1. Coal stop (coal-boat 'HADAR' is moored ahead of us).
Monday we left Gallow's Hill and made our way the short distance to Great Bowden where a winding hole enabled us to turn and head back to Foxton. Coincidentally Jo-the-coalwoman (nb HADAR) was moored at Black Horse bridge, which was rather unfortunate as we had pre-ordered 4cwt of coal coming by road later that afternoon. Jo was OK with it though and spent a pleasant couple of hours with us after we returned to moor up to await our coal delivery, having cruised down to Foxton Locks to service 'wilvir' (toilet, water, refuse etc).
Dale delivered the coal as promised and we spent a peaceful night on the visitor moorings at Foxton village.
Yesterday we moved a short distance to moor clear of the village.
26th Jan 2011, 11:22
1. Ready to cut.
2. Ready to split.
What a fantastic new series! Looking in on the lives of those who featured in 'Human Planet' on BBC1 this week (8pm Thursday) really puts life into perspective and captures the spirit of people really living. In comparison, why do 'we', with all the trappings of the 21st century, struggle so much with modern-day life. We easily miss or ignore so much of life and blindly become slaves to instant gratification, blaming everyone and everything but ourselves. 'We' really do need to get a life!
Another programme, Edwardian Farm' also gave us an insight into living to survive and the benefits of a full and meaningful life packed with 'doing', rather than just existing. Is their a subliminal message being broadcast for us all to get real? I hope so.
23rd Jan 2011, 12:02
2. Roach off the bow skipper!
3. Woodsmoke on the air.
4. The Mill on Gallows Hill.
The past couple of days have been truly wonderful for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because the wind and rain of the weekend has been replaced by the Sun, which has shone all day through the azure blue of our atmosphere.
Yesterday two Tornados flew directly overhead at less than 300' with their four RB119's thundering in unison and exciting the world around them. It is a sight and sound I have never tired of and stirs an emotion that I've never been able to shake whenever I see and here it. The big sedate 'ducted fan' engines of today's commercial jets can never compete with the raw power of a reheated bypass turbofan and the thrust it imparts to the aerodynamic shape and speed of a fighter aircraft. I include the few remaining RAF VC10 aircraft here too for the sheer thrill of unfettered take-off power and speed.
Today, a much more relevant 'bird of prey' that shares our 'watery garden' could be enjoyed, as a buzzard circled the boat calling across the landscape as it played in the weak thermals holding it aloft. He was followed by a kestrel hovering above the undergrowth on the opposite bank from us. Beautiful
All this while I've been sat doing a spot of fishing with the warmth of the sun on my face. Even the fish came readily to a breaded hook in the shape of fit little red-fins.
Ginny walked into Great Bowden with Gunner to pay a visit to the village shop and post-office. On the way back she took a sweeping detour through the fields to let Gunner stretch his legs chasing anything that, from a distance, resembled a rabbit; even if it was only a tuft of grass on otherwise flat terrain.
The forecast is good for a day or two yet so a logging I will go. Ginny has always got her eyes open for a tree willing to give up an unobtrusive branch or two or one that has already divested itself of a limb as a result of a 'blow'. Thus it was today whereby I dutifully went off to bring back a few boughs of ash in readiness for the chainsaw tomorrow.
I'll show you the results tomorrow.
19th Jan 2011, 19:51
On the move at long last - Jo and Keith in their working coalboat 'HADAR'
The ice has albut gone today. Jo did mention, as they passed us, that they had to break out of the ice in the basin at Market Harborough and there are still a few isolated patches of thick ice in places. Other areas of the system are still ice-bound so, along with the delayed winter stoppage programme in some areas and breakdowns due to the prolonged cold spell, the canals are a few weeks away from being fully open.
12th Jan 2011, 13:27
1. A towpath fence almost lost in the undergrowth.
2-4. Reverting back to nature.
Hedge-laying is employed less and less these days as a natural boundary fence to seperate field from towpath. Those that survive are rarely maintained and the tractor mounted flail seems to have become the tool of choice as a quick means of controlling the height and width of hawthorn and blackthorn hedgerows that quickly become overgrown. It is sad to see impenetrable high stands of hawthorn and blackthorn that, in the past, would have been less invasive because of better management. But then times have changed and today's mechanisation means that almost all hedged boundaries are cut and shaped from the top down rather than managed from the ground up and therefore become a tangled mess, which is great for security and livestock containment but not so practical on rural towpaths where impenetrable hawthorn, blackthorn and bramble impose their thorny barrier on the openings leading to footpaths and stiles criss-crossing the countryside and canals. It is a shame that the beauty of a neatly maintained rural towpath hedgerow is fast becoming a thing of the past. This has allowed rabbit warrens and badger sets to encroach upon the towpath, which together with the narrowing effect of widening hedgerows and associated root growth, undermines and erodes canal banks and culverts. Where we are currently moored all the field boundary hedgerows around us have been cut to a manageable height in the past couple of weeks and look almost ornamental. The towpath hedgerow is sadly crying out for attention.
6th Jan 2011, 15:45
The New Year is upon us and I still wonder at our quiet passage through time as the pace of life takes us towards our destiny. I'm in my fifty fifth year and enjoying life immensely having reined in the speed at which me and Ginny were using up our time in this world, to a point where life was becoming a blur and seemed to be accelerating. Living life at 4mph gives us time to actually see the wood amongst the trees. That reminds me I need to sharpen my bow saw blade. Happy New Year.
2nd Jan 2011, 12:15
Gunner will be six in 2011.
31st Dec 2010, 20:33
1. Callum, Cydney, Santa, Craig, Kian, Emelia and Clare.
2. Emma, Wayne, Alan, June, Hannah and Ginny (in the Blackhorse Pub, Foxton).
Emma, Wayne, Hannah and Neve together with Alan and June (Wayne's parents) came to visit this week, staying two nights at Langton Inn Premier Lodge. We had a great couple of days culminating in a truly excellent meal on Wednesday evening at the Black Horse Pub in Foxton.
On Wednesday Alan and June left after breakfast for their drive back to Hindley near Wigan while Emma, Wayne and the girls joined us on the boat for a roast beef lunch, leaving as it got dark, for their journey home to Taverham near Norwich. It was fortunate that Alan and June left when they did as they arrived home to find the water heater in their kitchen had sprung a leak.
31st Dec 2010, 16:00