Monday, 28 November 2011

Yesterday …

Yesterday was ………………..

John’s birthday.  Yes, another one!  I can’t believe we’re SO old!  How did all these years creep up on us? On the + side, he is now entitled to a winter fuel allowance!!

Anyway, Rodney came up to the marina for the weekend and I enjoyed two whole days catering-free.  On Saturday we had a take-away and on Sunday Rodney took us  for lunch to “The Red Lion” in Crick.  Lovely old pub, a really good Sunday roast (PROPER crumble and custard for pud!!) AND ….. they happily let dogs in.  Cheers, Rodney!

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We had just said “see you later” to Rodney and were un-zipping our cratch cover when the phone rang and it was himself.

“DI-SAS-TER”,  he says.  “I’ve just dropped my keys – house keys and car keys on the same ring – in the water!  Have you got a big, strong magnet?”

Fortunately we have so up went John to do a bit of fishing.  I thought there was NO chance but luck was on our side and he did in fact manage to retrieve them!

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All’s well that ends well!  Less wine next time!




Yesterday was …………….

The sixth anniversary of the death of John’s dad, Ernie.  How bizarre – losing your dad on your birthday.  In the big pattern of things six years is not a great deal of time but in those last six years SUCH a lot has happened in our family……. and quite a bit of it …… sad….Crying face

Yesterday was ………………….

The happy christening of young Harry John Clayton, the eldest grandson of our lovely friends Mick and Lynn.  The ceremony took place in Sawbridgeworth church where Andy and Rhia were married – THE wedding we went to by boat back in 2010.

Harry's christening (600x800)

Yesterday was ……..

The day Ben got safely back home from his holiday with friend Chi in Thailand.  Judging from the photos he had a good time and did manage to do some more diving.

b6 (598x800)                    b8 (800x600)                 b9 (800x600)

b12 (800x600)     It’s easy to see why he likes Thailand so much.  The beaches look amazing, the towns – crazy!  b10 (800x600)

Today ……… 

We need to organise ourselves for going back to Staines to empty John’s mum’s bungalow completely.  Very sad but now, very necessary.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Let the silly season begin…..

One of the things I look forward to seeing in the winter is the increasing display of pretty outdoor lights that adorn windows, doorframes, bushes and trees in front gardens.  With the onset of darkness now at about 4.30 pm, us Brits need to cheer ourselves up with something!  And, getting into the Festive Spirit now includes large, illuminated Santas, snowmen, sledges, moving reindeer etc etc.  Up goes the electricity bill but, hey, it’s Christmas time!  Each to their own!

Boaters are not to be left out!  We had intended to wait until December 1st before turning on our contribution to the festivities.  In the past I have been known to grumble (I know it’s hard to believe!) about Christmas coming far too early ……….. cards and crackers in the shops in October!  Ridiculous!!  BUT …… last weekend other boaters here got things going so ……….

Fellow Boaters ………..

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And us …………………..

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Apparently our lights can be seen from the gate.  Jolly good!  If necessary, they can help to guide folk safely back from the pub!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

You Have to Laugh ……….

Ernie's slides 002 (800x600)      Ernie's slides 003 (800x600)                        

This gate, seen on the North Oxford Canal whilst we were walking the dogs with Lynn, is clearly doing a grand job!  The notice tells walkers to make sure they shut the gate!  No ‘invisible’ fencing is either side of the posts!  You have to laugh!

Whilst in the marina we have met another chap (Brian) from Wakefield and he has the same sort of humour as the Wakefield Three we met on Skye – Den, Wally and ‘Rocket’ Ron.  What do they put in Wakefield Water?!  Brian moors his boat at Crick and told us that he is thinking of changing the name to “The Olympic Flame”.  Why?  Is it because he’s a keen, enthusiastic sportsman?  A patriot wanting to support in 2012?  No, because, he says, his boat never goes out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  “B-Boom”, as Basil Brush used to say!  You have to laugh!

He also told us that, un-be-known to us, Crick Marina is split into suburbs!  There’s “Council Row”, (that’s where we are at the moment), “Snob’s Alley” (that’s where we’ll never be!) and “The Ghetto” (that’s where we were!)  You have to laugh!

hooknah 004

This is Hookna.  (Scottish derivative for ‘half-penny)

She likes to give Maisie a big, wet lick whenever we go by.

Maisie does not protest!  You have to laugh!

Yesterday we drove to Shuckburgh laden with cakes to accompany the cup of tea promised by Lynn and Paul. We had a good old chat too!  Their boat is looking so smart.  They now have three solar panels all neatly and cleverly mounted on the roof of the boat.  Paul never stops striving for perfection and the results of his efforts speak for themselves.  Praise where praise is due!  Regarding solar panels, we haven’t got passed the ‘thinking-about-it stage’.

AND …………….. the Middle-Sized Buckby Can is VERY NEARLY finished!

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Megan’s leg, thank goodness, is on the mend.  The big blisters have burst but she says that it’s clean and not too painful.  I have sent her some special dressing.  I’ll be AMAZED if she ever gets it!  She is coming home early in January ……………. but not for long.  At the end of January she is going to Alicante where she has been offered a teaching job.  Europe!  Hooray!  I know that teaching English as a second language is nothing like teaching in a school but I never, ever thought that a daughter of mine would be talking to me about lesson plans!!!!!!!!!!!!!                    You have to laugh!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

So…………. What’s been occuring?

I can’t believe that we have been in the marina for nearly two weeks already!  Time usually goes ‘Slowly, Oh, so slowly’ in here!

There have been at least two ‘next times’ where the Eberspacher is concerned but, somehow or other, John seems to get it going again.  Must be sweet-talk!  Our friend, Paul, on n/b ‘Piston Broke’ told us of a chap who is based at Braunston and deals with heating systems on boats so we went over there yesterday and are now in possession of a new motor for it – might be fitted later on today.

So, how did we get to Braunston?  We have wheels!  Megan is letting us use her car whilst she is away.  It is being M.O.T.’d as I write – fingers crossed.  Megan sorted out insurance all the way from Brazil – technology today really is ‘magic’!  Becky had got all the documents together for us.  After all she has been through in the last couple of years it was so good to see her looking really, really well.  She now has two little dogs of her own – Dennis, who is a cross between a Westie and a Cavalier and Doris(!), who is a Jack-a-poo!  Both gorgeous.

Megan:  Yesterday she had a really nasty accident.  She spilt a pan of boiling water down her leg – a large area of skin has been burned and is really nasty – we’ve seen a picture!  The handle on the pan broke as she picked it up.  We were doing our best to offer her some medical advice over the internet!  I’m sure it’s going to remain painful for quite some time and take weeks to heal.  Internet reception in here is not good and it is really frustrating trying to use Skype – yesterday was the worst experience because we were trying to communicate with Megan who was understandably very upset and it just kept breaking up.  So – Paul - the dongle is going on top of a broomstick!  (Talking of broomsticks Paul, hope Lynn has got back safely and on time from Kent!)  Let’s hope this strategy makes a big improvement.  An extension lead and different dongle have been purchased – it’s all so easy to support the world of retail when you have means of independent transport!Ben diving

Ben:  For those of you who know him – he is fine and off to Thailand – Phuket- for a two week holiday on Thursday.  Something about another diving course.

We have been getting well carried away because a set of Christmas lights for the boat and new raincoats for the dogs have also been purchased.  And, continuing the search for crochet cotton, we came back to the marina via Berkhamstead where I know of a well-stocked craft shop.  Cotton has at least been ordered ……… I just hope it actually materializes.

A new Winter experience for us:- we are sharing our pontoon with another liveaboard – Bob.  We actually met him briefly on the Ouse last year.  He has a lovely Alsation puppy.  Maisie is already besotted with her.

Surprise news:- John was reading a canal boat forum the other night and saw that Ian, who operates the coal boat ‘Gosty Hill’, has put the boat up for sale.  We only saw him a few weeks ago and he didn’t indicate that that was on the cards.  I hope everything is O.K. with him and Alison.

The double-glazing has been put in as the weather is now wet and miserable!  New dog coats purchased just at the right time I would say.

John has just returned – the car failed!  Now booked in for a service and repairs first thing in the morning.  ‘Means of independent transport’ obviously doesn’t come without hitches and £££!!!!