Sunday, 28 February 2010


A little bit of not fancying that.

This morning was one of those where getting out of bed was not a good option let alone go chugging off along the Oxford.

Gales of wind and squalls of rain hitting us every now and then has kept us firmly alongside.
Well..... it is Sunday and you have got to have a day off sometimes haven't you?


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


Saturday, 27 February 2010

Burton Hastings To Ansty. 1 Lock.

A quick trip down the "Big Muddy"............. and a senior moment!!!

Yesterday was just wind and rain, which didn't bother us much as we were moored tightly to the side with no intention of moving.

Today, and the Ashby had taken on the look of a river.

All that rain has drained off the surrounding land, filled the canal and changed its colour to a nice muddy brown.

The most photographed mannequin on the waterways has had yet another change of clothes....... and make up!!
Someone is quite dedicated in this yard.

Onto the Coventry and the rain came again, but this time it was personal.
You could hear the hissing as it hit the water over the throb of the diesel, the roof was flooded once again. No more than ten minutes later, it was steaming in the sun.
April showers in February?

Someone couldn't care less about it though. You cant see anything if you keep your paw over your eyes and nobody can see you either........... Ostrich syndrome.

I'm not sure if this is a mine or not. Whatever butch type of working it is, it seems to be getting in touch with its feminine side.

Halting at Sutton Stop/Hawkesbury Junction for water, there were boats moored at and almost blocking the water point once again. A gap just large enough for Ubique had been left at what is supposed to be a double water point.

Squeezing in, there was no ring or bollard left available to lash the centre rope to. The chuntering was just beginning when D says:

Why don't you just put a piling hook in?..........(This is a device enabling you to moor to the bank piling that is prolific around the system)

I was so blinded (and about to get out of my pram) by the ignorance and inconsiderate mooring of the other boats that I didn't see the obvious solution............. A lesson learnt there I think!

Snowdrops abound and the trees are well in bud now.........Bring it on!

The day ended well all in all.

Us with a nice roof full of collected wood and the sun doing its bit by lighting up Ansty bridge like a beacon.


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


Thursday, 25 February 2010

Hinckley To Burton Hastings.

This is becoming repetitive!

Another victualing from good old Tesco and we moved down to "Our" mooring at Burton Hastings.

We have noticed that boaters do tend to return to favoured spots, it seems that we are no different.

The wood stocks on the roof are starting to get a bit low so a trip back through the woods tomorrow is now in order.
This will also set us back on our travels as we have now (Eventually) "done" the Ashby.

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


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Congerstone, Market Bosworth Then Hinckley.

It seems we have blinked.

I definitely shouldn't have typed that bit about blinking and being back at the house in the last Blog.

The phone has brought us some bad news and it looks like we will be having to find Ubique a comfy marina and heading back for a while................Not good!!

We had a very short trip along to Market Bosworth yesterday, It was just so cold with the east wind whipping around our ears the warm fire won out again.

Today though, was a whole different ball game.
No wind and being very mild meant we were soon on our way.

This is the "Dadlington Wharf", as that grand sign proclaims. This could be slightly over egging the pudding methinks.

Crunchie has taken to watching the world go by from "her" window.

A family of swans came over to peer at her whilst we were moored yesterday.

Decisions, decisions, run away, stay put, run away, stay put. To give her her due though, she did stick it out gazing eye to eye with those huge white floating aliens.


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


Monday, 22 February 2010


Iced in once again!

No getting away with it today.

The first boat through the ice today didn't arrive until gone twelve, a bit too late for us so here we sit.

Today's date one year ago is when we moved aboard Ubique to start our new life. A whole year gone in the blink of an seems a bit unbelievable to be honest.

Two days later we would be casting off from the comfort of the Marina with it's electricity and water "on tap" so to speak, and starting our first cruise.

We have certainly covered a lot more ground than we thought we would in the year, the good thing is there's still lots more to do.
Our original plan was to try for two years out here.........we had better not blink again or we will be back to the brick home by tomorrow!!!

Corks will be popping later.

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


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Congerstone To...........Congerstone. 1 Tunnel.

To the end of the world and back.

Another heavy snow fall and a frozen canal greeted us this morning.
Today though, we were going to the end of this canal.....whatever!

Carving our way through this slushy soup wasn't as bad for the boat as you might think.

We were soon in the Snarestone tunnel bringing the end ever nearer,

and we were just as soon out of it again, the sun seemed even brighter after the five minutes it took us to go through.

Then............... we were at the end.
The end of this canal felt like the end of the world.

One water point, two porta cabins and a Wendy house. Not a soul in sight anywhere.

To be fair though, this is a bit of a building site at the moment, as they are trying to reclaim and reopen some of the nine miles of canal that were lost to subsidence many years ago.

Ironically, it was the mines that the Ashby canal was built to serve that proved to be its demise from this point on.

After collecting a tankful of water, it was back through the tunnel and onwards for another fantastic afternoons chugging.

The light around here can be spectacular, we sometimes find ourselves just standing in silence on the stern as the world moves by us.

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


Saturday, 20 February 2010

Hinckley to Congerstone.

Nice bright sunny and warm day...............shame about the ice!

Yesterday afternoon saw the snow returning with a vengeance,

This morning though, was a real treat for the eyes as we set off towards the elusive end of this canal.

We did have to follow in someone Else's footsteps through the ice, but at least that saved some of our "Blacking" (Hull Paint) for another day.

The sun was soon sparkling off of the broken ice in our wake.

Crunching our way ever forwards,

And the real benefits of the day were soon apparent. It doesn't get much better!!

Being overtaken by a speeding car no more than ten yards away from the boat, was a bit strange to say the least.

The light came very true this afternoon, the canal looks even more blue than the sky.

There was no stopping us today, until, of course, we got to this mooring.

Passing NB Pickles no2 and NB Armadillo on our way back up the Ashby made us feel that we might be getting around a bit too quickly.


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


Friday, 19 February 2010


TV reception has a lot to answer for!

Rather than risk moving Ubique out of reception range for tonight's telly, (Archie? Archie who?) I thought we should stay here.

This will mean all my limbs will still be connected to me come tomorrow.

Mind you though, we could be moored in a worse place than this.

The snow fell really heavily yesterday, letting us know there is still more winter to come and we are not quite out of the woods yet.
It is thawing very quickly today though, and that field should be clear by tonight.

TV aerial at maximum extension and the batteries fully charged, logs chainsawed for a cosy fire, wine chilling in the fridge alongside the steak, I've done my bit for tonight.

So then..................... Whodunnit?

A Coot!
We don't see very many of these on the canals believe it or not, they do seem to be more suited to rivers and lakes. There was another one following along, so they may be a breeding pair.

Crunchie, what can you say about Crunchie?
She has moved aboard, settled almost immediately and worst of all........taken over my seat!
She seems to be a cat who has no ambition or desire to be very far away from the fire or her food bowl. (A fine quality for a boat cat)
This is to the extent that we had the front doors open today loading the freshly cut logs into the log box and she just sat there watching us, one quick bound could have taken her out into the snow but she was not interested at all............

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


Thursday, 18 February 2010


One new arrival.

Below is the reason we dashed back up the Ashby yesterday.

Here's..... "Crunchie"

The new cat on the cut

Yes, our cat has been found. We had the chance to pick her up (A ginger female! a bit odd) from the people at "Cat Action Trust" but it had to be from Hinckley.

I cannot praise these people enough. They actually came out to pick us up from the boat, took us to the foster home where all the details were gone through and then they returned us to Ubique with accompanying cat. They supplied food and water bowls complete with fork, litter tray and even a pooper scooper.

A vastly different attitude to the other so called re homing centres that we have recently dealt with.

The snow started in the early afternoon,

and has continued ever since.

At the moment as I look out, it is a complete whiteout along the canal.

Tomorrow though, is another day.


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


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Hartshill To Hinckley.

Pea soup and Pancakes.................Nice!

This morning was a real Peasouper of a fog, it was so thick we couldn't see past the bows. Staying put for a leisurely breakfast and hoping it would clear was the only option.

The late afternoon here yesterday was a proper treat. D is there wandering off on a wood and kindling search.

The same picture this morning.

Very gradually the canal became visible again and off we went. Hinckley was our goal for today.
As soon as we slipped from the side the rain started, this then turned to sleet which then turned to snow..............lovely!

You can sometimes feel you are skating over this!

We are now going back up the Ashby but this time we are on a mission ..............hopefully more on this tomorrow!

Pancakes for tea tonight, one day late but never mind.

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


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Atherstone To Hartshill.

One war zone.......... then a fantastic chug!

Wandering up to the high street this morning found us in what looked like a war zone. Windows were being boarded over on all of the shops, banks, chemists etc.
I thought there must have been a riot last night until I realised that they were boarding over whole windows not smashed ones.
Curiosity towards men with sheets of OSB got me a totally bemused stare and an attitude of, what rock have you just crawled out from under?

Silly me! I should have known it was the "Atherstone Ball Game" today.

This game apparently goes back eight hundred years. A ball is chased around the town for two hours, this ball must not leave the town and the winner is the person holding the ball at five o'clock.

They are the only rules, the rest is a no holds barred mayhem.

The shops, schools, pubs, in fact everything is closed down and covered with protective sheeting or metal grilles for the duration of the "game".

Tradition ......... where would we be without it?

The quieter side of the waters. The top lock of the presently closed Atherstone flight was picture perfect this morning.

Lots of work going on down there at the moment, albeit a little behind schedule due to the ice problems.

Another full tank of water and we were back on our way.

What a day it was, no wind, lots of sun and fourteen degrees on the thermometer. Heatwave!

This building at the BW yard at Hartshill has the most unusual roof. The gutter runs around the brickwork to meet a normal straight roof line on the other side.

Why does this side rear up and curve towards the chimney?

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


Monday, 15 February 2010

Hartshill To Atherstone.

The good, the bad and..................... thankfully our luck is still holding!

If you would bear with me for a moment I have a chalk and cheese story to tell.

We needed to get to a Doctors, nothing urgent or serious. D remembered seeing a surgery in Atherstone so that is why we are here.

This is what transpired at the STATION STREET SURGERY in Atherstone.

Pitching up at the receptionists counter (I think I can hear you all saying, I know whats coming next) the delightfully dismissive and very brusque robot that was on watch at the time informed us that there was no doctor on duty and to go away. She actually said go to A&E at the hospital in Nuneaton but it sounded like go away.

This is not an emergency........................Go away.

When will there be a doctor in then?.........Go away.

We don't mind waiting..........................Go away.

The blood was beginning to boil and the hackles were rising when a man came in behind us and overhearing what was going on, told us he was from another boat and he has been to the other surgery. It turned out he was trying to borrow a wheelchair but the robot was having none of that either.

The other surgery was the "Atherstone Surgery" which he took us to.

Polite, friendly and after filling in a form we were all sorted and away within the hour.

What a difference!

Our luck really held by meeting that man or we would have been on the bus back to Nuneaton as the robot completely failed to mention the other Doctors surgery in town.

I know this sort of thing happens, but why should people have to put up with "The Receptionist from hell"? Why are these people still in work? They are rude, unhelpful and downright useless to the firm they are working for.

On the wall there was a box for suggestions/complaints, we are going back tomorrow.

If you are still here,

The run into Atherstone at this time of year is a real treat, this part of the Coventry follows a contour line meaning you have hills rising to the left of you and valleys to the right. The canal seems to be clinging on to the side of the hill for its life.

Through the rooftops Peter Pan style.

A little splash of colour, dare one hope of things to come?

This tree in bud was travelling past at two miles an hour hence the blur. Nothing to do with terrible camera work whatsoever.

Just an idea of the area.

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