Thursday, 31 March 2016

Chide, chuckles and preying mantis!

Time to move on!
A glorious but a bit chilly morning yesterday as we reversed to the sanitary station to do the necessary and then continued our current journey northwards.

Chide - I stepped off Still Rockin’ at the bridge to walk up and ready Cowley Lock and noticed that the widebeam which was moored above us had gone; will he be in the lock I wondered.  Yes he was and I could tell he was ready to exit as the water was cascading over the bottom gates.  It was then that I saw that he was going to leave the top gates open too.  

I hastened up the lock bank and called out to him at the top of my voice - Oy (not how it’s spelled but you get my drift!) 'Oy, you on that widebeam’  they (two  guys in their late 20’s) eventually heard me and turned around - ‘What’s with leaving these gates open, too lazy to close them?  Leaving them for some other b…er to close?’  They put their boat in hard reverse and jumped off at the wharf exclaiming that they were ‘sorry we didn’t realise’ (not sure what they didn’t realise) and went on to say that they were going to pull over and come and close them.  Of course I believed them (not)! I pointed out to them that if their boat had been single handed I wouldn’t have said anything but being as there were 3 onboard they had no excuse whatsoever to leave gates open.

I stood by while one went round the other side of the lock and they closed the top gates.  I warned the chap on my side of the lock that  we would be following them today and that I would not expect to see any gates left open. He then noticed that their own boat was still in gear and he had to run back to it shouting to the 3rd member of his crew to use the tiller!  

I used my windlass to close the paddle and pointed out to the bloke on the other side that he hadn’t come prepared and had no windlass with him.  He came over the gate to borrow mine and started to open the paddle I’d just closed! I pointed out his error and he closed the paddle, recrossed the gate to close the other one and was just about to come back when ‘suggested’ that he opened the bottom gate paddle and crossed over those gates, which he did.  I reiterated to him that we would be following them and that there would be trouble if we found any gates left open behind them.

Chuckles - A few minutes later whilst watching them struggle through the bridge hole because the manoeuvre was tight I remembered that we weren’t going through any more locks and had more than a few little chuckles.  But I think they ‘got the message loud and clear!'

 Old lock gates outside C&RT’s depot just above the lock, the rotten beam can be clearly seen.

… and preying mantis ...
 … are cherry pickers!
I just loved the colours and lines in the bright sunshine.
Seen on the long term moorings was ex-working boat Hawkesbury built for Grand Union Canal Carriers by Harland and Wolff in 1937 and sold into private hands in 1970. It has a Lister JP3 engine.

South of bridge 187 CRT operatives are installing 23 mooring rings - let’s hope they’re for visitors and not yet more on-line long term moorings.
Uxbridge Boat Centre on the left above, where we shall be in the dry dock in April to re-black Still Rockin’s bottom.  Every time we pass I wonder how we’ll turn into the dock with these long term boats moored opposite.  I may ring them to assure me that it will be possible.

Due to long lines of long term moorers and visitor moorings on both sides of the canal here the journey is very, very slow but we eventually reached our destination just south of Denham Marina.  I have some wash loads to catch up on and then we’ll fill with diesel at the marina, top-up the water tank and continue north.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Cruising ...

M40, M42, M6 and party and M6, M42 and M40
… on Good Friday it took us 3½ hours to do a 2-hour journey because of bank-holiday traffic and accidents, but the sun was out and we were going to visit family to share some birthdays and a great time!
Today it was an early start and it was snowing!!
We stayed to see our youngest grandson open his presents on his 15th birthday before setting off on our journey home back to Still Rockin’.
 The snow has stopped
… and turned to rain
 … and as we cruised south of Birmingham the sky lightened
 … and the traffic came to a standstill on the northbound M40 as we reached Aylesbury; fortunately today’s journey was just under the 2-hours with no delays at all.  

After a good time over the weekend it was also good to be home.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy birthday tooooooo …...

George and Lucy
March is a busy birthday time in the Palin household, George on the 26th, grandson Ed on 28th, granddaughter Lucy celebrating her 18th this year on 29th and our daughter-in-law Ange’s on the 30th.

Yesterday’s celebration was mainly for Lucy but there was time to sing to George too.
 Guests are arriving and the table is laid, just waiting for the birthday cake to arrive to complete the scene
 Son Mark getting in on the act as George waits for his moment 
(Ed on the left and Ange on the right)
 It wasn’t until the 4th or 5th attempt to blow those candles out that we all realised that they re-lit themselves.  Poor Ange was getting splattered with candle wax and spittle!
 Our beautiful kids Sharon and Mark
 Gorgeous granddaughters with Grandad!
Joanne, Alice, Lucy, George and Louise
 One of my brothers Alan and wife Marg
 It’s now Lucy’s moment
 Lucy and a huge knife? Not a good combination!
 Best girlfriend Sophie and boyfriend Dan looking on
Now that’s what you call a slice of cake!

A great time was had by all, lots of lovely family and friend coming together to celebrate a happy occasion.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

You may have noticed ...

… it’s been a while since I last blogged; we’ve been moored up at Uxbridge and been doing not a lot! 

We hired a car on one day and ventured over to Watford to collect a chair for Goldilocks (me) because our sofa is too soft and our sofa-bed is too deep for me to sit comfortably for more than a short time.  I’d chosen a Parker Knoll Froxfield Wing Chair and it is soooo comfortable (for me anyway!) 

We’ve also been boat sitting for Diane and Ray whilst they went on holiday ‘up north’ they’ve not blogged for some time now but I hear that there’ll be a catch-up post soon.

We’ve spent some time sitting on the back deck under the pram hood in the afternoon’s warm sunshine with the occasional glass of wine as well as time inside by the fire on the gloomy, wet days.

And some really sickening news for me when on Monday afternoon this week whilst walking Molly with George on the recreational ground here at Cowley my wedding ring slipped unnoticed from my finger.  Because I didn’t notice it missing until later we weren’t completely sure that I had lost it when outside but a comprehensive search of the boat didn’t bring it to light.  Of course several searches were made at the park to no avail and then yesterday the grass there was cut so we gave up.  After 47 years of wearing that ring I was gutted to have lost it and am still hoping that it will turn up in the fridge or freezer or somewhere silly sometime in the future so that I can admit to a ’senior moment’ and have the ring back, but I don’t think that will happen.  {Edit} Great news … 11:45 this morning I found my ring in a bedside drawer!!!! Happy now!

Tuesday was a good day though.  It took my mind of other things when I took an overground train into London to meet up with Sue at London’s Olympia for the Ideal Home Show.  There was lots to see, far too much for the time we were there, the place is vast!  I’ll let the pictures tell the story ...
Sue and I had a lovely time, buying a few items and looking at lots of interesting and sometimes strange ‘stuff’ on sale as well as catching up with past and planned boating events. We’ve not met up since late September 2015 and here saying ‘cheerio to them both.  Looking forward to the River Thames this summer when we’ll cruise with them on their brand new No Problem XL along with quite a number of narrowboats also heading in the same direction, really can’t wait!
All too soon it’s time to get back on the train from Barons Court to Uxbridge, a journey of about 40 minutes and then a bus ride to Cowley where George and Molly were waiting at the bus stop for me.

I’d bought George a present at the show (it’s his birthday on Saturday), nothing big or ostentatious …

… remote controlled ...
Molly would have liked to attack it but she’s a real scaredy-cat as the short video below shows ...

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Retracing our steps

 Leaving our mooring yesterday morning just after 10

 … and passing Willow Tree Marina
The feeding frenzy continues at Southall, not sure what it is they’re eating.  This isn’t the towpath side so someone from the factory here must be feeding them too.  It’s a pity to see so many juvenile swans here, they probably know nothing about finding food for themselves and will perhaps never know.
It was a very pleasant cruise as we approached our next stop at Bulls Bridge Tesco where I finished our big shop whilst George filled the water tank (it needed it after all the wash loads).

An hour or so later we were on our way again.
 The Grand Union Canal just north of Bulls Bridge has always been a magnet for rubbish and today was no exception.
No, that’s not a seascape!  I took the picture, greatly magnified, to see if this problem was solid or not so that we could cruise round it safely as it was under the railway bridge.
 This was it as we passed safely by
Just look at the size of those pillings, it must be a big structure going up near West Drayton, I wonder if it's this Crossrail project.

The sun certainly had some warmth in it today but the easterly wind had a wicked bite to it in the more exposed parts but all in all it was a good cruise.  We’re now moored at Uxbridge.