Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Tying Up The Outside. 30th July

Hook’s Bridge 36 to Mill Bridge 8

P1370359smP1370362smSunday we woke to rain, not of the heavy variety, just the sort that is adamant to get you really soaked when you least expect it. Just as well I was having a work day, we’d bought suitable things for a breakfast, the Tour de France was arriving in Paris and that Tilly isn’t too bothered about rain. She is however bothered about wind and it was gusty. She had several excursions out onto the towpath to explore. When she returned towels were quickly deployed onto surfaces she wanted to sit on. I’m hoping my model survived a few near muddy paw prints as I’d taken over the dinette.

P1370366smThe rain kept coming until the evening, when the sun came out just before it was due to dip under the horizon. This produced the most vivid of greens in the reeds opposite and picked out the purple flowers.

Today we needed to be making a move again, I’ve a meeting this week and still had some work to do. So with Mick at the helm, waterproofs ready just in case and Tilly asleep on the bed we pushed off.

First thing they untied the outside and let it go, they do this quite often, it’s not unusual. It drifted off into the distance. Every now and then she would go outside and they’d tie up the outside to stop it from getting away. There were several of these outsides, but we didn’t stay long at any of them. The first one was hard to hold onto as another boat was passing through ‘Too quick!’ The hose was connected here and the wet box under the floor at the front filled.

P1370373smThen they let this outside go replacing it with another a while later. This one had more promise, trees, sideways trees, a bit of friendly cover, but I wasn’t allowed out. I’d have appreciated it more than them, they just sat inside and ignored it! What a waste. They let this one go too.

The next I wasn’t too sure about. It took a bit to tie it down, there was a man complaining about it, don’t blame him, it smelt! I stayed looking out of the bedroom window ready to persuade them to let this one go too! She came in to find a cheque book, apparently the last time it was used was when they bought me from the rescue centre two and a bit years ago. Luckily they gave up on this outside and pushed it away and kept on moving.

P1370381smHow long before the outside was fully changed? It was getting boring inside. She was inside most of the time, not keeping me company but doing interesting things. In between snoozes I kept an eye on what she was doing. Putting things in and out of boxes. Two boxes, just my size. One had lots of little bits in it the other had thin obstructions stopping me from gaining access. She kept putting more and more things in it from the other box. I watched just in case one of these became empty enough to make room for me, but that didn’t happen. In the end I decided to make space for myself. I scooped out a little thing. Hey this was similar to finding a friend, I could have loads of fun. She didn’t agree, she was angry.

P1370384smTom got close to an outside and as she went to tie it up she saidIf you touch anything, I mean anything, you will die!’ Blimey, maybe these little things were poisonous. I decided to watch her instead. Once the magic music had been played and she’d written down the numbers of this outside the doors were opened up. I was given two and a half hours and if I could come back with a new model chair that would be good.

DSCF7114sm0 locks, 10.35 miles, 1 big sigh from nature, 1 very soggy day, 1 full water tank, 0 recycling done, 2 bags rubbish, 1 lunch break, 1 rope bridge, 1 frontcloth, 5 flown pieces, 1 squashed chair, 1 white card model complete, 1 poisonous toy, 4 outsides, 93.5 litres diesel, 75p, 1 bored Tilly.


Sunday, 29 July 2018

To The Chip Shop Please. 28th July

Former Railway Bridge 34A to Carleton Bridge Winding Hole to Hook’s Bridge 36
P1370244smTilly stayed close to home on Friday, not venturing too far. The battlefield excursion had obviously had some difficulties for her that she’d rather not relive. Another hot day, if these temperatures into the 30s are going to be the norm in future summer months we may have to look at replacing our bathroom flooring. On Lillian the floor was made of ceramic tiles, Oleanna has Karndean flooring, it looks nice but doesn’t stay as cool. Tilly still tends to flop in her hotter moments onto the bathroom floor (so it must be cooler than the wood), on occasions hugging the base of the compost toilet.
I read a post on facebook about someone who’d been wondering if their cat would be more comfortable in the heat without their fur, they had done some research on the internet. Cats fur acts as an insulator, so keeps them warm in the winter and helps to keep them cool in the summer. So if you shaved them you would be removing their natural protection, you also wouldn’t have much of your hands or face left! Apparently cats are okay up to temperatures of 40C. Our old cat Houdini once managed to get herself covered in some oil like substance and had a costly weeks B&B at the vets having baths to try to remove it. Her body reacted and she lost fur from her belly and legs, only her paws escaped, leaving her looking like a clipped poodle. It took months for her fur to regrow back, so we will not be subjecting Tilly to such embarrassment, but maybe a cool slab to lie on instead.
P1370266smAfter a day back at work it was time for us to move on again, there was a Saturday newspaper to get after all. We decided to cruise up to Market Bosworth and walk up into town. The dishwasher was put on shortly followed by the washing machine, we’d be filling up today. Outside the temperature necessitated the wearing of jumpers, it wasn’t even 6am!
A cooling 3 mile pootle brought us towards the moorings on the outskirts of town. These were very busy, the penny dropped, The Rails and Ales Festival was on at the station, boats were breasting up. Luckily for us there was space on the marina visitor moorings, the sign says £5 a night and we only wanted a couple of hours.
P1370285smP1370290smGetting on for a mile walk uphill to the town was worth it as the square opened up in front of us. P1370302smP1370306sm
We visited the pharmacy for more antihistamine tablets, the newsagents for our newspaper, a few bits from the small Co-op and then visited the greengrocers/florists Rose and Radish. A few bits of veg plus a couple of tasty looking things from a bakers display. Next door to the butchers, Lampard’s, for some bacon and black pudding. All the meaty goods were hidden away so no impulse purchases were possible today, but we had enough of what we wanted.

P1370317smP1370324smIn the corner by the tea rooms we could see some steam rising. Not scone rage, but two mini steam powered traction engines. Each could carry a couple of passengers but were having difficulty reversing. Relieved of passengers each engine was pushed backwards to turn, a lady got back on along with her dog and was asked where to? ‘To the chip shop please’.
P1370299smA toot of a whistle and a wait for cars to get out of the way and then they were off rumbling over the cobbles and turning left towards the chippie, The Batter of Bosworth.
P1370335smBack down the hill plumes of steam were rising near the station, so we decided to have a look. The steam was coming from full size traction engines all lined up, the railway only running diesel today avoiding any possibilities of sparks starting line side fires. We got so far and then realised that there was an entrance fee, £5. Not much, but as we only wanted a little look it wasn’t worth it. The 80 beers in the engine shed could be consumed by others today.
P1370275smP1370339smAfter eating our baked goods we pushed off. Gusts of wind were building, just what was wanted to assist with winding! Mick opted to cruise on ahead for a mile to the next winding hole to turn rather than reverse the 200 yards to the marina entrance whilst I stayed below to do a bit more model making. Winding was relatively easy, especially as  nobody was around to watch and we returned to fill with water. The moorings were still full, so much so that one boat was moored by one of the taps. Enough space for us to pull in and fill up, but should anyone else have arrived there would have been grounds for complaints.
P1370273smBy now we had drizzly rain, our waterproofs were needed. Once I’d pushed the bow out I carried on model making leaving Mick to find us a suitable mooring. No need for trees today, in fact we wanted to avoid them if we could with strong gusts of wind and rain forecast. Back out into the countryside Mick tried pulling in a couple of times but the depth stopped him. It was proper rain now. Then within sight of the banners at the Battlefield Visitors Centre there was plenty of depth and room for us, no armco but chains would do.
P1370357smWe could now settle for the evening, long pants and jumpers on, a soggy moggy coming and going, washing hanging in the pram cover, lots of fresh veg for our tea resulting in steamy windows. All the while listening to the rain on the cabin roof.
DSCF7114smP1370255sm0 locks, 6.41 miles, 2 palaces, 1 wind, 1 empty wee tank, 1 full water tank, 2 mini traction engines, 1 diesel, 0 steam engines, 80 pints to sample, 1 box of drugs, 1 paper, 1 cheese straw, 1 tart, 1 vine of tomatoes, 1 head of broccoli, 200gms mushrooms, 1 stir fry, 2 pints milk, 1 big box of wine, 6 rashers, 0.5 ring of black pudding, 1 blustery wet afternoon, 1 soggy Mick, 1 soggy happy Tilly, 1 refreshed countryside, 10 degrees cooler, 2 boaters who can breath again.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

I Do Like A Good…..Bosworth?! 26th July

Former Railway Bridge 34A

Time for a day off work and time to explore. This did however mean that Tilly wasn’t allowed shore leave this morning, it was my turn to venture away from the boat.

As we were getting ourselves  sorted to go out (sun cream, water etc) a familiar bow came past. It was The Blue Boat, Pat and Roy were stood on the back heading towards Market Bosworth. They are easily recognisable to us due to the design Pat painted around their porthole at the bow, but we disappear into the crowd now, no longer being yellow. Sadly I didn’t manage to get out the front quick enough to say hello, hopefully we’ll be around when they come back. Seeing them means that our summer is now complete, as our paths have crossed the last three years.

P1370123smBeing moored by the old railway line we walked up over the bridge and towards the Bosworth Battlefield Centre. Following the course of the old tracks meant we had plenty of shelter from the sun on what was to become the hottest day of the year, so far. Boards along the track described what happened back in 1485 when King Richard III lost his life at the battle of Bosworth.

P1370136smP1370137smThe walk took us past a spring that King Richard may have drunk from on that fateful day in August, a cairn was erected over the well in 1813. Today it was damp, but we didn’t fancy a drink preferring our bottle of water.

P1370149smBosworth Battlefield Centre was set up in 1974 at Ambion Hill Farm. Based on written theories this was thought to have been the site of the battle on the 22nd August, 1485. Exhibitions were first on display in cow sheds, these gradually expanded and in 1985, the 500th anniversary the new display was visited by the Prince and Princess of Wales. In 2005 Heritage Lottery Funding was given for a survey to try to work out where the actual battlefield was.

P1370127smThis survey took five years to complete and brought together written, topographical and field research. A huge area was covered by metal detectorists and core samples were taken to try to find Shakespeare’s Marsh (yes he’s even here!).  The results proved that the battle actually occurred a mile south west of Ambion Hill, an area covering both sides of Fenn Lane was found to have numerous lead cannon balls.

P1370213smIn 2010 the new exhibitions were put in place regarding the actual location of the battlefield. You can visit the actual site on a guided walk from the centre, £17 for the day but bring your own packed lunch and drinks! A commemorative sundial was put on the top of Ambion Hill to mark the battle and the Battle of Bosworth Trail was opened. By the end of the day we’d walked around the trail, other than the sun dial and spring, it is just a walk with boards telling you about the battle. It doesn’t actually take you to any sites that were associated with the battle, because it wasn’t here, however you can nearly spot the actual site from a good vantage point near the sundial.

P1370158smThe exhibition was very good, it boasts that it is award winning. Modern with flaps to lift and buttons to press.

P1370177smA detailed description of the actual battle using re-enactment footage, a 3D map, suits or armour and coats of arms has to be the centre of the display.

P1370183smP1370185smYou can see how far you could fire an arrow, dress up as knights, watch four accounts of what happened, that Stanley chap was a bit of a wimp (I know his elegancies were split but!).

Plenty to see and you get to vote for who you thought was the best King, Richard or Henry. With our York connections we had no difficulty in our decision.

P1370194smP1370190smBosworth was the last major battle in the Wars of the Roses between the houses of York and Lancaster. Richard III reign began in 1483 after his brother died and Edward V was declared illegitimate and therefore ineligible to be king. Edward and his younger brother then disappeared from the Tower of London never to be seen again and Richards popularity started to decline. Henry Tudor from the House of Lancaster took advantage of Richards difficulties and challenged the throne landing in Wales and drumming up support as he marched is army towards London. Richard mustered his troupes and intercepted Henry near Market Bosworth. It was here that Richard was killed on the battled field, his bloody naked body taken to Leicester and processed through the streets before he was buried in Grey Friars, to be found  500 years later under a car park.

P1370236smP1370238smLunch in the Tithe Barn before we continued our walk around the site of the none battlefield. This brought us down to Shenton Station on The Battlefield Line. Sadly the last returning train had already left and at this end of the line there were no engines to look at, just the station. This has been taken over by two glass artists. Inside on the hottest day of the year was a lady demonstrating how to make a keep sake memory glass stone. The one she was making had bubbles in it which were created by  adding ashes, the ashes she was using today came from a Yorkshire Terrier and was a commission for it’s owner. There were lots of lovely bowls and vases, I nearly bought baubles for Christmas presents, but glass is not the easiest thing to post and space on board is more limited than normal at the moment.

P1370227smReturning to the boat the doors were opened so that Tilly  could explore for the remainder of the afternoon. Our shady spot and closed curtains had managed to keep the interior of the boat coolish, but the temperature soon rose to join that of outside with the doors open.

Tilly came and went a few times but then was gone for a bit too long! Before we ate I did my mad cat woman impression walking up and down the towpath calling and meowing into the hedgerows. After we ate I did the same, then an hour later. The wind had picked up, could she no longer find her scent trail back to the boat, was it the presence of the Blue Boat (this happened on the Macc a couple of years ago). I hung a jumper of mine out the back to give her a familiar smell to follow if she was lost. I’d have also put her litter tray out but it was fresh. The sun dropped below the horizon and we stayed calm, watched TV and waited. I was just about to put shoes on and get the big torch out when there was a thud on the stern, a very hungry Tilly was home, Phew!

It was a long walk to the real battlefield and as they weren’t going to find it I had too! Just some fields, nothing to see really, quite boring.

0 miles, 0 locks, 1 day off, 1 blue boat, 0 battlefields, 1 spring, 2 kings, 1 amputee, 1000 dead, 4 stories, 240m, 2 jacket potatoes, 2 late for trains, 1 very hot lady, 1 alarm, 1 hot boat, 3 hours turned into 6! 1 battlefield, 1 familiar smell, 1 very hot day.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Turning Towards The Dawn. 25th July

Bulkington Bridge to Former Railway Bridge 34A, Ashby Canal

P1370022smBoth of us were awake before the alarm clock this morning (it’s not set very often), so instead of trying to get back to sleep we had a cuppa in bed and then made ready to move. Our plan had been to set off early to try to beat the heat of the day and we succeeded to start off with.

P1370032smP1370043smAfter pushing the bow out I walked along the towpath. My legs and waistline wanted some exercise after sitting at the dinette table for days model making. At 6am we passed Avril’s school soon followed by Charity Dock. Here the only signs of life were the cockerels wanting to come out from their shed, they were quite adamant about it! Jumpers were certainly needed, but we’d both refrained from putting on long trousers.

Mick crept Oleanna past all moored boats, the early morning water ahead showing the bow wave that she pushes. This is the reason you should slow down as you approach moored boats, not just as you pass them. Hopefully nobody stirred from their sleep, I tried to keep on the brittle yellowed grass to quieten my footsteps.

P1370057smA stretch of legs on such a morning was lovely and it gave me the opportunity to check that the way ahead was clear at the junction. It of course was, the sun rising directly above the Ashby Canal.

P1370071smP1370074smMick swung Oleanna’s bow round the tight turn, having to reverse a little to get lined up for the narrow bridge hole and what once was a stop lock.

P1370081smThe sun was blinding but stunning. A water vole startled that it wasn’t on it’s own swam across the cut in front of us, reaching up the wooden boards to clamber out. This is the third one we’ve seen in the last week, not having seen one before other than on TV.

Our aim now was to find a suitable mooring for a few days. Temperatures set to be high again tree cover was needed. Last night we’d decided to head for the old railway bridge but if there was anywhere suitable before hand then we’d stop sooner.

P1370088smI headed below and got my model out from it’s cupboard. Time to set up scenes and see where I’ve got to. The last week has been spent drawing things up and making them, but due to the lack of space it has been hard to have the model box out to look at things in situ as I make them. With such a small model, getting to look at it from a suitable height can be tricksy, so some elevation was required. None of the shelves on the boat have enough depth so in the end a couple of empty wine boxes found themselves with a new purpose. They did the trick.

P1370109smMy hour or so of looking meant I had quite a few things to alter or adjust. Sadly the Dames tuperware cruiser needed remaking, at least I now knew how to make it. Was it possible to make it narrow enough to fit through a narrow auditorium door? Or was it going to have to arrive in several pieces? Would the box office table get in the way? All things you wouldn’t have to consider in a bigger theatre.

Outside Mick gradually warmed up at the helm and poolted Oleanna along. The water point by Watling Street was free so we tied up and replenished Oleanna’s tank whilst having breakfast. A shady spot showed itself by the Farm shop, but the depth was far from enough for us. Even nudging back and forth we still couldn’t get close enough to the edge, on we went.

At Stoke Golding we pulled in just after the wharf and bridge. Not totally to the side and the sun would soon be behind the trees, this would do. The doors opened and Tilly was let out to explore. We soon realised our mistake. The local ducks were adamant that we’d give them some white sliced and we were grating along the bottom. The odd noise is fine in such places, but here we just had to breath!

Tilly seemed to be enjoying herself, but luckily she returned for a drink and the doors were quickly closed behind her. Onwards. Now the sun was at it’s height. Mick covered in a layer of sun cream steered us on, a couple more miles and we dropped off our rubbish. Not far now to the old railway bridge, but would it have been taken by someone else? I stood on the bow hoping it would be free and that the depth would be sufficient. One boat was moored a short distance away but the bridge was free. Wonderful shade from most sides. We pulled in, I hopped of the bow just as it started to scrap along the bottom. The stern was a bit out too. We tried going forwards a bit, then pulling back again to try to find a position where we would touch the bank. This wasn’t going to happen. But as we were a suitable distance from the bridge and the canal was wide enough we decided to call it a day. We only scrape the bottom as boats come past and the shade is very good, it’ll do us nicely.

P1370114smDSCF7114sm0 locks, 12.72 miles, 6am cruising, 3 cockerels, 1 confused cat, 1 right, 1 rising sun, 3rd mooring, 2 outsides, 4 hours turned into 6, 1 new playground, 2 repurposed wine boxes, 11 hours working day, 2nd tuperware, 2 more scenes to go, 1 full stage watched, page 30 passed!


Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Boats Boats Everywhere! 22nd 23rd July

Deepest Darkest Frank Country, Bulkington Bridge 14

It turns out that we are moored in the middle of where our friend Frank grew up. In the past he has pointed to the maps in Nicholsons, his sisters school, where he used to go and watch the trains, where he and his friends used to play alongside the cut. We took notice but never really clocked where these places were. Well just around the bend in front of us is Avril’s school and the Co-Op in Nuneaton is where Frank got his first football boots from, his parents lived near our current mooring and he would cross the bridge behind us to go watch the trains. We are in deepest darkest Frank Country

P1360967smA couple of days of work for me. In the mornings the drawing board has come out from it’s slot so that I can draw up the set for a couple of scenes, then it’s put away to make space for me to make the model of those scenes in the afternoons. Sunday morning Mick managed to keep himself enough space to sit at one end of the sofa and watch The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery which just happened to be on. It’s still rather funny even if you are only listening to it.

P1360970smIn the afternoon Mick had to relocate himself to the towpath for some space. He’s even opened up a book to read, we’ll see if he gets further than page 30 before it joins the other part read books onboard!

P1360958smDuring the morning  plenty of boats came past, nothing unusual in that, it’s very busy along here. However one was strange. As it came past I waved at a lady inside the cabin, she waved back. I then looked up to see that there was nobody at the helm. Maybe they’d just bobbed inside to grab something? No the back doors were shut. It must have had remote control as the tiller was moving and the boat was in full control as it passed us and the other boats moored up. Early last year we shared Calcutt Locks with a chap who steered his boat from the lock top with a remote control. It’s just weird seeing a boat steering itself, like a ghost boat.

IMAG0557smIMAG0558smLate morning a boat pulled into the gap behind us. As he moored he spotted Tilly on the towpath, he’d keep his dog on a lead. The pram cover comes in handy for such moments. If I lie close to it, I can spy woofers along the towpath, but they find it hard to see me, only my head visible, even then most don’t see me.

A catch up with my family in London on the phone informed us that there was quite a lot of post. Some of it important for Mick’s pensions. So instead of us finding somewhere for it to be posted to, Mick decided to have a day trip to London to pick it up. After helping me get the drawing board out Monday morning he headed off to Bedworth Station to catch a train to Nuneaton and then into London. There was quite a bundle of post, some reminding him that he hadn’t filled a form in, other envelopes included items that needed to be included with the form, so the trip was worth it.

I made use of his visit by giving him a shopping list of items I could do with for my model. 4D is a great model shop in the East End, they sell just about any variety of tree so long as it’s to scale along with plenty of other scale things. I was after some lengths of wood and dowel and they were just the place to get them from.

P1360976smP1360980smTilly and I kept ourselves busy, she came and went having a drink on every visit, whilst I got on designing some boats. Two in fact, one for our romantic lead to woo his lovely princess in and the other more brash the Dame’s gin palace cruiser. Whilst I toyed with angles to create a suitably sized tuperware, numerous boats cruised past. I was surrounded by boats. Today has been one of the hottest so far, yet this didn’t deter the masses from cruising. Only about a third hire boats making the most of their holiday. There were several who pulled in for lunch taking advantage of the overhanging trees. One stayed for several hours, their big black poodle shouting as they moored up followed by smelly smoke every now and then.

Our mooring did well. Only about an hour of direct sunlight mid afternoon, which did heat up the cabin somewhat and necessitate me closing the hatch so that I could see what I was doing. But the rest of the day was nearly pleasant.

P1360990smP1370003smOnce Mick was home and my model stowed away again we sat out on the towpath and enjoyed the burgers and kebabs we’d bought in Nuneaton. A suitable way to celebrate living onboard full time for four years. I so hope the bears are still alright guarding our possessions in the attic in Scarborough.


0 locks, 0 miles, 214 boats, 2 at 1:25, 2 days work, 5 trains, 2 tubes, 2 buses, 5 pension letters, 2 birth certificates, 1 pyramid that isn’t there, 1 papyrus ground row, 1 sarcophagus, 1 nice woofer, 1 good vantage point, 1 smelly noisy woofer, 2 hole days of work, 2 burgers, 2 kebabs, 1 very slow cooking bbq, 2 corn, 4th home grown salad, 4 years of floating along full time.