Monday, 30 September 2013

Lumps or no Lumps, that is the Question …..

Some things are just NOT supposed to have lumps:-

                    Custard        Gravy        Cheese Sauce      and


Back in July, as we were passing through Preston Brook, the Skipper bought new ropes from a certain well-known chandlers.  Two months later and the Skipper is not a happy bunny because he has noticed that lumps/swellings are growing on said ropes.  So, as we passed through Braunston, the worst rope – the front one – was taken in to be exchanged.

It went something like this:-

John:  I bought these ropes two months ago and they’re growing lumps.

Shop Assistant:  Well, I’ve heard it all now.  Ropes growing lumps?

John:  Well you tell me what’s happening to them then.  These lumps weren’t there when I bought them.

Shop Assistant:  Ropes can’t grow lumps!  They’re polypropylene!  Plastic!

John:  Well I’m not happy with them  – I would like this one at least to be exchanged please.

Shop Assistant:  It’s a rope!  There’s nothing wrong with it.  It just got wet that’s all.

John:  It’s been on a boat!  Ropes on boats DO get wet!  That doesn’t mean they’re allowed to get lumpy.   I don’t want lumpy ropes.  It’s clearly a faulty batch and the manufacturers need to be informed.

Manager:   (Who had obviously been lurking in the shadows listening)  Do you speak Taiwanese? 

John:  Obviously not but one of your reps ought to be able to.

Manager:  Oh, just cut him a new length – we can sell this one.

John:  At a reduced price I hope.

Manager:  (SMIRK) 

Shop Assistant:  (returning with a new length of rope)  Are you happy with that, Sir?

John:  Yes thank you. I’ll be back with the others if they get any worse, that is, if they get any more lumps!!  Goodbye.


Now I have to ask, is this really how a major retail outlet should conduct business/treat its customers?  Whatever, BOATERS BEWARE!  If you go in to buy a 10m length of rope and you are offered a ready whipped and spliced one, CHECK IT FOR LUMPS!!!!!!

broken leg 037

Sunday, 29 September 2013

What a difference a day makes …….

Less than 24 little hours …………..

Thursday 26th September pm

Here I was, running, jumping and having a lovely time alongside The Brownsover Arm near Rugby -

broken leg 018

broken leg 027

broken leg 017

I love running and jumping and I’m good at it.

Or so I thought ………………….

Friday 27th September am:-

Early in the morning I jumped up onto the bed, like I always do – showing off with Mr Rabbit and – I slipped, fell and …………….. seriously hurt myself.  I now have a double fracture in my back leg. 

broken leg 030

Yes, I’m feeling VERY sorry for myself.  This colourful creation will be removed tomorrow and I have to have an operation to pin the breaks in my leg.  Then, there will be no more running and jumping for at least 8 weeks.  Fortunately they are clean breaks and Hugh, the vet, says they should heel well and not cause me any problem in the future.

To make matters even worse ……………. I was going to the seaside in 2 weeks time and I was SO looking forward to running and digging on the beach and in the dunes.  I haven’t done things by halves have I?

Mum is thinking about putting a card in the local Post Office advertising dad as an Odd-Job Man ……….. no job too small.  I think it might have something to do with paying my medical expenses?  I didn’t do it on purpose ……. it was just a momentary lapse of concentration.

Wish me luck for tomorrow ………………

Lola xx

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

There & Back Again ……

So, where’s ‘there’?

This is it:-

Ashby 007 (640x480)

This is the current terminus of The Ashby Canal.  Since we were here four years ago the swing bridge and moorings the other side have been installed.

The Ashby Canal Association work tirelessly towards the ultimate goal of one day having the canal restored as far as Moira and the Conkers Visitor Centre.

Four years ago we got on our bikes and cycled to Moira to see the 200 year old blast furnace and it was really worthwhile.  Unfortunately, cocker spaniels don’t fit in our bike baskets as safely as Cavaliers did!!

Apparently funding of £1.3 million has been pledged by UK Coal towards the restoration of the remaining canal.  It will be a really good thing for the area when that does eventually happen.

Ashby 001 (640x480)

At Shakerstone we were joined in The Rising Sun (dogs allowed in the conservatory) by my friend and ex colleague, Annette, and her husband, David.  Our good friend, Ron, also called in to see us on his way back to The East Midlands Airport.  It was a lovely impromptu thing seeing Annette and David as we haven’t seen them for four years and it was her birthday!  All very good!

They now live in Droitwich and said it was only about an hour’s drive!  Travelling around on the canals can distort reality!!


There is no denying that The Ashby is a very pretty canal – very rural and very free from noisy roads.

Ashby 004 (640x480)Cruising in the Autumn sunshine at Shakerstone.


Ashby 011 (640x480)  Looking back down the canal from the visitor moorings at Snarestone.

Ashby 012

A local resident!  Don’t know what to say about her really!!  It was a ‘her’ because youngsters were still hanging around.

Back at Market Bosworth we made the decision to ‘get a move on’ and head back to Crick.  Things to do and people to see and all that.

Heading towards Stoke Golding we needed to pass yet another Ashby Canal Co hire boat.  (They must have been offering good weekend deals because the entire fleet seemed to be out on the water over the weekend.)  We pulled over to the right and tilted up on the mud; they pulled over to the right and tilted up on the mud!  Their children screamed and then ………………… their dog, who was not on the boat with them but running along the towpath, decided it would be a good idea to launch himself into the water in an attempt to reach them!  More screams.  A lot more screams!  At least that alerted John who, looking behind, saw the poor dog disappear under our fenders. Already in reverse because he was trying to get off the mud, he slammed into neutral and, thank goodness, the dog emerged and, seemingly unscathed, swam back to shore.  It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened.  We didn’t see anyone on the bank with the dog and if that was the case, STUPID, STUPID people! 

On one other occasion we’ve seen a dog running alongside a moving boat – this was with a single hander.  That dog looked well used to the routine but, what if it got itself into some sort of trouble?  Who would be there to help it?  And, obviously clearing up anything nasty it might (did!) deposit on the towpath is just not a consideration!  Completely irresponsible in my opinion.

This mutt, on the other hand, is undoubtedly cossetted far too much!

Ashby 010 (640x480)      Ashby 005 (640x480)    Ashby 008 (640x480)

We left Crick with a puppy and we’re returning with a canine ' Kevin’!!  The apple looked like a ball but clearly didn’t taste quite right!


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Well, the day has come and gone and …I’ve survived!  In actual fact, I’m absolutely no different whatsoever!  Well, that’s a bit of a lie really because I am now an officially spoilt old lady!

reaching 60 027

On Saturday, Ben, Megan & J came to find us where we were moored at Stoke Golding on The Ashby.  They stayed over night and Ben slept cocooned on the floor of the back cabin!  (Not too much sympathy need be administered, Aaron, because after all, he is still young, fit and nubile is he not?????)  For Sunday, Megan had booked lunch at The White Swan which is within easy walking distance from the moorings.  I knew that Gill & Rodney were coming to join us but, surprise, surprise – Anne and John Elliot turned up too!  Mr Elliot, true to form, came equipped with a large cool box, champagne flutes and bottles of the bubbly stuff to put in them!  Ben had already given me a really nice personalised champagne flute as part of my present from him so it was put to immediate use!!  My John had bedecked the boat with banners and balloons so nothing was subtle about the occasion! 

When we eventually got to the pub there were more surprises – my friends Gary & Joan and Rosa & Richard were there!

 blog book 001meg and cakereaching 60 017

I was thoroughly spoilt with cards, messages from those who could not be there and presents – everything a girl could wish for – jewellery, perfume, flowers, a very special picture, a lovely paper weight, clothes, music, poetry, scented candles and …………….. Megan has condensed 5 years worth of my blog into a proper 60 page publication!!  She now knows it even better than I do myself!  The candle holders on the cake said ‘Don’t Ask’ – OK, I had been ‘banging on about it’!!! (Her words, not mine!)

I had a really lovely day.  Material ‘stuff’ is always nice to have but we all know that nothing can compare to the love and friendship of those nearest and dearest to you.  Thank you, guys – I luvvvvvv you all loads. xxoo

So, now life goes on as usual – the sky has not fallen down and the weather has been no where near as bad as the forecast led us to believe – trees are still standing!  On Monday we went for a really nice walk around the area where The Battle of Bosworth  is believed to have taken place.  The site is very well cared for and there are informative displays along a trail explaining the whats, whys and wherefores of it all.

On Tuesday we moved on to the visitor moorings at Market Bosworth.  All the building activity going on behind the moorings – is this for a new marina I wonder?  The Ashby Canal is notoriously shallow and the advice is to keep to the middle channel and choose moorings judiciously!  RIGHT!!  Sometimes desperation out-weighs choice!

reaching 60 007

We followed footpaths across the fields as a way to the lovely little town of Market Bosworth – only a few young cows to fend off in one of the fields.  This was a much nicer alternative to walking along the main road.  It was market day!  There were all of about 6 stalls but the fruit and veg stall was very good.  It is a bit of a hike to the town whichever way you go but well worth it because it’s such a pretty little place.

We are now moored all by ourselves in a really quite little spot on the outskirts of Congerstone.  All we can hear is the rustling of reeds!!  Ahhh! 

Friday, 13 September 2013

D.O.B. 15th September 1953


Oh, s**t I don’t want to be 60!

How CAN this be happening to ME?

My mind says I’m still in my 30’s

If only my body would agree!

When just a babe and a youngster,

All thanks to my dear mum and dad,

I suffered no hardship or sadness

A safe, happy childhood I had.

circa 6 months old      cica aged 2 years


Oh, s**t I don’t want to be 60

I can’t even get a bus pass,

And as for the elusive state pension

Well, the timescale for THAT now’s a farce!

Growing up was a time full of excitement,

At school I tried as hard as I could,

I had lots of friends, we did lots of things

I remember it all being good

MatArnold D (2)


Oh, s**t I don’t want to be 60

My eyesight is bound to get worse,

I’ve already got some aches and pains

Old age is simply a curse

In my 20’s and 30’s I towed the line,

A wedding, a family and a full time job.

I got better at jugglin’, at times I was strugglin’

But it helped to earn a few bob!

DSC03920 (428x640)          DSC03928 (640x526)


Oh, s**t I don’t want to be 60

My memory will fade even more!

Even now I embark on a mission

But soon forget what it’s for!

When I turned 40 I was full of despair

It signalled the end of my prime,

If I had known then what I know now

I’d have made more use of that time.

                                                                                Ange' The Witch - Copy

      raising a family                                                                                     

Oh, s**t I don’t want to be 60

60 is SERIOUSLY old!

That’s why they allow you free eye tests

And prescriptions ……………… or so I’m told.

My 50’s they brought on a crisis

We decided to leave the rat race,

We bought a boat and began living afloat

Now life is a much slower pace.

IF 44 002 (640x480)            Ange's Leaving Do 015 (640x480)

   Ange steering-Derek N. (640x480)           Chirk Aqueduct

Oh, s**t I don’t want to be 60

But it’s something I’ve just got to face,

So I’ll do what everyone tells me

And meet it with a modicum of grace.

Well, I’ve given up smoking and put on some pounds

But, hey, my hair is still blonde, not grey,

I’ve very few wrinkles and feel fairly fit

So, you- know-what, Ange? ………………. HAPPY   BIRTH  DAY!!

me in the peak district (480x640)


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Comparisons ……


Creations on Crosby beach ………………

Anthony Gormley's figures on the beach


and creations in a field at Atherstone ……………….


Atherstone 003 (640x480)

both good to behold.


Thursday, 5 September 2013


Of all the times we’ve been up and down The Coventry Canal we’ve never made the effort to go into Tamworth ….. until yesterday.  Moored up at Hopwas, we found a footpath which follows the River Tame all the way to the town centre.  It was such a lovely walk across open fields.  We wish now we had discovered this sooner.  Once again, Lola enjoyed a swim – it’s almost impossible to keep her out of the water!

The Tame                    River Tame


Tamworth Castle Gardens

On reaching Tamworth, we headed towards the castle and castle grounds.  What a pleasant surprise!

Reading the information boards (like you do!) whilst cooling off with an ice cream (it had been quite a long walk!), we learned that there has been a castle of some sort at Tamworth since at least Saxon times.

Tamworth CastleTamworth was the capital of the old kingdom of Mercia and the first stronghold was the home of King Alfred’s daughter, Ethelfelda (spelling seems to vary!). 

The present stone castle is of Norman origin.  We didn’t go inside the building itself because of Lola but had a good walk around the beautifully kept grounds.  In fact, the whole of Tamworth seemed to be bursting with beautiful flower arrangements.  Everywhere you looked – in the town itself, the gardens, the church and along the roads there were flower displays.  They certainly take ‘Tamworth in Bloom’ seriously!  We didn’t explore the shopping areas very much but there seemed to be plenty of shops and plenty of people milling about.


This is the old arcaded town hall -

Tamworth Town Hall            Tamworth Town Hall

Boating issues:-

Something strange is going on!  Something un-to-ward is happening!

The loo is being very temperamental!  It’s a vacuum-flush and doesn’t want to re-charge itself as often as it needs to and ………………..  the heating system is getting neither the radiators nor the water as hot as it used to.


The batteries are under suspicion!  When himself tells me the cost of a new set I suspect I will need not only something medicinal but a lie down too!!   Various investigations, monitoring and trials are underway!                          

There are still plenty of boats out and about on the system.