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.

Thursday 25 January 2024

Floods from storm Babet last year.

 As editors of the ECP&DA magazine, yesterday photos arrived from Karen, a local resident, for us to include in the magazine. A real surprise for us because these photos showed flooding at Langley Mill. It took a moment to realise the floods were from Octobers storm Babet last year, when we were still travelling away from our home mooring on FS. 

Our home mooring by the swing bridge

Langley Bridge Lock

Great Northern moorings. The water was over the path.

Swing bridge

Below Langley Bridge Lock

And this is the main road through Langley Mill.

Tuesday 23 January 2024


 Love them or hate them (and I hate them) dentists all have to be visited during one's lifetime. A check-up when we returned in December had me jumping for joy when I came away with the 'all clear'. But no sooner had 2 hours passed when a phone call from the receptionist asking me to make another appointment as the routine X-ray showed a problem with one of the bottom molars. Blast!!! So a week later I returned to hear that decay was very present on the root of that molar, and it would need dealing with. I was given options,

  1. Leave well alone, and suffer the consequences of the tooth decaying to the point that a considerable amount of pain would eventually occur.
  2. Remove as much of the decay by drilling a deep cavity in that root and replace with a filling in the hope of saving the tooth for another year or so.
  3. Root canal treatment at a cost or £306.80
  4. Remove tooth and if this was the one chosen, a new tooth denture could be inserted at the cost of £3000!

 A decision there and then was too big a deal, so it was decided I would go home and come back in January having thought over.

So what to do? Not a 100% sure, I couldn't dwell on it too long because something had to be done sooner rather than later, but the thought of loosing another tooth (already have had three out on that side) filled me with dread and 3000 pound for a false tooth.....well that needed no thinking about! Out of the question! Anyway, things happened to keep my mind away from the dilemma because a cold spell hit us just at the wrong time. Mid-January saw the temperatures plummet and overnight a thin layer of ice coated the canal, and as the temperatures plummeted, eventually froze to a thickness of a good 3 cm. We were iced in good and proper and more disturbing the facility block toilet and elsan pipes froze which meant the cassettes couldn't be emptied, no water to flush the contents away and no water to be had.

On FS, we shivered! Temperature gauge read - 9 outside and 12 deg only inside. Oh yes the stove was lit, had a nice roaring fire which normally would have kept us warm but still the problem persisted of the CO alarm going off! 


So even though the heat coming from the stove would normally make inside FS a toasty 21 deg, keeping all the windows open overnight was a must to make sure no gases from the stove would linger and kill us in our bed. Ian decided enough was enough! 

The bathroom inside porthole window!

Looked online to see about a replacement stove, OMG..how expensive? And then there would be the problem of changing our 4" flue fittings to a 5" so before forking out all our hard-earned cash, the first thing to try was let the fire go out, reseal the flue joints and check to make sure the fire rope surrounding both top and bottom door was still doing the job. Ah....it was found the rope around the top door was catching on the inside of the handle, could this be the culprit?

With that sorted, we asked Dan from the boatyard to give us his opinion and possibly put a smoke bomb inside to see if any smoke could be seen escaping. His deduction was there was nothing wrong, other than the small vent lever that can be opened to keep the glass clean, could be allowing gas to escape. His advice was to try and keep it closed to see if that improved the situation. So far it's worked, the alarm hasn't gone off since, fingers crossed it doesn't!

 Today (23rd) I returned to the dentist. My decision....go for the filling option number 2. This meant an injection into the gum right at the back to deaden the nerve. It wasn't that bad, and slowly I could feel changes in the mouth. Told 15 minutes to wait for it to fully work, but by the time I was called back to the chair (a while after) it had started to wear off! Luckily, the dentist checked with a needle to see if I felt anything and when I winced, said I needed a stronger dose and by the tooth itself. So another 15 minute wait! Eventually the treatment started....40 minutes later it was done and not without some pain either! The prognosis is good, drilling most of the decay away worked, and I now wait to see if there is any adverse effect. So far, so good.


Friday 5 January 2024

Floods at Sawley and Trent Lock

 I have been well and truly told off and by a person (s) 11,574 miles from here. (I know that because I looked how far it was from Langley Mill to Waikanae!) Why hadn't I blogged! A post once a week wouldn't go amiss. Well if all I'm doing is some cleaning, cooking and watching catch up TV, there is not much to say! My regular readers will know I'm talking about the previous owners of Waka Huia, Marilyn and David, our very good Kiwi friends. A worried phone call from them last night asking if we were okay as NZ news showed the extensive flooding in the UK. Big news across the World it seems, although my brother living in Sydney has so far not been worried enough to call. Probably because he believes living on a boat on a canal doesn't pose any problems. Well, he couldn't be more wrong! This photo was taken from BBC Midlands news program showing the double locks at Sawley. Judging by the height of the water with only the lock beams showing, all those moored on the visitor moorings may well have some problems getting on and off their boats.  

Sawley Lock. The river is on the left with moored boats on pontoons. 

I found some drone footage on facebook  A Very Narrow Journey that shows the state of the Erewash canal leading to Trent lock, then Trent lock itself with the pub surrounded by water and the flooding around the river. Check out the link HERE, it's well worth a watch.

 The above photo shows the path of the river veering off to the left, where a weir can usually be seen. In normal conditions boaters continue straight to enter a short cut which brings you to a flood lock, usually open, and into Sawley itself.  Once into Sawley there is a marina to the right and visitor moorings on the left and to get back onto the river, you need to carry on and then descent Sawley locks. The amount of water has all but covered the towpath, and the facilities block has once more been flooded. (They had only recently opened again after the storm on October). We seem to have experienced one storm after another and with the ground so saturated and this just the start of winter, I expect more flooding to come!

For us here in Langley Mill, we also have had rising water levels. To save our feet getting wet, Ian has placed a box very near to the steps leading up to the path. I suppose the level here in the basin rose by about 5 inches. Not a lot really, but enough to flood the car park by the boatyard. Several times, Ian went out with the windlass to raise a paddle at the lock to bring the water levels down. The only trouble with that was within 40 minutes the level had once again risen to the original height. He gave up as a bad job after the third attempt!

Thankfully tonight the level by FS has returned to normal, although it may take a while for the car park flood to recede.

Oh, and this was on the lunchtime news. Barrow on Soar and a very sad sight. I wonder if the owner knows but even more important, hopefully no one was on board. 

If I get any more photos to show I will put another post on, but unless there is anything of importance to share, my next post will be when we leave here in Spring....(sorry Marilyn).

Monday 1 January 2024

Happy New Year


Happy New Year to you all.

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