Category Archives: Family History

Royal Jodhpurs. 3rd June

Dorney Lake Bend to Shepperton Village Visitor Moorings

A much quieter day on the river, we’d made a wise decision to stop early yesterday, but today we’d need to make up for it. As we pushed off the lady from the hire boat in front popped her head out to thank us for helping yesterday, they’ve boated before but not for five years, they’ll soon get to grips with things again.

An empty river

We winded and headed for Boveney Lock, a Lock Keeper on duty penning us down, we paused at the bins below the lock before carrying on. Yesterday I’d have been able to take sunny photos of the castle, but today was just grey, the Castle a shadow of itself. Plenty of space to moor on the Brocas with only a couple of cruisers tied up, the bank seemed to be straighter than I remembered. This is where I used to come with my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Peter to feed the swans when I was little. Then as I got older we’d stand on Windsor Bridge to watch Concord fly over, my cousins joked about hearing the sonic boom ( they were both pilots by then).


Two boats were coming up in Romney Lock when we arrived, a day boat operating the sluices, a volunteer chatting away to the cruiser at the back of the lock. The chaps pushing the buttons couldn’t believe how long it was taking to fill the lock, but it is nearly 260ft long, you could easily fit 12 Oleannas and have space for a few cruisers in there. The volunteer volunteered to push buttons so I could hold the bow rope and down we went.

Royal bottoms

Between Victoria and Albert Bridges, around Home Park there has been a hedge planted, currently only a couple of feet high, but will it in time block out the view of the castle from the river here? Four ladies two on horse back the other two on a carriage appeared from nowhere. Were they royal family members, half term activates? Beige jodphurs. We kept up with them for a while but then they disappeared. Two people rode towards us out for a yack, black jodphurs this time. Might there be a royal hierarchy of jodphur colours, more senior royals in darker colours? They gave a wave to us, not quite a standard royal wave, so maybe they were just patrolling the perimeter.

Holders of a Thames Key Power

Old Windsor Lock was just being opened by one of the trip boats. The two crew, as you’d expect, had their ropes in handy locations resting on a canopy and hooked up on the cabin sides. They tied the boat off and one chap headed up to the Lock Keepers hut a special Key of Power in his hand, he turned it in a box enabling the extra buttons on the control panel, this meant they could lift the sluices quicker, their boat almost being as wide as the lock hardly moved about as it rose.

Under the M25

The panels are older than those further upstream, so you have to push and hold the buttons for the sluices for ten seconds, then wait for two minutes before you do it again. It took us a lot longer than the trip boat, but by the time the lock was nearly empty boats were approaching from below so I could leave their crew to open the gates for us.

Quite a tree for a cormorants drying perch

Runnymede is still on the ‘next time’ list. We’ve not had time to touch the list on this trip, other than a wander around Wallingford, maybe we’ll have to come back and spend a lot longer on the river ‘next time’. We pulled in for a lunch break at Staines upon Thames, Tilly was kept occupied looking out of the window hunting for trees above the high concrete edge. Hopefully we’d get a mooring today where she’d be able to go out.

Within the M25

At Penton Hook Lock we descended with the assistance of a Lock Keeper. As the sluices rose I saw a spurt of something angled upwards to the walk way. Was this a hydraulic leak? I was going to mention it but got distracted as we pulled out of the lock, a Le Boat rounding the bend from the marina and a house for sale. Reports later on Facebook were that the lock had a hydraulic problem with a sluice and was awaiting engineers, I think we may have been the last boat through!

Details for the house on the left. Details for the house on the right.

The hire boat was making VERY slow progress downstream, they let us overtake but joined us in Chertsey Lock. The Lock Keeper quickly sussed it was their first lock and gave them directions as to how to hold ropes on bollards.

To the left details. To the right, they have a big structure going up next door and an interesting wallpaper in the hallway!

There were so many houses for sale today, I think I took at least 14 photos. Many were small old one story houses in need of renovation. A few more modern properties, one household were obviously moving as their next door neighbour was being up sized to twice what had most probably been there before.

Then the end of Pharoah’s Island is for sale, the opposite end to where a posh house sits, plenty of land and planning permission for a three bed modern house with 130m of waterfront! Yours at a snip for £999,950.

Last lock of the day

Shepperton Lock our last for today, then the hunt for a mooring started. Opposite at the end of the Desborough Channel there wasn’t enough room for us. Time to look around the back of Desborough Island, we went left down stream, the flow quite surprising. The first mooring was taken, but it wouldn’t have been very good for Tilly anyway. Then the Shepperton Village visitor Moorings. Three boats were already moored up, but space for at least two more, one being us! We winded and pulled in to moor. The flow necessitating a bow spike as soon as possible.


The doors were opened and Tilly went out onto the grass. WHAT! Where is my island outside and friendly cover? This isn’t good, it must be troublesome needing so many boats to tie it up! And look there are people! It’s rubbish, I’m going back to bed! Oh well you can’t please everyone all the time!

Pushing against the flow

7 locks, 6 manned, 16.5 miles, 3 winds, 1 tree, 1 lunch pause, 6 royal trousers, 1 prince or princess wave? 1 key of power, 1 disappointed cat.

The Hunt Continues. 31st May

Sonning Lock to Medmenham Meadows

The first boats came past whilst we were still in bed, then the Lock Keeper walked along to check on the moorings which was soon followed by a busy half hour of boats arriving for the lock. We took our time and waited for the rush to abate before pushing off, winding and heading to the lock ourselves.

Getting closer to Henley I was on the look out for the location of my cousin Tim’s first wedding. I was the only bridesmaid and I’d love to know where the reception was held. My cousin Ian has said it was Henley and Sally said it was at The Bell in or near Henley. Well there is an Old Bell in Henley, but not by the river.

The bride and me

There are lots of photos taken with water in the back ground so I’m discounting the Old Bell. This was about 50 years ago, so buildings may have changed, stopped being restaurants, but the proximity of water and bridges in the photos almost certainly won’t have. The Bull in Sonning doesn’t have the right kind of bridges in view so has been discounted. If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

The Lockie was jolly this morning. On the lock island there is an extension to one of the houses underway and along the towpath new fencing is being erected, pretty sturdy fencing.

The houses now have grown somewhat. Huge wide lawns sprawl down to the Thames all with their obligatory stripes. Some boat houses look to have big Granny annexes, I would quite happily live in the boat house and let Mick and Tilly have the annex.

So sad the campsites are closed

The water point above Shiplake Lock was free, we pulled in to top up the tank, the tap already taped so as to assist using a long hose. All round the lock island was fencing, only access to the pumpout, elsan and water tap possible. Here there have always been numerous sheds with canvas canopies attached, a rather lovely camping area. With cut backs this year the EA have closed all of their campsites, so the whole site normally very interesting looks very dead. Along with the lack of campers there is also the lack of bins, the rubbish barge removed by the EA.

Vessels of all sorts on the Thames

However at the lock there was a Lockie and a volunteer, in fact today every lock was manned, they don’t have to wait 20 minutes for a lock to go through the whole process of emptying when it’s already empty, so things were much quicker.


Approaching Marsh Lock I kept my eyes peeled towards the west bank for the wedding reception venue, possibly tucked away behind an island, no longer a restaurant, the walkway over the weir possibly in one photo, but the other bridge couldn’t be seen.

Click photo for details

On the eastern bank a house for sale, set way back from the river with terraced gardens and water frontage. It was hard to make out which the house was.

The weir

The Lock Keeper here said how quiet the river was, today was his busiest so far this year. Below the lock the water gets confused, the Lockie had warned us, first we’d get dragged towards the weir then we’d be pushed away, Mick upped the revs to compensate.

A semi for sale, click photo for a nosy

Which side of the islands, we chose to go to the west, see if there were any other possible venues. None, but there was quite a lot of mooring available, too early for lunch.

I hope one day to see this boat out and about

The beautiful Tiddley Pom Pom was spotted on it’s mooring, my Grandfather on my Mum’s side was called Pompom so I always look for it, hopefully one day we’ll see it out and about.

Preparations for the regatta are on going. Well it does take 3 months to set up. All the white posts are in position and planks are hooked on to make the lanes. Marquees spread out on the west bank and stands have been erected. We took the eastern side, access to moorings marked by flags. We decided to carry on passing Temple Island and being passed ourselves by a big trip boat.

Temple Island

Hambledon Lock was also manned and there was plenty of room for us to share the lock with the trip boat. As the lock emptied the stern got closer towards us, ‘She always likes to sit in the centre of locks’ the lady said as she pulled the back away from our cratch. They were heading for Marlow where presumably boat trips will start this weekend.

Oxford our big locking partner

Now to find a mooring, we hoped there’d be space for us along Medmenham meadows. The first field had quite a few camper vans in it, no mooring room. On a bit further and close to Fredrica and Little Fred there was a length of bank that looked possible. We winded and approached slowly. I hopped off, Mick brought the stern in, yep this would be good we just needed to get some spikes in, the trees a touch too far away to be useful to tie to.


Once secure the doors were open, Four hours Tilly! A wind swept Tilly explored for a while, but thankfully she heeded my warnings of climbing trees over hanging the river, or hunting right on the bank. No, it was just far FAR to BLOWY! She gave up and retired indoors for much of the afternoon. The occasional check on the wind was taken from under the pram cover, still not suitable. Here’s hoping we find a suitable mooring with suitable weather for her in the next couple of days.

4 locks, 10.5 miles, 0 reception venue found, 50 year old memory failing, 0 self service locks,1 nicely mown patch, 4 hours of blustery wind, 0 sitting out, 1 Tiddly Pompom, 2 blowy for cats.

Contraband Chips. 27th May


Hair cutting, Tilly exploring, breakfast and baking, what a busy morning, good job the sun was out. However we had reports of rain to the north of us, would umbrellas be required?

Presents time

A little later than originally planned Andrew and Jac arrived, the Oxford traffic having held them up on their journey from London. Time for birthday presents a coffee and freshly baked biscuits. Jac got a new table cloth with embroidered bees on it and Mick got a new expanding hose for Oleanna and a weed burner for use in the garden at the house.

Jac fashioning Mick’s new hose

Originally we’d planned on doing the next part of our journey by boat, but getting a mooring where we were heading could have been a risk, limited space and only 24hrs. So we headed to Sandford Lock on the Thames by car, having to sit in Oxford traffic for some of the way.

Sat outside the Kings Arms with her dog Baxter was Jenny Leckenby, she’d spent some time watching the second round of the World Championship Pooh Sticks that was taking place at the weir stream. Inside we found the rest of our party, Ian, Sally and Sam Leckenby, first cousins and those once removed. A few people missing from the table, Josh who is mid A level revision, Jo and his family who live in the States.

With eight of us it was quite a noisy affair, sorry to those other diners. Mick and I had seen everyone last summer at the Royal International Air Tattoo, but Andrew and Jac had been away on holiday so it was the first time they’d seen Ian and Sally since their wedding, way longer since seeing Sam and Jenny.


Sam and I chose our gluten free dishes from the separate menu, but were disappointed that we couldn’t have chips. This is because other things are fried in the same deep fat frier causing cross contamination which can be serious for those who are coeliac. Both of us are intolerant to gluten and were willing to risk a portion of chips between us. Solution was to get Jenny to order a side portion of chips to accompany her burger and chips. These were then passed over to Sam and myself to share away from panicking staff, our choice, our chips.

A long lunch, five hours. The service was slow, but that actually didn’t matter as there was tons to talk about. Ian’s plane that he’s building in France, the dogs cats horses goats, their granddaughter, news of Tim our other cousin out in Ukraine, all sorts.

All too soon it was time for us to leave the pub and restore the quiet. A shame we’d not brought Oleanna and Tilly as there would have been space to moor her. Hopefully we’ll get chance to catch up with Sam as we head downstream on the Thames in the next few days and it won’t be too long before we can all get together again.

Sally, Andrew, Ian, Mick, Jenny, Pip, Sam, Jac

An easier trip back to Jericho in the car and hopefully an easier drive back to London for the London Leckenbys.

River levels were checked again, it all looks pretty good for the next few days. With this in mind we looked at moorings in London. There are now more pre-bookable, payable moorings in London. For the dates we were looking at on the cheaper moorings we didn’t have much choice. Adjusting our dates a touch gave us a better window of opportunity. All booked, we just have to get there now.

0 locks, 0 miles, 3 presents, 8 biscuits, 22nd pair cast on, 1 bored cat, 8 cousins, 1 dog, 1 portion of contraband chips, 5 hours of noisy family catch up, 2 car rides, 1 plan came together, 1 lovely day.

Finding The Needle. 5th April

Bent House Lock 46

With Storm Kathleen on it’s way in the next few days our ropes needed tightening, we’d bumped about a bit in the night and that was before Kathleen arrived.

I had no intention on venturing far today, the same couldn’t be said for Mick, he was going to set forth to the bright lights of the Trafford Centre!


Last summer Mick had bought me a new laptop. A couple of days ago it lost it’s ability to fold closed, not much good for a portable device! The IT department had given it a good look over and nothing could be found in the hinge that shouldn’t be there and the surround to the screen was starting to come away. He sought IT support via John Lewis, chatted away to someone on the phone and was given a number to quote when he took it into a store. The nearest store to us currently is at the Trafford Centre, today a window of opportunity between rail strikes was to be taken.

Awkward to transport

He caught the train from Littleborough into Victoria, a tram to Deansgate and then another out to the Trafford Centre. Here he visited John Lewis, a chap looked at the laptop which had been carefully transported in it’s open state. It was still under manufacturers warranty so would be sent to Warrington to be mended, this may take 28 days! Mick said it would be really good if it was quicker and we’d still be in the area. If it returns quickly enough then we’ll even be able to cruise there on the boat to collect it, fingers crossed. There was an option for it to be sent to our home address, but this isn’t really an option for us. Mick will get a text when it is back at the store.

Meanwhile Tilly and I got to grips with Micks tablet, from which I’m writing this. Then we wound some more yarn for sock pair 14. Ends needed weaving in on the last the pair of socks. Last night I’d heard something fall on the floor, most probably one of my darning needles which normally live tucked into my sheep tape measures wool. Sure enough this morning there was only one needle there not two. Best find the other one.

With my faithful assistant hunting for the needle

I hunted round on the floor, no sign of the 2 inch needle. I got a magnet from the notice board, this was used to see if I could lure the needle out from under the sofa, which is where it must have ended up. Tilly helped, pulling out the odd thing that’s been tucked under there for safe keeping. Nothing magnetic! Oh well just as well I’d another needle to hand.

Work on pair 14 started in ernest up from the toe. I wanted to do something a little bit random with it, but that necessetated it being pulled out several times all whilst watching Great British Bake Off. I especially liked Jodie Whittaker’s biscuit of Paul and Prue!

He heee!!!

By the time Mick returned with a few items of shopping I’d let my ordered side take over on the knitting, far less random than originally planned, the pattern was starting to come together. I asked him if he’d seen the needle. Yes he’d picked it up this morning and popped it on a shelf to be safe!

Late afternoon we had another visitor. Anne, Mick’s big sister who had driven down from Scotland today. We tried to work out when we’d last seen each other. Originally we thought it was Christmas 2019, then more likely Christmas 2018! But after Anne had left Mick remembered that we’d met up in Wiltshire in September 2019, not quite as long ago as first thought, but still too long ago. Of course we get to see each other on the Geraghty zoom quite often, but it really isn’t the same as being able to give her a hug.

Long chats over a cuppa and then there was the opportunity for a family airloom to head to it’s new home. The ‘Joan’ chair.

When Aunty Joan, Micks Aunty on his Dad’s side, was little she was given this little chair. None of Mick’s siblings actually remember this chair. About a year ago on a Hessle History facebook group there was a post about school teachers. There was a comment saying that they remembered Miss Geraghty from Penshurst Junior School, did anyone else? Several people had made comments saying what a great teacher she’d been, Mick chipped in saying what a great Aunty she was too!

Joan’s chair

A chap called Brian then replied that his Mum used to clean Miss Geraghty’s home and that he used to go with her. He would sit in this little chair and wait patiently for his mum. Joan, Miss Geraghty, one day said would he like to have the chair. So he ended up with it for several decades. On facebook Brian then offered it to Mick, so that it could return to the family, a rendez vous was arranged in the pub car park next door to where Joan used to live and the chair was handed over.

Our friend Frank did a little bit of mending and we did consider contacting The Repair Shop about it, but that would involve having to appear on TV which isn’t something Mick was too keen on doing. What to do with it then, well it should stay in the family and as we knew we’d be seeing Ruth this year we brought it onto the boat to hand down so that Daphne and Penelope can sit in it.

Leftover Lamb Biryani with added spinach and mushrooms

Another go at Lamb biryani this evening with the correct rice this time. It was very tatsy and theres still some lamb left in the freezer for another go.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trains, 4 trams, -1 laptop, (blog posts may be a touch shorter for a while), 1 moving boat, 1 needle, 1 hour out of 8, 1 sausage day not made the most of, 1 sister, 1 diddy chair, 1 sock nearly completed, more space under the dinette.

Ruth Geraghty née Chignell.

4th February 1924 – 14th December 2008

Mick here writing this post.

My mother Ruth Geraghty (née Chignell) would have been 100 years old on 4th February 2024.

Ruth Geraghty

Ruth was born in Hessle near Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Her mother was Katie Chignell (née Netherwood) and her father Philip Chignell.

Philip was the organist and choirmaster at All Saints Parish Church in Hessle and had spent all his life in working as a musician. He started aged nine as a choirboy at St Georges Chapel school in Windsor during Queen Victoria’s reign and took part in many Royal occasions including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. He became an organist at various churches around the country before settling in Hessle in 1901. Philip and Katie met in 1911 while they were both taking part as singers in a six month long World Tour as members of the Sheffield Choir. This tour took them round the world by ship and train, starting in Liverpool in March, across the Atlantic to Canada and the USA. Then across the Pacific to Hawaii and onto New Zealand. Australia and Tasmania followed and then South Africa before returning to Plymouth in October.  They married in 1912. They were a very musical couple and produced a very musical family. They settled at Philip’s home at number 19 The Weir in Hessle.

Stephen Katie Philip Ruth

John Chignell was born first in 1916 followed by Henry (1918) and Stephen(1922). Ruth was the youngest and the only girl in the family. She went to the local primary school in Hessle then onto the Boulevard School in Hull. At this time Ruth and her friend Marian took an interest in bell ringing and with one or more of their brothers would tour the local area on bicycles visiting various bell towers and taking part. Days out with friends were common. She had by now picked up the nickname Trigo.

She even had a narrowboat named after her!
Ruth and Stephen Cycling

Ruth was at the Boulevard in 1939 aged 15. When war broke out the school was to be evacuated to Scarborough. The day for evacuation came and she said her goodbyes to her parents and brothers in the morning and headed off to school and the unknown. By mid afternoon she was back at 19 The Weir. She refused to be evacuated, finished with school that day and came home to be with her family.

In the back garden of 19 The Weir

One by one her brothers all went off to war. John and Henry within the first few weeks and Stephen a couple of years later when he became old enough. But Ruth stayed in Hessle for the duration. She was a big comfort to her parents who had the great worry of Henry being posted as missing and then becoming a POW in Germany. John and Stephen were both posted overseas at times and were also a concern to the family back in Hessle. Ruth was often to be found helping in various local canteens which had been set up to try to boost the morale of visiting military personnel in the area. She was also a keen violinist and many evenings would be spent playing violin sonatas, her on the violin and her father on the piano. She would also be found singing in her father’s choir at All Saints Church.

Ruth and Henry

Hessle is only about 4 miles from Hull and its docks. Hull took a pounding during the blitz and Hessle took a number of direct hits. But 19 The Weir and its occupants survived.  

During the war Ruth had started “seeing” local lad Peter Geraghty. ( Peter was from Hessle and was a bomber pilot at RAF Pocklington. Ruth must have heard planes flying over Hessle and wondered about “Her Peter” in one of the bombers heading to Germany and war.

Peter Geraghty

In 1945 Henry had returned home from POW camp after a five year absence. Ruth had gone to meet him off the last train into Hessle that day having not seen her big brother for all those years.  Her other two brothers also returned home and the family was once again complete.

Ruth had taken up a secretarial post at an insurance company in Hull, but I suspect her heart wasn’t in it. Married life beckoned, Ruth and Peter got married in May 1947.

17th May 1947

By then Peter had become a commercial airline pilot with British European Airways (BEA) based at Northolt Airport just outside London so they set up home there. Daughter Christine was born in May 1948, followed by Marion in 1950 and Anne in 1952. So a busy time for Ruth looking after a young family. But she still found time for music and was selected to join the Royal Choral Society as a soprano. She performed in many concerts at the Albert Hall under the conductor Sir Malcom Sargent.

Sir Malcolm Sargent conducting. Ruth behind to his right

Ruth and Peter moved to Ealing in West London in 1953, at the same time as BEA moved from Northolt to Heathrow. A bigger house was required and there was a good new primary school, St Gregory’s, in Ealing for the children.

I came along in 1958 followed by my little sister Kathryn in 1966. Ruth had become a Brown Owl in one of the local Brownie packs. My sisters had all been Brownies and it was common for me, a four year old boy, to don a brown jumper and go to a Brownie meeting and take part. I suspect there were child care issues!

Ruth and Kathryn

Ruth continued with her musical life. She joined the Ealing Symphony Orchestra playing in the first violins and took part in many of their concerts. There were many evenings at our house when three other musicians would arrive and a string quartet would take place in our front room. All of us children were encouraged to take part in musical activities and we had outings to various concerts and musical events in London. At school I had taken up the bassoon and the piano. I played bassoon in the Ealing Junior Music School and I also obtained music O Level when the time came.

Ruth Marion Kathryn Peter

Ruth continued to take a big part in the local Girl Guiding movement taking Brownie packs on holiday and Guides on camps. She became a District Commissioner for the Ealing and Hanwell District.

District Commissioner
Anne Mick and Marion in the Chester Gardens back garden

Family life continued. Ruth organised many family summer holidays, often with her brother Henry’s family sometimes on the South coast. Henry and his wife Gill had a caravan and they would set up in a caravan park, whilst we had a holiday home somewhere nearby. Henry and Gill had four children and with all of us we made a good holiday party.

Henry Ruth Gill Peter
Mick Kath and Christine in the front garden

In 1977 Peter retired from British Airways. Three of their five children had moved out from the family home and on to further education and careers. Life quietened down a little. Peter was a keen golf player and Ruth occasionally would play a round with him. They would also go on holidays to watch amateur golf tournaments around the country. Peter had a lifetime concessionary travel benefit with British Airways so there were overseas holidays to Africa, Canada and Europe. But Peter wasn’t a great one for flying as a passenger so UK holidays were more common.

Peter and Ruth on the Equator

Ruth enjoyed train travel very much. Once a year she would arrange with her brothers to meet up in Llandudno where they had spent childhood holidays with their Grandma.

Outside her maternal Grandmother’s house near Llandudno

In about 1985 Ruth and I each purchased a British Rail All Line Rail Rover. Over the course of a week we travelled from London to Thurso in the very north of Scotland, over to the Kyle of Lochalsh, onto the ferry over to Skye, another ferry to Malaig and down to Glasgow. Over to Hull via the Settle to Carlisle line. Ruth always enjoyed visiting Hull and Hessle and there were still many family members. Then we travelled to Llandudno, Shrewsbury, Llanelli, Bristol, Exmouth and Plymouth before heading back to London.

Ruth on the Settle to Carlisle line

In 1967, when I was aged 9, Ruth and I had a day out on the Underground on the very first day of operation of the brand new Victoria Line. Very exciting!

Ruth continued her violin playing with the Ealing Symphony Orchestra and her Girl Guiding District Commissioner duties. She became a Governor of St Gregory’s School where all her children had attended, here she also helped with teaching the violin and music in general.

Playing the Violin

She also helped out at other schools. Youngest daughter Kathryn was at secondary school and relates the following story: Cardinal Wiseman’s production of Oliver! There was no school orchestra, so they hired in some kind of military band. God knows where from. Anyway, Mum wanted to play, so she was a guest 1st violin with them for the show, and I imagine enjoyed herself enormously.

Henry Ruth John Stephen in the 1980s

I moved out from home to pastures new in 1981 followed by Kath later in the 1980s so the nest was empty after 40 years. They stayed on in the big house at 8 Chester Gardens for another ten years or so, then moved to a very nice two bedroom flat nearby.

8 Chester Gardens
Retiring from the Ealing Symphony Orchestra 27/11/2000.

By now Peter was suffering from Parkinsons disease and life slowed down a lot. But Ruth still managed to get out a bit. She took part in meetings of the local Trefoil Guild, consisting mainly of retired Guide leaders and Commissioners. There was a school nearby and every afternoon in the summer Ruth and Peter would head out to get ice creams from the van parked at the school gate. Ruth had a sweet tooth!

Parkinsons took its hold on Peter and he passed away in 2002 aged 80. Ruth had also by then contracted the same disease but carried on in the flat on her own for a few years.

Surrounded by her Stuff
On the balcony

But eventually she succumbed to Parkinsons and moved into, a care home nearby. Peter’s BA pension contributed handsomely to the costs.

She had many visitors while at Downhirst, both family and friends and much reminiscing was carried out. The staff looked after her well, but I’m sure she missed Peter and her active life. She never complained about her lot and stoically carried on being cheerful right to the end.

She passed away on 14th December 2008 aged 84 and is still much missed. We took her ashes back to Hessle and scattered them on the Foreshore in the shaddow of the Humber Bridge. A suitable resting place for her.

Thanks to Anne, Kath, Marion and John for help with the photos.

Clean Siblings. 24th September

Basin Bridge, West Stockwith

We knew today would be windy, it lived up to expectations and a touch more. However it hardly rained, so that was a bonus. We’d still not be going anywhere today.

Topics this morning on the Geraghty zoom included 20mph woke plots, brake drum percussion, Maudlin and Utah.

New elastic, but broken fishing rod!

Once the blog was written for yesterday I settled down to concentrate on Photoshop. There is a very big black panel that constantly gets in the way as you are given instructions, quite annoying as you have to keep moving it about. Names for things mean just about nothing to me, so that takes a bit of googling. I found suitable tools, loaded an old photo of me and my brother, which is a favourite of mine.

This was taken 54 years ago in Sanna, Scotland. When we cleared the family house I took charge of Dad’s old slides and spent days/weeks scanning them. This photo and others had been affected by dust and damp. I remember taking it to a photography shop to see if they could clear the slide and give me a nice new print, but they just printed it how it was quite a disappointment really. I spent an age cloning and touching the image up in Photoshop and then printed out copies for Andrew and myself. So today for a practice I used the same image and the Spot Healing Tool to see how I got on.

Not bad really, just the top of the sky that wouldn’t play ball, so I trimmed it a touch. Still a few blemishes, but I was happy with the process.

I then loaded one of my scans to see if I could create a songsheet for Panto, a job still to be done. I decided to use and adapt some of my rainforest artwork. I trimmed it, cut bits out, couldn’t change the background colour, it got a touch frustrating and then my laptop decided to loose it all and close Photoshop down! Argh!! Good job it was just a try out.


Tilly came and went for much of the day. Mick got a touch nervous with the strength of the wind, would Tilly get lost, losing her scent. It tends to be windy days when we don’t see her for ages, so to a certain extent he was right to close the door and keep her in for a while. But the protestations started after an afternoon kip and we relented.

A paddleboarder came past with a Jack Russell having a very noisy ride! An hour or so later the paddleboarder returned , the dog now on the towpath along with someone in a mobility scooter. Our back doors were open and Tilly was out and about somewhere. The dog came on board, most probably trying to get to its owner on the paddleboard. For obvious reasons we don’t like dogs on Oleanna, encroaching Tilly’s safe space!


Mick was quick to get outside and asked the person to keep their dog off our boat, and where was our cat?! ‘It’s over there’ came the response as they pointed to a tortoiseshell on the opposite bank. ‘That’s not our cat’ ‘It’s over there!’ ‘Our cat is NOT over there! That is not our cat!’. Soon they were gone. Tilly returned a while later wondering what all the fuss was.

I loaded up the file I’d been sent from Prompt Side, suggested it should be the size it would be printed at 7m by 4.2m. I zoomed in and started to work my way methodically removing hairs. Blimey there were masses of them! I could also remove a few things that I wasn’t happy with, fingerprint left in some glue, where the point of a compass had left holes etc. This would take time, but I was impressed with how it worked. Saving it however was a different matter. This took ages, not knowing what settings would be required didn’t help matters either! In the end it stated that the file was over 4GB and would not save, the tool now became ever so slow to use.

Some of it I understand

I started again, the original kept to the size of the model. Zooming in I got a lot less detail than before, but could see most of the imperfections. I could save it, but would it be good enough? I need to check with Prompt Side as to settings for setting it up and saving. By the end of the day I felt a touch more confident that I’d be able to touch up the images. I however need to give my laptop screen a good clean first!

Yesterday Mick had popped into the butchers in Misterton. I’d requested he bought a couple of lamb steaks. When we were here before I came up with a recipe for Misterton Lamb, so we had to have it. I did however make a mistake, I did too many vegetables and therefore they didn’t crisp up as they should. It was still very tasty and the lamb was very good!

Mended in time for bedtime playtime

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 VERY blowy day, 2 clean siblings, 1 improved fishing rod, 1 broken fishing rod, 1 mended fishing rod, 1 trespassing woofer, 1 mistaken identity! 2 goes, 2 steaks, 1 boaters meeting, 1 moving boat after dark.

Romeo India Alpha Tango. 15th July

Cow Field, Lechlade

An early start today had us walking across the muddy cow field and broken bridge to reach the New Inn at 7:15. Here sat a car, lights on, the occupant waved frantically at us as she pulled out from the parking space. The door opened ‘Long time no see!’ The smile was recognisable from 38 years ago, we’d both changed a lot since 1985. Jenny is now a vet, in 1985 she was possibly six, I was eighteen and had just finished doing my A levels. Using an inheritance from my Grandad I’d bought myself a flight to Hong Kong where my cousins Ian and Tim lived at the time. Jenny is my first cousin once removed.

The farm

Back in February, or was it March, our itinerary for this year changed the day we got back from moving Oleanna to Goole. An invite had arrived inviting us to my cousins for this weekend. A social gathering not involving a funeral was very attractive, it also came along with the added attraction of it being the Royal International Air Tattoo, at the bottom of Ian and Sally’s garden.

A Leckenby Maine Coon

They had moved to the area ten years ago and had said if ever we were on the Gloucester Sharpness Canal to get in touch. We’d never managed to contact them. A look at a map actually suggested that Lechlade was a lot closer to them, thus our destination for the summer was set.

The drive to their house in Fairford took longer than expected. Road closures and one-way systems were in operation for the airshow. The traffic wasn’t too bad, mostly down to the early hour. On arrival we were first greeted by dogs, then the household gradually woke up around us.

Sally, Jenny, Sam, Mick, Pip and Ian

Ian my cousin last seen at my Dad’s funeral nearly eleven years ago, Sally his wife last seen at Andrew and Jac’s wedding and Sam last seen in Hong Kong at the age of nine. A bit of a shame Andrew, Jac and Josh hadn’t been able to make it too, but that did mean we got everyone to ourselves, well along with all the other guests.

Having the runway for Fairford Airfield running within half a mile of the garden has meant a gathering of Ian’s old RAF and Cathay Pacific pals through the years, this year was to be the first since the pandemic. Today they were expecting 28 people, tomorrow a slightly different crowd numbering about 20.

A top up breakfast was offered and cuppas, would the weather oblige and allow the airshow to take off? The strong wind meant certain planes had not arrived and others wouldn’t get airborne, this included the Battle of Britain planes. The flying schedule pinned to the fridge door was now half obsolete. However airshow commentary was available on FM radios which were positioned around the house and garden.

Tumbling round each other at the bottom of the garden

Gradually more people arrived, the wind kept constantly strong and the planes started to rumble along the runway which was just out of view behind trees. Up came a display team, possibly the Spanish Patrulla Aguilas. Safety rules are such that the planes cannot do their acrobatics over the crowd, but there was nothing to stop them from doing so over the house. Unfortunately I missed taking what would have been the photo of the day as several planes crossed directly above the house. Oh well, at least I got to see it.

Something fast and noisy

Jets were extreamly noisy the view mostly very good.

The kitchen crew

Late morning Sally came round for a sandwich order, Jenny and Sam ready in the kitchen to make up what everyone required, each wearing their own branded pinnies for the occasion. Ian busied himself with distributing drinks from a plastic bag, large buckets sat in the garage filled with cans of beer and soft drinks all on ice for the day.


The organisation of the event certainly showed that they’d done this a few times before. The only thing that was out of their control was the weather. The heavens opened with torrential rain, we all took cover in either a small marquee or inside the house, perfect for a lunch break.

The Red Arrows, down to a seven man team due to one of them waking up with a bad neck this morning (footage taken from Sunday’s show). Sadly this made their formations look lopsided.

Us boaters agreed that the display from the Saudi Falcons was better by far, the ex-RAF contingency politely made comments, not able to totally agree, airforce blue still running through their retired veins.


Refueling was a theme of the show and possibly the best photo I got all day was the one above. Chinooks, Tornados and many more planes gave displays. Conversations started and paused as the jets screeched overhead.

The planes were great and so was the company. Plenty of knowledgeable folk to give you technical information should you want it. Many of the chaps I’d met before at Ian and Sally’s wedding when I was their youngest bridesmaid. They had provided the arch of raised swords to walk through, all I had to do was wear a wine velvet cloak and my black patent shoes that Aunt Nancy had bought for me.


Then there was lots of catching up to do with Sally, Jenny and Sam. News from the USA about Jo their brother about to become a father. News from Ukraine about Tim my cousin. History of houses, both French and Scottish.

A lull after the planes had landed saw preparations for the evening meal. The weather had forced a change of eating location into the garage which was bedecked in red white and blue. Ian was incharge of the bbq, Mick kept an eye on it too especially when he spotted flames that needed to be taken under control. Saucisson and pickles was followed by pork, jacket potatoes and salad, then chocolate pots, meringues and cheeses. We certainly were full to the brim with lots of lovely food.

Scary Scarborian

A quick dash around the house being shown family memorabilia, certain plates very much of their time and the painting that used to hang in Grandads house that was known to my side of the family as Scary Man. On the back of the portrait is a long account about Mr and Mrs W Appleby (Mr being in the portrait), they lived at 43 Sandside Scarborough and he is a far flung relative of ours. He happened to live next door to a Cappleman another ancestor.

Jenny very kindly gave us a lift back to Lechlade, even having to turn back when we realised we’d left our coats at the house. There are now plans for a meet up one weekend when I’m in Chippy working on panto.

I was left with my magic food bowl, but was still very pleased to have them back

Was it worth changing our plans for the summer for just one day? Yes it most certainly was. The planes and hospitality were one thing, but also reconnecting with family was way more important. Thank you for the invite, we had a brilliant day.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 Tilly incharge, 7:15 rendez vous, 2 cousins, 2 cousins once removed, 3 woofers, 1 old Maine Coon, 28, 7 not 8, or even 9, 1 day of noisy planes, 13 hours of family, 2 many memories to share.

How Much Further?! 9th July

Pinkhill Lock 24hr moorings to Rushey Lock Meadows

The covers were rolled up after breakfast then we sat down to chat with the Geraghtys, we’ve missed a few zooms recently so it was good to see those who were there and hear of a recent visit to near York.


Time to make a move, we had a destination in mind for the day a few hours cruise away. The sun was out, blue skies that every now and then were covered with cloud.

The Thames now wiggles and winds it’s way. A look at our map for moorings, did we remember them from four years ago. One came past, yes we’d stopped there maybe for a night.


No other boats seemed to be heading the same direction as us, in fact there were few boats on the move at all. At Northmoor Lock I hopped off with the boat hook so as to be able to grab the bow line once in the lock, the rope having been left on top of the cratch for ease. More wonderful Hollyhocks and roses at the lock cottage.

Could this have been where I was a bridesmaid?

Onwards upstream. New Bridge, was this the pub where my cousin had his wedding reception back in the 70’s. A check of photos later suggests not as there isn’t a stone bridge featured in the photos.

At Shifford Lock the sign said Self Service, but as I walked up to open gates a volunteer came out from the hut, we’d disturbed his lunch break. Yesterday had been a really busy day for them, 26 boats, today we were one of just a few. This was where we’d hoped we might be able to moor for the night. The volunteer pulled a face, he didn’t say we couldn’t but he also didn’t welcome us. The mooring on the back of the lock island is reserved for electric boats until 4pm, so he was right to discourage us.

Volunteer opening the gates for us

I then asked if we could pull up right at the far end of the lock landing so we could have lunch. Another face pulled, the Lock Keeper would be back at 2pm and he’s quite strict! I spied a water point, we’d fill up and have lunch, sorted. This we did and were soon on our way again.

New hide

I checked the blog for where we’d moored four years ago. One place was not far away, we kept our fingers crossed that it would be free, even if Tilly had stayed out to really late there! As we rounded the bend it was obvious the mooring isn’t used so much anymore due to the overgrown friendly cover on the bank. Peeking from inside was also a sign saying no mooring, Nature Reserve. Fair enough, they wouldn’t want Tilly out looking for friends! What a shame it was a lovely mooring. A new hide stands opposite.

Safely passed

Where should we try next? Next possible was at Tadpole Bridge. More wiggles to navigate, this time with canoes and paddleboarders thrown into the mix, several not knowing they should pass on the right.

Would there be space at the pub? Would we have to go in for a pint? Would the sausages I’d defrosted have to wait for tomorrow?

Pippin facing down stream

NB Pippin sat tied to two posts. Behind there would have been space for us except there was a canoe. Mick called out to the owners of Pippin, despite the front door being open no-one was home. No-one came to the canoe. We decided to pull alongside Pippin . This was all happening as the latest test match in Leeds was getting very close to a conclusion. As the English team scored runs Mick stood out the back of Oleanna incase someone returned to Pippin.

Across the way a young lad went overboard from his canoe. Dad took photos of the poor lad clinging on for dear life. Plenty of drinkers enjoyed sitting by the river, just not the people we wanted to see. Oleanna was far longer than Pippin and getting off would be tricksy, Tilly certainly wouldn’t be allowed out here. We conferred. We could stay, not an ideal mooring or carry on, the next mooring on our map at least 90 minutes away. Onwards!

A Lock Keeper was on duty at Rushey Lock, they’d just penned down a boat so the gates were open for us. As we ascended I asked if being a good gardener was one of the qualifications required to be a Thames Lock Keeper, the lady nodded. Mick asked if there was anywhere to moor nearby, we had recollections of Sue from WB No Problem XL having a favourite mooring here. The Lock Keeper described it’s position not five minutes up stream. Right then left and there it would be.

The right needed negotiating as a boat was just coming round it. Then to the left. Yes we remembered it now, have to check to see if we stayed here last time or not. No-one else was moored so we had the pick of the bank. Where I hopped off there was a sign warning of a wasps nest, we pulled along a touch further and banged our spikes in. This would do us, far Far better than the pub mooring.

What a lovely mooring

Tilly was given three hours, the long grass something to be negotiated. I did a couple of hours painting in banana palms before we set up outside to cook the sausages that had been destined for a toad in a hole. Just enough veg for kebabs too, I just need to get reacquainted with cooking on lumpwood charcoal again to reduce our carbon intake! Everything was cooked through and edible just a bit dark on the outside.

What a lovely mooring to watch the sun go down. Thank you Sue for having mentioned it years ago and to the Lockie confirming it still existed and giving us directions.

Setting sun

3 locks, 13.2 miles, 1 full water tank, 1 sneaky lunch break, 0 room for us, 1 git gapped pub mooring, 3 lovely gardens, 2 close calls, 1 perfect mooring all to ourselves, 37 half leafs painted, 6 sausages, 2 and a bit kebabs, 0.5kg potatoes, 1 sunset.

Harry And Betty. 13th May

Clarence Dock or New Dock, Leeds

How many names for a dock can there be?!

A morning doing some research for panto, general Columbian scenes, rainforest. There’s a lot of colour about which is a good thing. I now need to concentrate on interiors and where some of the scenes could be set, John (writer and director) has left some locations blank so I have free reign!

It’s been a while since we last did one of these!

Mick did a touch of shopping, Saturday newspaper mainly, then we had some lunch before leaving Tilly grumpily in charge for the rest of the day.

A walk across the River Aire then round to the bus station. Today with the trains on strike we had no choice but to catch the bus, but what a pleasant ride it was.

River Aire

The 36 goes between Leeds bus station and Harrogate, occasionally on to Ripon. It worked it’s way through areas of Leeds like Chapeltown and then out into the countryside. The bluebells within the perimeter wall of Harwood House were stunning, we sped past too quickly to get a photo.

A bus with skylights

All the time the recorded announcements told us which stop was next and where we could visit should we alight at certain stops. I suddenly realised who the voice was, now a voice from his grave, Harry Gratian, he used to present BBC Look North and became quite a celebrity in North Yorkshire through the decades, even appearing in York Theatre Royals Panto! At times we almost felt as though we should take him up on his suggestions of alighting at certain stops.

The Royal Hall

The road surface turned for the worse as we came into Harrogate a very bumpy ride, we’d reached our destination. A walk through the centre of the town, past the theatre heading downhill all the time. Then past the Crown Hotel where Alan Bennet sat in 1988 making observations about the people around him and reflecting on his own upbringing (Dinner at Noon).

A modern staircase attached to the back of a typical Harrogate building, we pressed the button of the flat required and a chirpy voice invited us inside. Here lives my Godmother Betty. She has never looked after my religious needs as I don’t really have any, but she has always been there in the back ground, sending me cards and more recently emails whilst we’ve been on the boat.

The wonderful Betty

Betty was one of my Mum’s best friend at Leeds School of Architecture. Mum six foot, Betty around five foot. Her 92 years of age have naturally decreased her height, but most certainly not her personality. Today we’d timed a visit with what was to be one of her Grandsons 21st birthdays, but sadly Alfred had tested positive for Covid two days ago, so the London contingency had postponed their visit for a few weeks. However there was still quite a crowd. Matthew, Jules and Rose, along with Louise their cousin.

Betty and Pip 1968

Way back when I was the youngest of the kids on holidays to France where all three families shared gites. They were fantastic times sat on beaches building sandcastles and paddling canoes.

Cups of tea and slices of cake to mark Alfred’s birthday were consumed as we caught up on everyone’s lives. People looking that bit older from the last time we’d all been together about ten years ago. Back then I was concerned about Houdini moving to live on a boat, taking advice from Rose a veterinarian nurse. Back then Betty’s comment on our boating plans were ‘Now my dear, why on earth do you want to do that ?!’ Now she is quite happy with our chosen life and looks forward to the occasional postcards I send of places we’ve visited and food we’ve eaten.

A glass of wine was enjoyed before we headed off to catch the next bus back to Oleanna. What a lovely afternoon, so glad we’d arranged it, just a shame not to have seen Anna and her tribe, maybe next time.

The bus back was busy, the bus station busier.

Time to order ourselves pizzas. We both opted for the same topping, one gluten free. When Mick went to pick them up (cheaper to drink our own wine on board) our pizzas had been rejected as being over cooked, so he had to wait for them to be done again.

I think mine didn’t have quite as much topping as Mick’s, he certainly had more cheese and chicken! But they were very tasty. We sat up to watch the final score come in at Eurovision in Liverpool, having not seen or heard any of the songs.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 hours research, 1 newspaper, 2 buses, 92 years soon to be 93, 1 Godmother as bright as a button, 1 son, 1 daughter, 1 niece, 1 daughter in law, 2 bus passes, 1 lovely afternoon, 2 pizzas, 2 boaters snoozing through Eurovision.

The Big Day. 25th December

Bridge 47, Alrewas

Smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast

After stockings came a glass of Bucks Fizz and breakfast, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, using a bit more of the parsley mountain now in our freezer. A festive chat with the London Leckenbys who were about to sit down to ham sandwiches and presents.

VHF for tidal waters and Trent Locks

Next Christmas presents. Thankfully delayed deliveries hadn’t managed to spoil our main presents. Tilly and I had clubbed together to buy Mick a new VHF radio as ours had gone faulty on the reflections flotilla, we’d ended up having to borrow one. Now that we seem to go on slightly more adventurous cruises we went for a better handheld radio than before. This should cover a larger distance. Mick put it on charge straight away and then had a go at turning down the squelch.


I got a cordless sander. I should also be able to get other tools that will use the same battery. When working on panto, Jo the props maker had a very small hand friendly cordless electric drill, so I’m hoping that might be the next tool to be added to the collection. We got plenty of other goodies too.

Time for a Christmas walk before any more booze was consumed. The last two years we’ve headed down to Scarborough sea front to have the wind clear away any cobwebs. This year we’re back on the canals, not quite the same as the north east wind making your cheeks ruddy, but just as good.

We chose to walk into the village, turning up Post Office Road. The Crown pub seemed to be popular as families turned up for a pint and lemonade.

The model cottages sitting facing each other both had wreaths on their front doors. At first I thought it a shame that they hadn’t consulted each other and gone for the same. But when I spotted the wreath on the red door, it made me laugh.

Mums and Dads

Baubles hung from a tree, this needed investigating. It is a memory tree for Mums and Dads, some of the baubles have messages written on them. Below there was a tin with a couple more baubles, were these for anyone to use or sat waiting for particular offspring to come and hang them on Christmas morning.

There was a nice looking house for sale, £620,000 for a five bedroom house, not bad. Although it feels lovely and light inside I think it’s lost some of it’s period character with the modern cupboards everywhere.

Back to the canal and a walk to look at the river levels. In the amber, Mick said it had gone down since yesterday, if it carries on in that direction that would be good. We walked down to the weir a short distance further on. The river swirled confused under the walkways and sped it’s way to the weir. Mick thought with enough umph we’d be fine going past.

A look inside the church, still warm from the mornings services. A big tree stood to one side, this with the smell reminded me of Christmas Days in the 70’s when we’d head to The Homestead for drinks with the Rowntree family in York. There in a hallway stood a tree as tall as the room, it’s base swathed in cotton wool. Trains, sledgers, animals decorated the snow below the poor tree that strained under the weight of SO many decorations. The sight kept my brother and myself transfixed, the coloured lights twinkling in the oak panelled hallway as the hubbub of adults came from the library where sherry and mince pies were handed out. At ten to one Peter Rowntree would call everyone silent, there would be a toast to Christmas and then a round of Happy Birthday for me. Today stood in All Saints I glanced up at the clock, ten to one, the time I was born.

In the churchyard many of the gravestones have been moved to the sides, this was done in the 70’s when the grounds had a change of layout. In the nearest corner to Oleanna stand the three wise men and their camels, followed by a donkey. His tail had been pinned on several times before.


Back to Oleanna, a few more Catnip Dreamies for Tilly had her gazing into nowhere for quite some time. I think she was just that little bit off her face!

The duck was pricked, stuffed and popped into the oven. Timings worked out for everything else. Bread sauce and cabbage put on top of the stove to reheat. Veg peeled ready to roast or steam. Sausages wrapped in blankets to keep them warm. It was as if we’d done Christmas dinner on the boat before! Well it’s actually easier here than in the house believe it or not.

Not normally one to watch the Christmas Day speech, lunch is normally timed to clash, but this year we thought we’d give Charles a chance as the pigs in blankets went in the oven. I think normal timings will resume next year.

Two plates brimming full were dished out, some roast potatoes had to be put back to make space for all the extras. All very nice, although my experiment of using oat milk for bread sauce won’t be repeated, it was okay but a little porridgy.

Full to the brim, Snowman was watched before the day moved to Birthday. Cake, candles a cup of much needed tea and then presents.

I got a gluten free recipe book, some waterproof thermal work gloves, some magnifying work glasses to help with model making and illustrations and a box of Pantomime yarn from Riverknits. I’m not sure I’ll knit the pattern the yarn came with or something else, not decided yet.

Another glass of wine accompanied Morecomb and Wise. A very good birthday and Christmas.

0 locks. 0 miles, 3 stockings crammed full, 5 bedoingee balls, 5 chocolate oranges, 2 styles of quality street wrappers, 1 vhf radio, 1 sander, 1 bottle of English fizz, 2 bottles wine, 1 packet of serious crack for cats, 1 spaced out Tilly, 15 pairs socks, 3 cans of beer, 4 spices, 7 silicone lids, 2 boxes matches, 1 pair of glasses, 1 book, 1 wifi camera, 2 plates only just big enough, 2 slices cake, 2 rather full boaters, 1 lovely day.