Friday 30 June 2017

Carpal Tunnel ... 1 done - 1 to go.

Good Morning

(well it is when I begin this one handed)...

I don't know what all the fuss was about - this Carpal Tunnel release surgery is a piece of cake.... NOT.

Perhaps I'm just being a big, brave, ginger soldier!

You decide from this snap on the way home... not the most flattering of photos I'll grant you but the anaesthetic was wearing off and I'd yet to take any pain-killers.

ignore the gash on my head... that happened on my last day at work when a wooden beam that HAD been keeping 2 vertical bits of steel apart came lose and knocked me to the ground...HSE eat your heart out lol.

It looks more sore than it is (the head I mean)

If you like this sort of thing, here is someone else's surgery... 


I was only in Theatre for around 20 mins in all... 6 hours hanging around in a shared room with  a bloke called Steve - he was having trigger finger release surgery and we both ended up in our chairs asleep most of the afternoon watching day time TV - well that and sorting out our funeral plans.

We did get a few cups of tea delivered though so it wasn't all bad - 
and the reclining chairs WERE very comfortable.

Our respective drivers/partners had to kill time in/around the hospital as they were not allowed up due to the "shared" nature of the room - ridiculous..Mine ended up in MacDonald's charging his phone and using their wifi, whilst Steve's sat in the carpark... giving him agro by text message every time he/we dosed off.

After what had been a long wait, once on route back to the room, (complete with un-necessary gown) one of the nurses coming towards the nurse pushing my wheel chair, mouthed to her colleague "his testicle is hanging out" - on closer inspection, it turned out to be my 'cork float' key ring which was clipped to a belt loop on my shorts - oh how they laughed...  I on the other hand, now feel rather inadequate if 'cork float' sized testicles are the norm!

They made us have another drink/eat some toast back in our room before forgetting about us...  it wasn't until Steve's driver/wife decided enough was enough and rand him, we summoned up the courage to wander out to see if we could go home - the looks on the faces at the nurses station confirmed, they thought we'd already gone.  Oh well - we had our dressings packs and letters to our gps etc. and were out of there a little before

On return to the boat, Andy took over role of captain and we chugged up to the water point.... it taking so long to fill that we abandoned it about half full  and went to the pub for tea.

On return, I took a few "good" pain killers (I'm lucky compared to most as I have a good selection from the doc for when my back is at it's worst... which along with a beer, agave me a reasonable nights sleep.  

It's rather sore this morning so I'm not moving from my chair in front of the TV/Fire...

Until next time...

Tuesday 27 June 2017

A Spot of Varnishing and good neighbours...

It's been a funny old week - after years of stressing about potential unemployment, NOW that' it's happening (tomorrow is my last working day) I'm rather chilled about it.

THAT can only be down to living on a narrowboat.

Thanks by the way for all your kind wishes - both here and by personal messages via the website and forums.  I'm really quite chipper about it.

The weekend was a necessary flurry of activity before I'm down to one hand - namely clearing out the man cave garage,  It was SO difficult deciding what to keep/try and sell or take to the tip. I ended up being quite ruthless (although I did sneak a fair bit into my car without Andy seeing)... (it's still there as I've no idea where it's going to fit on the boat) but I DID make 3 trips to the tip and the summer house is full of useful things that are to be listed for sale on Spock.

Anyway - back on the boat, before the rain came on Saturday, I set to and sanded down the side hatches which were already looking a bit tired - mainly due to US leaving them open when it rains... well that and the fact the morrells we used was NOT suitable for exterior use.. ahem.

It's gone a bit orangey for my liking but after 3 coats, it does feel more waterproof than before.

INSIDE, I finished off the prototype tv cabinet - it'll do for now ... neither of us like it but it serves the purpose of hiding the wires and will have to wait until I'm better to be done again.

Having done that, I went back to the house and continued the life laundry (started many months ago) by clearing out my wardrobes and drawers...  3 bin bags full later of things to go (and another pile of things to take to the boat) and the deed was done.

I've thrown away all my grotty, knackered old work clothes (barring the shorts and shoes I'm wearing tomorrow - which will then go in the bin when I finish) and I've even chucked a few pairs of shoes away too.

Having thought it would be traumatic, I'm surprised ad how easy it actually was - I suppose having been living on the boat for about a month now, I've got into a routine of wearing/washing the same few things anyway.

BACK on the boat the boaty neighbours have been really friendly (and concerned ) about my redundancy - Daisy being playful
and Brynn (not sure how to spell that) 
ever optimistic of a doggy treat when he appears a the side hatch twice daily during his walks...  (I usually give in but Andy is more stern).

Brynn's dad even turned up with a giant lasagne he'd made for our tea last night - something along the lines of "you poor unemployed people can't afford to eat so we'll look after you" lol.

Joking a side, it's a nice thing to do and greatly appreciated - LAST week (even before the news) he and Morag treated us to a lovely home-made Mousakka  (can't spell that one either)which we all ate over a bottle (or 2) of wine on our picnic bench as the world and his neighbour walked on by...  

Right - I can't stay here chatting, it's been suggested by the boss I calculate my own redundancy entitlement which if he agrees, will just be passed to the accountant for payment... we're at opposing ends though as he wants to pay as little as possible (statutory caps etc) and I NEED as much as possible... it'll be interesting where we end up.

Watch this space !

Until next time (one handed I presume)...

Friday 23 June 2017

Redundancy ... or is it semi- retirement? and nepotism

It's not been a very good week this end.

WHEN I went in to work after what HAD been my longest break in 15 years, the remaining lad (1 got the shove on last Friday apparently) and I were called in for a chat with the boss.

To cut a long story short, he's decided to roll back the restorations business to "just a hobby" and as such Gav and I were told we're going to be made redundant... oddly enough, just that morning had his 16 year old nephew come to work with us... ... ...

Now OK, our longer term plan had always been to both quit our jobs and (after our year off exploring the system) begin running the boat as a hotel boat (if you've been reading this since the start you might have already picked this up).  NOT a luxury wait on you hand and foot boat - more of a 'come and spend a while living on the canal with us and meet the people, see the sights  and chill kind of affair.

It still smarts a bit though that after 15 years  as of next Wednesday that will be it - ODDLY enough Thursday is when I have my first hand operation and would otherwise have commenced a 12 week period of sickness absence whilst they recover...  TIMING wise, I think it's been done now because you can't make someone redundant whilst they're on sick leave.

On this occasion, I was able to follow my own advice and respond NOT react...  given that giving folks the push isn't an easy thing to do, I merely said that I think it was the right decision for the business - it's always been a money pit anyway... and assuming a fair redundancy settlement is reached, I'll walk away with good grace.... it doesn't look like a decent settlement will be reached however as he's been quoting the statutory minimum payouts - which are frankly quite poor as they are capped at 489 per week and I earn a fair bit more than that... ADD to it the timing (it's not actually 15 years until October, it'll round down to 14 years.

I'm disappointed in the way it's been done.

THAT said, on the plus side - given we had planned to resign and expected to walk away with NOTHING other than what we'd have saved, it will be money for nothing I suppose.

WHAT it does mean however is that we'll need to push on and begin trading a year earlier than we'd planned to - I mean, who is going to employ me with 2 unusable hands for the foreseeable future anyway? .

Hey ho.

As soon as the worst of my hand pain is over, I'll have to begin making the subtle changes to the boat so we can separate the dinette (aka crew quarters) off from the main cabin a bit more securely and get around to building a proper website - I'd registered the domain a few years ago in preparation and just published a temporary holding page with a get in touch box.

It means we'll have to give some proper thought into planning a rough route/schedule where we'd like to cruise, along with some kind of on-line booking function... not to mention google adwords so it comes up when people search narrowboat hotels.

IT feels a bit odd to be heading into the unknown having worked full time ( plus) for the last 27 years but at the same time, it's very liberating to think that for the first time in our lives we'll be in charge of our own destiny.

Onwards and upwards!

MEANWHILE - this weekend is going to be a "garage/house" decommissioning project - I've already had the phone and broadband stopped so now it's time to tackle unneeded possessions and "useful tools" I've collected over the years.

Apparently I need to be ruthless when deciding what to keep/throw.

Luckily, Gav (from work until next Wed) is a hoarder and he's calling over on Sunday morning to look through the garage with me so at worst, stuff will end up in HIS garage for me to claim back if ever needed lol.

I haven't got any photos to go with what I've just written so here's a lovely snap I took the other night of a goose family from the side hatch.

Until next time...

Monday 19 June 2017

Venting the toilet tank and seeing the best in people...

It's funny how a sunny day makes everyone seem nicer.  Take Saturday for example - from dawn to dusk the sun was out and along with it, all manner of different kinds of people.

What I'm referring to in the main are the 'odd looking' types that most people try and avoid eye contact with.  I, on the other hand have a habit of saying hello to everyone and quite often a conversation will spark up with the most unlikely philosophers you're likely to come across...I didn't get his name, but a beardy old aromatic bloke appeared on our bit of the cut and came walking down with his dogs - to put it bluntrly, he looked like an old tramp but he was eloquent, articulated and very philosophical about life and the world.   Andy despairs sometimes but at least I've STOPPED offering people a drink.

The DOWN side to nice weather however is that taking a bag of rubbish 300 yards down to the bin store can take over an hour... mainly because I end up chatting with other boaters... ON Saturday however,   the nice weather even led me to offer to take someone else's rubbish with me to save the old guy tying his bike to the bridge.

Right then - SINCE we got back from Skipton, I've been working my way down a list of jobs I won't be able to do once I've had my left hand operated on (I'm a leftie btw) - TOP of the list was to connect up an external vent pipe to the charcoal filter under the bed that I'd stupidly  rather optimistically thought I'd get away without doing...  Whilst on holiday, the smell got too much for us and in the end, I resigned myself to making another hole through the hull - this was AFTER I'd poured a gallon of "GREEN" into the tank to take the edge off it a bit.

TROUBLE was, the place I wanted to drill through had a bracing bar through it - chopping through 6mm of steel is one thing but add to that a 30mm box section and you're talking a lot harder job. even my second choice was scuppered due to bracing across the front bulkhead.

In desperation, the only easy place was above the gun-whale almost at the same level as the bottom of the bedroom porthole.

It's all connected up now and the smell has gone - well nearly but "febreeze" will finish the job I hope!

Next on my list was to adjust my wardrobe by inserting  a 4cm wide spacer between the bed side and aperture - the interior space remains unchanged but it both closes properly again now AND you can get away with having a bottle of water on the floor by the bedside more easily.

AS it was so hot and sunny, I though it might a good idea to get around to touching up the blacking between the rubbing strake and water line... whilst it would be nice and easy to apply.  With that in mind, I inflated the rubber dingy (bought just for this purpose) and began the job.

IT HAD seemed a good idea - on reflection and having struggled to keep held on every time a boat passed by (it being a lovely day lots of people we boating) it might have been easier to lay on my belly on the bank to do it.

Anyway - it's done now and although purely cosmetic  (and it stops about half an inch short of the waterline)  it has improved the appearance considerably.  The PROPER blacking (as in out of the water, jet wash etc.) will not take place until April next year.

. . . . . . . . . . . . 

Today (it's now Monday) was my last day off work and tomorrow I'll head back in to the unknown.  I've had no contact with either my boss or my colleagues since the start of our trip and the subtext of the silence is that they're annoyed I stuck to my guns and took a holiday.

Given I missed out on 8 days of last years holiday entitlement, worked most of the bank holidays (unpaid) quite frankly I don't feel at all guilty.

THIS morning, I had to head into Sheffield to the private hospital where I'm having my hand operated on next week for the "pre-assessment" and "Mrsi swabbing" - well that's what the letter said.... that and a questionnaire.  It was a bit of a waste of the morning to be honest as when I got there, a 13 year old nurse took me into a room, asked me some more questions (that COULD have been on the form anyway - a couple of examples here being what is your usual blood pressure, and how tall/heavy are you?....  I could have emailed them in and spent the morning doing something useful.

HEY ho.  At least I already know the surgeon doing the op and have faith he knows what HE'S doing... and as it's private, Andy can wait in my room whilst I'm in theatre and chill  rather than fighting his way in and out of Sheffield twice.

Before then however, I still need to get the TV cabinet finished... I'll be candid here and admit neither of us like what I've done.... like I've said before, it's usually my 3rd attempt at something that ends up being ok...  there just isn't time to have another go at this for the next few months so we'll have to live with it... however it turns out.

Until next time...

Thursday 15 June 2017

Apperley Bridge to Leeds and on to Wakefield...

After a very windy night again, we set off about 7.30am on the route back to Leeds.  The weather kept threatening rain but only in short bursts.

By around 9.30 we were being penned down through the first couple of locks in the rough areas and had a pleasant enough journey on into Leeds.  We over took (whilst it was moored) the Lady Teal posh hotel boat near Kirkstall Brewery and before long we were entering Granary Wharf.  There WAS a bit of a panic in lock 7 it might have been, where we met a couple coming up so whilst waiting for the lock to fill we were all chatting as you do when I noticed their boat was listing... quite badly.  It turned out the chap had wrapped his rope around the bollard twice to keep it steady as the lock filled (using the centre line) and it got jammed.  Luckily, Andy and I both had our walkie talkies in our ears so I Was able to call him and got him to shut down the top paddles,  and then run back to the bottom ones with his windlass to let some water out...  it was a very close call.   I DO have it on video "somewhere) so I'll have a look and see if I can edit the (10 minute) clip, it will be in.

We noticed a swan planter on the roof of a boat, which on closer inspection turned out to be made from an old tyre.

By the time we got into Leeds, quite a bit of water had come our way and it took a bit of faffing around to equalise the levels enough to open the gates as you can see, the water was pouring over the top .

We moored up easily enough although the wind DID get up quite strong.  It's a funny place in the wind - it never occurred to me NOT to light the fire (it dropped quite cold in the afternoon)  but no sooner than I had, did we have a boat full of smoke due to the strange air currents caused by the high-rises around.    

At least we know all our smoke alarms work ok now!

Later in the day, we called to visit a friend and I shared a bottle of wine with him whilst we looked over his plans to convert 2 apartments in to one large one... very exciting stuff.  Can't wait to see work get under way.

Our plan HAD been to spend a couple of days in town but as the weather wasn't looking much like improving, we decided to head home on Tuesday...  Partly down to poor weather but also as there were a number of jobs I'd like to get done before my operation.

I sent my friend a message suggesting he looks out for us as we headed down the river.  WE could see him on the balcony and he took a couple of long-distance photos of us ...

As it had been quite early in the day when we left Leeds, rather than overnighting on route, we decided to make the journey in one.  In all, it took a little over 7 hours which wasn't bad.

It was nice, when coming home from holiday, NOT to have a load of washing and un packing to do... I could get used to this.

Calling home to collect post, we had a quick catch up with neighbours and you'll be pleased to note, the vent pipe has arrived so I 'll be able to get rid of the smell emanating from under the bed - a job I intend to get on with ASAP....  also to be done, is a bit of adjustment to my wardrobe door  - it seemed to twist the hinges when we got stuck on the ledge a couple of months back and as such hasn't closed properly since.  

ALSO on my jobs list is finishing off the TV cabinet in the lounge - I need a few bits of wood so will have a look in the garage to see if I can find any, without going into work/spending any money.  

BEFORE then however,  AS we are still on holiday, we're going to the pub for lunch now.

Until next time...

Monday 12 June 2017

The return journey... and back online.

4 g is good.... when it works.

When it doesn't however, it's a right old pain.

Since Andy used up my 4g allowance on my works phone before we came, I quickly arranged for a new mifi point on EE with 32gb of data a month...   It HAD been working perfectly then for some unknown reason, the other day, it decided to stop connecting to the  internet... well I say "unknown"...ahem... cordless battery powered devices work well - assuming an idiot remembers they DO need charging.  IT simply didn't register that it kept turning off after a few seconds because the battery might be flat.


Right then - with that cleared up, what's been happening in the last few days? - well, we eventually settled down in Gargrave for a sunny evening watching hire boaters come through the first few locks and then panic.  We recall that feeling well.  6 hire boats in all made it that far in their first afternoon of hire from Skipton...  all roughly at the same time which did mean a little bit of chaos but it WAS well spirited and they all were having a lovely time.

Whilst we were up in Gargrave, it occurred to me to get in touch with a couple we met briefly  the year before last (eek) when we'd accidentally stolen their long term mooring space when they'd gone to get some water.  It turned out, they'd bought their boat from the same place we did so it'd have been nice to tour each others boats and swap stories.  AS it happened, they weren't around on the Friday but could call in on Saturday afternoon.  We'd planned to head back to Skipton anyway on Saturday for a pork pie and tour of the castle so they arranged to call in late afternoon.

WHAT was the weather doing on Saturday? - raining of course (again) so after a couple of hours chugging in the rain we moored just after Gallows bridge

 ... we ditched the castle visit and I bought a new waterproof jacket ... I also threw away my old boating one which had done me well but was now letting lots of water through.

We did however, buy some hot pork and apple pies - they were lovely.

They didn't survive long enough to be photographed!

After another wet wander around the town,  we ended up back on the boat reading before Matt and Jess turned up.  It was a little disappointing not to be able to have a nosey around their boat but they did show us some photos of their progress.  They've had a lot harder job doing it than we did mainly because they were living, working and studying on it at the same time... we've been lucky enough to have the bungalow to go back to when the mess got a bit much.

Once they'd departed, we pulled pins and headed off back to Sildsen on the first part of our journey home.  AS it was getting later, the hirers had all packed in for the day and we had the canal to ourselves.  

After a noisy night in Silsden - (due to some marquees and loud music), we set off quite early hoping to get back down the Bingley 5 and 3 .  

There was however a little bit of a wait at the top due to a wide-beam work boating heading down.

but at least the sun was shining now...

It's funny how people doing the same job can be SO different...  2 of the lockies were wonderful, friendly, helpful and chatty,.. 1 of them however was a bit hard work - quoting some regulation 5 that we would have to wait for another boat to come along and share a lock to conserve water.... I did point out that as 2 boats were waiting to come up, they're have to use water setting the locks anyway to bring them up so we may as well go down with one of them...  anyway, he was over-ruled by the other 2 who were more than happy to let us down.

Once at the bottom of the 5, we had another little wait at the top of the 3 where we encountered a stroppy fisherman who was RIGHT on the mooring bollards I needed when pulling in behind another boat waiting to go down... bloody idiot.  He had a bit of a strop when I pullled the boat in, forcing him to move...  and then did an emergency stop (well as much as you can with 17 tonne of boat) stirring up the water big style.... he got the message and moved after a few sulky looks.

Once down, we were soon caught up by a bloke (who later introduced himself as "Dave") who, although not single handing, did have a wife recovering from surgery on board so we took him with us through the various swing bridges and a couple of locks into Apperley Bridge... not without the odd accident as he did crash into our boat a few times  - no major harm just a bit more paint (what with the wind we've taken off loads anyway on this trip) and he DID give us a couple of windlasses he'd picked up along his journey....

Waving goodbye to him, we moored for the night near where we did on the way up.  The wind (although bad enough during our journey) really did get wild during the night and we both agreed it was a relief to be on rings/chains  piling rather than on pins.

This morning, early on well head back towards Leeds to get through the rough areas before the scallies get up and start drinking again...  All being well, we'll get moored in Granary Wharf again and then meet up with a couple of friends after tea for a catchup.

Until next time...

Technical Issues - Wifi related...

Back later... I hope! 👌

Friday 9 June 2017

Wakefield to Skipton... Day 3 in the town centre - a family visit. and Skipton - Gargrave in the rain!

I'm running behind here again due to a boat move.  Yesterday morning we realised we might still be over-staying the 3 day mooring rule... (in that although we HAD moved, we were still within the town centre visitor mooring section with a 3 day limit) - so, we pulled ropes through rings and set off (in the rain again) towards Gargrave.

The day before however, you'll recall we'd arranged to meet up with my parents for them to see the boat and head out to Bizzie Lizzie's for lunch...  their treat, re. my birthday.

Impending visitors of course, did mean we had to have a bit of a clean and tidy up inside the boat as it's amazing how quickly a small space can become chaos - looking round again this morning it appears to have returned too! ... I for one don't remember having a party last night but sitting here you'd be forgiven for thinking it's the aftermath of one.

Anyway, no sooner than we'd got the boat (inside at least) clean and tidy, did a text arrive from my mum to say they where they were so we set off to meet them.  On route we got a pleasant surprise when we bumped into an old Aunt and Uncle, who on hearing we were here, decided to come for a surprise visit.... (the boat gets more visitors than WE do lol) and before long we were all sat (sitting) in the restaurant having lunch.  IT was nice to catch up with them all and once replete, we headed off down the tow-path to the boat.

I'm not sure whether everyone was just being kind but the general consensus seemed to be the boat is 'quite good' - which I'm taking as complimentary... the subtext may well have been, 'it's quite good considering YOU'VE done it' lol. 😑

6 people on the boat in the saloon area is a bit cramped  cosy but no-one seemed to mind.  WHAT I am narked about is for whatever reason, I totally forgot to take any photos...  which is a shame...  next time I'll remember!

SO, instead of a family shot, here's my birthday card.

They obviously have a similar sense of humour to me now... I finally ground them down.

Given the wind (outside) was still quite strong, we didn't go for  a chug ... a good job really, as I'd had a couple of glasses of wine with my lunch and was ready for my afternoon nap.


Now the thing about 'mothers' is that they hold a whole lot of medical information in their heads.... gained from looking after various kids,neighbours and other family members over the years.

WHY am I telling you this? - well, when we left Leeds the other day, I trapped my finger in the outside hatch (Andy's fault for opening a paddle without telling me whilst I was closing them in preparation for a leaky lock).... (I don't hold it against him - much)....

I took this shot just after I did it - it swelled up quite a bit more than that and on presentation, 'mother' got that surgical glint in here eye and off we trotted into town to buy the required implements...

The wine was my addition... to help with the pain NOT to sterilise....

Anyway,  I've released the pressure now and soaked it in the Epsom salts for a while.  It's a little bit better so I'll repeat the process a few more times... as per my instructions from "Dr Mum".


So, yesterday...morning - for whatever reason we didn't get up until about 8.30 which is very late for us and once breakfasted we looked at the weather forecast  of more rain but less wind and decided to chug along to the winding hole before Gargrave locks and spend a night out of town,  Partly because  we've been unable to get a tv or (any other than Stray FM) radio signal and only had a couple of dvd's left to watch....

It's a nice enough run in the dry, but within moments of setting off, the wind and rain returned.
we got quite wet again.

Having taken shelter for a short while, we decided to go a little further and see if there was space in Gargrave to moor (and go to the pub for tea)...

There were a couple just passed the top winding hole but as we walked back to the boat, we got chatting with a couple from a cruising club on the water point ...  this was a bad move, as by the time we'd gotten back on board and set off up through the locks, someone else had moored where we had in mind.  On the plus side, the time delay did give a hire boat chance to come up with us which made the locks easier.  IT got a little congested on the second one but all was well.

Our original plan had been to turn, and then reverse a 100 yards or so to moor up...  unfortunately, our hirers had the same plan so given their boat has to be back to base in a couple of days, I chugged on past and moored 300 yards or so further down.  It's not a bad place to be but does mean a lot more reversing tomorrow morning to turn... which we'll do very early doors so as to limit the audience AND reduce the chance of on coming traffic.

Until next time...

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Wakefield to Skipton.... Day 2 in the town centre and 'T boned' by a hire boat.

Another truly awful day (weather wise)..  The fire was still in from the day before, so I riddled the clinkers, chucked a few bits of kindling on and made it up for the day ... a good decision as the rain and wind got considerably worse as the day went on.

There's still no sign of our oldies... they may have given up on the trip all together and turned around.  I wouldn't have blamed them.  They'd already intimated the double locks were a lot harder work than they'd expected and add gale force winds to that... well, you've a recipe for a really miserable time.

Having put our waterproofs back on and braved a walk into town, we bought more dvds and cds from charity shops and I opened the Champagne my friend had given me the day before as a birthday present...  AS Andy still isn't drink since doing 'dry January' - I was FORCED to drink the bottle myself...  it was lovely.  AS such, at some point in the afternoon, I nodded off in my chair.... to be awakened by a crunching noise as a hire boat crashed into the back of the boat.

HAVING been in their position many times, there was no point in being cross with them and they did apologize profusely... well as much as I could hear through the howling gale and frantic reversing engine noises lol

It seems they had been trying to moor in a space a couple of boats behind (which was far too small) and on aborting the mission, the wind took a hold of them and slammed them into us.

They managed to reverse their way back to the water-point and moored for the night... which as a bit of a pain for us as this morning it meant we hard to reverse around them to use the tap further back... ALSO in the wind.

Here they are post crash, trying to moor up.

Modesty prevents me from telling you how well i did the manoeuvre this morning though...😀
(at about 6.30 am to reduce the likely witnesses if it all went belly up in the wind)

To give the fellas in the bire boat fair credit, one of them was up and about and came out with every intention of grabbing a line if I'd needed it doing.  They'd had an awful day having picked up the boat from Silsden a few hours earlier and struggled their way through the swing bridges we'd done the day before.

Whilst on the water-point, I ran a load of washing through the machine (on the batteries as they were still at 80%) and by the time the tank was filled it had finished and was ready to go into the drier.

We had to move today anyway so as not to overstay on the visitor moorings so have now gone around the corner passed the main basin and will spend the next couple of days here if the ledge doesn't drive us TOO mad... it's a handy place to be as the Skipton Gala is this weekend.  All being well, We'll turn before Gargrave and begin the return journey on Sunday.

Today however, my parents are on route to visit the boat for the first time and the plan is to have fish and chips at Bizzie Lizzie's.

Until next time...

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Wakefield to Skipton ... Silsden - Skipton in a gale!

AS you'll recall, Yesterday was my 45th Birthday (eek)    MANY thanks for the birthday wishes ... I don't celebrate them to be honest but they're still nice never the less.

Had we not already arranged to meet our friend in Skipton, we'd have stayed put The reason of course being the truly awful weather...  I don't mind rain, snow, sleet,hail or sunshine - but mix any of those with a gale force wind and 10 swing bridges with awkwardly placed landings (by awkard I mean side on to aforementioned winds), the journey was truly awful.

I came the closest I've been to falling in... not from careless foot work OR attempting too big a leap.. no.  Instead, it was the elastic cord on my old scruffy Berghaus jacket which got caught on cabin hook 'mid leap' off the boat on a windy bridge landing... Andy could barely help for laughing!

Having composed myself I vowed to cut it off!

(which I've yet to do)

Before I forget - here is another photo of the interspecies family from the other day.

We can't reach agreement as to whether the infiltrator is Goose or Duck - Answers on a postcard please!

Also, missed from yesterdays posting were these photos of "Kennet" Andy took as we passed her.

Judging by the bow, I think Tim West has driven her a couple of times ;)

As a result of the awful weather, my phone didn't leave my pocket so there aren't any photos of the journey as per... apart from this snap 

taken in the rain and then later our "new family" which came visiting for early tea.....

In all, there were 10 hungry (and nosey) mouths to feed...

They've just been back again today too  - still raining btw.

Late afternoon, my oldest friend turned up to visit and after a few hours catching up, we donned our jackets and braved the weather again in search of somewhere to eat.  Neither her or Andy were drinking which meant I could have their share ;-) 

I didn't of course...

After a false start in the Heriot hotel (where we all agreed £6.50 was too much to pay for a small portion of Jam roly poly) we ended up in a curry house instead and shared a lovely meal together... weather still awful and no reception on the tv OR radio, bed time was about 9 pm.

Today we've stayed put and searched out dvds to watch in charity shops... oh, and I've bought a couple of audio cables to enable the computer and tv to share the sound bar.

AS for Andy, if you can't hear the snoring coming from the chair next to me - you're lucky!

Until next time...

Monday 5 June 2017

Wakefield to Skipton...Apperley Bridge - Silsden (Bingley 5 rise staircase)

Good Morning.

Today is my birthday...  I've had a bit of a lay in (it was 5.48 when I got up) and are currently sitting in front of the fire (that I've lit myself) looking out over the countryside in Silsden.  We hadn't planned to come this far yesterday but as it was a lovely warm and sunny afternoon (and the forecast for today was grim) we thought we'd chug on a bit further once we'd gone up the Bingley 3 and 5 rise's.

Rewinding to Apperley Bridge for a moment  - when we moored up there on Saturday afternoon it was glorious...  so much so, I was actually sun-bathing on the roof for a couple of hours whilst Andy read and watched the world go by... when I say go by not in the case of 3 rather common looking ruffians alchol enthused sun-worshippers, who decided to set up disposable bbq, fishing/drinking/annoying tow-path walkers session between us and the other boat.

Oddly, for whatever reason, on this occasion i wwasn't in the least bit bothered by them... I seem to be adopting a 'live and let live' approach these days.  OK so they were a bit crass but for all their drinking and larking around, they weren't being offensive to anyone and generally interacted with passers by in a friendly fashion... especially the mouthy bint lady drinking wine from the bottle.

Andy on the other hand took against them ...  and as with all "niggles" ... once they start, it's hard to stop them festering lol.

LUCK was on his side as eventually it rained and they cleared off.

We'd moored just near the entrance to the marina (not in the way of course) and looking out of the hatch we saw this unsual family unit...

The swans didn't seem to notice one of their offpring was actually a duck - they were never more than about 3 ft appart the entire time we were moored.... and the same when we set off yesterday morning.

Before we set off though, we'd run a load of washing through on the batteries - they only dropped by about 7% for the 30 minute 30 degree cycle... helped I suppose by the kettle of hot water I poured in the drawer at the start of it.

It promised to be a lovely day and after an electric swing bridge, we had a twin lock with the wataer point at the top.

Whilst the tank filled, the washing went in the dryer  and an old man appeared in his pjs from a boat moored near the water point...  I though he was going to complain about the engine running but he was a solo boater and just fancied a chat - smashing old fellow and (considering it was sitll before 7am) quick witted and sharp as a pin.

Once full, we pottered along towards Bingley and encountered our first (proper) staircase of the day....
I won't lie - they're hard work on our own - trying to keep the boat stable is difficult.  

Luckily for us, after a few more swing bridges, we caught up with a hire boat from Bear boating we'd seen leaving Apperley Bridge the day before.  

An old couple - he 85 and her late 70s.  Andy had referred to them as a posh looking pair but we soon discovered they were just like us... but a bit older.

We palled up with them for the rest of the day and that made BOTH our locking ups much easier.

What WAS nice about them in particular, was that the lady was skipper and husband lock-wheeling...  a rarity and we had a lovely natter in the locks... so much so, that on occasions our respective crew had to shout at us to point out we'd crept a bit too far forward and were soaking the front of our  boats.

Once we got to the Bingley 3, we had a short wait for the lock keeper to turn up so Andy went ahead to look for him.  He called back on the walki-talkie to say they were preparring the staircase and we couuld go in to the bottom lock shortly.

They leaked quite a bit so the front of our boats got a wash no matter WHAT we did - them like us being circa 58ft, it was quite a tight fit.

The paddle gear on the gates was in good order though.

once at the top however, you've a swing bridge that needs to be opened BEFORE you can get out of the lock...  a bit of a design flaw me thinks.

NEXT was the famous Bingley 5.

THIS time, the keeper had the gates open ready for us so we just chugged straight in (and as I was in front, I picked what I thought to be the best side to avoid leaks...)  -  (that fell down later on as it changed as we went up lol)

Plenty of Gongoozlers - they got in the way a little bit but Andy can be quite firm and moved them when required.

Note ANOTHER ruddy swing bridge as you come out.

We  had planned on mooring in Bingley but as mentkoned earlier, the weather was nice so we chugged on a while longer with our new boating palls  - sharing the swing bridges.  ONE of which was stuck and needed a bit of a push with the front button to open... NOT sure how w'ed have done it going the other way though - come to think of it, we'll find out on our return journey knowing our luck.

The scenary now was lovely and the chug up to Sildesn was just smashing.

Along with the views one side and on occasions the gardens the other, we felt blessed.

Until next time...