Category Archives: Flowers

All Hail The Haily Snowed. 11th February


With a gas bottle empty we’d thought about cruising out to Alvechurch to get it replaced and give Tilly some much needed countryside. How I fondly remember trees! But when we woke and checked the forecast for the day we changed our minds. 20mph winds, nowhere near as strong as on Sunday, but still not that easy to handle a narrowboat in.

I used to climb trees, now I just dream of them

After breakfast we made ready to move, one thing that couldn’t wait was water. Mick tried calling Sherborne Wharf a couple of times but nobody was answering. However when we looked out we could see a widebeam moored at the services, someone must be there. So we pushed off (well we didn’t need to push much as the wind did most of it for us) and headed through Sheepcote Street Bridge, pulling in behind the green widebeam.

The Polo boat

The BCN is narrow, so what is a widebeam doing in these parts?. Well it’s the office for the new development on Icknield Port Loop and they’d come for a pump out and top up of diesel.


Once the chap was finished with them we got some more coal, topped up on water from the tap with good pressure, bought a new bottle of gas and disposed of our yellow water. Blimey it was chilly out there, just how are the roses going to fare?

Winding the old fashioned way

We moved along retracing the now familiar route to Monument Road Bridge where the wind assisted us in winding, then back round Oozells Street Loop to return to our mooring. We waved at NB Waterway Routes, you never know Paul might have been watching as we passed.

Hello Paul

The wind was now really quite blustery, at times more so than it had been with Ciara, there was also the occasional flurry of snow. So for the remainder of the day Tilly was confined to quarters. I might be wanting some boot polish if the snow continues.

Sideways trees

The afternoon was spent doing some work. Sideways trees were made for my model and extra layers to help change the seasons. I’m thinking that the greenery on the sideways trees might be quilted fabric, which has different fabrics added over the top.

My main concern is the method by which the seasons are added and taken away. This will be done by the actors and needs to be simple so that we don’t end up watching two people carefully placing rings on hooks for five minutes and then later removing them for ten minutes. My actors are great at acting, but having learning disabilities makes some tasks take a long time. But I’ll discuss this with Amy the Director who knows peoples strengths better than me and this is what a white card model is for. Only one piece left to make and the model will be finished, just the costume designs to do now.

Camouflage netting for Autumn

During the day C&RT stoppage notices have been coming in. Also the boating Facebook groups have been filled with photos of the storm damage caused by Ciara. The Pennine waterways have been hit badly as they were during the Boxing Day storms in 2015. Some boats have been left high and dry once the waters receded. In other places there has been damage to the canal infrastructure. Footage of the Figure of Three Locks on the Calder and Hebble shows huge mounds of detritus above the top gates and where the bywash normally is has been totally washed away.

Then the penny dropped with me. Figure of Three Locks is east of Huddersfield and west of Wakefield, making the only currently navigable route into Huddersfield the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. My show in the summer is in Huddersfield, then a week later in York. We’d planned on mooring in Huddersfield for the production week and then cruising to York. Right now to do this we’d need to go back through Standedge Tunnel and cross the Pennines by the Leeds Liverpool Canal. As much as this would be a lovely cruise to York it would take us far too long (109.5 hours) in the window between shows!

Of course things may change between now and the summer. So we will be keeping a close eye on the stoppage notices over then next few months. Currently it looks like I’ll be commuting to work.

0 locks, 0.68 miles, 2 bags coal, 1 straight, 1 wind, 1 right, 1 left, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 1 gas bottle, 4 snowy moments, 2 soups, 4 sideways trees, 1 penny dropped, 109.5hrs instead of 27hrs, 2 boaters waiting to see what happens, 4 days till the next named storm!

Still A View. 15th December

Fenny Compton to Ladder Bridge 129

A cuppa in bed with the papers, no need to rush today.

Not the right one

We pootled up to the water point, we never pass one without topping up at this time of year. The towpath here has been resurfaced with the little stones that we hate. Our anti-slip soles do a very good job of collecting the little blighters and then as we walk on and off Oleanna they get deposited, leaving a gritty mess everywhere.

We pulled up to the last ring, maybe leaving enough space for a boat behind us to wait for the one working tap, maybe leaving enough room for a boat to wind in the winding hole infront. A boat soon appeared behind us, not wanting water, but to wind. We were quite happy to pull backwards to make him some more room, but he said he’d see how he did.

A text book wind

His bow tucked into the off side, tiller over and gentle engine forwards. His stern came round slowly, maybe there’d be enough room. He lifted his rear fender and made a text book manoeuvre, perfectly done.

Blue skies

The sun was out, but the air was cold and blowy for our cruise along the summit pound. Plans for Christmas were discussed at length between us. We have family wanting to come for a night along with some friends and in January we could do with being in Birmingham. The whole journey is about 30 hours cruising, so not a problem. But being in the right place at the right time was.

Wormleighton Grange

Our original plan wasn’t going to work, so needed thinking about. Dates were double checked with our friends (who are keen to do some boating), opening times of supermarkets checked, a hire car changed to a different location and a rendez vous sorted with our friend Lizzie. Our new plan fitted together, we just have to hope that the weather plays ball too.

First glimpse of Napton windmill

Our mooring for tonight is one of our favourites on the Oxford and we hoped it still would be. The route of HS2 will cut across the valley below the canal. We’ve seen photos of works being carried out along the summit pound from other bloggers this year, but we weren’t too sure quite where abouts they were.

Still a good view

The radio frequency mast came into view, we rounded the wood and then had a choice of moorings, no other boats in sight. We pulled in with a gap in the hedge just long enough for our bedroom and galley windows to have good views. So far the valley doesn’t show any signs of disturbance (from what we could see). The farm below still has all it’s fields, all ploughed for crops and bird scarers dong their jobs. One of the fields had been ear marked by HS2 as a compound that would act as a home for around 100 workers, we were glad we didn’t have to share the view with them yet. More info in last years post (sorry it’s a post that lost it’s photos).

Where’s this HS2 thing?

They say they like it here, I do too. A touch on the blowy side, but plenty to do. A farmer had ploughed the field for me, so that needed running around and scratching in. The side ways trees are spiky but have the potential for friends and the grass along the cat walk tastes sweet. With my fur fluffed up I could stay here for days!

Hang on was that a friend?

As last year I put together a wreath for the front of Oleanna. Ivy, red and silver ribbons, all free. By the time I’d finished it and tied it on it was too dark to get a descent photo of it. If we have any spare lights this year I may just weave a few into it too. Sadly the strong wind has put Mick off putting the lights up, but hopefully there will be a lull in the next couple of days.

A rainbow to end the day on

0 locks, 3.17 miles, 1 full water tank, 3 boats going there and back, 1 mooring all to ourselves, £35 car, 1 route change, 1 rendez vous, 2 pub planned meals,1 flat sour dough! 1 wreath, 1 view, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval stamped on again.

Inventing Velcro. 20th August

Abingdon to East Street, Oxford

A quick shop at Waitrose so that we could eat tonight, £5 to the Lockie for our extra night and then Mick was in the car heading to Oxford to drop it back at Enterprise. Tilly and I prepared Oleanna for cruising, rolling the covers up, trip computer poised ready to click the go button.

Valhalla, used to be moored above the Stockton flight on the GU

We pushed off just gone 11am, winded and headed to the services to top up with water, empty the yellow water and dispose of our rubbish, then we winded again and were heading towards Oxford.

Sandford Lock

Sandford Lock has a big overhang on the lock landing, so we kept away from it. It is also a side filler, but was very gently done by the volunteer. Apparently Environment Agency volunteers always have a full time Lock Keeper with them for insurance purposes, also there is quite a lot that can go wrong with the locks so someone has to be on hand to deal with that.

Iffley Lock

Iffley Lock came into view, no sign of a Lockie here, the top gates wide open, I walked up to press the buttons.


Such a pretty lock with so much lavender everywhere, the bees were having a field day. They got on with their business and I closed the gates and emptied the lock.

Company with a pretty boat

A small cruiser was also heading up stream, so I paused closing the gates and opened them again so that they could join us all the time accompanied by the gentle humming from the bees on the lavender.

The many boat houses all quiet during the University holidays

Now we were looking for a mooring, hoping to find a space before Folly Bridge. Having spent quite a bit of time at this end of the Oxford Canal last winter we wanted a different view and Tilly would prefer it despite the busy towpath. But not one space big enough for us showed itself. So we had to carry on, hoping that above Osney Lock we’d be lucky.

Approaching Folly Bridge

The first stretch of moorings was full, but then on the straight before Osney Bridge there was a long expanse of empty bollards. Phew! A late lunch and no shore leave for the four legged one.

Whilst tucking into my hummus, Tilly sat on the cupboard next to me having a bath. All of a sudden there was a panic. Tilly seemed to have her paw stuck in her mouth. Despite the thought of those incredibly sharp teeth something had to be done to help. La la nnh meola hf la ga so lala phla! No idea what she was saying I intervened getting spiked by claws as I did so.

Not many spires in view today

It seemed that she’d been trying to reenact a manoeuvre she used to do when she was young to remove her collar. Slotting it onto her teeth and then pulling with one foot against it until it came loose. I thought she’d long grown out of that.

Five minutes later the same again! Just what are you doing?! La m lyilyn srh loi meliw gow! On closer inspection I could see what had happened. Somehow the end of her collar (an elasticated one with a fluffy back to it) had got in the way of her bathing. The fluffy side met with her tongue and as she licked she had invented velcro. Her tongue was stuck to her collar! Blimey!! Once tongue was free her collar was removed so everyone could calm down. Antiseptic wipes for my even more spiked fingers, luckily I’d only been clawed and not bitten. Poor Tilly.

The offending length of collar was trimmed back, it is now impossible for this to recur.

Dear Aunt Lucy

Looking at the map for the next few days, it seems like we’ll be away from shops. So even though we’d picked up some bits this morning we would need more supplies before leaving Oxford. We could visit a second Waitrose or maybe get a delivery as we are right alongside a road here.

No delivery slots for the morning with Sainsburys or Ocado, so we tried Tesco, bingo! So the rest of the day was spent online shopping.

Property Game

This one is back in Maidenhead, own private mooring, office space and pretty windows. How much?

3 locks, 1 self service, 8.5 miles, 2 boxes wine, 1 celeriac, 500grms mince, 0 car, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 2 new plants, 0 space, 1 free of charge Osney mooring, 1 feline inventor, 1 inch removed, 3 sore fingers, 1 recovered cat, 1 bowl pizza dough, 16 Ottiwhatsit meatballs, 6 more boxes wine, still 3 too many stitches! Grrr!!

Yesterdays Answer


Currently moored in Staines. Two cabins and a roll top bath.

Joa was closest at £245,000 with Jennie a little lower at £225,000.

Buddy. 27th July


Tilly was given freedom of the towpath for an hour or so as the weather sorted itself out. A bit of a damp morning which gradually improved. Once Tilly was back on board we locked up and headed off into town.

Hanging baskets overflowing with blooms

Considering we were moored so close to Sainsburys we had quite a walk round to Town Bridge, which meant in the end we were closer to Waitrose. I’d already prepared a short list of things we’d not bought yesterday hoping it would amount to £10 to be able to get a free newspaper. With our list complete we then spent a good five minutes trying to find something for 20p or more to get us over the threshold. Marmite came to the rescue.

A pretty town

The Godalming Art Shop provided me with a new sketch book for work. This was followed by a walk up through the town to see what we could see, just so happening to coincide with a Farmers Market! Oh dear!! Fortunately it was by no means the largest market we’ve seen with only about 8 stalls.

Our purchases

The first stall caught our attention. Large posters for Binary Botanical, ‘Tangy like prosecco, refreshing like beer’. Samples were being handed out, so it would have been rude not to try it especially as it was gluten free. Very tasty, we ended up with three bottles. A sausage roll stall also received some of our money in return for a pork and black pudding roll for Mick. Now with a heavy bag we headed back to Oleanna for some lunch.

A cat walk day

Second shore leave had Tilly coming and going, Tesco Pillow Pockets seem to be going down a treat. A chap came past and asked how easy it would be to lower our pram cover, no problem at all, we’d been expecting to have to do it. At around 1:30 the doors were closed, no more shore leave and Mick flattened the pram cover, then checked for anything on the roof that might cause a problem.


Back at the wharf preparations were being made. Iona’s hold was now full of passengers and there was just one thing missing, Buddy a 22 year old Clydesdale cross gelding. The white band on his nose just visible inside the wharf building.

Buddy striding out

Two ladies donned high vis and brought him out to walk him round to Town Bridge and back down along the towpath to opposite Iona’s mooring.

Winding with no power other than that from the river and a pole

After an introduction talk to the passengers, the chap at the helm walked up to the bow and gave it a push, then the stern was pulled back into the winding hole, the flow of water keeping the bow moving to wind her. He then walked along the roof to the bow which needed a little help at the bend, so a few pushes from the barge pole.

A quick snack before work

By now Buddy was chomping his way through the undergrowth on the towpath, having a snack before his work commenced.

Attached to the roof

The tow line was thrown to the bank, attached to the boat’s roof at one end and with a large toggle on the other which was then passed through Buddys harness. He had his eye on a tasty branch which he swept down as he moved forward to start pulling the load. This wasn’t a popular choice of his with the ladies, it was soon confiscated and thrown back into the hedgerow.

What a tail

With Iona now winded, Buddy took on the work and started to pull her downstream. Once she was moving they had Oleanna to contend with.

Up and over

Buddy was slowed to a stop whilst the other lady gathered the tow rope on the ground to give her enough slack to hold the line above our roof. Iona had enough momentum to keep moving by herself.

A two hour silent trip

Our pram cover would have been quite a problem had it been left up. We checked how long it would be before they returned, a couple of hours, as it wasn’t raining our hood stayed down and we headed back into town.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trips to town, 1 free newspaper, 1 sketchbook, 3 bottles beer/wine, 1 horse, 46 passengers, 1 giant toggle, 1 dry day, 2 loads washing.

Dap Dune, Dap Dune, Dap Dune. 21st July

Send Church Footbridge to Guildford Town Bridge

Still edible thank goodness

As long as I took things steadily, no rushing around I thought I’d be okay today. The other thing to avoid was bending down, as any sudden change in altitude usually ends with a very sharp pain between my temples, bloomin migraines! Yes we could have stayed put, but with an early train to catch in the morning we had to get closer to Guildford today.

Bad photo, but anyone know what this is? Wrong leaves for a thistle and a fluffier flower. the flower heads were a couple of inches.

Only two locks today we made our way round the tight wiggles with weirs on the outside bends. At Bowers Lock the navigation takes a left hand bend up onto a cut section. The weir here seems to be having major works done to it and the towpath is currently diverted through woodland.

How low can you get?

The lock first needed emptying, I did this by myself as it was quite a walk back to the lock landing around the bend. Then I had no choice but to inflict altitude sickness on myself. The bottom gates are so low that they only just clear the bridge deck. This of course makes it easier for those walking the towpath, they can just step over open gates. But to be able to close them you need to pull on the bar and chain. It took a little while for me to realise that to close the gates I also needed to be low to the ground. You can stand and pull diagonally, but the gate is reluctant to move in such a direction, it wants to go horizontally. I accepted being low to the ground and pulled eventually closing the gates behind Oleanna.

Coming up

As we finished rising in the lock a boat appeared above along with a lady popping out from the trees, this was their crew who’d decided to walk to set the lock. We chatted a bit, they’d been moored overnight at ‘……….Oh that wharf place’ ‘Oh what’s it called!’ ‘You know ……. wharf’. Sadly I didn’t know. She warned me that there wouldn’t be much space to moor there if we wanted to, but we needed to be closer to town anyway.

A few more manicured lengths off bank suggested moorings, one had been chosen by a couple from a canoe as a handy resting place for a picnic.

Another pretty lock

Approaching Stoke Lock we could see it was emptying, we hung back to give the boat space to leave, then entered closing the gates behind us. With ropes around bollards I was about to start filling it when Mick signalled to me. We were being joined, a chap opened one bottom gate and his boat came in. It was the couple from the canoe.

Yep that’s a lady in the lock with us

Okay so one tiny boat made of fibreglass with a lady sat in it alongside what is most probably 20 tonnes of narrowboat! Mick had warned them, but the chap said they shared locks all the time. Obviously I wound the paddle up just a short way to start with. Luckily these locks seem to behave and with the paddle open on your side with your stern line tied to the yellow post you hardly seem to move an inch, other than upwards. I kept a close eye on the lady, then the chap said to wind the paddle straight up!

They had come out for a paddle yesterday and camped overnight, so their boat was full of camping gear making it heavy, therefore they’d not wanted to lift it out below the lock. We all survived.

There’s a lower bridge to come

Now on the flat for the rest of the day I didn’t need to set the bow rope on the roof for the next lock and could stand down from my duties. We now had chance to practice as the canoeist had mentioned the wharfs name. Dapdune, Dap Dune, Dap Dune, not Daphne, Dap Dune. We’d got it.

A full wharf

Daphne Wharf was full of boats when it came into view so a good job we hadn’t wanted to moor there. We continued onwards into the side of Guildford I’ve not visited. A high mooring showed itself by the Odeon, so we pulled in. The cabin top only just above the towpath height.

After lunch Mick headed off into town to do a recky of other moorings, the station and for a new second hand tablet to be used at the stern. We’d offered to buy Josh’s old one from him if Mick could make it work, sadly it had been resting too long and will be added to the technological graveyard somewhere.

A boozer table that didn’t end up on the floor!

I got on with the last few jobs before my panto meeting tomorrow. A paint list and photos of the model now it was all completed so I could do a final story board for all the creatives to see. Outside it seemed busy, I could hear a group of girls on the path above, then I could hear footsteps above. Someone was using our roof as a continuation of the path! Oy!!

A group of young teenage girls were sat on the bench and by the time I got to the front and opened up the cratch two other girls were stepping off the roof. ‘Can I help you?’ better than a tirade of words. ‘Sorry Sorry lovely boat!’ Hmmmm!

Final checks

Mick returned a short while later the next mooring also as close to the station was free and a touch lower, so not at roof level. We moved.

Property Game

On the River Wey. Fleurs house has quite a large granny annex.

How much? Answers tomorrow.

2 locks, 4.73 miles, I edible loaf, 2 Lilliput gates, 1 tiny sharer, 0 shore leave, 2 moorings, 4 clomping feet, 0 harm done, 1 model ready and packed, 15 sheets drawings, 11 groundplans, 198 photos of models, 1 owy head, 1 twinge.

Yesterdays Property

£475,000 Sold I’m afraid if you fancied it.