Saturday 31 March 2018


Col and others have suggested that CHS should do the locks whilst I steer the boat. The  main reason I do the locks is because it is much harder to control a boat in the locks than it to trundle it along the canal especially as the river is almost in flood at the moment. Some of the locks are overflowing and the yellow flood/fast flow signs are being attached to the lock gates

Canoes and shopping

The neoprene hordes arrived from about 6am, bumping the boat gently against the armco.
We decided to stay put for today so we walked to Tesco, the weather has dried up a bit, no doubt it will piddle down all day tomorrow!
CHS decided he wanted to be in charge of the shopping as I don't by the right things. I told him we needed milk, bread and eggs also something for lunch tomorrow.
He bought 4 large pasties for tonight and some scotch eggs, so Sunday lunch will be scotch eggs, roast potatoes, cabbage and gravy!

Friday 30 March 2018

Rain, rain and yet more rain

It's the Devizes to Westminster canoe race this weekend but so far we have managed to avoid the neoprene hordes.

It was dry but overcast when we got up this morning, by the time we'd had breakfast and untied the boat it was raining. The rain has continued all day, getting steadily heavier and heavier.

We only managed 2 miles, a swing bridge  and 2 locks today before we moored up. We came through Newbury, a great deal of effort has gone into making the Canalside attractive in Newbury, but the canal and rivers are very full and fast flowing at the moment.
CHS stopped at Victoria Park as I had to walk from the lock for some distance to meet him. We were going to moor there but there is a fun fair their this weekend and it might be a bit noisy so we moved to just before Greenham lock. Tomorrow we will stop at Tesco and stock up on a few things and then move on again.
We are hoping to find a place to moor for a couple of weeks in the next 5 or 6 miles, we will see.

Thursday 29 March 2018

A better day

We stayed in Kintbury, all day yesterday as it was raining very hard when we got up.
In the afternoon the sun came out so we walked to the village, it's a very attractive village and also very expensive. I went to the village shop and bought tomatoes, CHS went to the butcher's and bought sausages, pork belly and pork chops.
He likes pork, I don't eat it as it doesn't agree with me.
This morning my ankle was much improved, no swelling at all and only minor discomfort.
We set off at 11 and in no time the weather took a turn for the worse, torrential rain, sleet and a biting wind.
We tried a few times to find somewhere to moor but it was almost 4pm before we found somewhere suitable.
It's been hard going, the water is flowing very fast, the fields are waterlogged and the locks are hard to work with frozen hands whilst stood in a puddle of icy water. I even managed to fall arse over tip trying to scramble across a bridge to get to the other side of Dreweats lock.
We eventually moored just before Guyers lock, we are listing to starboard but I don't care, we are warm and dry.
Whilst CHS tied the boat up I topped up the fire and warmed some soup.
We were both soaked to the skin but CHS is more voluble than I am, he was bought up to believe that he will catch a cold if he gets wet, so he immediately starts complaining of a sore throat when it starts raining.
I did suggest he wore his waterproofs as we set off but he insisted he'd be ok in just a padded shirt.
He is now full of pork and chuckling away, reading Fat Chance by Nick Spalding. I shall try to finish a crochet lap blanket.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Reached our destination and turned around.

Yesterday we moored just after Copse lock, not a very good mooring place, we were in the shadow of a tree covered hill.
We had a couple of sunny spells, our first on this trip, its been damp, overcast and chilly most days.
Our solar had some charge during the day but once under the trees there was very little.
There was no tv reception, no mifi connection and my kindle was flat so it was a long, boring evening.
It rained most of the evening and overnight and was still raining at 10am.
There was a break in the weather forecast for 11am so we set off. There was no break in the weather, 2 miles, 2 locks in cold rain.
We eventually made it to Kintbury, we traveled on to the winding hole turned around and found somewhere to moor. We walked around the village and then back to the boat. I vacuumed and mopped the floors as they were very muddy.
We are on a 48 hour mooring and I'd like to stay and rest my ankle but CHS wants to set off straight after breakfast tomorrow to make sure we get back to the car in time for him to go to work on Tuesday.
I can't see any need to rush, it's taken 4 days to get here and we have 7 days to get back.
If it rains heavily he may de die to stay on for 48 hours.

Sunday 25 March 2018

Card reading

As I wrote yesterday I went to a pamper evening, it was held to raise funds for the nursery two of grandchildren attend.
I booked a card reading as I wasn't interested in anything else on offer.

I found the reading very interesting but I think most of the information was about my past rather than my future, at least I hope so!

The first thing Jane said was that she saw me constantly moving but that I didn't seem to be going anywhere. She found this confusing but I didn't.

She knew I was pagan and on my second marriage.

She saw massive changes for me, a complete change of lifestyle, I'm hoping she meant the recent changes, not that more are coming.

She also gave me a message about a lark.

So how far have we traveled.

We enjoyed our meal at the Swan at Thatcham, I had chicken with a garlic and mushroom sauce, CHS had a burger, we were back on the boat by 7 and in bed and reading by 8:30. After breakfast, cooked for CHS, cereal and a banana for me we set off. We left Thatcham at 10:30, the first lock was Monkey Marsh lock, one of only two turf sided locks on the K&A. We were helped through this lock by a very dapper gentlemen with shoulder length grey hair and wearing a brown cord jacket, chinos and a pink silk waistcoat.
Next was the Long Cut swing bridge, this is a  bugger of a bridge, very heavy and I cannot manage it on my own, fortunately there were no irascible joggers to shout at me here.
Next came Widmead lock, this lock was full to the top and the area around was flooded, next was Bulls lock and swing bridge, they are very close together. There was a boat coming, towards us crewed by 8 young men who helped us through the lock and bridge.
After that it was Ham lock, where again there was a boat coming towards us so another quick lock.
Finally we came to Greenham lock, this is where we will be getting the boat blacked later in the year.
This lock was also overfull we moored just past the lock and just before Newbury on a stretch of armco. It was almost time for the Grand Prix highlights, I will prepare lunch whilst he watches the race, we will move on when the programme has finished and look for somewhere to moor the other side of Newbury.

Saturday 24 March 2018

Off we go.

So we're on our travels, we have moved just under four miles.

We left the marina at 9:30 this morning, we went through Woolhampton swing bridge which opens with a BW key and stops the traffic, past the Rowbarge pub and through Woolhampton lock.
Next it was Oxlease swing bridge, Old Heales lock and Cranwell's swing bridge where I upset a jogger, he wasn't in view when I started to open the bridge but was annoyed by the time I was taking. A cyclist arrived and he helped me open the bridge and started to bollock the jogger for being rude to me. I got back on the boat after thanking the cyclist and left them arguing.

We then moved on to Midgeham lock where we hoped to moor but there was already a boat there so we carried on to Colthrop lock, there was a mooring space there, I suggested we moor there but CHS decided to press on to Thatcham. There was no room when we arrived but someone was moving on so we nipped into their space. The winter moorings finished on 16th March so we can stay for 48 hours, though we will move on tomorrow.
The fuel boat arrived just after we moored up so we bought three bags as we are forecast more cold weather to come.

My ankle is swollen again and I'm trying to rest it, not very successfully though as CHS wants to listen to music and he can't work the radio/cd player so he keeps calling me over to sort it out!

We will have an early meal in the Swan at Thatcham  and then an early night, ready for an early start tomorrow.

Yesterday I went to a pamper evening where there were various stalls and treatments on offer.
I bought some chocolate for the grandchildren, a pair of butterfly earrings, a gift for a forthcoming birthday. I also had a card reading, I'll write about that tomorrow.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Oooh you are awful, but I like you.

Shopping today in Sainsbury's I went to pick up a couple of bananas. There were two gentlemen sorting through the bananas complaining that they were all very small.
Fearing I would be there for some time I interrupted their conversation by saying. 'You do know size isn't everything gentleman'.
They both laughed and one of them said, with a very wicked twinkle in his eyes 'Can you vouch for for that?'.
I replied 'Darling I've had more cock than you've had hot dinners'
I walked away with my bananas and they were still laughing.

Monday 19 March 2018

Frozen nipples

I often read my kindle in bed at night if I cannot sleep, just for a change I decided to read in bed on Sunday morning. We couldn't go out as the jetties were covered in 4 inches of snow and it was bitterly cold out.
I topped up the stove and made us both a cuppa and then scurried back to bed.
As the stove is towards the back of the boat and the bedroom is at the front the bedroom is often a bit chilly, because of this I stand my kindle on the drawers beside the bed and lay on my side to read.
I have mastered the art of snuggling down under the covers and I use just one finger to turn the page on my kindle.
Unfortunately my beloved must have been cold on Sunday morning and was hogging the covers a little so I ended up with a couple of inches of me uncovered.
Eventually the cold really began to bite so I folded the case over the kindle and stopped reading.
After a few moments my beloved enquired as to why I had stopped reading.
I replied ' I cannot read with frozen nipples'.

Sunday 18 March 2018

We have snow

It snowed overnight, three or four inches.
A neighbour came over to see if we needed anything from the shops, very kind of them but we didn't. I'd seen the forecast and bought bread and milk on Friday, there is chicken in the freezer and we had lamb shank for lunch.
I always make sure I have enough food in to last for a few days.
My neighbours shop every day and don't keep any food in at all, they have a big powerful car so have no problems getting around in bad weather. 
I'd hate to have to go out every day, not only do I have a small car but I hate having to go out when the roads are snowy and icy.

Tank trap

All is hustle and bustle here on the marina, there was an influx of workmen last week and lots of jobs got done.

The broken paving slabs at the end of the jetties have been replaced. An extra passing point has been added to the drive, fence posts have replaced the old tree stumps lining the drive and a push button entry system has been added to the gate.
This is very welcome as standing in the rain fighting with a recalcitrant padlock is no fun at all. Mind you the key pad has been fitted to the gate post so it is still necessary to get out of the car to open the gate.

The car park has also received an extra layer of gravel, in some place the layer is somewhat over generous and the car park resembles a tank trap! My little car struggles a bit to navigate this, I'm thinking of buying crampons to assist in climbing out of the ruts.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

A tisket a tasket.

I have a brand new basket!
The joiner came today and fitted a basket in place of 2 shelves in one of my kitchen cupboards.
No more rolling on the floor with a torch to see what is in the Armageddon cupboard!

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Goldfish bowl

There is one aspect of boat life that I don't like, it's like living in a goldfish bowl.
I don't mean the people who peer in the windows, trying to see what the inside of the boat looks like.

No, what bothers me is everyone knowing what I'm doing at every point of the day.

A couple of weekends ago we took the boat out for a few days, at one point in our journey we had to call out the CRT as one of the bridges was faulty. Now there were no other boats moving on the canal apart from the fuel boat and he was behind us.
How come on the first day we were back at least 3 people mentioned the problem we had with the bridge.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Panic panic

Ten days into the month and CHS'S colleague has run out of money!

He's gradually taken out more loans and credit cards over time, he believes it's sheer necessity, I beg to differ! He spent £3000 on Christmas, not the £2000 he thought they'd spent.

CHS and the other team member have already agreed that their skint colleague can have all available overtime, they did warn him that there would be months when there wasn't much overtime but this was ignored.

In January there was very little overtime available and he's realised that he cannot pay his bills on a standard months wage.

Mental health care

We all know that mental health care is underfunded but this is ridiculous.

My DD has been diagnosed as bipolar she is not helped by having a husband who suffers from a chronic illness and that to keep the family afloat she works too many hours at three different jobs.

I'm looking after her youngest on Tuesdays for the next 9 weeks as DD's mental health team are insisting she attends a course entitled Getting Back into Work when you have Mental Health Problems.

She is being paid to attend and if she uses a babysitter she can claim back the babysitter's pay!

Crocodile Dundee

Do you remember the bit in the film where Mick Dundee climbs a tree and swings something over his head to call to his friends?

It made a thrumming noise, well that's the noise my car is making, the bearings are going on my back wheels, it's going to the garage on Tuesday.

Last Tuesday DD1's car went on the fritz, there was a problem with the brakes, she took it to the garage Friday morning, I collected her, we had an early mother's day lunch at Henry & Joe's in Newbury and then I took her home. Her car should be ready sometime today.

Also last Tuesday DD2'S car developed a stutter, it's going in to the garage on Monday.

The garage owner, George couldn't believe he was seeing all three of our cars in one week.

I spent hours with DD2 last week, sometimes helping with child care, sometimes just because I was in the area and I would drop in a 4 pinter of milk or some fruit.

Monday 5 March 2018

Managed agreement

I have appointed a managing agent for my tenant, the agreement started on the 1st March. Unfortunately as the tenant decided to phone on Sunday evening she assumed that the agent wouldn't be available, I assumed she had been unable to contact my agent.
We both assumed wrong, from now on I shall refer her to the agent whatever time she calls.
Yesterday the problem was solved by the agent and my sleepless night was unnecessary.

Sunday 4 March 2018

Has anyone got a wall?

I'd like one to bang my head against.

My tenant has just phoned at 6:15 on Sunday evening.

There is a leak in the kitchen and there has been for 3 days!

Three bloody days of water pissing into the kitchen units!

It seems she's been too busy to phone!

I've left a message for my plumber but obviously he won't see the message until tomorrow morning.

I've double checked the lease it requires any damage to be reported as soon as possible and definitely within 24 hours of discovery.

I'm composing a letter to the tenant explaining that she is now liable to pay for all and any damage that has been caused by her not reporting the leak within the appropriate time.


Saturday 3 March 2018


So we are thawing out, the jetty is clear and what snow is left on the marina is slushy.
We had arranged to meet up with a friend of CHS'S and his wife, the roads are clear so we will set off soon.
When we were talking about meeting up my beloved said that it would be nice if I could go out looking a little less like a water gypsy and more like a normal person.
I'm not sure where he thinks I am going to magic up a new outfit from.
I have two drawers and a triple hook on the bedroom wall.
These contain my entire wardrobe, I don't have an assortment of different clothes stashed away somewhere.
I have the dress I wore to the family wedding in December but I would be a tad overdressed I feel.
Hey ho, CHS is doomed to disappointment yet again.

Thursday 1 March 2018

Ice breaker

Some poor soul needed a pump out yesterday, their black water ( poo ) tank was full. They were breaking the ice as they manoeuvred their way across the marina to the pump out point. Fortunately most of the other boats were unoccupied, ice breaking like that can damage the blacking on the boats and the owners might get a bit miffed.

I took CHS to work this morning at 7am, he phoned at 9 to tell me that school will close at 1 and that he has a lift part way home so I don't have to negotiate the entire journey, just a couple of miles to get him.

I've filled the coal bucket up, but the jetty taps are still frozen so I can't fill the water tank yet.

We will hunker down with some good books and some hot soup. It is supposed to be milder Monday or Tuesday.

I've shrunk.

I've always been short, 4'11 in my youth and I've shrunk as I've aged. I met up with my oldest grandson on Thursday, he was ...