Thursday, 13 December 2018

Pink sky in the morning

You just can’t catch the beauty of a sun rise on camera. And we all know the saying ‘pink sky in the morning shepherds warning’!!!!
We have the deccies up and outside the bunting, fairy lights & pompoms are waving in the brisk wind this morning. As the pink sky went, a kingfisher sat on next-door’s power box for ages, probably watching me prepare the fruit for my Christmas cakes.



Yesterday we went to Nikita’s Christmas show. It’s no wonder the Tarleton Community Primary School (TCP) choir have won 1st prize at competitions. It wasn’t just the choir singing but the whole junior school and their harmonisation was amazing.

Tuesday we had a lovely day in Liverpool, it was very busy, so we can’t imagine what it’ll be like the next couple of weekends. We gave blood and strolled around the shops. All our Christmas shopping is done now and we spent far too much in the Lindt shop!!


Thursday, 6 December 2018

Topless in London

Battersey Power Station from pier
Battersey Power Station


Don Bosco in previous life
Nine Elms Pier pool

We’ve spent a few days visiting Edmund in London, he’s recently moved onto a boat moored at Nine Elms Pier on the River Thames, along with two of his work friends. He’s not sure what role the boat, ‘Don Bosco’ had before, apart from it was brought over from Holland and converted into a rental house boat. We’ve had a look around the internet and come up with two pictures of Don Bosco, one when it was in drydock and one when it was working, we don’t have dates for these pictures but guess it was a grain barge. It’s twice the width & length of our boat, so we feel quite cramped now we’re home. There is a lot of building work going on by the pier, the new London super sewer has a drilling site, there with lots of big platforms/barges with cranes and machinery on, Battersea Power Station is being converted into a housing complex and TFL (Transport For London) are building the Battersea extension of the Northern Line. A lot of the boats have moved to a quieter mooring, however there are still quite a few boats. We found it really quiet there though. The pier looks to be quite a community space, with gardens and a swimming pool!!!

Bringing the shopping back
When we got to the boat the tide was quite along way out, which mean we had to go down the steep steps to ‘Don Bosco’. When the tide is all the way out the boat sits on the river bed and there’s quite a big gap to negotiate to get up the steps. When the boat was floating we felt it wasn’t a wobbly as we’d thought it would be, it may be because it is on the river side of the pier, however, the boats moored right by the bank wall looked extremely wobbly, these included a couple of narrow boats.

Pier to the left

The gap to the steps & tide rubbish

Our first evening in London we had pie & mash and a few beers with Edmund & his paramedic friend Ella. The following morning we met Ella & Edmund’s partner Josh for breakfast. Ella had to head home after that as she was working that night. The weather was kind to us, as the four of us headed off for a topless bus tour of London, followed by a trip on a river cruiser. Several people asked us where we were from & were surprised the lads actually live in London & we used to.

Before we headed home we went with Edmund to Battersea Park so he could buy a Christmas tree and helped him put the lights on.




We’re still trapped in St. Mary’s Marina, but the water levels have improved no end since the weekend due to the heavy rainfall. Magnus and Lance came to stay last weekend and we had a busy time, making Christmas puddings, mince meat, home-made pizza and colouring Christmas cards. We managed to have a couple of walks in-between the rain. The boys had such fun jumping on the mole hills along the tow path and both ended up covered in mud.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Southport Christmas lights


What a glorious weekend, Nikita came to stay plus it was so warm and sunny. Saturday we popped into Rose Bud Bakery, the home of Fiddlers Lancashire crisps to get some nibbles for our stroll around Mere Sands Woods. The woods are a conservation area with lakes formed from sand extraction in the past. There is a lovely hide overlooking one of the lakes, however we only saw mallards. In the afternoon we sat out, Nikita in her favourite spot on the roof and me on a chair doing some knitting. 

Sunday the rest of Nikita’s family arrived for a quick lunch and then we all headed off to Southport for the turning on of the Christmas lights. Ada & Dale met us there too. There was a stage with a huge screen over, so those of us at the back could see what was going on. The cast of this year’s panto (Beauty & the Beast) did a few jokes and songs. Heather, Ada & Nikita know Toni who is playing Beauty in the panto as she helped my niece Alice do their make up for Ada’s wedding earlier in the year. Plus, there were some singers from the 1990’s performing, 911 and S Club 7 (only 3 of them though!!!).

Today we had booked to go to Liverpool to donate blood, however, the rail replacement bus failed to turn up so we had to phone to cancel and re-book for another day. So today we’ll be able to tick off some boat jobs. We’ve had the shower doors off to fit new runners and give them a good old clean as they’ve accumulated a good bit of limescale while we were in the south.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Doubly trapped!!

Lock 3 with no gates
Big pump at lock 3

Re-enforcing the lock walls

We knew we’d be trapped on the Rufford Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal for a few weeks, as
CRT are replacing the gates of lock 3. Last Saturday we decided to stroll up the canal to the main line to look at the works in progress. The water level is low, as to be expected due to the work and no boat movement. By the time we got to the top, as you can imagine we were thirsty, so just HAD to pop into The Ship for a couple of pints. The Ship is also know as ‘the blood tub’, an early landlady was a famed producer of black puddings. She sourced her ingredients, particularly pigs blood, from her farmer customers. The deals were largely barters, exchanging jugs of blood, which were emptied into a barrel, for ale; which was then carried off in the same jugs - hopefully thoroughly swilled! The barrel of blood was known as the 'blood tub', again the name being adopted for the pub.

Our boat's bow just seen on right

Stop planks, St. Mary's entrance
Monday the manager of St. Mary’s Marina, where we’re moored told us all to loosen our mooring lines as there was a problem at Tarleton Lock and our levels were likely to drop further. The CRT lads arrived and put the stop planks into the marina entrance to prevent all the water draining away. This afternoon we picked the children up from school and took the opportunity to walk past Tarleton Lock to have a look at what’s occurring there. Interestingly there aren’t any stop planks in place and there’s blue tarpaulin over one of the ground paddles. The boats moored at the boat yard there are all listing a good bit.

It’s not too bad being stuck where we are as Rufford has pretty good public transport links, there are two bus routes to Preston, Ormskirk, Southport & Chorley. Plus, the train which links us to just about everywhere. However, we are marooned on a Sunday as there is no public transport at all.

Nikita's ginger breadman

A new wide beam going into the water

Monday, 5 November 2018


 At the moment we are moored in St. Mary’s Marina, which means we have electric hook up and a tap at the end of the pontoon, absolute luxury. Last evening we attended the bonfire party at the marina, it was nice to meet some of the other boaters.


Magnus and Lance came to stay a couple of weekends ago as Nikita was at Brownie pack holiday. Lance wasn’t walking last time he went for a cruise on the boat, as when they visited us in the south we didn’t actually move. We cruised the 4 miles up to Tarleton with the plan of staying there for a couple of weeks. Magnus is an excellent crew member and can hold the boat by the centre line really well. However, the evening of 30th October the youngsters in Tarleton caused havoc in the village, we could hear the commotion and emergency service sirens from the canal. Then we heard a lot of banging & shouting outside the boat and some of the hoodlums had spilled down the lane to the canal, jumped on our boat & ran off with our life ring. We got a crime reference number, but I think it was the least of the police’s worries as the yobs set fire to bins, threw eggs & fireworks at cars and people. Quite shocking for a lovely little village. There was very little antisocial behaviour in our area of Luton, as the police nipped it in the bud & issued certain areas with an ASBO.

Jason had planned to walk the children down to the boat on Halloween and do some trick & treating on the way and then have hot dogs. But our plans changed, we went back to Rufford and they stayed at home. We got the bus to their house for a get together, which was great fun as Ada & Dale came too.

I got an extra hour of birthday when we went back to GMT. I SO used to hate it when I worked  nights and having to work an extra hour on my birthday. But work seems a distant memory now we’ve been off for 3 years. Once again we had a full boat as everyone came around. We all took a stroll over Tarleton Lock and onto the bank of the River Douglas, it was odd seeing the boat from a different angle.


Last Friday we caught the train to Blackpool to see the lights. I’d been several years ago when Heather & Jason first moved to the north west but John hadn’t. It was a beautifully still & sunny day, just perfect for walking along the beach and taking a ride the whole length of the tram route to Fleetwood Ferry. We spend a good while looking in the artificial rock pools that had formed on the sea wall. On the way back we got off of the unicorn tram above the cliffs to look at the static light displays which were brilliant. I loved the Daleks and I think John would make a good Dr Who. The old trams were running in the evening along with the illuminated ones.