Wednesday, 23 January 2019

New Year frivolities

A very Happy New Year to you Reader, its been a while I know.  But I have a few snaps here for you to see of our fun packed week in Holland.

So that's where I'll start by correcting most of the western world by pointing out that Holland is a mistaken term for the whole country, Holland is indeed a region of  The Netherlands, and it grieves the rest of this nation to be referred to as such.  
I guess its like England being called Cornwall by all the world, it would try the patience of a saint be honest.

So why The Netherlands I hear you ask, well our daughter married Bob back in September, Bob is Dutch, although I don't think he has ever lived in Holland oops Netherlands, but lived all over the world with his globe trotting parents who have now retired to NL.   

A year ago they came to us for Christmas, so by way of return we four went there.

So got all that?  A test later.  

We drove there all by ourselves too Reader, on the Channel Tunnel, we were in that tunnel back on July when the Lewis's (Boat Sharers) drove us to Burgundy but we took absolutely no notice of anything.  I did fear ending up in Poland or Denmark with David in control of Googlemaps but we drove straight to their road into the Bus Station by mistake, we were only 50ft from the house.  
Result.

We were lucky enough to have been taken on Guided tours to Dordrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam by the lovely Elenore and Willem.

Want to see some edited highlights?

So we caught the train from the house to Dortrecht, which was a thriving and wealthy port during the golden years of Dutch history, when they had colonies way out east.

Nice bit of art on your wall.

Haven't seen a branch of this for many years but here it is live and kicking.

Cheese shop with stock over three floors.

Miles of waterfront here and a lot of it taken up with vintage Dutch barges, I think they are called Tjalks.

All sizes and colours.

This was a bit of a small canal coming in from the main waterway and the sea, lovely little bridge which we didn't see in action.

Tjalks everywhere.

 So after a nice walk around the old town in Dordrecht we caught the bus into central Rotterdam, the waterbus.


People catch these literally like buses, the waterways around Rotterdam are extensive.  People take bikes on them too, in fact they almost cycle onboard.


 As we whooshed along, there were small yoghurt pots buzzing in and out, they must make quite fearless captains because suddenly there are ships like these monsters coming around the bends like a bat out of hell, taking no prisoners!


A River Cruise ship on the way to Germany.

This white houseboat looked like it was being pushed along by the barge but actually its the Tug.  It was so long that I couldn't get it in one shot.

The rest of it.

These houses below are very famous, they were designed way way back in the 1970's when they must really have appealed to people!!  They are called Cube Houses and they can be rented out.  Read all about them here    HERE, but I love the position to be able to look out all day on boats and water.



Cube Houses and  more Dutch Barges.

Double Decker Bike racks.

The New-ish Food Market in Rotterdam

Its full of interesting food shops and look carefully to see those square windows.....?

These are apartments that folks live in.

Now I'm sorry that we missed this sight, but this is a Hot Tub Boat, its being cleaned out because it was already used that day...  Yes you can take all your clothes off and scoot about the inner harbour drinking in a hot tub.  Not for me.


Fireworks are a REALLY BIG THING in NL at New Year, when all the world and his mother let off whopper fireworks in the street and yards and just about anywhere.  This is all the crew on a railway flyover bridge was we watched 360 degrees of Fireworks going off non stop for over thirty minutes, they are unavailable in NL so the population just nip over the border into Belgium to buy them, The Belgiums don't do fireworks!!!!

They brought me here,  the one special thing I wanted to go to in Holland, sorry Netherlands.  
The Van Gogh Museum




His notebook, sadly I can't read the words.

A quick snap, I had to be quick as it was very busy.

His notebook and ink pots for preparing for his Sunflowers.  The queue was too big to wait so here are the beautiful Irises instead.






So added to our time in the Rijksmuseum looking at the Rembrants, Vermeers and Hobbemas it was a fabulous trip.  I look forward to going back in slightly warmer weather.












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Friday, 7 December 2018

Mae West famously said...

So yes, Mae West famously said "It's not the men in your life that counts but the life in your men"  and Reader yes this is what Amanda and I have to deal with, anyone know what vitamins we need to buy?




Friday night

Saturday night, might have been the other way around.

So this morning started off with rain, we knew it was going to and Amanda and I had prepared ourselves by staying in bed.  Later after heeding the Lock keepers advice, when asked what time the locks close this time of year he replied 15:30 Oh ok said we all, then he added the caveat that this was the time the locks are locked and that last boat in is 14:45 to give the crew time to get through the ten locks, then he said quietly that you best be here way before then as if there should be a queue you won't get through.... so we decided to get a wiggle on and arrive at 13:00.  Madness I know.




Arty shot heading towards Husbands Bosworth Tunnel (For my Reader in Brazil;  great name isn't it and England is full of them)

I announced that I wanted this for breakfast and was met with a long face BUT there was such a happy discovery under the sofa

Another pretty sprinkling of gold.

This tree was a bit in the way, but we didn't realise how much in the way it was...

It's been walloped several times.

We went on for just over an hour to turn at the Welford Arm. Much to my surprise there was a boat moored up there.  No road access near here either.  

As we made our way back we had a good old snoop at the new Marina that's being completed now at North Kilworth, it looks very nice, or will do when the grass has grown.  We met someone who was involved with the construction, he said they were four years into a nine month contract...

Frequent Flyers to this blog might recognise these moored boats, they have taken up residence along this stretch, they have changed bridges in the last 18 months or so.
A bit more room at least to where they were previously.



First lock going down this time.



I encouraged David Lewis here at this slightly off line lock by calling down to him as he passed underneath not to sctach my boat, he didn't.

Getting down the flight in comfortable time meant that we had time for a drink in Bridge 62, I had mulled wine which was very moorish.


WaL sitting pretty 

Amanda had made a veggie lasagna for us this night and my golly it was DELICIOUS   HERE    followed by apple crumble with custard, well that was a real treat too.

The Lewis's left to get home.  They have work tomorrow and next weekend they are away on a real holiday celebrating this, any guesses as to how many years?  





The next day and David and I popped WaL back to bed and prepped her for winter.  

We hope to have another winter break in the New Year if all goes to plan, New Year in Holland has been suggested too (sorry Netherlands).

Bye for now. 









Wednesday, 5 December 2018

A rain dodging cruise

Well Reader, here we are on a short winter jaunt.  
You well might ask why...?  Its December, it grey and its wet,  but, we had to do a test drive as the last time we were aboard polishing her, we had a problem with the inverter.  It was as dead as a Do-Do.  

It's a pity really, we've been told that they should last fifteen years and NB WaL is only six years old.   So the inverter was sent home to Holland    (or now that I have a Dutch son-in-law I now know the correct term is  The Netherlands).  

The inverter has proved to be certainly dead and beyond repair, so we have a new one.    On that same trip last month, the Lockgate stove failed also needing attention, the gas cooker which is in times of chills is used as a mini radiator also failed as did two of the four gas burners oh and I nearly forgot the water pump broke too.
Can you imagine how blue the air was?  And that was just me.

So happily its has all been fixed and we were looking forward to having a little run out.  

The Boat Sharers had received a call and were available for fun too.   The first evening we met friends from the area Ed and Jane, also farmers, we all met at the Boboli restaurant in Kibworth.

The next morning after David Lewis had been 'dan the 'ole' changing our engine belts, we set off for Foxton.  I had given the choice of routes to Amanda, either to Market Harborough to include some time at the shops or up the flight to Welford.





Here are the resident swans at Debdale.

Amanda chose to go to Welford so we went up the flight.
Here is Amanda, on lock duty in her splendid hat, I too had a hat on but David calls mine supremely hideous so I have saved you the shock.

There she blows, finally, the boys had washed the roof and put water in her while Amanda and I walked up the top to book in with the Lock Keepers.

Little twins in red.

We were the second boat that day.  I hoped for a clear run but just as with buses, two more boats arrived to come down so we had to wait in the middle pound for them to pass us.
I left Amanda on lock duty and I went to warm up the soup.


Very low pounds today.

Damp afternoon and no people around, the two boats having vanished.


Top Lock

Weekend crew.


Sweet Cheeks Lewis.


 So we trundled along munching on cheese biscuits and wine, enjoying the changes in the sky, it was supposed to clear up and be sunny!



Lovely open views towards Lubenham, see the sky in the distance?

She had her mouth full of cheese here.









I just loved how the few remaining golden leaves decorated this tree.  Pity the sun wasn't on them.

Didn't have to share this sight with any other boats.  



So as you might be able to tell the time had marched on and we knew that we wouldn't make it to the Welford Arm in the light so without much bother we moored up at The Laughton Hills.


Now actually I'm not sure if this was the evening or the next morning but they were very similar scenes



Now Amanda took this one and several other crackers, I have tried to put them up but my computer said nah, it knew I had stolen them, they were lovely.

So here we were, we had turkey curry out of our freezer that David had made curry with.  Every year at about this time we have turkey curry, to make room for the next lot of turkey going into the freezer in a few weeks time.  
Dessert was carrot cake with the cream cheese icing.