Category Archives: Gluten Free Cooking

12 Stamps And Some Of The Good Stuff! 31st March

Hedbum Bridge

The towpath was a touch quieter this morning, were people still in bed having not put their clocks forward? We got cuppas ready and settled down for the Geraghty zoom. At 10:05 no-one had showed apart from us, 10:10 still no-one else. Were we the only ones to have sprung forward? No last week when we’d only bobbed into the zoom they had decided that as so many people would be away doing other things today there was little point, they’d just omitted to tell us. Oh well!

Easter breakfast

Before Mick was allowed to get the bacon and eggs out I needed certain things from the galley. Time to make some Hot Paw Buns. I tried a bit of an experiment and added a couple of extra grams of yeast and a teaspoon of Psyllium husk to see what effect that would have. The gooey mixture was left on the top shelf to rise for an hour whilst we had breakfast.

Tilly had another go at liking Hebden Bridge, but it didn’t last long and she resigned herself to sleeping for much of the day.

With a duck race on Monday …

I also decided to take one lot of rising out of the process of making Hot Paw Buns. So I mixed the fruit and spices into the gooey mass. Prepared the marzipan balls for inside and then rolled out a long sticky sausage to cut into twelve which in turn had their centres added and were rolled up into balls. All popped on a baking tray to rise again. Sadly the top shelf isn’t big enough for the tray so they took up space on the table.

Yesterday we’d omitted to buy some potatoes to go with our duck this evening and a visit to the cheese shop had to be made. Mick stayed onboard to hang up some washing. The Co-op was closed, the bakers open (however no queue today), Nisa and One Stop shops were both open and so was the cheese shop!

Cheese cheese cheese!

Now what on earth to buy? I chose a couple and then a third as the lady started to serve me. The third wedge of cheese I required a bit of assistance with. I wanted some proper Wensleydale cheese. In the 70’s Mum used to buy whole Stilton and Wensleydale cheeses, wrapped in their muslin. The top would be sliced off and kept to act as a lid and WO betide anyone who went in for a scoup! Slices cut into wedges were the only way cheese was consumed from these huge beasts of cheese. They kept exceptionally well. For a few years Father Christmas used to give me a small version wrapped in muslin, creamy but rather crumbly, my favourite cheese long before Wallace and Gromit were even a glint in Nick Parks’ eye.

…there’s a duck window display competition

This last Christmas I bought a small muslin wrapped cheese from Hawes dairy, sadly it was the modern version of Wensleydale, a disappointment to be honest. Today I wanted some of the good proper stuff! Yes they had Hawes, then there two more to choose from. I asked which was the better one. The mature one was wrapped in plastic, not a good sign so I opted for the other (when I get them out to eat I’ll let you know which one it is). This one had dark muslin, it’s been aged and turned and turned. The lady offered me a taste, but there was no need I could see this is what I was after. She agreed with me and commented about how so many people thought that Hawes Wensleydale was the true cheese, ‘but that means there’s more of the good stuff left for those who know!’

Back at Oleanna, marzipan paw prints were cut out and added to the buns. Mick was sent off for a bottle of cider to make gravy for the duck and some red cabbage had cinnamon, cloves, balsamic vinegar and sugar added to it to slowly cook on the stove top. The buns went in the oven with a tray of boiling water on the shelf below for the first ten minutes, covered in foil for the last ten minutes, then were left to cool having a sticky glaze added. The smell far better than the previous buns I’d made. Once cool enough we both enjoyed one with some butter melting into them.

Hot Paw Buns cooling just enough to eat

A much better bun, even Mick said they were better than the Bakery bought ones. My tweaks to my recipe had improved them and omitting a third rise I think had helped also. I’ll have to find time to amend the recipe page.

Late afternoon we had someone to meet. Alexandra Mathie is an actress I’ve know since the mid 90’s and she was one of the first people to be a lodger in our house in 2021, she lives here in Hebden Bridge. She has just returned from Sheffield having played Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible (review here). We sat and caught up on news of mutual friends and future plans over a pint at The White Lion for an hour. I’m not sure how long she and Angie have lived here, but she says that it simply isn’t the same. The town has become a destination for hen and stag does and on summer evenings the town isn’t somewhere they’d choose to go anymore. We’ve certainly heard the rowdy lads heading to the station over the weekend. It was so lovely to see her and there was an added bonus of gluten free beer on tap!

The lovely Alex

This evening we’ve enjoyed our Lidl duck. Not as good as those we buy for Christmas, but that was to be expected. A very full plate of food followed by a few chunks of Easter Egg. Tomorrow we’d best start working off the calories and carry on climbing up the valley.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2kg potatoes, 3 treat cheeses, 1 bottle cider, 12 paw stamps, 1 snoozy cat, 2 chocolate eggs, 1 Alex, 1 changed Hebden Bridge, 1 duck, 2 very full boaters.

400 Spiced Buns. 30th March

Hebden Bridge

A touch of a lie in then Tilly sampled the towpath. Hedbum Bridge! Far too many woofers and the wave of walkers along the towpath after a train arrives isn’t conducive to feline fun. Plus there is very VERY little friendly cover! The flower beds are very well kept in the park!

I’ve actually braved it twice!

We had a slow morning. I spent quite a bit of time trying to sort out lodgers in the house in the coming months. We get quite a few returning actors who want to stay with us which is fantastic. The only problem comes when someone who would stay for 9 weeks is taking their time thinking about it and someone else wants to book just 3 weeks which would overlap with them. We obviously would prefer someone for 9 weeks, but at the same time if they don’t want to stay we’d rather not have the house empty.

Next on the agenda was to hunt out the bakery we’d visited five years ago, it was coming up to Easter then. Saker Bakery on Market Street also has a shop in Todmorden and is most definitely worth a visit. The shop was full, we joined the queue. The menu board outside advertised the loaves available today, Black Russian, Sour Dough, plenty more and at the bottom were Spiced Buns.

The aroma filled the street, trays of freshly baked buns. ‘Two Hot Cross Buns Please’ everybody’s first line. Some added a loaf. One Japanese lady only want the one bun, but as she wanted to pay by card she had to up it to two. I suspect Spiced Buns are not just for Easter, as from this bakery they normally come with a CND logo on them rather than a cross, but today the chap didn’t have time for this so had resorted to mostly crosses , he did have 400 to do! Mick opted for two buns and a loaf of wholegrain with molasses.

Flour

Next it was to Valley Organics. Here was full too, I knew exactly what I was after, Chestnut flour and some Tapioca Starch. Tapioca is used in a lot of gluten free baking as it adds a chewy texture to things. Chestnut flour makes wonderful gf pastry and this is the only place I’ve seen it for sale (suspect on our next visit to the Gloucester Sharpness canal I’ll find it too).

Hebden Bridge

We then had a wander about, the market was full of interesting things nobody really needs. There was a new (to us) cheese shop, we’ll come back to have a closer look and another bakery that had some fantastic looking vanilla slices, sadly they stayed in the window, but Mick did buy himself a pork pie.

Vanilla yummyness

Back at Oleanna Tilly tried and tried to go outside. We managed to put dog walkers off using our ash bin for their pooh bags. Tillys and our toilet were refreshed and we smartened ourselves up for an evening out.

Portsmouth!?!

The 592 bus heads between Burnley and Halifax, we caught it and headed towards Todmorden following the canal and river all the way. The hire boaters that had arrived in Hebden this morning were working their way up the locks, wonder how far they got before dark? It was also interesting that most of the river is corralled in by walls. At Tod the bus veered away from the canal and river heading up another steep sided valley towards Burnley. The sun shone on the hill tops as the road wound itself up the hill.

We hopped off at The Staff of Life pub where we had a rendez vous. Two friends from Croydon College, a couple of years above mine, Alan and Doug. I try to meet up with Alan when we are near and Doug helped us down the Rochdale 9 into Manchester five years ago.

Alan, Doug, Amanda, Pip and Mick’s hand

We had a very nice meal in the pub. The others had walked over the tops to get there so deserved their pudding more than we did. We then walked down the hill a short distance to Eagles Cragg Brewery. Here they open their doors on the last Friday and Saturday of the month for themselves and anyone else who like to join them sampling their ale. Mick had already sampled some at the pub and had a second pint, sadly they haven’t managed to filter a beer yet for them to have a GF beer, but the chap said that maybe next month they’d have one.

There was a DJ playing half of my Dad’s record collection, so the music was good, just a shame it was really quite loud which made it hard for us to carry on our conversation without shouting. After a pint Mick and I headed for the bus stop, just outside and made our way back to Hebden Bridge. If you find yourself in the area at the end of a month it’s well worth a visit.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 buses, 2 hot cross buns, 1 special loaf, 1 chicken supreme, 1 gammon steak, 2 college friends, 1 girlfriend, 1 Mick’s hand, 2 bags flour, 100,000 all-time views of the blog!

Bit Different To The Cromwell We’re Used To. 28th March

Sainsburys Brighouse to Salter Hebble Lower Basin

Mick did a few chores before we pushed off. Time to start climbing up towards the hills.

Volunteers in black

There were plenty of C&RT volunteers along the next stretch. CRT black/navy coats, none of the bright blue on show, have the uniforms been changed? They were busy litter picking and one chap was hanging over the edge near Ganny Lock trying to chop away seedlings growing out from the stone work. The area certainly looked very well looked after, plus the garden at the lock cottage was filled with Hyacinths.

Ganny Lock with chain and extra gate support in the middle

At Ganny Lock the offside bottom gate has been tethered with a chain to some scaffolding, anchoring it to the ground, then an angled plate has been welded onto the other gate, presumably to help keep the offside one from being pushed too far by water pressure. This confused me for a while, should I move the nearside gate? Except that meant trying to move both gates at once!

Cromwell Lock

The towpath was now far far busier than we’ve seen this year. Some sunshine and it almost being Easter weekend had a lot to do with it. Two young lads and their Mum seemed to be between every lock, requesting we blow our horn. A couple of ladies stood and watched as we worked up Cromwell Lock. I felt impressive as I lifted a Hebble paddle with great ease, only to realise it was doing absolutely nothing in the way of water management!

A shorter Cromwell than we’re used to

The Hebble locks are quite short but wide. Further up they are even shorter. Our first trip through them was on NB Lillyanne who was 59ft 6″ without fenders going downhill. This necessitated going diagonally in the locks, positioning her so that as the water dropped she would miss the cill and then be able to nudge under the bottom gate walkway. A slow and careful process. Oleanna was built a foot shorter so as to make these locks, and one on the Huddersfield Broad, easier for us to manage. Going uphill you have the advantage of your bow being able to span over the cill, but that then lines up the well deck drain holes with the water coming in from gate paddles.

Holiday chalets filling up for the weekend

A few locks have ground paddles, but on those without I lifted the opposite gate paddle, slowly. Once it reached a certain height the water calmed on the surface, but then travelled to the other side of the lock bouncing back to push Oleanna the opposite way.

In amongst the hills

The two locks into Elland feel more urban, the straight length of canal and people crossing over the locks. But looking back the hills are now starting to show themselves.

We pulled over onto the visitor mooring by the Barge and Barrel, a C&RT work boat sat right in the middle. Lunch was required before we carried onwards. However if we’d continued we’d have missed the afternoons rain! Thankfully it wasn’t too much of a down pour.

A cob seeing us off!

Woodside Mills and Long Lees Locks were worked. Then under the new road bridge, not open yet, up to the Salter Hebble Locks. The bottom one of these has a guillotine gate and to reach it you walk through the old horse tunnel. Blimey the noise going through there was impressive, the bywash running directly under your feet!

Key of power to lift the gate and paddles at the bottom end. In came Oleanna and then it was back to winding a windlass on the top gates, a little more room in this lock than the next two would give us.

Guillotine Gate on the bottom Salter Hebble Lock

But we’d had enough for the day. Space on the visitor moorings pulled us in. Tilly was allowed out but she didn’t appreciate the heavens opening and getting a soaking, so she retired to dry off in front of the stove for the rest of the day.

This evening we’ve had Liver and Onions. I think I’ve only ever cooked liver once before and that was in my student days. I followed the Hairy Bikers recipe and it was very tasty. There’s enough liver left in the freezer for another day too.

8 locks, 4.2 miles, 0 moving boats, 250 grams liver, 15 minutes dry shore leave!

https://maps.app.goo.gl/zPDY6AgjmHs2Txw3A

Bumpy Crosses. 23rd March

Birkwood Lock

It was obvious that we’d found a good mooring for today, the slight cutting giving us some shelter from the strong wind. On the other side of the cut the trees bent over, here we got moved around but nowhere near as much as if we’d been moored at King’s Road Lock which is very open.

WOOF Away with YOU!

We quickly decided that today would be a sausage day for Tilly, although to start off with she wasn’t that keen on going out. The number of woofers I had to see off from inside and the sudden rain and the blowyness! Maybe the stamp of approval should be removed for this outside!

After a cuppa in bed there was only one thing for it, breakfast! Chewing not that much of a problem now, so we enjoyed the full works.

Over the last few days Mick has been trying to decipher instructions for the voltage sensitive relay he bought from Bimble. He’s wanting to wire it into the Nebolink which tracks our movements. At the moment I have to flick a switch in the cratch to start the nebolink recording, the plan is that when the engine is started up the voltage sensitive relay will spot this automatically and start the nebolink. When the engine is turned off it will do the reverse.

‘If the delay time in P-1 mode has been set, in P-4,the relay will act according to
setting of P-1 when voltage detection exceed the upper limit and lower limit range
(reference to the P-1 mode),when voltage detection between the upper limit and
lower limit range ,set “0N H” relay released, set “0N L” relay closed).’

However Mick needs to program the box so that it reacts at the correct voltage. He’s read the instruction manual, gobbledygook, translated English that still could be a foreign language. Tom from Waiouru has also had a go at finding a different manual, slightly better. Bimble when asked just referred Mick to the manual. By mid afternoon he’d managed to program the switch with voltages. He just wanted to see if he could add a delay to it switching off, so when we pull up at water points it won’t think we’ve ended our journey straight away. Although Nebo would most probably send us a report for each journey, it would also put them all together for the day.

All this was done whilst stood by the electrics cupboard and The Shed. Not a problem, but it meant my chosen activity for the day had to wait as I wanted to be in the galley. But that’s narrowboat life for you.

Ingredients

I’ve been wanting to experiment. Easter being not too far away, I wanted to try out a couple of different Hot Cross Bun recipes. Back in the house I’d made a rather tasty Challah bread, recipe from Loopy Whisk who seems to have some good gluten free recipes. The challah had a good texture and flavour which might lend itself to Hot Cross Buns. I was going to give this recipe a try with amendments to add the fruit I like and of course marzipan.

Unfortunately, the recipe required 1 egg and 2 yolks plus some for an egg wash, I only had 2 eggs! Fortunately Loopy Whisk’s Hot Cross Buns recipe only needed 1 egg plus egg wash. I opted to try that instead and adjust for my fruit.

Mugs were filled rehydrating cranberries and raisins. Another with the yeast and milk mixture. A third with a psyllium husk gel, this is used to add stretch to gluten free bakes and Loopy Whisk seems to like to use a lot of it.

Lots of fruit

Her recipes only need to be left to rise once. This proved a touch difficult as the shelf on Oleanna designed for the purpose is more suitable for bowls or bread tins than a baking tray. So the tray had to perch on the Houdini shelf in the window, close to the stove for some warmth, but maybe with a draft. They didn’t rise as well as I think they should have, maybe the amount of fruit, maybe the marzipan centre.

Chunky bumpy crosses

Hot Paw buns have a marzipan paw print on top, these would have a standard cross. Well except I don’t have a piping bag on the boat, so the flour and water mix was added with a spoon and ended up being quite bulky and bumpy. Baked we waited for them to cool off, a must with gf baking as otherwise the crumb can be very sticky. Then we enjoyed one with a cuppa.

Buttered whilst still warm

Verdict. Nice. Still wonder what a challah version would be like. Not a patch on Hot Paw Buns. Must check I’ve all the ingredients required to make a batch next weekend.

Rain showers came and went, the wind got windier. Here’s hoping it calms down for tomorrow.

0 locks, 0 miles, 7 sausage hours, 2 cooked breakfasts, 12 hot cross buns, pair 12 cast off, 2 many woofers, 0 tapioca starch left, 0 eggs, 1 switch still to be worked on, 1 more flood gate open, 1 to go!

Arriba Arepas. 13th March

Above Lemonroyd Lock

So where is all that rain that was meant to fall overnight? Have to say it looked like it would fall more on the western side of the country than over the Leeds area. Just have to hope it’s not landing on the Calder catchment area of the Pennines or we could be waiting for flood gates to reopen. Instead of the rain we got wind.

At the moment we are awaiting Woodnook Lock reopening. But further upstream there are four flood gates currently closed, meaning that we’d only be able to get as far as Stanley Ferry where the first one will block our way.

We need a new plug now!

A pottering kind of day for us. Mick got round to going through the items on The Shed shelves and the contents of the Nicholson’s shelf. I’d offered to do it, but wouldn’t know what he’d be wanting to keep. The aim was to be able to put the tool box back on the shelf as originally planned seven years ago. A couple of tupperware boxes were used to keep bits and bobs in, which now can live happily behind or alongside the tool box. We now have space on the Nicholson’s shelf for one of the guides, although these very rarely come out now, they only get read when we are on completely new water.

Tilly came and went. The blowy outside not much to her liking, but the ‘Thank you for coming home’ Dreamies were!

I made some Arepas for lunch, corn cakes which are easy to make once you have the right flour. These were mentioned in panto last year, so I’d been wanting to make some. Back in the house I’ve had a couple of goes, todays recipe was possibly the best one I’ve tried, less sticky than the others. I also made some coleslaw to go in them with a slice of feta cheese that needed eating up. Very nice and a nice change. I’ll add them to the recipe section.

Arepas, click the photo to go there

I spent much of the day knitting Pair 11 of my sockathon. The pair I’d started yesterday sadly the yarn, which is yummy, was just too busy for what I was wanting to create, so it was frogged and I’ve started on a pair to match pair 10, well similar. I really must take photos of the finished socks I have in my box and get them in the post.

Nice but not what I’d hoped for

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 passing boats, 1 blowy day, 1 shed sorted, 1 sock frogged, 0.75 of next sock knitted, 4 arepas, 24 Dreamies, 1 cat not loosing weight! 1 fire just on tick over, 1 galley sink plug needing replacement.

What’s In The Box? 20th January

That’s far enough I think!

Deliveries have been arriving along with snow.

Get off my land!!!

Tillys occasional check on her estate has become even shorter, I can see everything I need from the back door just fine, Thanks! Although an intruder did cause her to forget about there being a window in the way. Once a door was opened she shot up the road and just about into the park, the furthest she’s been in months!

Sheep measuring

Measurements have been taken for the dinette cushion covers, prices worked out for the samples I already have, a visit to Dewsbury is on the cards incase Fabworks comes up trumps with anything better. I’ve got calculations for several widths of fabric so that should save time.

More donated yarns have arrived. A wonderous red yarn from Trudie at Posh Yarns in Pembroke and a Green Goddess of Bionic yarn from Steph at Perran Yarn in Truro. I have several other pledges of yarn to come including from people who are raiding their own yarn stashes at home. Thank you all for your wooly donations and your monetary ones. The first pair of socks will be in the post very soon heading to a boat in Thorne and as soon as my needles have finished the third pair the second one will be wending their way to Crick.

At the end of the year I’m hoping you’ll see why I’m hanging onto socks for a little while. An updated certificate arrived from Dementia Uk so I can properly boast about my fund raising last year.

Lots of cooking, trying out new recipes. Gluten free Focaccia and this morning my first attempt at gf crumpets. Verdict they needed a little bit more heat to start off with, but tasty all the same, especially with some Frank made jam.

Painty Pip has been busy too touching up paint around the house. There’ll be more to do in a week or two in a bathroom that we have plans for, just to accomodate a mirror!

Boat on it’s side just about blocking the bridge hole

We’ve watched our friend Chris on NB Elektra squeeze past the sunk boat in Barrow-upon-Soar. Then onwards to south of Leicester where he had a booked passage between Kings Lock and Blue Bank Lock where the floods before Christmas had affected the bank. We couldn’t make out any damage to the bank as he crunched his way through the ice, passing a boat coming the other way and a C&RT chap hopping between boats.

Tilly decided to hitch a virtual ride on NB Elektra’s bow for a while. Well She and Tom have only changed the outside a couple of times since we’ve been in the house. They don’t fool me, all they did was turn it white each time! Our planned route for when we leave Goole may have to change due to substantial subsidence at Lock 67 on the Rochdale. We’d rather head over the Pennines than use the Trent to head south this year. Time to keep a very watchful eye on the stoppage notices.

What’s in those?!

Yesterday a UPS delivery van arrived. The driver braved our snowy front steps to deliver two pretty heavy boxes. We’ve checked their contents and Mick has even been found stood in the dark hallway supposidly talking to what’s inside the boxes. There’s nowt so queer as folk!

Sunrise in Scarborough

0 locks, 0 miles, only virtual ones, 2 skeins, 2 more pledges, 1 hobbly leg slowly improving, 2.5 coats not enough, 1 ceiling and loo touched up, 2 big boxes, 1 hire car arranged, 1 trespasser seen off, 2 x 6m not 4 x 3m, 1 nutty man in the dark, 1 cat changing the outside by herself!

2.5 pairs knitted

22 Pairs spoken for

49.5 Pairs to go

£540 raised

Busbars, Bridges And Bits And Bobs

Things are being ordered.

First things to arrive were some waterproof cases for our mobile phones. These won a Herbie Award, not these actual ones, but having waterproof cases to save having to replace a drowned phone. This is a common hazard living on a boat. I’ve lost two phones and Mick has dropped one phone and a tablet into the drink.

At Christmas Mick got me a new phone as my old one was looking a tad cracked after nearly becoming phone number three heading for the depths of Nether Lock last January. I’d like to try to keep hold of this one a touch longer if possible. So I’ve been looking round for cases.

Most of the cases I found are intended for swimming, keeping the water out is one thing. But being able to turn your phone on to take that photo of a Kingfisher is another, especially when your power switch is now fingerprint operated and on the side! One case I found has the outside area inflated, so it would act like water wings should your phone go for a swim. I suspect this would make it even harder to turn on.

I’ve tried taking photos through the case to see what effect it has. Reflections are one downside. I suspect our cheap waterproof cases will end up being used for the phone we run Waterway Routes on at the helm. The phone stays powered whilst we cruise so the power button won’t be a problem. Just need to try to find a case that will allow me to take photos and turn the phone on whilst keeping it dry. Yes Mick could have bought me a waterproof phone, but his bank account isn’t that buoyant!

Next a box came from 12 Volt Planet. This contained busbars and fuses to be used in our battery upgrade. I’ll let Mick write about the battery upgrade when he does it. The fuses are also because Oleanna seems to have been built without a main fuse! Well Mick hasn’t ever been able to find one, so he’s going to fit one when putting in the new batteries.

We got sweeties too!

Another box came from Bimble Solar. A voltage sensitive relay for our Nebolink. This will save us having to turn the Nebolink on and off manually when we are cruising, it will do it automatically when the engine is turned on and off. Yes it is likely to turn on should we want to run the engine whilst stationary, but the trip will show 0 miles and may not be recorded by Nebo. It is a touch larger than Mick had thought it would be and have to say I’ll miss flicking the switch on as we push off each day.

Illuminating!

Mick has also treated himself to some rechargeable motion sensitive strip lights. These have appeared on his Christmas list for the last three years. Twice they have been ordered and twice they have not arrived! So this year they were given up on as a bad thing. Of course he has now managed to get some straight away with no hassle! These are to go inside cupboards on Oleanna and will light up as the door is opened, saving getting a torch out to check for things at the back of cupboards etc.

Whilst Mick has been reveling in electrical things I managed to find some Pan Flour. Since working on Chippy Panto I’ve been wanting to have a go at making some Arepas, corn cakes. A little after Christmas I followed the instructions on the pack of flour and maybe was a touch impatient on leaving the flour to absorb the water. My first go were tasty filled with the last of the roast duck and red cabbage from Christmas, A little reminiscent of popcorn! I’ll follow an online recipe next time though.

Experimental Baking

The remainder mince pie pastry in the freezer and mince meat required using up, so I came up with the idea of a hybrid mince pie and Yorkshire Curd Tart. I made some curds then used the pastry and mince meat a touch like a bakewell tart, adding the curd custard on top. The outcome was nice, a little strange, but nice. At least the pastry has been used up.

I’ve also finished my painting. Which is now hung in the not quite smallest room in the house. It’s positioning may be a slight problem for two reasons. 1, when sat down it isn’t quite in eye line of the mirror. 2, those who stand to use the facilities may get distracted!

The finished painting, Wolverhampton Flight, Lock 21. Emulsion on canvas.

However I’m very pleased with it and am considering doing a series of paintings in the same style based on places we visit on the network. We’ve come up with a few locations we should be visiting this year. I may even get some prints or cards made from them.

Anyhow, there’s jobs need doing.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 busbars, 2 gauges, 3 fuses, 2 cases, 4 lights, 1 switch, 4 arepas, 1 Yorkshire Mince Pie, or 1 Mince Yorkshire Tart, Lock 21.

0.75 Pairs knitted

51.25 Pairs to go

Renewed

We’ve waited patiently for our credit card statement to come through for December (ouch!), before renewing our Canal and River Trust Licence. Just a standard Canal and River licence for us again this year even though we plan to spend an amount of time on EA waters. But that won’t be enough to justify a gold licence.

With a rise of 9% from last year we obviously wanted to leave it as long as possible, but still be able to get an online prompt payment discount.

Mick has been talking to a man about new batteries and if we can get a super cheap train ticket next week we’ll pop down to see Oleanna and check measurements in the ‘Shed’ cupboard so we can see what options we have and if we’ll require any wood work doing.

So Oleanna is all ready for the New Year, we’ll print out her licence to pop in the window on our next visit.

Comments

Thank you to those who have been making comments on the blog recently, we really like hearing from people. However since sometime in November we seem to be getting mostly anonymous comments. Only one or two have come from specific people via wordpress and all we have to work from is an IP address. I’ve worked out a few people from previous comments, but not many. We don’t mind getting anonymous comments, but it would great if you could pop your name at the end. Thank you.

Hope everyone enjoys the New Year festivities however you celebrate or not. We’ll be enjoying a nice bottle of wine at home with Tilly and a Salmon en croute (need to start emptying the freezer!). Depending on our colds we may not manage to reach midnight.

Thank you for following our travels through 2023 and we look forward to sharing more with you in 2024.

What Did You Get? Betwixtmas 2023

Breakfast with tea not bucks fizz this year

Christmas Day was quite grey, but thankfully the drizzle/rain stayed away for us to have a walk down to the seafront and allow Frank to walk (without getting wet) the two miles to join us.

A grey seafront

Glasses of fizz were at hand to help with the final food preparations.

Gourmet sprouts

Frank had brought round three sprout stalks from his garden, so he set to. An hour and a half later, his sterling work had got enough diddy sprouts for maybe two of us, they were added to with extras from the bumper veg box I’d ordered.

All ready to tuck in

I’d seen good reviews for M&S gluten free bread sauce, so we had a taste test between theirs and mine. The Leckenby version made with brown seeded bread and some garlic, the M&S version very white and plenty of cloves. They both had good qualities, I think the decision was that they tied.

Only just fitted on our plates

Mammoth amounts of food took over our plates. We think that this year we managed to achieve the correct quantities of everything. Plenty and still quite an amount of left overs after Frank had finished. Cheese was put till the end of the meal (my Mum wouldn’t have approved!), but just as well as my birthday cake was extreamly rich! Five days later and we’ve still only managed to eat half of it. Chocolate and Hazelnut Celebration Cake and the cheese remained in it’s wrappers!

Cheese still untouched!

In the morning we’d opened our Christmas presents, before Birthday cake there were the tree presents. Mick got a new litter picker (not just for tidying up the towpaths but also to help pick things up once dropped in the engine bay on Oleanna. I got the Sarah Howells Gluten Free cook book and Frank got a pair of Pip socks, the last pair to be knitted this year. This makes it 34 pairs since April, I’d forgotten to add in a pair I made for my cousin at the beginning of May.

Blowing them out

Birthday presents followed. This pile quite often ends up with a few Christmas presents accidentally added, ambiguous wrapping, or just because.

A lovely day with fat bellies, lots of empty bottles and good company.

So what did we get?

We both got new waterproof coats.

Presents

A new barbecue. I’d considered a Cob as so many had sung their praises, but the price tag was a touch too much for Tilly’s pocket, so a slightly sterdier fold away version of the one we’ve had for the last eight or so years. It’s handy as it tucks away easily into one of the stern lockers. I got some Sketchers anti-slip trainers which are comfortable for my toe and the antislip looks as good as we’ve had before. Tilly got a flapping fish to remind her of our travels on the water. This did have to be removed after a while I just don’t understand why it didn’t die! I had resorted to numerous headbut bites and yet it still flipped around!

More!

Lots of other goodies. Books were all cookery books this year, a Tom Kerridge book didn’t make the photo. Tilly got a new (to her) food and water bowls so that she doesn’t have to move them from house to boat to house. I’ll have something to say about that Blue one on my own blog! Plus a LOT of Dreamies. You’d better start moving the outside again so I can have those! Pyjamas were also popular, between us we got three pairs. An ice bag, very handy for knees or heads. Socks, now just not any old socks! Thank you to Kath who got me the arty socks, Father Christmas for the chunky socks, but extra bonus points to the NB Cleddau crew for the Crazy Cat Lady socks. Thank you!!!

Sue cutting the cake, assisted by Jaye and of course Duncan!

We’ve had a few relaxing days since, interspersed by Sue’s 60th where her family and friends took over a local Indian restaurant. What a lovely evening, Happy Birthday Sue!

Can anyone guess which lock this is?

The painting for our downstairs toilet is coming on. A good project to do Betwixtmas. Soon I’ll have to set the drawing board up and sort out dimensions of the lean too that we’re wanting to replace, there’s also the boat cushion fabric to source, curtain tracks, some painting and more bloomin sealant to do in the house! Then there are the boat jobs on the list. But these can all wait for the new year I think, Oh and there’s the yearly round up to write and that always takes ages.

Hope you all had a good Christmas and got some fab presents too.

0 locks, 0 miles, 12 pairs socks, 4 cook books, 4 bowls, 3 bags of dreamies, 1 fish, 1 wobbly thing, 3 pairs pyjamas, 1 bottle truffle oil, 2 waterproofs, 1 cold on the way out, 1 on the way in, 1 lodger with a tickly throat, 1 phone, 4 pens, 4 pencils, 1 bbq, 2 much birthday cake so if anyone is passing in the next few days please help us!

Christmas Eve 2023

Well it’s taken it’s time in arriving, this years Christmas. I think we did peek too early! But since the beginning of December when the London Leckenby’s were with us, we’ve gradually been getting ourselves ready for tomorrow. Several storms have passed over, the webcam on Oleanna was kept VERY busy with the last storm as the windows in the pram cover hardly had a still moment.

Lebkuchen

Presents bought and wrapped, food ordered. We’ve both had a hair cut. Christmas biscuits baked and delivered. One batch of mince pies baked and consumed. Tilly has slept most of the time. The windows in my work rooms have been touched up since having the new windows installed and my work table moved back into position, I’ve tentatively started work on a painting for our downstairs toilet. I suspect more will get done during Betwixtmass.

We’ve seen Animated Objects production of A Christmas Carol, won second prize in the raffle. Enjoyed the most festive Christmas show at the SJT, Beauty and the Beast, we were very unsuitably dressed as we’d not put on our Christmas jumpers and stuck out from the crowd!

A touch more knitting has happened. Sausage rolls have been baked and eaten. Tomorrow we’ll be joined by Frank, his normal invite for Christmas dinner has had to be cancelled due to Covid rearing it’s head again. Just as well I ordered an extra large veg box, plus Frank has provided us with plenty more sprouts.

The pre cooking has happened, stuffing, red cabbage, bread sauce, gravy and birthday cake. The cake is a new recipe, chocolate and hazelnut cake, it smelt wonderful as I mixed it up with all 6 eggs it required! Ganache still to be added once it’s cooled down.

Scarbados!

So just the gammon joint and dauphinoise potatoes to consume this evening, along with a glass or two of wine.

We’re ready, are you?

Stockings laid out in front of the fire. Sadly Mick has deemed it too windy to light the fire this evening! I so hope the big man in red remembers we’re in the house this year!