Monday, 28 October 2013

'til next year.........

We've had a few emails asking "where are we"? "what are we up to"??
Well, truth is, we've been very busy sorting ourselves out for the winter.

Since leaving Church Lawton we stayed with Tony and Doreen (NB Sarah Olive) all the way down to Braunston where the 4 of us worked on our boats getting them ready for the winter.
Tony and Doreen then put their boat into a Marina where we then thought we'd say goodbye to them till next year......they had other idea's.....Tony had checked their flights to Spain, found that there was spare seats and they asked us to come to Spain with them for 10 days???? This threw us into a spin for a bit and didn't know what to do or say as they were leaving in 48 hours.......Erm.....ok we will! So, off to Spain we went for 10 days of sunshine!

One good idea that people may be interested is that we've fitted "celotex" insulating sheeting inside the windows, make sure it is a real tight fit and bingo! no damp smells or condensation at all in the boat. This is an idea we got from somebody who leaves their boat for 6 months and goes home to Australia to enjoy the summer there. They've done it for the last 4 years and tell us it is brilliant so we'll let you know when we get back!

I've painted the outside of the boat below the Gunnel to hide all the scratches and scrapes we got ourselves into this year. Insulated the engine bay bulkhead to deaden the sound of the engine whilst it's running (works a treat) Suzie has cleaned every inch inside the boat, sorted out all of the drawers, cupboards, shelves, storage under the bed and we have got rid of anything that we've not used

Our flights to Cyprus have been booked, overnight hotel at Gatwick booked, car hire to see everybody prior to jetting off for the winter booked, trip to the dentist booked (urgh!)

.........and that's about it peep's,

......'til next year where we will be travelling south we think for the year so we can be close to friends and family.

Since our last blog we have done 94 miles, 52 locks and Harecastle Tunnel (2919 yards long)

This gives a grand total of 497 miles 100 yards, 314 locks and 10 tunnels (tunnels over a 1000 yards only)........Not bad for our first year eh?

Please have a great Christmas and we both wish you a very happy new year
It's early but as we will not be doing the blog now till we return.

Rob and Suzie x

Thursday, 12 September 2013

It's only been and taken 6 months..........

As the title says.......
......We only really had one plan this year and that was to get as close to my Dad and his wife Diane as possible. Dad and Diane live in Lancashire not far from the Leeds and Liverpool and last year they took us to The Boatyard Inn at Riley Green and we did want to get there in Swamp Frogs. Sadly we didn't quite make that and after the hard work of the Wigan flight we decided to moor up at White Bear Marina in Adlington. As we were mooring up a woman who we had never met was frantically waving to us like we were her long lost cousins....."your here, your here" she, Heather has been following our toilet wall blog since the start and could not believe that here we were mooring up next to her and Mike, her Husband! So all moored up and we sit and have a drink with Heather and her hubby Mike, lovely couple and can't wait to meet up again in the New Year when they have their new boat.
Next morning after resting up Dad and Diane arrive for the grand tour

.....we love showing off our boat and are so proud of her and the job that Milburns did for us......(changes thread briefly) What about this then for service....I phone Milburns to say I have a leaky window, Andy tells me what to do to sort it and then goes on to say that if it still leaks they would drive up to us to sort it! Great service from a great bunch of people (I know they have a build slot in Jan 2014, if you are looking to have a boat built, look them up, you will not be disappointed)......Anyways back to Dad and Diane.....We give them the tour and they, like all others before them love Swamp Frogs and are so pleased for us and that we are following our dream.
With Swamp Frogs safely in the Marina we pack a couple of bags and go and stay with Dad and Diane for a few days coming back the following day to take them on a cruise.

This is the funny bit......we leave around 10am and cruise to The Malthouse Farm have lunch and cruise back. The Malthouse is like 10mins drive from their house but we take nearly 6 hours to get there and back plus a 2 hour lunch in the sunshine giving us a full 8 hour day!!!.....hehe such is the pace of life on the canal!
They loved it, both Dad and Diane reluctantly agreed to take a turn on the tiller and both did very well. They both couldn't believe the pace, peace and tranquillity we experience on a daily basis......This, my friends, is what our life is......Yes it's taken us 6 months to do what most people would do in a day (138miles by road) but what a great time we've had......
Sadly we leave Dad and Diane and have to make our way back down south. We moor up at the top of the Wigan flight knowing the horror of 23 locks in the one day face us in the morning when we get a knock on the door......"hi, are you doing the flight tomorrow? if so can we pair up" a couple asked......"yes we are" I reply "and yes it would be great to pair up". The couple, Tony and Doreen owners of NB Sarah Olive turn up at 7am the next morning and we have a wonderful time doing the flight. Tony and Doreen, like us, believes that narrow-boating does not have to be a contact sport as many will tell you it is but if you take things slow, all will be fine. We do the flight with a minor hiccup of a dry pound and work being done in a lock half way down by CaRT workers with no banging or scraping of either boat.
Sadly we miss my Dad and Diane who were waiting for us 4-5 locks down but they thought after an hour we must have passed.....sorry dad, Diane....such is the life on the canal, things can and do move slowly.

Tony and Doreen have become the latest in a long line of new friends and they too are making their way south and we have had many pleasant evenings together on the way, They have also taught us how to play canasta.....a great card game to play.

We've been in touch with Cheryl at Stockton Top Marina, home to Kate Boats and we will moor there for the winter, Milburns (we hope) will do a few little jobs at the same time while we jet off to Cyprus for 3 months!

We are currently moored at Church Lawton ready to do the Harecastle Tunnel tomorrow!

Since our last blog we have done 74 miles, 54 locks and Preston Brook Tunnel (1239 yards long)

This gives a grand total of 403 miles 100 yards, 262 locks and 9 tunnels (tunnels over a 1000 yards only).