Saturday, 20 January 2018

A Slight Nudge South 19th January

Grindley Brook to New Mills Lift Bridge 31

P1210890smI enjoyed a bit of a lie in this morning whilst Mick obeyed the voice from Houdini’s phone and got up just before 7.30am. There were noises coming from NB Mountbatten soon after Mick showed his head out at the back of Oleanna. Lying in bed listening I really wish I’d recorded the noises.

Mountbatten’s engine took a while for it to get started, it was –1C. Then it gradually had it’s morning stretch and slowly got going, the chugging evening out to a constant rate. Richard brought her back alongside Oleanna, first a gas bottle (bumped and scraped into the locker at the bow), then what sounded only like one bag of coal (but Mick assures me it was four). She was then moved to the stern for diesel. He did his calculations handed over the bill and set off to replenish the stocks of a couple more boats in view and then carry on towards Ellesmere, Ruth hitching a ride to open up the lift bridges for him as he went before walking back to their butty Jellicoe.

Mick climbed back into bed with a cuppa at 8.15, job done and no missing cat this time!

P1210896smHaving been sat at Grindley Brook now for eight days we decided that a change of scenery would be good. First a couple of loads of washing were run through the machine and hung out around the cabin, followed by a shower and a top up of water.

We still have a week before a stoppage ahead of us is completed and we reckon it will take a couple of days to get there. Grindley Brook is the last water point before the stoppage so we didn’t want to move down stream just yet. Instead we winded above the staircase locks and pootled our way back towards Whitchurch.

P1210899smThe sun shone and as the bow of Oleanna passed Butty Jellicoe all the colours sang out. As I’ve had a few sedentary days doing accounts I decided to walk. The towpath was a bit slippy slidey so Mick and Oleanna managed to keep up with me and pulled into the off side moorings just before New Mills Lift Bridge before I’d had chance to cross it.

P1210911smHere we have a view down across fields through twisted oak trees. The wind could do with changing direction as at the moment it is bringing all the traffic noise from the A41 with it. The noise doesn’t bother me! This outside is much better. A steep bank, plenty of friendly cover, big trees with no ivy so really good climbing. Tomorrow I’m going to see if I can spy on what they are up to on the boat from up one of the trees. But before that we’ll have a walk into Whitchurch to pick up a Saturday paper and top up with fresh veg.

DSCF7117sm0 locks, 1.03 miles, 1 wind, 2 loads washing, 1 Chinese laundry, 1 gas bottle, 4 bags coal, 29 litres diesel, 1 wave goodbye to Jellicoe, 1 muddy mile, 2 hours, well maybe 4! 1 torch assisted cat retrieval, 1.5 socks completed, 2 more patterns found, 2 turkey schnitzels, yum.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Blimey!!! And Scaffolding 17th 18th January

Grindley Brook

P1210691smWith the impending storm with strong gusts of wind expected we decided to move up the moorings and position ourselves between the water points and the pump out. Here only one tree would be a possible casualty and we managed to pull up hoping that it would miss us should it come a cropper overnight.

P1210706smOver night we’d had a light dusting of snow and by the time we moved up and let Tilly out there were only patches of it left on the towpath. I did my best not to loose my paws in it, but decided that even though I wanted to be out it would be safer for my paws if I spent much of the day curled up on board in the warmness.

P1210712smA good tidy and clean followed as we were expecting guests in the afternoon. Marion and John drove up from Eastbourne for a visit and to start on their museum tour for 2018. Their drive up had been an easy one and they very nicely arrived with a Clementine and Almond cake (Rick Stein gluten free!) for us to enjoy with a cuppa. This was very nice and we’re glad that it didn’t all go, so should last us a few days.

P1210715smCatching up on news of their latest travels, Christmas and New Year took up much of the afternoon before we headed out to walk along the busy A41 to The Horse and Jockey. We’d visited here twice on our trip on NB Winding Down and had enjoyed the food and beer. Since then it has changed hands, but still served up a good meal for us all. The Tapas menu a great thing for veggies and gluten intolerant folk, being able to mix and match dishes. Mick had a pie and the rest of us Sea Bass washed down with a nice pint or two of beer.

Whilst in the pub it had started to rain, the precursor for the storm! We all settled down listening to the patter of the rain on the roof aiding drifting off to sleep. Before 2am however the gusts of wind started. Everything on Oleannas roof had either been tied down or stowed in the pram cover out of harms way. The poles on the racks vibrated as the wind swept across our roof. Mick had tightened the ropes earlier which meant we weren’t going to biff about too much, but we still rocked as each gust hit us. According to John the gusts reached 59 mph.

These were followed by a not so fierce gust, it was just constant, getting on for two hours of 39mph! Blimey!! This was really quite hard to sleep through. Mick checked that all was okay in the main cabin with our guests and then we both read as the boat slowly reverberated with the wind. From 4.30am onwards there were still gusts, but we managed to sleep through much of it. Not the best nights sleep!

P1210720smWe woke to pretty clouds and a calm world, almost as though nothing had happened. A check round outside and all was where it had been left and no signs of any trees down behind us.

NB Mountbatten was due to bring their butty down to fill with water, so we’d arranged to top up on supplies whilst they were here, our gas bottle from Llangollen having run out just after seeing Richard a week ago! But there was an offer of a day out with Marion and John, a trip to Ironbridge to tick off a couple of museums. Whilst Mick was composing a text to say we’d see Richard next week down stream Ruth called to say that they wouldn’t be moving today due to not feeling so good, so could they catch us next week down stream instead.

We all climbed into the car along with our empty gas bottle (not Calor, so none returnable) and called in at Whitchurch Tip to add it to the caged bottles. then onwards to Ironbridge.

The Ironbridge Gorge is a World Heritage Site, has ten museums helping celebrate the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

Iron Bridge Aug 1975smP1210724smThe main attraction is the cast iron bridge which gives the town it’s name. Built in 1779 and opened in 1781 it was the first bridge to be built of cast iron after Abraham Derby perfected the method of smelting iron with coke, allowing cheaper production and larger sections could be cast than previously. Down the banks of the River Severn coal and iron mines, brick and tile works, ship building filled the gorge with activity. Today the atmosphere is very different, quieter and cleaner, English Heritage are currently undertaking a huge restoration project on the Ironbridge. The whole structure is swathed in scaffolding and the sound of grit blasting below your feet can be heard as you walk over it. So sadly the elegant structure can’t be seen for the next year as the works take place to keep the bridge for future generations.

P1210752smP1210756smOwned privately there was a toll to pay to cross. This was set at a standard price, everyone would pay the same even if they were royalty and the prices remained the same from 1781 to 1950. A guinea would buy you an annual pass and the only persons exempt from paying were the ferrymen who lost their livelihood when the bridge opened.

P1210768smAfter the toll house our first museum was The Museum of the Gorge. Here the star of the museum is a 20meter long model of the gorge laid out as it would have been when William V, Prince of Orange visited on the 12th August 1796. A team of people must have worked on the model, at first I thought it would have taken a month, but that is likely to have been how long it took to just assemble the pieces.

P1210764smP1210776smThe scale trees and figures were almost certainly bought, but the number of trees must have filled at least a shopping trolley and a half. P1210782smEach building has been made individually to match what would have been there at the time. Boats were bow hauled upstream, carts waited for goods to be loaded, inclined planes moved coal down from the canal to the smelting works. Apparently the model was damaged in the floods of 2000 and had to be reworked.

P1210792smThe rest of the museum is interesting giving a brief  history of the gorge. Views down the river to the iron bridge would be great if it hadn’t been for the scaffolding.

We then climbed back into the car to head for Blists Hill Victorian Town.

P1210804smThe museum recreates a town around 1900. Originally the area was filled with industry, consisting of a brick and tile works, blast furnaces and coal, iron and fire clay mines. It opened in 1973 and has been growing ever since as original buildings have been relocated to the site. It is similar, yet smaller to the Black Country Museum. The whole of the town is inhabited by Victorians and should you want you can exchange you £’s and p’s for £sd at the branch of Lloyds Bank so that you can purchase goods around the town. Most of the inhabitants play along with the theme quite well.

P1210802smP1210816smThe conversation in the grocers seemed to be more 21st C and it wasn’t until a long while later that the penny dropped about the conversation going on in the Post Office between two women about how things would soon improve (Suffragettes!). At the bakers fresh bread can be bought (the last loaf and a roll to us), plaster motifs and cast iron figures are made and sold by craftsmen who are happy to talk about how life would have been.

P1210828smP1210845smOne chap was powering down the steam engine that worked the lift down into the mines when we arrived. He demonstrated the mechanism and talked through all the different layers that the mine would reach, a small block of wood attached to a string showed which level the lift had reached, string technology from the Victorian era.

P1210836smOn the wall was a hand drawn map of the canal network leading to Blasts Hill. Mick had correctly guessed that they would connect to the Shropshire Union at Norbury Junction, quite a large network of canals did.

P1210807smP1210814smP1210861smTwo ladies were sat by the range in a house where the back rooms were rented out to the doctor who visited one day a week. Across the top of the stove sat a bacon carrot and lentil stew slowly simmering away. The ladies are wanting to try to get one of the ovens working on the range, but this will take quite a bit of experimentation as there are allsorts of variables to move hot air around the ovens. After we chatted for a while the ladies may start cooking jacket potatoes on the fire. We weren’t sure if foil was around in 1900, research suggests that tin foil was used, not sure if potatoes were cooked in it and it did leave a metallic taste to the food, hence we now use aluminium foil.

P1210877smA squatters house further down the hill gave a hole different slant on life, few of the same home comforts of gas lighting and an indoor tap. Here a family had built the four walls and roof of their house in 24hrs to claim it as a squatters house. A small fire and thick walls did thier best to keep the cold out, along with a Delongi heater in the pantry!

Sadly the museum was closing it’s doors at 4pm so we had to rush back up the hill after a brief look round the Toll house from Watling Street. Another couple of hours and we’d have had time to see everything.

P1210882smP1210850smIf you came to the gorge for a weeks holiday you could easily make use of the year pass at £25, cheaper if bought on line, which gives you access to all ten museums. A fortnight would make for a more relaxed history filled holiday.

Marion and John kindly returned us to Grindley Brook before they started their return journey south. As we walked up to Oleanna in the now fading light we could see that we had some new neighbours. Richard and Ruth had brought NB Mountbatten and the butty to fill with water in the afternoon. They planned on staying put overnight, so we arranged an early top up tomorrow before NB Mountbatten sets off on it’s last coal run upstream before bridges close on Monday.

0 locks, 0.09 miles, 4 paws still, 1 clean pooh bucket, 1 empty wee tank, 2 guests, 0 trees, 3 bass, 1 pie, 59 mph winds, 1 sleepless night, 1 change of plan, 3 museums, £15 for celebratory beer, 378 tons of iron, £2430 labour, £2 sundries, 24ft wide, 100ft 6inch inside span of arch, 55ft high, 20m long model, 1795 high flood, 1 loaf, 1 roll, 3 moody cast cats, 2 revolting women, 60ft of mine, 1 canal, 1 very good unexpected day out, 1 boring unexpected day in!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Returned, Paid and Climbed. 16th January

Grindley Brook

The last two days I’ve not stepped off the boat, the weather hasn’t been that inviting with strong winds and rain showers. Tilly however has enjoyed this as it’s meant that she can come and go at will and the staff have been on hand to open and close doors and hatches when required!

P1210633smWith Mick heading back to Shrewsbury to return the car yesterday morning I decided it was time to get my accounts up to date (well, for last year!) and do my tax return. Having very little income helps make this job a lot easier than it used to be. Long gone are the days of employing an accountant to do the job, one was only taken on so that we could get a mortgage as I needed an accountants reference, so tax returns don’t scare me. Much of the day was spent downloading bank statements and reconciling them, might as well do it properly. In the old days I’d have kept on top of my receipts but it would still take me a whole day to put those left into the computer, today a whole years worth took five minutes. By the end of the day everything was ready to fill out the form on line. This would have been done sooner if I hadn’t been on door duty all day!

After dropping the hire car off Mick was given a lift into Shrewsbury so that he could visit Maplins. Reception on our TV has been a bit hit and miss of late and he’d been wondering if it was the aerial amplifier. We still have the one from Lillian, but we didn’t have the right connectors for it. With new cables bought he caught the train back to Whitchurch and then walked back along the towpath. At least someone is getting some exercise round here. As I sorted numbers Mick tried sorting signal, but nothing seemed to be working for him. Maybe we are just in one of those places.

Today I spent a few hours on the Government Gateway inputting my small figures and getting nowhere near my personal allowance. No tax due for this year, just a matter of paying Class 2 National Insurance voluntarily to ensure getting benefits and pension in years to come. All up to date and paid. I may get the current year up to date if we have more bad weather, I quite enjoy doing accounts!

Micks task today has been to finish sorting out our emails. The poor chap has felt a bit like he’s been back at work, but doing the bits he didn’t enjoy. My domain that we used to get my email from is no longer available, so Mick has moved it elsewhere, which caused allsorts of problems. We could send emails from the laptop but not from any other devices. Then any email he sent looked as if it had come from me, not ideal. Once I had finished my accounts the boat had to be quiet again for Mick to concentrate this time. But by the end of the afternoon all seems to be sorted.

I’m glad they’ve both finished, maybe they’ll move the outside again. It was quite good here yesterday, but today I’ve started to use it all up! The wind has been blowing my bottom which gives me a Mohican and bushy tail, I don’t like that. Running around made more use of the outside, but I had to climb to the very top of the trees and dig holes to find new places to explore. I kept coming inside to give them the opportunity to move the outside, but that didn’t work, maybe tomorrow.

P1210670sm0 locks, 0 miles, 3 times last year, 2017 tax return completed and returned, 0 tax, Class 2 NI paid, 1 TV being temperamental, 1 cat being loony lala, 21 door openings, 35 hatch openings, 20+ feet of tree top climbing, 4 hours of cat indecision, 2 fingers crossed that emails work, 1 button down hat completed.

Monday, 15 January 2018

The Long Way Round Nantwich. 14th January

Grindley Brook

A bit of a lie in with Saturdays paper and then we had to make full use of the hire car.

First it was a shopping trip into Whitchurch to stock up the fridge for the next week. Walking to the handy layby where we’d left the car (near the bridge over the locks) we managed to pass by a C&RT chap who was drumming up support for the trust by enrolling friends. We don’t have a problem with the Trust doing this, but with not a lot of income we feel that we give C&RT enough money as it is in our licence fee. Having come across this chap before and others, we know that once they start talking to you they do their darnedest not to stop until you give in. Luckily he was busy chatting away to a lady and on our return he realised that we were carrying heavy bags and were on a mission to get back to the boat. We stocked up on essentials but only got two boxes of wine! No 25% off deal and as it’s now January we are trying to have two days a week without alcohol again.

P1210601smThe boat in front of us had moved off to wind and head towards Ellesmere so as I stowed the shopping Mick pulled us forward to the end of the Visitor Mooring so that when we want water our hose will reach the tap without us having to move.

Next we thought of going for a bit of a drive, maybe to an interesting house or pretty gardens somewhere we’d not normally get to from the canal. However with Oleanna’s next service due soon Mick wanted to get a filter as we’d picked up oil on our way back from Scarborough. So we took a cross country route over to Nantwich to visit the chandlers at the marina. They of course are closed on Sundays!

So we passed under the aqueduct and turned left. Mick thought this would be the way to get to Barbridge and the chandlers at Medway boats. It was if we’d turned left almost straight away again or done a u turn! Instead we followed signs round Nantwich to reach the A51 which took us 6.5 miles anti-clockwise around the town, when a mile behind us was where we should have been. Now you could blame the navigator, but she blames our road atlas which has a lot of writing over roads and where junctions might be, so for local roads it is almost useless.

P1210615smHowever we found our way in the end and crossed over the two hump backed bridges to the chandlery. At first it seemed like it was self service, no sign of anyone. The filter we needed was getting on for £4 cheaper than the last one we’d bought, so Mick picked up three. After having a good look round I eventually spied a lady sat in the warmth of a back office very much engaged in what she was doing.

P1210607smBy now it was too late to find somewhere to visit, but I was in need of a pit stop. We happened to know of some facilities nearby, so pulled off the A51 to use them.

P1210619smIt just so happened that across from the loos there is a rather good chilled medication dispensary. With the car having told us that there was a risk of ice we thought that we should partake, it would have been rude to use the loos and not spend any money. Hard to make up our minds what flavour but in the end Mick chose Cappuccino and I had Choc Choc Brownie, not quite as grown up as the Amaretto I’d had last time, but far tastier!

P1210623smAs we sat eating our medication a little girl attempted to fit most of her head into her ice cream cone at the table next to us. No matter what Dad said she wasn’t going to eat the cone, but was determined to get the last bit of ice cream out of it. A constant stream of people came in, they all stood concentrating trying to decide which flavour, their eyes lighting up at the choice and grins of anticipation crossed their faces. After we’d seen what a cookie sandwich looked like and one chap with a three scoop cone we decided it was time to leave.

Back before sunset Tilly got the chance to head off outside for the first time in a few days. Half an hour she said. Taking refuge from a passing woofer back at the boat was a mistake as the doors closed in front of me. Half an hour is no where near enough time! Tom stood outside for ages longer, so not fare!!!! Mick had got chatting to a couple from Melbourne who are wanting to cruise the canals. They had plenty of good questions, just hope Mick didn’t put them off by talking toilets too much.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 boxes wine, 8 turkey sausages, 12 eggs, 1 bag litter, 3 near misses, 1 nudge up, 6.5 mile detour, 3 for the price of 2 filters, 1 tub grease, 2 chilled medications, 4C just the right temperature, 30 minutes! 21 inches of hat knitted.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sudden Interest and Adios Mr Hughes. 13th January

Old Man’s Bridge to Gridley Brook Visitor Moorings

P1210509smOn Thursday we made our way back towards Grindley Brook, where we thought it would be a good place to be picked up for a hire car. As we were about to untie a boat rounded the bend in front of us, this was to be the one and only boat moving today other than us. One of the chaps on board asked if we were about to push off and could they possibly borrow a windlass. He had just sold his boat and butty, but had left his windlass on the butty which was now about a mile behind and to be able to wind the boat they needed to be able to operate the lift bridge a short distance behind us. Mick routed through the lockers and found a spare that we had found sometime ago left at a lock. The chap said he’d find us to return it, but if this didn’t happen we wouldn’t miss this windlass.

P1210516smSo we pushed off to cover the two and a half miles to Grindley Brook, a greyer day than on Wednesday. We soon passed the newly sold butty awaiting it’s tow into a new life with new owners. Ahead were the two Hassell’s lift bridges. One of these will be closing for maintenance in ten days, I hope they don’t make it hard to work as at the moment it is possibly the easiest on the hole of the Llangollen canal to wind up and down. Then as we passed the Whitchurch arm we could see NB Mountbatten’s butty moored up, this looks like it will be the coal boats base for a while as locks and bridges close over the next two months.

P1210528smOnce the lift bridge had been wound up and back down again we covered the short distance to the water point where we filled one tank and emptied the yellow water before reversing back to the Visitor Mooring and tying up. Our windlass was returned as we walked down to the bins and then the petrol station shop for some plastic bread. It’s amazing what people put in the recycling bins.

P1210521smBack on board it was time to try to sort Enterprise out. A few days ago we’d been invited to head to Scarborough for a sherbet (or several) to remember our friend Mick Hughes along with our Scarborough friends. So we’d booked a car from Enterprise as this worked out to be cheaper than the train for the two of us. To cut quite a long story short, the company that advertises that they will pick you up and drop you off didn’t seem too cover Grindley Brook, even thought their website suggested they did. Mick had been passed from one office to another but as we’d prepaid (making it cheaper) they couldn’t just transfer the booking! Rebooking the price changed first in our favour but as he clicked confirming the booking it jumped up in price. After checking that he would be able to get a pick up, he was then told by the next chap that we were too far away. Mick did his best not to have a Geraghty strop with the chap. It was getting to the point where I was willing to have  noisy dramatic weeping fit in the background about not being able to go to our dear dear friends funeral, but luckily my acting skills (not the best) were not required and in the end they agreed on a pickup!

statsFriday morning came and so did the pick up from Shrewsbury. Mick went off to get the car whilst I pottered waiting for his return. Every now and then I have a look at Lillian’s blog to see what we were up to a year or two ago. Since selling NB Lillyanne I have been surprised that everyday apart from two the blog has had a few viewings. However all of a sudden the views had shot up, 74 and it was only the morning! Blimey that was quite high for when it was our live blog. On the wordpress statistic page you can see where people have been referred from and there was a high proportion coming from Canal World Forum. So I clicked the link and found that there was a thread about lithium batteries and Brian from NB Harnser had posted a link to Lillian’s blog and then here.

As there seemed to be so much interest in our batteries (those who read this blog regularly know we don’t have them yet!) I thought I’d give you a very quick round up especially as we have had an update.

When Oleanna was being built we decided to fork out for Lithium Ion batteries. 2 x 24volt 50amp hour batteries in parallel. In case these didn’t give us enough capacity the battery tray was made to hold two with an extension should we decide we wanted to up our capacity to 3 batteries. Batteries were ordered but only one arrived, the other was on it’s way. The boat systems were tested with this one battery, but this was kept to a minimum hoping to keep the number of cycles down so that the battery bank when complete would all have a similar number of cycles. Sadly the second battery didn’t turn up, so we waited and waited and waited. After waiting getting on for six months one finally was manufactured for us, we really wanted our boat to be on the water with us on board by now and this was the only thing holding everything up. Others would most probably have given up by now and gone for more standard batteries, but this would mean changes in the engine bay which had been built with these batteries in mind. We decided to be patient.

In April the battery company lent us 2 x 12volt 100 amp hour gel batteries wired in series. These fitted our battery trays and meant we could move on board whilst we waited for the second battery to arrive. We soon decided that a third battery would be worth getting hold of, if it was possible! The ordering of this coincided with the second one arriving in Sheffield. So the waiting started again for a third battery. This arrived quickly in comparison and the other batteries were put on charge so that they would all be on a par when installed. However…. the original battery wouldn’t charge so was returned to be reset by the distributors. Before Christmas we heard that they hadn’t been able to reset the battery, so had ordered a new one which would be shipped from the States, hopefully to arrive early in January.

On Friday we had an update from Finesse (our boat builders) that they now had a date towards the end of the month when our new battery should arrive in England, it will then take a few days for it to be delivered to them. A rendez vous will then be arranged for them to come out to install the three batteries and alter the programming on our inverter/charger for the Lithium Ion batteries. Once this has happened we and Finesse will be celebrating the final completion of Oleanna. However we have been this close before, so none of us are holding our breath!

P1210543smP1210546smBack to our trip to Scarborough. We had a very grey trip over the Pennines and arrived as planned at our friends Dawn and Lee’s house. Here we caught up on the last month since we last saw them and had a very nice meal to fill our stomachs before what was likely to be a bit of a boozy evening.

IMAG0276 (2)smThe original plan had been to gather as many of the old production team of the Stephen Joseph Theatre from around the millennium to raise a glass in memory of Mick Hughes, a pub had been thought of. A production team would not be complete without the writer or director, so Alan Ayckbourn and Heather were contacted to see if they would like to join us. They very kindly offered the use of their conservatory for the evening where we all had enjoyed many a party in the past.

P1210553smIn all 21 of us raised a glass or several to Mick . Alan made a very touching speech which of course included anecdotes of how he had first met Mick in 1972. It was a very suitable evening to say Adios to Mick amongst friends from far and near, only a few still work at the theatre now. If Mick had known about our gathering I suspect he’d have been a little bit miffed at not being able to make it himself!

P1210558smP1210581smThis morning we had a slow start, thanked our Scarborough B&B hosts Dawn and Lee (Yes Duncan we will stay with you next time!) and then called in at Fleur and Ruths. Here we had an hour catching up with Mick’s sister (my Mick) Kath who had come up from London for last night before we all needed to be on our way. A quick drive to see the sea and a pause at Halfords for some oil for Oleannas engine before crossing back over the country to Wales.

Tilly had looked after Oleanna well and the only casualties were items of underwear we’d left drying on the airer, most of these now on the floor. I really don’t know what they were expecting having left the climbing frame out for me. I had to amuse myself somehow! It took a while for the stove and central heating to raise the temperature of the cabin, but once the chill was gone we were cosy once more. Some sad gits chickeny things were enjoyed that we’d picked up on route from M&S along with another glass of wine.

P1210598smDSCF7114sm0 locks, 2.57 miles, 3 lift bridges, 132 turns up, 89 turns down, 1 loaned windlass, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 1 gas bottle now empty, 2 inflated life jackets, 2 Enterprise offices, 3 different prices, 1 pick up finally agreed to, 351 miles by car, 74 then 94 viewings, 0 view from the A64, 1 magic food bowl, 1 party for 1,  21 present, 5 missing including Mick H, 3 soups, 5 litres Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil, 1 bottle of dipper for veg kebabs, 10 litres 15W40, 1 sister, 3 final Christmas presents, 1 salad to be grown, 2 films, 1 illuminating hat, 1 more mention of Duncan, make that two!