somewhat reassuring. No one in their right mind would drive all that way to Cloudy Bay, a good 11km just for the fun of it.

Next morning (Sunday) the first stop was down a 19km dirt track to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse. With the rain, the track had become more of a red sandy sludge and the motorhome changed colour from white to orange. Somehow that would have to be cleaned off before returning it to the hire company Monday morning!

There must have been a fire through here judging by those blackened trees.

Plenty of wildlife to avoid

Back along the track and yet another layer of sludge to add to the motorhome, a relief then to reach tarmac again. 25km further and we came to Adventure Bay where we were told white wallabies could be seen. Setting off along the shoreline in search, in the distance Ian spied Dolphins.

Following a track away from the beach we found wallabies, loads but not a white one to be seen.

This paler than the rest but definitely not white. Found this on the web. Click here
 With rain on and off we called off the search to head back to Bruny Ferry. Typical that when we sat waiting for the boat to arrive the sun made its appearance.

So tomorrow we fly back to Sydney. Another stopover at Lea scout campsite to do the final packing and more importantly, get rid of the orange over the white paintwork. No more posts, for now, next post should be when we fly to Darwin to take the Ghan to Adelaide. Well we live in hopes that the trip will still be on. All we can do is keep everything crossed.

Near to the toilet block

And wildlife,

Scarlet Robin


New Holland Honey Eater.

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