Saturday, 31 December 2011

It's Christmas!!

It's Christmas day, the roast is in the oven, the veg is prepared and we (OK, mainly Me) are half way down a bottle of Crofts, the pressies have been handed out and it's pressie opening time.  Our family tradition is to open our gifts by order of age and here we are just arriving at our twenty three year old size 8, (is there really such a size?) Anna with a gift from Oxfam???

Our Niece, Anna, with a surprise gift from Oxfam..ily
A food parcel for Anna who has been living in London for the last six months and surviving on air and pot noodles!!
Mother!!! Blimey, that Pedigree ale went down well..
Brother Bob with the youngest member of the family, Ramsay dog
Ramsay's turn to open his pressie
Nephew Jack and Floyd mutt
Next year we will be having Christmas aboard Yarwood as we have had the last three Christmas's aboard Caxton but this year as we are moored up in a marina and the car is to hand we decided to do the social thing and join the family.  We have had a lovely time, if exhausting, but are now finally back aboard Caxton getting ready for the move on to the new boat.
First job today, sort out what is under the bed, oh heavens...

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Needing a FIX

I felt the need for a water/boat fix today.   Options are a bit limited re canals in this part of Essex, either go up to London for a bit of Regents Canal and River Lee or drive to Chelmsford for the Chelmer and Blackwater navigation.  On the other hand I could pop down to Leigh-on-Sea and enjoy the charms of the little fishing port and a bit of briney air.  Leigh won.
Arrived in Leigh just as the tide was ebbing so I was lucky enough to see a bit water before the tide receded and the mud flats were revealed.
The Ray at Leigh-on-Sea, looking west towards Hadleigh downs and Hadleigh Castle.
The downs are  where the 2012 Olympic mountain bike competition will be held.

 The shrimpers tied up and the water receding
 Water birds, Oyster Catchers Turnstones?
 Endeavour, a shrimper of 1924 vintage. 
This little lady went to Dunkirk in 1940 to rescue our boys from the beaches
 The tide has gone leaving just a puddle in the Ray. 
  Memory lane, I played on this beach 50 years ago when visiting with my Nan, say after me, arrrgh...
Endeavour beached with the modern style shrimpers behind her

I spent an hour wandering about, had lunch with Mother in a local pub and treated us to some fresh local cockles, winkles and mud shrimps for our tea.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

This Christmas Malarkey

Went into Basildon this morning with 80 year old Mater, did Christmas present shopping.  This afternoon spent hours wrestling with Xmas paper and sellotape attempting to wrap presents.  Tomorrow morning off to the Tesco emporium to spend ridiculous amounts on festive fodder followed by a  Friday excursion to purchase fresh vegetables and meat.
Fun, fun, fun....
Mrs Scrooge senior.

Monday, 19 December 2011

There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza

Just over three years ago when we were setting off on our new boating life aboard Caxton we bought a coal scuttle; as you do.   
Midland Chandlers Penkridge, £53 investment - lie down and twitch - and we were away.    Recently when wondering why there was a small heap of coat dust on the floor, I found the our £53 'bucket' had corroded and the bottom was falling out.  The combination of ferrous metal and acid coal had worked their magic and our coal pail had sprung a leak.   Given the the new boat, Yarwood, has a decided brass bent we thought that the replacement coal container should be a non ferrous brass, or copper, or zinc.   Today whilst out and about I found a brass scuttle, a filthy brass scuttle mind you, and an assortment of fire irons - I struck a deal and now own a semi-filthy brass scuttle and a motley assortment of pokers etc.
After the first attack with Brasso

Still to see the Brasso

Happy Birthday Mum!!

On Saturday Mum hit another milestone, her 80th birthday.  To date, 25 birthday cards, two cakes, dinner at a local pub Saturday night, party at church Sunday morning and high tea with family on Sunday afternnoon.  
Audrey May Choules, 80 years young with her 18 month old self  on the cake.
Mum remembers that the dress she was wearing was yellow  and the photo taken in the Roman Road, Bow (London E3) in 1932

Friday, 16 December 2011

I am leaving him...

I am leaving him...

No, it is not one of those, 'enough is enough and I am out of here' moments ...well not this time anyway.
I am off to Essex again to see family and especially Mother who is 80 years old tomorrow!
I am going early for Mum's birthday and Joe and the boys are joining us next week in time for Christmas.
All next week I will doing the running around getting ready for the Christmas feasting - I will be hostess on behalf of Mum, who really hasn't got the energy for all that malarkey, and the rest of the family are joining us for Christmas day.
Joe will be taking the helm of the Yarwood blog again next week and I am hoping to be reading about the prop arriving from Crowther's, the galley doors being painted and the  saloon stove making an appearance...
We are really not far off from the launch now and my excitement is building daily!!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Licenced at last

Last week I spent an hour on-line trying to licence Caxton then I gave up.   Yesterday I tried again.  Eventually I discovered that my insurance policy number had been changed when I adjusted Caxton's value when I renewed in September.  So off I go again completing the on-line forms right up to the point when I have to part with the money at which point Lloyds TSB decide that BW can't have the money...
I got Joe to try making the payment on his card/account but still no joy.
So, having dropped Joe at Barnowl's workshop so he can do a bit of blacking on Yarwood I drove into Kidderminster and headed straight for the Bank. 
It seems that Lloyds security people had stopped that payment so I went through a string of security questions, showed the assistant Id and got the payment authorised. 
Caxton is now licenced for 2012 and the new owner when we come to sell her...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

This one..

A new kettle for Yarwood. 

Decision finally made, I ordered this little red number this morning.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Back Home

I am back aboard Caxton having left Lincolnshire mid morning after a week in my Nurse Ratchet role.  I am delighted to report the friend Valerie is making great progress after her shoulder replacement operation and we are are looking forward to her joining us for a weeks' convalescence aboard the new boat, Yarwood, in early Feb.  A bit of lock-wheeling should put her right - perhaps not - maybe I will lock wheel and she can make the tea....

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Daphne Does it Again..

I was tempted to headline this post Daphne Does Dallas because it is alliterative but good taste, or what passes for good taste, prevented me, so it is Daphne Does it Again ...
And what does Cousin Daphne do again, why our personalised Christmas card.   Last year it was Caxton in the ice in Brum and this year it is Fletcher and Floyd of the Caxton Crew checking out a takeaway Christmas lunch...

And as with last year, I would like to share these Christmas greetings with all our blog readers and fellow boaters....
Have a lovely Christmas everyone and a safe and ice free new year!!!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Mother's who'd have them?

So here I am still in Lincolnshire performing my Nurse Ratchet role.
 I called my Mother on Thursday, no answer.
 I called my Mother on Friday, no answer. 
I called Mother again this morning and got no reply so a quick call to my sister-in-law  Christine in case she might be aware of my Mater's whereabouts...
Chris somewhat concerned, hares up to Mother's to find the place locked up and while my Nephew Jack tries to break-in in case there is a gruesome discovery to be made or a heroic rescue to execute, Chris tries in vain to raise her other half, my brother Robert.

Eventually, Robert gets back to her to say that Mother is out all day with her Church mates, so no emergency, no tragedy...
thank goodness.
Mother's who'd have them?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Op done

We are now over in Lincolnshire to support my friend Valerie Ann.  We went into the new Peterborough Hospital yesterday to see Val who had been operated on in the morning and now has a replacement shoulder joint.  We are expecting to pick her up from hospital today all being well. 
Alan, Val's husband, is currently working 12 hour night shifts as part of the busy Christmas build up at Royal Mail and therefore has not been able to take time off this week but no problem, that's what friends are for and anyway, I am a better cook than him so Val will not have to survive on porridge and beans on toast...

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Autumn stroke winter and a visit to Lincolnshire

The frosts of the last few days have almost succeeded in stripping the last of the leaves from the trees and compared to last year, when we were iced in and under a blanket of winter snow, the autumn has been long and glorious.
Dog walking territory

Today I am off to Lincolnshire to play Nursy.  My friend of too many years to count (38+) is going into hospital today for a shoulder replacement operation and I am going over to be housekeeper, nurse and general factotum.  I have been joking with  Val that I will come armed with laptop, clipboard and phone and spend most of my day on the laptop and talking to friends on the phone, rehashing TV programmes, talking about last nights' conquest - in my dreams, and generally avoiding my 'patient's' needs.  What is more, drinks and food will be placed just out of reach and removed uneaten and cold.  Val in turn has been referring to me as Nurse Ratchet.. 
In fairness to the NHS, I expect that the care Val will get will be superb and I hope that the skill of the surgeon helps Val out of pain, brought about by rheumatic arthritis and the resultant soft tissue damage.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Doughnut scoffing contestants are...

Watching the blogs we spotted that fellow bloggers and continuous cruisers, NB Seyella , Nb Rock n Roll and Nb Moore2 Life had moved on to the Shroppie for their second Christmas together.  Last year while Caxton was iced -in in the centre of Birmingham, these three stalwarts were iced-in at Wheaton Aston.  
Now the Shroppie isn't far away from our current base in Stourport and by car we knew that we could outrun any attempts they might make to escape us so we  set out to find them yesterday and by lunchtime had tracked them down at Brewood.
(Truth told, we had spoken to each over by phone and arranged a visit, we didn't just descend on them)
As we crossed the bridge by the The Bridge Inn at Brewood there were Rock n Roll and Seyella rafted together awaiting us.  Charles on Moore2Life had slipped the net and moved on to Wheaton Aston but he had a date with his wife Ann who was returning from a family visit down south.

 Our host Geoff, tea maker extraordinaire..

And now to the contestants of the doughnut scoffing extravaganza... I give you

 George of Nb Rock n Roll

Mag's doing a doughnut masterclass 

 and  Mag's of Seyella, the winner of our contest as she valiantly managed two doughnuts in record time.

 and then Carol of Nb Rock n Roll, good effort Carol..

 and then the important crew members who didn't get to eat doughnuts, Megs of Seyella and
Molly of Rock n Roll.

We had a lovely visit, put the world to rights and caught up with everyone's news, enjoyed super home made soup, thank you Mags, and great company, thanks.
Until next time, have a good winter everyone..

Friday, 2 December 2011

Pension Calculator

I was talking to Jill and Graham of Nb Matilda Rose a couple of days ago about when we might get our State Pensions and there was some confusion.  Now maybe that is just an age thing or it could be that this subject is a moving feast and a lot of us are a bit befuddled...
So to aid clarity I post this Pension Calculator for anyone who wants know when they will graduate to OAP status!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Green Conscience

When I lived 'on the bank' I was quite good about recycling. This was aided and abetted by the strictures of the local authority's recycling scheme, not necessarily, in complete fairness, my eco-conscience. 
Since living on a boat I must admit that I have been less than diligent about separating my paper from my plastics from my glass teabags. This has obviously been playing on my mind because I have been looking for a solution to this failure of social responsibility and today I found it... 
I realised that perhaps in excess of 90% of what went in the old Brabantia was recyclable - if I could find some way of separating the used teabags and vegetable peelings I was on the home straight. With two Labradors on board we don't accumulate 'waste food' so compostable products are limited.
Today I tracked down the solution..a compost caddy.

Urba Kitchen Caddy (Small) - 7L Ideal for Food Waste Recycling
Size- 280mm (w) x 205mm (d) x 215mm (h)Dusty Grey Colour with robust black handleDishwasher Safe

I can easily and hygienically separate the paper from the plastic from the glass and tin when it comes to disposing of this waste and the peelings can go in the land fill or...under a hedge..