They’re Here!



Yes, our friends, Stephen & Lucia are back from Sicily for a few months, bringing our order of cheese (Gran Padano, Parmesan & vintage Gouda), cigars, lemons & their own olive oil. They’ve driven all the way from Syracuse! Bless em.





We’ve had several, testing days of cold weather with temperatures below zero and icy winds. The image above shows the temperature inside the boat, albeit at the back!  We have the MORSØ Squirel stove going 24/7 plus the Alde boiler, which I have been experimenting running on electricity as it has a 1 or 2 kW heater.  It does work but not that effective.


Our friends, John, Christine & Tilly have now sold their boat. The chaps from Whilton marina came and drove it away yesterday – so a gap now exists on both sides of us, nice but lonely . . . also makes you think, are we a plague ship??



Always a scrounger or two around . .






Time to brew the second of my beer kits from Love Brewing. An American Pale Ale, made with Chinook hops and West Coast USA yeast. It fermented with much gusto – the loose hops going in on Day 5 and the whole brew was done on day 8! From an original gravity of 1060 down to 1010 – making the beer around 6.5%.  What’s more it even tasted pretty good, even at this yeasty, cloudy stage. It’s in the barrel and now we wait for a few weeks or maybe just days!


All things included, it’ll work out at around 60p a pint. So if we consume the whole 40 pints we’ll save £120 – in theory!  We’ll have a tasting session with friends & neighbours soon.


There’s always sommit to do on a boat. Viv’s always saying “It’s much more trouble than a house!” and she’s probably right. Last week I took out the laundry basket from it’s little niche, next to the shower and discovered a wet wall and some mould. I still reckon this Aqualine boat has poor insulation.  It’s not the water coming through but the warm, moist air in the boat condensing on any (and every) cold surface. I have stuck carpet tiles on most of the problem areas (from the floor up to and beyond the waterline) and will carry this on later.  Meanwhile, it’s back to covering all the wood with Osmo (wood protector) followed by Osmo (Polyx Oil):





Cold, wet n windy but let’s go out! Heard about Northampton marina and also wanted to see where CRT (Canal & River Trust) ends and EA (Environment Agency) starts. So we drove down to Northampton – about 20 – 30 mins away. Parked in Morrison’s and walked around to the river Nene.  The marina seemed to be on an island, so no vehicular access.  It all seemed quite pleasant but speaking to some of the inmates, if you had a car, you had to park it in the multi-storey for £10 a week.  Hmm, not for us but nice to visit another marina and walk along the river.


Quite a pleasant waterfront but some signs of decay.  The riverside walk carries on, past the giant Carlsberg brewery, where, opposite is the final lock of the Northampton arm (CRT territory).



A cold and bitter day but at least we have seen more bits of canal/river.


Saga Run to Battle


With the promise of a whole day of sunshine albeit with temperatures only reaching a meagre two degrees, we set off for one of our “Saga Tours”. The plan was to drive to Sutton Cheney – about 40 mins away and a place we sailed past on our trip up the Ashby canal ( see blogs passim). We parked at the wharf, which last time was very busy with boats doing three point turns – now it was all frozen but there were still lots of walkers and cyclists, all gathering at the cafe.



The area is famous for its Battle site – we walked from the wharf, through Ambion woods and up to the visitor centre on Ambion hill.


Splendid walking with rock hard ground – however, one of us is always keen for a walk, no matter what the weather:


We were impressed at the lengths they had gone to, giving presentation boards everywhere. The paths were well laid, making walking easy even in wet weather. This delightful circle had thrones for the various proponents of the battle . . . King Richard III, Henry Tudor etc (well, Earl of Richmond at the time)




The local Council had organised a new dig to find just where the battle really was and they proved that it was further away, over at Dadlington Hill – lots of cannon balls unearthed (see all those black spots in the top right of the left hand panel!)


All this for a crown . . .


We walked on, passing lots more panels and even odd listening points where you had to hand crank them in order to power a short recording.


We walked from the wharf (top right) and did the whole yellow route, passing Stenton railway station – now just a heritage line, running steam trains (also see blogs passim when we visited Shackerstone)



As we mentioned before – all the pathways were well laid and a pleasure to walk


Back down to the Ashby Canal


And on to the George & Dragon  in Stoke Golding for lunch!  Game pie and some of their excellent beer! Dog friendly, real fires and real ales!



All Frozen In


Well it is the depths of winter. We’ve had several days of below zero – ice forms – then melts again – today it went down to minus 3 or 4 or . .  had ice on the inside of windows (but not the 2ndary glazed ones) for a while. Marina frozen over – even the crows were bemused . .



We had a good time out at bridge 27 and even managed a wee song on the way back – published here by request! Post Hogmany and pre-Burns night!!


Feliz año nuevo


Well, we always planned to go out more on the boat in the winter and so we set sail for oceans distant and got as far as Bridge 27. That’ll do. Very quiet, no one else here – no noise, no smoke . . . lovely.


We enjoyed a great New Year’s Eve in – a very cheap option – with pigs in blankets, garlic & ginger green beans plus patatas bravas with a crisp Albarino to finish. TV was rubbish apart from the fireworks. It was great to see John & Christine earlier together with Tilly – for a walk in the walks! But Sunday was a wet and grey day. Still, we had more festive goodies to consume (blinis, onuga caviar, creme fraiche and then a smoked salmon & king prawn salad with Cava to drink . . . nice).  We had to run the engine as the Near Year’s Eve consumed lots of juice. And then Monday saw a shock – ice! All around us:


The other side of the bridge was ice free


It is only thin but will still scrape off the precious bitumen paint!


One upside of this clear & bright day is that the solar panels were treated to 200 watts and over 14 amps was pouring into the batteries – brilliant!



Several boats went thru later – showing it wasn’t too thick but I think we may stay out . . . more walks in the woods for Toby