Category Archives: Gluten Free Cooking

Bubble Failure. 13th July

Paddington Basin to Ballot Box Bridge

Our time here was up, well at midday it would be. Check-out time is at midday and check-in at 1pm, not that there is anybody to check in with. Some people have opted to stay for longer in the basin, once their booked mooring has elapsed they keep their eyes peeled across the way. As soon as a space becomes available they move over to the hospital side, giving themselves more time, but this time for free.

Duck weed encroaching

We could easily stay for longer, loads more people we could catch up with. It’s been great to see those we’ve seen, but we both were looking forward to heading out of town away from the constant hum of the buildings around us and into the cool of some countryside.

Goodbye Paddington, Thank you

It looked like there was nobody on board the boat behind us, but as soon as we’d pulled away a chap appeared out the back, time for them to nudge up and be able to use bow and stern. We moved on down to the end of the basin and winded, turning our back on central London.

When we’d returned to Oleanna last night we’d been surprised at the amount of duck weed that had reached the basin, yes there had been numerous boats moving through the bubble barriers, but the amount was more than you’d expect to be pushed through on bows of boats.

Pushing through Little Venice

The bubbles were working at the first barrier, maybe too much duck weed had now crossed and it was multiplying at a rate of knots. Ahead of us was a green lagoon that had been Little Venice. Hardly any water visible anywhere. People queued for the trip boats, students threw bread in for the ducks off Rembrandt Gardens as we pushed our way across.

Nice garden

At the services there are two taps. The first one was in use and as we got closer to Westbourne Terrace Bridge we could see two boats there. No option for us but to wait today our tank was down to 1/8th and the next tap would be past where we wanted to pull up for the day. We pulled up to wait in the bridge hole, hoping no wide beam would want to pass.

Hen do
Masses of mushy peas

Go boats came past, the narrowboats through the bridge swapped positions, one leaving, the other sounding like it had a very empty tank. After quite a wait the boat just behind us moved off and we wee able to pull back. Oleanna’s length too much to tuck into the gap so her bow stuck out in the bridge hole. A while later a work boat approached, wider than a narrowboat, would it fit through? I pulled the bow as far over as I could and there was just about an inch spare, phew! The bubble barrier here wasn’t working, the amount of duck weed on the move explained the green lagoon.

A touch of pruning
Slipping away from the services with the help of Custodian of the Bins

As soon as the other boat had finished filling on the other side of the bridge we pulled Oleanna through so that we’d be out of the way, one lady asked if we’d broken down! Coal Boat Indus came past, so Mick flagged him down for a bottle of gas which turned out cheaper than in Uxbridge. Bottles were swapped as the dog on the roof helped cut back the overhanging tree.

As we continued to fill we emptied the yellow water and the next boat wanting the tap breasted up against us. once full we crept out from the inside and headed outwards, a mile along realising we’d gained a boat hook on our roof. I could have walked back to return it, but he was likely to have moved off, three directions he could have gone, it seemed pointless.

Slow going past all the moored boats not helped by the thick layer of weed. We had to wait for a line of work boats to be nudged out of the way for us to pass, a weed collector and a couple of skips fighting a loosing battle.

Boat after boat after boat

The moorings at Ladbrooke Grove Sainsburys were full, we’d hope to pull in to do some shopping and then have lunch before continuing on our way, but no chance. Happily a short distance around the bend a suitable gap showed itself, so we moored and headed off with our bags, the shopping list reducing to supplies for the next couple of days, we’ll do a bigger shop at Bulls Bridge.

How dare they! They’d moved the outside and there were trees! Yet I wasn’t allowed out. They came back, sat around, and then carried on. Didn’t they know it was getting late!

Stop washing Herbie!

The weed stayed with us to about a mile before we moored. A length of towpath empty opposite the golf club on Horsenden Hill was appealing, but this length is closed at the moment due to the towpath being resurfaced.

We pulled up around the next bend more or less where we’d left a week ago. The shouting from inside Oleanna so SO LOUD, Tilly was excited! Within seconds she disappeared into the nature reserve, showing her face a couple of times and returning for a late Ding Ding.

Straight through there out of sight

Our evening meal got later and later. I’ve been wanting to make a quinoa crust quiche for a while and we’d stocked up on the ingredients today. The crust is made from cooked quinoa, ground almonds and Parmesan. The quantity of this seemed a touch too much, but I forced it all into the quiche tin.

Chicken, bacon, spinach, onion, feta, garlic, quinoa, parmesan, almond. Yummy!

The quantities in the recipe were cups, so I’d converted them, despite the amount of filling I had being a touch short I still had way too much! We’ll have spare chicken to eat for lunch for a while. Six eggs were needed for sticking factor, but I felt this was maybe a touch too many. So instead I used three with some creme fresh and a glug of milk. It smelt fantastic, but maybe the creme fresh had given off a touch too much moisture and I’d have been better using more eggs as the centre of the crust had more slop factor than crunch. However it tasted very good accompanied by some of the new potatoes Marion and John had given us.

0 lock, 7.69 miles, 1 wind, 1 left, 1 green lagoon, 2 familiar faces, 1 hour wait for water, £33 for gas, 1 load of washing, 2 boxes wine, 1 reduced shopping list, 1.75 hours of freedom, 1 HAPPY cat, 12 meals worth of quiche, 4 years of being an amputee, 1 TV tuned in for tomorrow.

Shiny Boat Central. Day 6

Paddington Basin

A cuppa in bed, then a shower and we were ready for the day. Bang on time another familiar face walked under the footbridge into the basin. My college friend Kathy coming for breakfast on her way to work.

Kathy and me through the hatch

Kathy has worked her way around the drama colleges of London through the last few years and now is head of Production Design at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, possibly the highest thought of design college in the country. Kathy was the first person I met when I moved to Croydon for college and our first day in the student house together we just didn’t stop talking. We don’t get many opportunities for a catch up nowadays, so it was great that we’d managed to find a couple of hours today.


We headed over to Kupp for breakfast, Kathy must have know where we’d be going as she matched the decor perfectly. Mick and I opted for poached eggs with bacon and hollandaise sauce, whilst Kathy had wild mushrooms spinach and a poached egg. It was all very tasty, my only criticism was that just because my gluten free bread was smaller than Mick’s sourdough slice shouldn’t mean that I got less sauce than him!

A touch more hollandaise would have been nice

We talked about friends, family, theatre and boats. During the week Kathy lives on board Dora May on the Thames, her mooring just down stream from Tower Bridge, a fantastic view from their wheel house. All too soon it was time for her to head to work. Hopefully she may come out and join us for a day when we’re on the Thames, but we’ll see, she’s a busy lady.

Some shopping was needed, so Mick headed off again into central London this time in hunt of some new clothes for himself and a stock up of tea for me from Whittards. I in the mean time did my best to finish scanning my Dad’s second diary. Not as many pages as the first one, but this one has the account of his journey by ship to India.

A sketch of India

I was determined to get the diary scanned today, the only thing distracting me was the GoBoats. Several of them had been hired out to teams all in matching fancy dress. Dalmations, Rabbits in hats, Blackbirds, Elfs. Each one set off from the next pontoon and just about all of them managed to collide with us. We may now have access both bow and stern but it does mean we are the first and most likely boat to get hit. No wonder the boats have had more and more padding added to them from when we first saw them.


A new boat arrived for the pontoon, having to hold back under the footbridge as there was no space. Who was overstaying? Yesterday a not so shiny boat had pulled in and the chap carried his bike along the gunnel and disappeared, he was an obvious choice, but being shiny isn’t a prerequisite for mooring here, anyone who books and pays can.

There followed a bit of complex boat moving. The central boat moved out, the one on the inside then pulled out and moored on the Hospital side (they were the ones), before the boat from the outside moved into the inside, the central boat moved back into position followed by the new boat onto the outside of the pontoon. Everyone was happy now.

Mick returned with a stash of my tea, showered and put a new polo shirt, far less creased than normal but with tell tale signs of it being new. I still had 20 pages left to scan, we decided to be slightly late to our next engagement so that I could finish.

Ziggy keeping an eye on us all

Across London to Homerton, here I’d spied a stockists for Charlie and Ivy oils and bread dippers. One of these I use on lamb and veg kebabs and I’m having to cobble together my own version, which isn’t quite the same, the lack of juniper lets my version down. We hunted the shelves of Eat 17, but nothing from the range was to be found.

At my brothers they have been joined by Jac’s Mum over from Australia for six weeks. Not bad doing that journey in her mid 80’s. Helen is as inquisitive as her daughter, just with a Scottish accent. We were asked endlessly about life on the boat, my favourite question being ‘What do you eat?’


A lovely evening with them as ever and Andrew cooked a wonderful paella on the barbecue, packed with fish chicken and prawns.

Lemon Tart

Helen had made a lemon tart, the crust having been made with corn flour for me, very tasty it was. A good evening to mark our last in London.

Helen, Mick, Pip, Jac, Andrew, Josh behind the camera

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 tubes, 2 buses, 1 overground, 1 best friend with a beaming smile, 5 poached eggs, 2 hours to catch up, 157 pages scanned, 0 juniper balsamic dipper, 1 huge paella, 1 slightly nutty Scottish Australian, 2 diaries handed over, 1 slow journey home, 1 fruit cake of a cat, it’s time for Tilly to have some shore leave.

Shiny Boat Central. Day 4

Paddington Basin

There were movements outside early this morning. The boat next to us had dropped it’s pram cover by 6:30. They were being considerate keeping the noise to a minimum, eventually pulling away at 7am. They were soon followed by two more boats, including the one in front of us. Once we were up Mick pulled us forward all of 60 ft. This end of the pontoon is longer, so we can now use front and back doors, better for visitors.

No work today, just some scanning of my Dad’s diary before we headed out. The memory card in my camera has been playing up a little recently so Mick formatted another card. But the camera didn’t like it as I tried to take photos of the female Tufted Duck with her 9 ducklings that she proudly displays around the basin. So a quick trip back to the boat to sort it and we were on our way again.

Going up

This delay was quite fortuitous, as we walked towards the end of the basin our route across to the bus stop was blocked. Blocked by the very bridge we’d intended crossing.


Several times a week the Fan bridge is opened to show it off. It does this very well. Made of five fingers, it pivots it’s digits up into the air until all the counter weighted ends lie level on the ground, this produces a fan above the water.

The buildings got in the way of a good photo

We paused to watch it reach it’s highest point. I felt sorry for the chap who had his finger on the button, knowing how much your finger joints start to ache after a while lifting or swinging a bridge. At least he didn’t have the added pressure of traffic being held up and if the bridge broke whilst up fully it would only slightly inconvenience some pedestrians.

The Number 27 bus runs up to Camden where we alighted and walked our way through several streets, the hubhub of Camden soon falling silent on the calmer side streets.


Christine (Mick’s eldest sister) and Paul have a lovely house in Kentish Town where tall hollyhocks grow around trees in the street. We had a lovely few hours catching up with them over a very nice lunch of salad, bread and cheese. The cheese was very tasty, a Caerphilly, a goat, then something blue which was tasty but the best one which was slightly creamy, sadly I can’t remember the name of it.

Cheesy treats
Sweet treats

These were followed by some Lebanese cannoli, based on Sicilian cannoli but with an almost almond brittle brandy snap outer. The insides were reminiscent to Halvah just not as crystalish. These were very tasty indeed.

The London Transport lady on the buses doesn’t know how to say Hammersmith Grove, she falls silent instead after announcing the number of the bus. Maybe that bit just hasn’t been recorded yet.

Back at the boat we gave Tilly some fusses, two more boats had arrived, leaving one available space. Soon I spotted a familiar face walking towards us, one of my best friends from school in York. Big hugs all round and then we were straight onto the wine.

School mates

Morag has recently started a new job helping to smooth existing arrangements world wide which have been and will be affected by Brexit. Her daughter today became a barrister and her son now 17 works hard at school and hopefully has stopped growing having now reached 6ft 1.

We caught up on each others news and then passed on that of other school friends. Later in the summer there is hopefully going to be a get together of our A level Geography group. I had a few leads to pass on of other members of the group. Mick did well listening to tales of Tim going for ‘Gold’, Jason’s wild card to Wimbledon and many others he’s never met.

A lovely evening which we finished off with a visit to Pizza Express.

0 locks, 60ft, 3 boats gone, 2 new boats, 13 pages scanned, 1 fanning bridge, 2 buses, 4 treat cheese, 1 sister-out-law, 1 best friend, 6 hours of catching up, 1 allusive school friend found, 1 too many glasses of wine.

Oy! That’s Not Your Boat!! 4th July

Debham Bridge to Above Uxbridge Lock

NB Augustus came past us whilst we were having our cuppa in bed, there wasn’t enough time to get the covers rolled up and pushed out to join them for Denham Deep Lock, anyway I hadn’t finished my tea.

An hour later another boat came into view, we started to get ourselves ready when Mick spotted another boat behind them, they were obviously already sharing the locks, so no need to hurry. We pushed off and followed on behind them knowing we’d be the odd one at the back of the queue.

Heading in towards London

Chatting to the two boats ahead as they descended the lock, they both were heading into London, one to take their chances with the masses, the other has a booked mooring.

Filling Denham Deep Lock

With nobody coming from below we filled the chamber up, all 10ft 6″. A large group of students came up to the side of the lock to watch.

Please don’t get too close to the edge!

They just about filled the towpath side and I suggested that some of them move, just in case Mick knocked the bottom gate as he left, we didn’t want anybody tumbling into the canal or onto our roof. A chap sat on the off side closed the gate for us meaning we could be on our way.

We were now looking for a mooring close to Uxbridge, one with cover would be ideal. Soon there was space in the shade and Mick pulled us in, both of us doing our best not to get nettled as we moored up.

Leaving Denham behind

An early lunch then Mick was off to make use of his 60+ oyster card. He headed across London back out to Hackney where my panto model was sat waiting at my brothers. Hopefully I’ll be able to get on with finishing everything so that as soon as we turn out onto the Thames I can concentrate on boating.

A bit of shade left

Tilly headed off and soon found gaps in the mesh alongside the towpath to be able to access the trees and find friends for the afternoon. This left me with the panto script and a spread sheet to compile a props list. It is way bigger than last years, but with fewer tricksy makes. A set builder also needed more information so some of my technical drawings had to be scanned and emailed off.

Feline temperature gauge ‘long’ = hot

The shade that we’d arrived to was short lived. I had about an hours worth before the sun crept along the cabin sides, this lasted well into the evening. Inside I was at least sheltered from the sun, but the temperature kept on rising. Tilly even had to return for spells to be a long cat on the floor.

Yum yum yum

When Mick returned we made use of the shade Oleanna was now creating and sat out to enjoy a barbeque, the towpath just wide enough. Sweet corn, followed by some chicken thighs marinated in ginger and garlic with a hint of chilli and veg and halloumi kebabs.

THAT is NOT your boat Tilly!!!!!

1 lock all 10ft 6″ of it, 1.17 miles, 1 shady mooring for an hour, 1 bright mooring for 7! 1 oven, 1 long cat, 4 tubes, 2 buses, 118 props, 4 kebabs, 3 thighs, 1 model back to be finished, 1 cat preffering a wider boat roof, 1 big hello again to Ali!

Paddles Up! 27th June

Cow Roast Marina to Pixes Farm Bridge 146

Final load of washing on whilst we had breakfast, most of this got a turn or two in the tumble dryer. By the time it had all finished the post still had £8.03 on it. Not bad.

Fresh blacking

The bow post hadn’t fully cured but the fenders had to go on, it’s not often you can get this close to the pointy end without having to hang over the gas locker and that doesn’t appeal to either of us. The button was put back on and then Mick tried to work out how to attach the new fender underneath.

New fender below

It seems to want to hang a touch more vertically than horizontally. Mick tried shackling it in a different place but this seemed to be looser, so we’ll see how this arrangement works, we just want to stop biffing as we go up in locks.

Whilst this was happening outside I was unpacking the summer clothing bag, with temperatures expected of around 30 degrees on Saturday I wanted my shorts out. Bulky winter jumpers were popped in the vacuum bag ready to be compacted and hidden away for the next few months.


Wayne in his Lemon van arrived a good twenty minutes early for our delivery slot, one substitution and unfortunately a hole in the bag of rice flour. I’ve asked for a refund and popped the bag in another bag. With gluten free ingredients replenished I can make bread again.

Full complement of flours again

Once the water tank was topped back up, rubbish taken to the bin and the marina gate fob returned to the office we were ready. Mick gently nudged us backwards, instead of fending off at the front I pulled us in towards the boat next door trying to get as much turn as we could before the stern met the concrete edge behind. Finally we were free and back out on the canal.

That’s a big one

Cow Roast Lock was being emptied so we pulled in to wait our turn. Walking up to the lock I could see that it was a huge widebeam going down, taking their time not to hit the bridge with their wheelhouse canopy. They got back onboard, leaving the gates, was someone waiting to come up? Or are we now south enough for southern cruising ways?!


Two boats were waiting, phew we’d not spend the next few hours closing gates at every lock. The gates at Cow Roast have been replaced, somehow new huge baulks of oak catch your eye more than old painted ones. Here the usual roofing felt anti slip strip isn’t present, instead they have added studs to do the job. Apparently the roofing felt holds moisture underneath it helping the beam to rot quicker. The studs are a good idea, but according to a C&RT chap a bit further along as the oak dries out the studs become loose and you can just lift them out.

At Dudswell Top Lock, two chaps were letting water down. Thier boats were sat in the next pound and as boats came down they refloated, but then as they left the pound they were going aground again. I’m fairly sure there used to be a note in the Nicholsons guide suggesting not to moor there. If it was us, we’d move to the next pound.

Chained up gate
Almost totally wrotten through

At Dudswell Bottom Lock a C&RT chap was sat waiting for someone to turn up with things to fix a hole in the towpath. He’d come out to unlock the offside top gate for the wide beam. He showed me where the gate was rotten and badly needed some TLC. The bottom gates are also bad, two big holes constantly letting water through. The two boats in the pound above really should move down, they were fighting a loosing battle trying to keep their boats afloat.

North Church Lock needed refilling, the widebeam having just gone down. We’d now gradually catch them up. By the time we both reached Gas Locks coming into Berko we both sat in line waiting for the lock to fill.

Obligatory photo. Looks like it needs a touch up

Here the two locks are close together, so I offered to go and set the second one ready for them to go straight into, knowing that Mick would reset the top one for us. However the bottom lock was empty and below there was a coal boat across the cut. I walked down to see if he wanted the lock or if it was alright to reset it for the widebeam. He was with a customer but was heading up the way to wind and come back, so he’d top up the diesel later.

Pretty archway by people who build tree houses

Just as we were starting to fill the lock a Wyvern Hire boat appeared, so we emptied the chamber again to open the bottom gates. The widebeam above came down, the lady not having spotted boats coming up was closing gates and about to help lift a paddle for us. Luckily Mick had spotted what was happening below. Having such a big boat the crew had walkie talkies, she would help guide the boat in by standing at the bottom gates and then give the chap at the helm a distance to the bottom gates constantly. I wonder if they enjoy cruising on canals, or just can’t wait to get onto the Thames.

We followed them down and found a space on the moorings in Berko. By now we were ravenous and after lunch I popped over to Waitrose for a couple of bits and to pick up an order from John Lewis. The decision was made to move on further today, we want to be within the M25 and find shade before the heat hits on Saturday.

Chairs piled high, the show takes place right next to the lock
Today a rest station for walkers.

At The Rising Sun pub the aftermath of two nights of Mikron shows was visible, large piles of plastic chairs still lock side. Today it seemed to have converted into a resting place for walkers. They were apparently walking a circular route from Goring to Goring. Most of the people we’d seen on the towpath with numbers on them were walking carefully, it was only the first chap we’d seen a few hours earlier who didn’t seem to be limping.

Okay then

Down a few more locks to below Sewer Lock. Most of the locks today we’ve had to leave empty, necessitating leaving a paddle up when you leave. This is great when you arrive going up hill, but a touch more work to do when going down.


Here we had a couple of attempts to moor up where our 2014 Christmas card photo was taken. In the end we decided that being a couple of foot away from the bank would be good practice for when we get to the Kennet and Avon. It was now 7pm, but Tilly was allowed special dispensation and given an hour of towpath frolicks. We introduced ourselves to the boat behind, they are heading the same way as us, if we manage to push off at the same time tomorrow then we’ll share the locks into Hemel with them.

13 locks, 7 following, 4.77 miles, 1 coal boat, 1 late lunch, 2 parcels, 1 red onion, 1 very sunny day, 2 obligatory photos, 4 pairs of shorts dug out, 1 offer, 1 script.

£11.09, Wash Day. 26th June

Cowroast Marina

Mick was up and off early again this morning to return the car. On his journey he picked up a red pepper so that we could have a pasta salad tonight as we hadn’t quite made up our minds what to do today.

Morning view

We could carry on towards London only having used two of our three nights in the marina, meaning we’d arrived that bit sooner.

Or we could stay another night and do our best to use up the £11.09 that had been left on the electric by washing and drying as much as possible. This would also mean I’d be able to do some work.

Drawn by my Dad in 1941 when he was 16

An advantage of being moored bow end in, was that it would give us the ideal opportunity to fix the second bow fender in position. Doing this without touching up the blacking on the (for want of the proper term) bow post first would just be silly. So I risked having the grumpiest of grumpy men for a second day in a row, I delegated the prep to Mick!

In the future this may prove to have been an unwise thing to do, preparation being the most important thing. Scrapping off any loose paint, giving it a sand and then applying some Fertan, how hard can that be?! I learnt in our early days together that decorating and Mick do not mix. He’d been feeling guilty at me decorating our bedroom so had offered to lend a hand. I got him sanding the skirting boards. This was either a total mistake on my part or his plan all along, so as never to be given such a job again!

That just
needs to be

I worked on technical drawings for panto as Mick sanded etc. Tilly was either lending a hand behind my drawing board or shouting at the back door to go out. Here there are too many unexpected cars and far too many places to hunt for her should she fall in, but she doesn’t see it that way.

on the

An Ocado shop was put in action, they seem to sell most of the gluten free flours that I use and have been running low on, so it made sense to shop with them. We’ll have to stop for a few things on our way though. Sainsburys sells the only odour control cat litter that isn’t obnoxious to our noses, we should be able to moor close enough to stock up with some and a few boxes of wine in a day or twos time.

Portal drawings one on top of the other

With the weather being warmer I risked washing off the Fertan and once it was dry I applied a coat of blacking to the bow post. This should be dry by morning so that the fenders can go on.

One load of washing is left for the morning and the washing drawer will then be empty. Just about everything will be dry having used the tumble drier as much as we could, you’re not allowed to hang washing out in the marina! Will we run out of electric? Tune in tomorrow to find out.

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 sheets drawings, 1 stomping She, 3 pens retrieved from the floor, 1 near grumpy boy, 5 loads washing, 4 loads tumble dried, 6pm day boat, 1 model arrived in Bristol, 1 red pepper, 1 bow ready.

A Four Thousand One Hundred and Forty Six. 24th and 25th June.

Cowroast Marina then Scarborough and back

An early start, well for Mick he had a hire car to pick up in Hemel before we could check in at Cowroast Marina. As before the car hire fees were considerably more than for a small van, so that’s what we’d booked. Mick as he entered the office said that we didn’t need it to be a van, a car would be fine. So we got a Black Corsa which was far more comfortable for the same price.

A tight squeeze

Once back at the boat we pushed off and trundled our way to the top of the lock where a single hander was pleased to see us, until we turned into the marina. We’d been allocated a space opposite the entrance which was only just visible, they like to pack them in tightly round here! An awkward place to get into, but with skill, the odd touch to the girlie button and me fending off at the front too we pulled in without touch any other boat.

Mick checked to see how much credit had been left on the electric hook up, £11, we might end up staying the full three nights (minimum stay here) to use it all. Up at the office we were given a fob for the gate and shown round the facilities. Where once there had been a chandlery there is now a lounge with a pool table, book exchange etc.

You are not going anywhere without me!

We decided to put a load of washing on as soon as we’d hooked up. A 60 degree wash for the towels. This was a mistake as it took an extra hour to normal even on a quick wash. There were places to go and things to do!

Eventually we put the cooled ice block (no freezer still) in Tilly’s magic food bowl and opened up her toy box so that she could keep herself occupied whilst we were away. At 12:15 we pulled out of the marina gates and headed northwards to Scarborough.

The tenants in our house have just moved out, we like to visit at such times to check round. It also gives us the opportunity to rootle through our possessions that we left five years ago and pull out things we’d like or need. It was a long grey dreary drive up the country, slightly annoying as our tenant hadn’t informed us of when he was actually vacating the house and it turns out we could have done this trip from Leighton Buzzard instead last week. Oh well!

Now where did I put that?

We’d had an email from the agents who look after the house, informing us of various things that needed doing. We took a couple of hours to look ourselves making a list as we went. Some things will be paid for out of our tenants bond, other things are just general maintenance that need doing. As we haven’t been to the house in at least a couple of years it was nice to be home home, even if other people live there.

A quick look round the top floor where our land possessions live and a good chat with Andy our next door neighbour, we also got to meet Teddy who is our newest neighbour, aged two. Then we were hot footing it across town to reach Capplemans Chippy before they closed.

Vegan and Gluten free available

Capplemans, just off Prospect Road has gluten free and vegan options on their menu. I was eager to try out their haddock. With four boxes of each and one portion of mushy peas steaming in the car we then hot footed it across town to South Cliff where our friends Jaye and Duncan were waiting ready with plates in the oven.

Duncan, Jaye and Mick

We had a lovely evening catching up with all the news whilst defending my haddock from Pebbles before we retired to bed.

and Pebbles eyeing up my haddock

The local seagulls were elsewhere annoying another part of town so we both slept well. Both Jaye and Duncan were at work today which gave us the impetus to get going. Thank you very much for the bed and hopefully see you both soon.

Mixed media

My model was popped in the post, tracked guaranteed delivery by midday tomorrow as soon as the Post Office opened then we crossed the road to Tower Estates, the people who look after our house. A cuppa with Mark and Val was enjoyed as we worked through and compared notes. We’d been pleasantly surprised at how clean the house had been, just a shame the youngest tenant had chosen to do their own decorating in the wallpapered rooms, not the white emulsioned ones.

Everything that I needed

Back at the house I had a rootle through my work boxes. A roller tray, wallpaper brush, paste, scissors, spare wallpaper and some paste ready to mix. I had everything needed to patch up and cover the mixed media creations. Mick ticked a couple of things off the list too, replacing bulbs etc.

Then the hunt through our possessions started. When we’d started packing away our land life we’d been organised and labeled boxes. As time went on things got less so, in the end things just got mounded up on the top floor. I found my paint colour charts within seconds as I’d been sensible an just popped them on a shelf. But family archive things that we both wanted, well just where were they? Mick thought he’d put it in that corner, no. Maybe in the cupboard under the sink, no. Maybe in the roof space. I was looking for my Dad’s old kitbag, it was nowhere to be seen in the rooms.

The roof space it had to be. This was when we’d been organised thankfully. But making space to be able to get at the things we wanted was a bit hard. The bedding came out, then the kitbag, then the boxes Mick wanted. Hooray! We selected what we wanted along with allowing ourselves a little look at things. Then time was ticking there were still curtains to hang and lamp shades to go back up.

Jobs take time and become frustrating when they are not simple. One curtain track didn’t have enough runners on it, this of course was a much bigger track than any others in the house, which all had far too many runners on them! Time had run out along with patience there was no time to go on a hunt in the shops, this would have to be left for someone else to do.

We packed up the car, locked the door and said goodbye to our house again. The next time we visit will be when the next lot of tenants move on to pastures new.

A very late lunch at Morrisons along with a few supplies and we were on our way again, in constant rain back down the country. As I undid the cratch cover two white paws nudged the front curtain out of the way, Tilly was checking to see if it was us.

It’s all gone!

Well it was about bloomin time! My biscuits had run out, then the magic food bowl ran out, twice! I had all but eight tiny biscuits left and I’d been saving them just incase! They brought some interesting smelling boxes onto the boat. They say some of the things in there are over one hunderd years old. Glad they weren’t away for all that time, those meager biscuits wouldn’t have lasted. They didn’t buy me fish and chips like they did Pebbles, PAH!

I’d saved these but only just incase

0 locks, 0.16 miles, 1 left, 1 tight squeeze, 2 eagles, 1 car not van, 1 fob, £11 electric, A 4146, 450 ish miles by road, 19 enter the roundabouts, 38 rows knitted, 0 traffic cones, 4 of each, 1 mushy peas, 1 very good gf fish, 1 seaside cat, 1 lovely evening, 9 mentions of Duncan so far this year (now 10!), 2 parcels posted, 5 patches of paper, 2 colour charts, 2 boxes, 1 folder, 1 lot of letters, 5½d for Mackintosh Rolos, 2 sketch books (1 my grandfathers), 1 cat brought to the front at Tibshelf, 1 very hungry cat, 1 press night missed.