Well, here we are, another enjoyable year afloat has just flown by. We wish you all the very best that 2015 can bring. Meanwhile stay safe, especially if you are heading out to celebrate tonight.
On Christmas eve we had a text asking if there was any space where we were, It was Maffi and It was dark when he arrived so we helped him to moor behind us. After we had our evening meals he came round to help us out with the Guinness, wine and chocolates! Molly snuggled down on the mat while we had a good old chin–wag together, luvly jubbly. Christmas day was spent chatting to friends and family by phone and text. Unfortunately no Skype link was available. We opened our presents, then had a nice roast chicken dinner in the evening. There was a sharp frost overnight and we were needing water, so we set off for the tap beyond the bridge. It was out of order, amazing! So we went on to turn and cruise south to fill up. On passing Clifton cruisers Elaine waved from the window of her boat to us. Then past Barby moorings Dave popped his head out of his side hatch for a quick chat. Several boats were on the move including Zulu towing butty Alsagar. Luckily we met them on a wide straight bit! We managed to fill with water and tie up before the rain set in, perfick. Now for the best bit, evening meal of Bacon, Bubble and Squeak, made with yesterday’s lickuts!
I like circular walks best, then I don’t see the same scenery twice. Mr Kipling’s roundabout was looking good with it’s giant winter cup-cake. I wonder if ‘Guliver’ will plod by and eat it one day, ha, ha.There were some lovely cooking smells coming from this boat which made me feel rather hungry. Maybe all will be revealed tomorrow on nb Waiouru’s blog! Of course the old cement factory was still in full swing, looking good against the orangey sky after a beautiful sunny day. I suppose it has to keep going non-stop to meet the ‘demand’ for the thousands of new houses that are being built all across our tiny island. Oh well, time to start cooking our roast dinner now, yum, yum! No Christmas pudding for us though as they all seemed to contain several different kinds of alcohol. So, take care out there folks, and don’t get drunk on yer Christmas pud.
We wish all our family, friends, fellow bloggers and blog readers a very Happy Christmas. Enjoy yourselves, but don’t forget in all the hustle and bustle to allow yourself some quiet time to recuperate. We will be spending our time aboard Oakfield as usual, maybe cruising as we did last year. However if we get snow and ice as we did in the 2009 photos above, we will stay put as we will be firmly fixed into the icy canal. In the meantime we shall be raising a few glasses of somethingorother, so cheers everyone!
Family visit today and the boys brought their Christmas smiles with them too. After reading and studying their books in the ‘story chair’ we went off for lunch in the pub together. Then back on board for fun and games, followed by the exchange of presents. A couple were unwrapped and the rest stowed away for the 25th. The excitement is building up now!
Enjoying some beautiful sunny days at the moment which end in some spectacular sunsets. It’s also time to don the thermals because it is a tad chilly after the overnight frosts. On returning from my walkabout, nb Waiouru was just gliding down the locks, allowing just enough time for a short chat. We are missing the company of some of our ex-boating friends at this time of year when we linger longer at our mooring spots. However it is great advantage to be able to keep in touch via various internet links, isn’t it?
Mark came by on Calisto so we got our coal and fuel from him. I had a dental appointment while we were moored in Braunston, then we had to move on. On our last evening Maffi came aboard for an evening meal and a couple of Guinness's to help the Cabin Boy celebrate his Birthday. We had already been to the pump out point in the marina the day before to empty one tank. On leaving the next day we then passed GO and collected water. It was a really beautiful morning with a chilly wind blowing as we cruised along. When I did my’ Mrs Overall’ act en-route and took our coffee astern to put on the roof, we even had waves across the top of our drinks! We passed by goose-field and the birds were busy stripping the rest of the berries from the bushes. The cows and sheep were all getting rather plump too. We had the canal to ourselves and only met two other boats on the move, perfick!
We hear that our Australian blog readers are wondering what is going on with fewer blog posts. We are in winter mode here and retreat into partial hibernation as it is a tad chillier here than in your part of the world. We tend not to cruise around the system as much as we do during our summer months too, so less stuff to write about. The upside is we meet up with boaty friends for tea and cake aboard and also in the pubs for drinks and meals together. We meet many people in passing for brief ‘hellos’, so it was nice to spend time with fellow bloggers Sue and Dave nb Beefur and Tom and Jan nb Waiouru to get to know each other better. Maffi also joined us as official photographer, unfortunately I forgot my camera so the Cabin Boy took this one of Maffi on his mobile phone.
What a great time of year with mainly just us with other live-aboard boaters moored nearby. Of course there are some boats that are moved from place to place every fourteen days that are left unoccupied. There are some really lovely walks all around this area too. Luckily I’ve always got my little camera in my pocket at the ready.
Mark came by bringing much needed coal and diesel for us, so we topped up with water too, all essentials on board now. As we had a mild patch of weather we let the Squirrel go out and we were down to our last few nuggets of coal, so hurrah for wb Calisto! There was a nice clear sky which meant we were in for a chilly night aboard. Next day we stoked up the Squirrel and away we went with the chimney smoking like a big fat cigar at the front of the boat.
I went ahead to prepare the lock with the Cabin Boy bringing Oakfield around the sharp turn under the bridge steadily in one go and straight into the lock.
My maternal Grandmother’s Brother ( my Great Uncle ) joined up for WW1 as a Private in the Infantry. He spent four years in New Zealand ( presumably training ) where he joined the Canterbury Regiment, returning to England in August stationed at Salisbury for a few weeks. He then proceeded to France where he met instantaneous death on September 29th. His Officer wrote to my Aunt saying “He met his death very suddenly while they were in the reserve lines by a shell exploding right beside him!”.He was buried on the outskirts of Ypres overlooking the battlefield in 1917, he was 34 years old. I wonder how may made the month long trip to train in New Zealand as he did? In the end, such a waste of so many young lives. I would have liked to have known him.
My paternal Grandfather also joined in the WW1 effort and went over in The Somme area as with the Royal Engineers as a Sapper ( I think this involved much digging etc ) From the postcards he sent home he travelled around to several places in France and saw devastation in the cities and all around. He got married here in 1915 and I think he was involved in France until c1918. When my Father was to join for WW2 he asked him for his advice, which was, ‘Don’t join the Army son’. He reckoned too much hard work and marching about for miles had ruined his feet and legs which he suffered badly with until the end. However this didn’t stop him from doing his gardening on his hands and knees. His work back home involved manual labour too. I remember he fell off long ladders several times, but always recovered. He definitely had his nine lives!
Just past Bridge 14 leading up to Bedworth, the old Navigation Inn which had suffered a fire, is now a very impressive residence. Sunday lunch was excellent in the cosy popular Greyhound Inn, so was the pudding. Someone has a lot of brass and copper to shine in there!
I heard the familiar sound of a Bolinder engine slowly approaching the junction. It was Kangaroo carrying bulk loads of coal etc to deliver down the Oxford Canal. I was just lurking around taking photos and offered to do the stop lock gates for him. So he took the rare chance to polish his brasses while the boat idled in. Then he washed his hands in the canal, thanked me and off he went! The buses are every ten minutes from just down the road into Coventry so we spent a day there. We discovered a lovely timber framed building with intricate carving down a side alley. Built as a Hospital with an endowment from William Ford the Almshouses surround a narrow courtyard. It suffered damage in an air raid in 1940, so was rebuilt with original timbers in 1951-53, luvly jubbly.
This is a poem I picked from a canal side installation at Polesworth. What a shame I had to enhance on my computer it in order to read it. (click to enlarge) Anyway it’s legible now all about local industrial history and I think it is imaginatively written. We moored at Nuneaton for a couple of days as we met up in the town with our friends Graham and Betty for a meal together. They updated us on their activities as landlubbers and it seems that their renovation work is never ending. It was great to see them again to have a natter over lunch, but no photos taken as it was rather wet and gloomy.