Sunday, 31 January 2010


A small recipe.

Take one canal and leave in the freezer at minus three to four degrees for twelve hours or more. Once solid, dust lightly with snow and enjoy..... Yumptious!!

That just about sums it up for today, so

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

Saturday, 30 January 2010


Oh no, not again. Enough already!

The ice came back last night with a bit of a bang.

The canal was frozen solid again by ten o'clock, the noises it was making as it gripped the boat were certainly something to hear.

As per usual though, a boat came crunching through by eleven this morning on some sort of a personal mission.

Although this does keep the waterway open for today, if it freezes hard again tonight the displaced ice sheets that are now on top of each other fuse together, then with the newly forming ice joining them you end up with very thick ice indeed.

On the other hand, the sun is shining brightly enough today for me to be sitting here with the doors open again whilst bashing away at the keyboard.

Its not at all bad!

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

Friday, 29 January 2010


A little bit of cat hunting.

We have made the decision to try and obtain a young cat to live on board with us.

The two cats we left back at our brick home, in the care of our son, were sadly far too long in the tooth and set in their ways to try and bring them with us aboard Ubique.

Obtaining one though, through the "proper channels" is proving to be a bit of a problem!

It seems that no Cattery/Re homing Centre/Vet or Rescue Centre around here, will entertain the idea of letting one of their cats go to a "Boat".

Apparently it is too dangerous for them.

The amount of people out here with cats aboard their boats is quite surprising and proves the lie to the opinion of these so called Re homing centres.


What is better for the cat?

Having a nice cosy boat with a large food bowl/two doting carers and a lovely warm fire to curl up in front of,

or be left in a cage at the centre with the possibility of being put to sleep forever!

What is the matter with these people?????

Rant over:

On our return from the fruitless search on what was a very grey day, the sun suddenly came out and lit up the trees opposite our moorings.

You cannot deny, that is a different sight, and very calming.

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

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Hillmorton To Rugby. 1 Lock.

Another Red Letter day is upon us.

Today makes it one year ago that the remaining monies were paid, the papers were signed and Ubique was ours!

Today was a nice looking day for a chug towards Rugby.
As soon as we had negotiated the stressy residents of this water point we were on our way.

It was great to be pressing on again.
It is difficult to put into words how good it feels to be back on the move, although those past few weeks have certainly been an adventure there is nothing quite like chugging along on a day like this.

We have only seen one other boat on the move today, It is very, very quiet along here.

A really good advantage of these Rugby moorings is that the Tesco is almost alongside the canal.
Good for the feet but maybe not so good for the wallet!!

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

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


Its always quicker coming back.

We have certainly escaped the severe weather that was guessed for today.
It is a bit chilly but nice enough for me to give some more of the brass work a polish, mind you, that act alone is enough to ensure rain in the near future!!
Therefore it is my fault if you get wet soon.

Hillmorton here, having a very quiet day in the sun and all to itself.

We had a walk out to find the local shops yesterday,

on the way we had to pass under a railway bridge adorned with this sign.

On our return we passed under the same bridge only this time we did not have to walk so far. This proves why the return journey always seems quicker!

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

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Braunston to Hillmorton, 2 Locks.

Now, this is a windlass and this is a lock gate, don't worry it will all come back to you in time!

This boat was the catalyst to get us moving again.

Its Sunday morning, the sun is shining and they are out for a jolly, two of them are sitting in the cratch with the sun on them and the doors to the boat wide open.
This is their weekend enjoyment and they were loving it, this is where we live so lets get back out there and enjoy it too.

A tank full of water from the waterpoint overlooked by this hangdog tree, seemingly waiting for the spring to hurry up and get here.

Then back out into the countryside.

Glorious, glorious freedom from our exile in the ice.

Those rain clouds at the back of these sheep did drop some of their wetness on us later in the afternoon. But it was far too late to spoil this day though!

The moorings at Hillmorton were packed solid when we arrived, the last inch of space had just been taken by a boat squeezing itself onto the line of "long term permit holder only" moorings.

We dropped down through two locks and stopped opposite the local boatyard, It was then that the benefit of keeping the fire "in" today really paid dividends.

TV on, glass of wine, drooping eyelids............Bliss.

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

Friday, 22 January 2010


Another bus ride! This is getting to be a habit.

It was back to Tesco again today and once again there were other boaters and fellow Bloggers at the bus stop.
This time it was Lynne & Paul on Nb Piston Broke. a very nice couple indeed.

They told us that the coal boat Gosty Hill, who we have been waiting for, had been holed whilst trying to get through the ice. All is now apparently fixed, we have phoned them today and we should see them tomorrow to find out more.

This is Gosty Hill the last time we saw her, fully laden and weighing heavily.

This is a similar one unladen. (Not D, the boat behind her) The comparison is quite striking.

We have been saved from the cold by another Narrowboat crew. The couple on NB Karasea, who are moored someway behind us, sold us a bag of their precious coal today.
Many, many thanks to them.

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

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Taken to the cleaners today!

Braunston marina has a launderette that can be used by all and sundry upon the purchase of a token. Great big washing machines and tumble driers were irresistible to get everything done at once.

Mugged again!!! As it turned out a bucket of water and a hairdryer would have been better.

Still.... you live and learn.

We did a "Round Robin" of the chandlers today pricing up for a few improvements that we are hoping to make.

From one to the other there was an incredible sixty percent difference in price on one item. The Internet and "Post Restante" is going to come in very handy methinks.

We have no coal left now and the coal boat was still stuck in ice the last time we spoke.

Logs it is then!

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

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


A little bit of "Post Restante".

Off we went to the post office this morning to collect the mail.

The post office run a service called "Post Restante", whereby you can have your mail sent to you via a local post office. You do have to check with them first to make sure it is ok but if they do, it is free (apart from the stamp of course). Very handy and it seems to work.

This was the result of our trip, the best part of seven hundred pounds worth of deep joy!!

On the return journey we witnessed this narrow boat being introduced to the wet stuff.
I have seen a lot of boats been lifted by crane before, and I am very glad that this was not mine.
I wont bore you, but a quick glance and you can see that the strops are too far forward, they are too close together and there are no spreader bars to stop the hull being pinched. No stetsons or boots were on view though.

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

Monday, 18 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge To Braunston.

We have made it back to civilisation!!

We are sailing.....we are sailing....back to Braunston......O the glee,

We are sail.....ow, Ive been told about singing before.

A boat came through late yesterday afternoon giving us hope to be moving on again today. An early start found that the canal had only gone and frozen over again!!
This ice wasn't too thick but it still took us over half an hour and one broken barge pole just to turn around.
Once turned and five minutes into our ice crunching trip, we were amazed to see another boat coming towards us! What a piece of luck that was, the canal was now open all the way in...... Result.

A full tank of lovely, lovely water, a quick trip to Tesco's to replenish the beer and wine stocks, (plus a bit of food) we are cozily settled once more. Which is nice!

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

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

Liberation. Free the Hargreaves Two.

The boat that was moored some way behind us made a break for it this morning.

He got as far as our stern before his boat rode up onto the ice and slipped off into our little puddle, thankfully he missed us.
Not to be outdone though, he reversed back and came at it again under what must have been full throttle.

He pulverised it!! This is in the afternoon as the sun is doing its best to melt it all away.

There is still a "plug" of ice towards Braunston though, another boat was having a go at it but gave up half way through..... Shame!

I cant quite believe the change in the weather today, as I sit here typing this I have got the centre doors open letting the sun stream in.

Twelve days into our entrapment and we still have half a tank of water left.

I remember when we bought Ubique they said she had an unusually large water tank, that was a good selling point for us as we were going to be living aboard and needed to carry as much water as we could.

Not doing so well on the coal front though, one bag left now. Oooerr.

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

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

A shock to the system this morning.

We let the fire go out overnight and regretted it this morning.
It was colder in here than it was out side.

Ubique is sitting in her own puddle of water at the moment, I am thinking that the ice drew all the heat from the boat as it thawed. Chilly, very very chilly.

All the snow disappeared overnight as well, there is not a bit left anywhere around here.
If it keeps this up we will be free sooner than we thought for.

We took the floor up the other day to try and find our pipe that freezes every now and then.
We knew there is a hatch cut into the flooring in the kitchen, so we removed the floor covering and lifted the hatch. (That was a whole lot quicker to type than to do it).
Nothing, no pipes just air.
This begs the question why did the boatyard cut it in the first place?
This was done while the refit was taking place and serves no purpose whatsoever. Strange!
Still we got to look at the baseplate which is still nicely painted after all these years, very dry too which is a bonus.

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

Friday, 15 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

Wind and there's a novelty!

We awoke this morning to the sound of the rain being lashed against the bedroom porthole by a very strong wind.
This was the perfect opportunity to get deeper in the quilt and stay there, would have been rude not to.

Much later and I had my second go at painting these roses. This was on a piece of scrap wood but D thinks they are good enough to hang up somewhere. We shall see.

A fair few signs of melting ice out there today, I'm thinking someone is going to be carving a way through soon........ There's always one!

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

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

Water water everywhere, well, in Braunston anyway!

A quick "pop" to the newsagents at Braunston for some milk and a paper this morning.
Two and a half hours later we were back.

This was the scene at Midland Chandlers around midday.

This is where we were moored over Christmas/New Year. Very fluid here, but as you leave the junction it is still very solid. Not worth crashing the boat through for a tank of water.

This is the "other" church at Braunston. We didn't even know it was out here amongst the Bulls until the other day. This is nicely isolated, and with its surrounding graveyard it must be a tad eerie around here at night.

Footprints on the canal. This might be the best I am going to get of that Fox.


A senior weather guesser on the One Show the other day came out with this pearl of wisdom:

Quote "It will not be any warmer, it will just be less cold" unquote.

As I keep on saying, they are getting paid for this waffle!!

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

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

Little Mouse 2: Great big Humans 1:

No munched supplies today, the blocking up of the hole was still complete this morning.

In your face mousey!!

We were off out on another log hunt today, trying to supplement our fast diminishing supplies of coal.
Another two trolley loads were quickly found, that will keep us going for a couple of days.
Out with the chainsaw on our return and then a nice hot Toddy whilst standing in the falling snow. Aaaaa.

Another two inches or more of snow has covered the ground today, but interestingly, it has not settled on the canal itself. Could this be the beginning of our release from the shackles that are binding us?

Wintry scene. What more can you say?

Apart from..... as we approached Ubique with our load of logs, who or what should be sauntering past her side on the ice?
Well I'll tell was that damn Fox!! Camera was out of the pocket in a flash, just in time to see him/her vanish into the hedgerow.

One day Reynard!

Way back in the summer I bought some paints and a book on painting canal Roses, just in case we were stuck somewhere for the winter.
Why don't you give that a go? says D.
Mutter, mutter mutter says I.
I actually quite enjoyed it.
These are my first attempts and I was quite pleased with the result. I know that they are a bit off line and I know there are no leaves or daisies, but I still have time to improve.

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

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

Interloper alert!!

We have a little food muncher coming aboard at night, it's raiding our stock of bread and veg that we keep in the front locker.
There is a small drainage hole in the locker side which I blocked with some wood yesterday.
This morning the wood had been shifted out of the way and our bread had been munched again.
Today I am trying a fender wedged tight in the hole with a heavy windlass on top.
Let battle commence!

We dipped the water tank today and were pleased to find it over two thirds full. Coal might be our main problem in the future though, we are down to our last two bags. We will just have to eke that out until either a coal boat gets through or we can get on the move again.

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

Monday, 11 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

Any ice with that?

This is a chunk we pulled out of the canal near the rudder. You can make out the layers as it has been building up to this thickness.

Six cm at the moment, about two and a half inches in old money.

We are going nowhere!!

I'm sure that Fox was laughing at me as he shot across the ice again this morning.

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

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

Would you like your humans rare or well done?

Last night, now, last night was a tiny bit unbelievable.

Although, looking at this picture D took in the evening, I should have known better. Red sky at night and all that.

Long story cut short.

The fire was stoked as normal before bed ready for the coming nights sub zero conditions, but there was no freezing overnight.. This ended up with us having the engine room door open in the early hours, laying on a quilt less bed trying to breath some cool air. We were cooking in here!!

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

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

An expedition to Tesco's.

The sun was out, the snow was crisp.
Shall we see if we can get to Tesco from here says I.
Ok says D.

We had seen a farmers track leading to Braunston the other day, which although covered in snow, would be a lot flatter than the towpath for pulling our trolleys. Off we went.

Half way along we found the herd of Bulls.

These Bulls had horns, lots of horns, and to a creature they were staring at us.
We then found ourselves doing the most ridiculous thing, we were actually inching along past them cooing.... "Nice bull, nice Bull"........ They let us pass.

Three hours later we were back on board, snow covered but re-vittled and warm.

We were joined this morning by these two Pheasants pecking away at anything they could. It's got to be very hard for the wildlife at the moment, the Fox is still continuously crossing the canal in search of food, but can I catch it with the camera.........NO!

The canal doesn't look too much like a canal at the moment, nothing moving around here!

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

Friday, 8 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

Nursing the baby.

We had a walk out today scouting for logs, which we found to be quite fruitful. Two trolley loads in ten minutes, cant be bad.

The fire has now become even more important than usual. While the temperatures are this low we are keeping it going 24/7.
This means feeding it on demand right through the day and night, rather like a new born.
Still, it doesn't scream too much but it does make a lot of mess from underneath.

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

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Hargreaves Bridge.

A picturesque walk and a bit of snow mowing!

Nice to see BW is spending our licence fees wisely.

Five men, four hedge cutting and one...............snow mowing!!!

You just couldn't make it up sometimes.

Very, very cold today.

The canal is as solid as it needs to be to stop all movement, apart from a Fox that we have been watching running from bank to bank. How do they know its thick enough?

Off for a walk.

Back to the boat for a lovely hot rum Toddy in the cratch.

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