Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Fushia is alive, Princess and Vladimir arrive

Well, dear bloggers, we have far too few plants and far too much time to care for them, so, of course, each one is very important indeed. Most are doing very well with lots of new growth, though the primrose we bought in the winter did not survive the winter. Hmm. Anyway, we thought that dear Fushia was past tense, and went looking for a replacement last week. No luck - the frost hardy ones don't really start growing until after the frosts... Hmm. Our Fuschia was/is a frost hardy variety like the one (then ones - we propogated) we had in Rectory Road. Hmm. Could she be sleeping and not dead? Ah ha! Like Cinderella, but kissed by the warm sun and not a Prince, our Fuschia is indeed coming to life. We are thrilled. Sad, but there we are.

As you might have guessed, we are still moored up in Blue Haven. We have much research work to do and need to be absolutely sure of our electricity for the computers. And we are now on FAT band. We got a new dongle from Orange after our searches revealed that Blue Haven is a blue hole of 2G in Vodoafone's otherwise red 3G coverage in Rugby. This allowed us to cancel a contract and go to a better provider. So we have a pink (Orange) dongle. Wait for it - called Princess. Long story, but the pink reminds us of a wonderfully full of life work colleague who goes for any technology going in pink and calls herself Princess. We upgraded the remaining Vodafone dongle to more memory and lower price. He is called Vladimir. (Please sit down for this, the painful reason why. Vladimir - V - Vodafone. Vladimir Putin - put in - put in the side of the computer.) On this note, we'll leave you to be ill quietly.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Blue Haven for Easter

We had a lovely Easter and were delighted to be in Blue Haven - it meant we could get to Coventry for Easter at the Cathedral. It was stunning, theatrical and held all the drama of the festival. Wonderful. We spent the Bank Holiday doing DIY things like Pete making a tray to fit over the cruising rail to take mugs etc while someone is at the helm and Elizabeth cleaning and refitting her dressing table tray. So, all in all, the kind of weekend spent by most in the UK! What we did not do was take Bella out. There were SO many boats, mostly driven by those who only have weekends like this to use their boats. So we left the open cut to them and enjoyed being in our space.

And during last week, we had a plea from some old and loved clients of ours to do some major pieces of work. As we like them so much, we've had to say yes; but, this will curtail our plans for a long long spell away from Blue Haven this summer. You'll have to watch this space to follow the odd set of days out here or long weekends out there. But we're looking forward to both the work and to the excursions. The major reason we chose this life is to have the choice to what what felt right and good at the time. So here we are!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

We are back in Blue Haven now, having had a lovely few days out. On Friday, we helped our friends move from a boat to a cottage; but we need to say that this is only a temporary move :-). Saturday was filled with usual errands, but Sunday hailed beautiful Palm Sunday weather, so we started our home's engine, untied and moved south into the cut. Wonderful!

We realised that weekends in season (i.e. not during the BW stoppages period) are busy with what one of the boat yard workers calls the 'polished boat brigade.' This describes those who frustratingly have to keep their boats mostly moored in marinas and can only use them at odd weekends or weeks of the year. The boats end up being wonderfully cared for but largely unused - therefore, polished boats. This Sunday saw many 'PBs' as well as hire boats. Ah, hire boats. One decided, when seeing us coming through a bridge, to just stop. We had a gentle tap rather then a heaving collision, but hey. Most were valiantly stuggling and generally doing well. One, who called to overtake us in order to overtake the slow hirer ahead, told us on passing that they were doing the Leicester Ring in one week. More power to them!! In normal time, it would take at least two...

We had good views of what we love about this part of the world. The back of gardens, lambs and cows going for a drink in the canal, and just the lovey scene of hills, white clouds and blue sky. When we moored out in the middle of nowhere, but near Flecknoe, we set out the bench and the deck chair, spread out the shrubs and created our own little garden. Pete set up the Satellite dish, as watching Lewis was an essential. Then Elizabeth set to the gardening, clearing all the pots of the dried top compost, putting in new compost, cutting out frozen stems and feeding. With a garden the size of ours, each plant gets a great deal of attention! Elizabeth is shocked to realise she misses gardening...

We turned back to Blue Haven early yesterday morning, setting out at 7:30. After an hour of engine running, we took turns for our showers as the other took the helm. With lots of water, and engine heating, the showers were just glorious wet steam baths! Mmm. We arrived carrying out a sweet smooth mooring exercise, quickly grabbed brief cases and took Reg for meetings in Oxford. What fun!

Friday, 3 April 2009

So much for the sunshine!

We thought that this morning, we would be travelling back to Blue Haven from Braunston. We expected to have set out from Newbold on a fine sunny day, glide by the wharf at Hillmorton and continue south to Braunston for 24 hours. But how the weather turned!!! We set out on the 1st to Springtime and we came back into the marina yesterday to winter clouds. Harumph! You can see how the weather lost is sun in these photographs. But the photos themselves are interesting. Along the cut, we came across these men making traditional fencing for a field. The man in the dark jacket was cleaning willow sticks of their small branches with a machete, making a point at one end, then ramming them into the ground along the fence line. The other man was using more willow and the branches of the hedges along the path to weave into the uprights and to weave a top section. It is wonderful to see these traditional crafts continue. The sight of that warmed us up, even though the weather was cold enough for Pete to have had to go inside to put his thermals on - in the Spring!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A little Journey to enjoy the sunshine

We decided it was just too lovely to stay moored in one place today, and besides, the cassettes were full and we had to go to an Elsan point. Hmm, Braunston or Hillmorton? Locks decided it. We had breakfast as usual, did a little work at the computer, then pulled over to the opposite side of the marina for a new can of Calor gas. Today, Elizabeth was helmsperson out of the marina, not Pete. He gave her a gold star for stunning work and she had to agree! A sweet move into the cut.

After a short while travelling north, we made our way through the Hillmorton Locks which we so enjoy. We stopped in between the bottom lock and the middle one to empty the cassettes. We usally do this by car from Blue Haven, but fun to take them by boat :-).

We continued north west in the sunshine past things we are used to seeing, but a few were captured this time. One, the mural of transport in Rugby and the other, wooden totems of wheat outside the Harvester pub on the canal. We moored up just east of the Aqueduct so that Elizabeth could do what she has wanted to do ever since she knew she could - shop at TKMaxx from the canal!! One shot is Bella moored up with fields to the left and Rugby to the right. The shot of what looks like a bridge is the aqueduct seen from the cycle path below. And it was fun to shop there from the canal! Sadly, no purchases, but hey.

By 3:30, we'd tied up in Newbold, a now familiar haunt. Pete went to the shops while Elizabeth worked a little more on the computer now on FAT band!!