Thursday, 30 December 2010

The last of Christmas.

Christmas is over and at last I have found time to be thoroughly selfish and remind every one that it is only three hundred and sixty days to Christmas, whoopee!

Christmas Eve and the traditional snack is put out for Santa and Rudolph. After his three millionth scotch Santa was last seen being breathalysed by an over enthusiastic traffic policeman.

Well that's the stocking/pillowcase dealt with, what's next?


Let's get stuck in.

Who's the next pop star?

Or duo?

Is there anymore or can I play with some of them now?

Not only can she sing but she can do it on roller skates, now that is talent!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Ho Ho Ho!

This was the 22nd.

23rd. and all the roads open, so with blankets, shovel and food supplies added to the luggage we set off. 0941 was launch time, with no hope of making Buckfastleigh and the train by 1300 when it was due to depart. BUT: M69 clear, M42 clear, M5 clear, traffic light, hope returned. Now I know there is a legal sped limit but my memory is not what it was, at 1220 we were passing Cullompton and at 1250,

Phew, we made it, Esme commandeered Nanna while Elliot sat quietly by, he likes trains.

We chugged along beside the Dart, steam billowing in our wake and then

we entered Santa's mobile grotto.

Two small children meet THE MAN.

Our engine running round.

I like owls, this one was on the platform at Totnes.

Back at Buckfast another treat. (Well I thought it was).

Final destination achieved!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Delayed by snow, sound familiar?

Today we were supposed to set off for Plymouth, care hired, clothes packed, pressies wrapped a trip on the Dart Valley Railway Santa Special booked and what does the weather do? It hurls the first heavy snow we've had here at us. The M42 and the M5 are blocked so here we sit, watching the snow build up around us. Hopefully tomorrow we will be replevied and able to travel, if not Christmas is looking a bit grim, looks like sausage toad for Christmas dinner with the highlight being a water run from the amenities block. I should complain, look at all those poor people stuck at Heathrow, that place is grim when all is going smoothly, having to spend a couple of days there doesn't bear thinking about.
I don't feel so guilty about running for cover now, my heart goes out to all the boaters stuck out on the cut, don't give up hope, spring will be here soon(er or later)

Saturday, 18 December 2010

A meerkat impression and a hole in the ice.

Back to square one, the ice and snow are back. Here I am doing what Jill calls my meerkat impression, she says I pop my head up and look round before emerging, well you never know when an eagle may be waiting to snatch you away!

This morning the sudden rush of cold air down the back of my neck caused my entire skin to horripilate

so a brisk walk along the marina was called for, revealing where the ducks had spent the night, the only clear water for miles. Well it would have been brisk but I had the dog in tow and brisk is not in her vocabulary.

The rest of it, just a tad fresh.
And for our anonymous commentor, sorry, not walking up to town for a while, too cold and slippy, will try and get requested photo. a.s.a.p. Boy that's a strange request.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Just musing.

Reading through an assortment of boaters blogs I am almost feeling guilty about being in the marina. If it wasn't for the fact that we are going away over Christmas we would be out there suffering with everyone else. The Met. office in it's usual cheerful way is promising another bout of freezing weather. Have you ever noticed the degree of scarcely concealed glee with which the television weather forecasters foretell the coming mini ice-age? I wonder what will come next?
Getting cabin fever now, much as I quite like Hinckley its few attractions pall after two weeks, the most exciting thing so far this week was spotting that the restored Viva was parked the other way round yesterday.
I wish I understood the workings of modern technology, why, when the T-Mobile window is showing a big fat 3G signal, does it suddenly refuse to pass any data in or out, but if I disconnect the whole shooting match and then reconnect it will work again for a while until it goes off on another sulk and I have to go through the whole business again? Sometimes I almost wish I had a landline.
Back on the subject of weather, why does the Met. office web site give one forecast and the BBC, who claim to get there information from the Met. office, give a different one? Another of lifes little mysteries, or a plot to keep us confused? I'm generally confused without any input from external sources, I still don't know why orange jam is called marmalade.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

A new sport, battery wrestling.

Yesterday was a real fun day, owing to my gross negligence the starter battery had decided not to issue anymore wiggly amps so the decision was taken to replace said battery. Mind you I can't see any hope of using a starter battery in the near future but I went ahead anyway. A battery was obtained and I set too to perform the replacement. Out came the floor of the cupboard beneath which the batteries lurk, off came the lid of the battery box, a spanner was wielded to disconnect the cables, a mighty heave on the battery and, ah, how clever, they had fitted the batteries and then put the support for the cupboard floor across them at the back, there was no space to lift the things. Logic took over, if I just remove the batten and, ah, right, the next length of wood is obscuring the screws, so if that comes out, oh, the bit above it is glued in, hmmm. Back to basics, out hammer and ancient chisel. So with much light hearted muttering and many a chuckle I worked downwards, eventually, on reaching the batteries it took me five minutes to change the offending article and now it was time to rebuild the back of the boat. Owing to damage inflicted on the downward journey the rebuild was somewhat protracted and, in the finest traditions of the bodge, the cupboard floor now rests on a bit of two by one that sits on the lid of the battery box. Time taken? Five hours. Don't you just love boat builders?

Thursday, 9 December 2010

A bottle of milk and a Vauxhall Viva.

A month ago, as a special treat, Jill bought me a bottle of full cream Channel Islands milk to go on my breakfast porridge/porrige/porage,(Select whichever spelling you prefer, they're all valid). The sell by date was the ninth of November,

Today I used the last of it and it was still fine, I wonder what they put in it.
After breakfast we took a brisk walk up to town, anything to delay the onset of cabin fever. In one of the car parks

there is this beautifully restored Vauxhall Viva, it is parked there everyday so is in regular use. I'm amazed, I thought the last of them had rusted away years ago, after all rust was what they were famous for. Now I'm a great supporter of preserving old machinery but a VIVA? oh come on.

Hinckley is decking itself out for Christmas.

Castle Street, this is the main street for retail therapy in Hinckley,

and the Britannia Centre, Argos, Wilkinsons, Superdrug, they have all the class emporiums here!
There is even someone who will buy your unwanted gold, how sophisticated is that?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

An evenings entertainment.

What do you do on a frozen night, iced in the marina and too blooming cold to walk to the pub? By now cabin fever is starting to cut in so here are some alternatives.

You can gloat over the sloe gin which is maturing in the cupboard.

Read a good book, I found this one at the book swap at Sutton Cheney, published 1942, hilarious! I don't think it's meant to be funny but I guess expectations change.

You can cross stitch a few more Christmas cards for the people you forgot until you checked the address book.

Or play on the Nintendo DS but what we're going to do is watch the UK Snooker Championships on the telly, with the help of a bottle of Rioja.
No cricket on the box tonight, it seems the test match ended somewhat earlier than intended.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Last Rose of Summer.

We've had ice, we've had snow so the weather decided to ring the changes today

and it gave us freezing fog.

The trees are rimed with frost,

the leaves that still cling to the oak are bejewelled with ice crystals

and the berries on the, whatever it is, are in a deep freeze.

The last rose of summer.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Jill's Christmas chore is finished.

We are still wimpishly sitting in the marina, as they have turned the water off I am now having to go about fifty yards to get it by the container full, but as they've got showers here we're not using a great deal on board so I am not over stressed.
It was down to -7 C here last night and although we have now got bright sun the temperature has not yet crept above freezing, blow global warming if this is what it does, can't we just have a bit of local warming?

Jill has finished all the cross stitching for the Christmas cards, they have all been washed and here you see them hanging out to dry, just got to iron them all and then attach them to cards and then put the greetings in them and then write them, address the envelopes, stick the stamps on and post them, isn't Christmas fun. She started about the beginning of September, talk about post early for Christmas.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


I'm rather fond of Hinckley, it's a scruffy little town that has obviously seen better days but it goes about its business with a certain dignity, it will never be up there with Henley and Alrewas as a dignified water side town but it has everything you need and the locals are friendly. We finished off our Christmas shopping today, took my watch in for repair, bought a loaf of bread, had a couple of drinks and were back onboard in time for Countdown, what more can you ask? Not only that but we did it all in the snow, not bad eh?

Monday, 29 November 2010

Brass portholes? Hah!

You know it's cold when you get up in the morning and the windows look like this. If only we had realised when we had the boat built what we know now we would not have gone within a country mile of those lovely shiny brass portholes, brass is a wonderful transmitter of heat. We get twice the condensation/ice on the brass as on the glass. We're going to get some transparent acrylic to make secondary double glazing, in the meantime the little Bubble stove glows gently in the corner and does a splendid job of keeping hypothermia at bay.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Just wait until winter arrives.

I guess this is a familiar sight to everyone at the moment.

Here we are from the front, please note we are the opposite way round to all the other boats.

This was a surprise, The Old Bovine is just down from us, Leon says it is the first time they've been in a marina but needs must.The water points were frozen this morning but we all got together and by joining all our hoses up we reached the one point still running so we all have full water tanks, comforting.
Today was B.S.S. inspection and we sailed through (Please note the play on words, I do try) so that's that for another four years.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The cowards run for cover.

Okay, okay, we've wimped out but have you seen the weather forecast?
Yesterday morning,

after a spectacular sunset on Tuesday

and a sunrise of nearly equal splendour guess what was on the canal,


The countryside was white with frost,

Stoke Golding was looking decidedly Christmas Cardish

and this was the life ring on the roof.
So we've booked into Trinity Marina for a month and I apologise to all the big muscular boaters who are now striding down the towpath in their singlets with half a tree under one arm and fifty litres of red diesel under the other, I know we have let the side down but as I have said before wimp is my middle name, along with idle.
Had to re-book the B.S.C. and it is now on Saturday, must start unblocking all those ventilators, chaining up the gas bottles and sorting all the other daft bits and bobs. Before anyone panics that last bit was tongue in cheek.
I'm not a lover of marinas but the batteries are partying at the back, they haven't had a charge like this for ages and being next to a water point has definite advantages. Mind you I went a purler on the ice while walking the dog this morning and knocked a lump out of a finger, blood everywhere, so it's not all beer and skittles.