Thursday, 24 January 2019

Watson Fothergill, Stan and Ollie. 22nd January


Geoff stopped by this morning to say goodbye, they were going to make the most of a bright crisp morning and head out of town. Our paths may cross later in the year when we both head southwards.

Some of the morning was spent taking photos of my latest makes for Etsy and uploading them to social media, by the end of the day I’d sold another item and possibly have a new commission, more money for the wine fund!

After lunch we walked up into town, there were a few bits we wanted which I hoped we’d find in Victoria Market. This is situated on the top floor of Intu where John Lewis is. Despite there being quite a few empty stalls, especially in the meat and fish section, there was still a good selection. We found our way to Aladdin’s Cave, which had one of the items on our list. Here they sell all sorts of bits and bobs that would need quite a rootle to find the thing you need, but worth a visit for that curtain track fitting nobody else has anymore. Then on to Wilko for most of the remainder of our list.

Wandering around the streets of Nottingham you see also sorts of wonderful Victorian buildings. Today one stopped us in our tracks and deserved a closer look.

17 George Street was designed by architect Watson Fothergill in 1895 as offices for himself, above the door it says as much. Built in the Gothic Revival style this elaborate building shows off the architects style acting as a three dimensional catalogue. Details include terracotta panels depicting Classical, Medieval and Elizabethan building construction; busts of architects who influenced Fothergill’s style (including Pugin); and a beautiful ornate oriel window. Watson Fothergill was a local architect, his stamp can be seen around the city, but not too much further afield.

A turning lorry in 2015 badly damaged the oriel window. Bonsers were called in to do the rebuilding and conservation works to return the building to its former glory. They did a very good job, if I hadn’t found the article I’d never have known.

Back at The Broadway Cinema to use our £5 vouchers to see Stan and Ollie. We had our free cuppas in hand and found good seats all the time being played the Laurel and Hardy theme tune, with this playing round our heads we wouldn’t take our time getting back to the boat later.

What a lovely film. Funny and touching. The performances are very good. Steve Coogan as Stan is superb all the mannerisms perfectly done. John C Reilly is also great as Ollie. The film covers a grueling music hall tour that the ageing comedy duo undertook across the UK and Ireland in 1953 as they struggle to get another film made (a comic adaptation of Robin Hood, quite apt for us). Lack of publicity means they play to almost empty houses at the beginning of the tour, people thinking they have long since passed away. It focuses on their personal relationship and has some wonderful scenes from their show, the double door routine is very funny. So well worth us coming back to see it, especially for £5 each. Image result for stan and ollie

0 locks, 0 miles, 5 litres damp crystals, 6 fat balls, 3 sachets descaler, 1 block sawdust, NO 17, £5 tickets, 2 great performances, 1 more nice mess, 2 giant crochet baskets, 1 sale, possibly another.

This post done using Tom’s second work around with photos. Maybe a little bit easier, but you still can’t watermark your photos. I’ve done this using a different program

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Heading Upstream. 21st January

County Hall Steps to Sainsburys

We pushed off late morning and instead of winding straight away we went to see what was beyond Wilford Suspension Bridge. With the low sun ahead of us we were glad the river was wide and we’d be unlikely to bump into anyone. The river was far quieter than it had been over the weekend, just a couple of rowers out stretching their limbs.

Pootling upstream of the bridge didn’t really come up with any sights for us, just what seemed to be a long right hand bend. We could have carried on to Wilford Toll Bridge (the head of navigation) but got bored before we got there. What we missed was a modern span between the Grade 2 red bricked original bridge. It now carries the tram, pedestrians and bikes across the Trent.

As soon as we winded the blue sky took over, another lovely winters day to be on the river, well for a short while.

We ran down stream to just beyond Meadow Lane Lock where we winded and then returned to the pontoon. The lock was full, we suspected we knew who’d got here before us this morning, so I went up to empty it for us whilst Mick held onto Oleanna.

Once up we pulled in at the water point to fill up the tank. This morning the gauge had got down to one line above empty, so it was more a full fill than a top up. The pressure from the tap was incredibly poor, just slightly more than a trickle. We didn’t remember this tap being so bad, maybe something happened when C&RT closed the showers and other facilities after they’d been vandalised. The hour and a half it took to fill kept us busy. A full sweep through, empty the yellow water tank, a relaxed lunch and dispose of the rubbish.

By the time we got the boom from the tank to say we were full the blue skies had vanished. Onwards up Castle Lock, a handy hint if going up here don’t stand facing your boat as it comes into the lock. Why? All the pigeons roosting under the bridge fly out straight at you!

As the moorings at the back of Sainsburys came into view so did the stern of a familiar boat, the possible reason Meadow Lock had been full. NB Seyella has made their way down from being trapped up on the Leeds Liverpool Canal for most of the summer, they came up the tidal Trent last week so we knew our paths would cross at some point. We’d last seen them on New Years Eve 2017 in Llangollen basin. Today we had a catch up with Geoff on the towpath, much easier to do this than when passing on the river.

2 locks, 2.57 miles, 2 winds, 1 stretch of new water, 90 minutes to fill, 1 empty wee tank, 0 rubbish, 1 blogger boat, 2 long at the water point to go to the pictures, 1 giant crochet bag finished, 1 cat not fooled, we’re back where we were!

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Roll, Fold, Turn, Rest. 20th January

County Hall Steps

A busy day down on the river, we’ve had all sorts of boats come by. Rowing boats with 1 to 8 rowers, canoes, a trip boat, a couple of narrowboats and a dragon boat. We are no longer on own here as both narrowboats pulled in to join us. Tilly has been doing her best to go out, except only a couple of minutes later she is back at the hatch desperately wanting to come back in, she really doesn’t like here!

This morning Mick gave the Lock Keeper at Cromwell a call. We knew that we’d have to wait for a passage on the Tidal Trent, due to the tides and day light. The chap was helpful as they usually are, we could make our way to Torksey just about anytime we wanted, but the next good time to leave there to head to Keadby would be in a couple of weeks time. To reach Keadby in daylight (and when the lock is open) he suggested two days. Keadby had just rung him to say that the lock was in need of dredging, so we should check before we head out onto the tideway. With this information we can now plan our journey downstream a bit better and just hope Keadby is dredged so as not to hold us up any longer. Looking back to when we picked Oleanna up from Sheffield two years ago we were very fortunate with the tides. We managed to catch an early tide that carried us all the way from Keadby to Cromwell in one go and hadn’t had to hang around waiting for it.

Today we got to sample my first attempt at homemade gluten free puff pastry (recipe link). Yesterday I started the process mixing up gf self raising flour, salt, xanthum gum, eggs with some water, this had to be kneaded for a few minutes and then left to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours. A full block of butter (beware arteries!) was pummelled into a flat sheet between some greaseproof paper and set hard in the fridge for an hour. Then the timer was kept busy through the rest of the day. Once the pastry was rolled out, butter added and the whole thing folded it was left to rest for an hour. The timer would go, pastry turned through 90 degrees, rolled out again and folded back into three, wrapped up and left to rest for another hour. This process was done five times.

I really was not convinced it was going to work. The eggs we had weren’t large to start with so the pastry was maybe a little bit dry, I did add a touch more water. With each fold the pastry cracked and butter could be seen. The last fold looked like there was only a mottling of pastry around the butter. Mick was more confidence than me. The pastry was wrapped up one last time and left in the fridge overnight, something to do with GF flour taking longer to absorb moisture. We waited to see what the morning would bring.

With three sausages about to go out of date I had the opportunity to make some sausage rolls. The sausage meat had other things added and it was time to see what magic the fridge had mustered overnight.

The raggedy edges didn’t look too promising and the butter in places had stuck to the clingfilm (well it’s called that for a reason!). I chopped a slice off the block and put the remainder in the freezer, if it was no good it could always go in the bin. Rolling out it decided to do what it wanted, creating a crinkly shape that I couldn’t control. Sausage meat added to the middle. Then I came to roll it up, I’d made a mistake, I’d dusted the top with flour so the rolling pin didn’t stick, but not the greaseproof paper I was rolling it on, it had stuck. I carefully prised it away and created a roll, was everything just going to melt into a runny mess in the oven?!

The wiggly edge got trimmed, rolled out thinner and some cheese added then rolled up again. Egg washed and ready, the oven was set to slightly hotter than I’d normally do sausage rolls, hoping the heat would help fluff everything up. Only time would tell now.

After 15 minutes they were turned round, after 22 lifted onto their sides to crisp off the bottoms (which actually looked like they didn’t need it), then the full 25 minutes was over and they came out and onto the cooling rack. They looked good, but was that the egg wash or was there lamination in there too?

Verdict, amazingly good lamination (layers of pastry for those who don’t watch Bake Off), absolutely no soggy bottoms (which was a regular occurrence with shop bought pastry), crispy, flaky, certainly not chewy (as shop bought gluten free pastry) but maybe a little bit too thick (rolling pin operator error). Well a success! I was a touch surprised.

As we’d consumed around a third of a block of butter we had an afternoon stroll along the river bank heading downstream.

After Trent Bridge there are numerous rowing clubs the nicest was the University Boat House built in the 1930’s. Trent Lock, the first on the Grantham Canal looked very shallow. It is no longer connected to the canal as roads have been built  blocking it’s route. Built in 1797 it was used to transport coal to Grantham and closed in 1936.

From Lady Bay Bridge The Hook (a nature reserve) now stretches northwards covering approximately 15 hectares. We followed the river path passing familiar sights. New flats are going up opposite the 1km mark and the Ewings still have their curtains closed at Southfork Ranch.

We walked as far as the sailing club, the weir at Holme Lock just in view. Our return walk crossed The Hook where linear moles seem to have moved in, leaving long lines of earth. We came back along streets filled with high end bathroom and kitchen shops bringing us back to Trent Bridge. Not quite 10,000 steps but enough to make up for lunch.

0 locks, 0 miles, 3.6 miles walked, 2 weeks to wait, 8 sausage rolls, 2 cheese things, 243 layers (possibly), 1st attempt a success, 2 pairs gloves added to Etsy, 1 giant crochet project started, 1 bored cat!

PS This post has been written using Tom’s work around for adding photos. It takes forever, no offence Tom.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Toilet Survey. 19th January

County Hall Steps

Luckily we are awake just shortly before the weekend rowers start. They are mostly okay, it’s just their trainers who shout or talk through loud hailers from the banks cycling up and down that are a touch annoying.

Cob Emporium

Mick last night had loosened off our ropes so any passing boats, or movement inside was making us bob around a lot. He soon tightened them up, being awake should the river level change we’d be able to adjust them.

Trent Bridge

A walk to find our Saturday newspaper took us through the car park at County Hall and along some streets behind. We were successful on our first attempt so carried on to look at Trent Bridge (cricket ground). All the gates were locked, no match today!

Flood levels

A few more steps were needed before returning to the boat so we crossed over Trent Bridge (the bridge) to walk up the other side of the river. Along side the bridge on the West bank are flood markings carved into the stonework. The flood in 2000 was nowhere near the height of that in 1875 which was the second highest recorded. Many streets were flooded, there are numerous etchings of trains battling their way through the flood water.

An artists impression of 1875 floods.

On 17 –18th March 1947 the Trent which had been rising ever higher, overtopped its banks in Nottingham. Large parts of the city and surrounding areas were flooded with 9,000 properties and nearly a hundred industrial premises were affected some to first floor height. The suburbs of Long Eaton, West Bridgford and Beeston all suffered particularly badly. Two days later, in the lower tidal reaches of the river, the peak of the flood combined with a high spring tide flooded 2,000 properties in Gainsborough. Luckily for us the river is behaving at the moment.

Submerged Steps

Walking past Wilford Suspension Bridge we decided to look at the other mooring marked on our Waterway Routes map. Here there are the big steps too, these continue down into the water, so mooring on this side of the river would mean us having an 18inch gap before we got to dry land. We decided to stay put even though Oleanna looked very lonely all by herself.


If you fancy a riverside property in Nottingham there is one just by the bridge with a lot of original features, one of which is no central heating! But the views across the river to the war memorial are great.

Lonely Oleanna

We returned to the boat to find a couple taking photos of Oleanna. Izzy is doing a project on Narrowboats so we had quite a long chat through the hatch. They had visited Foxton and I suggested a few more places to visit too.

That way

The afternoon was taken up with working my way through my tax return as Nottingham Forest fans walked to and froe from the City Ground in their thousands.
My earnings for the year were so small it wasn’t giving me the option to enter my self employed earnings and therefore be able to pay Class 2 NI. Reading the notes it suggested that if my earnings were likely to be higher next year then I should fill out the relevant sections, the only way to do this was to lie in the initial questions. All is now filed and my NI payment is waiting to be sent in a few days time.

First blossom

Now to the title of this post. When we attended the composting toilet workshop held by Kate Saffin in Banbury before Christmas, she said that she was compiling a boaters toilet survey. This was to cover all types of toilet, how they are used and what facilities there are on the waterways, if there are gaps in services which could be rectified. Her survey has now gone live. No matter what sort of toilet you have/plan to have/ are thinking about, the survey has relevant questions. With the information collated (all anonymously) gaps in services, better solutions can be found, evidence passed on to C&RT, the EA, Avon Trust etc and hopefully improvements made. You can even vote for the best kept facilities on the network, so it’s not all about things that could be improved. The greater number of people to fill the survey in, the greater body of information to pass onto the navigation authorities. Kate puts it all a lot better in the welcome section of the survey.

Here is the link

0 locks, 0 miles, 5000 steps each not enough!, 2 bridges, 1 newspaper, 12 sprouts, 1st blossom, 30,000 fans, class 2 paid, 1 very uncertain cat, 1 quieter evening.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Giant Steps Or Little Cat. 18th January

Sainsburys to County Hall Steps, River Trent

Despite the students across the way being quiet since we’ve been in Nottingham we decided to move away for the weekend. It would also give us a change of scenery.

Before we could move off we had that triple nectar points voucher to use at Sainsburys. To our surprise we were down to our last box of wine, despite us having two alcohol free days a week since the start of January. So a biggish shop was done, extra points added to our account. Did we get a voucher? Yes …. but for home and car insurance! They obviously haven’t been fooled by us this time and know we’ll be back next week when they will give us another triple point voucher.

With everything stowed we had lunch and then pushed off. We’d originally thought of winding and going back out to Beeston, there had been space there with the winter moorers but the proximity of the road would make me reluctant to let Tilly out. There is space closer to town where she’d be fine on the towpath apart from the cyclists. 

Waiting to fill Castle Lock

@2019 Leckenby
Nottingham old BW warehouse

In the end we decided to head down Castle and Meadow Lane Locks back onto the river and moor at County Hall steps. The river having behaved itself shouldn’t cause us problems  and it is away from the road there so Tilly would be allowed out.

Station Street Bridge

Curving wall cut off and steps installed

Not quite enough layers on meant we got a touch chilly heading through town, we were glad the stove was glowing inside keeping Tilly nice and warm. Station Street Bridge, just after the big 90 degree bend looks like it used to be a roving bridge. It still is, but has had part of it’s curving wall removed and steps have replaced the slope. A new section of railway bridge was being slotted in between two older bridges near the station.

Trent Bridge ahead

Above Meadow Lane Lock we disposed of our rubbish before descending. I could see that there was plenty of space for us down on the steps so once back on board we swept round to face Trent Bridge, passing under it and on towards the steps. Two cruisers and a widebeam were moored up, so we pulled in at a good distance away from the bridge and car parks some distance behind the other boats. 

The flow of  the river meant the bow was constantly wanting to pull outwards and the distance between rings meant our ropes would be tight, not a good thing on a river. So we repositioned ourselves so we had some spare rope. As soon as we were happy with everything the other boats pulled out, winded and headed towards the lock, maybe we smell!

Funny wall this

This outside has a wall, but no ordinary wall. The blocks are big and they can walk up them, I have to jump them one at a time to get to the top. Across the elevated towpath there are good sideways trees, but far too many bicycles to get there. This all made me quite panicky as waiting at a safe distance for a gap meant the people had no legs, some of them no bodies only heads. What sort of outside is this!?!

Giant steps or little cat?

Tilly ran back and forth in quite a tizz before eventually she plucked up the courage and went to check out the sideways trees. She wasn’t there long.

During this evening the rowers have subsided in number but been replaced by very noisy teenagers just above our mooring, They all must be very deaf!

2 locks, 2.4 miles, 6 boxes, 1 useless voucher, 90 degree bend, 180 degrees onto the river, 8 giant steps, 1 little cat, 3 rowers, 17 VERY NOISY teenagers.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Silver Screen. 17th January


The Broadway Cinema, on Broad Street in Nottingham is an independent cinema. Every Thursday morning and early afternoon they have a Silver Screen showing of one of the films that are currently on. Today was Stan and Ollie. We could either go at 10.30am or 1.30pm, it being a 25 minute walk from our mooring we chose the later.

Unfortunately it turned out these screenings are very popular, or maybe it was just this film. Your hair doesn’t have to be silver or have a lack of hair to get in, everyone is charged £5 no matter what your age, you also get a free cuppa with your ticket. Today however the film was full, they were showing it on two screens. We were disappointed, but were handed a voucher each to be able to see the film at the same price at a different time, brilliant! We'll return.

The Favourite had also caught our eye, so as we’d made the effort on a chilly day we booked for the next showing. This left us with sometime to kill, so we had a wander around town.

I have a voucher for The White Company, we had a look around their shop. Just about everything in the shop being white isn’t the best thing when you have a cat who doesn’t understand about wiping her paws. They do a range of crockery which was interesting but they didn’t have much stock, thankfully they have a click and collect service. So some perusing of the website is needed.

Reflections on a blue skied day

Next we went into Whittards to stock up on my morning tea, which is actually their Afternoon Tea. They only had it in tea bags which just isn’t the same. We asked the ladies in the store if my tea (that I’ve been drinking just about every morning for decades, since I was a student in fact) was still available in loose leaf. As far as they knew it was only available in an Alice in Wonderland tea caddy, but they did have some old stock which was reduced, thank goodness! The tea caddy is £11 and I already have a caddy so spending the extra £5 just to be able to drink my tea in the mornings is not on. We bought four packs and I have since checked their website, it is only available in the caddy. I have sent them a stern email hoping that I’m not going to have to remove some of Oleanna’s ballast and replace it with what old stock I can find.

Back at the cinema we weren’t expecting to be sat with too many people, but the big comfy seats got fuller and fuller. Maybe there were others like us who’d made the effort to come into town and not managed to get to see Stan and Ollie, so got tickets for the next film.

Set in the early 18th Century as Queen Anne’s health is deteriorating, her friend Lady Sarah tends to her needs and advises her over the war in France. Lady Sarah is the wife of Lord Marlborough of Blenheim Palace fame. Sarah’s cousin Abigail, once a lady in her own right, arrives hoping for a job in the palace and soon she wins the Queens attentions and maybe affections. Olivia Colman is superb as Queen Anne, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone aren’t bad either.

A wonderful tapestry clad room
Such wigs

Filmed mostly on location at Hatfield House the settings are historically plush and the mens wigs so large. Yorgos Lanthimos’s use of natural lighting is wonderfully atmospheric where in the night time scenes the only illumination comes from numerous candles. It really gives you a feeling of what life was like before gas or electric lighting. A funny, wicked and filthy film, no wonder it is turning heads at the awards.

Is anyone else having hassles with Open Live Writer? It won't let me upload photos in a post.

0 locks, 0 miles, 10,000 steps each, 4 pouches tea, 1 voucher still unspent, 2 much white, 2 vouchers, 0 cuppas, 1 full, 1 OAP at the flicks.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Playing The Sainsburys Game. 16th, 17th January

As the marina was closed on Tuesday Mick took our life jackets in first thing Wednesday. They have now been sent off and will take around a week to come back. Thank you all for your comments regarding doing it ourselves, we’ll look into it further and be prepared to do it next year, near a handy address for any spare parts that may be required.

Being back in civilisation means there are things that need doing. Christmas vouchers to spend, tea to stock up on. The slippers Mick got for his birthday from Tilly had sprung a leak, I’d tried to mend them, but the glue wasn’t strong enough to hold the top to the bottom. These are sheepskin slippers with an outdoor sole, so not cheap and had been proving to be very good, mine have lasted over five years. They have been sent back to either be replaced or reglued, we’re waiting to hear.

Tip of Tilly's tail just visible

The trip to the Post Office was delayed somewhat as the heavens opened, quite a downpour it was too. So thoughts of going for a walk around Nottingham were put on hold. Tilly however was not put off. Out of her sulk, neck nearly back to normal, It takes an awful lot of grooming (two whole days) to get my fur back to being gleaming and sleek, her collar was put back on with a new bell and out she went. Straight into the sideways trees by the boat. An extra rule today, ‘Mind the bikes’, they don’t half hurtle along the towpath here.

I decided it was a perfect day to do my accounts for last year. In the old days this would take several days even though I’d done my best to keep things up to date as the year went on, a day to check everything over and then hand them on to my accountant. But as my earnings for the last few years from being self employed have not come to enough to pay an accountant I don’t need one anymore, however the tax man still wants me to do a tax return.

How depressing our rental income was for that year, tenants who’d left the house in a state, loosing their bond and it costing us more to put right! Then a rotten joist in a backroom meant we had to have the kitchen floor dug up, concrete, etc, give a months free rent to our new tenants, the year just kept on taking our income away from us.

Tilly helping with maths

By late afternoon all the figures were ready, I was all prepared to make a start on putting figures into boxes. But where had self assessment gone? It took forever to find it rather than just information on why I should be doing one. Then there were so so many questions, to tailor my tax return to my income and make it easier. There were far more than there used to be. This was meant to save me time, but took nearly as long as it used to take me to fill the whole return in!

Time to put numbers in, I’d checked about what I could claim back regarding the work we had done on the house, most of it not included! But new carpets, curtains, mending leaks on bay windows were. With only a few questions in front of me at a time I put numbers in, only to be told that I was wrong! I persevered only to find a question on the next page where some of the expenses should be. Going back I altered the figures, but this then lost the next section I’d already filled out! GRRRR!!!!! This was going to take quite a lot of concentration and everyone was wanting to be fed, so I closed it down to revisit another day, that’s if I can find the bloomin thing again, it’s not as if I owe them any money anyway.

A small dusting

Thursday morning was bright if cold. There had been an icing sugar dusting of snow overnight. With temperatures set to be lower in the coming days we decided to stock up on coal and diesel before the marina possibly froze. The canal has a flow to it, so hopefully will stay liquid. After breakfast we rolled up the frozen covers, persuaded frozen ropes to untie and pushed off reversing to the marina entrance. This is so much easier on Oleanna than it was on Lillian. Oleanna behaves better and when she starts to drift a touch of the girlie button helps to correct things.

Stocking up

We turned into the marina, winded and reversed to the service pontoon. This is where the slipway is, so you have to be careful not to go too far. It was recommended that we nudged forward if we were going to fill the diesel tank as our skeg might just end up on the bottom with all the extra weight, so we did. Four bags of coal, gas and a full tank of diesel, hopefully this will see us into Yorkshire. We pulled back out onto the canal and moored on the same two rings.
Nottingham Castle covered in scaffolding

The moorings here are very handy for Sainsburys, so we tend to pop in and buy things as we need them. Mick has already been on several such trips. In the past the voucher machine has  been really glad to see us again and offered us a voucher for double points or extra bonus points on things we tend to buy, although not on wine! However the really good voucher will only be produced on a big shop as a reward and to tempt us back in next week to do the same again. But these sort of vouchers on a final shop are usually worthless to us, so we try playing them at their own game. We start off with just a few bits, no voucher, a few more, no voucher, a semi shop (over £10) this one quite often works, but hasn’t this time! It may be because we have a double points voucher that runs out tomorrow. But we may try and call their bluff. We’ll do a big shop, using our voucher and most probably be given another. This time though we’ll be back in time to use it before it runs out.

0 locks, 0.18 miles mostly reversed, 180 degrees, 1 wind, 1 left, £4k, 0 useful at Gov Gateway, 1 hour hunting, 2 much! 1 freezing morning, 4 bags excell, 83 litres, 1 empty wee tank, 1 new gas bottle, 2 slipper in the post, 1 new blue bell, 2 chilly to be out for long.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Windlass Lessness. 15th January

Trent Lock Pontoon to Sainsburys, Nottingham and Beeston Canal

IMG_20190115_083410smAnother lovely sunny morning, we woke to pink clouds across the river, these weren’t of interest to our silent Second Mate, the gulls kept her focus. I think she’s forgiven us for yesterday, nearly!

IMG_20190115_105559smAfter breakfast we put our layers and life jackets on and said goodbye to our neighbours. Over night we protected them from the wind and the noisy lapping of the river on our hull. I suspect the pontoon also cuts down the noise, so that is the reason they were on the inside as they will be there for two weeks.

I untied the bow first (we’d moored using innie ropes) as this was only holding the boat in to the pontoon. The stern rope was doing all the work of stopping us from drifting downstream  so was left until I had stepped on board having given Oleanna a little push, the flow of the river then did the rest helping her to turn.

IMG_20190115_110302smSecond left and we were into Cranfleet Cut, a big sign showing us the way north. From here everything is very familiar, three/four years ago we had to loiter near to Nottingham for me to visit the hospital weekly to get physio for my hand so we got to know the area quite well. HS2 will cross the cut in years to come and just add another railway bridge to the landscape here. The tap above Cranfleet Lock now has a tap fitted to it, there was one time when you needed molegrips to turn the water on, but as the pressure was only a trickle it wasn’t worth it, today we carried on.

IMG_20190115_111805smIMG_20190115_111817smNo need for windlass’s today as both locks we’d be doing have them welded onto the paddle gear. The lock needed filling so the top gate paddles were lifted, all four of them. When coming up this lock you have to take care in which paddle you lift when, best to stay back and even better to share it with another boat. The Lockie grins away waist deep in the flower bed, he’s only here for show!

IMG_20190115_121825smRiver cruising is good for diesel engines, no longer constrained to going slowly, it is also good for doing your washing. One load was put on before we left Trent Lock, once this was well on it’s way to finishing the dishwasher was put on. The river is wide with several obstacles you have to avoid. Today there were masses of geese, Canadian and Greylags. It was interesting to see when they decided to fly off only one species would go leaving the other behind.

IMG_20190115_122647smAt Beeston Lock a boat had just left the lock coming our way, but his didn’t mean it would be in our favour. On leaving this lock you leave a red paddle up at both ends to keep a flow of water running through Nottingham, so the chamber starts to empty straight away. Once set we worked our way down, Mick taking Oleanna to the water point whilst I closed and lifted paddles.

IMG_20190115_123424smThe cottages just by the lock have now been restored and are open as the Canal Heritage Centre. These cottages were first detailed on the 1839 census, with 21 people living on site, but by 1980 the last inhabitant moved out. By 2010  the Canal Heritage Centre Trust was formed with the aim of creating a new community facility at the workers cottages. Works were on going when we last came through  April 2017 and the centre is now open to the public. There is a tea room, exhibition space along with community activities including a Classic Film Club run every two weeks in the afternoon.

We made use of the time on the water point, did another load of washing hoping to top up the tank before moving off. Keeping a watchful eye out we had lunch too, if anyone came wanting to use the services we’d have moved off, but luckily they didn’t.

IMG_20190115_135614smIMG_20190115_142415smNow the plod into town. The daffodils are shooting up to find light by the willow trees, we saw our first snowdrops the other day! The new bridge crossing the canal to Boots is open, bits of work still happening around it and the locals have already left their marks. The works on the off side always amuse us with the funny noises, Nottingham Ready Mix Co. Spurts of ingredients get blown from hoppers, each making slightly different shhhht noises, it’s almost musical. There seem to be more toilets too.

IMG_20190115_101752smJust after Castle Marina the visitor moorings start, the first stretch is currently filled with cruisers who all look settled for two weeks and have left modesty gaps between themselves! New posh student rabbit hutches are going up next door to the existing block. So we had a choice of builders, students or road noise. In the end we just moored at the end of the cruisers, within easy walking distance to Sainsburys.  The builders won’t be noisy at night and the building looks to be made mostly from glulam so it shouldn’t be too loud. The road quietens down overnight, lets just hope the current residential students are quieter than the first lot we encountered here who chatted and laughed away the nights.

DSCF7121sm2 locks, 8.18 miles, 2nd left, 1 cheesy grin, 2 loads washing, 1 dishwasher, 1 full tank water, 1 wet neck, 9 toilets, 6 git gaps, 1 marina closed on Tuesdays, 3 life jackets still waiting.