Friday 30 December 2022

Pata... what?

We had a bit of a busy autumn one way or another.  
The mass of birthday parties, then we helped one daughter and family move house, we had new windows fitted which meant that every room in the house was chaotic, worst of all was the larder needed to be emptied.  The contents of the larder filled one and a half rooms and I couldn't fit it all back in again...  

Next thing was that youngest daughter Verity and Kiwi husband Mitch let their flat in London and moved into our house.  This preceded their departure from these shores, firstly for an extended trip around South America and then to New Zealand.

We were invited to go visit them in New Zealand, which I was keen to do but then there was news that we have another grandchild due in Feb, so we can't be on the other side of the world....  "Come to Patagonia instead Lisa, we'll be there in December too to meet you" said Mitch
"Where the bloody hell is Patagonia?" says I

I didn't really take it seriously but as the weeks ticked past Verity & Mitch's departure date got nearer the four of us piled into the travel agents.  David and I didn't need to do any research or planning, (which was good as I hate anything like that) because V&M had already done lots... 

All of a sudden the day came and off we went to Heathrow.  
By now I had looked on a map and found out just where the hell Patagonia was.

If you are remotely interested here are a few photos below.

Normal service will be resumed in a few more weeks time after new baby is arrived and Easter is done and dusted.

So this is 'The Steppe', cold desert, rocky and fascinating.  There's masses of it.

Ice-bergs, you'd think they would just bob about but the endless winds that blow down here straight off the Andes can move them miles overnight.

The Andes are big, windy and cold.

Glacier's.  Quite a few of them.  This one is so close you feel you could reach out and touch it.  The roars and cracking noise is deafening.  Sad really, none of these glaciers are growing.

David got caught by this Dancer, if he of twigged what was afoot he'd of run a mile.

So yes we were there for some of the World Cup matches.  Mr. Messi's face adorned buildings, buses, billboards and every other persons chest.

Unusual venue for a holiday, a cemetery La Recoleta, incredible memorials. 

This was the one we and many others looked for, that of Maria Duarte, otherwise known as Eva Peron

There's 100% inflation in Argentina.  This was the payment for lunch one day

Buenos Aires known as the Paris of South America.  It has stunning impressive buildings but its days of grandeur are sadly over for now. 

Steaks beyond compare.

Jacaranda trees in bloom are wonderful.

Works by Freida Kahlo in the museum of modern art

Another iconic image.  

Iguazu Falls, will give Niagara a run for its money.  Possibly the hottest and most humid place I have ever experienced.

Bariloche.  Centre of their Lake District.  Very beautiful here and they specialise in the making of chocolate.  A craft the early settlers brought with them from Germany.

Wild lupins growing on the shores of these lakes, but they refuse to grow in my garden.

On a high pass overlooking the huge Uppsala glacier.  The wind was over 100mph this day.  I was clinging onto this rock to hold the camera steady and David is holding onto me.

This is me in my winter boating kit.  Its certainly good enough for the canals.

Uppsala Glacier behind us.  Believe me it was breezy.

38C in Buenos Aires, we did a cycling tour.  Wonderful cycling lanes and the city is flat.

Maria Duarte again aka Eva Peron.

I wasn't expecting to see this....

So there you have it.  We had a big adventure, I have told David I need a holiday now.  Another tearful goodbye to beloveds who after another mammoth journey arrived in Auckland and they are mostly on the beach currently, now that sounds nice.....

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Over and out for now.

So we continued to make our way up the Staffs to Worcester canal.  Frequent Flyers to this blog will remember that this is a favourite, should we have a spare fortnight, we might well "Pop" down to Stourport....  But as it happens we had been away a little longer than I would usually like to leave my mother (She is just about to celebrate her 92nd birthday, along with my own daughter, and three grandchildren all of which have their birthdays within a week of each other) so we do have to get a bit of a lick on now.

Goodness we were delighted to get into this single mooring at the time in total shade just below
Bumble Hole locks

Next morning setting off early, 

Dawn, a sight I don't often see but David does regularly.

In the cool evening yesterday we had cycled up to the supermarket at Swindon, on the way back several 'yoophs' were sat on a bench alongside the locks.  Of course they had left their rubbish behind, cans and the like so while the lock was filling and David scrubbing his back deck I collected it all up and as quietly as I could put it all in the wheelie bin of the cottage here.  Hoping they didn't have a barky dog.  It was dawn after all.

This attractive house has been developed but they have kept the old shed ....

All too quickly we arrived at Bratch Locks, not staircase locks but very nearly.  The Lockies are due on at 8am but we were there before 07:30.  I was a bit nervous a the thought of operating them as I've not done it unsupervised before.  I went up and read the sign.  Then read it again.
Then a cyclist arrived and as he drank from his water bottle I just casually asked if he happened to be a lock keeper?
He walked towards me as he took off his T shirt and said Yes I am!  He put on his blue Volunteers shirt.
Not only was it not his scheduled day to work but he'd seen no one else had put down their names to work so he had dropped by to lend a hand.  What a good guy.

Up in the first one.

Watching this swirling whirlpool is hypnotic and draws you closer

I can't remember now exactly where we stopped to complete the journey as you may have guessed by now Reader we are home again and all those birthdays have been celebrated.

There was further fun to be had at the end of our run as we met up with Joe & Lesley first owners of NB Caxton and Amanda and David the new owners of the new NB Caxton.

We all met up in the sweltering heat at Great Haywood on her maiden voyage.

Lesley took this one  so is absent from view.

This is Tucker a new edition to Lesley and Joe's family, baby brother to Marsha.

Very proud owners and they should be too for Caxton is absolutely gorgeous inside and out. 

So the 'Boat Sharers' have finally become Boat Owners.  
They are off to Canada very shortly to celebrate retirement, spend quality time with their baby grandson and see some more of the country.

We hope to do a bit of boating with them on their return, possibly in the spring now but certainly when we've all had lots and lots more rain to fill the reservoirs.

Pet hate

Now we all have pet hates don't we?  Here is one of mine.  CART work boats in general, not when they are actually working but when they are not and are moored awaiting being moved further along perhaps.  But Reader how many time have you come across a CART boat moored on a lock landing?  Well I have quite a few times and I find it irritating.  This one below is moored perfectly legally on a CART work boat mooring but just look how short it leaves the waterpoint landing.
Now we didn't need water today but even so.  I do think that there should be space for a full sized boat to moor up on at water points.  I think it would be kind too of CART to put in a few extra water points after they have taken one out of service.

We couldn't have fitted on here with the position of the two boats either end.

Iconic shot of Kidderminister lock.  One day when its not 40C we'll go visit this church.

We made our way from Stourport today, yes leaving very early again.  I had popped into Lidl last evening and enjoyed the air conditioning there so we didn't have to face Sainsbury's here.  In the past the moorings have always been full at Sainsbury's but yes you've guess it not today.

Although we had to wait below this lock for several boats and I had gone up to help, when it was our turn no boats anywhere and no help for me but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

I just wanted to moor up under trees along with most other boaters today, we were heading for Wolverley and The Lock pub.  As we got closer the moorings looked busy but a big tree had a space beneath.  We hopped on it and moored up.  The captain of the boat in front walked back and offered us to go into the lock next as they weren't quite ready....  I declined but thanked him for the offer saying that its was far too hot now to carry on, yes he said we are only going on to Kinver and stopping...  Kinver is a good 2-3 hours on and some shaded moorings which I estimated would be full by the time they got there.  But that's folk for you.

I don't know how I spotted this but I did.

Got it?

I haven't seen a Kingfisher in ages but here is one

I've photographed before of course but I just love these echoes of the former boaters lives, I always put my foot in the worn stones.  

I think the locks had been recently repainted along here, all the anti-vandal locks have gone, hopefully will be replaced. 

This was our mooring this morning! (I took this the following day moving off but can you feel the shade, goodness it was wonderful)

In the late afternoon we strolled up to the pub for late lunch  or early supper.  It was packed still.

The following morning, but you can see that the garden was in full sun with barely any effective shade

Then it dawned on me that the building is white, the umbrellas were white and in the later afternoon gave hardly any shade as the sun had sunk so low.  We sat for a while but gave up pretty quickly and went indoors to the "Dining room" where we had the room to ourselves and waitress service.  What a relief.

Supper was their signature burgers.