Sunday, 30 November 2014

So much for another canal ghost.

It's that time of the year, did you know that Armadillos hibernate in winter? So we are in semi-hibernation mode, i.e. we are not doing a lot. This seems to apply to the overall population of the Shroppie at the moment, if we see half a dozen boats on the move during the day we think it's busy.
We spent a couple of pleasant days loafing at bridge eight before moving down to Brewood to see our friend Sam, esteemed proprietor of  The Curry Inn, the finest curry house on the cut. He is just in the process of enlarging the restaurant and completely redecorating, should be even better once completed. Grand reopening Monday week!

Moored at Brewood, possibly the smallest usable narrowboat I've seen. Can't be more than fifteen foot by five.
We have now moved back to Little Onn for the weekend.

Lots a of good walks around the lanes here, yesterday we walked up the towpath to High Onn and then off up the lanes as far as High Onn House.

A splendid classical style farmhouse which sits on a quiet road junction, mind you the very large dog in the farmyard let us know he was there.
A fair way down the lane you come to the site of the wartime Weaton Aston airfield.

Although not on the actual airfield these have the definite look of W.D. buildings from the period, I would hazard a guess that they were a cook house and associated dining halls.
The airfield was opened in December 1941 and closed in July 1947, it was a navigation training airfield for the U.S.A.F. On 23rd May 1942 an Airspeed Oxford crashed here and on the 4th July 1944 a Republic P47 Thunderbolt crashed into the canal between bridges 21 and 22. It may be the pilot of this plane who is said to haunt the canal at this point. Unfortunately for a good story it appears that the pilot walked away unhurt.

Another busy road junction and then down past the local stables.

And so back to the boat.

It really is a pleasant spot.
For anyone still worrying about our portable pump out: I stripped it down to the last nut and bolt (Not the most pleasant job I have ever done) and replaced inlet and outlet valves and the diaphragm and it now pumps like a good 'un.
Nearly forgot to mention, the UK Snooker Championship is on the telly so don't expect a lot of sense from us for the next week.

Watch this space.......

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Fun with pumps.

Monday morning at Little Onn.

Just a touch of frost and a beautiful dawn.
We set off for another favoured spot, the S.U.C.S. moorings between bridges seven and eight. At Wheaton Aston we stopped off for water and a pump out, in accordance with ancient tradition the pump out wasn't working so out came our manual pump which, in accordance with s*ds law packed up at about three quarters done. The outlet valve had had a seizure of some sort. Fortunately we have a service kit which includes a new valve but involves stripping the entire pump down and with today's temperatures outside it isn't going to happen for a while. For some reason Jill says I can't do it in the cabin.

Just one of the joys of autumnal boating, lots of nice friendly leaves who have only one ambition and that is to give the prop big hug. Luckily they can generally be dissuaded with a quick burst of back'ards.

This morning has dawned with the first really hard frost of the autumn, hence the reluctance to become involved in the internals of the afore mentioned pump.
All day yesterday we saw only three other boats on the move and we have had the moorings to ourselves.

It is now 0930 and the second boat of today is just emerging from the mist. My feeling is that we will not see many more.

Watch this space.........

Friday, 21 November 2014

A quiet day.

Looking at the weather it seems we took a wise decision to stay here at Little Onn. It may be chucking it down outside but in the cabin all is snug and warm.

Our little Bubble stove provides plenty of heat for the cabin and to simmer today's lunch, Jill's home made butternut squash soup, while the eco-fan pushes the warm air down the boat.

Meanwhile Jill enjoys a quiet hour with her Kindle. She's been cross stitching most of the morning. Having finished the major project she is now busily making the Xmas cards. There is no end to her talents. No telling what she will be up to next.

Watch this space...........

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Back to normal, or what passes as normal for us.

Well here she is, resplendent in her new paint job and double glazed portholes.

Having taken this picture of the new fitting I was somewhat spooked to see my doppelganger peering out at me. The difference from the old brass portholes is amazing, no rattles, no leaks and condensation reduced to a slight haze on the alloy frames. Plus much better heat retention and less exterior noise.

Trevor has done a tremendous job of reproducing our beloved back panel.
After sidling up and down the cut, weekend at The Anchor needless to say, we had to visit Gnosall yesterday as one of my few remaining teeth was giving me gyp and a visit to the fang cobbler was required. Root canal work. Three little words for a whole lot of fear and cowardice. To be honest modern dentistry is pretty much painless but memories of past horrors still haunt me.
The bill hurt more than the actual work!

So today we set off aiming for a couple of quiet days in the country.

Through Cowley tunnel and a sign claiming tree cutting was taking place.

It wasn't wrong, the Cowley cutting was getting a right trim. Sorry about the quality of the pictures but a low autumn sun plus mist was causing havoc with the light.
The cutting has been badly overgrown on the offside for several years but C&RT have now got a handle on it and are already about two thirds of the way down clearing it right back.

I know it's most unfashionable to do anything but moan about C&RT but to be honest, we have seen more dredging, offside cutting back and general maintenance in the last couple of years than ever before. So more strength to their elbow we say.

After a short cruise through glorious autumn countryside we have moored at Little Onn and we've done all the puns on that score. A couple of days just loafing here would seem to be in order.

Jill has just finished her latest cross stitch masterpiece. A fairytale castle.

Watch this space..........

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Catching up: part two.

Well after the sun drenched birthday we reluctantly returned to the U.K. Just in time to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the birth of my old dad.

Here he is, telling some outrageous story as he prepares to cut his birthday cake, which was in the shape of a W.W.II Universal Carrier. A vehicle on which he served during that unpleasantness.

Part of his birthday pressie. I created a small diorama for him, using a photo' he had given me as a basis.

And here is a collection of the clan, you don't often see a gathering like that. There were a lot more at the party but the family are a bit like cats, you can't hold a group of them together for more than a few seconds.

A couple of days later we managed to get the four grandsprogs together. Left to right, Noah, with his pet Boa, Jonah with the wild barnett, Esme and Elliot.

Of course Grandad had to become involved with the snake, it has been said we have a lot in common.

Promised a steam engine and here we have one. Day out with Esme and Elliot on the South Devon Railway.

Elliot, aspiring fireman?

Totnes end of the line, a rare breeds farm. No idea what the thing in the middle is but it seemed to like the kids, as long as they had food for it.

Subsequently Elliot was mugged by another goat, that stole the entire bag and ate the lot, paper bag included!

We are now fully restored to our itinerant life style but being on the rural bit of the Shroppie internet contact is, to say the least, erratic so....

Watch this space.........

Friday, 14 November 2014

Catching up, part one.

Well that turned out to be rather a long fortnight.
So here is a quick catch up.
After handing the boat into the tender mercies of Norbury Wharf we set off for Tenerife.

View from our patio in the Hotel Isabel Family. Ideal for a quick dip in the morning before sallying forth for the day.

The one in the middle is Stuart, certified as a beach bum and

also barman in Ye Olde Ocean. He just happens to be our son, a real chip off the old block.

With Elodie, his gorgeous girlfriend. They took us to the places where the tourists don't go. Genuine tapas restaurants.

Or the local food market, just stroll around the stalls, buy a couple of dishes and then share with friends. Don't forget the local Canarian wine.

Looking down into the water at one of the local marinas, it's a bit clearer than your average British marina.

Elodie's birthday at the beach club.  A good time was had by all.

We had a wonderful two weeks in, mostly, the sun.
There's a bit more to come, another birthday, a snake and possibly a steam engine.
We are now back on the boat, she is looking good, pictures later, when it stops raining.

Watch this space...........