Sunday, 10 December 2017

Winter wonderland

Duck trails in the slush
Vicarage Road, Marsworth

So the snow actually arrived over night, the forecast has been saying snow for a while and then it never materialised. John cleared the snow off the solar panels and they actually soaked up some dullness to top up the batteries. This afternoon we took a stroll up the first few Marsworth locks to the reservoirs, which was lovely. Our stretch of canal isn’t frozen (yet), just a bit slushy, but my sister reports it is in Kings Langley though.

Lock 43
Lock 42

We’ve both had a touch of flu for over a week now, just when you think you’re better then it all comes back worse than before, typical of the flu virus.

Last week we spent a few days with Heather & Jason up north (on the train). The kids were thrilled when we surprised them and picked them up from after school club/nursery. We all had a lovely meal in the amazingly refurbished Cock & Bottle pub in Tarleton. The main reason for our trip was to attend Magnus’ first nativity at school, however, along with us he was unwell & spent a duvet day with us and had to miss the first performance. His teacher messaged Heather & suggested he go in to school for the morning performance the next day, which he did. We had lunch with Colin & Carole from the Wool Boat who we spent most of last year cruising with. This was our second trip to the 
Cock & Bottle.

Aylesbury Arm
Bridge 130
Startops End Reservoir & canal

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Socialising and getting in a pickle!

I’m a bit late doing my pickles for Christmas, but they’re all done now. I’ve never had such big pickling onions before.


At the moment we’re at Marsworth again. We got here last Wednesday in time for the knit, natter & drink at The Red Lion. Prior to this we were at Apsley as it was easy for us to catch the National Express coach. John was so pleased to be able to attend the ‘Gentlemen’s Curry Club’ in Luton after being away for a couple of years, this involves meeting at a pub then toddling off to an Indian restaurant for a buffet lunch then back to the pub. I caught the coach after him & went to Hitchin for afternoon tea with Hitchin Stitchin and we managed to meet on the same coach to get back to Hemel Hempstead.

Rising Sun Lock

There is a navigation restriction on the Marsworth flight of locks due to a faulty pump and very low water levels in the Tring reservoirs. We had a little wait one day as the paddle on the bottom lock gate at The Rising Sun had broken completely, it gave us the opportunity to have a chat with one of the CRT lads that John knew from lock keeping at Soulbury. The lads had immobilised the paddle and we were able to continue up the lock. These gates are due to be replaced in the new year.

KGT dinner

Last Sunday our friend Richard from our motor cycle club the KGT picked us up and took us to the annual Christmas dinner, which was in Huntingdon.  We last attended 3 years ago…..time just flies.

We aren’t too impressed as once again the public transport here in the south let us down. Friday we planned to catch the last bus, at 18.08 to go to Ada’s future mother-in-law Lynn’s surprise birthday party. We waited 30 minutes past it’s due time & then decided to enquire at The Grand Junction pub about a taxi, our first taxi since we’ve lived on the boat, a HUGE shock to the purse. We had a lovely evening.

Birthday party

Dale and the birthday girl

Freya Jones with her hand woven tea towel

Saturday my friends Yvonne & Mike picked me up to go to a knitting & spinning day at an amazing shop ‘Freya Jones’ in Stoke Mandeville. I only brought 300g of fibre though. 

Fibre heaven at Freya Jones
Freya Jones shop


Monday, 20 November 2017

Inside and outside the M25

Over the last week we’ve spent a few days inside and outside the M25. The last few days we’ve been moored at Kings Langley, just down from my sister Louise’s house. It was lovely, she came for dinner straight from work last week and our niece Alice dropped in to show her nan, Linda, the boat on Saturday and then she took us back to their house for dinner. Louise noticed someone put a photo of our boat on the Kings Langley Facebook page on a frosty morning I guess just as we’d lit the fire as there was smoke coming out of the chimney.

Home Park bridge
Sun rise over the M25

Yesterday we caught the train from Kings Langley to Euston to attend the London City Orchestra’s autumn concert, Edmund plays double bass with them. It’s been 2 years since we last attended a concert he’s played in. Afterwards we had dinner at Pizza Express curtsey of Tesco rewards!! We got to London nice and early so we could have a stroll around Camden Lock Market and of course do some gongoozling too.

Hampstead Road lock

Camden Market hall

A couple of weeks ago we caught the National Express coach to Hitchin for the 4th ‘Festiwool’, a lovely one day event that’s run by one of my friends from Hitchin Stitchin. We helped at the first one but have been off cruising the last couple of years. We had a look around the show and I got some wool tops and John got some needle felting equipment. I had a lovely long chat with the editor of ‘British Fibre Art Magazine’, she recognised me from last year’s Burscough Wool Festival, where we’d helped her carry her stock from her car to her stall. I caught up with quite a few friends that I’ve not see since we moved aboard. In the afternoon we manned the door. To top off an excellent day just as the coach was leaving the M1 at junc 8 we saw a barn owl catching his tea on the verge.

Poppy display by Hitchin Stitchin

We had a visit from Brenda (& Geoff) who I’d trained with at Edgware General Hospital way back at the beginning of the 1980’s. It’s so lovely meeting up with so many people we’ve not seen for so long.

We are stocked up with coffee beans as we were moored a few days by the back door of Smith’s Coffee Roasters, gosh the daily smell from there is amazing. Plus, we got 10 HUGE hessian coffee sacks which we’ll turn into rag rugs. 

Our neighbour

An perfect source of fire wood

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Marsworth & Hitchin for knitting

We spent 5 days at Soulbury before heading further southwards. Last Friday I went to Hitchin Stitchin group, where I’d not been for 2 years. I hadn’t told anyone I was going just incase the 07.00 bus didn’t turn up (after our train episode last week). As I was at the bus stop I could see the stars in the sky, but a mist appeared over the canal and River Ouzel Valley. As a car headlights shone on my back I could see a my ghostly shadow in the mist as if I was hovering over the canal. I had such a lovely time knitting or should I say chatting and was forced to have lunch with Clare and she gave me a huge bag of her Bramley apples.
Saturday we had lunch at The Three Locks pub before the 7 of us plus Rossi, Dale’s parents Alsation all crammed into the boat for birthday cake and more drinks.
Sunday John put on his blue CRT volunteer clothes and headed up to lock keep with Dick as it was the last day of the volunteer season. As we’re going to be in the area until next spring he’s offered to do the locks when we’re there.

We moored in Marsworth for a couple of days. We walked into Tring around the reservoirs, whose levels are very low, I guess we need to wish for lots of rain so they fill up. Wednesday evening we spent in The Red Lion pub with the knitting group. All the other knitters there have permanent moorings at Marsworth and we’ve not seen the for 2 years too. It felt SO ODD leaving the pub & going to the boat instead to driving home. I think the weirdness of being near home/work’s going to take ages to get used to. Louise and Paul came for Sunday breakfast and to help us up Marsworth flight.

At the moment we're moored in Berkhamsted. We’ve had two stunningly beautiful winter mornings,Monday we waited for the mist clear before we set off as with the sun on it, we were blinded.

The water was so clear we could see the bottom.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Soulbury Three Locks

I’m feeling REALLY odd these last few weeks being back on familiar waters and it’s like having to go home and back to work shortly. We’re moored below Soulbury Three Locks ready for John to spend the last day of the VLK season this Sunday with his lockie mate Dick. Yesterday was a glorious day, so warm and the washing dried in the sun, polished the brass and sat out until the past the sun going down, plus a Chinook did a fly past to welcome us. Today however, feels like autumn, damp, misty, cold and dull AND we caught a robin in the galley nibbling crumbs on the counter (shame the camera wasn’t handy)!!! Yesterday we had our first southern fuel boat delivery of the winter from Jules Fuels.

nb's Burnt Oak, Bideford & Towcester

Last Saturday we were moored right by Fenny Stratford station and were there bright and early to catch the 08.37 to Bedford so I could go to Bedfordshire Guild of Weavers Spinner & Dyers meeting. John had arranged to meet some of his old colleagues at The Albion in Ampthill. However, due to a broken down train ALL trains were cancelled until 13.04….WHAT? We’ve used public transport for almost 2 years and have NEVER experienced such delays. Ada & Dale came to our rescue & chauffeured us to Flitwick/Ampthill & back. It was so good to see our friends after such a long time.
There were lots of wind-fall crab apples at Fenny and we enjoyed watching the little mouse cram as much as it could into it’s mouth and then climb the hedge to see if he could work out how to raid the bird feeder.


Before we left Milton Keynes last week we walked along the River Ouzal, which was beautiful. I couldn't resist the swing and the logs in the water to aid fish spawning were interesting to see. 

We’ve had lots of visitors already and no doubt many more as we hang about in Herts, Beds & Bucks over the winter. Jo and just two of her bulldogs popped by. Edmund with friend from Luton and Ada & Dale can pop by easily.