Sunday, 29 June 2014

A Lottery Win

The Varnishing at the back is finished now, so today I will make a start on some of the kitchen cupboards.

I had one of those 'Exciting news about your lottery ticket' emails today, although I know it will be one of the thousands of lower pay outs, while I sign into my account in my mind somebody is pointing at me saying "It is you".  No such luck but 25 Sovs will come in handy,  I used to buy two tickets before they doubled the price I only buy one now so my chances of winning have halved.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Tower of Refuge

Thursday as well as dog walking we had a trip up Douglas Head for a pasty lunch, from here you can see the Tower of Refuge , the tower was built in 1832 by Sir William Hillary of RNLI fame as a refuge for survivors of shipwrecks on the semi submerged rocks, we are thinking of commissioning  art work in the traditional Roses and Castle style of the refuge to adorn our barren rear doors.

Tower of Refuge

The evening was spent in the company of friends Laura and Scot at La Mona Lisa, the meal was OK apart from a Laura's starter which wasn't up to standard and was promptly returned to the kitchen. Food aside it was great to see them again and catch up with all their news.

Laura, yours truly Sue and Scot.

Friday, thundery showers welcomed me back to FL, I spent the afternoon and evening  rubbing down the woodwork at the stern after removing the instrument ,solar and mastervolt panels, light, various brass plaques and hooks.

The Sainsburys delivery driver phoned twice for directions, although I know how to arrive by boat the roads are a different matter,  my limited local knowledge got him here in the end, the fridge is now stocked.

 I started on the varnishing first thing Saturday morning unfortunately the showers began and I had to shut the rear doors and varnish by light from one small porthole to starboard and a torch, not the best conditions to work in but it's done now.

Watched Brazil scrape through on penalty's against a hard working Chile side. 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Leaving the rock.

I have been itching to get back on board FL to get some work finished during this good spell of weather, jobs on the house and garden are real chores to me now but on the boat the maintenance is so much more pleasurable.

It has been nice seeing friends and neighbours, one of our dearest friends and next door neighbour Pat is leaving the home she has known most of her life today, a big wrench for this brave lady, her beautiful garden which she has tended so diligently has now become too much for this independent septuagenarian, we will never forget coming home in the dark to find her tending her plants with torch and trowel. Even more memorable was being invited to Pats church where we enjoyed listening to a relative of Elvis Presley, during the show a camcorder fell from the balcony above and narrowly missed my pate, a sign from above perhaps.

Pat popped around yesterday to say goodbye and presented us with  a beautiful leather bound book 'Daily Light on the Daily Path' which we will be taking on our journey aboard FL. We will keep in touch and we wish her happiness and peaceful enjoyment in her new home.

Tonight we will be having a meal with friends Scott and Laura at La Mona Lisa in Laxey. We haven't seen them for more than a year, so we are looking forward to the catch up.

Tomorrow I will be back on FL to get on with those chores, the smell of new varnish and paint will have dispersed before Sue arrives on Wednesday next week to make sure the work is up to standard. Sue has done a Sainsbury's delivery to the marina for tomorrow evening so I wont starve.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Isle of Man

Dog sitting duties are continuing with trips out to the beach interspersed with house cleaning, shed painting and gardening. 

Point of Ayre

He's behind you.

Peel beach

Peel breakwater.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Weekend update

Saturday- Watched a decent performance by a depleted England RU side that were narrowly beaten by a last minute try in the last minute by the world champions New Zealand at Eden Park, later we watched the England football side failing to score against Honduras probably  the worst team to qualify for  the World Cup!

The rain starting coincided with our departure so it was boots and weatherproofs from the start as we set off through Cropredy lock to the service point. An inconsiderate boater (it was the chap Sue helped through the locks yesterday!) was moored up on the water point so it was difficult to moor to use the facilities, after winding, Sue held FL under the bridge while I did the necessary, we didn't need water.

The rain was heavy, the watery silver bullets came vertically so didn't get through our defensive layers. Broadmoor, Varney, Elkintons locks and Claydon 5 locks were mostly in our favour as we continued on route through the green and pleasant Cherwell valley. The lambs are growing, running & playing impervious to their coming end. On the left bank the last few yellow flowers  of the the rapeseed are now hanging on to the plant, on the right bank fields of winters silage are nearing the time for reaping. The downpour suddenly stops, we peel of the layers and cruise to Priors Hardwick in warm sunshine.

Sunday-Glorious sunny day as we leave our mooring, we can see the windmill on top of Napton Hill from here but it will take four hours for us to reach the bottom of the hill, we cruise through the scenery to Marston Doles and the start of the Napton Flight of nine locks.

This light aircraft buzzed us on D-Day.

Sue, Napton locks

Quite a few boaters on the move, Sue enjoys her chats with crews at the lock paddles, while I have a chance for an acknowledgement as boats pass by. The sun is really warm and I pass a cold bottle of water to the grateful thirsty volockie. We moor within walking distance to the Folly Inn who's landlord takes pity on this hungry crew and persuades the chef to do two more roast beef dinners after her cut off time.

Monday- Sunny morning but forecast is for rain this afternoon so we set of at 10am for the short cruise into Wigrams Marina. We are now tied to a pontoon with shore power plugged in, I'm typing my usual drivel and Sue is fishing.

Catch of the day

Fl on the pontoon at Wigrams

Tomorrow we go home, taxi to Leamington Spa, train to Liverpool changing at Birmingham then Easyjet to the Island. Will be great to see Nikita & friends but we will hankering on getting back to FL by the time our dog sitting duties are over.

Friday, 6 June 2014


My bank contacted me this morning because there has been fraudulent activity on my credit card, (thieving scumbags) good job the bank is on the ball. It would of been a pain having to receive a new card if we weren't going home next week.

Set of at 11am the sun was peeking out from behind some clouds, before long it was shining all the way. After taking the left hand bend at Fenny Marina the canal starts to close in, at Fenny Compton 'Tunnel' (which isn't a tunnel) there isn't room to pass on coming traffic, lucky for us we were on our own again.

At Claydon locks we caught up with a single hander and Sue helped the grateful skipper through each lock before setting the lock for FL. 10 locks worked in total and we have now moored at Cropredy

Fenny Compton 'Tunnel'

Unusual colouring on this beast.

This boat was being pumped out after sinking, obviously someones pride and joy, the rest of the drum equipment was on the bank being dried out along with some large expensive looking speakers.

One of the Claydon flight of 7.

Cropredy Marina, hardly a space left, different to when we passed here last year. LINK

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Fenny Compton

The birds around here were still chirping away at gone midnight, they must of been asleep all day during the deluge and decided to do the night shift.

After yesterdays soaking today is sunny, I put an undercoat of paint on the well deck, then we prepared FL for the off, have to make the most of it as the forecast is for rain for a few days. A blustery breeze was blowing but it was warm in the shelter of hills and canal side hedgerows.

The Dog Rose is out in full bloom in the hedgerows.

We only cruised for an hour passing the site of the  medieval village of Wormleighton, the canal cuts through one end of a rectangular moat to a long gone manor house, the village was abandoned when the manor house was burned down during the English civil war in 1645. Wormleighton manor house and village were resurrected in the 19 century a mile away on a hill.

Wormleighton manor house 
The twist and turns in this isolated part of the Oxford canal more than treble the crow flight distance we have to travel to reach our mooring at Fenny Compton.

Fenny Compton moorings.

While Sue made our Scottish themed tea of Haggis Neaps and Tatties I wondered down to dispose of a bag of rubbish, the rubbish receptacle happens to be in the Wharf Inn car park, it would of been rude of me not to pop in and say hello, a small glass of Black Sheep was had in the garden watching the boats go by.

The forecast has changed we are now going to have a second sunny day

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Ladder Bridge

After bacon banjo's for breakfast I slapped a coat of primer on the well deck, not long after it started to rain. We had decided to move on today so we got togged up, untied from the bank and made our way down to the first of the Napton  flight of locks.

The first and second locks were manned by C&RT staff to manage boats through the Heath-Robinson construction keeping the lock walls in place. The rain was persistent all the way up the flight, boats coming down made things a lot easier. We were headed for one of our favourite mooring places from last year just above Ladder Bridge 129 another 4.5 miles away, lock duties done Sue retired to the dry cabin, the rain became torrential at times, the rear door was cracked open and hot coffee and a plastic bagged sandwich was handed to me before the door was shut again.

I don't mind cruising in rain as long as there is no wind, unfortunately for me the wind assisted rain came at an angle that could creep past my defences and seep down my neck, I passed plenty of good mooring spots but I had made up my mind before we left and I was determined the weather would not get the better of us. I would feel a lot dryer if we had stopped earlier but a failure of some sort, being on a boat out in the weather isn't that bad, you know hot showers dry cloths central heating are only a few steps away after mooring.
It took about an hour and a half to cruise the 4.5 miles, we were alone, not even hardy hire boat crews were moving, when we reached our destination Sue donned her waterproofs and helped tie FL to the bank. I took those few steps and in the dry of the cabin had a welcomed cup of tea.

Liver for dinner then I was coerced back out into the elements to align the dish to the spot in the sky where we could get a picture on the box to watch the football and the TT races on  CH4.

No pictures today, it was to wet to get the camera out.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


After servicing the boat we left Wigrams, we waited in the marina entrance while a boat coming from Warwick took the turn to Braunston. We are making our way towards Banbury for a few days before returning to leave the boat in Wigrams for 3 weeks while we go home to dog sit two Labradors while our daughter goes on holiday.

We got a heads up from Gary of Muleless about the closure of lock 14 of the Napton flight for repair, we plan to moor before the flight, only moving to the other side of Napton Hill.

Napton on Hill

Windmill on top.


Once moored Sue got busy in the galley baking cookies and bread while I sanded down the well deck, applied rust proofer, tomorrow I will start the priming, undercoat and top coats. 

Fellow bloggers Muleless moored in front of us, I had a boaty chat with Gary while Della went to check on how long before the lock was fixed, good news the lock was fixed and they set off up the flight.

Well deck rust being removed.

Rust inhibitor applied.
Sue and I walked up to the Folly Inn for two glass's of Old Hookey, steak and ale pie and a gammon and chips, it was all delicious.

After dinner we walked the lock flight to have a look at the on going repairs to lock 10 after the wall collapsed last month and a look at the African beasts in the adjacent fields.

Looks a bit Heath- Robinson.

Mozzarella producing Water Buffalo

Sunday, 1 June 2014


We set off down the M1 in fine weather, the lime green 1.0L Chevy Spark held it's own in the fast lane and we were at our friends home in under two hours, this would take us a few weeks in the boat. 

Glyn & Christine have a new addition to the family, a lovely chocolate labrador, their grandson Alex is over the moon with the new arrival.

Buddy on Alex's lap

We dumped the car and caught a train to Twickenham, and met up with Emma and Richard by the lineout statue, Guinness and pasty's were had in the bar before taking our seats.
Iconic lineout statue. (www photo)

Saracens fans welcome their team arriving at Twickers

The atmosphere in the stadium was electric with both sets of fans in good voice, it was a close match with Northampton Saints pipping Saracens with a last minute push over try at the end of extra time.

In the evening we ate well, lasagne and chili con carne were made by Chris, which we enjoyed while watching the big fight at Wembley.

Sunday. Sausage sandwich butties....Chris does look after us.... after saying goodbye to our hosts and puppy, we left with a goody bag of homemade damson jam, marmalade, fruit cake, fairy cakes and cookies... I said Chris looks after us...we popped in to see Aunty Doreen and Uncle 'Young' Fred who have recently moved into a new home in Shepperton. After a cup of tea and catch up we made our way back to FL, the car's outside temp gauge reaching a barmy 22 degrees on route.

Back at the marina we cleaned FL inside and out before going to Weedon Bec and the Narrow Boat for tea, we both enjoyed the pork belly off the menu.