Category Archives: Fossdyke and Witham Navigation

2023 A Sociable Year

A long post, it’s the annual round up.

January, we sat waiting. Waiting for a new alternator to arrive, for the River Trent to come out of flood and then for the canal to defrost sufficiently for us move. This meant Pip doing work on the boat instead of in the house, this made for smelly days and a very cold workshop under the pram cover.

After almost three weeks we were on the move again having to navigate through thick fog, navigational aids helping us not to bump into the banks! Ahead of us in Yorkshire was a troublesome swing bridge, closed to boat traffic. Our plans had to change, we arranged to moor up in Newark and head back to Scarborough by van. Chin rubs nearly made the longer journey better, but I really don’t like the outside moving SO fast!

Four days later we were back on board, the bridge ahead was now open. Tides were checked, locks booked, cupboards stocked for a few days cruising. Winter cruising can be so so pretty, yet so so chilly. A display by the Red Arrows as we left Torksey kept us amused and a defrost was very welcome when we arrived at Keadby. After four days cruising we were moored up in Goole and walking to catch the train back to Scarborough.

#unit21 in Huddersfield kept Pip occupied for much of February. Then it was time to give the house some TLC in between lodgers. A back bedroom got a makeover just in time. Mick had trips to see Oleanna, a jobs list left with Alastair and the covers headed off for some much needed mending. Tilly was kept busy checking out the neighbours, they stay inside so I get free reign of their outside!

April arrived along with two lodgers, it was not possible to do more work on the house, Pip chose to knit socks instead. Dementia UK her chosen charity this year. Donations of yarn came from dyers and Pip’s needles started to click away, keeping up with requests. 15 pairs knitted and her target met.

May, visits were made to Oleanna preparing her for cruising, these were interspersed with visits from family, delivering socks, getting the house ready and starting work on the design for panto. On the 9th of May we loaded a van and returned to life afloat. Tilly the happiest cat once she was back onboard! A day later we set off heading west. Leeds for a few days for Pip to head to Matlock for work and then a wonderful visit to see 93 year old Betty in Harrogate.

Working our way up the Leeds Liverpool Canal, locks and the new stupid swing bridge much lighter work with two boats. Our favourite canal with wonders of the waterways, friends on route, Mick’s birthday and a trip to Bowness to see the latest Ayckbourn play. We managed a night on our favourite mooring on the network sadly it was too windy to enjoy the view with a barbecue.

Up over the top, we teamed up with NB That’s It, thankfully descending the Wigan flight in a window between vandalism and blown cills that have hampered the flight this year. Then along the Bridgewater Canal, panto designing whilst on the flat. Through Preston Brook Tunnel and onto the Trent and Mersey turning right onto the Middlewich Branch.

Back on lockdown ‘Home’ waters we cruised the Nantwich pound, 5 hours 13 minutes including a lunch and shopping stop, back in 2020 we’d spent 80 days here. We cruised southwards on the Shropie joined for a day by Carol and George from WB Still Rockin’. Laura and Alison from NB Large Marge joined us for the ascent up the Wolverhampton 21.

Through Bumingham and on to Lapworth and then Hatton where we had an extra pair of hands from Jane, who hopefully now has her own narrowboat. A well deserved burger at the Cape of Good Hope with Emma and David, then a lovely evening with Lizzie (NB Panda) at The Folly, it was turning out to be quite a sociable June.

Oleanna wiggled her way across the summit of the South Oxford, very familiar water to us. Despite the sunny weather and us cruising most days our batteries were not happy, turning themselves off overnight! Diagnosis was required, we pulled into Cropredy Marina to plug in and run tests. One of our three batteries was dead, bad enough but thankfully nothing more. Once a panto meeting had been attended we could move on, except there was an emergency closure at Banbury Lock. C&RT worked hard to get the canal open as quickly as they could, thankfully our hold up wasn’t too long.

We met up with the crews of NB Azzura (Liz and Mark) and NB Perseus (Julie and Simon) both Finesse boats, had a visit to London for Andrew’s birthday. Then had a rendez vous with Paul and Christine and enjoyed a good catch up onboard NB Waterway Routes.

Down to the River Thames where we turned upstream onto waters we’ve only cruised once before. Such a lovely stretch of river, sadly with fewer moorings now. We sped up to Lechlade where we took up residence for a week so that we could attend a get together at Pip’s cousins which coincided with the Royal International Air Tatoo in Fairford. It was great to be with family on a jolly occasion.

Work took over for Pip as we made our way back down stream to Oxford, Cinderella had to go to the ball and the model needed to be finished. Then we sauntered our way back northwards. One day had us meet up with Frankie NB Discovery, NB Dusty the local coal boat and Graeme on NB Misty Blue, it was good to catch up with Graeme and hear of his adventures since we’d seen him last year.

A trip for us both back to Scarborough to do a turn around of lodgers, see a show and pick up post. Mick would have to return the following weekend to swap bedlinen over again, this time by train from Rugby. Stand still budgets and inflation required Pip to do more work on panto so her days were kept busy reducing Cinderella’s carriage from £2000 to £400.

Stoppages around the network meant we had only one real route we could take to head back north. We winded and climbed our way up to the Leicester Section. Here we met up with Ken and Sue NB Cleddau at Houdini’s Field sitting out till way after dark. Then a small detour to Welford to meet up with NB Panda and Lizzie for an evening before we continued our way north.

Another detour to Market Harborough before Leicester where North Lock had a badly leaking cill which required a crew of C&RT chaps to force the bottom gates open, booked passage was required, this meant we got a few days to enjoy the city whilst we awaited our turn.

Sadly by now the lack of water on the Chesterfield Canal meant the top end of the canal was closed, no point in rushing up the River Trent for a return visit. In Nottingham Pip’s little toe had a kerfuffle with a cupboard necessitating a visit to the drop in centre for her little pinkie to be realigned. This meant Pip had to hand the windlass and key of power over to Mick for the last locks of the year.

Downstream on the River Trent, stopping at all our favourite moorings. Pip’s knitting needles came out again to knit more socks for Dementia UK. We had a trip into Lincoln along the Fossdyke Canal, we actually managed to finally visit the Cathedral this time!

Tides were not helpful for the rest of our trip north so a couple of days at West Stockwith was needed, but that did mean we’d be sharing the tidal waters back to Yorkshire with NB That’s It whom we’d met earlier in the year.

There was time for a catch up with David as we passed through Bramwith, a jaunt up to Doncaster and then finally along the New Junction and onto Goole where a space had been found for us in the marina. A train ride to Scarborough to pick up a van and see the latest show before packing up the boat again for the second time this year.

Planned works at the house then went very smoothly. Scaffolding arriving the day after we arrived, new windows later in the day with four carpenters and two days later the decorator who was to give the house a much needed new coat of paint outside.

Mid October Pip moved to Chipping Norton for a month to work on panto, Mick and Tilly left to welcome a new lodger for the Christmas show in Scarborough. Panto was as much work as normal with the addition of Pip getting covid after the first week of rehearsals. The show opened to toe tapping audiences and many many bananas, getting great reviews. Mick had a days trip to London to support boaters who had gathered outside the Houses of Parliament for a Fund Britain’s Waterways rally.

Back in Scarborough Christmas came early with a visit from the London Leckenbys at the beginning of December, they hadn’t been to Scarborough for ten years. A few more house jobs have been done but a list has been compiled for the new year along with those on Oleanna. We’ve had a lovely Christmas, catching up with Scarborough friends, Tilly has slept lots, we’re lucky to see her before 2pm most days! I’m just resting for when the outsides start changing again.

Don’t worry Tilly the count down has started.

This year our plans changed all because of an invite from Pip’s cousins. We travelled our favourite canal, cruised many familiar waters , visited ‘Home’, climbed trees and pounced, caught up with many boating friends and made many new ones along the way. One very sociable year.

So our vital statistics for 2023 according to Canalplan are

Total distance of 805miles, 2.25furlongs and 436 locks.

There were 121 moveable bridges, of which 33 are usually left open; 151 small aqueducts or underbridges and 16 tunnels – a total of 6 miles, 5 furlongs under ground and 7 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 244 miles, 1.25 furlongs of narrow canals; 251 miles, 5.5 furlongs of broad canals; 69 miles, 1.5 furlongs of commercial waterways; 95 miles, 4.75 furlongs of small rivers; 57 miles, 3.75 furlongs of large rivers; 87 miles, 1.5 furlongs of tidal rivers; 185 narrow locks; 223 broad locks; 28 large locks.

Although according to Nebo we did

815.09 miles and 431 locks! Hmm maybe my maths isn’t so good. But then we only started using Nebolink in August, tracking our every move rather than just on our phones.

470 engine hours, 789.8 litres diesel! Ouch, having to run the engine to top the batteries up on an evening didn’t help with this, 150amp hours down to 100, 3 gas bottles, 120kg coal, 19.5 litres oil, 2 oil filters, 2 fuel filters, 1 shower mixer, 1 domestic alternator, 1 set new engine mounts, 1 overnight guest, 3 packs Dreamies, 1.5 packs Bonkers, 39 friends, 6 brought in, 34 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 34 pairs of socks, £1132 for Dementia UK, 2 shows, 9 lodgers, 10 supermarket deliveries, 33 boxes wine, 1 toe, 6 months cruising, 3 boat mover sightings, 209 posts, 184 likes, 9,503 visitors, 31,309 views!

Thank you for following our journey during 2023. We have a plan for 2024, but there are several invites and a rendez vous with some New Zealanders. Will we stick to our plan? Have to alter course to fit everything in? Wait and see, we’re already counting down the weeks to being afloat again.

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.’

Floating Fish. 21st September

Brayford Pool to Torksey Top Side Visitor Moorings

The water tank filled as we had breakfast, the last load of pants and socks had been dried in the washing machine, it was time to head off. However there was first the matter of getting my model pieces into the post, we’d not be near a Post Office for a few days. Mick headed off to the nearest post office only to find a huge long queue outside, everyone holding passports in their hands. Were they all foreign students requiring stamps of some sort in their passports? Mick didn’t loiter long as the queue wasn’t moving, instead he walked another mile to the next Post Office, my model was on it’s way.

Push Back

Back at Oleanna the hose was wound up, a trustee of Brayford Pool stopped to chat to Mick, our next door neighbours had just come back from having their Covid jabs. They were very chatty about all things Brayford Pool, turning in at Keadby and the announcement from C&RT about the license fees going up. Thankfully his opinion was a similar one to ours, we all knew it was coming, nobody likes a price hike, if it wasn’t for the funding cuts, etc. We’d also like to add we are all boaters and the divisive comments appearing on social media are prejudiced, sad and so disappointing. Bringing in a Continuous Cruiser licence was always going to bring out such opinions. I do my best not to be political on the blog, but the human race sometimes really disappoints me!

Once the covers were rolled up and the chatting had stopped we pushed back leaving our mooring in sunshine. Thank you Lincoln, we’ll be back, don’t know when, but we’ll be back. We wanted to stop at the services, but they were occupied, someone looked like they were heading for a shower, we’d not wait for them, our yellow water could sit in its container for a while longer.

Floating Fish!

As we got close to the Pyewipe Inn we started to spot fish, a few big ones at first, all very much dead, floating on the surface of the canal. Then more and more, hundreds of them. In the hot weather there have been instances of fish dying, lack of oxygen in the water. The water here looked cloudy, cloudier than normal. Was this run off from fields or some nearby industry causing this? We made a comment to some fishermen, they said they’d report it. They didn’t really need a rod and line in places, you could have just gone along with our landing next and scooped the fish out! Thankfully past the entrance to Burton Waters Marina the water cleared to it’s more normal brown colour and the dead fish gradually declined in number.

On through Saxilby, the chip shop mooring very full today. C&RT had been and chopped up the boughs from the willow tree that had cracked and the narrowboat that had been close to possible danger had been pulled back to the end of the mooring, away from the willows.

Only one moving boat today

On the banks towards Torksey there were a couple of diggers on the top of the bank. Were these cutting the grass? No, it was piling work going on on the other side of the flood bank. Hopefully it was far enough away from the moorings for us not to hear it.

Cottam on the horizon

Cottam Power Station came into view, our destination for today almost reached. One boat on the moorings, we pulled up a suitable cat gap away. I ventured onto the bow today for the first time since breaking my toe, very cautiously stepping round the cratch board to tie up, I’ve so hated just standing there with a rope in hand waiting for Mick to moor us up, it’s as if I can’t be trusted to do it properly! I’ll remain extra cautious for a while, uneven surfaces are awkward at the moment even whilst wearing anti-slip crocks.


Four hours Tilly! It took a while for her to sus that the world improved greatly at the top of the bank. An hour later, moek mho mi mgset, muffled cat conversation could be heard coming down the bank. ‘DOORS!‘ A while later she returned again. Oh blimey! Thankfully I was able to rescue this friend, Tilly was now grounded for the remainder of the day despite her protestations. She really needs to mend her ways!


All this was going on whilst I was trying to get some knitting done in front of Dunkirk (2017). What I’d class as a quiet action film. Not much dialogue, quiet underscored music of the evacuation from Dunkirk, very modern British. Stories from the sea, land and air. Think I’d have enjoyed it better had there not been so many interruptions and miscounted stitches which required pulling out!

Socks have started arriving with their owners. Another pair finished today, just a shame the lady who requested them hasn’t responded to my messages. If I don’t hear back there will be a size 7 pair of socks up for grabs in return for a donation.

And breath

0 locks, 10.4 miles, 1 wind, 1 full water tank, 1 parcel on its way, 1 box approved, 1526 fish, 1 toe improving, 4 hours curtailed to 3, 1 grounded cat, 1 spoilt afternoon, 5th pair finished, 300,000 men evacuated.

Back To Work. 20th September

Brayford Pool

With the forecast so abysmal we wouldn’t be going anywhere today. It actually didn’t live up to all the hype. We did have rain, we had some blustery wind too, but we’d been expecting far far worse.

Simple section

After yesterdays sight seeing it was a good day to do some work and spend the day sitting down. Yesterday I’d had a catch up chat with Jo the props maker for panto, I now needed to do some sketches of a prop she is making after gleaming more info from the director as to what he would like it to do. Jo will only be with us one day a week during early rehearsals so doing alterations won’t be possible overnight, so we all need to be on the same wave length now. Sketches and a storyboard were done, photographed to send to Jo, to make sure I’d covered everything we’d talked about and managed to tick things off John’s request list.

These will fit in the gaps…please!

With the thumbs up on the set print front, Gemma and I also had a phone conversation to go back over all the elements we are wanting to get printed. A few quotes needed adjusting due to additions or wrong dimensions having been given. With all the details correct she was now able to issue an order for the cloths and portals. I then needed to pack up the model pieces to be posted to Prompt Side. Notes were written on the backs of model pieces. Extra leaves were stuck to paper so that they could be slotted into gaps in the print so as to make use of any spare canvas. This all took far longer than expected, the model was as clean as I could get it, plans were printed out and everything packed into a big envelope ready to go tomorrow. I just have to learn Photoshop now.

What are these for?!

Mick braved the weather and headed to Morrisions to do a shop that would hopefully last us until we get off tidal waters next week. The bike went with him as a sherpa. Fridge and cupboards restocked and a few more boxes of wine added to the cellar.

A few phone calls were made to Lock Keepers to book our passage along the tidal Trent. Hopefully the winds will have calmed down before our planned passage.

Puppet v trees

After tea I put together an email regarding the complicated prop for panto for John’s approval. Hopefully he’ll like it then Jo will be able to crack on with making it.

A full day of work.

0 locks, 0 miles, 0 tourist attractions, 346295 students being noisy again, 1 box sorted, 4 model pieces packed ready to go, 8 hours, 3 boxes wine, 100 woofer poo bags!!! 0 woofers on this boat! 1 passage , 1 familiar buddy boat.

Imp Hunting. 19th September

Brayford Pool, Lincoln

With not having a couple of days away we decided that today we’d be tourists as much as my little toe would allow. I’d thought we might have an early start, but Panto had other ideas. Overnight I’d been happy that my artwork could be scanned and stay in focus, today I needed to see if we could afford for all the print to be done by one company, Prompt Side. I worded an email to those who could make the money decisions, I’d already alerted Gemma the Production Manager that this was the way I wanted to go. I clicked the send button, started my breakfast. A few minutes later my laptop binged a response from John, backing my proposal. Yipee!!!! Gemma soon followed, she’d been through the budget again and clawed as much back from everywhere as she could, we’d have no contingency, but with the budget bulging at the seams we’d make it. Bigger YIPEEE!!!!

Casual chaps

Being at Brayford Pool meant we were really close to the bus stop for the bus that runs up the hill to the Cathedral. We walked over and waited. The bus runs every 20 minutes during the day and for a return it was £3.50 each, we’d certainly be using the return. The ride was all of ten minutes taking a wide route up to the top of the hill, still on steep roads, but an engine got to do all the hard work instead of us. We were dropped off right outside the front doors.

First though a post box was needed to post the fourth pair of socks to their owner. Gold boxes are harder to spot than red, but we found it in the end.

The West Facade

We walked back through Exchequer Gate to get the full view of the west face of the Cathedral. Impressive.

Looking down the nave

In 1072 Bishop Remigius started work on the cathedral, the diocese stretching from the Humber to the Thames. The hill was chosen for the location, it’s vantage point for miles around an obvious location. Twenty years later the Cathedral was consecrated, it stood for thirty two years before it was ravaged by fire. Then in 1185 the cathedral was partly destroyed by an earthquake, it left only the western front and twin towers standing. The original cathedral is easy to spot with it’s round arches and ornate carving, lattice work covers areas which in later years would have been left plain stone.

In 1186 Hugh of Avalon was appointed Bishop of Lincoln and he set about building a new Gothic cathedral with state of the art architectural features like flying buttresses, ribbed vaults and pointed arches. His death in 1200 was before the cathedral was consecrated, he was buried here. Frequent miracles were reported by pilgrims, Hugh became a saint and in 1280 his body was reinterred in a newly built Angle Choir in the presence of King Edward I.

1237 saw the central tower collapse, thought to be due to the pioneering building techniques used. In 1311 the tower was rebuilt, a wooden spire added to the top making it the tallest building in the world for 238 years at 160m!


Extensions were added, spires either fell or were removed through the centuries. In 1834 Great Tom, the bell was lifted into the central tower to strike the hour. More info can be found here and here.

By the time we had walked part way round, seeing the military chapels, the treasury, I was in need of a sit down and some food. The cafe is situated behind the cathedral through the cloisters, reaching there we had to walk through what felt like a wind tunnel. Good views up to the central tower.

Mick had a club sandwich, I had food envy, my jacket potato didn’t look as appetising even though it was very nice. I did manage to sniggle some chips which made up for it. Now we had to prioritise one thing before we left, we had to find the Imp!

Somewhere up there maybe

Our map showed us where abouts to look, near the Angel Choir, we stood and gazed up at pillars and carvings, scanned round. I think Mick resorted to Google for some assistance. There he was sitting up high peering over everyone.

There he is!

‘Legend has it that one day the Devil was in a frolicsome mood, and sent two naughty creatures to cause mischief on Earth. After allegedly stopping at Chesterfield, twisting the spire of St Mary and All Saints Church, the two imps went to Lincoln to wreak havoc in the city’s Cathedral.

Upon arriving, the naughty imps went inside the cathedral and started to cause mayhem, knocking over the Dean, smashing the stained glass windows and destroying the lights. In a bid to put a stop to their antics, an angel was sent to warn the imps off causing any more chaos. One of the imps hid underneath a table, whilst the other started throwing stones and rocks at the Angel in a final act of defiance – “Stop me if you can!” it cheekily retorted.

In a moment of anger, the Angel turned the Imp to stone. He has remained in the same spot ever since, sitting cross-legged on top of the pillar overlooking the Angel Choir – a constant reminder of how good will always triumph over evil.’

The second Imp is meant to be blowing a hoolie outside whilst he waits for his friend. It certainly was blustery out there. We carried on round. Side chapels with murals painted by a two year old (?!). These are the dates that Duncan Grant painted the murals, he was part of the Bloomsbury set and was a theatre designer as well as an artist.

A sit down to admire the choir. Lots of the carved figures have very long necks. Were they replaced after the reformation? We got caught up in a guided tour by the font, no way out but through them. We sat patiently and heard about how often, or not, the holy water in the font was changed and about the Dole windows where pilgrims could collect food and drink and enough money to pay for shelter for the night, this is where the term Dole comes from.

A slow hobble to look down Steep Hill was needed, we walked down a short section of it, it is steep, but I suspect it gets steeper. Then we found a bench to await the bus to return us back down the hill.

Steep Hill

There is still a lot more to explore in Lincoln, my toe lasted but I definitely needed a sit down. Next time we’ll visit the castle, next time we’ll walk along Steep Hill and explore more. Not sure when the next time will be though.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 set passed and approved, 1 very happy designer, 2 buses, 3 hours of hobbling, 1 imp, 1 vast cathedral, 2 cuppas, 1 club, 1 jacket, 1 catch up with Jo, 1 bored cat.

Back Again. 18th September

Burton Waters to Brayford Pool, Lincoln

Footpaths everywhere

Blimey the rain at 4am! Whilst Mick managed to ignore it I got up and closed all the windows that had already allowed rain in onto the sofa, dinette and Houdini shelf! The puddle had also returned in the bathroom. At times the rain was soo loud I found it impossible to get back to sleep, but I did in the end.

The Cathedral

As we were just finishing breakfast we could hear a strimmer start up, someone had come back to finish cutting the grass at the mooring. We decided this should speed up our departure so we headed out to roll up the covers and get moving, the chap however walked up the steps and vanished. He’ll have to come back another time now.

A familiar sight coming into Lincoln

We pushed off, heading back in to Lincoln. Today we had a mooring booked in Brayford Pool, £16 a night with electric included and plenty of noise from the freshers. A week ago we’d been told which berth would be ours so we were able to pull straight into our spot. Mick then headed off to check in at the office, then we settled in, the washing machine going on.

Pontoon B with a view of the Cathedral

Shortly after 13:24 we heard a train going past, the line is pretty close to Brayford Pool, this was our train, leaving without us!

Yesterday there had been a change of plan for this week. Mick had been bought a ticket to go on a trip around the Isle of Wight on the Paddle Steamer Waverley from Portsmouth with Marion and John for his birthday this year. I’d declined the offer, I’m not too keen on boats at sea, but I was going to meet a college friend I’ve not seen in decades. So today we should have been heading down to the south coast. However with strong winds forecast for Tuesday the trip had been cancelled and PS Waverley headed straight to Gravesend on Sunday for safe waters to sit out the winds. The trip on the Waverley will be rearranged for sometime next year. We could have still headed down to the south coast, but with my toe etc we decided to see if we could get our train fares refunded.

Boat name chalked on the dirt

A boaters discussion yesterday had us decide to still take the mooring in Brayford Pool. Maybe we’d get to see some sights? However that wasn’t for today.

Time to try to see what was happening with the scanning for panto. I’d tried emailing, now a phone call was needed. A lady answered the phone, as soon as I said who I was she apologised for the delay and that I was on Peter’s radar. It might not be until tomorrow that my model would be scanned. Nothing to do but wait.

Someone reminding me that they exist

A tenth sock was cast on and we watched Tom Hanks try to fend off Somali pirates in Captain Phillips (2013). Barkhad Abdi who played the lead pirate in the film won a British Academy Film Award for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for an Oscar. It was his first acting job, he and the other three pirates all came from the same block of flats in Minneapolis. On the films opening night, Abdi apparently gave up his job driving limousines for his brother. He earnt $65,000 where as Tom Hanks earnt $15 million!

During the afternoon I got an email through from Chippy, they had had a phone call from a lady called Ann offering us the use of her overhead projector. Ann reads the blog and has used her OHP for similar things in the past so knew how helpful it would be. Thank you Ann, I look forward to meeting you.

Late afternoon I stopped what I was doing as an email came through from Peter at Promptside. His short comment accompanying it said, ‘Here’s the scan, I think it looks good.’ Oh thank goodness!!!

I opened the link, zoomed in. My scan had been 11MB this one was 161MB! Chris on NB Elektra had managed to up my scan to about 40MB. I did a quick comparison, obviously it was so much better, but the most important thing was that it was all in focus, you can even see brush strokes and tiny hairs, the later not intended! It will need a touch of touching up, but ohh the relief!

0 locks, 2.9 miles, 1 mooring, 2 loads washing, 1 film, 2 windy for paddle steamers, 1 change of plan, 0 trains, 0 connections to catch, $65,000, 1 more sock, 1 more film, 1 OHP, 161MB! 1 relieved designer, 1 bored cat, 1 new plan despite a foot, 11 years.

Surrounded! 17th September

Burton Waters Visitor Moorings

The towpath was very busy this morning. Mick popped his head over the top of the bank and noticed banners flying in the breeze, something about 5km. We assumed it was a 5km park run. Then there was a constant droning from an engine of some sort, maybe a pump?

View from the cratch

At just gone 9am a paddleboarder appeared over the top, a high vis numbered vest on their chest. This wasn’t a park run it was a paddleboard 5km. For the next three quarters of an hour a constant stream of people carrying their lightweight boards came down the steps to our stern. Some gingerly stepped onto their boards, others were far more confident. We felt in the way. Had there been a CRT notice about this? Boards were launched in front and behind us, we were surrounded! They all headed away down towards the marina entrance, things calmed down.

We were obviously in the way

Slow Matches, the weather next Tuesday and German Citizenship were topics of the zoom this morning. Then the paddleboarders returned at speed.

Petanque a much slower passtime

A 5km race and we were on the first part of it. Clangs against us from paddles as they sped past. Dogs on the boards stood up trying to keep their balance, a few paddlers knelt down. All were giving it their all. Then after ten minutes they’d all passed and the world became calm again.

Here they come!

40 minutes after the start clazen sounded the lead paddler came past. He was followed by dribs and drabs and then the main field who were being followed by a cruiser. Martials on the bank called out to get everyone to move to the side to let the boat through.

Of course when it was all finished they all had to return to by us to get out of the water. Good job we’d not moored in front of the steps as this meant they could all swing their boards to get between the handrails. Gradually the noise of chattering dissipated and quiet returned. Well until a band struck up at the pub, an Oasis cover band. They were fairly good, with a Mancunium twang, but didn’t quite hit the mark.

Tilly inspecting my work

Mick cleaned the fuel filters and I set about cleaning out the window surrounds. Glass out, oh blimey you could tell this job hasn’t been done for an age. Slime and numerous spiders nests, I did my best to rehome the spiders on the bank. Cotton buds, an old toothbrush, hoover, sponges and plenty of water cleared the channels. Then the window got a very good clean before being put back in . Tilly tried to help for a while, but over the top of the bank was far more interesting.

One of the portholes in the bathroom got the full treatment before I knew I should sit down. It’s a start at least and so refreshing to be able to look out of a window without finger and paw prints!

0 locks, 0 miles, 38 paddleboarders, 5km, 40 minutes, 9 hours, 2 windows, 1 hatch squeaky clean, 0 film, 1 tray with a hole, 1 stinky engine bay, 1 filters cleaned, 1 filter changed.

Intelligent Alien Carrot. 16th September

Lincoln Visitor Mooring to Burton Waters Visitor Mooring

Wonder how much longer I’ll be strapping my toes together for?

Needing to run the engine in the morning to top the batteries up means there is hot water, so a morning shower is possible. At the moment this means taking off the strapping from my toes, being very careful not to knock my little toe in the shower, then once dry the strapping can be reapplied to help keep everything where it should be. It’s quite frustrating as I feel as though I should be able to do all sorts of things as it’s only a little toe, but when walking it is painful on and off, so I sit down again. But it’s only a little toe!


Yesterday we’d discussed if we could get up to the cathedral with the minimum of walking. If we moored just through the Glory Hole we’d be able to catch the bus up to the top of Steep Hill. This however wouldn’t be fare on Tilly as she’d not like our location, we’d also possibly not like it with it being freshers week. If we headed out of the town could we get a bus back in. All these options were considered, what was the point if all I’d do when I got there was sit in a pew and not feel able to have a good walk round. The sights we’d planned on visiting in Lincoln will have to wait for ‘Next Time’!


We did however need to move today our two days up. We pootled on into Brayford Pool where there would be plenty of room to wind. Several crews wearing high vis were out in ribs, presumably training for the emergency services, there have been crews each day on the canal since we’ve been close to Lincoln.

Here she comes

Round we went and then back to the services where we topped up with water, emptied the yellow water and pushed off again. The Brayford Belle came past, we’ve been getting things wrong for years, C&RT is actually the Canal and Riverboat Trust, who knew?

Our original plan was to head to the mooring at the Pywipe Inn, wind and moor up. We tried to wind opposite the pub, but the width of the canal encroached by sideways trees was not enough. Then we tried under the A46 road bridge, a hard edge on both sides. Not enough width again. Those Romans didn’t take into consideration 58ft 6″ narrowboats when they built the canal!

Paddleboarding popular in these parts

On we pootled, sitting outside the pub wouldn’t have been an ideal mooring for the weekend anyway. Instead we continued on to Burton Waters where we’d wind in the entrance of the marina, then reverse back to the moorings.

Turning to port

Just as we arrived so did a couple of boats coming towards us. Mick tucked us into the marina entrance and held us there for the boats to pass. Two beeps on the horn of the first boat, oh blimey he was wanting to turn to port, into the marina! Ah no, he always sounds his horn as he passes the marina just incase. We were fine and not in the way at all. Once they’d both passed Mick completed our turn and then started to reverse us back to the moorings.

In the last two days the banks have been mown. A shopping trolley we’d spotted in the long grass the other day was still there, the grass mown underneath it. At the moorings we could see where boats had been moored when the grass cutting had occurred, at least no-one would have grass stuck to their gunnels.

That looks familiar!

Four hours Tilly. Hmmm! Friendly cover up to my shoulders, I can stalk through that.

This afternoons film was a period piece, The Thing from another world (1951), I wonder why they felt they had to add ‘from another world’? Possibly the alien, made up from plant matter, a bit like an intelligent carrot was felt to be too much like a human by the producers, so it needed some clarification. Other than the THING being compared to a carrot I particularly liked that everyone was told to ‘Close the door’ when they came into a building, gusts of snow following them inside. Surely in the Arctic there would be some vestibule or curtain to help keep drafts out! The 1950’s Parker was obviously a very well insulated garment. The ending of the film was quite electrifying!

Electrocuted Carrot

0 locks, 3 miles, 2 winds, 2 failed winds, 1 canal 57 ft wide, 1 prescription collected, 0 cathedral this time, 1 stealth cat up the banks, 2 bipps means turn to port, 2 git gap cruisers, 1 boat pulled back, 1 sci-fi comedy, 1 roast chicken, 4th pair finished, 5th started, 1 helicopter crash at Great Heck! 0 hurt.

Lincoln. 14th September

Burton Waters to Lincoln Visitor Moorings

Another soggy start to a day, makes me feel better for not being able to get on with the boat jobs I have in my head, unfortunately they really need doing before winter takes hold!

Drizzly morning

First thing today was to turn into Burton Waters Marina to top up with diesel, we’d rather be full on tidal waters. The service point is just inside the flood gates and to the left, we pulled in. Big signs warn of the area being a combustion site. No smoking, turn your engine off, do not use your phone. They sell not only diesel but petrol too as many cruisers use the later. A few years ago they had a serious fire, so no wonder there are many signs.

At the pumps

The price was a surprise, we’d expected it to be pretty high, but at 96p a litre! The lowest we’ve paid for a while.

Back out to the canal

I stayed as look out at the bow. There is what looks like a mirror opposite the marina entrance to help you look for oncoming boats. However all it seems to be is a grey thing pointing at the water, not reflecting anything. Good job I was there, as we popped our bow out a cruiser was coming past a quick stop for both of us.


Oleanna turned towards Lincoln, more new water for her. We were now following a narrowboat and the cruiser, would there be any room on the visitor moorings? Soon the long line of permanent moorings was being passed. Some lovely big boats, some wooden boats and quite a few boats that don’t look like they go anywhere anymore.

Heading into Lincoln

The services mooring was free, we disposed of yellow water and rubbish, topped up with clean water. Then it was time to see if our luck was in on the visitor moorings. Bingo! Room for two!! Marvellous.

Another day another film with my foot up

An afternoon in front of The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), apt for today only in name. Mick Haller a defence lawyer is called in to defend the son of a wealthy LA business woman who is accused of assaulting a prostitute. He claims he is innocent, however parallels are found with a murder case. Another sock was finished today.

Inside a heel

Late afternoon Mick headed off to pick up a hire car. Being able to park next to the boat was very handy especially when doing a supermarket shop.

0 locks, 2.7miles, 2 lefts, 1 wind, 82 litres, 2 day mooring, 1 pair of socks arrived, 2 packed to post, 1 of a pair knitted, 2nd fee, 1 bored cat again, sorry Tilly.

Bunny Heights. 13th September

Saxilby to Burton Waters 2 Day Visitor Mooring

Thankfully the rain had stopped this morning, time to find a more cat friendly mooring for the day. Other boats had already moved off heading towards Lincoln by the time we’d got ourselves sorted, we knew we’d not be going far today.

Site of the missing footbridge in Saxilby

Roads sit close to the canal before heading off at 90 degrees. The railway also follows close by, long goods trains rattling along the line. We’d not be loosing them for a while.


After a kink of the canal we could see just over a kilometer ahead, one boat moored up, there’d be space for us at the Bunny mooring. The boat already moored there was actually just off the 2 day mooring, we pulled in at the near end tied up and then did a quick health and safety check. It’s been some years since we’ve been here, in fact since leaving Torksey this is new water for Oleanna, but not for her crew.

A little close to the railway, but nice

The area was deemed to be feline safe. Six and a half hours Tilly! An extra rule added today, ‘No Bunnies!’ On our last visit here she returned to Lillian with a mouthful of bunny from the other side of the bank we were moored against. Link


I listened didn’t I! However you didn’t say anything specifically about mice! Tilly was ushered through the boat and all doors closed again!

A few emails regarding panto were exchanged, a request for an extra bucket easy to do. Still no news from the printers. I emailed my agent who happens to be married to the main man, she’d get onto it.


Then time to sit back and watch a film whilst knitting. The Lincoln Lawyer an aptly named film for our location, but it didn’t want to load. Film 4 only wanted to show adverts then would fail with the main feature. A hunt through the PVR, Rocketman (2019). That would do nicely, the story of Elton John. Although it wasn’t the jolliest of films, but then he didn’t seem to have the jolliest of lives until he met David Furnish.

This evening we took advantage of the mooring having space to our stern and got the barbeque out. A bucket of water now essential as hot coals keep falling out of the side! Sweetcorn, followed by some rather nice lamb burgers from waitrose and veg kebabs. We sat and watched paddleboarders and a rib come past. The rib slowing when they saw us sat outside, but they sped up to pass out neighbour, their wake washing up high over the gunnels!

0 locks, 2.7 miles, 0 bunnies, 1 mouse, 1 new fat fender, 1 missing bridge, 2 many loud trains, 3 pairs, 4th started, 1 quick rise to fame, how many costumes?!? 2 cobs, 2 burgers, 2 rolls, 4 kebabs, 1 chink to Peter, 2 fire ribs, 1 wonky canoe, 1 superfast rib, 4 zooming canoes, 1 brick!