Category Archives: Fund Britains Waterways

Is That Near That Lemonroyd Place? 15th March

Above Lemonroyd Lock

Not a good night.

The co-codamol that had work yesterday evening was topped up when we went to bed, by 2am its effects had worn off. Next dose at 04:15 didn’t have any effect. At 06:00 we were on the phone to a rather sleepy sounding lady from 111. When asked for our location she said ‘Is that near that Lemonroyd Place?’ She was very helpful, however there were no appointments in Leeds for today, Bradford or Harrogate were the nearest she could find. We’d done a bit of online hunting for ourselves this morning so opted for a Dentist in Beeston (south west Leeds) they had an appointment at 08:30.

As I got dressed Mick called for a taxi, then we walked down to the marina to meet it. The driver was very chatty and my toothache faded away for a while, but only for a while, as we drove round the southern side of Leeds in rush hour.

I opened the front door to one of those wonderful cut glass doors and surrounds that Edwardian houses do so well. Inside was a wonderful hallway with plaster panels and a statement staircase, it was almost enough to distract me from my pain!

What a lovely set of steps

Xray, poking about. It could be a wisdom tooth over growing, it could be a touch of decay on the tooth destined for a crown, but which one? The later was chosen, numbing done, no pain evident from the wisdom tooth, it looked like we’d found the culprit. A temporary filling and £125 later I was waiting for a taxi home, Mick and Tilly had stayed at Oleanna in case RCR arrived with a replacement part. The return taxi driver used to work in the post office in Fulford where I grew up, he’d most probably served my Dad!

Back onboard, Mick had tried calling RCR to see what progress had been made, they’d call back. With water and electric running low he’d called Lemonroyd Marina to see if they might have room for us, they did, we just needed to get there! As part of our bronze RCR cover they will tow you to the nearest marina, but when Mick called them to see if this was possible we were told to flag down the first passing boat. Well, there aren’t any due to the river being in flood, this also did mean that it would be hard for RCR to get a boat to us too. However there was a possibility of a tow from someone at Lemonroyd, the marina manager would ask round for us. Two offers came, one for Saturday when the wind had calmed down, the other Sunday.

Colour work Pattern

Alastair the engineer at Goole was more than likely to be coming out to us, as he works for RCR and this was how we first got to know him a few years ago. Mick called him, we were on his radar, the part not arrived, it would most probably be Monday or Tuesday. A while to wait but we’d now got a tow organised and tomorrow we’ll be plugged in and by a tap, oh for a shower!

As the day progressed the anaesthetic wore off, as it did so the pain returned! Hopefully it was caused by the treatment I’d had and would improve in a few hours. Back on the paracetamol, a dose of Ibuprofen taken after dinner, it’s been suggested that I avoid Ibuprofen after taking so much of it when I lost my little finger, but sometimes needs must. I spent the evening sipping water which eased the pain for a few minutes. Think I’ll be up and down all night going for a pee if the pain doesn’t keep me awake!

Blue skies, however the tree was in the way of the solar

At least the sun made an appearance.

Over the last couple of days rumours have been spreading that the current stoppage on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal at Vazon Sliding Bridge which was due to reopen next week will be extended for another 9 weeks! A post on the Trentlink group suggested that this is almost certainly going to be the case, Network Rail just need to confirm it with C&RT.

With our current engine problems, river flood gates closed ahead of us, medical appointments, the quick route south on the Trent now unlikely to open for a couple of months (closing our alternative route south), our plans for the early part of the year are no longer possible. We’d been aiming to join a Fund Britains Waterways campaign cruise on the Thames. This was timed to happen just after Cavalcade. Boats would head out of Limehouse Lock onto the Tideway and cruise down stream through the Thames Barrier, wait for the tide to turn then head up to West Minster, joined by more boats coming out from Limehouse, arrival timed for the end of PMQ when all boats would sound their horns. We simply haven’t got enough time to get there anymore.

Not a good day.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 taxi’s, 1 smiley lady, 2 possibles, 1 temp filling, 0 part, 2 offers of a tow, 1 red flashing light, 1 lazy day, 1 statement staircase, 1 snoozy lady, 2 disappointed boaters.

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.

Fund Britain’s Waterways Campaign Cruise. 14th November 2023

Wet Streets
Elizabeth Tower

Narrowboats Arriving
Outside the Palace
Boats turning. And my old office in the background
He never missed the bollard
Downstream of Tower Bridge
South Quay, West India Dock

Panto Postcard 3, 2023

The door back to work
The stagger through
One line, that’s better
Time to give this chap some colour
Andrew in hospital a couple of days ago
The end!
Tom’s legs will have to do as SHE has deserted us!
A touch of plumbing happening

https://www.change.org/p/fundbritainswaterways?source_location=search

Finally a big Thank you for the donations to my sock knitting. Progress is much slower this week than last, but I am managing to do at least 30 minutes a day, just £60 short of my new target for the year.

https://www.justgiving.com/page/pip-leckenby-1677835197682?utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=page%2Fpip-leckenby-1677835197682&utm_source=copyLink&utm_campaign=pfp-share

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.

Ready!

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.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/abPU7cYHvdM3m2av9

It’s All Downhill. 15th August

Welford Lock to River Avon Aqueduct

A busy day that was taken over by Panto again.

An email from the set builders with new prices, a request for one more drawing to make marking out of some archways easier (don’t know why I didn’t do this already!). Props questions answered and references found for Jo. Answers to questions back from Chippy. A possible solution for the clocks.

A clock solution

Then the people making our new windows got in touch wanting us to check through the details. Good job I was in work mode and took the time to have a good look at the drawings they’d sent. One window was drawn at a foot taller than the basic measurements I’d done in February and the paint finishes needed adjusting. But all good now.

After a frankfurter filled lunch it was time to head to the Post Office to see if my sample had arrived. It had! Far bigger than I’d expected as the lady handed it over. I rushed back to Oleanna to take a look.

Well what a disappointment! Blurry, the colours not as vivid. I laid my model on top. There are several factors that may have affected the print, the main one is the scan that was used. Here on Oleanna my scanner/printer can go up to 1200 dpi and this will not be enough, but I did expect to still be able to see my brush marks on the banana palms. They could also have used the wrong file. They maybe thought it didn’t need to be as detailed as I wanted it to check colour matching, however the colours aren’t right for that either! The sample turns out to have been a waste of time, thank goodness it didn’t cost us £200.

Well that’s just pants!

A phone call is required to reassure me that they can print the portals to show off all the hard work I put into them. If they can’t it may be that I end up having to paint them!

Now anyone who has visited Welford will know how appalling it is for phone signal, two chaps were sat in Pocket Park earlier today talking to people on their phones about the lack of signal in the area. We decided to move to try to improve this.

Ha ha! You can’t catch me!!!

Just one problem, Tilly thought it was a frankfurter day! She was close by, but in fruit cake mode! Barmy barmy fruit cake mode! We tried making ourselves look very interesting, No I’m busy! I tried playing stick, I’d rather roll around thanks! Rugby tackle, you can’t get me! What we really needed was a dog walker, but none came. We went inside with doors open front and back, you’re boring!!!

A lady and woofer walked past, how had Tilly avoided them? She was on the roof. Na na you won’t catch me!…… Oh!!! You did! With Tilly safely inside not outside we could finally move off.

Welford Lock, then all down hill for quite a while. We’d hoped to be able to cross the Pennines again this summer and catch up with people around Stoke, but sadly stoppages have put us off that idea. Having said that there is a new stoppage ahead of us in Leicester which may slow our progress somewhat, or we may have to speed up to go through on an assisted passage, we’re waiting to hear the latest from C&RT.

Downhill to Torksey

We pootled back to the junction. A phone call between us suggested signal had improved. Here we’d be wanting to turn right, but there was a mooring on the aqueduct available to our left. We winded and then reversed to pull in by some rings. A second outside for Tilly today.

The drawing board came back onto the dinette table and radii (radiuses) were added to a new drawing of archways. Mick called his friend Chris, who’s just turned round due to the Rochdale 9 being closed, unfortunately our phone signal still isn’t great.

Gone 6pm it was Tilly’s dingding time. Or time for me to be a mad cat woman calling for her cat along a line of moored boats. I called. Put our dinner on to cook. Called some more. Did some more chopping up. Called some more.

Could one of these be the mystery bench?!

Then up popped Tilly with a friend in tow. Well I’d gone to see who was winning at Pooh Sticks on the River Avon and needed some assistance!

The combines are busy again tonight, thankfully moving to a different field at around 11pm.

Halloumi, Beetroot and Quinoa Salad. Not quite ready for a recipe share

1 lock, 1.4 miles, 200 yards in reverse, 1 wind, 1 pointless sample, 1 bag of carrots, 1 quinoa halloumi beetroot salad, 2 outsides, 5 frankfurters, 1 clock solution, 1 shadow alien, 1 possible mystery bench, 1 loony fruit cake, 1500 not 1200, 14 cream not white, 2 sticks, 1 friend, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

https://goo.gl/maps/LjcPDXVdS5Z8mX1V7

Mystery Picnic Bench. 14th August

Welford to Welford Wharf to above Welford Lock

It rained just about all night, drips dropping from the overhead trees, as it was fairly constant it wasn’t annoying, however the tree cover wasn’t helping with our solar, we’d need to move.

Breakie

Boats were on the move at 8am, a fairly constant stream of them from the end of the arm, most importantly the two boats that had been right at the very end in the wharf moorings and ideal place to top up with water. Breakfast first, a cooked one too. Mick must be a little out of practice as the sausages were a little miss timed, very tasty though.

Tilly had been given an hour or so shore leave and once she was back on board for her mid morning snooze we closed the doors and made ready to move.

Hmm how did that get there?

Mick had made a comment that a picnic bench had appeared at the stern of the boat behind us. He was right. Just where had it come from? It seemed like the boat behind had visitors, possibly grandchildren so sitting out would give them more space at meal times, the towpath had been quite busy last night. But just where had it come from? I wondered whether it could be broken down into sections and stored under their solar panels.

The wharf

On we pootled up to the end where the Wharf moorings were both empty, pulled in port side accessible for the yellow water tank. At the back of the wharf stand the old limekilns, in the 1800’s narrowboats would transport limestone to the kilns where it would be burnt and turned into lime, fertilizer for the fields. The kilns operated from the 1820s to 1930s.

Time to see if my sample of printing had arrived, we walked up the main street to the Post Office and shop. The lady checked, nothing for me yet, the Postman had already been once today, he might be back later but there was no normal time when deliveries were made. We picked up a few bits for lunch and walked back.

Back in 2017 when we had a few days here Postman Pat and Jess were different. The wooden sculpture gradually rotted away. In 2019 funds were raised for it’s replacement, made from hardwood with a concrete base this version should last longer. I think the old version was just a touch more friendly though waving at passing vehicles.

They’re down there somewhere!

With time to kill we paused at the bridge over the River Avon. Welford was once a ford across the Avon. We picked up sticks and dropped them in, Mick was convinced mine would be the first through. We waited and waited, the flow almost none existent, finally one showed and we carried on back to the boat, not sure who had won at Pooh Sticks.

The water tank was set to fill, washing machine put to work, yellow water pumped out for disposal at the elsan. I made use of the hot water and had a shower, a second load of washing was set going. The thyme plant was repotted, something I’ve been meaning to do all year, just a shame I didn’t have quite enough compost to do it fully. The Rosemary will have to wait for fresh supplies. Mick sorted out the bow fender, checking the weak links whilst he had easy access.

Waiting to wind in the wind

Just as we were ready to push back a boat came to wind, we waited patiently for them to finish and moor up before we did the same.

Passing our mooring of the last two nights we noticed that the picnic bench was now gone a dry patch on the towpath where it had stood. No sign of it in pieces under the solar panels. Just where was it? We’d checked to see if one was missing at the pub, but there was no obvious sign. Mystery bench!

Keeping an eye open for the woofers!

We continued a short distance further hoping for less tree coverage to assist our solar panels. Not as much sky as we thought we’d get, but a different outside for Tilly, also a prettier view between the trees opposite. We’ll wait here for my sample.

The evening sun

0 locks, 0.6 miles, 2 journeys, 1 wind, 1 picnic bench, 0 parcel, 4 gluten free ciabatta roles, 2 outsides, 2 loads washing, 2nd generation Pat and Jess, 0 news on budget, 0 phone signal, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

https://goo.gl/maps/bLadjrzByKiPKSuP9

Polish And A Pootle. 13th August

Welford

Tea in bed and no plans on venturing far today. We managed breakfast before joining the Geraghty zoom, subjects included ants (a recurring topic), 3 cranes, wrestling, puppetgate and season tickets.

Go away I’m BUSY!!!

We pottered away the morning as did Lizzie on NB Panda whilst Tilly kept herself busy in the friendly cover. The ivy twitching every now and again kept her on her toes.

Painted bits and bobs

Lizzie started to give Panda a wash, followed by some polish. I got on with giving the new bits of model a lick of paint and glitz. I’m hoping that any time now I get the thumbs up that we are in budget on panto so I know I can put my model making things away for good, rather than having to dismantle one end of the dinette to get a couple of things out time after time.

It’s busy in Welford!

So many boats came past, a mass exodus in the morning, then the next batch of hopeful moorers arriving. At one point there was a short boat heading towards the basin, another following behind (keeping themselves back) as another came from the basin. This down hill boat kept going, no reducing it’s speed as the short boat was trying to pull into the offside and step off to pull themselves out of the way. The wind caught their bow which headed for the gap between us and the boat behind, all the time the downhill boat carried on ploughing on, comments of ‘Doesn’t he know you pass on the right!’ This chaps wife suggested he stop and wait, thankfully he did as he was told otherwise there’d have been carnage in Welford.

We’d offered to help Lizzie back down the lock and because of the wind Mick also offered for us to stay onboard and help her moor when she got back to North Kilworth Marina, extra hands on ropes may come in handy.

Glistening Panda

So once the second coat of polish on the port side had been polished off Panda Lizzie took her to wind and we headed to the lock. We managed to swap with an uphill boat so could leave the gates. With all three of us on Pandas stern it was quite cosy. As navigator I gave directions and beeped the horn when we arrived at the junction and the entrance to the marina. Of course here there was little wind and Lizzie chose to back into her spot so that the starboard side could have a wash and polish next time she visits. All this washing and polishing puts us to shame, but then Oleanna has cruised over 600 miles this year with many more still to come. One day the lid on the bottle of polish will get cracked open after at least two years onboard.

Reflected sky on the hatch

North Kilworth has a nice layout to it. Access roads weave around the basins with plenty of shrubs breaking up the view and wind. We spotted several boats that had been out for the weekend and at least one widebeam!

Panda back home

Lizzie gave us a lift back to Welford there’s already a date in the diary for next year when we hope to meet up whether it’s by boat or not.

Roast chicken for us tonight.

Blue cruising for 20.32 hours

Brian from NB Harnser has been concerned that one of us would forget to switch our Nebolink on to record our journeys. Well it turns out that yesterday I ended up turning it off twice, therefore turning it back on. So overnight Oleanna’s progress has been recording none stop, eventually as she hadn’t moved after an age I received a report and map of where she’d been. What a lot of blue!

Another aside. Well done to those boats who made it to the gathering in Birmingham today. If we’d been heading northward on the west side of the country we’d most certainly have been there with you all. NB Freespirit had their stern in view on the local news last night.

If you’d like to sign the petition showing your support for Fund Britains Waterways here is a link.

1 lock for Panda, 2 milesish for Panda, 2 rights 1 left for Panda, 0 miles for Oleanna, 2 coats polish, 6 hours! 1 annoying woofer, 1 bratwurst day, 4 model pieces painted, 1 roast chicken, 1 lovely weekend with boaty friends.

The Wasp…The Next Generation. 11th August

Crack’s Hill to Houdini’s Field

Still in the field!

We tootled along, passing the boat in bits in the field, surely by now there’s no hope for this, it’s been there as long as we can remember admittedly in slightly different positions.

The summit pound takes big wiggles and bends to make it’s way northwards. From our mooring last night to our planned mooring today I think you could cut the distance at least in half if you could go in a straight line. But follow the contours we must.

Hello Yellow!

As we approached Yelvertoft Marina I thought I recognised the pram cover on the stern of NB Lillyanne our old boat, not much further on and it was confirmed by her yellow cabin sides glowing from her mooring, the purple coach lines now very faded. Today we weren’t just going to pass by, we turned into the marina, a top up of diesel required.

He he! A new Wasp

As we got through the narrow entrance I spotted that the boat moored alongside Lillian (NB Lillyanne) was called NB Blackbird! Well what are the odds of that? When we first bought Lillian our friends Bridget and Storm were living on their boat NB Blackbird. Our two boats cruised together when we left Crick back in 2014, the yellow and black boats known as The Wasp. Of course this Blackbird is a different boat, but we’re pleased Lillian has a suitable friend next door.

Glad to hear Tim and Elizabeth are still her owners

Yelvertoft insist that you declare a percentage on diesel, Mick declared 10% propulsion. We have to run our engine a lot more at the moment, even after a good days cruise we need the batteries to be at least 90% charge at 8pm to keep the fridge and freezer going overnight.

Back out onto the cut, waving goodbye to Lillian once more we pootled along. The armco at Yelvertoft water point still sticks out ready to help scrap your gunnels ready for painting. This way then that, I wonder if anyone ever found our lost broom that was blown off the roof. That’s the bridge where I hobbled to a hire car for a check up with my broken ankle. All very familiar territory.

As we came through the wooded section towards Bridge 27 we could see the mooring we were after was available. Houdini’s field the bench end. We pulled in making use of the rings and not our nappy pins. Tilly was given a good 6 hours of towpath exploration. Then we took cover inside, happy to move up for the right boat. Several boats went past, none of them stopping further along where there was a large gap in the moorings.

The right boat

About an hour after we’d arrived the right boat did arrive. We pulled Oleanna along making space for them. NB Cleddau with Ken and Sue. Should they head to wind now or tomorrow? They decided to stay put keeping hold of the mooring. Last summer we’d spent quite a bit of time with Ken and Sue on the Great Ouse and River Nene, so it was lovely to manage to meet up again.

As we stood on the towpath hearing of their plumbing problems Tilly came out from the hedge, saw that there were new people to be wary of. She immediately headed straight for the bow of Cleddau, jumped into the welldeck and inside. Hey hang on! Who’s changed the inside whilst I was inside?!?! Our hotbox isn’t there! Where’s transgender mouse? Sue stepped onboard and Tilly made a quick exit. Putting two and two together, Tilly had followed her nose, the bow of Cleddau now where our side hatch or stern had been when she’d last been on the towpath. She and Tom could have at least have called me when they were moving the outside with me in it!!!!

An afternoon of props lists for panto going back and forth, making sure I knew how John saw various things. Saws with ribbons, 6ft or 10ft, who is making what. There are various items that I’m surprised the costume department are taking on rather than leaving them to Jo. A bit more reference of Columbian Farmers was needed.

I heard that a sample has been printed, where should it be sent to? That old thing a postal address whilst on a boat constantly moving. If it had been a couple of days ago it would have been easy, but now. I tried calling Crick Post Office, they have always been very helpful with post there, but I didn’t want to presume that was still the case. I knew I should have asked out of interest yesterday when I was there.

Pimms o’clock

I then tried calling the Post Office at Welford, a lady answered the phone. They definitely did Post Restante, she seemed a bit bewildered that I was asking, but it’s best to check. I’m not sure if I got the details to the printers in time for the post today, fingers crossed it will be waiting for me and we won’t have to wait for it.

Ken, Sue, Mick and Pip

Drinks on the terrace were enjoyed with Ken and Sue, followed by us all sitting out to eat enjoying the warm evening and a few glasses of wine. All of a sudden it was as if someone had turned the lights out, it had gone dark! Time to pack everything away and retire into our boats, torches required to make sure we’d found everything.

What a lovely evening.

If you’d like to support Fund Britains Waterways please sign the petition. Link here

0 locks, 4.4 miles, there’s only 1 yellow, 1 wasp, 53.7 litres, 10%, 1 right, 1 left, 1 wind, 1 right boat, 1 mooring with a bench, 2 insides, 1 pooped cat, 4 glasses of Pimms, 8 glasses wine, 1 very pleasant evening, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

PS The house boat with the crane was left over from Crick Boat show it has now been sold. According to Ken and Sue it is headed to Brighton.

https://goo.gl/maps/CwpRm3nTMmg2Nheg8

DEFRA Funding 11th July

The following is taken from the Government website, ‘Report on review of the grant agreement between Defra and the Canal & River Trust’

From the review, we have concluded that the C&RT grant has so far demonstrated value for money and future government funding will continue to deliver significant public benefits. However, consistent with the policy intention when C&RT was created, we should go further in moving them into a position of reduced reliance on government funding.

Therefore, subject to certain conditions being met, Defra will provide over £400 million of ongoing funding for the C&RT from 2027 to 2037. This consists of a fixed grant funding commitment which embeds a 5% a year downward taper over 10 years (starting from £50.0 million and ending at £31.5 million in nominal terms).

Current funding is £52.6 million.

Last night CRT sent out an email to boat owners #KeepCanalsAlive : We need your voice today

Today the Government has announced a new funding settlement, spanning from 2027 to 2037, to follow on from our current grant agreement. Whilst we welcome this further long-term commitment to the nation’s historic waterways, the amount awarded represents a steep reduction in funding of over £300 million in real terms over a ten-year period. A reduction that will have devastating consequences.

Such a drastic decrease will inevitably result in a decline in the overall condition of our waterway network, and, alarmingly, the possibility of canal closures. It puts at risk invaluable natural habitats, historic infrastructure and cherished public spaces.

They are urging canal users to write to their MP and tell them how much we care about the canals and why they need to be funded properly. To urge the Government to reconsider their decision and protect our waterways for the future. Link here for CRT’s suggested letter. Sadly we know our MP will not be interested as he has no waterways in his constituency along with being demob happy, he was pretty useless when we emailed him regarding boats and red diesel a few years ago.

The IWA has issued a statement found here. They are running a campaign Protect Our Waterways It is also a founding member of Fund Britains Waterways a coalition of organisations representing hundreds of thousands of users and supporters of inland waterways.

There is a Campaign Cruise planned for Birmingham in August details to join here and I suspect there will be more cruises organised to raise awareness, the Trent Link group are considering one to Lincoln.

If we can I suspect we will join a cruise somewhere.