Sunday, 12 November 2017


This pin reminds me of my old mate Jack who was an army despatch rider  during the Dunkirk evacuations

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Not all work no play

Lots of chores to be done at home.. what a bore they are ... mainly in the gardens. The old Landrover has come in handy for the numerous trips to the amenity site to get rid of two years worth of cuttings from trees and shrubs. I have now got the front garden under control  but the rear garden full of overgrown rhododendrons, conifers, tall birch tree, and a dead elm tree will be done by a local gardener. I have clambered up these garden pests in the past but now it is either beyond me or I just can't be arsed. 

It's not all been hard work though our daughter has treated us to a superb meal out at Mcfarlanes.

And some long walks with the dogs

Our girl planned a surprise microlight flight as a birthday treat for Sue.

Sue and her pilot.
No way in the world you would get me up in one of those contraptions, Sue loved it.  She had a half hour flight from Andreas air field down the coast to the lighthouse at the point of Ayre, over a ship wreck and a low pass over Jurby airfield runway.

Bit of a squeeze getting in to the thing.

I  had a treat too when I was taken up to Grenaby Estates for an afternoon of clay pigeon shooting, being a complete novice I was surprised how many I actually hit, Nikita is a regular shooter and it showed.

Hill walking south of the island

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Last days of the cruising season.

We left FL a few days in the new Dunchurch Pools marina while we headed to Stafford for Sue's Birthday dinner at the Shimla Palace.

Red sky at Dunchurch.
A good night with great company.

Happy Birthday from the Management

On a sunny day we caught the train to Wolverhampton to help our friends get NB Klara down the 21 locks on the BCN mainline. Great weather for lock wheeling, after a delayed start while C&RT fixed a broken paddle we whizzed down the flight.

A Freaky Friday (20% discount day) visit to Midland Chandlers to spend this months pension cheque, Sue insisted we needed a new oven/grill ...fair enough.... the oven does sometimes extinguish its flame, invariable this occurs mid bread baking and is accompanied by door slamming and on occasion an expletive, a new 12v fridge was ordered also because freezer compartment doors should be vertically hinged and not horizontally!

A gas installation engineer will fit the new oven this week, it's a little wider and will need minor alteration to the housing, the fridge we could deal with ourselves ..........the old fridge was snapped up by a K&A project boat owner on fleabay.

I've been getting FL's paintwork ready for the short days and long nights with a good clean and polish. The three fuel line filters, engine oil/filter and gearbox oil were all  renewed when the engine was shut down for the last time this year.

On a Sunday we had a lovely lunch with my sister,  niece and her number one son in the twofer in Braunston.

We go home for the first time in more than two years next week. We both need MOT's at  the doctors while we are there.  After that we head for Spain for the winter......... don't the years speed up the older you get.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, 9 October 2017

South Oxford Canal.

Since leaving the Thames we have pootled to the end of the South Oxford canal, been along this beauty of a canal so often there is not a lot more I can write about it. As this is our diary a few pictures will do.

The canal shares a stretch of water with the river Cherwell between Shipton Weir lock and Bakers lock.

Conditions were normal.

Pigeon lock.

Dashwood lock.

Heyford Common lock.

Cropredy lock bridge( canoes take a short cut)

Clocks go back this month!
Sue was helping at the lock while I waited to take FL into one of the Claydon locks,  Two ladies from a hire crew walking past to the next lock commentated "We have decided that your wife is the nicest person we have met on the canal".

Adkins lock

Bridge 100 (unnamed we call it Skinny bridge)

Maybe a blogger first - two together.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Lechlade to Dukes Cut.

Thursday - The Lechlade farmer woke us up at 08:30 for a £5 mooring fee. He advised the longer you stay the more you save weekly fee is £25 and monthly £60. 

Friday - It was a sunny start to the cruise, said our goodbyes till next year to the two lockies we did see, they both replied with Happy Christmas!

We stopped at Radcot for an hour for a lunchtime drink in Ye Old Swan a pub that was missing off our list of Thames boozers visited.

Moored at Radcot

We moored at Bablock Hythe so Sainsburys could deliver supplies through the side hatch in the morning.  I swapped a bottle of Doombar for some maggots from a fisherman who was just packing away for the day. I try my best to keep my crew happy.

Monday has been overcast but a calm still day, the water is quiet and smooth, reflections are sharp. The verdant landscape is changing hues, green leaves have started to get a hint of gold, red and grey.

Inspection launch Evenlode

More than a thousand sheep at our Hagley Pools mooring.

Decent Roach( thats ground bait in the bowl not Sues breakfast)
Tuesday- Our last cruise on the Thames for this year, from here it is only twenty minutes to get to Dukes Cut and back on the Oxford canal. Then it's back to my crew getting exercise, winding paddles pushing on gates and heaving up lift bridges.

Misty start to the day

Route to get off the Thames using Dukes Cut under the A40 and on to the Oxford canal.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Thames navigable end

St Johns lock with Lechlade 'duel spires' in the distance
I took the above photo while we waited for the lockie to open the gates, I don't know how but St Laurence church has gained another spire -  in this photo at least.

Not long after mooring up I went to the aide of a fellow boater who's vessel had become untied, the gusting wind blew the boat across the river, a trailing stern line caught in the prop when he started the engine.  I soon had him against the bank with a centre line while he tied up properly.

Today we have stayed put, the wind and rain the met. office was promising never materialised. We went to the local medical centre to sort out a prescription, on the way back Sue wanted to pick up some bait but the tackle shop closed down 18 months ago, oh dear we will have to find another supplier quickly as Sue is starting to show withdrawal symptoms.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Abingdon - Chimney

We were going to get off the Thames at Oxford but instead we decided to have another wander up to Lechlade. We had overnight stops at Sandford and Pinkhill.

Godstow lock.


Northmoor lock
The lock was self service so Sue helped herself to fruit  and herbs from the lock garden.

Waiting for Sue to close up.

We love this spot

So peaceful
We have been watching a Kingfisher this afternoon fishing. It's favourite perch being fifteen foot up a tree to high dive down on prey, occasionally hovering midstream humming bird like before diving. My pictures were blurred .

Here's one from the www.

Blackberries this time. 

Tall blackberry bush

Peace interrupted. 

A man on a bike?

Chasing swans

Dhruv on his bamboo bike.

We met Dhruv, an interesting guy, who is doing his bit to save the planet, he is raising awareness of the problem of discarded plastic bottles by 'cycling' from Lechlade to Big Ben in London. He is unsupported so if any boaters on the Thames spot him offer him a drink ....but not out of a single use plastic bottle! You can read about the campaign here