Thursday, 27 October 2011

Never again..

We drove to Merryhill Shopping Centre today, spent over an hour trying to park.  Screaming ankle biters everywhere - half term Doh...
Stayed an hour and spent another hour trying to escape...

Walked the Droitwich

On Saturday last I got Himself to drop the dogs and I off at the start of the Droitwich Barge Canal (Severn end) so that we could walk the length of the two canals (Barge and narrow) to Handley Wharf.

 New lock landings
 The barge canal is very attractive, winding gently through glorious Worcestershire countryside. It is lined throughout with reeds on the towpath side so no moorings available, mores the pity. 
 The remains of a redundant swing bridge
 And the site of the redundant swing bridge with cautionary notice...
 Once through Droitwich town and past the only moorings we are on to the Droitwich narrow canal and going past the construction site of the new Droitwich Spa marina.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

White goods ordered

With the lining-out of our new boat, Yarwood, only a week away, our boat fitter Stuart asked us to go ahead and source the white goods.  So this morning we ordered the new washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher - John Lewis will deliver to Barnowl Narrowboats next Monday.
We have opted for a washer that will take a 7kg load and give a 1600rpm spin to minimise drying time.  The tumble dryer is a condensing model with  sensor drying i.e.  it 'senses' the water content of the load and dries accordingly.  We have been using a similar model on Caxton for the last three years and have no complaints.
And as with Caxton, we have again found space in the new boat to fit a full sized dishwasher.  Generally we run the dishwasher once a day, it uses only 10 litres of water per wash/per day, we therefore don't do any additional washing-up, there are no dirty cups, dishes, pans etc. hanging about to be washed, dried and put away and it does an excellent job so well worth the boat space in our book!

Coffee with the Booth's

Sunday morning we drove up to Wolverley for a date with a coffee....and Evelyn and Graham Booth of Nb. Rome.  Many of you will recognise Graham because of his association with the Waterways World magazine and Evelyn through her narrowboat antique business, Lockside Antiques.   We had missed them at the Stourbridge open weekend the previous week because I was in Essex so we were invited for a coffee-an-catch-up,  dogs welcome!

L-R Ruby, Evelyn, Floyd, Joe, Fletcher, Amber and Graham

Floyd doesn't need to be asked twice to make himself welcome, on arrival he was straight into the kitchen - a likely source of food and half empty doggy dins bowls but fortunately the Booth's Labradors are true to their breed and nothing is left in food dept.  His next trick was to purloin a new and fascinating squeaky toy which left Amber less than amused by this interloper.
We left after a couple of hours catching up with each other, Joe going back to Stourport in the car and me walking the dogs back along the Staffs and Worcs. towpath arriving which took just under two hours.
Lovely to see you both again!!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

I came bearing gifts...

Fletcher in repose

The 'gifts' in question were two new winter beds for the dogs.  Being at my Mother's for a week was a perfect opportunity to get something delivered so after a quick internet surf/paddle I ordered these two beds from Zooplus. 
The coldest part of a narrowboat is the floor and the dogs sleep on the floor - not by choice I might add, they frequently find themselves on a lap and occasionally have been caught on a chair... but the main site for canine slumbers is the floor and so draught proof comfortable, washable beds are a must.

Is this my best side I wonder...?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The far reaches of ESSEX

I headed off this morning, leaving Joe with Caxton, to visit my family in Essex.  176 miles and three hours later I arrived at Mother's, let the dogs out of the car so they could chase the cat and create general mayhem before I lugged the matching luggage (three colour co-ordinated Tesco shopping bags) in for our week's stay - lucky Mother!
Stuart of Barnowl Narrowboats has been left with a camera so that progress on the new boat, Yarwood, can be recorded and sent to me in the far reaches of Essex and I can update the Yarwood blog.
Joe has been left to remove the Vacu-Flush exploding loo and replace with a more reliable cludgie...- lucky Joe!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

We've been a visiting!!

Graham, Joe and Jill

We headed for Alrewas on the Trent and Mersey Canal today to meet up with Graham aand Jill of Nb. Matilda Rose our cruising mates of the last three years.  We haven't seen each since May, they have been up the Trent and we have been in the basin, Stourport basin.

Having had a lovely lunch, prepared by Jill and cooked by Graham - teamwork.. Jill and I took the four dogs for a walk along the towpath,  all four dogs got into the River and all four dogs needed a brisk towelling before getting back on the boat.

Ooo look Mum, wet water...

Two dry, one one to go for me - and Jill gets to dry Baxter dog

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Painted, lagged and loaded

 Does his bum look big in this?
On Monday, after a Sunday off from doing his chores, Joe was back in the hold to complete the lagging and painting.    I was sent off with the dogs yet again (thinks, is he trying to tell me something?) saying that I would walk south along the Severn Way to Holt Bridge, some 5.5 miles away and then give him a call to pick us up.    So off we went making Holt bridge a couple of hours later, stopped for a half of shandy, and a packet of pork scratchings for the dogs, and I then called Himself for our return lift.
"I haven't done the painting yet!" he splutters when I ask for his taxi services.
Ok, darling I replied. ( Believe me, it's true..)
After which we tramped back to base - 11 miles - to find that all was finished in the hold department - at last.
Admiring his work - the hold with a new coat of paint.

Just got to reload all the kit and caboodle back in now.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Still keeping out of the way...

The Worcester Way, Rodge Hill

Himself was in Caxton's hold again this morning which means the content of said hold was piled up on the bank and the dogs and I were sent packing yet again.  Joe was planning to relocate the water pump and doing routine maintenance by painting the floor of the hold so we left him to it and set off on our wanders again.
A view of the breathtaking Worcestershire countryside - The Teme valley

 Fletcher at the bottom of a steep bank leading into the R. Teme
R. Teme

And here we have found a way down to the river and the dogs are cooling off in the stream.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Six and a half.....mile walk


Now that Joe has both his arms in operation following the removal of the cast on his right arm, he has been determined to get a few more jobs done on Caxton; these 'jobs' required that the dogs and myself were out of the way for a number of hours.  So leaving Himself to empty the hold I set off to try another circular walk this time around the village of Martley which is south of Stourport.   The starting point was the village church of St. Peter's and the walk took us through a number of apple orchards which were laden with ripening fruit.

Acres and acres of Worcestershire apple orchards - lovely

We walked out across farmland that has been harvested, ploughed, harrowed and drilled with next year's crop  and then up onto the scarp of Rodge Hill, down into the Teme valley and back towards Martley.

St. Peter's
When back at Martley I went into the sandstone Norman church of St. Peter's to have look around and I found what would have been a common sight before the Puritan's imposed their views and their buckets of lime wash on church buildings - frescos!


These would have been painted in vibrant colours originally