Category Archives: Films

Swimming Visitors Only. 1st June

Medmenham Meadows to Tilly’s Island, Cliveden

Brrrrr! Extra coats and a wind cheater required today, grey clouds over head, Brrrr!

Either Oleanna had been pushed in towards the bank a bit or the level had dropped a bit overnight as we were listing a touch this morning, nothing to fret about, it just required a bit more of a push off. What a shame it hadn’t been warmer yesterday afternoon to be able to sit out on the mown grass by our mooring. With the bow pushed out, Oleanna with help from the flow and wind winded to head downstream.

Hello Sue!

Many of the boats along the meadows live here, reserved signs sat in gaps, we’d been lucky to find a space that wasn’t someone’s permanent mooring. Along the last length there was a familiar boat. We waved frantically calling out ‘Hello Sue!’ We’d not got round to sending Sue on WB No Problem XL an email saying we’d be passing and I suspect if the weather had been better yesterday we’d have had a walk to say hello. A jolly wave came back from inside.

Rowing up stream

The locks today would be manned again, the first lock being Hurley and there was the Lockie we’d seen yesterday at Hambledon Lock. He’s a seasonal Lock Keeper and chatted with Mick. The full time staff are down by two from last year as sadly two of the Lock Keepers passed away. The lock cottages are given a spruce up before new people move in, certainly this was happening at Whitchurch Lock as we passed, new double glazing.

Enjoying the water despite the chill

All the beautiful launches and boats were under wraps at Peter Freebody and Co. Only one boat wasn’t wrapped up, the exception to prove the rule, one solitary plastic cruiser in amongst all that varnished wood.

All the curtains closed, nobody home

Down Temple Lock and onto the reach to Marlow. In amongst the seriously big houses and gardens there was an open sided marquee and lots of festoon lights. This was the secret (?) location you would be brought by boat from Marlow if you paid £95 for a five course meal. Today would be the last day in this location, glad we hadn’t paid to sit in our coats and be chilly even if the food was nice, only one welcome drink included in the price Feast Over Flame.

The landing

A space was just being made in the moorings at Marlow, a narrowboat pulled out and winded heading for the lock. We’d considered pulling in to buy a newspaper, but that would have delayed our arrival where we wanted to moor today, which might mean we’d miss out. The crew from the narrowboat came to help us pull onto the lock layby, the pull from the weir making this a little bit tricksy. The lock was made ready by a Keeper, then we were pulling in side by side. They have a mooring at Medmenham and were heading off for a weekends cruise.


Now for the long sweep of the river round to Bourne End. Along this stretch is always busy, a widebeam had just pulled out and was wanting to wind as two rowing boats were heading at speed towards them a shout from the support boat had them cut their speed to avoid a collision. We tried to check our speed as we passed a set of markers, we knew we weren’t going extreamly slowly due to the flow so when my stop watch reached 2 minutes we decided we’d actually missed the first markers to time ourselves.

A surprising price for what looks like a small house. Click photo

Round into the lock cut for Cookham Lock. Weekend traffic obvious to us now, three cruisers coming towards us and a narrowboat at the water point. The lock was manned again and here we said our hopeful goodbye to our locking partner as we hoped to find a mooring along the next reach.

Left for the lock cut

Small day boats cruised up and down, the queue for the cafe van and chilled medication was a few deep. Had we have arrived in time to get a good mooring? We passed the first island a boat already moored up, most probably just for the afternoon. Then the next island, one space free, the longer space we were after also free. Quick before anyone else pulled in! We headed past the island to wind and then made our way back up, pulling in easily to the mooring we’d managed to get two years ago on Tilly’s birthday. Tilly’s Island, a Pawfect outside, cat paradise, just so long as no-one else pulled up on the other available moorings.

FIVE and a HALF!!!

Five and a half hours Tilly! Five FIVE FIVE!!!!! YES!!!!! She didn’t manage to use them all before having to retire for a cat nap in her escape pod.

A quick run up a tree, the mooring posts were quickly claimed. She hesitated to venture too far. An extra rule was given, ‘If you do fall in make sure you swim back to THIS island’. The mooring was ideal apart from one thing, no land access, well that’s actually what made it ideal for Tilly, just not for any human visitors. I sent a message to Sam, who’d been hoping to be able to visit us today. Unless she had a canoe or was willing to swim across to the island we wouldn’t be seeing her today. A reply came back that she wasn’t too keen on swimming in the Thames so maybe we’ll be able to see her elsewhere in a week or so time.

Our island, could someone turn the thermostat up please

The afternoon was chilly to say the least, not one to sit out on the bank enjoying our surroundings! I watched Mr Holmes (2015) about a retired Sherlock Homes, dealing with dementia and trying his best to remember his last case which starred Sir Ian McKellen. A very English film, perfect to sit and knit in front of.

One boat had joined us for a while on Tilly’s Island, but they moved off long before dark leaving us alone with nature and the stove lit.

Here’s where we travelled in May

4 locks, 9.8 miles, 2 winds, 2 locks shared, 1 island, £10, 1 very happy cat, 0 visitors, 1 pooped cat, 1 gold embossed Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

It’s Neither. 26th April

Between Locks 45 and 44

An early start for Mick who left the boat before 8am and walked up the towpath to the station. NB Halsall was above the top lock and by the time Mick got on the train they were pulling in behind a few other boats waiting for the first passage through Harecastle Tunnel. After stoaking the fire, Tilly and I enjoyed a cuppa in bed.

It’s a nice day to go friend hunting

Boats started to come past, an almost constant stream of them up towards the tunnel, being met by down hill traffic. Most boats slowly passed as their crews walked from lock to lock. Others sped past aiming for a lock in their favour, this made for a bumpy morning.

Halsall early this morning

A walk up the towpath to visit both Tescos and the new Lidl. Lidl doesn’t have much in the way of gluten free items so the extra paces were worth it for my prefered breakfast cereal and yoghurt. The remainder of my list was done at Lidl. Last time we were through here I don’t think the store had opened, so it was nice to see that there was access to the towpath just above the locks. As I headed back down the hill, NB Autumn Haze were just turning onto the Macclesfield and another boat we’d seen in Middlewich was climbing the last couple of locks to the summit of the Trent and Mersey.

Meanwhile, Mick’s journey back to Scarborough had him pass the cooling towers in Willington. The River Ouse in York was back within it’s banks and boats were moored at the bottom of the Museum Gardens. In Scarborough he made his way to the hospital where he was almost an hour early for his appointment. A wait of twenty minutes before he was seen. His ultrasound to check for an abdominal aortic aneurysm took about ten minutes. It was clear, no babies and no aneurysm. So no knitting of diddy baby socks required.

The most we’ve seen of our bluebells for years!

After lunch he headed to the house to pick up a box from when the bully boy batteries were delivered, bulky but light he managed it back to the station and started his return journey. Connections meant that he was back in Kidsgrove a little before 9pm.

Pre-raphaelite knitting

Tilly and I had a quiet afternoon. She tried to bring a friend home, but didn’t suceed and I gave the inside of Oleanna a bit of a tidy and sweep through. Then the sock knitting came out and I watched Effie Gray (2014). The film is based on the true story of Euphemia Gray, a Scottish model and writer. She married John Ruskin and moved down to London to live with his parents. Their marriage was never consumated and was finally annulled leaving Effie free to marry again. Her second husband being John Everett Millais the Pre-Raphaelite artist. Throughout there are numerous images based on paintings of the time. A suitable film for a Friday afternoons knitting.

0 locks, 0 miles, 14 tickets, 7 trains, 10 minutes of ultrasound, 0 girls, 0 boys, 0 aneurysm, 3 bags shopping, pair 17 nearly finished, 1 barred cat and friend.

Soggy Socks And Paws. 16th April

Bollington Underpass

No tea in bed this morning, Lemsip instead. Fortunatly Mick was starting to feel improved. He did plenty of chores, filling the coal skuttle, got another bag of coal off the roof. Emptied the ash pan and left the bin on the stern deck for ease of access. Between us we emptied the yellow water tank. Then he packed a bag.

Why can’t she clean her paws before coming in?!

A doctors appointment, dentist, an engineer coming to sort something on our new boiler and a turn around of lodgers have all nicely fitted into a few days, so Mick was headed back to Scarborough. We could have stayed in Manchester making the journey back shorter, but for a few days that wouldn’t have been so good for Tilly. A bus would take Mick to Altringham where he’d then get a tram before a train to York, then another to Scarborough. I wonder when/if they will ever reinstate the through trains to Scarborough?

Thank goodness Mick didn’t have a Vicar of Dibley moment!

But first he had to negotiate the underpass! This leads from the towpath to Little Bollington where he’d catch a bus. With all the rain this year this has become a small lake and with a bus due Mick had to walk through it, deeper than his shoes! Soggy feet for the rest of his journey. I had been thinking of a walk into Dunham Massey, if I do I’ll be digging my wellies out!

I hope I can do better than the gaffa tape

Tilly and I pottered away the day. Some mending of Mick’s slipper required. It was coming away from it’s sole and he’s worn a hole in the toe of it! Being sheepskin and very good for keeping your feet warm they need mending as the left foot is still very much in good order. Uhu used as a contact adhesive stuck the sole back on. Then I cut a patch to cover the toe from an old Ugg boot that moths had attacked in the house. I’ll leave the glue to go off overnight and then have a go at stitching the patch on. I’m not looking forward to that bit!

Lots of dry toes

A few last ends to weave in on some socks. Six pairs now waiting to be sent off. First they needed their photos taking. Then the next pair were cast on whilst watching The Duchess 2008. The period drama based on the true story of Georgina Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. The line on the poster says it all really, ‘There were three people in her marriage.’ It stars Keira Knightley and Ralph Feinnes and won Best Costume Design in the Academy Awards. The frocks were rather lovely.


The weather has improved, less windy but still the occasional thunder storm. At one point today I wondered if we were taking on water, a distinct bubbling noise coming from close to the hull. It turned out to be rather large hail stones landing in the canal.

I spent as much of the day with my feet up. Over the last week my left foot has become a touch uncomfortable, a bit like having your shoe lace tied too tight. The top of my foot had become a touch fat at the end of days working locks, but last night my ankle had blown up too. Not sure I’d get a shoe on it, so it has been elevated on a stool for as much of the day as possible. It doesn’t hurt, so I’m not sure what has happened.

A rather nice sunset to do the washing up by

My plan to walk round Dunham Massey, have a bus ride into Altringham to visit Alty Market are on hold. I need my ankle to be better for the Cheshire Locks, it would also be handy if it fitted into a shoe!

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 bus, 1 tram, 2 trains, 1 doctors appointment, 6 pairs ready, 1 very wet sock, 1 slipper stuck down, 1 sheepskin patch cut, 4 muddy paws, 119 photos on a none moving day, 1 flooded underpass, 1 fat ankle.

15.25 pairs knitted

37 pairs spoken for

36.75 to go

£825 raised so far

Purrplexed. 8th April

Bent House Lock 46

An early start for Mick who headed off to Littleborough Station to catch a train just before 8am. Tilly and I stayed tucked up in bed and enjoyed a cuppa with the puzzles from Saturdays newspaper.

A day return to Scarborough woud have been about £70 at that time of day even with an old gits railcard, but Mick had booked his tickets in such a way that he got off peak tickets from Mytholmroyd, therefore costing £37.35 including a plus bus for around Scarborough.

View from the cratch today

On board, after the usual mornings activities I decided to give the interior of Oleanna a dust down and then a sweep through followed by a floor clean. Tilly kept out of the way for much of the time, the lack of wind and rain encouraging her to go outside.

Then it was time to investigate why our pullout corner cupboard is starting to ground and make grooves in the newly oiled floor! I’ve been wondering if the weight in the pan drawer, which is attached to the cupboard might be doing this. Maybe when I’d reattached it I’d screwed them together at a slight angle that gets exacerbated when the corner cupboard is pulled right out.

I emptied the cupboard and drawer so that I could detach the two. There lying on the floor was part of a circular piece of plastic. Was this off one of the castors? Yes. The plastic helps keep the wheel square and helps to keep the rubber wheel from flattening out under the weight. Without it the rubber wheel was flattening, a bit like a blown tyre on a car and therefore the plinth of the pullout cupboard was grounding across the floor, it having dropped by a couple of mm.

How were the castors attached? To blocks of wood, which of course had been attached from below not above. So to remove the castors we would need to remove the cupboard to be able to turn it on it’s side! A look later on from the opposite side by Mick suggests we might be able to just replace the wheel on the caster without dismanteling everything.

But where’s the top gone!?!

Tilly gave me a site report from low down. She was quite purrplexed about the whole situation. But hey hang on! There’s no top!! Someone’s stolen the top! I can’t hide in here anymore, there’s no IN to be IN! This is what the problem is, the IN, not the squishy wheel. I’ve left the pan drawer unattached until we can replace the wheel.

It’s okay there’s still an IN to be in here

Next it was time to restick some edging onto the side of the drawing board slot. This has been held on by tape for about a year. Some wood glue down between the main board and the strip, tape back on to hold it in place. There’s far too much stuff in the slot! It needs clearing out to leave enough IN for a cat.

Lunch was arepas with red cabbage, cheese and slices of apple, very nice.


Time to select the yarn for the next pair of socks. I’ve had quite a few requests for blue socks this year, so any yarn that was blue was laid on the bed. Three selected, I just need to decide how to knit them up.

Meanwhile in Scarborough Mick had caught the bus to the hospital, a blood test required by his GP, this was all very efficient. He then walked to the house to meet with our current lodgers. A coffee, chat and he picked up our post, including postcards about the York and North Yorkshire Mayor election. A few years ago we had lodgers put our postal votes on the top of a book shelf for safe keeping along with other post. Mick got the train to Scarborough especially to pick them up but couldn’t find them. They were found a few months later long after the poll. We now have a tray in the kitchen for post to go in.

You don’t need to be in there! Just checking it’s still got an IN.

Then he caught another bus out of town and headed to his dentist. His return to Seamer Station was thwarted by numerous school buses refusing to pick him up and then the next bus was ten minutes late, by which time he’d missed the hourly train from Scarborough!

I wonder what Clare made of this

In Littleborough the day had been a perfect one for cruising, no boats had come past though. I frogged another pair of socks to just past the heel, adjusted my needle size hoping this would rectify their tightness. I watched another Bake Off, more comdey biscuits and The Woman In Gold 2015,starring Helen Mirren. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann, starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting ‘The Lady in Gold’. She enlists a young lawyer to help her and they end up taking the Austrian Government to the US Supreme Court.

More yummy yarn

Mick returned home a while after 8pm. In amongst the post was a parcel from Rachel at Skein Queen, another rather yummy skein of yarn in white and blues. She’d also added in a pattern for a pair of socks. Thank you Rachel.

0 locks, 0 miles, 4ft edging re-stuck,16 tickets, 6 trains, 3 buses, 3 ignoring buses, 1 flattening wheel,1 pleasant day, 1 test, 1 set of clean gnashers, 1 puzzled Tilly, 1 skien, 1 patter, 1 omlette for 2, 1 normal result.

Paul Didn’t Forecast This! 5th October

Sykehouse Junction

Todays plan was to get up early to clean off the fertan I’d left to do it’s thing on the starboard side grab rail and mushroom, then once it was all dry apply a coat of primer, hoping that there would be enough time for the primer to be touch dry before the forecast rain started.

One app yesterday had suggested I’d need to get up quite early to achieve this. Then Paul Hudson the Look North weather man had suggested that the rain wouldn’t be with us until maybe mid afternoon. Well he was wrong!

I woke at 6:45 to rain. I woke later 7:30 to rain, we had cuppas in bed, no point in getting up. It continued raining for several more hours! Grrrr!!!


When it did eventually actually stop, after a few false stops, I went outside to see how dribbly the fertan had managed to become overnight in all the rain. Ergh! A normal wash doesn’t tend to lift the stains it creates. I washed down the fertan, then started to try to remove the staining. A little bit of Bar Keepers friend seemed to do the job, but careful not to lift paint.

With everything dry it was now time to give the primer a good stir. Then a coat was applied. I’d just applied some onto the patch by the pram cover when spots of rain started again. Pan replaced over mushroom hole, carefully, it was only just big enough! The grab rail would have to fend for itself.

Pan protection

The dinette window now got a good clean, the wind blowing the rain at the other side of Oleanna. Then the bedroom porthole. That feels so much better now. Just the kitchen windows to do. As they are sliding windows they need access from outside, here the bank is much too high for the job. Time to sit down.

Can you see her?

Tilly spent most of the day out prowling. The wet grass was not off putting. A glance around every now and again to see where she’d got to, that white tipped tail does come in handy!

Kingfishers darted, hovered, chirped, all still far too quick for a photo without sitting outside in the rain poised facing the right direction.

On her way back to Goole

‘Exol Pride‘ She was on her way back, Sykehouse Lock not replying straight away. The chatter on the radio was that there wouldn’t be a run next week, no cargo. Also that Exol Pride is booked in for maintenance in January. The route through Goole docks will be closed as the casson gates are getting some attention at the beginning of the year. ‘Exol Pride leaving the new junction‘ we bobbed out to see her turn towards Goole and pick up the revs.

Soggy legs

I’d just sat down to knit, choosing Early Man over Selma, (the first subtitles already making me laugh) when my phone rang. Peter at Prompt Side. This is the busiest time of the year for them, everyone wanting cloths, tabs making, plenty of printing going on too. Add into that two members of staff being on holiday, he sounded just like I’ll sound in a few weeks time.

Kingfisher playground

He chatted me through setting up the scans and how to save them and which tool would be best for the job. Basically he’s already set everything up and I should just check it’s correct. He explained a bit about content aware and proximity match. He’s hoping to scan the rest of the model pieces tomorrow and send them over for touch up. If I have any problems I’m to ring and say it’s urgent! Thank you Peter.

Hair removal

I then spent a couple of hours working my way methodically across the front cloth scan he’d sent me. Saving the image several times it retained it’s size (thank you Paul for suggesting I should check), just the occasional blip when changing between Content and Proximity settings, but I got it sorted.

More to do tomorrow.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 coat primer, 1 pan, 9 hours!!! 4 soggy paws, 2 windows, 2 to go, 2 lines, 2 hours touching up, just how did SO many hairs get on my model?! 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval to add to the other one!

Pan On The Roof. 4th October

Sykehouse Junction

The wind was less this morning, but due to pick up in the afternoon again. Time to get on with jobs!

Matching socks too

My improved dungarees came out for the first time. They are very bright and I’m hoping that after a few boat jobs they will be broken down a touch, otherwise I suspect the costume designer on panto will have them off my back, she likes orange and very bright colours. I cut up some of the left over yoga mat (from when I made the giant mug earlier this year) to pop into the new big knee pockets, hopefully I’ll have more chance of kneeling on these than the old smaller ones.

Various bits of equipment were dug out from under the dinette and we set to work. The two main things requiring attention the mushroom over the bathroom (which is leaking) and the centre line fairlead/cleat. I’ve touched this up before, but obviously not well enough and the screws have let water in, a big bubble of rust is trying to peel itself away from the cabin side!

We boat too much and don’t stop to do jobs enough!

Mick fought with the fairlead, a Frank screw needed drilling out. Then we moved to the mushroom vent. A bolt undone from the inside to take the cap off, then four screws to remove the stem. This mushroom’s talking to me! There had been a small bubble of rust visible before we removed it, but just lifting the stem up revealed the amount of rust that had been working away underneath! All the others will need doing, but not today.

Weighted down to stop them blowing away when the wind got back up

To get onto the roof I’d need to use the stern lockers. The pram cover would be better coming off, a perfect time to give the covers a spray of Wet and Forget. The covers were laid out on the grass, given a liberal spraying and left to dry. Hopefully we’d not have any rain for a few hours! Hopefully giving them a spray now will mean that instead of them going green over winter that they have a go at cleaning themselves. Well that’s the hope.

Up on the roof the attachment of doom was put to use on the rusty roof. Grinding off the brown, back to shiny metal. The grab rail on the starboard side was done too. Then Fertan was brushed on and left to do it’s thing, a gentle spray of water a couple of hours later to help encourage it even more.

Cleaned off

Covers back on to finish drying, tools packed away inside. Another window got the full clean treatment, that leaves the kitchen windows, one full hopper and one porthole to do. By now I needed a sit down.

Boats came past throughout the afternoon, turning at the junction. Kingfishers chirped across the reservoir, I’d seen one hovering before diving when out doing the covers. Now two of them darted back and forth along the canal to our stern. Not enough time to grab a camera! Just a joy to hear and catch a glimpse of their electric blue.

More knitting in front of a film. Clemency (2019) about a Governor of an American Prison who has to oversee the death sentence. Her twelfth lethal injection will almost certainly be her last. A jolly film, not. Maybe I should look for another Carry On film to lighten up the afternoons knitting.

Very tasty

During the afternoon a beef and beetroot curry sat on the stove top gently cooking away filing the boat with yummy aromas. To accompany it I made us some pan fried onion bhajis. They went down exceedingly well. Glad I bought the chickpea flour in Doncaster.

0 locks, 0 miles, 9 hours! 1 mushroom removed, 1 fairlead removed, 2 much rust, 1 attachment of doom, 2 kingfishers zooming, 1 sock finished, 1 pan on the roof to keep the rain out, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

Postponed Birthday. 2nd October

Doncaster Visitor moorings to the site of Small Hedge Swing Bridge, New Junction Canal

Some blueberries were required before pushing off, so Mick headed to the market to see what he could find. I tried calling Peter at Prompt Side so that we could talk through setting up and saving images for print. But he was busy setting up the days printing jobs, he’d ring back.

Mick topped us up with water, NB Northumbria arrived with Alfie on the roof, time for another chat before we pushed off.

Pushing off shouldn’t really be a problem, except the weed boats were back, three of them today. Two caterpillar boats and one conveyor boat. They were collecting pennywort from around the moorings to deposit on the opposite bank. Happily going back and forth without any thought that other boats might be moving. Eventually we managed to catch a gap and sped off.

Long Sandall

The moorings above Long Sandall Lock were empty, a rare sight, sadly we weren’t wanting to stop here today. The lock had just been filled for a boat coming up, the top gates opened and the two boats swapped places, perfect timing. Back down the lock and onwards to Barnby Dun.

Only 16 held up at the bridge today.

Now it was decision time. Should we moor back at Bramwith Junction? Or should we carry on onto the New Junction Canal? Flood locks on the Aire and Calder were closed yesterday so rivers were on the rise. It would be a real pain to be held up on the wrong side of the Don Doors if they had to be closed due to rising levels. We’d cross and then find a mooring as soon as we could. Well that was the plan.

Under the Don Doors

At the junction we waved to David and Clive. Les from NB Christopher B is expecting an operation later this week and will be kept in hospital until she is mobile. The River Don looked higher than normal, but still a difference between it and the canal. Maybe we were being over cautious.

Nowhere to moor, we’d have to carry on. Perhaps just off the end of a bridge landing? No, it was too close to the road for Tilly to be allowed freedom. Onwards, a flag on my map looking like it was the only possible place to moor before Sykehouse Lock.


Low Lane Swing Bridge swung, Top Lane Lift Bridge lifted, only problem was I couldn’t open the gate to get out! I had to climb the fencing. Kirk House Green Lift Bridge took a lot of jiggling for my key to turn to power it up, but soon we were on our way.

The light at the lock was red, a volunteer on duty. We’d already come farther than we’d really wanted to, but just after the narrowing where a swing bridge had once been we saw our opportunity a bar on the piling suitable for chains.

Birthday girl on the catwalk

Time for Tilly to head back out and explore. Yesterday was her eighth birthday, but it was no fun for a cat being cooped up in Doncaster, so today we needed a mooring for her and her postponed birthday. Hooray!!! Lots of friendy cover, no woofers, no nobody, BRILLIANT!!!!

A treat cheese lunch was enjoyed, hairs were removed from the songsheet artwork that I’d forgotten, then it was emailed off for approval by John. I took a couple more windows out and gave them the full clean before needing to sit down again.

Clockwise from left. Yarg, cheddar with Scarborough seaweed, feta (left over from a tray bake) and Wookey Hole cheddar.

The perfect mooring for a cat, but phone signal nearly non existent, no good for my photoshop phone call. The internet was also slow, apart from when watching a film. Stronger (2017) is based on the true story of Jeff Bauman who lost both his legs in the Boston Marathon Bombing. Mick was astounded at the amount of swearing it contained, what would our parents have thought! Have to admit to giving up with twenty minutes to go when Jeff and his girlfriend started to have a very loud argument after she’d told him she was pregnant. I’ll watch the rest another time, I’d just had enough of them shouting at each other.

1 lock, 8.8 miles, 1 left, 3 bridges, 19 held up, 2 more windows, 3 weed boats, 1 plumber contacted, 1 scaffolder contacted, 4 hours of birthday frolics, 8 years old! plus 1 day, 1 heel turned, 1 very shouty film, 1 stove lit.

Continents. 29th September

Bramwith Junction to Doncaster Visitor Moorings

Tilly was allowed out first thing, she could decide when we would move on today. Off she went not to be seen for quite sometime! Clive came past with Peg and stopped for a chat, he’s got his car back from West Stockwith and the boat is plugged in, it should make life easier for a while.

Paws at rest

We’d run out of things to occupy us, time to move on, but still no Tilly. Time to be the mad cat woman on the towpath. I walked back towards the lock, my voice resonating across the canal. In the past Tilly has spent time in amongst the trees this way, today it looked like the friendly cover might be just a touch too dense for her. No noises came back. I walked up in the other direction. TILLY!! Minny meow!! Was that her bell? Was that a meow? Hard to tell with the wind. Maybe it was. Then up she popped tail held high skipping back to the boat. Time to move on.

Barnby Dun Lift Bridge

We pootled up to Barnby Dun, pausing to drop off rubbish and empty the yellow water. Then the key of power was put in the bridge panel. This road is so busy, do you wait for a gap in the traffic coming from three directions? Or just press the button no matter? The traffic died down, so I chose a moment without a car in view and set the sequence going, no white van to jump the lights today.

Once through and the bridge dropped you then have to wait for a gap in the traffic to be able to cross the road. I like counting the number of stopped vehicles, but just how many more had me waiting?

I recognise that whirligig

A dutch barge with a whirligig and washing drying in these parts is almost certainly Dolly Earl. Recently blacked and the gunnels repainted, no name visible. Mick made a note of the boat number, yep it was Dolly Earl! That’s a familiar boat ticked off our list for the year, I think we’re short of only one, the blue boat NB Jubilee Bridge.

Big Yorkshire locks

Wind swept us up to Long Sandall Lock, Mick opting to reverse and hover whilst the lock emptied. The huge vast lock filled, then I noticed the amount of Pennywort by the top gates. Could I open the gates without it getting in the lock? Yes.


Across the way was NB Northumbria, Paul used to look after the basin up in Sheffield. He bobbed his head out to say hello. We did our best to hover and chat with him as the wind buffeted us about. There was news of a new Finesse boat setting off from Sheffield in the morning, hopefully we’ll get to see her. I dropped Rachel the owner a line, they had their snagging weekend quite some time ago and have a bit of a major weekend cruise ahead of them, very exciting.

Paul suggested that the Doncaster moorings might be full, he’d counted boats on the move today, we hoped some would have stopped at Strawberry Island. He gave a suggestion of where to moor if Doncaster was full. Fingers crossed we’d not need it. There’s ground works going on with diggers perched high up on banks of earth, maybe this is where there used to be abandoned burnt out cars, I’ll have to take more note on our way back.


The Minster came into view, a zoom in on the camera, loads of space at the moorings! Brilliant! We winded to have the side hatch outwards and a better view from bed in the morning. During the afternoon another two boats joined us.

Weed boats

Rafts of Pennywort have taken hold here, two weed boats soon arrived. The one with chopping blades and a conveyor belt we’ve seen before, but the other was new to us. Long prongs on an arm at the front can hook a chunk of pennywort, this can be lifted into the air. The boat is propelled by two caterpillar tracks of rubber blades. This means that it not only moves in the water but it can ride up the bank too to deposit the weed well out of the water. Shame my video isn’t fully in focus but it gives you the idea.

Later in the day MIck made a comment about an island of Pennywort passing by. I peeked out, ‘that’s not an island, that’s a whole continent!’

Obviously the weed boats had missed this one

I walked up to Boyes in the town centre to see if they might have some bright pink long fringing for panto. Their haberdashery section was a disappointment, I’ll have to order online instead. They did however have engine oil, Mick will return with the bike for 10 litres.

Almost empty shelves

An afternoon of knitting for me in front of a film. Judy (2019) about Judy Garland’s career in the last year of her life when she performed on the London stage. Flash backs to her early career at the time of The Wizard of Oz. Another lonely sole, what a great performance by Renee Zellweger, no wonder she won quite a few awards. It was also Michael Gambon’s last film, so quite an apt choice.

Some of the miners portraits in A Rich Seam by Laurence Edwards

Another pair of socks went in the post today, another pair finished ready to have the ends woven in. That’s six pairs done, another two on the list.

1 lock, 5.7 miles, 1 lift bridge, 19 held up, 25 holding me up, 2 hours shore leave, 1 skipping cat, 1 sauce tasting woofer, 0 fringing, 1 walk not hobble, 1 parcel arrived.

07:30 The Time To Go … Somewhere. 22nd September

Torksey Bottom Side to West Stockwith, Chesterfield Canal

The first boat to go past us this morning was at 6am, most probably a small boat being used by a couple of fishermen that we would see several times today. The next boat to head off was the chap with no idea (NB NI), this was just before 7:30, maybe he’d been in touch with the Lock Keepers further downstream, maybe not. Ten minutes later two more boats pulled away to head up stream, they’d be pushing the tide for quite some way. The first boat pulled out at the junction and you could see the push from the tide immediately as the boat skidded round, pushed sideways, the small fishing boat almost certainly not helping matters. The following boat reversed all the way to the junction, picked up the revs and winded. They were off. 7:30 certainly a popular time to set off today.

8:10 a widebeam then pulled off, heading up stream, less of the out going tide to push through. We waited a while longer, just us and the boat with the missing cat left, hope it had returned and they were just waiting for the flood to come before leaving.


Breakfasted, well deck cleared, weed hatch checked, life jackets, anchor checked, chart. We were ready fifteen minutes before we’d planned to push off at 09:30. Mick’s plan was for us to arrive at West Stockwith at slack water which would make our turn into the lock easier than having to turn into the current and then work our way back into the tide. He’d checked with two Lock Keepers that there would be enough water to get us over the cill, it being a neap tide we’d be fine. We set off ahead of schedule.

Two power stations in one photo

Back in January we did this trip and onwards to Keadby, we had a display by the Red Arrows and a wonderful if chilly day. Today there was no frost on the pontoon at Torksey, but we did have jumpers and coats on, maybe a pair of gloves will be on hand for the next section of the tidal Trent.

Torksey Castle

The river is now quite familiar. Torksey Castle and Viaduct.

One post to line up with

Trent Port where white posts need lining up to stay in the channel. Littleborough where a Roman causeway crosses the river, used in 1066 en route from Stamford Bridge to Hastings.

The Folly or Chateau

Reaching the Folly we’d caught up with the fishing boat. They lifted their lines and sped off into the distance. Maybe when we’ve retired from boating we’ll treat ourselves to a few days stay at the Folly and watch boats cruising with the tides.

We passed the fishing boat near Knaith Rack. Bob the wandering buoy has made his way to near the 83km post, in January it was in Gainsborough. Past West Burton Power Station all with the tide aiding our journey.

Boating Association charts with Waterway Routes

Wet mud along the banks showed how far the tide had fallen, the red line was to be followed to keep us in the channel. Some km markers are missing so we not only use the charts (version 18 now) but also Waterway Routes to show us where we are on the river, quite handy.

Turn Post Corner, a sharp bend in the river with a sand bank protruding out from the inner of the bend. Mick slowed us right down here, the water to both sides of Oleanna bubbling away indicating shallow water, then a cross over to the west bank to miss the next submerged bank.

Checking timings on our progress Mick decided that we should slow down, the revs knocked back.

Just where are they?!

Gainsborough Railway Viaduct, time to give West Stockwith a call. The Lockie said we’d be about an hour he was there waiting for us. Had we seen NB NI? We told him that they had left Torksey at 7:30 this morning, maybe they were planning on stopping at Gainsborough pontoon. Apparently yesterday the Cromwell Lockie had tried to explain to the chap about the tidal Trent and booking locks and going with the tide etc. Then Mick and another boater had done the same at Torksey, giving him the phone numbers of locks. So far NB NI had not been seen!

Onwards now at a slower pace past Kerry Mill, no-one looking out of windows to wave at. The now overgrown building shortly before Gainsborough Road Bridge and various old wharf buildings really need some TLC, the riverfront not that inviting. Mick kept us at a steady pace not wanting to beat the tide to West Stockwith, the current as always running fast through the aches of Gainsborough Road Bridge.

Gainsborough Road Bridge, the current runs through here so fast

NB NI was not on the pontoon. Where were they? Mick tried calling the Lockie at West Stockwith, NB NI had just zoomed past heading for Keadby! They must have either been dawdling on the river or had a break in Gainsborough as we’d gained at least an hour on them. The Lock was sat waiting for our arrival, jolly good.

Cranking the engine up

As we carried on at our leisurely pace the current appeared to have stopped, had the tide turned earlier than expected? Our pace slowed, Mick cranked Oleanna up a notch, then some more. Were we now facing the flood?

The red line ends here

After the big bend with new flats and concrete footing the red line on the chart runs out just by a big sluice. I could now sit down and leave Mick to judge where he should be positioned on the river. He cranked the engine up some more, the last 2 miles done at speed, maybe we’d not needed to slow earlier.

West Stockwith Lock

The Lockie called just before the lock came into view, how were we doing? Mick slowed us brought us along level with the lock. Thinking the tide had turned he’d positioned Oleanna in such a way hoping the current would help us turn in, but the lock was at a more acute angle to the river than he’d remembered and the current wasn’t there. We had arrived at slack water ‘perfect timing’ the Lockie said as Oleanna’s front button nudged the entrance to the lock. Not a clean entrance, but not scary either. Thankfully most people up top were chatting so didn’t notice.

Time to hold a rope at the bow. I remembered this from eight years ago. The Lockie passed ropes down to us to hold onto. Back then we shared the lock with another boat, today we didn’t, today the water coming into the lock pushed us right over to the far side of the lock no matter how hard we clung on to the rope. It wasn’t that the water gushed in, it was just what the lock does, at least we could stop Oleanna from biffing into the side. Slowly we rose.

Just about up on the Chesterfield Canal

We asked the Lockie if there was any news on NB NI? Not yet. Two boats had just come past from Keadby heading up stream, they’d most probably seen them fighting against the flood. We strongly suspect with the Lock Keepers aware of the boat on the river someone stayed at Keadby looking out for them even if they weren’t booked in. But would the boat be looking out for the lock? We think the map the chap had was Open Canal Map, which doesn’t mention anything about tides, phone numbers, channel. The blue line continues down to Trent Falls, up the Ouse and out onto the Humber.

We really hope they turned in at Keadby and are safe. We’re also quite relieved that we hadn’t come across them stuck on a sandbank needing rescuing. Preparation for tidal waters is important, they are not like the tranquil canals of the midlands!

Land hooray!

Now where? We carried on a short distance along the Chesterfield Canal and pulled in on the first stretch of armco. Here would be good for Tilly and us. Five hours and the rules read. Tilly returned on her own three time during the afternoon and didn’t have to mubble at us once!

Russian Naval locks leak too

Mick walked to Misterton Co-op and butchers whilst I sat and watched Kursk (2018) based on the true story of the Russian submarine disaster in 2000. Were the Russians so unfeeling towards the families waiting for news? Was their rescue equipment so badly maintained and were they far more interested in keeping their secrets than saving the crews lives? I think tomorrow I’ll have to find a comedy to watch.

Sunset over the basin

During our cruise today I’d came across the Fish and Chip Appreciation page on Facebook. Crisp golden batter had made me hungry. A look at the local pubs menus was needed. The Waterfront Inn is just in the process of changing hands (reopening 3rd October). Then The White Hart just on the other side of the River Idle. Their menu just so happened to mention gluten free fish and chips! Bingo result!!!

Fish and chips!

They were busy and it took quite a while before we could order, the staff did keep us informed and apologized for our wait. Mick had a very good beef, mushroom and ale pie and I had a very crunchy fish and chips. All very nice. We decided to refrain from a pudding and have a second glass of wine back on Oleanna.

Now if you read the blog, you obviously have an interest in the waterways and our life on them. For a few weeks now there has been a link on the right hand side of the blog which will take you to the petition ‘Fund Britain’s Waterways’ which is urging the Prime Minister to safeguard Britain’s Canals and Rivers now and for future generations. This isn’t a petition just for boaters, but for everyone that enjoys being by the water, wildlife, watching youtube vloggers or reading about the canals and rivers. If everyone who reads this blog signs the petition that would be brilliant. Thank you.

1 lock, 14.9 miles, 3 hours, 1 new waterway for Oleanna, 1 boat without a clue, 1 of each, 1 pie and chips, 1 portion of peas please, Louise! 2 glasses wine, 2 lamb steaks, 1 Saturday paper, 1 happy cat.

Torksey Central. 22nd September

Torksey Top Side to Torksey Bottom Side Pontoon, River Trent

A quiet morning catching up on things and down loading a free trial of Photoshop. Tilly was kept in, no shore leave granted today, we weren’t going far but we had the tide to catch.

Heading into Torksey Lock

At midday we moved up to the water point, topped up on fresh and disposed of the yellow. The rubbish would have to wait as the top lock gates were already open meaning getting to the bins would take longer.

Going down

We pulled in next to NB Olive J in the lock, ropes around bollards, the volunteer closed up behind us then lifted the paddles, down we went. He said we might need to do a bit of jiggling about on the pontoons as they were already quite full.

Back out onto the tidal Trent

One space behind a boat of the south bank, NB Olive J headed to a space behind their friend on the north, there looked to be more room right at the end of the long pontoon. Yes 60ft, we’d fit nicely. We pulled in tied up and settled in for the remainder of the day.

The Lock Cottage up for auction soon

A while later four boats pulled off, comments of ‘last one there buys the drinks tonight’. The lead boat beeped their horn five times as they reached the junction to turn north. Five beeps means ‘I don’t understand your intentions, keep clear!’ Yes it was the same chap who’d beeped his horn to indicate turning to port the other day.

One boat without anyone at the helm!

Blimey it was busy down here. Boats arrived, some radioing the lock to go up, others just pulling in to wait for the next suitable tide. One boat didn’t move off even though they’d intended to, their cat hadn’t returned in time for the tide. Hopefully it’ll be back for their next suitable tide. Tilly has only once almost affected our departure with a tide. That was when a chink was left in the rear hatch and she made the most of it at West Stockwith, half an hour of trying my best not to panic and eventually a well timed rugby tackle worked and we were able to catch the tide.

This one went backwards to the junction

Soon the pontoons were full again. One chap asked Mick which the best way was to get to Ripon, without going by the Humber estuary. A conversation followed which gave Mick the impression that no locks had been booked, no lock keepers phone numbers were at hand, they’d arrived without life jackets on, Mick didn’t dare ask if they had the charts, knowing that the answer would possibly be no. Mick and someone else tried to impress on the chap that Keadby would need to be booked otherwise there might not be anyone there to let them in! Gainsborough pontoon was mentioned by another boater. But who knows!

Boats left waiting

During the afternoon I had a go at starting to learn about Photoshop. One tool looked like it would do the job of removing hairs and replacing them with a suitable background. Photoshop has come on miles since I dabbled a touch ten/fifteen years ago. One demonstration shows you how to remove a house on a mountain side and photoshop just replaces it with more mountain. You can even change the house to being pink and at night time with lights on whilst the scene around it is very obviously daytime.

All calm at the junction this evening

I loaded up part of a portal to have a go at removing hairs, the tool didn’t work, something about not enough something or other. I decided that maybe I should start at the very beginning on the tutorial. This I started but then Mick came to tell me about the man who had NO idea. Then Tilly came and shouted at the back door, stating that it really wasn’t fare being kept locked in when another cat had been allowed to roam free all morning. I gave up, time to do some knitting.

Todays film Wildlife (2018) about a family in 1960’s Montana struggling to make ends meet. Dad goes off to fight fire, their son takes a job at a photographic studio and Mum starts to teach swimming. Things go array for them all, their poor son observing more than a 14 year old should. A sad tale in which I got the start of another sock knitted.

1 lock, 0.4 miles, 4 going down stream, 6 or more arriving, 1 missing cat, 1 mardy cat, 1 AI program on my laptop, 1 clueless chap, 6th pair started, 1 leaking bath.

PS. I made a complaint to C&RT regarding the boat on the Kiln Pontoon in Newark. This week I was asked for the boats name and number, which of course I couldn’t give them as we’d not seen them displayed. I could however give them a photograph of the boat and suggested that their local team were VERY likely to know of it. The local team have since been in touch to inform me that they are very aware of the boat, so are the police. ‘Our Licence Support Team are dealing with it through our official process, but unfortunately this does take time. We are also monitoring the anti-social behaviour and building a case with regards this.’