Sunday, May 31, 2009

Granchie. Can I have a Welsh cake please?

Granchie. Can I have a Welsh cake please?

Of course you can sunshine. But just the one or it will spoil your tea.


Uh!! That is not quite what I meant!!

More cycling yesterday evening to wind down. Just the two miles into Lincoln and back. At the end of the ride there was a large car park and in the car park a tower that was just there to be climbed. On the return trip every single fly in creation came out and tried to land on us.

We moved the boat back to Lincoln in the morning and after a leisurely ten minutes went off to visit Ian and deliver a food parcel of Welsh cakes. Abz, as an expert on playgrounds, spotted the one at Monks Abbey so on the return trip we stopped with an ice cream to rest. It was decided that although the park was nice it was designed for those of a shorter stature. Great fun even then as we watched the children racing around the park with water guns spraying all their mates.

Boat life has now gone very quiet.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Picau ar y maen

A somewhat unexpected visit to the boat by Abbey this weekend. So we crammed in a lot of the things that had been listed by her over the past weeks.

While I waited for her arrival in Lincoln I sat in the sun and watched the crowds go by. The temperature must have been 20 degrees and so I felt really sorry for the guy that was inside the mascot looking like a bear that was sponsored by the Co-op. He must have been roasting.

So after doing some shopping in Wilkos I moved the boat along towards Stamp End to await the arrival. A quick dash to Tesco and buy the ingredients as indicated by Kath who has a secret recipe and I was already. While I was waiting the very large boat that only just made it through the bridge at Saxilby came along. It had made it through the Glory Hole and its secret was out. The cabin on the top of the boat folded with a similar set-up as a skip lorry.

Abz arrived on time and it seems that I had forgotten crackers and cheese for our snack. We had a quick? Walk over to the shops again and without further ado moved on to the lock.

Some ‘kindly’ souls had been through previously and having descended left both the lock gates open. Thanks. Mind you that is not what I thought of them. People of a nervous disposition have been known to read this blog so I will keep it to myself.

I was up bright and early on Saturday. After a speedy cuppa it was onto the bikes and off to the playground in Washingborough. They have gone to town on the set up. Lots and lots of frames for the children and the park is surrounded by basketball and tennis courts with football and cricket pitches next door.

Back to the boat and time to make the Welsh cakes. ably assisted by my glamorous assistant.

Welsh Cakes by Kath

1lb Self raising flour
8oz Stork marg
6ox caster sugar
6oz sultanas
2 eggs

Rub marg and flour together with fingers
Add sugar and fruit, mix
Add eggs
Make into a pastry dough
Don’t add more liquid
Roll out and cut
Cook on a very low heat on griddle
Turn over once – 2-3 minutes
Stack and sprinkle with castor sugar

Num num num num num

As fast as we made them they had to be quality checked and a few were left for later.

In the afternoon it was the bike ride along the Water Rail Way. This was cool by the number of times it was repeated by Abz. The sculptures are even better close up and there are a couple that can’t been seen from the canal.

Made just at the right place for a lie down and a snack.

The cows are really good and the surprising thing for me was that there were a large number of items welded into it that i could recognise.

This one is 'cool' and made for running up and down on.

This was the end of our bike ride and with the wind going in the same direction as us it was a lot warmer riding back to the boat.

By the time evening came I was fatter and exhausted. Mind you it was a smashing day with plenty to see.

Off to Lincoln in the morning for a rest.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Summer is here!

If this is the way that summer is going then bring it on.

I do believe that my knees have a touch of sun today.

I had a trip down to Lincoln just to charge the batteries and the canal is getting its colour back. The Dog Roses are coming out and the Irises are giving a splash of yellow to the banks.
The number of boats traveling up and down the cut was amazing. Some of the larger ones although they might have been doing the requisite 6kph but the wash was as bad as the waves on the Humber.

The nicest part of the trip was the multitude of cygnets and proud parents that are about. The Black swan was sitting next to a nest of five young with the mother actually on the nest with no problem at all it seemed.

I was in Barton when Abz came back from her best friend’s birthday trip to Bridlington. By the sounds of it it was a great success and enjoyed by all that were there.

For most of today my phone has been very iffy. I have changed the tariff and asked to keep the old number. After a number of hours being able to call out but not knowing what number I was calling from things got back to normal and I was deluged by texts to the usual number that were held in limbo.
I am working on the solar panels and do wish that they were on line today. Must knuckle under and get on with it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bit of a Curates Egg.

This blog is because Ann has complained that she doesn’t know where I am or what I am up to. Bit like being married really. OK the Ann here it is.

OK the dashed cat came back at 2300 as though nothing had happened and after giving it a good telling off by feeding it tuna and corned beef he hide in the bed.

Today is a big day.

My niece Beth is getting married but due to the facts of life getting in the way I can’t be there. So. I have had a bottle of wine AND packet of peanuts to celebrate on my own. Well I felt like splashing out. It is also the day of my last visit to what could loosely be called home. I had many years of enjoyment at Grasby but managed to step on too many toes it seems. One pair in particular. Hay ho such is life.

Trying to break my leg as a parting thought didn’t help either. I was carrying a four draw filing cabinet down the stairs from what was my office and lost my footing. I managed to land quite safely but the cabinet didn’t have the good grace to miss me when I landed. You should see the mess it made of the base of the cabinet.

Anyway – cheers Beth and Mark may you live long and happily together.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Dashed Cat

A couple of days at Saxilby were very welcome and with a visit from Chris into the bargain – enjoyable. Whittering away and the time flew past and I hadn’t realised that it was 10 o’clock and time that the visit ended. I apologise Chris for having my back to the clock.

Then the weekend and a visit from my favourite mini-mobile disaster area. All the plans were made in advance of what we were going to do and it started well enough. As soon as Abz was onboard we set off for Lincoln. Spotting the black swan who now seems to be the extra help to the parents of half a dozen youngsters. A menagerie et trois which seems to be the thing these days.

Arrived safely in the Uni mooring and went off shopping to spend Abz’s pocket money which we succeeded in doing very quickly. Checked out Lidl and surrounding stores and back to the boat. Then it all started to fall apart.

Dash went off for a walk and we started on ticking off the items of the To Do list. Salt dough came first and I must admit the galley of a narrowboat leaves something to be desired when it comes to an eight year old + flour + salt + water.

Still I got the lumps out of it and most of it off the rest of the galley. :-) then the making of the items. These progress quickly and the fire was lit and the results put on the top to dry out. Computer games and the new acquisition kept us busy for a few hours. Getting close to bed time where is the Dash cat. Still out so leave the door unfastened for him to get in, wake me up so that I can lock up later.

In the morning we are moving on to the centre of Lincoln and then to Stamp End. Wot no Cat!! We are staying until he is found. Umpteen trips up and down the moorings and around the Uni buildings. No Cat. I am persuaded that a tin of tuna is worth a cat so open one up which we rattle and waft about in the search. Early lunch and have bacon sandwiches to use the smell to tempt him back. No Cat. Abz by this time is getting quite upset at the non-arrival of the cat and when the heavens open and the rain is belting down I can only just stop her going out with the umbrella to give it shelter.

During the wait for the cat things are still happening on the canal and off it. We spot the Army going past out on a training session and I remembered then why I joined the navy! :-)

While we were sat there thinking of the next move to get the cat back on board I heard a boat saying it was going full astern – three short blasts – they might have been but it was actually Naughty Cal asking if they could moor up alongside while they went off to the shops.

Even later Andy arrives to take Abz home and brings the inverter with him so that I can be back using the electrics more fully. Abz still worried and upset but its time to go and I have to promise to call the instant he returns.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Its been a funny old day

It all started last night with the view over the bow and the sound of the birds and the solitude. The canal can be an idyllic place to be.

Got up early as the cat had decided that the place for happiness was sitting on my head.

First thing to do was make a cup of tea and the view out of the window was peace.

Left the mooring and headed back to my favourite spot – Saxilby – and picked up the derv and calor gas. That should keep me going for a month or so. People outside with the children having a BBQ and having fun even though it is windy.

Cracked open a bottle of wine to celebrate being alive to some people.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Well it brightened my day

I left Washingborough yesterday and headed up stream to Stamp End. I was over taken on the way by a cruiser that was travelling at about the same speed as me but I thought it would be easier if he opened the lock and I went in first then closed up after he left so I let him pass. It certainly takes a lot of effort out of travelling when this happens.

Just before the centre of Lincoln I moored up and went shopping and booked the bike in for an MOT. To get across to the market area one crosses the road via a foot bridge. From here you get one of the nicest views of the Lincoln Cathederal.

And from the same point the view down the canal shows the mooring which is not as busy as the centre of Lincoln. The centre was crowded with youngsters and they were all very well behaved and enjoying their meetings with friends and the sun. It was nice to see.

I stopped the night at the end of the Uni mooring and visited B&Q to pick up some bitumen paint. I have decided to have the sides to just below the gunnel painted black as it is easier to match up rather than the green it is now.

First thing started the move on towards Saxilby and the diesel at Tongs DIY shop. With the engine on tick over the journey was slow and I let the Brayford Belle through and passed her again after she had turned around at the Pyewipe Inn.

It was then I was hailed by the hitch hikers!! Not really they just wanted to know about narrowboats as they were thinking of a holiday and wonder if they would be able to cope.

I don’t normally pick people up or give them a ride onboard but after chatting for a while decided that I was safe. :-)

Having reached the Woodcocks pub at the other side of Burton Waters I stopped to let them off and after even more chat invited the two delightful ladies in for a cup of tea and by now they are not only thinking of a holiday but ‘Can I live on a narrowboat?’

It made a refreshing change from normality.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rubber Duck or Hatted Duck?

During the last week I have slowly pontoon hopped all the way up to Washingborough on my way to pick up derv at Saxilby.

As I moved along the boats that had been to the rally in Sleaford passed me on their way home. On more than one occasion I would have used the radio ‘Rubber Duck we have a convoy’!! but I did manage to contain myself.

Each pontoon gave the opportunity to wander off on the bike visiting the local area. Plenty of interesting items and will have to do a second visit to do a proper job of it.

I spotted the hatted duck on the travels and managed a photo of it. A closer look makes me think that although there is definitely a tuft on its head the bird itself must be a cross of some kind.

On Friday I had a visit to Horncastle after an invitation from some friends who thought I needed coffee and biscuits. They were all behaving themselves and trying very hard to keep Syd in check but sadly were failing miserably. Rumour has it that they are going to gang up on me and visit sometime in the future. I am sure they are only doing it to make sure I clean up and do the dishes occasionally. :-)

As I went through Bardney Lock I met a boater who said that his friend Peta Hill had said to keep an eye out for me – the bike with a green narrowboat attached to it. Oddly enough it was only yesterday that I saw Peta for the first time in ages when I visited Trinity Church in Louth.

As I neared Washingborough I saw that one of the sculptures was still in the process of being made. What I thought last time was a fairly plain outline of a woman is now looking really good and I must get the bike out and have a closer look some time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wot no Diesel

Since getting out of the lock on the Kyme Eau I have moved up to Tattershall. I stopped at the mouth of the Kyme to enquire as to the nearest diesel source. I did have sufficient fuel on board for the return trip but the constant use of the engine to get back to a winding hole meant I had to waste a lot of my supply. There were two points I could pick it up. Anton Gowt or Kirkstead garage were the nearest and I plumped for Kirkstead as I was moving back up stream.

Coming out of the lock I met a number of boats that were going up to the rally. I hope they had an easier time of reversing than I had.

I moored at Tattershall and first thing in the morning was attracted by the horn blast from a boat going past. Waving madly was the proud owner of Naughty Cal going up stream and by the time I was out with the camera he was under the bridge.

Brian and Gloria were coming out for a trip but it was put off for a couple of hours as Brian had a date with a drain to unblock. He was threatened with the hose in the back garden but managed to get away with it.

They were kind enough to take me to the garage at Coningsby for some diesel as I am unsure of the amount in the tank as there isn't a gauge on it. I thought I had enough but rather than run out on the river….

During the visit we tried to put the world to rights and failed but we did figure out what was wrong with things – all the others!!

Extra litres in the tank we headed off towards the Kyme. Soon after leaving the pontoon Brian took over the tiller and took us there and back. He very quickly got the hang of it and all I did was to turn round at the end and moor back at Tattershall.

A very enjoyable interlude as I don’t see them very often and hope that they will come again but for a longer visit in future.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What a Day

If you want a trip that will test your skills at the helm then go up towards Sleaford.

The day started well enough but it was a bit disconcerting to be able to see the bottom and the sides of the canal all at the same time. It is a slow plod along with the boat grounding at several points as we went on.

Arriving at South Kyme is with a sharp bend and before you realise it there is a low bridge straight in front of you. The chimney took a bash from the hanging height indicator. With a little shuffling of the gear on the roof and I got through.

The centre of Kyme is very pretty but narrow and full of trees overhanging the canal.

As you travel along through the village there are even more trees on both banks and take a lot of dodging.

At the next bridge I had to drop the mirrors on the motorbike to get under.

After the last bridge a sharp bend and before very long I was aground. There was no way that I was going to get to Cobblers Lock and winding hole. So the long trek in reverse started.

Going in reverse is not one of the things that a narrowboat is designed for and this one is a pig. Getting past all the trees with the wind blowing across the canal was difficult. The bows, no matter what I did were blown over to the bank. I spent the whole day getting back to Bottom Lock and it was a relief to get the boat into ahead motion again.

All in all a day to be missed. The major problem with the canal is the lack of a winding hole anywhere near South Kyme. There is a place just outside that just needs a bit digging out and it would be perfect. If you still want to visit the thing to do it seems is to go in a pair and one boat tows the other which is in reverse. At the end of the visit one of the boats is then facing the right way and can repay the tow to get back to Bottom Lock.

Rally on

I woke up at Washingborough and on the spur of the moment decided to go to the Sleaford Boat Rally at the weekend. I left the mooring prepared for a long trip. It isn’t far but with the lack of scenery and lots of straight bits it is tedious in places.

After stopping to make a cup of tea at Fiskerton Fen moorings I reached Bardney Lock. The sunk restoration project still holds water or should that it is now above water level. It still floats but really needs work to keep the rain out.

Since I was at Saxilby I have been bumping – metaphorically speaking – into a couple heading southwards towards Boston. They were moored behind me at Lincoln and stayed the night there. That is a place I have not used yet but it seems that they had a quiet night with no problems. Good for Lincoln. I met them again at Fiskerton. By the time I had used the facilities at Bardney they had caught me up so I waited for them to arrive and we went through the lock together. They are looking to visit Spalding for the flower festival at the weekend.

This time I carried on past Tattershall and on towards the entry to the Kyme. On the way there is plenty of air activity with the planes from Coningsby flying over. That loud I couldn’t hear the engine!!

Soon Dogdyke appeared and with mooring outside the pubs there. Very summery looking it was too.

I am on the look out for a diesel supply and couldn’t make up my mind as whether I should go on to Antons Gowt, where some is available, or go into the Kyme and hope it would last. A look at the watch decided it for me. I preferred a mooring for the night.

Turned into the Kyme and guess what – no moorings.

In through the flood gates and keep going. The water is very clear and all along you can see the bottom of the canal. Now and again the lack of depth shows with the silt being disturbed by the prop wash.

At last I get to the Bottom Lock. A very nice job has been carried out on the lock. New gates and lots of work were done in 2008. Very nice it is here. There is also a distinct lack of the weed that was here a few years ago. Dash seemed to enjoy it anyway.

My only down is that the guillotine lock takes about 300 turns to open it up. And what makes it worse is it takes the same number to put it back! I am not used to all the hard work.