Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I know that the canal chases through the beautiful countryside but it wasn’t until I had a dog that I ventured a bit further and started to explore it. This field is minutes away from the canal. Living on a boat is so much more than the bilges and water.DSC00736

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Morning Frost and Light: Picture Book




DSC00733 DSC00734



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Muddy waters Christmas weekends.

This is lifted from Maffi's blog:

A new Santa experience for the little people. A Christmas canal boat ride from the peaceful village of Thrupp, with Oxfordshire Narrowboats and the child-friendly narrowboat Muddy Waters & Jolly Boatman.
Enjoy a short festive boat ride in the beautiful peaceful setting of Thrupp followed by a visit to our exclusive floating Grotto aboard the Marvellous Muddy Waters himself.
Cruises will be taking place on the 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th of December.
Avoid queuing in busy shopping centres to see Santa and enjoy his company in this magical setting instead.
There are limited places available and tickets must be pre-booked. When you book we will ask you a little about the children visiting Santa so that we can make this a truly personal occasion. We also encourage you to let the children write a letter to give to Santa on the day.
Tickets are an introductory price of just £7 per head, this will include a gift from Santa for the children and a tea and mince pie at the lovely Annie's Cafe for the grown ups.
Call 01865 356140 (office hours or email to discuss your booking.
£7. To book, call 01865 356140 in office hours, or email
Annie's Tearoom
Canal Road


I do like this cratch design.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Boats that caught my eye: Picture Book

This looks really unusual – I think it is Angel Wings if I remember correctly


A potter owns this boat and it has always caught my eye


The bow of this boat is an eye catcher..


As is the colour of this!


Banbury – the butty to Baldock who recently changed hands from one friend to another which is great!


Little Ted (I think) has a splendid stern extension – I imagine there is a fine cast iron spiral staircase in there… IMAG0348

And Drake




and I love the look of this boat! It has extra studs… I think.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bloggers Paradise

These continuous cruisers are tantalising with their blogs…. they are always slightly behind or ahead and as non of them seem to admit to planning you never know if they are going to arrive until they have!  It is rather fun.

Last week or so when I was in full throw of man flu (the worst kind) There was a ‘Mortimer’ from the bank and Lo, there was Graham from Matilda Rose. It must be at least 2 years since I saw them last and it was wonderful to see them again.  I was too ill to do anything that be glazed over and croak, but by the time I was recovering we were able to take tea together at Annies.  Sadly I didn’t see them on their return trip but I have no doubt I will chase them down again sometime!

Again, when I was in full swing of my disease I had a text from Jan asking if I was available for a flying visit.. but alas I was too poorly.  However, a bit later on in the day Halfie and Jan  came flying past (almost literally) to offer supplies – a bar of Bournville Chocolate. They stopped a matter of nanoseconds before flying off to their meeting. It was wonderful!  I had barely processed their arrival before they were whizzing off again and I was tucking into a square of chocolate. THANK YOU!

Actually, it is a month of the bloggers. I have seen Maffi, Captain Ahab, The wild Thyme Fairy, and Epiphany!


After my little dry rot episode my blood runs cold when I see certain things… and this was one of them. It was the second viewing of such a thing along that particular line of boats.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thrupp Lift Bridge

The lift bridge in Thrupp is electrified. On each side of the canal is a pedestal from which you can raise or lower the bridge with a British Waterways Key (I wonder whether the new charity will change that and all the locks…).  The design is meant to be for the single hander. If the bridge is opened with one pedestal (and and you have to leave the key in the pedestal) you can lower it with the other. However, the time delay is 5minutes. Until 5minutes has passed the other pedestal remains inactive.  I only recently learnt that the delay is 5minutes.  By the time 5minutes has passed most single handers have clambered over with a fine display of acrobatics and ropes to lower the bridge or have asked someone on the correct side to lower the bridge for them.  In some cases people don’t even bother with the key.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sleep Picture Book

  I was reminded of these pictures of Boots and Molly the other day and the way they curl up together.




Monday, November 21, 2011

RIP dear one

On Saturday we gathered together to bury Ian’s ashes. It was the day after his 50th birthday.  Gilly, his partner, chose a climbing rose to rest against the tea rooms.  It looked quite extraordinary:


a hole was dug, the ashes put in followed by a roll up and a glass of champagne and we toasted his life.


Then we drank and ate cake:


One of the people at the tea room asked what was going on so Gilly explained that Ian had died and it would have been his 50th Birthday yesterday. ‘oh how sad’ they said. ‘Oh no’ said Gilly and she asked the person to look at all the people who loved Ian and said that this was a celebration of his life. It was.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Weekend II- Coventry Cathedral

I wasn’t entirely taken with the City of Coventry – it seems like an illogical maze of random streets and buildings mashed together with people beamed in.  I did only rush through the streets to Costa Coffee and then on to the Cathedral so my first impressions are just that – impressions; barely formed.  The company of my three friends was, however, lovely.

There are two Cathedrals in Coventry -the ruin and then leading into the ruins is the new Cathedral.


   It is extraordinary to see the new and old so close together, so bound. The cathedral in ruins is a poignant reminder of the price of sacrifice.  The morning after the night of 14th November 1940 when the Cathedral was bombed, the Dean Richard Howard vowed that there would not be revenge and retaliation but peace and reconciliation and the cathedral would be rebuilt.  The new Cathedral was designed by Basil Spence and the foundation stone laid in May 1962.

St Michael and the Devil - designed by Sir Jacob Epstein:IMAG0201 

We arrived early for Evening Song and had a little look around the Cathedral.  The cathedral’s stain glass baptistery window (the rising sun illuminates the font) is amazing. As you walk over to the little chapel (which I stepped very briefly into before changing my mind– I will save that for next time) and turn around it looks as if the sun is hanging there. John Piper designed it to be ‘the light of truth breaking through the darkness and confusion’IMAG0203

Behind the alter is another stunning piece where Graham Sutherland’s tapestry hangs.  It is the size of a tennis court and there is no denying that the height of the Cathedral is used in its full splendour.  I was really taken with the organ pipes on each side climbing up to the ceiling.  The Tapestry has, apparently, become a symbol of how the cathedral is willing to embrace new ideas and step away from tradition.


There weren’t many people in the congregation  and I sat wishing it was St James’ choir in Weybridge engaging us in the music in this space. Not really very grateful of me of the choir and organist before me, but that was what I thought. 

The service was interesting – 40minutes said the service sheet 60 minutes said reality.  Church music has always drummed a rhythm on my heart but that aside I found myself sitting in the world between faith and reason.  There was so much I wanted to do but being British I sat as nicely as I could.

I KNOW this evening song was to be an art form where the congregation don’t engage but rather ‘be’ and meditate  but I couldn’t help feel I was watching the world from inside a glass bottle in a time warp. Is that all the church is – an archaic institution representing God that is man made?  It shouldn’t be, but somewhere something has lost or is losing the way – me perhaps. I sat and saw the traditions of church as many see them; archaic... Yet there is so much more, so many more dimensions.

Surrounded by the Cathedral, the ‘feeling’ and the inner beat of my heart I felt sure there just had to be more. What we see in the building and what we see in the world have been misinterpreted and I am not sure the truth can be found as easily as it is judged.


After various stresses that seem to follow me when I am trying to arrange a relaxing weekend with friends (let it be known that organisation is not my strong point but I do have particularly patient friends) everything finally came together and I set off. On arrival aboard Milly M  on the North Oxford I spotted my handwriting on the side – it turned out to be a ‘poem’ I wrote some time ago; scribbled on the back of an envelope in a hurry.

Maffi has had several false starts over the years from Oxford to continue his journey around the inland waterways and this must have been written during once of those false starts but now he has gone.  It was on the back of an envelope in my good old scrawl. ‘Oh’ said I ‘here is a poem I wrote’. ‘A poem?’ said Maffi ‘I didn’t realise it was a poem’. charming!

Such happiness I found here

Such sanctuary from my sorrow

And now as I stand here

Not wishing for the ‘morrow

Empty rooms, no laughter

But for you I wish and pray

A safely travelled journey

So again we’ll meet one day.

May the sun shine upon you

Radiant every single day

As the water laps around you

cruising through the day

Thank you for the cherishing

The fun and laughter here,

All I can now say

Is I wish this day

Weren’t here.

After a spot of lunch we went for one of my ‘short’ walks to pop to the shops – only a mile away. It turns out they were at least 1.5miles away but we managed to get what we wanted  - including a rather splendid drill bit Maffi had been looking for.

On Saturday night after a brief trip to the local pub we returned to have a look at their firework display.  I am not so keen on fireworks but here are some pictures.



On Sunday we took a walk along the rather wide towpaths down to Barby Marina.  Barby Marina isn’t even remotely finished and Maffi was telling me all about it as we walked back. 


On the way back the Narrowboat Trust boats going past with Maggie and Barry on board.


In the afternoon the four of us went to Coventry Cathedral

Saturday, November 05, 2011


This is Boris the intrepid spider. He came to investigate and supervise my cooking. Maffi took unbridge to this clearly thinking I don't need distraction. Maffi scooped up my friend and hurled him outside. In a rather flustered rescue operation Boris ended up in the drink.
Panic stations.
Fortunately Maffi has a new torch which was able to track our friend as he was swept, dramatically, along t.e length of the boat. Maffi was deployed with a spatula to sweep up Boris from the bow. Astonishingly he, the spider, survived.
Sadly this means dinner is ruined.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Weekend with friends

I don’t often arrange weekends with friends, mainly because I am hopeless at organising these things but this weekend I was delighted when my friends thought the idea of a boating trip to the Quarry and back would be good fun.  It was a gorgeous day.  We walked up the hill, heather raced Boots and Adam found a comfortable bench before the ladies found this one.


It was wonderful.

On Sunday my other friend was in the area on a boating trip with his canoe club. He usually lives on the edge of the country so to have him in the county was wonderful.  His canoe club is just like an extended family for him and having heard so much about them it was lovely to see them again and meet other members too.

Ready for launch:


This lovely dog had a bit of trouble getting his crew in order, but soon began to settle downIMAG0115

It was so good to catch up and see the  group heading off down the Thames.

Boots enjoyed seeing the cow standing on another cow:


The Autumn colours are wonderful at the moment.