Saturday, 27 October 2018

Boating at last

You best go to bed early Lisa, we've got to be up early, really early says David
I can get up, says I.

And I did, we left home at 06:30 and arrived at Marlow to visit The Rockers!

Know who The Rockers are?   HERE  The lovely George and Carol.  We had been invited to join them,  on the way to WaL (Who needs polishing) for a bit of a Jolly....

On arrival, a marvellous arrival,  Bacon Butties were served with lashings of hot tea.  We needed hot tea as it was cold, I mean winter had arrived that morning, the day before I was sat in the garden, in a hat to keep the sun out of my eyes as I read Exit West by Moshin Hamid, I am going to a book event with the author on Sunday and I haven't finished it yet.

So where was I?  Oh yes I remember, I had brought especially a new thermal long-sleeved undergarment and I needed it. We were in for a bit of a treat as the Thames looked fabulous, sunglasses were donned and off we went for a fun day boating.

Although we have enjoyed George and Carol's hospitality during this summer, we haven't ever been on a moving wide beam, this was to change today as we were generously included in a jaunt.

So we started off from Marlow and headed upstream, 
Bisham Abbey is very close by and here is a shot  of it as we passed.

Pretty quiet on the river today.

Here is Still Rockin' coming into a lock, maybe Hurley Lock..?  Wide eh?

Action shot of me, yes that is my shoulder, but look over my shoulder to see a wide beam with a narrow boat strapped to its side,  we pulled over to let them by as we wouldn't have all fitted through.

George supervising closely as David had a turn at the wheel, wide beams have wheels not tillers, but George does have a tiller in case of emergencies I understand.

Carol supervised me as I learnt how to crew a wide beam, its a bit different.

Medmenham Meadows

We stopped at Medmenham for homemade mulligatawny soup, my favourite.  

Three quarters of WB Still Rockin'

One third of WB Still Rockin', the grass was knee deep in poxy goose poo so I only tip toed this far.

This boat can turn not exactly on a sixpence but very easily, and what pretty Violas Carol has planted up.

Medmenham Abbey, it still has the builders in.

You can read about it HERE

Danesfield Spa Hotel, quite fancy a night or three there.

So we finally left the Fine Company after saying our goodbyes, it had been a brilliant day plus a beautiful boat and we thank you both very much for making us so welcome.

Onward though, northwards to Leicestershire, Debdale marina and WaL.  
Here she is, they must have had heavy rain here followed by a stiff breeze as most of the leaves have vanished from the roof, I'm not saying she was clean but it sure saved us a lot of sweeping.

Bags onboard and David fired her up and off we went.

So it wasn't a thrilling trip, we didn't go far just out of the marina and down the way, down to a favourite mooring of mine.  We rinsed, wiped, washed, rinsed, wiped and then polished and buffed.  When it was done, we hopped down to the basin at Foxton where we turned around  and came back to my favourite place and repeated the whole process.
My back had a thing or two to say, David was braver and didn't moan.  

I was pretty sickened to find that the Gin Cupboard was empty, David in his lack of wisdom had removed all the wine from WaL and taken it home last time, I thought that was an error at the time but he insisted.  I shall hide some if he thinks of this again.

Pretty pretty mooring, 100 metres from Debdale, no sheep this time.

Minutes before sunset, see the shine on WaL?

Nice sky on the water.

So frequently flyers to this blog may remember that on the very first day of our cruising season this year way back in April, we had a water leak    HERE   so what do you reckon the chances are of having one on the very LAST day of our cruising that we should have another.... you've guessed it.

So out came David's tool box for maybe the third time this year;

David's tool box, see how shiny and new it all looks?

Action shot of David attempting to fix the leak, sadly he says he doesn't have the right sized spanner or some such.  I did the mopping and sponging and he made supper.  Note that he has had to wear my pink glittery slippers as his were left at home.

Sadly the leak couldn't be fixed by my Hero so it's a job for the marina to do.

We are now home again, the fun weekend on WaL with the Lewis's has been postponed for the winter, but frankly if its too wet or too cold.....

So until we meet again Reader, stay warm and dry I plan to.

Weekend away

It was supposed to be a fun weekend on WaL,  Amanda and David were joining us in a day or so but when we arrived at WaL there was an electrical fault so we abandoned ship and fled to Norfolk, it was a surprise to Amanda and David who had become unexpected hosts as opposed to guests.

We awoke to a very sunny Norfolk and went on a trip to Holt,  nice shops in Holt, after some shopping and an extremely good afternoon tea at a posh tearooms we drove to the coast to Blakeney for a look at art galleries, (three) and a bit of nose following...

Blakeney, not a breath of wind.

There's a hotel here I might investigate.

Low-ish tide.

On the way home, we popped to two Walsinghams and a pretty nice sunset.

The following day The Yars arrived.  Remember The Yars?  Joe and Lesley lived aboard two narrowboats, NB Caxton 
and NB Yarwood, Lesley kept a blog during those years but now they live on dry land and are close enough to join us for lunch.  

We went for a stroll in the park afterwards, Houghton Park that is,  HERE     full of deer, big brown ones and pretty little white ones, but they are devilish shy and won't be photographed.

A phone snap so fuzzy, apologies.

Here's the gang, they were all pissed they never smile this much usually.  David thinks its still summer, he might have changed his mind this weekend with temperatures of 5C.

Big brown ones, equally shy.

Pretty or what? Little cherubic darlings who stole Lesley's heart.

So after a fine Sunday Lunch at their local the follow day we took our leave, not the weekend we envisaged but a great one, but it still leaves WaL needing to be polished.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Wedding Bells, grilled octopus and sandy feet.

Well Reader, it seems like ages since we were on the Thames and then the South Oxford canal, in that time we had a wedding and then a nice long spell in Italy. 

We booked Italy way back in April, the idea was to extend the summer.  Last summer I had felt cheated out of warm sun, well until we had that little sojourn to Antigua house-sitting and caring for two little doggies and a parrot, now that was good fun, but who could have known that this summer would have turned out to be a scorcher and that the last thing we needed was an Indian summer...

So in ten days or so we are coming up to the boat to have a few days onboard pottering then put her to bed for a while, if the weather is dry then maybe another jaunt in the months to come.

But I just wondered if you'd like to see a few holiday snaps?  If yes, then scroll down, if no, then see you next time. 

Off to the Registry Office

Now this Bride has very strong views on a few subjects, one of them was why a Bride has to put her fathers occupation on the official forms, she is currently in correspondence with her MP and the Home Office on that one.  The other annoyance was that your father walks you down the aisle, so she invited us both to.

Sadly it was me that trod on her hem.

The wee cute flower girl had a starring role.

This is Leon (other son-in-law) sorting out David's tie.

This is my lovely sister and lovely mum

So about four days later we hopped on the plane and arrived in Italy, southern Italy, extra hot!

David swam here as I had a cold to start with, of course he came down very early when no one there.

Truillies, funny round Hobbit Houses made from the rocks in the fields, cleared so they could plant.

Typical lanes in all the Historical Centres, we got lost constantly.

So we called into an out of the way town, there amazingly out of the blue was an exhibition of Picasso's ceramics.  I was thrilled to go, (David wasn't and had a coffee instead), 
but almost all these pieces were from private collections, so such an opportunity to view.  Anyone wanting to see the other photos of the work just let me know, I have lots of photos.  
They were stunning.

"Jug with four faces"

So we saw quite a few of these adorable Fiat 500's, on the street where we stayed there seemed to be a different one each day.  I have submitted a request for one, I had wanted a yellow Mini Cooper but have changed my mind.  I shall have to see what colours Fiat do.
Is anyone able to age these little beauties out there....?

Ooooooooooooo Fabulous, I don't want white though.

Longs sessions on the beaches.

Then she turned up, this is our youngest, the one married to the Kiwi.

I'm missing days like this.

So there you have it Reader, normal service will be resumed, weather permitting, next week or so.  If it's pouring I may not go.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

No No David, those shopping bags aren't mine.

 The forecast was rain starting at 11am today, well of course it was, it's a Bank Holiday Weekend.

David had been up early and whipped the car along to the next stop, Cropedy, leaving Leon's car here at Somerton.

After a bit of a lively discussion, it was decided to risk all and move WaL onwards, after all we had two odd hours to make a run for it.  So after I had hurriedly dressed and unknown to me Fliss and Leon had shot off for a run, we set off.

Frequent Flyers to this blog will remember that we had spent a chunk of time here in this area earlier on in the summer around Somerton and I had developed a love for this view below, it is of the lock ahead or perhaps I should say the Lock cottage at Somerton Deep Lock, with the bridge and the fields surrounding.

The approach to the lock.

See the two wee boats on the right, these belong to the home owner as there is no road access the scoot down to the meadows by boat.

A small argument ensued here, my confidence isn't up to helming through the tight bridge, and bringing WaL into the lock, my upper arm strength isn't up to the gates and the paddles...  So after raised voices and no plan I jumped ship, emptied the lock (After checking all around for coming traffic) and did manage to open the huge gates, whereupon I shot down the steps, jumped back on, David jumped off and he worked the lock.....
As I opened the gates I looked over the bridge to see WaL not quite where I expected her to be.  He'd gone below to make a coffee I think it was.

He reversed WaL back to straighten up.

So now with us in swapped places, this is the zonking great gate that I have trouble with.

Much photographed Lock cottage.

Well the rain scheduled for 11am arrived at 9:15am, so as we approached Aynho  two drenched runners came into view...  They jumped onboard and both headed for hot showers, David and I were kitted up in wet weather coats and by wonderful good fortune found a visitor mooring empty just before the bridge and got on it quick, David watched the few empty spaces the other side of the bridge fill up quickly with approaching traffic.  

We had foresaw this rain coming and had made plans, Fliss and I had made plans that is... the boys had made slightly different plans.

So all dressed up in coats and credit cards  on pockets, we set off for our car just at the bridge, as we reached a large deep puddle David fatally hesitated realising he'd left the car keys in his shorts pocket, as he stood roadside a passing car drove through said deep puddle and soaked him, as he stood there a little in shock but swearing loudly another car repeated it.  Tactfully Fliss and Leon walked away lest he see them guffawing into their cuffs.  I stood by him heroically sympathising.  It was hard. 

We drove to Bicester, where most women will be aware of Bicester Outlet Village, sadly as we approached, the car park signs said ALL CAR PARKS FULL, David was incredulous, 3000 spaces full, what sort of morons want to go there...?
Fliss and I sniggered quietly.  I was driving, so I of course followed the signs to the Full Car Parks and as we entered it and got into the queue Leon was heard to mutter 
"You cannot be serious"
I gave the signal and both Fliss and I jumped out in a synchronised delft movement and ran abandoning the car and husbands in the queues, "Call you when we're done I yelled over my shoulder" running.

A hour later we tracked the men down in a nearby pub, their faces were pure delight as we negotiated  the doors with our shopping bags but still  beautifully in time to go to the cinema 7 minutes away to see Mama Mia Again.  The opening scene included the cast dancing on the roof of a narrowboat moored at Godstow Abbey to "When I kissed the teacher" there we had been just a few days ago.  A great film to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon and I am still singing the music. 

The next morning was an early start to get to Cropedy, there it would be out with this lot of visitors and in with the next... 

Leaving Aynho early the next morning.

Pretty close to the chimney.

At the lozenge shaped lock here, Leon had appeared dressed, Fliss had not.

The last glimpse of the tidal section of the river Cherwell, a mere whimper today.

Leon is a keen paddle-boarder, except he mostly does it on the sea, these two were a bit wobbly, they were in the middle of the canal and in the end we gave a quick friendly beep on the hooter to tell them we were here...  I asked the woman if her bare feet were cold but she said no. 

Fliss jumped off here to do her 5 K's, she runs 2 or 3 times a week, he daddy worked out how far she should go forwards then return to the boat, all the time wanting to do the exact milage..... rather him not me.

Autumn very much in the air now.

Leon noe helped this single hander through Kings Sutton Lock, but I was really looking at how much work is being done here new owners and Improvements.

This boat caught my eye, the colours I mean, very striking and attractive I felt, I do so like a change form the ordinary. Appallingly low water levels, a permanant moored had erected a site saying they had been aground now for over six weeks and he felt CART was doing little to help, but that bit was in colourful language. 

The dearest Darlings packed up and departed at the end of the trip.  We had washed up here in Cropedy.  As we approached the service point a nb pulled out in front of us bold as brass without a backward glance.  As it happened he was leaving a visitor mooring which suited us down to the ground, but he wasn't to know that, amazing to pull out right in front of another boat right in front of a lock.

The next morning I set about changing the bed, packing the washing, packing all the clean clothes and polishing all the light switches as Joe and Lesley were arriving.  David drove off to meet them at Debdale Marina, our home base then drive them back to Cropedy to WaL where they are doing us an extremely BIG favour, thank you both again.  They are taking Wal home and putting her to bed for us.

We have been called away to our real home to host a wedding.  Another wedding, this will be out third and last daughter to marry in three years,  shortly after that we both are heading to southern Italy.  Yes madness I know but after last summer which was cool and unfriendly, we decided to take a trip to have some warm sunshine to finish off the summer, now having had a scorcher I'm not so sure but the food, wine and scenery will be worth it.

Should you follow Lesley on Facebook you will be able to see how they got on with WaL.  I did follow it from home and saw how they met up with good friends of ours....

This summer has been a very very lovely one, thank you for sharing it with me and I might tell you about Italy in the future.

Farewell for now.