Monday 26 December 2011

Merry Christmas and an Happy New year!

A bit late I know but Chris and I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.!!  To all who read this blog we thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read. 

We hope Santa bought you those pressies you were hoping for and that all is well out there.

I know we are not yet talking about canal boats and AmyJo's build just yet but all being well things should start happening in the new year so plenty to think about for the design to put on the blog.

Now having got an Xbox for crimbo I think I'm going to give Modern Warefare MW3 a crack after the girls are done with Just Dance 2!!!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Reasons to be grumpy at Christmas

'Tis the season to be jolly? Not according to Stuart Prebble, creator of the TV series Grumpy Old Men.
In his hilarious new book Grumpy Old Christmas, he lists anything and everything he loathes about the festive season — nativity plays, pantos, presents, parties, shopping, eating, buying the tree, the £65 turkey.
Here, he brings you a selection of his grumpiest grievances to help release your inner Scrooge.

What is it about Christmas that makes us want to destroy a perfectly good tree and bring it into the house? And what has a tree got to do with Christmas? Jesus will never have seen a spruce, let alone have advocated uprooting millions of them every year so that they could shed their needles in your car and in the turn-ups of your trousers. It’s ridiculous. And someone has to choose it. ‘You stand there and hold it and I’ll look at it, and then I’ll stand and hold it while you look.’ So I stand there, on the pavement, always in the cold and usually in the drizzle, with my arm outstretched, while my wife cocks her head to left and then to the right, walks around it and decides that ‘it’s not quite right’. Though he doesn’t have a mask and a gun, the man selling the trees might as well have. It’s as close as you’re going to get to being mugged in broad daylight. And then you’ve got to get it home, fit it through the door — why should it be, do we think, that men always buy a tree that’s far too big for the house? — put it up (straight) and find lights that work…

When Bob Geldof said: ‘School plays are total complete and utter sh*te,’ it was the end of a mutually agreed conspiracy in which every parent of every child in every school had silently agreed to pretend that school and nativity plays are lovely.
It’s not even the play that’s the worst bit. It’s the other bloody parents and the sea of digital cameras. Competition for which part your kid is going to play is matched only by the size and expense of the broadcast unit with full lighting rig you want to bring to record it.

Panto was better when you were a kid than it usually is now. Then, we might have seen wonderfully comic actors such as Frankie Howerd, Jimmy Jewel, Sid James or Kenneth Williams. Now it’s part-time weather presenters, Neil and Christine Hamilton and, if we’re really lucky, Gazza’s sister.
And what about the scripts? A long time ago, when we were small, pantos were for the kids. The show was full of silly jokes and slapstick and set at the eye level of the target audience. It was loads of fun.
Now it’s all sex, smut and double entendres. Even the phrase ‘he’s behind you’ carries a whole different meaning.

Here's a little test: Which is your favourite record from this list of Christmas number ones?
(a) Ernie, The Fastest Milk-Float In The West by Benny Hill (b) Lonely This Christmas, Mud (c) Mary’s Boy Child — Oh My Lord by Boney M (d) There’s No One Quite Like Grandma, by St Winifred’s School Choir (e) Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid (f) Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin’ Stevens (g) Mr Blobby by Mr Blobby (h) Mistletoe And Wine by Cliff Richard
Enough said.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to receive a round-robin letter at Christmas from someone whose children hadn’t passed all their exams with flying colours, who hadn’t recently had another promotion, bought themselves the new BMW or taken their holidays in St Kitts?
Wouldn’t it be great to get one that said: ‘Another c**p year, we’re getting divorced, the kids are unemployed, on drugs, have turned out to be cross-dressers and have tattoos.’

Let's analyse this. You’ve gone out and worked very hard for a long time to earn this money, have given away a bit less than half of it to the Government and have put whatever’s left into your bank account.
Then, instead of using it to pay the rent, or buy food, or get the car serviced or go on holiday, you buy an item which is probably total bloody rubbish to give to someone else.
They are going to take it from you, unwrap it, say ‘thank you’ and then put it in their cupboard until next year, when they are probably going to give it to someone else.
Unless you also give them the receipt, in which case, you might as well have just handed over the money.
And why are we doing all this at Christmas? If it’s anyone’s birthday, it’s Jesus’s, not yours.

The last thing I want when I get home after a hard day at work is to be told I’m not going to get dinner because we’re going to Lena’s down the road who has spent all week preparing hors d’oeuvres.
Then there’s the whole getting ready saga: do I have to shave? (I do); can I wear my jeans? (I can’t); must I change this shirt? (I must).
And when, finally, we get there, it turns out we know everyone. Just about all of them were at the party on Thursday, so we know all their news, they know all ours.
Which is fine for women — within five seconds of arriving, they’re all in a group talking about a very nice pair of stud earrings that Margery bought in that little jeweller’s just off Market Square, you know the one, with all the diamond rings in the window, the bloke who runs it looks a bit effeminate.
Sadly, men can’t do this. So we get to spend three hours clutching a glass of wine and trying to think of something new to say.
Sometimes giving a party may be less vexatious than attending one. But while most people leave at a reasonable hour, there’ll be at least one couple who’ll show no sign of leaving, especially when your wife mentions the possibility of a nightcap.

There's a knock on the door. Who on earth could it be at this time of the night? It’s 7.30pm for heaven’s sake. We’re in the middle of dinner. No way we’re opening the door — sod them.
The doorbell rings again. We ignore it. Hopefully, even though the car is outside and all the lights are on, they’ll assume we’re out. It rings again.
Eventually, my wife weakens. As soon as they see her in the hallway, it starts . . . ‘Si-i-lent night, ho-o-ly night.’
In the old days, carol singers would hold out a bag of cloth so your contribution would feel and sound more generous than it was.
Nowadays, you pass your coins into a sweaty grasping hand with ‘hate’ tattooed across the knuckles, so your generosity, or lack of it, is immediately evident.
If you tell them to get lost, when you go out in the morning your tyres will be ribbons.
Happy bloody Christmas.

Why, if it’s so delicious do we only eat it on Christmas Day? Because it isn’t. It tastes like blotting-paper dipped in cranberry sauce. It’s not even simple any more.
There are ‘oven-ready’ turkeys — which presumably means someone has plucked the feathers and stuck its innards in a plastic bag, free-range turkeys, organic turkeys, ‘turkey basters’ — the busty amputees of the turkey world which consist only of breast meat for people who don’t like the gnarly and sinewy bits, turkeys that have been honey-dipped, turkeys glazed with the juice of Malaysian pineapples, and turkeys that have been massaged every day of their lives by Japanese peasants living at the base of Mount Fuji.
Sadly, there just don’t seem to be any cheap turkeys.

Here's my theory. Nobody actually likes Christmas pudding; if they did, it would be on the menu in restaurants more than once a year.
No, it was invented as a joke by someone who thought: ‘What’s the thing anyone would want to eat after they’ve had the biggest meal they’re going to eat in 12 months?
‘Sorbet, or a light and fluffy dish?
‘No, let’s give them something they could build a house with. Oh, and because we’ve so little to do in the run-up to Christmas, let’s make it take at least a month to prepare.’

Every year, we eat a meal that overflows our largest dinner plate, loosen our belts midway through the meal, feel as full as a very full thing which has just been given an extra beef pie to eat, and yet still hear ourselves saying: ‘Oh, all right then, perhaps just a little bit more turkey.’

Every year we eat until we’re so uncomfortable that all we can do is waddle over to the couch, flop down and fall asleep in front of the Queen.

Monday 12 December 2011

Just down right Daylight Robbery

Hi All,
Sorry for not posting much lately only we've been very busy with the new home.  Now we're nearly sorted we started to look at getting our narrow galley kitchen put to right with a refit so we have been having various kitchen firms in to design and give quotes.   Once fitted we can see if it works and then as the kitchen will be about the same size on AmyJo we can improve the design on her to make it even better.

One problem to be solved is that the gas and electricity meters, together with the consumer unit for the electrics, are all housed in one of the 500mm wide cupboards taking up valuable storage space.  We made enquiries to the utilities companies with a view to getting them moved and got a shock.  First the gas meter will be relocated on the outside of the bungalow in an external box just 1 foot from its current location this will cost £360 inc VAT, a lot I hear you say and yes I agree but wait...theres more.

Next we move the electricity meter off the inside of the wall, eight inches too the outside of said wall in a box.  Now get this,  to do this the electricity company insist I dig a hole 1meter square to expose the incoming power cable.  I then have to go to one of their local depots and pick up the external wall box and then mount it on the wall myself.  They will then come and cut the cable and re joint it to the moved meter inside said cupboard then I have to get an electrician to connect up the meter to the consumer unit.  Having done half the work for them they want to charge me as staggering £670 inc VAT.  Now this has to be a new form of legalised robbery surely!  So for that princely sum I have to do half the donkey work, they come and join up a cable and swan off leaving me to do the rest.  Down right robbery as I see it!

Oh well seems we have no choice so must budget the cost in.  I did try to get the price reduced but was told its non negotiable.

Hope everyone is well with the hatches battened down for the coming winds.  Hope you all stay safe out there on the cut.

 until next time....bye for now

Saturday 3 December 2011

At last we're settled into our new home!

Hi all,
Well the good news is we finally moved into the bungalow on the 24th as I last posted.  It's taken BT until yesterday to get our broadband sorted so we could not post until now.

At 8.30am the removal men turned up and loaded our home into a huge lorry and a large van. It was quite emotional when we finally shut the door for the last time and handed over the keys.
At this point upstairs was empty and only the first panel of the lorry was packed
They worked tirelessly all day and finally unloaded the last box into our new home at 8.30pm.  We reckon we got our moneys worth from them but the 3 guys were great lads and we had a good laugh with them.

So now we're living amongst boxes in the bungalow and we have proven you can actually fit a quart into a pint pot.

You can just make out Joanne among the boxes on the left.
We are all getting used to living in a smaller space which for Chris and I is great as we will be used to it by the time AmyJo is launched.  The bungalow needs a lot of work so there is plenty for us to be getting on with.  The first task is to sort out the kitchen as it's a real mishmash of badly fitting cupboards.  We knew this would have to be done before we moved in, what we did not expect as we started to measure up was AmyJo's kitchen will actually be slightly larger than the one at home!  We don't even have a cooker at the moment so are living on ding meals as Chris calls them (microwave meals that is) for now.

We have not stopped for five minutes since we moved in trying to get everything sorted and are enjoying opening the boxes to unpack.  It's a bit like Christmas come early as we know we packed and labelled things but we still cannot find things so go a hunting in the boxes.

Our new home is quite cosy and we already feel settled despite the boxes.  The bungalow is tiny looking from the front so we nicknamed it the Tardis as inside it's actually a good size.  We're looking forward to Christmas now and getting on with AmyJo's planning in the new year.  Our adventure has actually started and we cannot waitRoll on Spring!

Thats all for now folks

Sunday 20 November 2011

More frustrating delays

Hi all,
Just a quick update to say we still have not moved and the latest is the 24th Now.  Seems Bungalow lady is having problems with her removal firm so asked for a third delay.  As you can imagine my reply was choice and so we told her delay again and we will pull out.  You would have thought after the third time the alarm bells would have  got her to change removal firms by now! I worry if we delay any more our buyer will go elsewhere.

I was told that moving is the most stressful thing second to getting married.  Glad it's not a regular thing....moving that is!

Thursday 10 November 2011

Frustrating delays

Hi All,
  We had hoped to be moving tomorrow and hence why no posts, but due to the lady in the Bungalow we are buying being unable to get a removal firm until the 21st we are still in our old house.  

We are now all ready to get moving and are fed up living in a house with every room full of boxes.  We have even had to unpack some!

As we have been packing the house up over the last week and the move delayed we decided to take the weekend out and visit the North Petherton Carnival in Somerset.  This carnival is well worth the visit as the floats can be 100 feet long and look absolutely fantastic here is one example
The procession can consist of over 50 floats like the one above and takes 3hours to pass you.  Sadly this was cancelled due to the tragic accident on the M5.  Such a shame a joyful event should end so tragically don't you agree.

We feel we had a lucky escape from this as we came off the motorway the junction before the accident location and only 30minutes before it happened.  As you can guess we feel so lucky as we could have stayed on to the next junction but decided not to.  If we had stayed on the motorway who knows, we could have been a statistic of that sad event.   As we drove along the A road that runs parallel we drove through what we thought was fog and now realise it was the edge of the very smoke cloud that is thought to have caused the accident .

Well that's all for now.  Next time I post will be once we have moved into Marina Drive so do keep safe and warm on the cut.

Thursday 27 October 2011

All signed up

Hi all, trust we are all well?,

We're not blogging much these days as to be frank there is not a great deal to tell you.  The one piece of good news is we signed the contracts for our house move and now have a provisional moving date of 11th November.  So, provided the other parties agree, we move on 11/11/11, should be easy to remember.  All that puts a doubt on that is one outstanding local search due in this week all being well

That leaves just a little over 10 days to pack so the race is on.  We are gearing up to notify all the service companies and have sorted out a removal firm as well.

If you are thinking of moving and still have the kids at home who are over 17, treat them well.  As young adults in the UK they are entitled to tenancy rights, something that we had not heard of.  This means, like us, you will need to get them to sign a form stating they will vacate the property when you move.  We gave Joanne and Amy the choice, "sign or your out"    Win, win situation for us really :-) 

Its a sad fact of life that these days 23 and 26 year olds like our Amy and Jo have no chance of getting on the property ladder.  On the wages the girls earn they would struggle even to rent a flat.  The only hope our girls have is an inheretence left by grandparents or us.  As we have no plans to pop our clogs we have no choice but to let them stay at home.

This gave us a bit of an idea last night.  When AmyJo is built, Chris and I will live aboard during the summer months and charge the girls a small rent each.  So that way the bungalow remains occupied and we can rest assured the place is looked after.  It also means the bank of dad can remain sovent too!

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Still moving on slowly

Hi all, it's been a bit quiet on the moving front this last week, the solicitors are doing their bit and the mortgage is sorted and survey on the bungalow all done.  The solicitors are doing a great job (surprisingly) and are ready with the contracts but the mortgage company are being a real pain in the arse.  Not only did they loose our application and documents only to find them two weeks on but they have approved the mortgage but only sent us 11 pages of the 40 page offer and not the bit we needed to sign to say we agreed with it.  All this is slowing things down much to our annoyance.

So for now we are slowly packing up bits and pieces, selling furniture we cannot fit into the bungalow.  No completion date yet but that should be sorted soon.  I dare say others will follow this path so I may add pages covering these sort of stages before a boat build for now.  Might be of use to someone else following the same path as us.

At work I attended a Fire Marshall's course this week  and was given some food for thought.  I wonder how many of you out there ashore and afloat have checked their fire extinguishers lately?  What sort do you have, are they easily accessable, and does everyone know where they are?  I bet some will have dry power extinguishers?  Did you know that most D.P. (Dry Power) extinguishers compact the powder when vibrated and then go solid so are useless after a prolonged period?  Or that the power is actually corrosive?  Check to see if they are rated for Class A fires, if so get rid of them.  Only DP extinguishers rated for class B and C fires should be used on a boat otherwise you could find corrosion a problem after you use one, besides in an emergency the powder cloud in an enclosed space actually blocks your vision and the route to safe exit so consider a water of CO2 unit instead.  If your extinguishers are more than two years old think about replacing them with new ones.  Regularly check the pressure is in the Green and if not replace them.   Do remember use CO2 or DP on electrical fires NOT water types.

A fire in a canal boat can become lethal in just 20 seconds so have you discussed what you would do in the event a fire does break out?  Do you have a fully charged mobile phone at all times in case you need the emergency services?  I do not mean your every day use one that you may have on you while you are ashore and your partner onboard with no means of contacting them but one always to hand no matter who is onboard.  Interesting points that maybe, like me, you had not concidered perhaps?

Well that's all for now.  Take care in the winds and stay safe.

Monday 10 October 2011

In the box or the Skip?

Now we know we are definitely moving we have continued our packing and de-cluttering.  I am beginning to think Maffi (Click) may well have a good point when he posted about storage recently.  Seems the more you have the more you definitely squirrel away.  That's certainly true in our case!

We currently live in a reasonable sized 4 bed detached house and it is amazing just how much we have accumulated in the 11 years we have lived here.  Our clear out has not gone unnoticed neither, as our next door neighbour knocked on the door yesterday to say she had hired a skip and could not fill it up and would we like to throw our stuff in it.  Obviously we thanked her and in minutes the skip was full, however, I'm not sure whether her " you can throw your stuff in it" comment meant our unwanted rubbish or........

The double garage is taking on the appearance of one of those lockups those Americans bid on hoping to turn a profit.  There is not much room left and Chris got lost in there the other day as the way we stacked everything has created a little maze.  For a while she got disorientated and could not find her way out amongst the boxes.  The girls and I  were not too concerned really, we would have found her eventually as we loaded up the removal lorry :-)  Don't think she was too impressed when we told her that though when she eventually emerged.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

We had a mystery visitor

Came home from work today and found this
Our mystery visitor must have done this while we were at work today. Our Estate agent is obviously on the case.  I have to say this is the first physical evidence (apart from all the form filling) we have that the move is progressing and something will actually happen.  I feel happier now for some reason, even though a lot can go wrong before we sign the contracts and complete.

Some Light humour (not intended to offend)

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist
threats. Now they have raised their security level from "Miffed" to
Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.
Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody
Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only ! two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only
threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy.  These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy. 

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be alright, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is canceled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

-- John Cleese - British writer, actor and tall person

Friday 30 September 2011

Beauorcrats and paperwork

Hi all,
Things are starting to happen and we've been dealing with a mound of paperwork to fill in and sign.  For the sale we have to contend with our mortgage company who, for reasons unknown to me, insist we fill out a mortgage application despite the fact we are transferring our existing mortgage to the new property. 

We filled out a ton of forms the size of war and peace and sent them back on Tuesday.  Worryingly as I type they have yet to receive them.   I would not mind but they contain our passport as such so I hope they do get them.

Oddly though the solicitors have been on the ball and as we have returned their forms both our vendor's and our solicitors have everything ready and are just waiting for the valuation and survey by the mortgage company on the new house.  Will keep you posted how it goes next week.

In the mean time we continue to pack up and have now got on first name terms with the guys down our local refuse tip we've been there so many times!  We're also getting quotes from removal firms as this is looking a daunting task.  One look at the growing pile of boxes in the garage plus stuff we have not yet packed makes me wonder if it is all going to fit in the bungalow.

Hope we are all enjoying the weather?  We are not as hot in as the south herein Chester but we have been getting temperatures of 27 degrees with today reaching 28.  I can though, now confirm the official reason for the heatwave.... I sold my MX5 sports car so now I don't have a convertible the weather will be fine. ... trust me on this :-)

Thursday 22 September 2011

Lofty beginnings

Hi All,
All is progressing well and we now have written confirmation of offers accepted.  With moving fever in the air and the study empty we decided to tackle the loft and Oh my god..... it's time like this you realise just how much we hoard over the years.

After one whole day of shifting stuff, sorting it and boxing it up we could barely shut the study door ( a room 9ft by 10ft).  We are now slowly moving it all into the garage to make room for more packing.

I think we could have done the job in half the time but the sounds of "aaaahhhh" and "oooooh" and "I'd forgotten about this" meant far too much reminiscing was going on by mum and the girls.  Still at least it's one more job done for the move I suppose.

Friday 16 September 2011

Offer accepted!!!

Hi all,
As I type this my hands are shaking. I mean....actually shaking.  It's actually happened at last!   

It's still early doors yet but we just had an offer for the house this morning that we have accepted and the Bungalow we put an offer on has also accepted our offer too!  So we're on the move (we hope)

It's funny how life ticks over and then.... BAM..... events happen in a flash that alter everything.  Having not had a viewing now for 6 weeks we resigned ourselves we would have to sit it out over the Winter.  I had decided to redecorate the study putting it back to a bedroom and then do the hall to make the pace look tidier still.  We would then re-list with another agent to get things moving again

Well the study is nearly finished (hence my lack of posts) and we got a knock on the door last night from a gentleman who had viewed with his daughter a few months back.  He  wanted have another look round and then made a cash offer on the spot but well below our price.  After he continued trying to get the lowest price from me I managed to hold firm and got him up to something near what we thought was our minimum price and we parted company.

This morning he phoned the agent with the same higher offer he had left me with and after a few phone calls he met me half way and we said yes.  I instantly ran the Bungalow's agent and had my offer accepted within the hour.

I'm actually quit emotional at the moment as, provided all goes well, nbAmyJo just took a gaint step closer to becoming a reality.  You cannot imagine how relieved I am that now we can let our builders Fernwood know we can proceed in the spring as planned.   It's still too early to be sure so I'm trying to contain my excitement.

For now though I'm off to get a stiff Scotch and read Peter Underwood's Six part series about life afloat that Jo (coalwoman) posted on her blog a few days ago (thanks for that JO).


Wednesday 7 September 2011

Me Behave!!!

Me, Behave????

Me, behave?
As a child I saw Tarzan's Jane almost naked,
Cinderella arrived home after midnight,
Pinocchio told lies,
Aladdin was a thief,
Batman drove over 200 miles an hour,
Snow White lived in a house with 7 men,
Popeye smoked a pipe and had tattoos, Pac Man ran around to digital music while eating pills that enhanced his performance, and Shaggy and Scooby were mystery solving hippies that always had the munchies.
The fault is not mine!
If you had this childhood and loved it, repost to your blog.

Thanks Jo (coalwoman) for this one.  So...... how many of you grinned then?..... own up :-)

Sunday 28 August 2011

Trip to Grantham

My how the time is flying by.  We've been so busy this week I've not had time to post until now.

We took ourselves off to Fernwoods on Monday and spent a pleasant and productive day chatting with Ken and Julia about our design thoughts.  We're glad to say most of them were OK with them and after looking around their latest creation the design is now taking firmer shape.

Chris and I like the idea of windows either side of the saloon doors at the front.  These french doors give plenty of light and open up the area into the cratch nicely.

These small cratch boxes make for a roomy area but we would like them slightly wider so we can sit on them, perhaps barn door style doors would help with that.  We like the white paint as it gives an airy feel but would be a pain to keep clean in the winter months I should think.

The saloon area is also becoming clearer and an L shape seating fits our bill.  We rather like this, though some cusions would be better

We also like this idea for the steps into the cratch with the Lockgate fire too

We want the day room to double as a second bedroom so again an L shape seat is prefered that will make up into a double bed.  We also want this room to have side doors.   These ones also have glass so light can still keep the room light when shut.

Friday 19 August 2011

New thoughts on Colour Scheme

Hi all,

Whilst on holiday we posted that we had seen a boat with a great colour scheme and that this had made us think again on our choice of colours.  The boat concerned was Magpie, in the photo below

Magpie has a simple style and the two greys complement each other perfectly.  If the exterior is anything to go by the interior must be equally as stylish (I just wish we got a peek).   

With that in mind I had a play and came up with something very similar (sorry about the image size but if you click on it you can see it full size)

As you can see I'm also using it in our header.  I hope the owners of Magpie don't mind us copying but Chris and I just fell in love with the colours.  Do you think these would wear better than the grey and black?

We are slowly getting our design together and so the other day I arranged to go pay another visit to Ken and Julia at Fernwoods.  We have arranged to visit Monday and want to put our ideas forward  and see if they would be feasable.  

Our ideas folder is taking shape now too and we have photos of the sort of things we like in it.  Whether we use them all is another matter, that will depend on the space and the design but it should give Julia an idea of the sort of thing we like.

Monday 15 August 2011

Back to earth with a bump

Well it's been over a week since we said goodbye to the Leeds Liverpool canal now and it feels a million years away.  I am back at work and it's like living in an alternate universe.  I went on holiday leaving Shell Stanlow refinery behind and returned to the same spot but now it's the Essar Stanlow Refinery.  Yes Essar took over whilst I was away.  The place and most of the people are the same but the Shell pectin is gone and all new Essar Oil signs are in their place.  Deep down I have to admit I'm glad to see it that way too.

So what did we think of the canal in general?  The part of the Leeds Liverpool we saw is like a gentle Jekyll and Hyde.  The country sections are beautiful and romantic whilst the towns imposing and industrial.  That said I would argue the LL is one very interesting canal and well worth putting on your places to visit list (though max boat length is 62feet due to lock sizes).

We only travelled just over half it's length between Silsten to the east of Skipton to Wigan top lock in the West (some 32 miles).  This includes the summit section on the canal at a height of 487meters above sea level.  It may not sound much but the views of the dales and valleys at this height are a joy to behold.  Elevated sections in the rural parts are a delight ( a must for artists and photographers) and gives the traveller a strange feeling the canal is going up or down hill as you scan the route ahead.  Canal bridges do appear lower in the distance and this only adds to the pleasure of the trip.  Being one of the oldest canals the LL is a conture canal so twists and turns, rather suddenly at times at that.  I mean tight bends too.  At times we had to almost wind the boat to get round them so please do read the Pearson's carefully when under way.   In some stretches you can travel a full day and still see where you started off a few miles away as the crow flies.
Typical view across the hills the hedge in middle is the canal itself

Rural mills still abound
One of many tight bends to catch those who do not go slow enough


Locks are few on this stretch, but were there are locks they are grouped 6 to 7 in a short distance.  All are reasonably maintained and are wide enough to take two narrow or one wide beam boat.  Be aware though some gates leak badly and so be prepared to get wet.  In some, close windows as little jets of water cascade out of the lock walls when descending as Chris's mum, Mary, found out after getting a shower whilst sitting in the saloon during the descent of one lock.  She was more annoyed her Daily Express crossword got wet than the fact she got wet herself.
Ground paddles are varied and most are like these
The reason for the ground paddles.  Gate paddles are the louvers

If you open this first you get VERY wet!
Good job the engine bay sump pump cut in automatically
Upper pound and three lower locks

Beautifully tended lock area with helpful lock keeper too.

As one travels through the smaller towns one is greeted with Coronation street styled housing with sloping roofs in row upon row as they line the hills.  One can be forgiven for being a little disappointed that the Hovis lad does not come wobbling down the hill on his bike as in the old advert.
Cue music, daaa dah dah dadadaa

In stark contrast the larger towns of Burnley and Blackburn, whilst not as picturesque, do encapsulate the traveller in a time warp of the industrial revolution, and give an indication why Britain became such a rich and powerful nation, sadly many for the canal side mills are now idle and most derelict but none the less one can still enjoy the impressive architecture and wonder at the work done within.  There are even signs that some mills are being restored into working order thanks to Lottery and National trust funding.  Should be well worth a visit when they do eventually re-open.
A crumbling wall is all that is left of this mill
Novel reuse for a mill.  A shopping arcade at J12 of the M65

Top floor was workers homes, downstairs was the workshop

Useful graffiti for a change

A sad sight for such an impressive building, the Imperial Mill
We have to say Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed the Leeds Liverpool and we are glad we took the opportunity to do it even if we can never take AmyJo there. 

Chris operates one of many swing bridges between Skipton and Silsten
Jump.  I promise I won't catch you :-)

Yours truly.  Umm looks like  a visit to weight watchers is overdue!

Waiting for the lights at Foulridge tunnel

Alan, learning the ropes, as it were.  I know, sorry :-)

Oh dear bro, we've been caught out, bottle in hand.
Working out the varied types of lock paddles So close to the bridge the gates had no beams

Last night on the cut