Monday, 29 August 2011

Sample door for Yarwood

Sample door, sapele and burr walnut

We have had a sample door made for the new boat, Nb. Yarwood.  Next week when we see the Stuart Harper of Barnowl Narrowboats, our boat fitter, we will decide whether we go with this or not.  We are in favour of bucking the trend for ash or oak but we will see what Stuart has to say.
This is the door furniture of choice, a solid brass, Victorian style, 25mm (1inch) knob!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

A Bit of Wow...

With the shell almost complete on our new boat Nb. Yarwood and the  livery decisions made we have been turning our attention to the inside of the boat.   Of course much thinking has been already done about the layout and equipment levels but we are into detail now.  
So the shower room.
We have chosen the wetwall lining (wetwall boards rather than tiling) and that is white with silver flecks. White loo, chrome fittings to match the silver flecks in the wall covering and a bright red glass wash basin for a bit of wow...

Bubble glass swatch.
Counter top red glass basin

Friday, 26 August 2011

Have your own hotspot, how could one refuse?

The latest addition to Caxton, a 3MiFi dongle as recommended by fellow, boater/blogger Greygal.  Her fulsome praise of this device got us in the 3 shop today and we came away with the  beast. 
We are already customers of 3 so this is basically an upgrade and allows us to connect up to five devices to it.  For the most part it will be our two laptops  but the download capability for streaming BBC I-Player programmes will also come in useful.

Back on Caxton

I dropped Joe off at the outpatients department at Colchester Hospital on Wednesday morning for this second visit to the 'bone docter' where his cast was redone, his arm re-Xrayed and he was told to present himself back there in seven days time.  In seven days time the caravan would have been dragged back to storage and we would be back in Worcester; could he go to Kidderminster hospital?
Of course, BUT, would Kidderminster see him in seven days, not eight, not nine but SEVEN and would they see him without a referral from his GP?  This is a GP that neither of us has ever met, we have just signed on to a Doctor's list in the same area as our correspondence address.
So Plan B.
We had a word with the caravan site where we were staying and they agreed to drag the caravan into their storage compound after we had decamped and drag it back onto a pitch for next Tuesday when we would arrive back ahead of the hospital appointment.  
Apparently there is a piece of Joe's wrist in 'freefall' and if it has moved when the doctor next sees him then he is being kept in for an OP.

Having got the campsite agreement to our request yesterday morning we got the packed up and headed back to Stourport, 176 miles away calling in to see our new boat,Yarwood, en route. 
It was a quick takeaway and an early night last night I can tell you!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Stalking our Stalkers

David and Amanda, Caxton stalkers extraordinaire, kindly invited us to visit them in their home in Norfolk.   Being only a few miles away in the next County it was a perfect opportunity so on Monday afternoon we set off for Houghton near Kings Lynn.   We first met D&A  last summer when Caxton was moored near Downham Market and have met in Birmingham, when we were icebound, and at the Crick Boat Show this year. 
L-R  David, Amanda and Joe....and large sundial, very large sundial.
Houghton see Caxton attracts a better class of stalker...
only joking,  David is the Farm Manager here.

We arrived and were fed copious amounts of cakes and goodies and pots of tea and then whisked off for a tour of the Houghton Hall estate farm.  This is a mixed farm, arable and livestock,  which is farmed organically - "The way forward...." to quote someone David.
Long Horns, the cattle of choice on the estate

Special Houghton Hall deer, white Fallow deer
Three Fawns in a ...
I am 'aving a wallow.., free range pork production

More white fallows

After our tour and when David had to dash off to check on the barley that was in his grain dryer, Amanda, Joe and I got talking narrowboats.   In a few years time when they are able to retire the aim is to adopt the ditch crawling liveaboard life of a narrowboater and they are seriously doing a lot of research and refining of their ideas for their prospective boat.
We had a lovely visit and until next time, thank you both.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Suffolk Punch

On Sunday we visited the Suffolk Punch Trust Stud at Hollesley Bay near Woodbridge in Suffolk.  The Suffolk Punch is the smallest of our native 'heavy horses', the Clydesdale  and the Shire being the two large heavier native horses.   The lovely chestnut Punch has the dubious distinction of  'rare breed' status and the stud at Hollesley Bay Colony aims to rectify matters, keeping two breeding stallions and about twenty mares and foals to grow the breeds numbers.
This handsome chap is one of the stallions 

This group are between 2 years and 4 years old

Also at the stud are native Large Black's (pigs), a rare breed and native to Suffolk that is.  There were three sows and their litters.
This filly is being broken (trained) to draw (pull) for the first time.  There were three people involved in this training as this girl is very powerful and keeping her relaxed and calm while she learns that the object she is drawing isn't going to catch-up with her and do her harm is critical. 
They usually have the horses in blinkers so they can't see behind them but in this instance they were not being used.    There were a couple of moments when she was spooked and took off across the paddock but the patience of the grooms soon calmed her and the lesson went gently on.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Down the Orwell on a Thames Sailing Barge

SB. Kitty's stern adornment
Yesterday morning we presented ourselves promptly at the Ipswich Dock and Sailing Barge, SB. 'Kitty', for a three hour cruise down the R. Orwell towards Felixstowe and Harwich.  When we arrived at the dock we found that there was a Marine Festival about to start and the rejuevenated and gentrified dockside was thronging with people in custume, stands were being prepared and food vendors were just getting organised.

SB. Kitty, built 1895

Thames Sailing Barge, Kitty, was built to carry grain and on launch joined a fleet of barges based at Mistley on the R.Stour in Essex.  She is a capable of carrying 71.25 tons.  Apparently she continued commercially carrying up into the 1960's but is now part of the Topsail charter fleet.

Orwell Bridge

Once the twenty passengers were aboard we were given the 'safety speech' and then we slipped the dockside and headed towards Ipswich lock and out of the marina.  The morning was simply glorious with blue sky and warm sun and barely a breeze.
'Barely a breeze' doesn't bode well for sailing but we knew that we were unlikely to see Kitty in full sail on this type of trip but at least we were aboard a Thames Sailing barge and out on the river.  As it happens though the skipper called for the topsail to be unfurled and we came back to Ipswich lock under a little sail.

SB. Victor moored at Ipswich dockside.

For anyone interested in seeing Thames Sailing Barges in action, make your way to Southend next Sunday, the  28th August, where you will see them racing.
We had a memorable day on a beautiful historic vessel and if anyone wants to buy her she is up for sale at £245,000.....

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Broken! Floyd:1 Joe:0

When Floyd is going hell-for-leather and is doing his most speediest speed possible in the whole world (watch out you greyhounds..) you do NOT get in the way, or if you do be it on your head, or in this case ..arm.

Don't ask about the V...ictory sign.

Yes, Joe got taken out by Floyd who ran straight into the back of his legs and back flipped him to the ground, fracturing his right arm and, being a right handed chap, he is all but useless; only because of the break I hasten to add. 
Next Wednesday Joe returns to Colchester Hospital for an op to sort out the fracture and a new plaster cast which leaves me to do all the driving and tow the caravan - just as well I have towed before then.

Friday, 19 August 2011

With grovelling apologies to..

I am posting a grovelling apology to Messrs Woodfordes of Norwich because yesterday, as spotted by Abby, I attributed their excellent beer, Wherry, to Adnams of Southwold.

Woodforde’s Wherry Bitter (ABV 3.8%) - Style: Bitter

Fresh and zesty with crisp floral flavours. A background of sweet malt and a hoppy ‘grapefruit’ bitter finish characterises this champion bitter.

Wherry- Supreme Champion Beer of Britain (Bronze) 2005 & Supreme Champion Beer of Britain (Gold) 1996 + numerous Champion Bitter of Britain awards

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Bloggers meet

The view from the caravan yesterday evening

Yesterday Joe, myself and dogs, having discovered the route across country to Polstead village, set off to do a  recce of The Cock Inn.   It was closed on a Monday when I drove through the village, but as we had arranged to meet with a former blogger Greygal and A for lunch we needed a suitable venue so needs must, we just had to check another's a hard life.

So there we were sitting in the garden with the dogs, enjoying the peace and tranquility of a beautiful Suffolk village, supping a pint of Adnams Woodfordes Wherry when a car drives up and a woman's voice loudly announces,
"I thought I would find you here!" (there was also something about reprobates I seem to recall)
It was Greygal. 
We had a been discovered. 
Today we all met again at The Cock Inn as arranged and enjoyed a splendid lunch and a beer, or two, and had a chance to catch up with news of boat builds, (us) boat refits and new business enterprises (them).  Lovely to see you both.

L-R Joe, Greygal and A

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Sudbury and Long Melford

Sudbury's grand parish church, right in the heart of the town

Monday we took ourselves in the ancient market town of Sudbury and yesterday we had a browse around Long Melford, in and out of the many antique shops in there.  I took lots of photo's but the broadband signal this morning is still tucked up in bed and I have lost the will etc.

We have arranged a sailing trip on a Thames Sailing Barge for Saturday so slow broadband or no, I will have to be patient because I will undoubtedly have lots of pics - provided I don't mix camera and water as I seem prone to do...

Monday, 15 August 2011

Shed draggers R us

Our oldest friends,Val and Alan's van on the left and the Caxton Crew abode on the right, Clampettville...

This is our first full day in the land of the South Peoples, aka Suffolk.   We arrived yesterday afternoon after a little diversion from the planned route that saw Joe dragging the 'shed' along single track lanes for a number of miles - surprisingly, it being MY FAULT , we were rowing before we had even got the bit where we put the awning up... and that is a compulsory punch-up for many couples!

Anyway, we are pitched just outside the picherscew village of Polstead and this morning after walking the dogs I went and had a look round.

First point of interest, The Cock Inn

Second point of interest - Dogs welcome ( this is especially for our antipodean followers who bemoan the lack of civility in Australia to man's best friend  - see how it is done here folks..)

Typical Suffolk cottages, cob walls, i.e. mud, and a thatched roof
Add village green, village pond and village hall plus community shop and Post Office, oh, and lots of income to live here, lovely.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Moving South

It has been a very busy few days.  We have been pitched in my Brother David's garden in Bressingham since Thursday, preparing for my sister-in-law's 60th birthday celebrations.   Yesterday both families descended along with friends, colleagues and neighbours and ...eight dogs.  A good time was had by all, including the pack of dogs, but today we are packing up and getting the Clampett Show back on the road as we head south to Suffolk for the remainder of our holiday break.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Hols and meeting the Gypsy Rovers

Moored, oops,  'pitched' in a delightful CS (Certified Site) in Wisbech St. Mary

We managed to get the 'clampett' truck loaded and ourselves on our way before nine on Wednesday.  Stourport-on-Severn to Deeping St. James in Lincolnshire to collect our caravan from storage and then on the Wisbech St. Mary in Cambs.  Here we pitched and got ourselves organised for an overnight stay before we went off to March to tack down fellow bloggers known to many as Dot and Derek, the Gypsy Rovers. 

L-R Joe, me, Dot and Derek

Went went for a late lunch to The Hippodrome in March, a restaurant that has recently opened in a converted and refurbished cinema - everything is art deco and quite stunning but the main attraction was the chance to catch up with the G-R's before they wing their way back home to New Zealand after over four years of travelling the canal system here.
Best wishes folks, lovely to see you again, take care...

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Is it the Clampetts?

The CLAMPETTS truck a 1922-23 flat bed Oldsmobile- (From the 1962 TV series the Beverly Hillbillies)

We are packing the car to go off on holiday in our caravan and it is starting to look as if it is the Clampetts going away!   Everything loaded bar the kitchen sink...
A camera has been left with Ian at Lambon Boats so he can keep us informed of how the build of Nb. Yarwood is progressing and I in turn can keep the Yarwood blog updated. 

Docking Rome..

Nb. Rome awaiting the first of the staircase locks down to the dry dock

We had a call last week from Graham Booth, of Waterways World renown, for a hand down through the Stourport Basin locks to the dry dock where his lovely boat, ROME, was to be blacked. 
So yesterday morning I went and found Graham and Nb. Rome and with me taking a ride on the gunwale we crossed the basin to the lock landing.  Here we were joined by a chap who with nothing better to do, lent us a hand.  We were quickly through the locks and poised to enter the dry dock alongside a widebeam boat.  Graham spun Rome and reversed into the dock.  When all was secured and the dock drained it was time for a cuppa and a chinwag before I left to return to Caxton and two sleepy mutts.
Graham decides to spin Rome 180 degrees and reverse into the dry dock - show off!
The wind decides to fight back but Graham isn't going to be beaten

and Graham wins...Rome is reversed neatly back into the dry dock

Dave, the Man, having secured the dock is about to 'pull the plug' and empty her

Here we go, bye, bye 100,000 gallons or there abouts
Nb. Rome secured in the dry dock awaiting a darn good wash down with a pressure washer


Monday, 8 August 2011

Have legs, will walk

Yesterday morning Himself announced that he was going to empty Caxton's hold - Yes, Caxton does have a hold, a small, but perfectly formed home for coal and God knows what....
 "I'll take the dogs out for a long walk then."says I
So off we go in a day of sunshine and showers, jacket on, jacket off, jacket on again, Oh look the sun, jacket off yet again - give in, stuff jacket in the rucksack and forget it!
I hadn't  a clue where I would go but I started out along the Severn Valley way, north towards Bewdley and having got to Bewdley I pushed on a bit further, and a bit further, until I arrived at a place called Arley.  Here we were presented with a tea room, a pub , a railway station and public loo's  (which were very convenient at this point in my journey - ha, a pun definitely intended)
We stopped for tea, well I did, the boys stopped for half of my pasty though they would have liked all of it of course.    Refreshed, we then  turned and headed for home following the course of the R.Severn.  Six and a quarter hours, 16+ miles later we arrived back at Caxton.  I cooked dinner, the dogs took to their beds and promptly fell asleep!
Arley tea rooms with a garden across the lane overlooking the river, a perfect spot to enjoy a pot of tea.

A view of the River from the tearoom garden - in the background the foot bridge across the river that leads up the hill to the railway station

And, spotted on our way back to Caxton, a Choo, Choo train...

Friday, 5 August 2011

Hartlebury Castle Museum

Cider Mill

We have been passing on an almost daily basis the Worcester Museum based at Hartlebury Castle and on Monday we decided to pay it a visit. 
I checked on-line whether it was suitable for dogs but that was a NO, NO so we left the boys on Caxton and took ourselves off for a bit of a cultural paddle...

The 'Castle' was the fortified Palace of the Bishops of Worcester. 
(I always feel that the Church somehow missed the point of it's founder's example - Jesus's life; humble evangelist vs bishops life; jewels, robes, palaces and elevated place in society, ah well..)

The museum features aspects of the Worcestershire County life, what the County produced and how people lived and melds this with life in a BIG house and the palace State Rooms.  What it also has on display is an extensive range of horse drawn vehicles including gipsy caravans which rather captured our attention.

Interior of a Gyspy van, bed'ole at the back, etched mirrors and fine cabinetry

The finest of Gypsy vans, (Vardo's I think in the Romany language) The Reading.    The name of the van is on account of where it was built.  This is ornately carved and decorated in gold leaf and is very sumptious . 

Apologies for the  poor shot of the palace, taken through the railings as it was the only access to the front of the building.

An ornate ceiling of The Reading gypsy van.
This little cart stated out in Lithuania
I took this shot of this Milkman's cart because we have a family photo of an uncle pushing one of these in the 1920's.
Note the bed knobs and brass decoration on this kniife sharpeners hand cart, remind you of anything?
Another wagon interior.