Mum’s 86th Birthday


We’re down in Whitstable for Mum’s birthday. We had a cruise down the river Stour on the Grove Ferry boat, a bit nippy but the sun was out and great fun was had by all. This was followed up with a meal at the Rose Inn at Wickhambreaux, lovely!






Another Blizzard – What’s Going On?

Yes another 2 weeks go by as we head into what should be Spring and lo, it came to pass, another artic blast – blizzards, gales and sub-zero temperatures! The Friday before all this it was extremely  mild and time to fit a new boat horn and give it a coat or 6 or lacquer.  I also lacquered me bear – not a phrase one hears too often:

Icicles hanging down in the entrance to Crick tunnel

Steve’s new boat horn (driven by an air compressor – supposedly 150dB) bit of a cheap chrome finish, so it gets totally lacquered

As does the bear!

Meanwhile, the view at 0800 today – more snow, more drifts . . .

Even a snow drift inside the boat, in the cratch

Toby’s not bothered – he goes kind of mental in the snow, rolling & squirming

Makes you shiver just looking at it!

Couldn’t see out of the windows

Went for a walk along the canal beyond bridge 23 – to find Hodmad’od!

Lots of big drifts on the towpath – there’s a Toby in there somewhere.

Hopefully this will all disappear this week & we can all get out!


Yes, winter came back this week. It was all forecast. Temperatures down to -8, gales making the wind chill as low as -15. Shed loads of snow. Yellow > Amber > Red warnings but folk still carried on . . . getting stuck for a day on a motorway, stuck on a train – so they got out and walked – on the electric track! Causing more delays as they had to switch off the power. Why don’t people read the weather forecast?!

Meanwhile we were all cosy on Adagio – the coal fire roaring 24/7, even had the Alde gas boiler switched to electric – just on the 1 kW setting – kept the boat from freezing at night. The marina froze over and the wind made the hull creak against the ice – not nice – gave it a wooden galleon feeling. Toby didn’t like it – nor did we. Wednesday to Saturday . .  hopefully it will all melt.

Boats are frozen in but a dog still needs a walk

Foggy start to the day – the snow has drifted quite badly

Not a soul moving today – someone bought himself a new Gill OS2 sailing jacket, just in time for all the sub zero temps.  Should also cope with whatever the weather throws at us when out on the Cut, chugging along.

2018 – Back on Boat

We are back on the boat. Readers of the Mojacar blog will know that our premature return to these shores was due to my Father being unwell over Christmas and then succumbing to lung cancer and then passing away, early January. A very sad time for us all. I did think of discontinuing the blog as few will read it but then, another raison d’etre of the blog was to be a keepsake for us two; so that in our dottage, we would have something to look back on and jog our cloudy memories!

So, it’s 26th Feb and that glorious sunshine & heat of Andalucia is but a distant memory as we shovel £100 of coal each month . . . here’s the week’s forceast and don’t forget it is March on Thursday!! Spring is officially postponed:


Expect snowy pix later . . .

A Warm Weekend in October?


Who’d of thought it? Basking in 21 degree weather in mid-October? Time for an end of season BBQ. Thanks to Simon, Linda, Nick & Margaret for organising a “B pontoon” and friends BBQ. We sat in the open marquee – for that’s where all the benches were hiding but the “boys” did the cooking outside. There was burgers, sausages, chicken, jacket spuds, spud salad, ensalada, trifle & pavlova! Plenty of “beverages – various” to wash it all down and with 11 of us (sometime 13 as Bob & Jenny passed thru  . .  on their way to France!), a good time was had by all.

See Facebook post


Not Going Out

Just because we’re Not Going Out anymore doesn’t mean that the “fun” of boating stops, oh no. With a night of very heavy rain we discovered two leaks of rainwater – one small one near the hatch but no obvious means of entry and then another, more puzzling, dripping from inside the desk. Hmm, very Harry Potterish? It seems rain can creep in around mushroom vents on the roof or more likely around the window frames. It then travels along the gunwales until it finds a low point to drip. After ten years, seals go, I suppose. My friendly and also Aqualine boat owning neighbour, Barry, known as Baz the fish (amongst other things), loaned me a bottle of Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure – hmm, it works by you gently trickling this lighter-than-water stuff along any crack and it seeps in and seals it. Seems to have worked on the desk leak . . . now for the other one. We really can’t have any leaks if we’re to leave the boat for four months and sojourn in Mojacar.

Next chore or delight, is the annual engine service – no, not where the vicar comes and we all sing praises to the Isuzu but where I don my coveralls and “play” with the diesel engine for 3 hours, trying hard to minimise the amount of swearing. It should be a simple job – remove old oil, put in new; renew oil & fuel filters, check it all over and then restart. Simples. Except being a trad stern, where space is maximised for living on board, there is a big sacrifice of space around the engine compartment. Some folk can take up boards and stand around or even walk around their engine. Me? I have to put on lots of lights and try and squeeze fingers around spanners, trying to feel my way to the obscure corners of the engine. The oil pressure gauge has never worked – it just goes to full scale deflection but now I realise, in fitting the oil filter, the leads to the oil pressure sensor have been pulled off (not me! Another guy servicing it before me!), so sliding these back on and Voila! it reads again.  Since it’s hard to undo sump plugs and get underneath a boat engine, they fit a little brass hand-pump, so you can pump out the engine oil – neat. Taking off the filters (one oil and two for fuel) is also a contortion with oily fingers and weird chain contraptions for filter wrenches. They do go in the end and plastic containers underneath to catch the spills of oil & diesel fuel are a must. So is remembering which way to turn when things are screwed in upside down. After a few hours, turn on the fuel and start her up only she wouldn’t. OK give her a bit longer and still she coughed and shook so violently, that Viv came to the back asking what the hell was going on!! I realise now that I should leave the ignition at position one, so that the electro-mechanical pump can pump fuel around the system – filling up those two filters and removing all the air . . . it has a return feed back to the tank so when all the bubbling and gurgling has stopped, that’s the time to re-start the engine and lo, it did. Phew! I may have saved £100 but is it worth it . . .???

Chore No 3 please. Viv’s away for the weekend , yeah-hah, let’s party  . . . . or shall we re-oil the floor with that Osmo Polyx rapid? OK, floor it is. This involved cleaning the floor the day before. Removing everything from the floor. Choosing 2200 to start the chore, putting everything I need – including dog into the back bedroom. Slowly painting the oil onto the floor until reaching the bathroom. Retire early and let it take the 4-5 hours it needs to dry. Hmm, bits still sticky at 0800. Give it another coat Sunday night. Such fun. But it has made quite a difference. Maybe next year, we’ll carpet the whole lot?? Please?

Next set of chores will be to winterise the boat for our 4 month holiday. It would be nice to live somewhere where the word winterise didn’t exist. Come on ERNIE make it happen!


Jenny’s Visit


At last a state visit from one of our Cardiff ladies! Jenny comes by train . . first to Rugby and a trip to the Merchant’s Inn for a pie & a pint

Back to the boat – the flags are out!

Wednesday and a trip to St Peters, Marefair, Northampton see  

A magnificent church and so much history. It is not open to the public but you can ring them and ask to view, collecting the key from a nearby hotel. We then went on into town and visited All Saints, a much different church but quite splendid too.

Further refreshments were sought out at another historical location, the newly restored Phipps Brewery, where had lunch and sampled Phipps beer and one of their gins!

Through the window, the brewery in action . .

Then home for a nap, I think!

Later that day . . . a walk to meet Jenny, who was walking in a dead straight line from Crick to meet us . . . with a spot of rain and a rainbow

Yes, the pot of gold at the base of the wind turbine . .  well it is making money!

And what’s that in the field . .  ? 

Yes, this is a hare!

After a brief “Where are you?” phone call, we met up with Jenny and strolled up Cracks Hill . . .

Good view from the top

Next day . . . off to Ashby St Ledger and the marvellous manor house and church (BVM and St Leodegarius!)

Famous for being the place where the conspirators of the Gunpowder plot met up! You get some dodgy folk around here!

So good to have the services of a pointy person to highlight the interesting bits

Impishly grinning from within


End of Summer Cruise#2 – Day62


We stayed the extra day. The weather was good but no work was needed just time to relax. Met up with other boaters (Brindley & DulcieBlue) and watched satellite TV – it works!

Sunday, 3rd September, it was time to move off. Rain was forecast later so off we chugged the final few miles back to the marina – it’s about 80 minutes from bridge 27.

A dull & windy day

Back in our slot, B4. Odd cos there’s no one in B1, B2, B3 or B5, B6 or B7! Feels like we’re the plague ship. Nice though.

This shows how isolated we are . . . for the time being.

All tidied up, fenders stowed. Water taken on, rubbish off. Second batch of washing on the go. Combi oven transferred from the car to the boat.

It feels like we’ve been out forever but it’s just 2 months. It’s good to be home. A brief rest before we head down to Ubley (check on our lock-up and visit with David & Judith, helping out at the Chew Valley Beer Festival). The following week sees a rare visit from Cardiff! Then we head to Whitstable to visit family before heading to Mojacar in October for the winter . . . so busy, busy, busy . .ish.

So no more blogs for a while . . might report from Mojacar, who can say!

Thanks to all our readers. Thank you for your support – I shall always wear it 😉

Oh and Merry Christmas!


Summer Cruise#2-Day60/61


Decided to stay put. Very misty, moisty morning but forecast is for full sun and lo, for it came to pass! 20 amps plus pouring into the batteries. Lovely jubbly. Good decision. We’ve seen more Yelvertoft boats (Gordon on Cut Loose, Willow, Andante . . .) and all the paintwork is now dry, so pack away the paints and tidy up. Friday 1st September (Autumn starts?), cold start. Painted the well deck, twice. Then went for a long-ish walk around the area, through bean fields and then around the woods – discovered a giant wasp = hornet! Thought there might a nest but dismissed it. Found we couldn’t get any TV signal despite having watched a film (Film4 – The Big Game) last night. Something odd going on with my ickle black knob, the TV or the cable . . . sort it out later. Had toooo many G&Ts – for we have no wine, no beer and stocks are low on everything!!

Happy Anniversary to my Mum & Dad – 61 years today! Hurrah! No further telegram for the Queen but we do look back to last year’s fun with fond memories!  See blogs passim: Diamond Wedding

Saturday did prove to be warm and yes, there is a nest of hornets in the wigwam! Steve went back with the Boggle for a midday walk . . .

Not a very exciting photo but the edges of the well deck needed painting. All done now.

Viv captures the field and haystacks in the final rays of the sun plus a balloon.

This is the actual bridge 27 and that dog.

View of our boat in the distance across the fields . . . and one zoomed in . . .

Back in the cool of the woods – Toby hunts for Squirlies!

Hmm, that star filter in use again . . . dappled shade

Lots of evidence of badgers . . .

Meanwhile, Viv takes it easy and takes a call from Anne-Marie!

Here’s the alarming pix of the hornets nest, which we didn’t stir up but got close enough to take some photos. I did wonder why the wigwam was left deserted and the gardens around were left . . .

The wigwam in the middle of the woods and usually quite well hidden – most folk don’t know it’s here but I posted these pix on Twitter and told the Woodland Trust as we don’t really want any kids (or anyone else) poking around in here, thinking this is fun! They only attack if disturbed.