Perfect Harmony

Perfect Harmony
Moored at Huntingdon

Thursday, 31 October 2013

30th Oct.'13

The whole country was waiting for the big storm - St. Jude - to arrive at the weekend, but I'm glad to say we saw nothing of it up here. We'd been down to Somerset to visit Chloe and Sam in their new flat at Castle Cary and the drive down on Friday night was horrific. Lots of traffic and then lashings of rain and wind as we hit the bits of roads we didn't know.

I forgot to take any pictures so you'll just have to believe we had a good time! We visited Clarke's Village on Saturday and I was successful in getting a new pair of boots and a dress (for next years holiday!). We met Sam's mum, Rose, who was lovely and then in the evening we drove over to Rachel's to have a meal with the family there. Cue for more lashings of rain and wind which made us think that the coming storm was going to be nasty so we were pleasantly surprised by the easy journey home on Sunday.

Apart from a bit of rain overnight and some not too heavy winds on the Monday that was it really.

Somehow or another we have been delegated to write the quiz for the marina this month. I volunteered to do 'one in the future' but that was enough! I'm quite looking forward to it actually although I'm appreciating how difficult it is to get the right level. I don't want everyone to get top marks but then I also don't want to alienate everyone by setting it so hard they all feel bad about it.

We are sorting out the grocery list for Christmas - how many potatoes do 16 people and 2 toddlers eat? more to the point how much wine do we need for lunch? I shall err on the plentiful side I think.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

17th Oct.'13

Happy Birthday to Jamie - a teenager today!

This was from our day out with Jan and Rog on the railway! We did a quick 5 minute trip up the hill and there was a path leading up further - we'll bring Paddy up one day next summer and walk it as it looked rather interesting.

I forgot to mention in the last blog that we'd had our solar panels fitted. Here's Tim who did a wonderful job attaching them to our roof. We can now go out next summer in the knowledge that we'll have enough power as they seem very efficient. Onboard solar if anyone's interested, a quick and professional job, simples!

The sun going down over the Yorkshire Dales. It was really beautiful and we had a good walk that evening.

Just one of the many pictures of the water in the gorge - this is where it emerges from a narrow crack in the rock and joins the main stream that has come under the road. It's hard to capture the beauty of the place.

Looking down from the road towards the campsite. We are just to the side of the telegraph pole almost obscured by a tree!

I'm standing on a bridge and behind me is towards the scene of John's falling in episode!

...and here he is - dripping wet from his unexpected dip! The small trunk you can see in the water alongside him is what he used to rescue his hard-hat from further downstream where it was merrily floating away on it's own little adventure.

York is such a stunningly beautiful city and I have countless pictures of the Minster and the walls but here's one of the river. This reminds me of a trip that my Mum and I did to York back in 1985 and we took a trip on a boat similar to this. It was quite cold and I have memories of drinking rum and black at the bar on-board to keep the chill out! It was a lovely weekend.

This guy in the Golden Fleece should have had the Steak and Stilton pie like I did. It was worth going back to York just to have another portion of it. mmmmmm.

Here's the pub, allegedly the most haunted in the City. I love the fact that it looks so small from the outside but then it goes back and back and back for ages. Apparently this is very typical of the width that identifies original ancient dwellings.

Last weekend we went back to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway for a fish and chip special.

The weather was foul but Helen and Lloyd were enjoying their supper so much the chips were a blur! £7.50 for the train ride and a fish and chip supper each, it can't be bad can it? We would definitely do it again but maybe in the summer next time, when you can see outside a bit more.

I'm off to a wool show this weekend at Bakewell and then we're going down to see Chloe and Sam in their new flat the following weekend so busy times ahead.

Friday, 11 October 2013

11th Oct.'13

Yet again a busy few weeks since I was last blogging. Retirement is really quite frantic I'm finding, but IMMENSELY enjoyable!

Jan and Rog came up to the Bubble once again, but unlike previously we were unable to take the boat down to moor there as it was so busy! Couldn't believe it when we checked and found not a space to be had, luckily we did this before taking the boat down. Everything worked though, just a bit of to-ing and fro-ing in the car, but it wasn't a problem. Luckily they are Strictly fans as well so both evenings we managed to watch the first 2 programmes of the new series. Sad but true.

On the Saturday we went up to the dales and after a lunch at Masson Mills (one of Arkwrights original cotton mills, for those who don't know) we went to Wirksworth and caught a little train down to Duffield and back. It was a lovely trip and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jan, Rog and John about to board the train! it was strange actually because the rail had been build to a wider gauge than normal so there were more seats than you'd usually expect. We've been on plenty of narrow-gauge rails in the past but never a wide one before.
once again photos are taking forever to upload so I'll try again later.
I spent a few days down with Rob and Michelle caring for Halden who was a bit poorly and had forgotten how exhausting it was to be a full time child-carer. I'm definitely too old to do it now for more than a short spell!
Then John and I went off to Yorkshire for a break (this life is tiring, I've mentioned it before and you need a break occasionally!)
We went first to Nidderdale which was wonderful. It was a lovely campsite, although John did moan a bit about the narrowness of the lanes leading to it. He got over it though and we are likely to go back. Just up the road from us was the Hay Stean Gorge, a pretty little hidden gem that we went to and had a wonderful time struggling along the slippery paths and exploring the cave on our own. I'm sure Jamie would have loved it!
We had a bit of an incident when we went along a bit that turned out to not be on the map for the general public when John slipped (almost elegantly....well not at all elegantly actually) and fell into the water backwards! Apparently it was very cold. He lost his hard hat when he fell and unlike most people who would have left it for a professional to retrieve, he had to continue slipping his way along the edge with a very large piece of wood and managed to retrieve the hat from where it had bobbed happily along to. We had been laughing at the groups of youngsters who'd been doing adventure stuff along the gorge and all the girls screaming, well they had nothing on the noises that John produced when he went in. I have to say he came out impressively quickly. Photos to follow!
After a couple of days there we went on to York and enjoyed the wonderful weather whilst re-acquainting ourselves with what must be one of the loveliest cities in England.
We got back and the weather has changed dramatically, winter is now in the air. Tomorrow we are off to the railway again with Helen and Lloyd as there is a 'fish and chip special' so we're off to enjoy ourselves, I do hope the weather isn't TOO cold!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

24th Photos

Halden striding out purposefully!

The 'real' reason for the visit?

it's all gone slow again but these are the main ones I wanted to put on!

24th Sept.'13

We've been quite busy over the last couple of weeks and much of it has been connected to the motorhome. John felt (and I agreed) that the inner door was more of a liability than anything else and so he removed it. Only to find that it formed part of the seal and now we had a large gap around the door. So he put it back on again and just took off the handle part, which has always been a nuisance and with a bit of clever fiddling about, he has made it a lot easier to manage.

The Marina had it's 5th Birthday celebrations earlier this month and Tom and family came over on the Saturday to see the sights.

Nellie went straight to Grumpy and wanted lots of carrying - he's delighted since he'd decided a year ago that she'd never love him since she cried when she saw us a couple of times after baby-sitting her! Men! he wouldn't be told that it was a temporary blip.
Here she is watching the small paddle boats - again with Grumpy! Next time she'll probably be on them!
There were quite a few stalls and things to do, all for free! The IWA could do worse than to take note, people come to things when there's plenty to do and it doesn't cost the earth!
We had a weekend visiting Rob and family down at Camborne (Cambridge not Cornwall). Halden has grown considerably in the 5 months or so since we last saw him and is a live wire, never still for long, quite exhausting just watching him!

We went to a farm where you could wander around the animals and have a rather nice tea and cake. It was meant to be for Halden's benefit but seeing the goats there, I wonder if it was really for Robert! I can't get the pictures to upload at the moment so am going to continue and then try again later.

After seeing Rob we collected Paddy from the kennels and prepared the motorhome ready to go off on an overnight trip down south. We wanted to see Cropredy Marina, near Banbury since we'd liked the area when cruising past and we also would like to be closer to the Thames and nearer the rest of the family for visits. However it was not the right marina for us. I think we've been spoilt here, and anywhere we move to has got a lot to live up to. After that, in the most horrific weather conditions, we went down to see Mum. We found a nice campsite near Dorking to stay overnight and then luckily the weather was lovely the next day so we were able to take Mum out into the village in her wheelchair and go to the pub for lunch.

We had problems with the starter battery and realised that it is now 5 years old and due to being left for long periods it has gone flat quite a few times, despite our best efforts with a couple of portable solar panels that we try to trickle feed it with. The problem apparently is all the onboard computer stuff nowadays. Not really my subject!

Anyway we now have a new battery and so all is well. We are hoping to go off for a few days to Yorkshire in a week or so.

This weekend we have Jan and Rog visiting so we'll be off to Stenson for a couple of nights while they stay in the Bubble Inn there. Then next week TA DA... we are having solar panels fitted to the boat so that next year we won't have the same power problems that we had this year (fingers crossed) after that we'll be free to be away for a bit. Lets hope that the brilliant weather we're having at the moment continues, otherwise we are likely to abandon the trip. Yorkshire moors in the rain don't really appeal.

still no joy with the photos - sorry Halden, I'll try to get them on next time xxx.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

4th September '13

Both vehicles now taxed, MOT'd and insured - bank account empty!

We went to Calke Abbey on Sunday for a walk and found a swing in the woods!

John at a jaunty angle!

Paddy wanted to join me - silly dog!

After that interlude we have been quite busy, well John has, he's almost finished painting the boat up, covering up the bumps and bruises!

This is the last bit of the blacking to be done - he is having real problems with his right shoulder after all the stretching and straining it's had to do recently.

This hasn't stopped us going to the gym - we're quite getting into it. I'm off to my first Pilates class this afternoon to see if it helps strengthen my back. Before that I have to go and collect a new pair of contact lens'. It's all spend, spend, spend this month.

We're going to be busy though with the Marina Festival this weekend (worth coming to if you're in the area) and next weekend off to see Rob and family, a fortnight later we've got Jan and Rog visiting as well as me going off to a 'style' day with Susan at Bicester. Then it's October! Where has the year gone?

Thursday, 29 August 2013

29th August '13

I see it's over 2 weeks since I wrote anything, but in my defence we've been a bit busy! Believe it or not I'm now getting nagged by my mum that I haven't kept it up to date! A bit of technology has gone to her head! (Love you Mum xx)

Anyway we had Jamie to stay and unfortunately I can't find my small camera that had some pictures of him with his fishing adventures on. He was so easy to have here, a real pleasure.

Here we are in the caves at the Heights of Abraham. He'd never been in a cable car before or in a cave so he really enjoyed the day. The walk down and up again to see the lower cave nearly killed me but otherwise it was nice to do something touristy up here. Derbyshire really is a beautiful county.

This is the view from the cable car across the Derwent Valley. Unfortunately views never seem to have the impact in a photo that they do in real life, but it really was pretty impressive.

While he was here we went to visit Tom, Francesca and Nellie and she fell in love with her big cousin and wouldn't leave him alone! He was very good with her and here they are together, in a brief moment when she wasn't pulling him around the room or demanding he reads her a book.

Camera found! Here he is with a roach - he was a fantastic fisherman, caught 13 on his first evening here, no  big ones thank goodness as John was sorting out the motorhome some of the time and if I'd been asked to help out with a big fish I'm not sure what the outcome would have been (mind you I did nothing with the small fish either - hate fish!).

We took Jamie back to Dorset in the motorhome and spent one evening with Rach, Matt and boys staying on their drive, then went and had a day with Rachel and Paul, staying in a pub car-park (you'll find a trend here).

On Saturday the weather changed for the worse but we had a wonderful day at Tanya and Martyn's wedding, her dress was stunning. Much to our delight William took the service, he was our vicar at West Stour and baptised both Chloe and Tom and was a good chap, who we sadly missed when he moved on.

Tom making sure he was in the picture! Watched by Francesca, Nellie was off somewhere making herself known to all and sundry.

Chloe and Sam, our little girl all grown up (well she's been grown up since she was about 2 actually but you know what I mean).

Here I am with a chicken on my head!

Nellie and Tanya. Nellie really got into the spirit of things and kept going amazingly well. She has Happy Hedgehog with her - the nursery toy that goes out with children whose parents then take photos of him doing interesting things and visiting various places. We got into this in a big way...

Just one of several photos of Happy that won't go back to the nursery!

The camera died at this point so no more pictures I'm afraid. We stayed in the pub car park after the reception which was very handy. Then we went to visit my brother and his wife. Colin and Nicky let Paddy run around the garden and the kitchen so he thought he was in heaven! He was very reluctant to get back inside that evening and a bit of freedom seems to have gone to his head as he's run off twice since we've been back on the marina, just up to the grass, but I think he's trying to tell us something!

After a night on Colin's drive we went back to West Stour where we used to live and spent a night in the pub car park there and managed to see quite a few old friends and neighbours, which was lovely.

Then we moved on down to Bournemouth and had 2 nights at Hurn on a nice little site where we were able to see Katie and Grant. All in all a lovely week away, if somewhat busy.

On our return we had to have a quick clean up of the motorhome as Tom and family had it for a couple of nights up in the Peaks, followed by a barbecue at their house with both families on the Sunday to celebrate the first brewing of Toms own beer. All of these drinking opportunities and I'm no longer drinking - ironic isn't it?

This week John has done nothing but clean / paint / repair either the boat or the motorhome, despite having our wedding anniversary and his birthday in the last few days. He's exhausted but won't give up and wants it all done before the weather changes.

I've done little but knit, crochet, walk Paddy and resume searching the family tree. I don't know where the time goes, but go it does.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

10th August '13

First a very big Happy Birthday to Jan, a very good friend who I've forgotten to send a card to but who has read my blog EVERY DAY. I feel really bad and thought a public apology would go some way towards making me feel better even if it still means she doesn't have a card!

We've settled back into marina life and have had a very busy week. John has been painting and polishing the boat to get rid of the effects of the cruise, and we have been getting the motor-home sorted out as we'll be off in it next week.

We had a day out on Wednesday, taking the cratch cover to be repaired.

We went back to Shebdon Wharf where they repaired the one zip last year, this year they replaced the other three! as well as patching it up beautifully. I wish we'd known about them before we had our pram cover made as they could have done it a lot cheaper. Oh well, we live and learn. It was funny to drive over to the Shropshire  Canal- it took us about an hour! We had a long walk along it to the old Cadbury Wharf and then drove over to Norbury Junction for lunch.

We were sat at the Junction Inn and it was busy over at the cafe as well as on our side. We both went for the 'small' pie and chips! Well all I can say is that I'm glad I didn't attempt a large one. This was huge and lovely. A proper home-made pie, bursting with steak, delicious.

I have also had a shopping expedition with Francesca to buy myself a dress for Tanya's wedding next Saturday. I will ensure that a picture goes on with me wearing it next week as I feel like a million dollars in it, John is very impressed and it shows off my weight loss beautifully. This is me liking myself! Wow!

I've also been back to 2 knitting groups this week, which was lovely, I have a lot to do between now and Christmas! I need to focus.

We have 2 of the grandsons visiting next week, so I'll try and add something before we set off for the SW to go to the wedding, otherwise it will be from the motorhome, somewhere.......

Saturday, 3 August 2013

3rd August '13

This is several days late, I realise, but things have been somewhat busy!

We are home! We arrived back on Thursday evening just after 5.00pm after leaving at 9 that morning and planning to go to Alrewas. We were there by midday and the Indian restaurant doesn't open until 5,30 so we thought we'd get to Branston and go to the Italian there. It was only about 3 when we got there so we decided to go for broke and get home, and here we are!

 Our first sighting of Fradley Junction - you can just see the swingbridge in the distance. Naturally when we got there a boat was filling with water so we couldn't moor and then as soon as John opened the gate two boats came around the corner so we had to let them through. Finally we got to the Junction Lock and all went well for us again. More boats coming up than going down and someone at just about every lock.

A last look back at the Coventry Canal - see you again next year!

Fradley Junction in the sun. Busy as ever but boats waiting to come up so we were happy! Surprisingly there were moorings available both here and at Alrewas. Amazing considering it is now school holidays and the hire boats are out in force.

Bridge 36. Always fascinates me. From a distance it just doesn't look as if a boat will go through it but they always do! (mind you some appear to hit the sides judging by the edges of the stonework)

We know that home is close when we see the Marston's sign at Burton. For those Wind in the Willows fans out there (of which I am up near the top) Rat complements Mole on having some 'Old Burton' in his cupboard when they pay an unexpected visit to his hole. So there you go!

When we last passed these railings they had bits of old branches of trees left in them and the ground was being cleared. Now not 4 months later, there's a new fence up inside and houses are completed and drying out. Incredible!

When we got back to the marina, I have to say that there was no band waiting, no flags flying, just Keith and Karen waving us back and Ange hurling abuse. Nice to know that some things never change! The marina is barely recognisable though. The trees and shrubs have all grown so much during the summer that we can barely see the road from the boat and it's hard to see the boats in places when walking around the marina.

Paddy is pleased to be back to his old haunts, although he's struggling coming to terms with having neighbours again, walking up and down HIS jetty. He's going to have to live with it though.

Yesterday passed in a flurry of cleaning, washing and shopping for me and getting the motorhome sorted out for John. Then a visit to Tom, Francesca and Nellie last night. Back over there today for Francesca to come into Derby with me for a very successful hunt for a dress to wear to our nieces wedding in a fortnight and John and Tom took Nellie off to Hardwick Hall.

Blog will probably be a bit quiet for a bit but I'll try to put bits on as and when.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

30th July '13

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days... to paraphrase Dickens.

We came down the Atherstone Flight in 1hour 40minutes, which was amazing, all the locks bar one had boats coming out of them and so they were in our favour and almost all had people waiting to come in so there was someone to help John with paddles etc. The problem was that after a lovely hot day, the heavens opened as we got there and we were absolutely drenched! Neither of us had time to get coats on and so we just got wet. There comes a point when you can't actually get any wetter and we both reached that pretty quickly. I have to say that when it comes to looking sad, nobody does it better than Paddy. He COULD go inside but he refuses to, and so he sat there looking more and more glum gazing accusingly at me from time to time, then shivering pathetically. Silly dog!

We moored up as soon as we got to the bottom of the flight on some excellent moorings and had showers and hot chocolates, then the sun came out and I was able to get my washing (plus all the clothes we'd been wearing) dry. British weather!

This was yesterday morning, leaving Braunston. We'd turned right on our way south and returned from the left on our way back, now on the homeward stretch on the North Oxford.

Hawkesbury Junction ahead! About to leave the Oxford and get onto the Coventry.

As we came around Hawkesbury I took a photo of the bush that I'd nearly come to grief in the last time we'd turned this way! The wind had been against us and we lost the top of our chimney here and I nearly went in the water, trying to push the boat out of the bush! Today it was calm and sunny and there was no problem whatsoever getting around, why weren't there crowds there watching I ask>

This is Charity Wharf and it always makes us laugh! They have a variety of mannequins dressed up differently each time. These were a couple of cowboys, one on a horse! There was also a police officer and a soldier. They have masses of boats in conditions ranging from dire to about to sink and all sorts of stuff piled up, but it provides an opportunity for a giggle.

I probably put this on before but I love these old waterway buildings.

John reckons we can get home in a couple of days if everything goes well so fingers crossed that all is OK and that we don't have too many more downpours.