Sunday, 29 September 2013

Fellows Morton & Clayton Narrowboat Ferret spotted.

After doing some chores including more gardening we had a drive to Point of Ayre as the last time we were there  the gorse and heather was in full flower and we didn't have a camera, it was worth the effort to take a few pictures of the stunning landscape.

First narrowboat ever seen at the Point of Ayre

After taking photo's we drove to Peel and I took this picture of  Peel Castle while enjoying a Davidson's ice cream sitting in the car.

While Sue cooked the sunday roast I washed our car and Nikita's.

Ferry booked for Tuesday to take us to Liverpool for the drive back to Aston Marina, should arrive back to FL about 8pm. With all this good weather we have been having I wish I had spent the time finishing off painting FL, hopefully we will get another good week before winter sets in.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Sound

Another sunny day in the IOM, so time spent in the garden putting bark down on the borders to hopefully suppress any of the weeds that have left their seeds for next spring.

This afternoon we watched the first half of the match between Douglas RUFC v Winnington Park. 

We are going to Twickenham in November to see England v Argentina, hope they are as entertaining as Douglas were today.

Leaving the rugby ground we made our way south and to the Sound Cafe.

The Sound Cafe 

Looking from the Sound cafe to the Calf of Man

We stopped in Castletown on the way home where I had a glass of Saltaire Pride  in the Castle Arms.

Inner harbour

Outer harbour

The Castle Arms below the Castle.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Isle of Man still.

Washed the windows today and did a little weeding in the borders while Sue had a catch up lunch with her friend Lyn. Took Sylar for a long walk, he's not allowed off the lead until he has had his stitches removed consequently we walk for hours instead of his usual exercise of charging around the plantation and in and out of rivers.

In the evening we had a nice meal and a couple of Cobras with Angus and Tracey in the ' Taste of India' restaurant. Usually I would go for something spicy hot like a Madras or Jalfrezi off the menu but instead I plumed for the Chicken Tikka Shashee which is chicken cooked in mince lamb with a few mild spices, it was very tasty indeed.

This morning we have been into town to do some shopping and then had lunch beside sunny Laxey beach. Laxey is built around a glen and its steep streets run down to the harbour and beach , the village has a nice feel to it,we have always enjoyed our outings to the area. It has five pubs one of which The Shore Hotel located by the harbour brews its own ale, Bosuns Bitter, in an attached micro brewery (Old Laxey Brewing Company). Laxey was a mining village and its famous Laxey wheel(video)is a major tourist attraction on the island.


Laxey harbour internet photo

Phone photo's of Laxey

Laxey beach and promenade

We also took a drive up to the Point of Ayre for no reason other than it is a nice vista out over the sea to Scotland.

Point of Ayre

Point of Ayre light house's from internet

Sue is out to The Bridge this evening to meet up with some ex colleagues while Nikita and I had a nice meal in the Views. When we got home we took both the dogs for a walk but Rocky came home early with me because he is so young and can't manage the distance his brother Sylar can do.

We will probably be on the ferry back to Festina Lente Tuesday or Wednesday.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Bilateral Orchiectomy (de-ball)

Spent most the day in the garden with the petrol strimmer getting the lawns under control 6 trips down to the local amenity site, and the back of it is done. Weather permitting and I'll prune back some of the trees and bushes tomorrow. We have hired a gardener to come in and look after the lawns from next March so it will be one less thing to worry about next season.  I'm so glad narrow boats don't come with gardens.

Sylar the eldest of my daughters two labrador dogs went to the vet's today to be de-balled and is now lying down looking sorrowful with a plastic cone around his head, poor lad.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Isle of Man

Flight left Dublin an hour late this morning as they had to change a faulty wheel. We are now back home in the IOM for a week while we get some chores, sort the gardens out and get the car serviced and taxed.

Sunday, 22 September 2013


This morning the Sun was out and quite warm as we walked to the Guinness Store House  for a tour around Dublin's number one tourist attraction. Once inside the building and you get past the shop with every conceivable piece of household ware and clothing stamped with the Guinness logo, the tour takes you through seven floors of history and the brewing process, finally reaching the Gravity Bar with it's panoramic views of the city.

In the afternoon we had a stroll around the Grand Canal Docks which has a very smart appearance with upmarket apartment blocks, bistros, restaurants and a large theatre. Unfortunately my camera has given up the ghost and now my phone has run out of battery so no photo's from me.  There is a small basin behind the visitor centre that includes a few narrow boats among the moorers. Turning left where the canal reaches the River Liffey we walked over the harp shaped bridge to look at the Jeanie Johnston famine ship (video)

Below are from the Internet.

Gravity Bar

Dock area, these light up at night.

The Waterways visitor centre was closed when we arrived.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Automobiles,Trains and Planes.


We got a Taxi to Stafford, a train to Liverpool and a Ryanair flight to Dublin  for a surprise birthday bash for our friend Tracey, I haven't been able to blog about it till now as Tracey reads the blog and I didn't want to spoil the surprise element to the weekend.  I will publish on Sunday. We are billeted in the Double Tree and arrived Friday morning, the surprise do is on Saturday at  La Caverna.

We have been for a stroll around Grafton Street area (main shopping district) and had a Guinness in M. O'Briens

First Guinness in O'Briens

The night at the Brazen Head was awesome for 40 euro a head we had  a descent  three course meal while  in between courses we were educated in Irish history and culture through story and song by our host Ollie who's engaging charm and infectious energy kept the Americans, Canadians, Danish, Swedish and British audience enthralled with his story's of Irish myths and legends. From the potato famine to fairies and leprechauns we were regaled with the rich tradition of Irish history and folklore.


We walked into the city in the morning passing the Grand Canal.

The Grand Canal connects Dublin in the east to the river Shannon in the west via Tullamore. The last working barge passed through the canal in 1960.

Sculpture given to the Irish people in gratitude to the help given to German children after WW2

St Stephens Green 

Wolfe Tone 1763 - 1798  an Irish revolutionary figure regarded as the founder of Irish republicanism. He was to be hanged for his part in the 1798 Irish rebellion but committed suicide while in custody

Our first Guiness in M. O'Briens

The  Brazen Head


We were out walking towards the city by 1000 hrs . First we had a stroll down the Grand Canal

Lock on the Grand Canal.

The obligatory cone in the bankside reeds.

This boat is moored to both sides of the canal, glad they don't do this on the Trent and Mersey

Dublin City has embraced the hire cycle culture. 1.5 euro's for two hours.

After our canal stroll we spent a pleasant couple of hours in Trinity College where we went to the Book of Kells exihibition. We were really impressed with the old library long room which was built in the early 1700's it  is more than 200 feet long , and holds 200,000 of the library's oldest books.

Trinity College 

The library long room.

We then walked to the Old Post Office on O'Connell street where the Irish republic first took its first steps to independence.During the Easter Rising of 1916 the GPO
was the HQ or the uprising leaders.
Despite the buildings fame as an iconic place of Irish freedom, ground rent continued to be paid to English and American landlords until the 1980's

The Post Office

All this walking gave us a thirst so we made our way to the Old Dubliner in the Temple bar area for a Guinness and touristy ' traditional' Irish music. Here we had a couple of glasses of the black stuff listened to the music and people watched through the windows.

The Auld Dubliner

After the Dubliner we got a Taxi back to the hotel, had a sandwich and a Guinness in the bar before having a rest in our room before tonight's festivities in La Caverna.

We met up with Tracey's family and friends at La Caverna at 1845hrs. Tracey arrived with her husband Angus just after 1900 hrs and just after the battery on my camera had died so the picture I have are off my phone, so not very good.

Birthday girl Tracey with hubby Angus.

Sue with Mel and Denise.

After the meal we walked into the Temple bar area and had a Guinness or two at the Grogans Castle Lounge. We left the  birthday party at around 1230 hrs , about half hour after the youngest in the party, but sometime before Aunty Dorreen.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Managed to get a coat of primer on the bow and another undercoat on the stern in the afternoon while Sue walked the 4 mile round trip to the chandlers to swap the M6 bolts I bought yesterday for the correct size M5, Forecast is for better weather this weekend so maybe I will get some top coats on.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Threatening skies when we woke this morning but it held off while we walked into Stone along the footpath. First port of call was The Stone Boat Building Company to buy a new chimney hat and some S/S M6 countersunk bolts to replace the brass ones I destroyed getting the cleats off  to rub down the bow area for painting. We did  some shopping in the high street and had a pasty for lunch. The rain started as we made our way down the towpath, greeting soggy skippers of  boats still cruising,  back to the boat where we quickly dried by the warmth of the coal stove I lit in the morning.

Dodgy looking Bedford outside boat yard.

As a favour for somebody I can remember 40 years ago as a newly passed his test teenager I drove one of these Bedford trucks to Hungerford with a load of glasses for petrol stations. (they were given away free with fuel at the time) As I made my way down the M4 a buzzer sounded and a big lamp flashed in the middle of the metal dash board. The lamp had writing in a circle around it which with age had now rendered it unreadable. To this novice trucker the vehicle was still driving OK so there couldn't be too much wrong perhaps a fuse had gone, the wipers didn't work when I got in it and I was told to be back before dark as it had no headlights.

When you leave the motorway you eventually come to a downhill section with a T junction at the bottom and it was here I found out the air compressor had packed up and I had no brakes and if I could have read the sign around the lamp it would of said 'If buzzer sounds stop vehicle immediately.' Luckily I crunched down the gears and coasted around the corner to a standstill.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Leonard Cohen


Drove down to Shepperton for a lovely Sunday roast with starter's and pud cooked by Surrey's finest cook Christine, who answered the front door to us in her Hooters apron (now there's a welcome!). We left there about 4pm to make a slow painful journey to the 02 Arena at Greenwich, we could have covered the distance quicker in our narrow boat, the traffic was awful and we arrived in the arena around 7pm, 3 hours to do a 20 mile journey.

We really enjoyed the concert and Leonard Cohen was his brilliantly poetical deep mournful voiced best, not bad for a guy who must be 121 years old by now. As he said last night on stage " I'm not ready to hang up my boxing gloves yet, but I know where the hook is." He hasn't worn as well as Sir Cliff but he can still pull in the crowds, last night was a sell out.

We left after the first encore to beat the rush out of the car park, which we did, only thing to slow our progress home was the 12v plug on the hire car didn't work so the Satnav ran out of juice. I am so reliant on that little black box these days, luckily Sue had brought along an AA route planner printout which we used to negotiate through Central London and on to the M1, finally arriving back at the boat at  2am.


During the night the wind blew the hat of the chimney and into the drink, I will get my magnet out and go fishing for it.

Didn't have to take the hire car back till 5pm so we used it to get around and do some shopping. Duvet, tea towels, gunk degreaser and some screws were all bought in Stafford. Had a chat with Paul on the good ship Caxton who are moored on the same pontoons as us. After their two year adventure they are putting Caxton on the market so if you know anyone looking for a great boat to live on or for holidays give Paul a shout

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Frustrating Saturday


Forecast was for a dry day up until 5pm when the rain would come in. So out with the paint and brushes and a coat of undercoat was applied to the primed stern area. The rain came early at 2pm but it was touch dry by then, I had run the engine to help warm the rear end to speed up drying time. Next decent weather window we get I'll give it another  undercoat followed by two top coats.

Enterprise picked us up from the marina at 5pm to take us to their depot in Stafford. We had a drive to B&Q , Argos and then did some shopping in Asda.  As it was getting late we decided to have a two course special at Frankie and Bennys. Pulled pork potato skins and crab meat bruschetta for starters which were really nice followed by a Ranch burger each which were OK.


Another grey day today with heavy low cloud so I won't get much done today on the exterior.... The sun did come out after lunch so I wet & dried the bow and gas locker lid while we waited for the joiner to turn up.. ...It's now 5pm and still no sign of the joiner, I'm getting a little bit cross now as we changed our weekend plans for his Saturday afternoon appointment with us.......  why can't tradesman turn up when they are supposed to. Sue spoke to Alex in the shop and he was very apologetic but I had rung the office and left  a message for him to call me earlier in the day and he didn't ring back.

Undercoat on the stern counter

Bow rubbed down.

Tomorrow we are driving down south to go to the Leonard Cohen concert at the Dome (O2 Arena) on the way we will pick our tickets up from our friends who have invited us for Sunday lunch...thanks Christine.