Perfect Harmony

Perfect Harmony
Moored at Huntingdon

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

24th Oct '11

The marina has been filling up in the last few weeks as boats come in for winter. Lots of people cruise for 6 months during the summer and then book into a marina for the winter, but this means nowhere to park vehicles and not for us!
Anyway, we suddenly found that the way we were moored meant that we no longer had any view out of our windows in the living area so today we took advantage of the lovely weather and have turned the boat around!
It makes so much difference and we have found that the sun has been shining on the cratch all day as that is more or less due south, so all in all it's been a good move. Paddy has longer to run along the sides but I'm just hoping the sight of all the coots, swans and geese out there don't give him ideas of jumping in again!
We will just have to remember for his last night and early morning walks to get out of the boat on the right side or it could be interesting!
I only have a couple of days to go till my operation now so am looking forward to being able to get out and about again!

looking straight out of the cratch across to the towers behind all the marina buildings - looks as if they might be demolished next year but we are hoping for a reprieve!

looking across to the entrance sort of north eastish from us.

We are here on the left so this is now Paddy's little exercise yard! The boat 'Serenity' is a wide-beam and is moored on the further jetty so we have a bit of space between us.

Here we are - note Paddy's tail wagging!

.....and from the other side - you can see 'Angel' (Kev and Angie's boat) moored next to us and 'Serenity' beyond.

I had to take 2 lots of these photos because there was a bug (small creepy sort) in the camera and was walking across the lens from the inside on the first lot. Don't know where the little buggers gone but it's still in there somewhere as there is no way to get into the camera!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

19th Oct '11

Time for my monthly update -everything is waiting for my op next week and then hopefully we can start thinking of what to do.
The marina is fast filling up with boats coming in for the winter and there is a smell of stoves burning, which is lovely!
There is a bonfire being built for Nov 5th when there will be a firework party here - hopefully I shall then be able to enjoy a hotdog and some wine / beer!!!!
Looking forward to seeing people again after the op - Carolyn (an old school chum) is going to come up from Birmingham and my brother Colin and Nicky are also coming for a weekend, hopefully before Christmas.
We are off for a long weekend in the van (which is being repaired at the moment) in mid-november down to Stratford with Paul and Rachel and all the dogs (should be some interesting pictures then).
Otherwise we are waiting to hear when Tom and Francesca return from their trip to China - they have now been there nearly 3 weeks and are returning to Germany in a couple of weeks time - it will be SO good to see them again.
We have booked a week in Tenerife just before Christmas to get a bit of sun before the winter chill - hoping that Chloe and Tom & Francesca might be able to come but nothing has been confirmed as yet.
Other than that, life is going on slowly - still enjoying being afloat but are looking at how to draught-proof the boat against the winter winds.

I shall add some pictures from our walks in the peaks - just to keep you interested!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Well here I am again and I realise it's nearly a month since I put anything on here - sorry!

We have had a visit from Steve and Pam who stayed with us on the boat for 2 nights which meant that we were able to go a bit farther afield. They arrived on John's 65th birthday and so we thought it would be nice to go down to the Bubble for a birthday meal - especially since this was where Rob and Michelle announced their news so it had very happy memories for us. We arrived without incident and had a few drinks on the boat first then leaving Paddy with a kong full of pate, we walked over to the pub. It seemed strangely full but as it was bank holiday Sunday we didn't think too much of it until we got inside where it was HEAVING. They had had a boxing match in the marquee and now it was being followed by very loud live music (we are getting old). We were told that they weren't doing food so leaving the others to have a drink or three I dashed back to the boat to see what was in the freezer. John's birthday meal comprised of meatballs in homemade tomoto sauce on spaghetti - what a feast! Followed by some more drinks and good company the evening was lovely if not exactly what had been planned!
We cruised off next day to Shardlow through indeterminate weather that meant we needed our rainwear and although pleasant was not as nice as it would have been if it had been sunny. There were several double locks to navigate but having 4 people made it a doddle and we usually had someone to go down with which made it easier yet.
When we got to Shardlow - low and behold who should be there but 3 boats from our jetty, moored up right next to the Clock Warehouse where we were going to eat! Result! We moored up alongside Thomas (thanks Ian and Sarah) and after taking Paddy for a well deserved walk we went in and had a somewhat belated birthday meal which was lovely (thanks Steve and Pam!).
The others wanted to be off early next morning which suited us so we had a relatively early night in preparation for the next day.
Unfortunately my gall stones decided to give me grief and so the other 3 had to do all the work while I curled up on the settee trying to get some rest and failing miserably. Paddy was at his wits end - he kept coming down to see me - jumping up for a cuddle and then racing back up to see the others in case he missed something. Poor chap really didn't know what to do!
We got back and by that time I was feeling almost human so got lunch for us all and then Steve and Pam took their leave - it was our first experience of people actually sleeping on the boat and all went well - apparently the spare bed is comfy and Paddy only had one off moment when he was apparently sitting on Steves lap at the back (where I would usually sit) and forgot it wasn't me and was none to pleased to discover his mistake!
Pam has sent me pictures but I can't download them - so sorry about all the writing.

We have also been making good use of our new car - exploring the peaks - heres some photos to prove it!

These are all from my phone as I forgot the camera - this is Bakewell (of the tart and yes I bought one and yes it was GREAT!)

more Bakewell.

This is at Ilam - this is a National Trust property that is used as a youth hostel - has to be the most up market one I've ever seen!

looking down to the river Manifold (not one I'd heard of before)

Then yesterday we went up to Dovedale and had a walk up to Milldale which was 6mile there and back and luckily the weather only started to drizzle as we returned to the car! Photos seem to have disappeared from that trip - so you'll have to take my word for it! It was very nice though!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

23rd August '11

I know I haven't put a lot on lately but am struggling with what has turned out to be gall stones and I've been suffering so apologies. Having said that we haven't been out in the boat since the show so there's not been a lot to report.
We had a few days on Exmoor with Katie, Simon and their respective children which was nice. The journey there and back was interesting (when you take interesing to mean horrible, scary and we won't be doing THAT again in the van). We were camped in Doone Valley, and the scenery was amazing but the weather was not brilliant.
There was a stream running through the valley that Paddy took full advantage of!

Further up the valley it became quite isolated....

Katie, Simon, Jacob and Kera claim this land for Britain (didn't like to tell them - bless!)

Up this high and the land was suprisingly boggy - guess who hadn't put their walking boots in the van?

there's nothing like sitting around an open fire when you're out camping! Simon was not to be deterred by a little rain.... (actually quite a lot of rain AND it was quite cool for August!)

Jacob being sensible and taking shelter in the van with Granny! Checking to see exactly where we were.

This is the Church at Oare where Lorna Doone was married - I wasn't well enough to get there so John walked and took this for me - thank you xxxx

This is the plaque in the Church dedicated to RD Blackmoor - if any of you haven't read Lorna Doone SHAME on you - and get off to read it now..... questions will be asked later.

We are unable to plan what we are going to do over the next few months until we know what is happening with my operation - we had planned to go to Llangoglen in September but we shall see. In the meantime we have Steve and Pam coming at the weekend and so we will go off for a short cruise with them - can't wait to get out and about again.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

2nd Aug.'11

Back from the show - glad we went but very disappointed with the range of stalls there. We went with a long list of things to buy from a heavy duty fuse to a new length of centre rope and we couldn't buy any of them. There were stands there by the hundred for canal restoration and plenty of food outlets but nothing in the way of chandlers apart from a stand run by the chandlers we have on the marina, and they didn't have any of the stuff that we wanted! We shall have to go into the shop here and get it but we were hoping for the 15% show discount!!

Our mooring was just over a mile from the site - due to us booking late - won't make that mistake again! and we were next to a lorry transport depot so there were tooting horns all through the day and night as lorries came and went.

The highlight of the event was that we got to both the Mikron Theatre productions and they were both great as ever. This is a troupe of 4 actors who travel around (on a canal boat much of the time) and perform funny yet meaningful shows. The ones we saw were about the start of the canal network in England thanks to the 3rd Earl of Bridgwater and the story of beer brewing since it was at Burton which is one of the brewing centres in the country!

Knowing how most people are here for the pictures here we go - lets hope they upload quicker than last time! (I'm doing this in between going up to the laundry by the way!)

Just before we left for the festival John caught this beast - it's about 20lb carp and has to be one of the fattest most ugly fish I've ever seen but he was delighted with it! There are carp in the marina at least twice this size but this is pretty impressive - there you go Kev - proof he did it!

Arriving at the show was interesting - as we got nearer the centre the boats were moored 2 on one side and 1 on the other leaving a gap just wide enough for one boat to get through - there were a couple of passing places and it all went off OK apart from as we were nearing the only lock we had to go through, a boat came up from behind and started to overtake - we called out that we were 5th in line and they would be 6th and it turned out that it was being crewed by two older ladies, one of whom was deaf and the other hadn't ever done it before. It took several people to get them in the right place and we were heartily glad that they didn't have to travel far as they were in a disabled spot near the centre. Apparently deaf Doris is well known on the water and avoided whenever possible although she's a sweetie when you meet her off the boat - just totally out of control when aboard!!!

Two old working boats coming down a lock - the one in front Nuneaton is towing Brighton so has to go down the lock first then wait at the door for the second boat to go through and then ties up and tows her off again - it obviously takes a bit of time to do this - no-one's on the boats if they like speed!

These two pictures were taken from the central footbridge showing some of the moored boats - if you could see a mile into the distance from the lower picture you would see us!

On Sunday after the show had closed lots of boats were moving away before the rush - we had to book our sailing out time on the Monday - so we took advantage of that and moved down nearer to the road into town so we could get some bits and pieces on Monday morning. Paddy and I walked down with the walkie talkie and found a slot and told John to come on down and while we were waiting another boat from the other direction came into the space. It's not like a car park where you can say excuse me but this is our place - so we headed back up and found another place where a fisherman was sat right in the middle. Being desperate since John was already cruising along and had no-where to go, I put on my helpless female face and asked if he would mind moving a bit as he could go either in front or behind us when we were moored. Much to my delight (and suprise because some of the fishermen don't have great relationships with boaters) he agreed and moved all his stuff for us - not only that but he held the rope while we got moored! We ended up chatting the rest of the evening with him and he and John had so much in common I was expecting to find they were long lost cousins! I took some pictures but they went a bit wierd for some reason.

On Monday we started home and got to just before the lock and since there was a boat in front, John said he'd pull in a gap and go to check what was happening ahead. This was a bad move...... there was a sudden horrible noise from the deck and John checked the prop shaft and found the remains of a pop-up tent, complete with all the stainless steel wire, wrapped around the shaft.

This is just some of the mess!

over 3 hours later and he finally gets it all out - thanks here go to the owner of Elizabeth who loaned us a cutting tool that got through the wire or we'd still be there I think!

This is Elizabeth - one of the first working boats to be converted - and it's gone through many stages including being a sailing boat at one time! This conversion was in 1936 I think and the owners have had her for 45 years! You are unlikely to see anything else quite like this on the canals!

We got home eventually to find our new neighbours - Serenity - moored up alongside. She's a wide-beam and they are fitting her out themselves so there will be lots of excitement to come!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

26th July '11 part 2

Right let's have another go....

There was a gala here on the first weekend in July and here is a photo of the beer tent! There was some brilliant music and being old and grumpy we stayed on the boat and listened to it as that meant the volume was just right for us!

 In the previous shot you can just see a canoe coming into view - here it is with our mate Chris (kneeling up) in his canoe in front of his boat (with the green cover). He is a canoe enthusiast who takes people around the marina and up to Willington on nice evenings. Despite repeated explanations about the fact that I don't like water (I know I live on a boat, am a Pisces and was born in Brighton - but there you go) and wild horses wouldn't get me into something as small as a canoe, he insists that he WILL take me out for a paddle at some point. I think not!!!!!

John proudly shows off a bream that he caught - there are a lot of fish in the marina and John, Kev and other John spend a lot of time on the ends of their boats dangling things in the water! Some of the carp we have seen are huge - about 4' and on sunny, calm days they casually swim around the edges of the water just to show they are there! Don't think anyone's caught one of the big boys yet.

Rob, Michelle and puppy Lilly came for a visit and here Michelle is getting Lilly aboard ready for me to take the boat through the lock while the men stay on land and chat to people!

Here we are coming into the lock - this is the last double lock for those coming up the Trent and Mersey. It's quite deep and is next to the Stenson Bubble Inn so anyone coming to visit is likely to do this one with us as we have to go through it to go down to the winding hole to turn.

Michelle sitting in the cratch as the water pours in to fill the lock up the 12'4" it needs to get us to the right level.

Me and my little helper as we slowly come up through the lock.

We are lucky to have some fields to exercise dogs in and here's Paddy playing his favourite game of racing between the two of us - ears flying! He can really move when he wants to!

Michelle and Lilly with Rob in the background hoping she will have a good run as well! This is only the second time she has been off the lead with them, as they've only had her a few days at this point.

Here we are about to enjoy a very good Indian meal at the Nadee which is an easy walk (even easier drive if you have a car!) from the marina. They are re-enforcing the bridge over the canal and adjoining railway in the background by the way, just in case you were wondering!

We were in Sandwich (Kent) when the final Harry Potter film was released and I couldn't resist taking a picture of the little old cinema that we went to to watch it! I took loads of pictures of Sandwich as it's such a lovely little town which has kept most of it's individuality. There were no chain shops apart from 2 small supermarkets and a Boots, all the other shops were small independant ones. The place reminded me of some of the Cornish towns, with narrow winding streets and hidden passage-ways. John enjoyed the golf by the way - despite the rain!

It has taken almost an hour to do this, as the photos have taken so long but we are now up to date. On Thursday we are off to the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) festival at Burton on Trent so I will try to put something on next week on our return.

26th July '11

I know it's over  a month since I put anything on here but in all fairness I tried to post a couple of weeks ago and twice it wiped it out after I'd added pictures and LOTS of writing so I gave up. We've been quite busy lately - with visitors and trips to Kent to watch the golf, plus I've been investigating family trees and found it has taken most of my time recently. Anyway I'm here now so I'll do a picture round up of what's been happening.

We went down to the South West at the end of June and this is me presenting one of my past students Tom, with the Nancy Harman Cup! Tom's the first male student we got through the Level 3 Childcare course at the college and so we are all very proud of him!

these are the students who were there that evening receiving an award for Community Service.

I'm having real problems uploading pictures - spent 20 minutes trying to put the next one on and still failing - will try to add to this later.... watch this space (but keep breathing!!!)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

23rd June '11

Last night was just so perfect that we took Paddy for a walk around the marina after 10.00pm. He usually justs gets taken up to the grass for a last pee at that time but we couldn't resist the lovely evening and took our cameras. Here are my photos:

The last one was taken at about 10.30pm - lovely record of the light slowly disappearing! I shall look back on these in mid-winter to remind me what a summer evening can be like!

Today we have been getting the van ready for travelling tomorrow and we are going to do a slight detour to look at a marina near Stone, close to Stafford - we shall look at another one on the way home next week near Rugby. Fingers crossed!