Category Archives: Rapunzel

Sheer Magnetism. 13th March


A delayed breakfast today, yet we still needed to be up as we were expecting a visitor, Frank, our bubble carpenter. A phone call asking how to find us was followed by a second one, then he arrived. Time for a cuppa and a bacon butty.

A craftsman at work

There were two things on Franks list. Sort out the galley drawers so that they don’t open when ever anyone breaths at them. Somehow open the freezer drawer under the dinette fully and increase the ventilation into it.

Last year Mick purchased some 15mm by 10mm magnets which we planned on embedding into the worst effected drawers. I love my galley drawers, the idea for them came from NB Lillyanne. There are two larder drawers, a cutlery drawer, t-towels rolling pin bags and batteries drawer and finally the rapeseed oil and tins drawer. When built all these drawers opened and closed wonderfully, yet as soon as there was a slight list to port the cutlery drawer was the ring leader, encouraging the others to open.

Magnet stuck to the plate on the back of the drawer front

On a snagging visit, Kris from Finesse added some standard magnetic catches, but this was only possible on a couple of the drawers as there was nowhere to attach them to on the others. So for the last four years we’ve had to push the cutlery drawer (still the ring leader!) in every time we descend the stern steps. I really dislike my galley drawers because of this.

There are more tea breaks now than there used to be

Frank had brought his Forstner drill bits, these drill flat bottomed holes. However the depth of the magnets meant that the pointy bit of the drill was likely to come through onto the drawer front, not good. We could however still use the magnets in the carcass. We hunted round for a bit of metal that could be used as a plate on the back of the drawers and found an angle bracket that was chopped in half. This was then sunk into the back face of the front to correspond with the magnet. Hope you are following this!

The flat hole for the magnet to go in

The first drawer to be tackled was the ring leader. It was closed on it’s new magnet and then we all stood on the port side, it stayed closed! At F*ing last! I love my galley drawers.

A trip to B&Q for some metal washers meant the other drawer would take less time to sort, just £11 something for the washers! We know we’ll still have five drawer moments should we go on a big list, but things are far far improved.

Bakewell Tart, recipe will come another day

By now I was trying to cook our Sunday roast. First the Bakewell Tart needed the filling mixing and then baking. The case for it had been made last night and during the day today had to sit on the bathroom sink so as not to end up on the galley floor. Frank and I worked on a time share basis for the later part of the afternoon, windows of twenty minutes for magnets to be attached, then the potatoes could be peeled.

Knitting surrounded by tools

An email was sent to the Trent-link group saying how our original plan was going to be affected by the Thorne Lock stoppage being moved. I’m not sure how many people have been in touch to add weight to an appeal to get the stoppage moved.

Frank already tucking in

In the evening the three of us enjoyed maybe just a touch too much wine, roast pork with everything, followed by Bakewell Tart accompanied by some chilled medication.

Two bits of news came through today. Another couple of donations to my sockathon means that with my Justgiving and Facebook donation page added together I have reached £290! £40 over target. Brilliant, thank you everyone.

Woo Hooo!

Then I spotted on Instagram a post from one of the Chippy Panto actors. The nominations for this years UK Pantomime Association Awards had been announced. Rapunzel has been nominated for Best Panto in the under 500 seats category. Brilliant news! Oh yes it is!!!

0 locks, 0 miles, 2wice lost Frank, 3 bacon butties, 2 drawers sorted, 1 freezer drawer left for tomorrow, 8 hours exploring, 1 fence no boundary, 1 bakewell tart, 1 joint pork, 0 fully crackled crackling! 26 roast potatoes, 2 vagabonds, 2 crabbies, 2 plus bottles of wine, £40 over 3rd target, 1 nomination.

2021 An Adventurous Year

Time for the annual round up. Put the kettle on or pour yourself a glass of something stonger, put your feet up, this is a long post.

Looking out into a cold world!

As midnight turned from 2020 to 2021 we saw the old year out and new one in at the house in Scarborough, a quiet affair with just the three of us.

January and February brought ups and downs with them. Oleanna rose and fell with the water level at Viking Marina due to the breach at New Bridge whilst the country locked down. Despite the restrictions on travelling we made use of having a hire car for a few days at the beginning of the year to keep an eye on Oleanna.

Jobs around the house continued, our bedroom was redecorated and reclaimed from troublesome tenants. Tilly and I ventured out into the nearby park for the occasional walk, dependant on the number of woofers and the weather of course.

We walked, we ate, we drank, did our best to stay well and I started on the design for Chipping Norton’s panto in my reclaimed work room.

The spare living room was used as a workshop doing some work for Animated Objects, scrimming giant sci-fi guns and then painting model buildings all for The Odyssey. Beetroot burgers were made and pancakes consumed.

Then March came along and some easing of restrictions. Colour came back in nature with the daffodils popping up and my panto model started to get coloured in. A design for some origami paper arrived ready to be folded up to be part of 1000 ships display that would happen a couple of months later along the Yorkshire coast.

With new freedoms we had a couple of trips to Goole to check on Oleanna. First one was to swing her round and finally put fire extinguishers on walls all ready for her Boat Safety Inspection which she passed with flying colours and a comment that we seemed to like CO and smoke detectors, well I’d rather have too many than not enough!

The cofferdam at the breach site was completed and an access ramp created. My posts about the breach put us in touch with several people in Goole and at the beginning of April The Goole Escape Facebook group was formed. Due to the breach and lack of water in Goole Docks no leisure boats were allowed to use Ocean Lock out onto the Tidal Ouse. A joint calm voice was needed to try to find a way out for those boats wanting to leave, including us.

Of course March was also when Mick and I got our first vaccinations. Who’d have thought having a jab would put a smile on peoples faces! Not that you could really see them behind all the masks. A bathroom got a make over and we discovered parts of Scarborough we’d never been to before.

April was a very busy month. With lodgers on the horizon house jobs needed finishing. The roof needed attention along with a wall in my work room, both jobs were for the professionals. Pictures went up on walls, finally. The bathroom needed finishing with Frank fitting us a new bath surround.

Mid month out attention moved back to Oleanna. Way back when, we’d booked her in at Goole Boathouse to be blacked. We had a night on board before moving her from one marina to the other to come out of the water. She was jet washed down and the chaps began applying layers of 2 pack to her hull. We visited most days with jobs to do ourselves. Mick busied himself inside whilst I ground back rusty bits on the gunnels, repainted them and the tunnel bands. Inside the oak floor had a good clean and then was treated to two coats of oil. The weather had been perfect for it and she went back in the water a week after she’d come out, enough time for the 2 pack to cure. She looked smart again, well the cabin sides still needed a good wash!

Whilst in Goole we met up with David, Karl, Wendy and Martin, four members of The Goole Escape group. David had managed to negotiate with ABP passage for leisure boats through Ocean Lock at Goole Docks, this was limited to specific times of the tide. So escape was now possible but everything would have to come together to make a sensible plan. We wouldn’t be ready for a few weeks and hoped that there wouldn’t be a mass exodus before we could join people.

As I carried on trying to finish my panto model Mick made good use of his time doing a VHF radio course, we’d need to be able to use the radio to meet the criteria for going through Goole Docks and out onto the Tidal Ouse. Tilly visited the vet and got a years worth of flea and wormer treatments, we were all set to move back on board.

The first of May was that day. We’d hoped that Tilly would remember the boat after seven months on shore, within about two seconds of being back it was obvious she knew where she was. News that Goole caisson gates were now open and cruising up towards the breach site was possible we headed off to give Oleanna a good run and so that Tilly could venture back onto dry land. It was very good to be back on the move again. On our second such trip Tilly remembered how to swim!

Whilst in Goole Mick took his Short Range VHF Radio exam and passed. I carried on painting my panto model. We both had our second vaccinations. Heather Bleasdale came to visit joining us for an outdoor lunch. We got to know the Goole Escape Committee and discussed plans. We watched work going on at the breach site. Mick had a birthday and Joan’s Home Kitchen provided us with a celebratory meal a couple of days before we hoped to escape.

On 21st May an escape committee meeting was had early on, the weather looked hopeful for the tide in the afternoon, we were booked in at Ocean Lock. Our escape was to be via Selby, the Lock keeper was called there and our plan confirmed. At lunchtime we moved up to fill the diesel tank and await the other escapees, Sea Maiden and Lullabelle. Given the go ahead by the docks to proceed we were soon passing through to Ocean Lock where there was plenty of space for the three of us. At around 14:30 the large lock gates opened to reveal our way out of Goole onto the Tidal Ouse.

All three boats arrived safe and sound

We headed upstream following Sea Maiden being pushed along with the tide. Would we make it to Selby before the tide turned. Each boat arrived individually and was locked up into Selby Basin. We’d made it, now all we had to do was escape Selby as the swing bridge out of the basin there was broken.

We waited. Tides, times, weather and the amount of fresh coming down stream all had to fit together. Bridget and Storm came to visit. We twiddled our thumbs. The Environment Agency came and closed the flood barrier. We twiddled our thumbs. Daily escape committee meetings were held. By the 27th everything was looking to fit together apart from one thing, Keadby Lock would not be manned at a suitable time for us to get off the river. Sea Maiden and Lullabelle decided to stay put in Selby. Heather Bleasdale was joining us for the trip but Oleanna would be out on the river on her own heading to Trent Falls.

What a day that was! David’s advice was spot on. Leaving Selby just before 10am Oleanna zoomed downstream with the out going tide. We followed our charts keeping to the channel. At the Apex light Mick swung Oleanna round to head upstream onto the Trent our progress slowing instantly.

We then crawled our way to find where we should wait for the tide to turn. Two hours of very little, drifting on our anchor. We’d picked the day well, it was wonderful out there.

When Oleanna started to move round a touch more we managed to pull the anchor up and found our way back into the main channel to head upstream with the incoming tide. One plan had been to moor up in Gainsborough, but we decided to carry on and arrived at Torksey just as the last light was fading at just gone 22:00, 64 miles in a day, I doubt we’ll ever beat that.

Over the next few days we made our way up the Trent, dug out our windlasses to work locks in Nottingham. Once we rose up Derwent Mouth Lock onto the Trent and Mersey we had completed our escape. The going would now be much slower along shallow canals and plenty more moored boats to slow down past.

Now we should make our booked mooring at Rembrandt Gardens, every day would be a boating day unless the weather was either too hot or far too wet to cruise. Along the Trent and Mersey, pausing to stock up in Alrewas. At Fradley we turned onto the Coventry Canal to head southwards. We gave a tow to NB Burghley Girl to the bottom of Atherstone.

At Hawkesbury Junction we did the 180 degree turn onto the North Oxford Canal, through Rugby and up Hillmorton. NB Kamili with Andy and Irene passed as we arrived in Braunston where we paused for another butchers, then up the flight and through the tunnel.

Straight on along the Grand Union. On route we stopped for a drink with Lizzie at Bugbrooke. Paused for a hot day under some trees near Milton Keynes. Had a diversion along the Wendover Arm for a night. Picked up extra crew, my old college friend Jen, for a day through Hemel Hempstead. Came across our first sightings of HS2 cutting it’s way across the landscape.

At Bulls Bridge we turned left onto the Paddington Arm. On our trip into London we came across our friends Pete and Clare on NB Billy, it turned out we’d be neighbours at Rembrandt Gardens for a few days. We arrived on time and the next day headed across London by bus to Hackney to see the London Leckenbys for the first time since Christmas 2019.

Plenty more family to catch up with. Kath came for lunch, we had a trip to Eastbourne to see Marion and John, a lovely lunch with Christine and Paul. So good to see everyone again and not just on a computer screen every Saturday.

Happy Birthday Big Brother

Andrew’s 60th Birthday was celebrated, nothing fancy just good to be able to be together for it, we’d achieved our second goal of the year.

We heard there was a space at St Pancras Cruising Club for a long boat like Oleanna, so we took advantage of a more secure mooring close to Kings Cross whilst we had a visit back to Scarborough. Checking on the house, lodgers changing over and seeing the latest Ayckbourn play with Bridget and Storm, it all made for a good weekend away. I then headed off to Huddersfield for a couple of days work with Dark Horse, fitting costumes for a photo shoot.

There was to be a Tideway cruise from St Pancras Cruising Club and with one space left we jumped at the opportunity. Ten boats made their way to Limehouse, we breasted up with NB Misty Blue, Graham turned out to be another Goole Escapee. Three lock-fulls of boats headed out onto the Tideway on the morning of 10th July, special permission had been sought to go under Hammersmith Bridge which was closed to all forms of traffic at the time.

Tilly thought we were mad taking her onto such rough water, I was a little perplexed too! Very glad that I was the official photographer, clinging on as we did more than bob up and down! Tower Bridge, The National Theatre, Christine, Adam, The Houses of Parliament, Battersea Power Station. So many sights, what an experience!

The further west we got the calmer the water got. We were glad when Hammersmith Bridge was passed as there had always been a chance that it might close to boat traffic at anytime due to safety reasons. We turned off at Brentford along with several other boats and continued up to Hanwell where we had a very sociable evening at The Fox with everyone. Thank you Simon for mentioning the cruise to us.

Sadly our washing machine hadn’t liked the lumpy water so for the next month we cruised meeting up with engineers on route hoping it could be mended. Back through London, pausing at St Pancras again. Then down to the Herford Union to cut across to the Lee and Stort. We had another mooring booked on the Lee awaiting our arrival, alongside NB Billy.

Then up the Lee and onto the River Stort. We’d only ventured so far up the Stort during our first winter on Lillian, this time we headed all the way to Bishop Stortford. Our return journey was held up slightly due to the river going into flood overnight so we had to wait for it to lower to get under the bridge at Roydon.

Back through London we made use of the new Eco-moorings near Islington Tunnel, a handy stop off with electricity. Here we met up with Nick an old friend from York and Adam called in for a catch up after working the breakfast shift at Radio 2.

Goodbye Christine!

At the end of July we pushed on and left London behind us, returning to Bulls Bridge.

We headed up to Uxbridge for cheap diesel and finally got our washing machine mended. We turned around and headed back to the Hanwell flight, stowed the garden back in the shower and headed out onto the Thames again where we turned right towards Oxford.

With a weeks license we couldn’t dawdle, although a broken lock gate at Boveney Lock did hold us up overnight so our license would be extended. A space was spotted below Cliveden so we treated ourselves to a night moored in the grounds of the big house. We paused for a socially distanced chat with Sue on No Problem XL, good to see her looking so well. Henley Regatta was almost ready as we passed through and our favourite mooring above Days Lock did not disappoint. All too soon we turned up Sheepwash Channel and ascended Isis Lock back onto the Oxford Canal.

Whilst in Oxford I managed an actual face to face meeting with Dash the Director for Chippy Panto. He seemed happy! Then we made our way up to Thrupp where we’d booked ourselves in at the cruising club for a few days whilst the London Leckenbys came to visit and we had a trip back to Scarborough and we got to see the show at Esk Valley for the first time since we’ve been living afloat.

I had a day trip to Chippy where I did a final model meeting over zoom from a dressing room, but also had chance to measure things up. Then we were off up the Oxford Canal, mooring in our favourite spots, it was a touch busier than it normally is in the winter.

A pause to visit Village Meats in Braunston and we spotted our old share boat NB Winding Down so we stopped to say hello. On up the flight sharing with a boat full of actors, then left up to Crick for the first time in ages.

A prearranged boaters meeting at Houdini’s Field worked brilliantly, NB Panda and NB Kamili convened and we all enjoyed each others company over a fantastic barbeque outside so everyone could feel safe and Tilly could roam about. Oleanna was treated to a very good wash and brush up before we were on our way again. We now needed to get her north before I started on Panto.

News came through that the breach on the Aire and Calder had been mended and nine months after the canal had sprung a leek it was mended and open again. Boats could now move through the area, mooring however is still restricted.

Following the Grand Union we headed down the Stockton Flight to Leamington Spa. Tilly and I had a few hot days on our own moored at Radford Smelly then we were on our way again. An obligatory burger at The Cape of Good Hope the night before we teamed up with NB Mad Hatter to ascend the Hatton flight. One day my old college friend Emma will not have an excuse to helping us up the flight, this time we met for a cuppa and a catch up the following day.

On up Knowle to Catherine de Barnes, then Camp Hill Locks, the Ashted flight and Tunnel (!) followed by Farmers Bridge into Birmingham. The city centre is still full of building and tram works but with the sun out it looked stunning. We also caught up with Paul Balmer from Waterway Routes before carrying on with our journey.

A night at Hawne Basin filled the diesel tank up. A night at Dudley Port Basin got the cupboards filled. A pause at Urban Moorings meant we could donate our deposits and the next day we descended from the Birmingham plateau down the Wolverhampton 21.

Along the Staffordshire and Worcester we managed to have a mid stream catch up with Barbara from NB Bessie Surtees. At Great Haywood I managed a catch up with Kay from NB Pea Green as she set up to trade for the day and Mick filled Oleanna’s water tank.

Heading north on the Trent and Mersey we pulled in for lunch and a surprise hello to Barry and Sandra from NB AreandAre whom we’d got to know last year in the first lockdown. In the afternoon we were joined by Bill and Lisa for a trip through Harecastle Tunnel. Now we swung off the Trent and Mersey and onto the Macclesfield with it’s wonderful bridges.

It would have been nice to take our time but we had a rendez vous to make. The end mooring at Marple was free and from here we headed into Manchester by train to join the London Leckenbys for a meal of big red fish. The following day my old school friend Morag joined us for a night on board with some serious catching up to be done.

Our next deadline loomed, Standedge Tunnel. We dropped down the Marple flight, crossed the aqueduct and turned right at Dukinfield Junction onto the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. We knew we were in for some hard work to climb our way over the Pennines, last time we’d enlisted crew to help as I was one handed. This time we’d be going solo. Apart from the very first lock it wasn’t too troublesome. The work is rewarded with stunning views.

Standedge Tunnel did not disappoint. Because of social distancing Mick got ride ride up front in the cratch leaving the helm to a C&RT volunteer. Bumps and scrapes made Oleanna wince along with us, but we all got through in one piece with no damage. Tilly wasn’t too happy about the trip, but at least I can now boast to the local cats in Scarboreugh that I’ve been through the longest deepest highest tunnel on the canal network whilst they just lazed around on their shed roofs!

On our way down the other side Oleanna had a belt that went taking out quite a few wires in the engine bay. RCR were sent for, the engineer suggested we’d need to remove a pulley on the alternator to be able to remove trapped wires, this could not happen where we were. We could move but the batteries would not charge. The only way to top up our electric was with the solar panels. Emergency power conservation went into operation, blogs were hand written, the freezer turned off and we gradually ate our way through our defrosting supplies. Every day Mick managed to pull more wire from the alternator and soon there was no need for an engineer again, just a new belt needed fitting.

We made our way down to Huddersfield and arrived the day before I had a production meeting at Dark Horse. After walking to my meeting I handed over the model and we stocked up on supplies before heading off east along the Huddersfield Broad Canal.

The Board locks are just that, but they are short. On Lillian we’d nearly got stuck here, but Oleanna was built a foot shorter so we knew we were fine, we still had to take great care in descending the locks diagonally. This continued on to the Calder and Hebble, taking our time and using our Hebble spike. The rebuilding work done at the Figure of Three locks, after flooding washed huge parts of the structure away, are only noticeable due to the new stonework.

Bigger locks were welcome, using the key of power once past Wakefield. The sun shone wonderfully for my last full days boating this year as we made our way to Castleford. Here we hired a car to get me down to Chipping Norton to start work on Panto whilst Mick and Tilly stayed on board with the plan to move Oleanna to a winter mooring in Thorne.

Whilst I painted the set working all the hours I could, Mick and Tilly gradually made their way eastwards. They passed through the breach site and headed to Goole to top up on diesel. On their way back towards the New Junction Canal the engine started to over heat, a problem that had happened a couple of years ago on the Thames.

The following day he winded and slowly made his way to Rawcliffe Bridge for easier access for RCR. Little could be done there and then, so Mick and Alastair (engineer) arranged to meet at Viking Marina in Goole. Oleanna managed the two and a half miles in three stages. After her cooling system had been flushed through the problem hadn’t gone away. The water pump was removed and was obviously the problem. A week later with a new pump Mick moved back out onto the cut and joined Lullabelle (a fellow Goole Escapee).

Taking a long weekend off panto, I headed up to join Mick and Tilly to help move them back to Scarborough. Wendy and Martin kept an eye on Oleanna for us whilst we settled Tilly back into the house, I knew where I was! Pah!!

Several days later with the weather on his side, Mick returned as early as he could, pushed off and single handed Oleanna back along the Aire and Calder to Sykehouse Junction where he turned onto the New Junction Canal. With swing and lift bridges to work he was glad of the assistance of a volunteer at Sykehouse Lock. Then the sharp turn at Bramwith onto the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigations. A few more bridges and two more locks before he arrived at Blue Water Marina, Oleanna’s winter mooring.

Tucked up for a rest

On our way back from Chippy a week or so later we called in to check on her. A boat in winter isn’t too friendly without the stove lit. We’ll have visits every now and then to check on her and do the odd job. The weeks are already flying by before we move back on board.

For a year that we’d decided would purely be about seeing our family and friends we ended up having quite an adventurous time. Trent Falls, the Tideway through London and Standedge Tunnel made it quite a year.

So our vital statistics for the year 2021 according to canal plan are

Total distance was 932 miles, ½ furlong and 627 locks . There were 42 moveable bridges of which 16 are usually left open; 169 small aqueducts or underbridges and 30 tunnels – a total of 19 miles 3 ¼ furlongs underground and 3 major aqueducts.

This was made up of 277 miles, 1 ¾ furlongs of narrow canals; 270 miles, 4 furlongs of broad canals; 89 miles, 4 ¼ furlongs of commercial waterways; 59 miles, 7 ¼ furlongs of small rivers; 121 miles, 5 furlongs of large rivers; 105 miles, 2 ¼ furlongs of tidal rivers; 8 miles of seaways; 263 narrow locks; 302 broad locks; 61 large locks; 1 lock on major waterways.

Sadly with Oleanna’s log book where it should be, onboard, I’m not able to offer up the engine hours, litres of diesel, gas bottle or bags of coal. Maybe I’ll update this once we are back on board.

The Thames, 2021

This year we’ve done more miles than last, not bad considering we were on land for so much of it. We’ve done far more tidal miles than ever before and for the first time we’ve been on a Seaway! If someone can tell me what the difference is between Tidal waters and Seaways please do. Maybe it was around Trent Falls, or was it downstream of Tower Bridge?

As last year I hope the pandemic doesn’t throw a spanner in the works for us or anyone else. We need the theatrical world to still function with an income for me designing shows and lodgers paying to stay in our house.

I want to say ‘Keep well friends’, but I feel I need to add, ‘Get well soon friends’, as so many have tested positive recently. Thank you for following us and hope to see you soon x

Near Miss And Sprouts Galore. 4th to 24th December

Scarborough Indoor Market

I’ve successfully been managing to avoid doing any house decorating over the last few weeks, well there’s just been so much to do!

Preparations for Christmas have been eating up a lot of time. Frank came round to sample this years biscuit recipe, a new one, gluten free Lebkuchen. This seemed to be a bit sturdier than my old recipe and would withhold being posted through letter boxes better and still be very tasty. Frank awarded them five stars, so I stocked up on ingredients to make a big batch to go out with local Christmas cards.


The image for our Christmas card had to be chosen. This takes quite a bit of time as I whiz through all the photos I’ve taken during the year, making a short list which then gradually gets whittled away, the final choice made between Mick and myself. From a shortlist of about ten we both very quickly agreed on which image it had to be. Oleanna approaching Tower Bridge. I don’t really know why I’d bothered auditioning photos this year as this was always going to be the image.

It had to be really

In Chipping Norton decisions were made to try to keep the show and the cast safe from any further cases of Covid. Sadly this meant the Pippins, three teams of local kids being cut from the show. They couldn’t be cut from some scenes as they played knights, so for these scenes they were replaced by puppets. The understudies went on for a few days after a full week of no shows and now the original company are performing two shows a day. Here’s hoping this can continue to the end of the run.

Christmas decorations went up around the house. Stars in the windows, a homemade wreath on the front door and our £4 Christmas Tree from Newark Market in 2015 came indoors to be decorated. I’m not sure it will ever fit in the boat for Christmas again, but it will return to the cratch when we move back onboard so that it gets looked after for another year.

One thing that didn’t happen last Christmas was my annual haircut. I was glad when I managed to get hold of Giselle who used to cut my hair in Scarborough, she understands me and my hate of products and blow drying. The last couple of times my hair has been cut it has taken around about half an hour from washing to me walking out of the shop in Banbury feeling like I want to wash my hair immediately. My visit to Giselle took 1hour 45 minutes for a wash and cut. We did have six or seven years to catch up on and a major debate on politics was had along with having my hair cut.

My day trip to Huddersfield for #unit21 costume fittings coincided with the reintroduction of mandatory masks on public transport. The trains now run from Scarborough through to Manchester again and thankfully they weren’t too busy, I had chosen trains outside rush hour on purpose. It was good to see all the ensemble of actors again. A few people were a bit confused about everyone having to wear masks again, but we all abided by the rules. All costumes were fitted only a few alterations needed which I packed up to bring home with me.

We’ve been having some glorious sunrises

The show is scheduled for February. I’ll need a few days accommodation, but with the current Covid situation I’m hesitating to book a hotel as with nine actors who are all vulnerable the show may get postponed again. Mick had another look at C&RT winter stoppages to see if we could move Oleanna to Huddersfield. Maintenance works mostly open up over Christmas and New Year which means that it would be possible to move her. The trip is around 26 hours, so five days cruise at this time of year. Sadly not a suitable trip for Tilly so we’d need to break the journey with visits back to the house. But as nobody has been answering the phone at Aspley Basin we don’t know if there would be space for us there. A nice idea to be able to be at home whilst working, but I think we’ve decided Oleanna would be better off where she is now and I’ll just have to fork out for a hotel if the need arises.

Sunday selfie in the South Bay

We’ve been for a few walks. On one we got distracted by a laundry airer and I found a new international supermarket, one that stocks all sorts of flours so I may not need to go to Doncaster to replenish my stocks in future.

What a view!

On another walk we stayed high along the south bay and through the old town. We had a nosy around Castle Crescent, a few houses with only pedestrian access but with fantastic views over the south bay. Maybe if we won the lottery!

Then we dipped under the Castle walls and headed down to Marine Drive to the north bay to say hello to Freddie who has weathered the recent storms well. Then back to the house via Peasholm Park and the cemetery.

At last a friend!

Tilly woke us the other night scurrying around the bedroom. This wasn’t normal behaviour so I suspected she’d found a friend. She had and had brought it to meet us. Luckily for us and the mouse it managed to hide in a bag on the floor which made for an easy extrication. Not sure where Tilly had found it but it does appear to have had a little munch on a bag of Sorghum flour before hand!

Just a few Lebkuchen

With five star approval for my biscuits, I made a big batch to deliver to friends around Scarborough. They were all iced and left to fully dry before being packaged up the following morning. The sun was out, just the prefect day for wishing friends a Merry Christmas. I did a lateral flow test in the morning just in case, all fine. Then whilst having a bite to eat before setting off my phone pinged! At some point when I was on my trip to Huddersfield a few days earlier I had been a close contact of someone who had now tested positive for Covid!


Thankfully as I’ve had my booster it said I didn’t have to self isolate, but I was offered a PCR test which was taken within two hours of being pinged. The biscuit delivery would have to wait for the result which arrived the following morning. Negative! Phew!!

We’d originally planned on heading over to the Lake District on Boxing Day to join the London Leckenbys for a night, then visit an aunt of Micks. Covid put paid to visiting care homes a week or so ago. We’ve also decided to stay close to home and not head across country, it just didn’t feel right. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up with Andrew Jac and Josh in the not too distant future when Omicron has passed through the country. Well it’s always good to spread Christmas out and it’ll give me chance to have another go at the pudding I’d been planning which hadn’t been too successful the first time. We may be being over cautious, but after my near miss and several friends coming down with it, we’d rather be that way.

We picked up our festive veg box and duck from Tree Top Press a couple of days ago. The red cabbage has already been braised, cider stock made for the gravy, bread sauce and stuffing made today. Tomorrow I’ll bake my birthday cake as I’ve chosen one that should be served warm, the bananas have been ripening for a week or so. It’s a bit of extra fuss on Christmas Day but hopefully it will be worth it.

Frank will be joining us again this year, a couple of days ago he delivered some booze including some bubbly and today he arrived with enough sprouts for the whole street! He miss timed his arrival and had to wait for the Christmas Eve sausage rolls to be made and baked, but his patience paid off. A new puff pastry recipe came up trumps, they got a Frank 9/10, ‘Well they can’t be perfect!’ Cheeky sod!

Even I’ve been getting post!

Our stockings have been found and are already in front of the fire. Here’s hoping we’ve been good enough for them to be filled overnight. We’ll see in the morning.

All ready for the man in red tonight

Back To Life On Land. 20th November to 3rd December


Well it’s been two weeks now since I returned to Scarborough. From rushing around on panto for five weeks calm has now been restored.

Different sticker this time

The day after I got back we both had our Covid boosters. Mine was at the Rugby Club where I joined another 1399 people being jabbed from my doctors surgery. Mick headed to a nearby church to get his and was offered a flu vaccine at the same time, so he had one in each arm. Five days later I got my flu jab at Boots. Mick ached a bit and we both had sore arms for a while, but nothing to complain about really.

Normally after opening Chippy panto we have a few days relaxing in Oxford before heading northwards dodging stoppages. The first year we got to see quite a bit of a festival of light around the city and two years ago we watched the Thames rise and rush past moored boats on East Street, we were glad to have been on the canal!

This year being in Scarborough didn’t stop us from what now has become a bit of a tradition, sitting on the sofa recuperating and watching a few episodes of Morse. I think two years ago we started the box set at the very beginning, the first episode and first murder having taken place opposite our mooring in Jericho. We decided to carry on where we left off, this years first episode being ‘The Last Bus to Woodstock’ Quite apt as I’d avoided that situation the other week when returning from visiting the London Leckenbys. There had been an old lady on my bus, but I doubt she was as nosy as the one in Morse.

The valley in the spring

Then ‘The Last Enemy’. This started with a narrowboat pootling along in the sunshine, quite badly steered, which ended up in the off side vegetation. Immediately our brains started to whirr, where was this? Short pontoons on the off side, slight bends, a building in the background. Hang on, the body was found just about opposite to where we’d moored at Thrupp a few months ago! Thankfully the inaccuracies of the canal system quickly struck (as they do in Morse) with talk of divers searching at the next lock. This would either be Shipton Weir Lock which is upstream or Roundham Lock which is quite a long way for body parts to have drifted to. It was nice to see Thrupp back in the 80’s, I wonder if any of the boats on the moorings are still the same? The Boat Inn certainly has changed a touch.

By the seaside

Our first Sunday walk in Scarborough had us waving to Jaye and Duncan on the way down to the South Bay to have a look at the sea. Not the longest of walks, but good to see that Scarborough was still there and have a few cobwebs blown away.

Banbury Guardian

Rapunzel Panto, Chipping Norton Review

Reviews of the panto have been coming in. So far everyone seems to love having panto back on stage. Chippy is a favourite with many, I even get a mention or two! Sadly a week after I left a Pippin tested positive, the companies PCR tests all came back negative so the show could go on after a days cancellation.

Oxford Mail

But at the beginning of this week one of the main cast had two lines show on their lateral flow test, everyone was sent back to Banbury for another PCR. Unfortunately a second positive was found in the company. The shows have been cancelled this week and so long as no-one else gets two lines the understudies will go on next week, I bet they are busy in their living rooms rehearsing. JJ who plays the Dame seems to be catering for those affected and leaving tuperware food parcels on door steps, I so hope they all stay well.

Hello! It’s me!!!

I have a shadow where ever I go, Tilly occasionally goes out to explore, but more of her time is spent moaning and complaining. I ask her every day when we’ll be back on the boat and moving the outsides again, so far She hasn’t given me a reasonable answer!

What are they doing to that TREE!?!

Thank you for the messages from people regarding the weather last weekend, I believe Scarborough was on the news. It was very windy and we had snow in town, plenty more up on the moors and wolds. Footage of wave dodgers filled social media as always.

Our street ended up being closed to traffic as there was a tree happily rocking away in the storm on Saturday. The council came to check it over, but it was too windy to do anything about it. They returned on Sunday to start to chop it down and on Monday afternoon it was ‘Timber!’ So much boaters gold!

Red Onion and Feta Quiche

Mornings have been spent doing a bit of work for #unit21 which will be here before I know it. Plenty of costume shopping and rearranging the build budget. The green light for the build was pressed this week so it’s all systems go, well for my friend Graham. I’ll do a days costume fitting before Christmas and then that should be it for me for a while.

We’ve had deliveries, smokeless coal, 2 veg boxes (so far) and the milk lady is back delivering three times a week. Our Christmas food order is in, just needs a final tweak. Now present deliveries are starting to arrive.

I keep making a mental list of which jobs need doing in the house this winter. One corner of the kitchen needs attention from where the leaking roof has left it’s mark. We’re not convinced all is sorted in that corner yet, the guttering hasn’t been clipped down fully so waved around in the storm and some roofing felt now encourages drips down onto the window sill below! We’re waiting for the roofer to call us back! The cosmetic side of the repair will wait a while longer.

That experiment turned out to be a bit messy!

I decided to give my knees another week off before getting on with some decorating. Sanding all the woodwork in the hallways is going to take some doing before I can give it a fresh coat of paint and some of the wallpaper needs replacing. One pair of curtains also need lining , if this is all I manage to get done this winter it will be fine as right now we don’t have the money to do more major decorating jobs. A plumber has been to check the two boilers over, the old one needs some work which hadn’t been picked up during gas safety checks when the house was rented out. So money is better spent there this year.

Just a bit of extra ventilation!

A couple of days ago Mick caught a train down to Thorne to visit Oleanna. A final oil change before winter hadn’t happened, so he was wanting to get it done sooner rather than later. He was prompted to visit as Sarah at the marina had called saying that there was a kitchen window open. Had we left this open on our brief visit? Or had someone else opened it?!

Train timings meant he had time to pick up some oil from Boyes in Goole on his way. Sure enough the window was open, thankfully the weather last weekend must have been blowing from the port side so had avoided coming in. It certainly looks like it was us who left it open. Unfortunately in amongst the new filters onboard there wasn’t the one needed for the oil. So other than running the engine for an hour and closing the window Mick had had a bit of a wasted journey.

I’ve been trying to go for walks everyday to keep my knees working. Walking in the footsteps of the local yeti and seeing the sea is a good thing. My left knee seems to be behaving other than feeling a bit stiff. Hopefully this will pass and I’ll do my best not to kneel when I start decorating.

Hello Frank

After being back for ten days I dropped Frank a message and sure enough he was round for a cuppa the following day. There were slight complaints about the lack of biscuits on offer! If he times his visit well this week he’ll be able to try out the sample batch for this years Christmas biscuits. It was very good to see him and hopefully Mick has planted a seed or two about some carpentry jobs we’d like him to do on Oleanna this winter.