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 31 July 2020

Disconcerting to say the least.

Love mooring on the park but oh, it does have one downside. All this good weather has brought out all and sundry and the path next to FS is as busy as any high street in a town or city. It's made us very reluctant to leave FS. Even this morning before 8am when I decided to get up and wash the cabin side before it got too hot, runners and walkers came past. Did they distance themselves from me? Not a chance. No attempt was made to move away which I found very disconcerting.

We did have to leave FS after lunch as the awaited email arrived to say the sink plug cups had arrived at Budgeon.  I hadn't realised Ian had ordered two, glad he did though, now both the bathroom and kitchen sinks can stay clean.

Its been almost unbearable inside FS, the temperature gauge read 35.8 inside the boat. Ignore the 40 degrees showing for outside temperature as Ian put the sensor inside our top box to keep it out of the direct sunlight. Hmmm, not sure that was the best place for it.

 The 48 hours mooring is up tomorrow. I cant see us moving far as Ian wants to put another coat of black paint on the gunwale before putting on the anti-slip. Maybe somewhere with some shade, although the weather is set to get cooler from tomorrow.

And wildlife again from the park,

Emperor Dragonfly

Thursday 30 July 2020

A short journey

So this new phone of Ians, it has NOT got three cameras! The wording on eBay was wrong. It has, in fact, got three lenses, standard, wide-angle and zoom. That makes much more sense and Ian has had great fun in trying them out. I must say I am very impressed. No wonder bulky cameras are going out of fashion.

7.30am was when work started on the buildings opposite but we were already awake. As soon as the sun hit the cabin side FS started cracking and banging as the steel expanded in the heat. Narrowboaters will know what I mean and to try sleeping through that is almost impossible.

After breakfast, I decided to walk to the park just to see if any boats had moved and result, not one but two boats had left leaving plenty of room for FS. Less than a quarter of a mile to cruise, I was still concerned that those two places had gone.

So we waited for the email telling us the plughole cup was ready for collection. By 11am Ian was sure it wouldn't arrive today. It's a good job then that the park mooring is 48 hours. We have to be gone by Saturday so fingers crossed it arrives tomorrow.

And wildlife at the park lake,

Wednesday 29 July 2020

3 cameras on a phone???? Why???

The saga of Ian's phone was still ongoing. Working okayish since it's dunking, calls could be received and messages sent but he occasionally lost colour on the screen. So he bit the bullet, opened his wallet and made a successful bid for the phone on eBay. He became the proud owner of a new ex display Samsung S10 complete with 3 cameras. Hmmm...Why would you want three cameras on a phone? Doesen't make sense to me but then I am a dinasaur when it comes to technology! Anyway, he received an email yesterday saying it was ready for collection at Budgens, Campbell Park so that then became the plan. Campbell park it was to be then.

Left an almost empty Fenny by 9.30am and had a uneventful journey to Newlands. On route we were both bemused by this cruiser moored under a bridge. Not for the fact it was there but how it had been secured.

How ever did he get that strap on the beam? Either he is very tall or has exceptional balance!

The plan was to moor on the park side but not knowing if there was any room, we stopped before the marina to 'go and see'. Ian went off to get the phone leaving me to check out the mooring at the park. Sadly to say it was completely full, apart from a gap long enough for nothing bigger than a day boat. Looks like we will be staying put then! Not to worried about the building work opposite tonight. Should be nice and quiet once the workers leave but what it will be like when the men arrive back first thing in the morning we will no doubt find out!

 There is still one more item to receive at Budgens. Fed up with the bathroom plug being left on the side of the sink leaving dirty marks, I have persuaded Ian to get a plug tidy. A self adhesive cup which the plug sits into. Hopefully that will arrive tomorrow.

And wildlife

Gatekeeper butterfly

One of the Darter Dragonflies. Common I thihk

Tuesday 28 July 2020

A few photos shown and a great result.

Yesterday we moved to Fenny Stratford. Was a bit concerned when we met a lady single hander at the Soulbury Three who happened to mention that a floating Market was to be held at Fenny at the weekend. Having been to several of these events I know how busy the moorings get and even though it was only Monday, it has been known for the trade boats to arrive early.

It was lovely having help from the volunteer lockies. Three were on duty and I must say they got us down those locks very quickly. That lone lady boater, having lived on her boat for 17 years, suggested we go out as a pair. Worked brilliantly and even having to battle with the wind, managed to get into each lock without touching the sides. Do so love it when a plan works.

Arrived at Fenny and hardly a boat moored. The reserved signs were up but between the towpath lift bridge and railway bridge not above the lock.

There had been a wide beam moored just this side of those working pair.
 And I bet you wondering why we moved so far along the moorings? Well, it's all to do with getting TV. Couldn't get the normal TV because of the hedge, it was in the way of where the aerial needed to point so it had to be the satellite or nothing. We tried several spots but those trees on either side were the problem. All to do with the line of sight. If we could have stayed on the 24 hours, or even where those two working boats were moored, (a wide beam was this side of the pair when we arrived but left not long after we had moored) then all would be well but as shown in this next photo, too many trees.

Now for a bit of good news,

 I had a comment from Dave Chapman. He is the Chairman of IWA Chiltern Branch, and it appeared that his good lady read my blog and told him about the problems we had on the Aylesbury. (read about it  HERE and HERE ) He contacted C&RT, showed them my photos and what a result. C&RT are going to assess the actions required and include them in their winter program. To read the comment go to this post And in he went scroll to the bottom and you should be able to read what was said. A big thank you, Dave, from us and no doubt from many other boaters too.

Weather was decent today so after walking to Tesco for shopping, (we were pleased to see nearly everyone wore a mask. There had to be the odd two or three though that thought it didn't apply to them) Ian continued with the gunwale. The fertan was washed off and parts were sanded down. A coat of black paint and then tomorrow the antislip will be applied. A slight mishap occurred when Ian was cleaning brushes. Picking up the jar by the lid, jar and lid parted company depositing white spirit all over the engine room floor! Luckily most went on the mat but some did splash on Ian shoes. That mat went straight in the bin but quite what we are going to clean Ian's shoes with we have no idea Hmmm they may have to go in the bin as well! 

 And wildlife. Yet another Heron in a tree and what was I saying about possible poop on the cabin top?

Sunday 26 July 2020

And in he went!

Saturday 25th

So on Friday night, we were fully expecting to be disturbed by those beasties mooing but they were good as gold. Not a peep! But early Saturday morning the farmer fired the tractor into life and those Heifers and Bullocks started up their incessant mooing again. No point in trying to get back to sleep, might just as well get up.

The first mooring opposite the farm on the left and we eventually pulled back to where the red boat was.
Pulled pins by 9 am and it wasn't long before we were joined by the canoeist.  A warning shout from one of them to say a paddleboarder was up ahead. Well, we never saw it so goodness knows how fast he or she was travelling!

This has to be a wind-up...doesn't it?

Our planned stop was to be at Leighton Buzzard but the heavens opened before we got there. Not a gentle drizzle but a sudden deluge and boy did we get wet! Managed to pull over but by the time FS was 'sort of' secure (tied up so quickly, ropes were that loose it's a wonder we didn't drift away) not an inch of us was dry!

Finally, the rain stopped and we could move on. Found a lovely rural spot not far from Tesco. No overhanging trees over FS, thank goodness, because looking up I spied a Heron. Can you imagine the size of poop on the cabin top if it had decided to evacuate its bowels and we had been in its line of fire! Yuk!!!

There was a downside to that mooring. It didn't have the best reception area for TV or internet so this morning we moved to almost the same spot we moored in a week ago. Must have been all of a quarter of a mile, not enough to even get the engine warm, but the bank height was good for work Ian wanted to do on the gunwale and I fancied exploring the area.

. Wyvern hire boats nearly all out. Far cry from last weekend

Thought I'd make the most of the early stop and wash the sides and cabin top. Just rinsing the side when a wide beam came past with a canoeist following close behind. Then for no reason that I could see the canoeist just fell in!

Managing to get himself back into the canoe he headed in our direction. Of course, I had to ask what had happened. His reply was this was drenching number 3! It was a replacement for his old canoe but he wondered if he had done the right thing as he felt most unstable in it. I wonder how long before  drenching number 4 will occur!

A quick question. These planes came overhead. Anyone know what they are? Ian thinks one may be a Hurrican. Thanks to a comment from Tom nb waiouru, the plane in front he believes is a P51 Mustang and the second is a Hawker Hurrican

Hawker Hurrican

P51 Mustang

Ian set to once I had finished to get rid of all the antislip. Scrapped the stuff from the gunwale and a massive amount of rust was found to be underneath so fertan used to neutralise it. At one point a loud expletive was heard when he dropped the scraper down the side of FS. Trusty sea magnet to the rescue and at the first sweep, up it came.

Fishing for the scraper
And wildlife

Camera shy Kestral

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