Sunday 30 March 2014

Going Green

Hi all
Despite temptation Chris and I thought we had best stay at home this weekend to finish decorating the dining room.  We started 6 weeks ago and the only time we have to get on with it is at weekends, but of course, we're been running off to AmyJo instead.

Now we're getting fed up of the house being in a turmoil whilst we try to get the decorating done.  We decided enough is enough and just simply had to get on with it.  

Whilst trying to ignore the glorious sunshine outside I set to with paint brush and roller.

We now have most of the painting finished just the final gloss coat to do.  That leaves the varnishing of the panelling to do and then we're done.  Chris is off work for the Easter holidays as of next weeks so will source the carpet to complete everything.  We can then put the decorating gear away until next spring.

We're not going to get much chance of getting out on AmyJo now until Easter weekend but as Chris is off work for the holiday I've booked the Wednesday and Thursday leading up to good Friday off so we can spend 6 days afloat and stretch our cruising range a lot further afield.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

A wait for water and care in Welford Lock

Sunday morning we were up with the Lark and got straight into getting AmyJo ready to move off to the water point.

We were just bout to start the engine when another boat passed us and stopped on the landing stage.  Oh well we thought we'll let him top up then we'll take our turn.

I wondered up to speak with the owner and found he would "not be long, just loading up and then I'll be off" he said.  "No problem" I replied, "We'll wind and put our boat on when you leave".

An hour passed and when we next looked out the gent was washing down his boat and then generally faffing about.  It was clear he had no intention of moving off any time soon even though he knew we wanted to water.  We decided we would wind AmyJo and then back her up to the water front in front of his boat.  It would block him in but we figured we would not be long and in any case he seemed nowhere near ready to move just yet.

We managed to wind in front of the boat shed with a mere foot to spare and lay alongside the tow path a couple of boat lengths on from the water point.  Just as we were about to rope AmyJo back towards the water point the other boat pulled away leaving the wharf mooring free, what luck.

 We roped AmyJo back to the wharf and it took 30mins to top us up.  Its the first time we have seen one of the new water points and they seem to work OK.  At least the water pressure was good anyway.

After that we had a nice gentle cruise back to Welford lock where we took it nice a slow letting the water out.  The lock seemed very narrow compared to some and we know AmyJo is on the chubby side and did not want to get her jammed in the lock.

We need not have worried and all went well so were soon on our way.  Perhaps I was being a bit over cautious but first time in this lock we felt it paid to be careful.

Five hours later we arrived back at the marina to fined it calm, hot and sunny.  It was that warm we even ate our dinner in the cratch before leaving for home!

Saturday 15 March 2014

Postman Pat and the Welford Arm

Hi all,
   We're back aboard AmyJo for another weekend and what a glorious one it is.  

  We are getting into the routine of weekend cruising now and arrived on board at 9pm last night and got everything ready for today's run up to the Welford Arm.  

This morning we woke to the sun streaming into the porthole, so after topping up the water tank we got under way.  Once out on the cut Chris decided it was time to try out the washing machine whist under way.  So the bed was stripped and the first ever wash on AmyJo was on.  

Needless to say the machine passed muster and Chris is more than happy with it.  Tomorrow on the return trip its the turn of the Tumble dryer.

The weather made for a wonderful cruise up to the Welford Junction with signs of hire boats now making an appearance as we passed several on our way presumably out of Market Harborough.  The were also quite a few private boats out too.

Everywhere we looked spring was really starting to make its mark.  There were numerous Sparrow Hawks wheeling overhead and the trees were starting to open out their leaves and bird song was everywhere.

Along the way horse riders were making the most of the weather and both had spare horses in tow too.

After a while we caught up with another boat and followed at a discreet distance behind. The couple aboard were clearly in no hurry as their speed meant AmyJo was at tick over most of the time.  Not that we were concerned, we had plenty of time and it did make us realise that maybe we were travelling a bit too quickly so was grateful of the slower speed.  AmyJo moves so effortlessly through the water she needs little revs anyway.

We reached the Welford arm and turned in still following the other boat

Our company ahead of us for the trip up the arm
A short way down the arm a large shadow suddenly raced along the roof.  We looked up to see a glider being towed by an aeroplane, Chris just managed to get a picture.  We saw several other gliders so there must be a gliding school nearby.

A bit further on and we arrived at Welford Lock.  Luckily it was in our favour so the boat ahead of us went straight in leaving space for us on the lock mooring to wait our turn.

We found the narrows just before the lock and the lock itself quite tight but AmyJo squeezed through and into the lock with no problem. We'll have to keep a close eye out on our way down tomorrow as there is very little room in the lock either side.

We got to Welford and found a lovely mooring just short of the wharf and as there was still plenty of daylight left we decided not to wind so we could polish the other side of AmyJo, so now she's shiny on both sides.

Chris takes a break from polishing the roof
When the polishing was finished we took ourselves off to the Wharf pub for a well earned pint of Ten Fifty for me and a coke for Chris.  We then strolled up into the village for a look round.  We turned a corner and were greeted with a cheery wave from Postman Pat and his cat Jess

One happy chap
We enjoyed our walk through the village and came across what I thought might have been a converted pub

On closer inspection the sign above the right window just off shot said P.Phipps & co so I'm wondering if the building might have been a small brewery as well as a pub in its previous life.  Bet the owners kept the bar, I would have.

We returned to AmyJo and sat watching a fantastic sunset to finish of the day.

AmyJo's mooring for the night

Monday 10 March 2014

Woken by strange noises and UFO sighting

We had a wonderful nights sleep on AmyJo Saturday night, we both slept deeply in the silence of the open countryside, that is until 6:30am when I was woken, refreshed, by a noise that grew louder and louder by the minute.

The noise was familiar but something I have not heard since the girls were young and we used to holiday in our caravan.  Yes, it was the dawn chorus,  absolutely wonderful bird song.  I lay there soaking up the sound for a while then at 7am I got up!  Never have I done that willingly before when there was no reason for me to do so and only, reluctantly, for work each day.

I made myself a cup of tea and left Chris asleep in bed, sat in the cratch that was warming by the sunshine and listened.  I became aware of another sound I've never heard before.  A short rapid knocking like a distant machine gun, tok tok tok tok, this repeated every so often for at least half an hour.  At the time I had no idea what it was but since found out it was actually a wood pecker.  Never heard one until now.  

I love that alone time first thing in the morning when all is well with life and the hussle and bussle has not begun.  The peace is shatteringly powerful, do you know what I mean?  I can take stock and shake off the stresses of life just for a while.  Sounds selfish I know but I love the rare occasions I get to do that..  

I opened the cratch cover and looked up into the cloudless blue sky and spotted something, a UFO.  Well actually it was the sun, but it may as well have been a UFO as its something we've not seen for a good while.  It actually felt warm for the first time this year.

By now sounds of emerging life could be heard at the back of the boat so coffee soon found its way back to Chris

No wonder she loves being on the boat, she rarely gets coffee in bed at home as she is normally up before me.

As we knew the trip back to the mooring was only going to take 2 hours we decided to stay on our mooring spot for the morning and got out the polishing cloths again but this time the starboard side paintwork got the treatment. 

Pretty  -   Chris of course :-)
We soon had AmyJo nice and shiny so you could see your reflection in her paintwork.  Yes, yes I was helping but stopped for a photo opportunity.

We had another cuppa when we finished and then chilled taking in our surroundings.

You can just make out AmyJo to the left of the large bush on the near bank
New windmill farm by the M1/M6 junction
AmyJo basking in the sunshine

Lunchtime came and so at 1pm we pulled pins and reluctantly headed back to the marina.  As there was plenty of time we kept our speed to a minimum and just lapped up the experience and passing countryside.  

The warm weather was bringing out other boats from the marinas too and we passed several on the trip back, all out for a day cruise in the lovely sunshine.  One passing boat was another Fernwood boat, Kamili starting out on her season's cruising.  We exchanged a quick hello and wished them happy cruising.

By now the weather was positively Mediterranean and it felt so good to be out in the warm sunshine wearing a t-shirt instead of winter woollies

Not a cloud to be seen anywhere

Once back on the mooring we settled AmyJo's warps, checked in the weed hatch, looked at the engine oil level and greased the stern gland then sat in the saloon, neither of us wanted to pack the boat up and neither of us wanted to move, we were so relaxed.  Chris so much so in fact ... she fell asleep.

Well all that polishing and boating wears one out you know :-)  We did eventually pack up and head home but have set our minds to return next weekend.

I guess there is truth in the saying

"He who dares wins"

Saturday 8 March 2014

Old Speckled Frogs and Hot water for Sleeping bags

Well we dared and so glad we did.  We took everyone's advise and headed for AmyJo last night.  After stopping off for a meal we eventually arrived at the mooring just past 9pm.

Whilst loading the provisions (including cans of beer) Chris announced confidently 

"You didn't need that beer you already have 8 cans of Old Speckled Frogs here."

 Well that set the tone of the weekend and I nearly fell overboard laughing. Most will know she meant Old Speckled Hen but there you go.  The shoe was on the other foot however,  when Chris put the kettle on after she had made a cuppa.

"Is that the hot water for the sleeping bags?"

I asked.  It took me a little while to work out why Chris was now laughing.  Of course I'd meant hot water bottles!  I would not mind but the Old Speckled Frogs had not been opened yet!  Guess old age is slowly creeping up on us both :-)

The morning dawned grey a drizzly but by mid morning the rain stopped and the sun shone through.  It was a bit too breezy for our liking so AmyJo stayed put on her mooring.  We took the opportunity to wash her down and get the polish out to give the chromium a seeing too.  I can see why Del on Derwent 6 likes doing the brasses.  Its actually quite therapeutic and with Chris helping AmyJo's bling was soon gleaming in the sun.

After lunch we nipped to the chandlers to buy some go kart fenders and matches for the log burner.  When we got back the wind had eased considerably and it felt really pleasant. 

We could resist no longer, and soon backed AmyJo out of the mooring and onto the fuelling arm for a diesel top up then off up the cut towards Welford.  As it was 2pm we knew Welford was out of the question so set our minds to wind just after bridge 28 and moor for the night.

The journey was so glorious in the warm sunshine and we were just content with a cuppa to watch the world go by.  We even had the cut to ourselves only passing one boat on the move.

By 5pm we had winded and were moored just South of Elkington Bridge 28 enjoying Beef in Black Bean sauce an rice washed down with a glass or three of red.

Our mooring for the night, so peaceful

The evening is so pleasant but to warn other shipping were we are we have the emergency nav lights on just in case.  We sat out in the cratch with only the glow of the lanterns for light just relaxing and enjoying the silence

As the run back to the marina tomorrow is only 2 hours and with an even better weather forecast we'll stay put for the morning to give the paintwork its first polish then we'll take a leisurely run back.  Any ways what's the rush?  We just want to savour every minute out here while we can.  Feels gooooood!

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Dare we go this weekend?

In my last post I spoke about it always being windy when we go to AmyJo.

Well here is the forecast for Saturday

No surprise there.  For those that do not know the more lines and the closer together they are the windier it will be.  The blue and red lines indicate weather fronts usually associated with rain.

So do we still go to AmyJo or not that is the question?  :-)

Monday 3 March 2014

The Weekend away that was'nt

Hello all,
We have been pretty busy with the decorating since my last post.  The dinning room is coming along slowly.  All the panel work and skirting boards are now in place so it down to finishing off and putting the finishing touches like mouldings in place

As things were coming along nicely and the weekend forecast excellent, we both decided to take a break and make the most of the weekend on AmyJo.  

Friday evening came and so I got home and changed then got the car ready to load up.  Just as I bent down to pick up a bag a searing pain shot through my lower back and right leg causing me to yell out in pain. My back had gone again :-(  This time much worse as I could not stand nor walk but did managed to pull myself to a chair and sat in agony whilst Chris called an ambulance. 

The ambulance arrived and the crew tried to get me to walk to it but that was only achieved after copious amounts of air and gas plus full support of the ambulance crew.  Why they did not use a stretcher remains a mystery.

It was then a 4 hour wait on a hospital gourney to be seen.  This I did not mind as I was hardly a priority case.  I did, however, object to the examining doctor who paid no attention to the fact I was in agony with back pain but was more concerned my bowels and water works were functioning correctly.  He then proceeded to beat the hell out my legs with a reflex hammer (and I do not exaggerate either).  Had he continued for much longer he would have got a reflex but one he was not expecting!

Still in much agony I was discharged with co-codamol and left to walk back to the car.  Now this in itself was embarrassing as I could barely stand so heaved myself along using the hand rails on the walls.  Not once did anyone asked if I needed any help.

It took nearly a full 30 minutes for me to hobble to the car and when at home I could not step over the threshold into the house.  Poor Chris had to heave me up over the step and into bed.

So our weekend on AmyJo came to nowt and so has the decorating.  My back has improved a little now and I can at least walk un-aided thanks to the co-codamol but it will be a few more days before I'm back to normal.  I thank god nothing serious came of it  though my knees are now showing signs of bruising thanks to the doc and his hammer.

What with the howling winds when we do go to AmyJo and now my back I'm beginning to wonder if someone up there does not want us to be out on the cut.  In fact it is nearly always windy when we do go to AmyJo so I'm convinced the Marina will ban us from visiting soon :-)  Even our neighbours on the pontoon start tying things down so they don't blow away when we arrive.  Now my back is out I look out of the bedroom window this morning to see blue sky's, not a breath of wind and sun pouring into the garden.   At least I know others will be able to make the most of it :-)  We hope to get on AmyJo next weekend.  Bets on the weather then anyone?