Monday 31 August 2020

A brief lesson about locks

I find the weekends can be scary Weaver, what with hire boats and canoes and paddle boarders, I have no problems sharing the water with them if they know what they are doing but some take the most stupid risks.

The towpath is also incredibly busy with cyclists at the weekend, the dogs and I take our life in our hands/paws when we walk. I get off the towpath if I can as it's safer walking elsewhere. Of course it is a bank holiday so we have three days of it.

It's very cold here today so far I'm hoping it will warm up later. 

The locks on the K&A either have paddles that open in the gate or ground paddles. The basic idea is that you empty the lock, open the gates pootle into the lock and then fill the lock with water. Today I was walking Loulou when  boat entered the lock. I helped shut the gate once the boat was in, I then watched as the crew started trying to open the already open paddles on the bottom gate. After a few minutes I suggested that they would have more success if they closed the paddles in the bottom gate and opened the paddles in the top gate as this would enable the lock to fill. The very patronising twat on the boat told me not to be silly, he informed me that the safest way to fill the lock was with the ground paddles. This particular lock doesn't have ground paddles so I can only assume that he was hoping the water would run up hill. At this point I walked away. They were in the lock for about 40 minutes until another boater showed them what to do!

Here is a YouTube video of a lock being opened.

Sunday 30 August 2020

Small casualties

 Su-zee, as Jan says, we have our post delivered to DD1's house.

We had a couple of small casualties yesterday, caused by an out of control hire boat. A lot of them struggle to get to grips with the slow speed canal boats travel at. They frequently travel too fast because they are giving the engine too much welly.

After one such collision yesterday a photo fell off the wall and when I opened the cupboard to remove a carton of orange juice a jar of hotdogs leapt on to the floor. The had didn't smash but it started to leak.

So the photo has been put away in a drawer,and the hotdogs have been frozen.

Saturday 29 August 2020

Moving day.

I drove the car a couple of miles to the second bridge, walked back to let Steve through the first bridge, as it Saturday the volunteer lock keepers were working so I didn't have to do the lock as well.

We went into the marina for a pump out and after that went on to the next swing bridge and lock, there were volunteers working again so I didn't have to work the lock. 

I was able to walk along to find a mooring space, once we were moored up I walked approximately 4 miles back to collect the car.

As we were moored so close to the lock we took over when the volunteers finished for the day 

Friday 28 August 2020


I took DD1 some milk and bread over today, she's not been feeling well. I collected the parcels that we'd had delivered too her as well. I bought some bag clips as I'm fed up with lost peas rolling around in the freezer and I bought some plastic glasses, I've been drinking my morning orange juice out of a yoghurt pot as I dropped a glass last week.

We're moored near the hire boat wharf so it's been an interesting afternoon, three of the five that passed us bumped into us, the last hire boat of the day decided to moor on the waterpoint, big no no as it stops other boaters filling up. They have moored quite close to us and had their engine running since 5:30 so we closed our doors as they were filling our boat with there exhaust fumes. The engine is still running now and they shouldn't th it after 8 o'clock so I'm expecting one of the nearby homeowners to come out and complain.

Tomorrow I shall let Steve through the swingbridge so he can pump out the black water tank. I'll drive the car the the next lock, leave it there and walk back to work the locks for him. It's probably about four miles so it will be a long walk but hopefully we'll be moored up by 3

Thursday 27 August 2020

Moving day

We left the cow field at 9:30.

I walked to the first swing bridge and let the boat through.

I returned to the car and drove it to the next bridge. I parked up and walked back to the lock and locked through the boat through.

I walked back to the swing bridge and opened it to let the boat through.

I then returned to the car and  drove to the next swing bridge, parked up in a car park, once again I walked back to the lock to let the boat through and then walked back to the car.

We moored up and had breakfast as it was 11:30, we were intending to move on through the next and swing bridge but by the time we'd filled the water tank it had started to rain so we changed our minds.

We moved off the water point in case someone else needed to use it.  It was now raining heavily so we closed the cratch cover and lifted the pram cover it was raining heavily. We combined walking the dogs with getting rid of our rubbish at the nearest compound. Within minutes the rain had gone from heavy to torrential with added thunder and lightening.

I've taken the skin off my toes as my shoes got wet whilst walking. I've used a lot of plasters to give some protection. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow so I will wear my waterproof shoes.

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Hearing aids

 The local audiology has not yet reopened to f2f appointments. 

The drop in repair centre is also still closed.

They are only doing video and phone appointments which I can't do because I can't hear what is being said.

I haven't paid for private hearing aids because as the vestibular schwannoma grows my hearing is deteriorating too fast, I cannot afford to replace them regularly.

Tuesday 25 August 2020


We have 50 mile an hour winds and sporadic heavy rain.

It's been bright enough to top up the batteries from the solar panels.

We are only using the electric to charge our kindles.

I'm not risking putting up the satellite dish so I shan't be watching TV.

I slept for only three hours last night so I shall have an early night tonight.

I've found an apartment for us to stay in whilst the boat is in dry dock, we are having the bottom blacked, new sacrificial anodes fitted and getting the prop start straightened.

We could stay on the way but it means using a ladder to get on and off, not ideal as if have to carry the dogs up and down the ladder!

Monday 24 August 2020

How much!

 I looked into getting a piece of equipment that would enable me to hear the tv as I can't see the subtitles anymore. It would also enable me to listen to music and follow conversations.

The cost was somewhere between £500 & £750.

A huge cost, but I don't need to worry, there isn't one available that works with my hearing aids!

It seems I have been provided with the incorrect aids, I can either pay privately or wait 3 years until I'm allowed new aids.

Sunday 23 August 2020


Thank you anonymous, I have joined UK hearing loss community on Facebook.

Elaine Colliar has started a new Facebook group called Debt Free Divas. 

I saw two kingfishers today, they flew past the boat so fast, two bright blue blurs.

Saturday 22 August 2020


Thank you for your comments, my thumb is healing nicely and I have no locks to do now as we are staying put for a few days. I get regular ear infections but I've no idea why. I put some magnesium sulphate paste on Steve's infected finger, hopefully it should draw out the pus.

I stripped the bed, turned the mattress and washed the bedding today, I managed to get the bedding dry too as it's been sunny and windy today with only a couple of brief rain showers. I pegged the washing on to the airer so as not to lose it, Steve came out and rearranged all the pegs as they weren't in the right place.

I had to keep a close eye on the washing to make sure the cows didn't try to at it.

I watched Kelly's Hero's this evening, I haven't watched it for years but I enjoyed it.

I'm not sleeping well so I'm reading a lot, everything from Ben Arronovitch to P J Wodehouse. I'll happily read the back of a cereal box if that's a all that is available. Thank heaven for my kindle, there isn't room on the boat for the amount of books I read and I cannot see the print in most paper books.


I have an ear infection and Steve has an infected finger.

Friday 21 August 2020


The Canal and River Trust, the people we pay our licence fee to.

The vollies are the volunteers who man some of the locks.


We helped our friends move on today, they need to meet up with someone who can repair their cratch cover. I drove from swing bridge to swing bridge, Steve helped them with the locks. One bridge was broken but fortunately CRT arrived promptly.

I reached Aldermaston first so I stopped for a cuppa and a toasted teacake, there were vollies working at Aldermaston so I collected Steve and we drove back to our boat.

It's extremely windy today, we've lowered the solar panels to protect them and I won't be putting the satellite dish up tonight, that's for sure.

Thursday 20 August 2020

Cows and cold chips

After yesterday's all day rain, today has been dry and sunny. We walked back to collect the car at 8:30 this morning, it was a bit further that I thought, almost 3 miles but the dogs enjoyed the walk.

DD2 phoned not long after I got home, she needed me to look after her girls today whilst she went to advocate for a student who didn't get the required grades to get on the course she was aiming for. DGS got Bs and Cs so he's all set.

I set off to DD's with both dogs only to find the cows were all stood at the field gate.  Loulou and Beano are both scared of the cows, Loulou barks at them and Beano wants to be carried past them. Steve came to hold the dogs whilst I moved the cows. They are actually heifers so they are incredibly nosy but harmless. If it was cows with calves it would be a different matter.

I walked amongst the cows, slapping them on their rumps and telling them to shift. There were people following me and people on the opposite side of the gate. They were all quite vociferous in their complaints about the cows, how I shouldn't keep cows in a field with a path through it. I did explain that they weren't my cows but one particular stupid woman insisted that they must be mine as they had moved when I told them to!

Steve requested KFC as I'd be driving past it on my way home, yuk, I don't like KFC but by the time I staggered home after an afternoon playing LOL dolls with the 5 year old, weaving with the 12 year old and discussing my vegetable samosa with the 9 old, the dogs and I were knackered so I ate a few cold chips and had a large drink of water.

DD2 was successful and the student has been  awarded a place on the course she wanted so it was all worthwhile.

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Bridge hopping

 I don't think many people could fit a smart car on their boat, some people do have bikes but I can't ride a bike so that would be no good to me.

Most of us who have a car and a boat, bridge hop. We leave our cars near a convenient bridge or in a pub car park. We move our boats and then return to collect our car.

I left my car on DD's drive whilst we travelled along the Thames, once we returned to the Kennet and Avon we collected the car and parked it in the car park of a nearby pub.

The first part of our journey was six miles so DD2 collected me and drove me back to the car. Yesterday we only travelled a couple of miles so I will walk back and collect the car and move it to our new mooring place. I am hoping it will stop raining soon as I have no wish to walk two miles in the rain with Beano as he hates getting wet. Both dogs slept for hours yesterday after their walk.

I must admit I get a bit fed up with people thinking I sit on the front of the boat with a G&T trailing my fingers in the water. Yesterday it took us four hours to travel two miles, We went through two locks, one of which was faulty and has been for four years and two swing bridges, one of which was also faulty. I was having trouble with my windlass on one lock as it's too long. Another boater came along to mansplain to me what I was doing wrong. I let him show me what I should be doing and then sniggered when he smacked his knuckles on the lock gate and realised that I wasn't being stupid.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Moving day

 We've moved from Theale to Ufton Nervet stopping at Tyle Mill to empty the black water tank, fill up with clean water and eat lunch. I also managed to get a load done in the washing machine.

I walked the dogs for most of the way so they have had plenty of exercise.

The heavens opened as we moored up so it was a bit of a mad panic to get the front and back covers up before we got soaked.

I need to walk back and get the car but I'll probably do that tomorrow now as I've walked 2 miles, opened two swing bridges and locked a lot of boats through two locks.

Monday 17 August 2020

Pissed or not

 We have Wi-Fi and a new phone each. I feel almost human again.

We went into town to upgrade our phone and had a pub breakfast whilst we were there.

My ankles seize up when I sit for long, this, combined with my Vestibular Schwannoma means I lurched  and staggered about as I left the pub. I expect some people assumed I was pissed, I wasn't. I drank only lemonade.

One of my dgd's misheard my conversation about my balance and hearing problems, she thinks I have a vegetable samosa.

Thursday 13 August 2020

Blogging may be sporadic

 Our internet is on the fritz, my phone is broken, Beano was sick in the car and Steve could start an argument in an empty room.

Tuesday 11 August 2020

Catch up and comments

I have my thumb strapped up hopefully I'll be able to get it checked soon. The lock mechanism was faulty and failed as I was trying to open the paddles. The wheel spun round and trapped my thumb . 

I walked the dogs yesterday evening and was almost mown down by a cyclist, I'm now taking Steve's walking stick out with me, I don't need to lean on it, I'll just use it as an offensive weapon!

I shouted at the cyclist to slow down and his mummy remonstrated with me, her precious baby is only 15 and had never heard the F word until I shouted at him. If it had been a group of boys if have been more polite, not because I'm scared but I don't expect groups of teens to be sensible, I do however expect parents to be sensible.

Radio, music etc, I don't listen as I can't hear them, I could play music via my tablet, I bought some headphones to wear with my hearing aids but I still cannot hear it. 

We cannot go back in the marina until October when we are booked in.

Col, thank you.

Ian, again you made me laugh, I have your books, they cheer me up.

Walking in beauty, I've lost your email address, if you contact me again I'll send you DD's address. Which answers your question Janf my post goes to my daughter's address.

Monday 10 August 2020

Childe Beale to Sonning

We spent a few days travelling from Childe Beale to Sonning. We stopped outside Tesco in Caversham to buy milk, the signs say the charge to stop or moor there is £100 even if you stop for just a few minutes. I cannot find anyone who has paid this though. We then moved on to Sonning, below Sonning lock the mooring cost £5.50 a night, above the lock it costs £10 a night. We managed to find a space below the lock, the first night is free.

There was no satellite signal, no phone signal and no Wi-Fi signal, it was a bit of a black hole. But it's so hot that I was glad just to sit and read.

This morning we turned around and set off back towards the Kennet and Avon, one of the locks was faulty and  I managed to break my thumb, it's only the top part so it's not too inconvenient but I cannot bend my thumb as it is stiff and swollen.

Saturday 8 August 2020

Normal service had been resumed.

 Yesterday I was having an off day, we've been travelling now since the middle of July and in that time I have spoken to one person. This is the norm on the canal network, I've spoken to women at locks in previous years who have blurted a month's worth of conversation in the time it takes for a lock to fill, approximately 15 minutes.

Unfortunately I'm the sort of person who likes a certain amount of social interaction and this is sadly lacking when we travel. 

I'm hoping to see DD2 on Monday but it depends on travel times and mooring availability.

Thank you everyone for your kind comments, Rambler, thank you, I've deleted the anonymous comment but I appreciate you taking the time to offer support.

I've signed up to various websites and receive emails from my local council they suggest things to do to remain positive.

Such as listen to music, something cheery and uplifting, watch your favourite tv show on catchup, keep in contact with friends and family. Unfortunately all things that are not available to me.

Still enough of my whinging, what can't be cured must be endured!

Towpath conversations

The chap on the boat behind us has just told Steve that the boat he is on is a long term rental.

The owner comes along once a fortnight and moves the boat to another mooring.

These are 24 hour moorings, I can only assume the time limits are not strictly enforced.

We are moving on tomorrow.

Friday 7 August 2020

Am I enough?

 'I am enough' is currently a very popular mantra.

Unfortunately I don't feel I am enough.

I cannot hear well enough to join in conversations.

I cannot see well enough to do the things I enjoy.

The lockdown has hammered my mental health.

I most definitely no longer feel I am enough.

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Small dog problem

I've just walked the dogs, it rained yesterday evening and the towpath is damp.

Loulou is wet up to her shoulders!

No room

Best paid plans and all that tosh.

We set off from Clifton lock yesterday morning just after 9  We were intending to moor at Wallingford.

Unfortunately Wallingford was full as were the Mousley moorings and there was no room at Goring either.

We finally reached Childe Beale at about 5:30 where we got the last space. The only reason it was free was because there was a wasps nest there.

We came to an amicable arrangement with the wasps, we wouldn't swat them or flap about as long as they didn't sting us. It's worked so far.

It was a very long day, it was very windy, at times the boat was going sideways, it was a struggle to control it at times but it was the same for all the other boaters. We are both wind burnt and were knackered by the time we moored up.

The fireman's special

Steve has a friend who is a retired fireman. He was telling Steve about his favourite breakfast. I made it for Steve this morning and he really enjoyed it.

It's a bacon and egg sandwich but with a difference.

You start with a slice of buttered bread, top that with a couple of bacon rashers, onto of the bacon you place a slice of hot buttered toast. On top of the toast you stack a fried egg, then finish off with another slice of buttered bread.

I have no idea what it tasted like as I had a bowl of shreddies.

Tuesday 4 August 2020


This time I did get chance to look around Abingdon, there are so many beautiful buildings. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos as I had a backpack on and was carrying a carrier bag.  I should have taken pics on my way to the supermarket but I was too busy trying not to get lost. I have no sense of direction so I can struggle to find my way  back to the boat.We

This morning we got a pump out and we are now at Clifton lock, We will stay over night and in the morning set off to Wallingford.

Monday 3 August 2020

Back in Abingdon

We are back amongst the noisy geese in Abingdon. We arrived yesterday around lunchtime and there was very little space and a lot of git gaps. We managed to moor along the meadows eventually when two young men in a cruiser grabbed our ropes and dragged us sideways to the bank. After they and another small boat left, a narrowboat moored behind us.  There is loads of room all along the meadows and the park now as the weekend boaters have left.

We were advised to moor by the park as the meadows can be full of undesirables but the park moorings are very high which means lifting the dogs on and off the boat and clambering onto the bank whilst hanging on to two dog leads. At the meadows the moorings are lower, ideal for narrow boats so the dogs can step off. There are three tents on the meadows that could belong to homeless people or maybe they are holiday makers. The geese could be considered undesirables though as they are rowdy, noisy and leave a terrific mess everywhere.

We need stay until tomorrow morning as Steve has a telephone interview with DSS this afternoon. I need to persuade him not to put a brave face on how he is feeling and to explain how he is affected by his stroke. He is not entitled to any benefits but he really doesn't need to have to apply for jobs for the next 15 months and jump through all the benefit hoops for money he won't get anyway.

Git gaps are where people leave huge gaps between their boat and the next one because they want some privacy, there are many places along the river bank where you can moor in isolation. Visitor moorings are few and far between and people are expected to moor close together.

Sunday 2 August 2020


Yesterday's journey was calmer, we were mainly travelling through open country so apart from a few fishermen we saw very few people. We only cruised for a couple of hours as Steve was struggling with fatigue because he'd insisted on cruising for 5 hours the day before. What with the locks and mooring up and then moving again when there was space on the visitor moorings, it was all too much for him.

Beware, the world of stupid.

Today has not been good, we've travelled from Eynsham to Sandford, we are currently moored on the lock landing which is not allowed.

We've had a twat in a hat, bitching because we took too long to tie up in the lock, he came in behind us, complained that we were taking too long and then complained that we weren't tied up and therefore  might damage his boat!  The accepted method if you have a cabin cruiser is to wait until the narrow boat is secured before joining them in the lock.

Next, whilst coming through Oxford we had problems with two #unts  in a punt both of them standing up, both holding a pole, they crashed into a pontoon, two boats and a bridge and were completely oblivious to all other river traffic until they collided with them, they screamed at us to pass them on the wrong side despite the wrong side being full of punts , paddle boards and rowers.

We also had kids divebombing us from bridges, their parents insisting we stop immediately and dog owner throwing balls into the water, so close to us that the balls hit our windows, they also insisted we stop immediately. With the best will in the world it takes a long time to stop a 28 ton boat, we cannot do a emergency stop.

We finally arrived at Sandford lock to find that some idiot was tying an inflatable slap bang in the middle of the 24 hour mooring, we asked if he could move along a bit but he refused. 

Saturday 1 August 2020

A new grandchild

We have a new grandchild, a little boy, he is eight years old, absolutely gorgeous with the most wonderful smile.

Fruit and veg box

 This is what was in my box today. Carrots, cabbage, spinach, avocado, apples, oranges and a huge beefsteak tomato. I've already eaten a...