Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Caen Hill Locks

Hi, welcome back

I opened the blinds this morning and almost started singing "Oh what a beautiful morning".  I say almost as if I had, it would have started raining!  I cannot sing for toffee.............. The sun was shining through clear blue skies, the birds were singing and it was just perfect for climbing Caen Hill lock flight.

We were breasted up and ready to go when the lockie unlocked the bottom gates dead on 8.00 am. He'd emptied all the locks last night before he put the padlocks on so we had a clear run up with every one set for us.

We've worked this way many times before and soon had a good rhythm going, so much so that when a couple of volunteers arrived about 9.00 offering to help, we declined.  Five locks from the top we were joined by an Australian family, mum, dad and 3 young boys who were eager to help.  We let them open and close gates and work the paddles and they loved it!

It took us 2 hours to do the 16 locks and we moored in the pound at the top as the first couple of boats were just getting ready to start down.  The cafe opened at 10.30 and we dived in for bacon butties and a brew, perfect end to a perfect morning.

Bye for now, come back soon

Monday, 27 June 2016

Fizzical Attraction is FOR SALE


Did you spot the change to my main photo?

YES!  Fizzical Attraction is FOR SALE

Before we arrived in Bristol we had no intention of ever selling her, but we made the "mistake" of going to view a barge "just for something to do".  We passed "Out Of The Blue" moored outside the boat sales place as we arrived in the harbour and five of us went for a nosey as Bob & Nicola are currently looking for a barge. It wasn't suitable for them but both Roger and I fell instantly in lust with it and our day dreams of moving to France suddenly seemed a bit closer.  After several visits and close inspection of every inch of it we've decided to buy and take it to France next Spring.

Consequently we're now looking for someone suitable to take care of our baby.  Fizzical Attraction was initially built to be a luxury live-aboard continuous cruiser and over the 5+ years we've been living on her we've added/altered her to be what we now consider perfect.  If you're thinking about living aboard you'd be hard pressed to find a better boat.  You can find all the details on our new sales website HERE

I'm pretty sure she won't be on the market for long so don't delay.  We're open to viewings at anytime, although you'll have to come and find us on the Kennett & Avon Canal.

We're currently just below Caen Hill Locks and will be tackling this flight tomorrow.

Bye for now

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Bradford on Avon

Hi, how are you today?

We're now on the Kennett & Avon Canal having left Bath yesterday morning.  It's a good job there were lock-keepers helping on the flight as the second lock was really deep and there was no way I could close the gate on my own.  While he did the other gate a lovely man who had been watching us from the bridge came over to help me.

After the poor moorings in Bath, we had good ones last night and David was able to get his table and chairs out again for an alfresco breakfast before we left this morning.

We had a very slow trip to Bradford on Avon where we've moored for the night. It wasn't so much all the moored boats that slowed us down, but the hire boat in front of us that never got off tickover even in clear waters.  The countryside around here is beautiful England at it's best!

Bradford on Avon is a very picturesque small town with some beautiful buildings and LOTS of pubs.

It also has an independent wine merchant with a sense of humour

I was tempted to buy a bottle or two just for display on the wine rack, but I settled for a large ice-cream instead. Blackberry and cream with a flake....mmmmm.....yum yum

With reports on TV of torrential rain and flooding around the country, we again seem to be in the right spot. It's been very warm again today with the outside thermometer showing 25'C despite it being overcast. It's so muggy that I wouldn't be at all surprised if we have a thunder storm tonight.

Bye for now, see you soon

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


Hello lovely reader, welcome back.

I have to tell you that there are some really weird folks round this area....... When we were moored at Avon Park the other evening a young man brought his bike down on to the pontoon, set it down and stripped off before diving into the river just in front of our boat.  He had a swim around for a few minutes while I went to try and find my camera - why does it always go missing when there's something to photograph??  He then climbed out, toweled himself down with a small towel out of his back pack, picked up his bike and set off again!

About an hour later this guy came floating past us

he was having a nap!  Chico barked at him and he sat up with a start.  I hope he was awake when one of the trip boats came steaming past shortly afterwards.

We're now moored in Bath.  The moorings are OK but get filled up by early afternoon and the access isn't very good as you have to climb over a railing to get off your boat and onto the towpath - which is also a cycle track. Hardly any of the cyclists have bells although most do slow down a bit and shout "excuse me" or "coming through"

We've been out and about today doing touristy things.  Bath is very busy and most of the tourists seem to be French, so much so that even some of the notices are in French

This is one of Bath's most famous landmarks. The Royal Crescent is a sweeping crescent of 30 Grade 1 listed Georgian terraced houses overlooking Royal Victoria Park and is a popular location for film-makers.

This is Bath Abbey which dates back to 1499

It has fantastic stained glass windows

and ceilings

These are the Quire Angels which look down on the choristers. There are 12 angels playing 10 different musical instruments, 6 angels on either side of the choir stalls. Installed in 2007 they are one of the newest additions to the Abbey architecture.

Outside the Abbey is this water fountain. The life-size statue known as Rebecca was donated by the Bath Temperance Association in 1861. It says "water is best" but you can no longer get a drink there.

This is Pulteney Bridge which is one of only 4 bridges in the world to have shops across its full span and is a World Heritage site.  It's also famous for the horseshoe shaped weir

This is how I expected Horseshoe Falls in Llangollen to look, but this is much more spectacular.

We'll be carrying on our way again tomorrow so please come back and see where we get to.

Bye for now

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Roger to the rescue

Hi, nice to see you. Happy father's Day to all my male parent readers

We left Bristol yesterday morning.  It had been a great couple of weeks but the three of us were getting itchy feet so, although there was still plenty to see and do, we set off early morning onto the River Avon.

It was lovely to be back in the countryside and we found a good overnight mooring at Avon Country Park where we double breasted up as there were already other boats moored there. The wide beam boat on the end looks as though it's been left here for a while.

This afternoon Roger went next door to watch the Grand Prix on David's boat and just as it was getting to an interesting stage a hire boat came sideways round the bend. The crew needed help as the engine had stopped and they had no steering.  The three of us went out in the rain to help.  We managed to get hold of their stern rope and pull them alongside, where it turned out that they had hit something large under the water which had popped their rudder out of its socket. They also had weed and wire wrapped around their propeller.  The steerer was on the phone to the hire base so Roger explained that he's a narrowboat engineer and would have a look at the boat for them, if they gave their permission.  Obviously with it being a Sunday afternoon it was easier to let Roger have a look than start coming out themselves.  Once he'd cleared the prop he managed to pull the rudder back into it's socket and they were ready to go. They were very appreciative and "paid" him with a bottle of wine. Unfortunately he'd missed most about half of the race, although he did manage to see the final few laps.

We're carrying on again tomorrow, hopefully there'll be a space for us to moor in Bath.  That's another city that we've never visited before so keep your fingers crossed that the sun shines for sightseeing.

Bye for now

Monday, 13 June 2016

Holiday time again - Bristol

Hi, how are you today?

We've got a really good mooring here in Bristol Harbour, on a long pontoon with electricity and water. It's outside a couple of bars which are noisy on sunny evenings but really quite once they close at 11pm. It's also right beside the ferry stop which makes it very convenient for getting out and about.  We bought a weekly pass for £12 and we've already had our money's worth.

Bob & Nicola and John & Angela were leaving us on Friday morning so on Thursday evening we all went out for our last supper.  We'd booked to go to a local restaurant for a wine tasting evening with food and had a fantastic time. I found it a bit hard going passing up all the wines (I don't drink anymore) but the food made up for it and it was worth it to see all the others having such a good time.  Afterwards they all came back on our boat and Roger made chocolate martinis which went down so well he was kept busy mixing and shaking for ages. Maybe I'll get him a part-time job in the local cocktail bar.

Bristol's an amazing city and I can't believe we've never been before. With the abundance of boats, ferries, floating restaurants and bars you could almost imagine you're in Amsterdam. The weather has been very continental too with temperatures up in the 20's, although today it's definitely more British i.e. cool and showery.

The other day we walked up Brandon Hill to Cabot Tower.

The 105ft tower was built in 1897 to commemorate John Cabot's famous voyage from Bristol to North America four hundred years earlier.


Roger waited in the sun while David and I climbed the very steep steps to the top.

 It was 80 steps to the 1st balcony and then another 25 to the top

and a long way down

Unfortunately there was a lot of heat haze so my panoramic shot's a bit hazy

You can see a professional 360' shot HERE

Brandon Park is home to a lot of grey squirrels who are very tame and come really close in the hope of being fed.

As it was still late morning, we popped into the nearest Weatherspoons for coffee.  Honest, we ALL had coffee, although I suspect that if the Queen's birthday ale had been on tap the guys would have had to have once to toast her birthday.

Time Out and Vagabond left us early on Friday morning but we'll all be meeting up again in a few weeks in Reading.

We've booked to stay here for a week, along with David on Wye Knot 2.  Our daughter and grandchildren have been to stay for the weekend which is why I haven't blogged. I've just been far too busy having quality "Granny Time".  The children haven't stayed on the boat before but loved it so much I can see it becoming a regular event.

That's all for now, see you soon

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Big Summer Adventure Part 2 - Portishead to Bristol

Welcome back, are you ready for the second part of our trip?

It was an even earlier start on Tuesday morning as we had to be in the lock and ready to go by 7.00.

They opened the gates and we were off

this time without the pilots.  Bob went first in Vagabond as he'd done all the planning

We'd been told to expect a cargo ship..........but when it appeared behind us out of the mist it was an "oh s**t" moment. Especially as it was getting bigger and BIGGER

It was coming into Portishead dock, as soon as this container ship came out of the lock.  The pilot boats would lead this one out and then take the new one straight in.

It was catching up quickly and we all prayed it had good brakes

Once we got to the entrance to the River Avon we were safe

turned in, gave a big sigh of relief

thanked the guy in the VHF radio station

waved goodbye to the ship

and headed for Bristol

It was a lovely morning although still so early that it was a bit too hazy to get clear photos

We love cruising past traffic jams. The "white van man" beeped and waved

It was quite a short trip and we soon caught sight of the Clifton Suspension Bridge

We had quite a long wait in the tide lock until the level dropped enough for us to get into Bristol Floating Harbour

It still seems strange sharing locks with sail boats

We cruised in convoy into the harbour

past some interesting houses

and the SS Great Britain

This is one of the trip boats......I MUST have a go on that.........

It took us a while to find a suitable mooring but we managed to get all 4 boats together and once we were settled it was time to crack open the bubbly and celebrate. We've all had an amazing two days and I'd like to say a BIG thank you to Bob on Vagabond who spent many many hours and phone calls arranging it all. You did a wonderful job.....where are we going next time?

Nicola, Yvonne, John, Angela, David, Roger & Bob

Cheers!  see you soon