Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New years eve

After a few drinks and nibbles aboard the ' Mighty Caxton ' we saw the New Year in at the Titanic Pub with the marina hard core crew.

Diane and Dot

Dot and Gordon

The Hard Core Team, Gordon, Dot, Paul, Elaine, Diane and Sue

Playing with sparklers

Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 Stats and Beer.

Since buying FL in April in the 5 months that we cruised we clocked up
557 miles 298 locks 93 lift bridges 35 aqueduct's and 5 Tunnels.

During these waterway miles we visited some excellent pubs along the way where I sampled  31 different ales.

My top ten ales :-
  1. Marstons Pedigree
  2. Plum Porter
  3. Timothy Taylors
  4. Old Hookey
  5. The Bell Ale
  6. Ruddles County
  7. Marstons Empire
  8. Doombar Ale
  9. London Glory
  10. Spitfire
I'm afraid I don't have a discerning palate, I can't taste a 20 year old oak barrel or smell the hops from west of the Thanet Way in any beverage although I could taste the plums in Plum Porter. What I can tell you is of the beers that I tasted these are the ones that looked and tasted good to me on the particular day I sampled them, of course dependant on how a landlord keeps his beer my number one spot could of easily been at number thirty.

Well 2013 is just about to flicker out and what a wonderful year it has been for us, we couldn't have picked a better year to start our new life style. The summer was one of the best I can remember, we have made many new friends during our travels, we have seen parts of England we never knew existed and been part of a linear community that welcomed us with open arms.

So to all blog readers  I wish you all the very best for 2014.

Cheers and Beers

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Back to the boat

Had a carvery lunch with Nikita at the Mount Murray over looking the golf course.
Took the hounds on a long walk around the Conrhenny Plantation where Sylar bumped into his sister Mufty and other 4  legged friends, living on an island even the pets all know each other.
After the sunshine we have enjoyed all day, clouds have started to darken the sky and the wind has started to pick up.i
I have just received a sms from the Steam Packet informing of a slight delay in our sailing this evening.
Well that's our Christmas over and the decorations are back in the loft.

The sailing was a little choppy for the first hour then things smoothed out for the rest of the journey  docking at  Heysham 01:00 AM. Got back to the boat at 03:30AM. 

Saturday, 28 December 2013


Silly me I won't be getting on tonight's ferry as It's going to Dublin. I will have to wait till Sunday and hope the winds don't pick up till I dissembark around 23:15

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Ferry

The wind has been lashing the island since yesterday. There will be a lull in the storms from tonight but they return Sunday night.
As a result we have changed our plans , l will return on the Saturday night ferry  which should get me back on board by 2am. Sue will get a flight over in the new year.
Today we had visitors to the house when Andy & Ali came for a cuppa and a catch up.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day Racing

Spent the afternoon in O'Donnells with the Guinness, Becks and assorted soft drinks while putting a bet on at the next door bookies.

Sue Angus  'TF' Tracey and  Adelle.
Things were going a little pear shaped until Sue found  a nag in the last race at Kempton named 'Junction 14' which is the junction we come of the M6 to go to Stone, so I whipped round to the bookies and put our pot on it and it obliged ... result.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas

The days have started to get longer already, spring will be here before you know it and we will be cruising again. We will have a couple of chilly months to endure beforehand but I do prefer to look on the bright side.

These two are looking forward to Christmas 

Merry Christmas to  all readers of my blog.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Cat with no Tail

Went to the The Cat with no Tail Saturday night with friends and next door neighbours Angus and Tracey. I had the Jennings Redbreast Ale . Sue had her tea.

Sue and Tracey 

Apologies to anyone with a Manx telephone number who sent me a text message during this year, We found out last night that although I reply the message doesn't get received. I haven't been ignoring anyone. Sure network  numbers on the island are fine.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Boat TV

I'm insulating the loft at the moment, in a box I found this Goodmans Quadro 900.

It was bought for our first boat 30 years ago. It has a 5 inch TV screen , tape AM/FM radio. And can be used on batteries,240volt  or 12volt.

Plus its still working !

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Rob was round early this morning to fit our units in the saloon and what an excellent job he has done, we are over the moon with the new look. Below are some before and after shots.

The way it was. 

Not very attractive.

Taking shape


The units actually look a lot better than the photo's I've taken, we couldn't be more thrilled with the quality of Rob's workmanship.  Here is a link to Rob's site Rob Shone narrowboat Joinery.

We are booked on the ferry for home tomorrow but with all this wind there will be some disruption to the service.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Had a touch of beer flu this morning following yesterdays Christmas boaters get together, I can't remember the last time that happened, it was possibly the mulled cider with rum or the mulled wine with whisky that Dot made that did it.

There was a frost first thing this morning but we missed it, we didn't surface till 10:30! As it was a bright sunny day we decided to go for a drive to Chester as we have heard it is  a pleasant place to visit.

Chester really is a handsome city

 Sand sculptures

Eastgate  clock apparently the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben

Built to commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.

Another gate!

Walking around the City walls

The River Dee

We had lunch in the Red Rouge Cafe and headed to Tattenhall to check out their marina.

Tattenhall Marina

Beeston Castle overlooking the Cheshire Plain 

The Ice Cream Farm.

Where the  ice cream comes from.

Welcome home committee.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Jolly Boaters

This morning while Sue went shopping for ingredients to make some tasty bites for this afternoons boaters gathering I got the house work done including washed the windows.

I helped Sue with making breadcrumbs and frying the Russian chicken patties and fish cakes while sipping a couple or swerves.

The Jolly boaters of Aston.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Dunelm and Uncletricide

Friday was a dreary dull day only highlight was playing with the new Dyson, which was capable of getting the previous owners grime from the carpets as well as our own. Apart from going to Dunelm in Stafford for a winter duvet we did little else of note.

If the act of killing your own father is Patricide has Kim Jung-Un committed Uncletricide. Perhaps after culling his own relatives,  he will then be able to surpass his dads achievements which included turning winter into spring, making rainbows spontaneously appear,  getting eleven 'holes in one' in a game of golf, never defecating his whole life and inventing  the hamburger.
Amazing how with the amount of information available at the stroke of a keyboard these narcissistic dictators aren't shot on the spot by the nearest person brandishing a brain cell and a gun.

Saturday we awoke to bright conditions with just thin wispy broken cloud cover, Sue did some baking and a couple of wash loads, the first load worked on the shore power ok , the second load stopped half way through so we had to revert to unplugging the shore power and switching the engine on.!!!  Nothing much else happened just chilled out really.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The cheek of Google

We went into Stafford today to do some shopping and this guy was entertaining the crowds.

I thought he must be using some sort of steel frame work and triangulating it though the brolly until he changed position and swung the umbrella over his shoulder.

I bought another cordless Dyson today this one has a motorised brush head so picks up loads more than the other one did. States a 20 min battery life from full charge which is more than enough to do the floor area. The old one had me crawling around  the boat on my hands and knees to gather the dirt. I prefer the colour of this one blue as opposed to gold and I don't need to get up close and personal with the muck. .. oh and it reaches into the bilge in the engine bay.


Mr Dyson posing with my machine.

Look what Google + have done to one of yesterdays photos, I didn't ask for it to be done, good job I quite like it . Just in case it doesn't show after I press the publish button there is snow falling.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Birmingham and a World Record

After reading our neighbours blog we decided to be copycats and get the train into Birmingham and see the famous Frankfurt Christmas Market, it certainly has a German theme to it with plenty of Frankfurters Bratwurst, Schnitzel and Bier being sold at various stalls. Pretzels, chocolates, fudge, cheese, gingerbread, crepes and marzipan sweets were all very tempting...but we gave them a miss. 

We did partake in a mulled wine, hot apple drink and a steak roll each. 

All that was missing was the lederhosen, accordion music and wenches with arm fulls of frothy beer but that will probably come out in the evening.

St Martins in the Bullring.

This view looked spectacular, all grey with shards of misty light...... until I photo'd it, now it looks pants.

Bier keller.

 Salt rock stall.

The future !

The library

Had a stroll down to the canal at Gas Street unfortunately  the cafe boat was shut.

Part of the cracker team.

In Brindley Place we came across a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest group of people in one place pulling Christmas crackers, I believe they broke the existing record by 150.

Cracker G.B.R. attempt.

Brummies having fun on the ice rink.

Frankfurt  twinned with Birmingham in the 70's and this market has been going for 12 years, maybe there is a Birmingham Market in Germany around this time of the year too!