Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Ellesmere, Day 33.

A brief look at particle physics........

But first a picture of some icicles.

Atoms as we all know are extremely small, so small in fact that if there were five hundred thousand of them lined up on parade they could hide behind a single human hair.

Bear with me, I am going somewhere with this.....

Now, in your minds eye, imagine a single atom to be the size of a party balloon, not a red or green one but one you can see into.
Then, looking in, you could see an infinitesimally small dot in the centre, this is the nucleus - a fly in a cathedral gives some idea of scale - orbiting this nucleus and flitting in and out of view are particles.

Are you still there?

Scientists, for the last decade or so, have been building huge machines ( The Hadron Collider being one ) to accelerate these particles to near light speed and smash (collide) them into other particles and observe the results. This supposedly gives them an insight as to the Big Bang Theory and the creation of the universe as we know it.

Wake up!

The Nay Sayers and doom mongers were soon coming from the woodwork citing the end of the world with the creation of a new universe or a black hole or dark (anti) matter should they succeed in their quest. If you are reading this that has not happened........yet.

One other effect mooted is that the explosion could interfere with our current time line and produce the "Groundhog Day" whereby we would all live the same day over and over again without realising it.

Ellesmere, Da

Here, hang on a minute, I get the strangest feeling that I have typed that many times before. OOerrrr.

Until next time..............


Monday, 27 December 2010

Ellesmere, Day 31. 


D - through no fault of her own - has her birthday on Boxing Day leaving the choice of things to do fairly limited. A walk along in the wintery sunshine and then back to a roaring fire with fizz had to do.

Setting the fire for last night I loaded it to the gills with coal as usual, this is to cope with the overnight lows of minus fifteen to seventeen that we have been having recently.

Last night though I dont think it dropped below minus two and we cooked yet again. We even awoke to flowing water at every tap on the boat, something we have not had for at least a couple of weeks, there is always one frozen somewhere.

Although it is warmer now it is raining, why is rain so depressing and grey?
When the snow falls all you want to do is get out into it, but the way. I have not even stuck my head outside today and I am literally looking forwards to getting under that duvet.


Until next time..............


Friday, 24 December 2010

Ellesmere, Day 28.

Here we go.........

I would just like to thank Peter and Tina who left a comment on the last Blog.
For those of you who haven't read it yet, they are from Adelaide in Australia and are expecting a temperature of.................34........... tomorrow.
Cold beers and seafood in the sun, we can only dream!

Back to reality.

Ubique, though, is a glourious place to be at the moment. We have been cooking the gammon all afternoon and the boat is now full of deliciously smelling warmth.
I can't really describe just how cosy it is in here at the moment, there has been a bite taken from the fizz stocks to add to the rosy glow and the "nibbles" bags are out, open and being punished, wonderful.

So, if I could just say...........

     A Very Merry Christmas To You All And Thanks For Reading. 

Until next time........................


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Ellesmere, Day 26.

A day in the community. 

We threw the hose over to top up the water today........... three and a half hours later we pulled it back.

Four other boats are now full and people who were out of reach of the hoses topped up with drums. Everybody was out and about with hose reels and connectors but I didn't even take one picture of the whole scene. Twit.

Nb Bendigedig - who were one of the boats out of reach - still happily lent their hose to the line as one of the other hoses from a nearer boat had frozen solid, even after being left in a hot shower it still refused point blank to pass any water through.

A proper "helping each other out day". 
Our neighbour came along with a bottle of wine at the end and would not take no for an answer, I am doing it justice right now.

Until next time..................


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Ellesmere, Day 26.

Eee by gum, what a grand day.

The tree is up, the decorations are up and the turkey is bought and paid for, although at the moment it would be more use as a mud weight than a food source.
Thawing it out could be tricky.

Last night we just went for it, yes, there was no stopping us, caution was thrown to the wind as we actually for the first time this year ........fired up the central heating!
As it turned out - although it was minus ten outside at the time - we well and truly cooked ourselves......... Just finding out what the turkey might feel like!

Well, the sprouts are on simmer now so they should be nicely soft by Saturday, the bottles of fizz are freezing nicely in the front locker and the cat has even got a present to open.

Bring it on!

Until next time.............


Monday, 20 December 2010

Ellesmere, Day 25.

More of the same..... and a bandit rides amongst us.

Once more but this time with snow and sun.

Our good old Christmas stand by.

Walking out today we noticed that the friendly local boatyard had whacked it's red diesel up to a staggeringly eye watering ninety one pence a litre for domestic.
Whilst most diesel outlets are charging between sixty and seventy pence this is just blatant profiteering from a captive audience, it's no wonder diesel runs are being organized.
Perhaps they should wear masks and point a gun at you when you pay, at least then you would feel you have been properly mugged.

A single boat has managed to escape from the arm recently with the aid of sledge hammers and even an axe.
He made it to the service point where he remained for the night before trying to make the return journey to his paid for mooring, he is now out here frozen in with the rest of us.

Mustn't grumble though, just enjoy.

Until next time..........................


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Ellesmere. Day 23.

It begins!...... and the law of sod strikes again.

Down it came the other day and then after a slight dusting it stopped.

The sun was out, the shopping was done and the town had been visited so we decided to throw the hose over and fill Ubique up with water - and at the same time - the boat next door.
Guess what? .....Yep....around the corner came a boat!
Now, this might not seem too strange as this is a canal full of boats after all, but what is strange is that it was the only boat to be moving that day, to actually come around that corner in the exact half hour "window" when we had the hose across can cause your head to start twitching and a slight tic to appear in your eye.

Opening the back doors this morning to this view was a little bit more like it. Nowhere near the punishing levels of snow other places are suffering though.

It's still at the pretty level.......... for the time being.

Most people are really mucking in at the moment.
One chap is organising a diesel run in a borrowed van, just give him the empty cans and they will be filled at a garage for twenty pence a litre less than the going rate here.
When you are buying in at the hundred litre mark that is a good twenty pound saving, not to be sniffed at.

We can buy a turkey now.

Until next time.....................


Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Another day to while away the time.

According to the doom mongers, AKA the weather guessers, we will be back to these conditions tomorrow.
For these boats though nothing will change, they are still as stuck in the arm now as they were at the beginning of the freeze. The NB Roma made an heroic effort to free them today by repeatedly ramming the ice, this was combined with the crew hitting what ice he could with a sledge hammer from the bow. All this was unfortunately to no avail.
When the ice is a "genuine" four inches thick there is not much a narrowboat can do against it.

BW are charging those boaters a lot of money - and I do mean a LOT of money - to moor there for the winter.
With the services not easily available I feel that had I paid to moor there I would be due a refund.
BW have the ideal craft to break the ice just moored outside of their yard here, but it is just lying dormant.
Maybe lots of moaning might spur them to action.

I'd better not hold my breath!

Until next time.......................


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Ellesmere. Day 19.

Just sitting it out.

There has been a major improvement in things over the weekend and the water point has been accessible for quite a few boats.
Piccadilly Circus is probably the best way to describe it.

Ellesmere has all the mod cons, even a Launderette.
This is delightfully named as "The Washing Well"..... well, we made a "Wash" but it still hasn't come true yet.

There is the possibility of moving on now, but with the forecast the doom mongers are spreading, it could well be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire if we did.
We gave this decision careful thought for just over ten seconds and we are staying put for the time being.

Until next time..................... 


Friday, 10 December 2010


Good signs that aren't and bad signs that are.

This might look quite encouraging and a good sign of us being able to move on, but it is just rain water sitting on top of the ice that has nowhere to drain away. The ice underneath is still as solid as it ever was.

And now...... without further ado...........may I present the epitome of a bad sign ( Of the times we live in).


Look! you can't smoke in that shop.

Oh...... and someone will have to be manning the fort on Christmas day.

Apart from batteries, what other last minute, seat of your pants item could you possibly need on Christmas day?
Oh! silly me, I forgot to pick up a turkey, I'll just nip down the spar.

Taking a picture of this unusually shaped icicle on our walk through the Ellesmere tunnel, the flash has picked up a surprising amount of paint on the wall.
These are all boat strikes and I must admit that if I took paint off of our roof to that degree I would be screaming.

It's strange why they are all red however, maybe it's just my camera.

Until next time................


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Ellesmere To Blake Mere And Back. 1 Tunnel.

We were walking though.

There seem to be a few cracks appearing, in the ice as well as some boaters.

Firstly, the ice decided to crack with an almighty bang the other morning.
We were shaken and everything aboard rattled briefly, this - as we were just waking up -
found us running around like headless chickens for a while checking tanks and pipes for a monumental burst.
With the benefit of hindsight, staying in bed and calmly saying "That was just the ice moving darling"  might have been a bit more macho.

Secondly, there are a few other boaters who are getting fed up with being trapped and have been moaning at the staff in the BW yard. 
Quite what they think BW can do about it is beyond me.


Walking out to Blake Mere,

we had to pass through the Ellesmere tunnel, there was actually free running water here and it was so clear the rubble was visible on the bottom.

Hot Toddies on the bench in the sunshine again on our return, this could become a habit.

Until next time.....................


Tuesday, 7 December 2010


A bit more of the same today.

Blackwater Meadow Marina, with nobody going anyhere very quickly.

This morning started off badly with us having no water whatsoever at any of the taps aboard. This turned out to be the domestic water pump freezing solid, bearing in mind it is not all that far from the stove and has never frozen before... that must have been cold last night very very cold.

D has just called me to the window to look at a duck that had got itself stuck to the ice, they tend to lay on their front and this ones feathers stuck fast. Lots of struggling later and there is now a lump of down where the bird was. 

We walked into Ellesmere via the road today as the towpath along the arm was all but impassable, just a solid sheet of ice in places.
Still, It gave me the chance for a few more pictures.

Thanks for the recent comments by the way, it is always nice to know people are looking at the Blog.

The water situation has been eased at the moment as BW have revealed that they have a working tap behind a door set into their building that is accessible to all.
News like that spreads very quickly indeed and there seems to have been an almost constant stream of boaters with water cans on trolleys finding their way to it.

The sun was out this afternoon and the temperature actually got above freezing, ( I nearly got my shorts out ) the frost was falling from the trees like snow as there was so much of it on the branches.

Thanks again.

Until next time.......................


Monday, 6 December 2010



Yes, I know it's cold and yes I know it's hard at the moment but..........

We awoke this morning and found ourselves in a real life winter wonderland. This whiteness is all frost and freezing fog, not a flake of snow.

All we need now is a fat man in a red suit and a Reindeer who has had his nose in the fire for a while and we are sorted. 

Look at these roads, totally rural and totally clear.

Well, the water point has finally frozen solid.
We did top up again yesterday as the man on the boat in front of us was dry and asked us if we could get our hose over to the tap and get him filled up as his hose was frozen solid.

No problem! (Sorry Sue)

So, we have a nice full tank that we are now going to have to meter out until this weather eases.

Until next time....................