Monday, 30 May 2016

Killing time till the Big Summer Adventure

Hello again,

We're just killing time at the moment, waiting for the other 2 boats in our party to catch up ready for our Big Summer Adventure which could happen as early as next weekend but is purely dependent on the weather.  This year we're doing the Severn Crossing, going out at Sharpness with a pilot or two and in at Portishead followed by another hop the next day into Bristol. I can't wait!

In the meantime we've moved down the canal a couple of miles to Patch Bridge. There are some lovely big boats about and I've got to say I'm quite green with envy at all the big Dutch barges that keep going past us.  Dreams of moving to France have surfaced again. Having built Fizzical Attraction ourselves we're finding it very hard to contemplate selling up and buy something someone else has built to their ideas rather than designed around how we actually live and use our boat.
If only I could wave a magic wand and transform Fizzy into a bigger version of herself........... for now I'll just keep dreaming and maybe I'll buy an extra lottery ticket "just in case"

For me killing time means more time for crochet.  David is a real "tea belly" and loves sitting out on the bank for his breakfast with a large pot of tea.  A few months ago I saw a crocheted tea cosy in John Lewis for the outrageous sum of £60. I took a sneaky photograph for my ideas file and forgot about it.  Trolling through the file the other day and coming across the photo gave me the inspiration for this.  I "borrowed" his tea pot and took the measurements and this morning I hooked my version. What do you think?  Judging by his smile when I gave it to him today I think he was rather chuffed with it!

After our 6 mile walk yesterday afternoon Chico went straight to bed and refused to get out again last night when I suggested "walkies" but he was OK again this morning.  The three of us were all a bit stiff and creaky though so we just had a short wander around the area this afternoon.  There's not a great deal here, unless you want to go to the bird sanctuary at Slimbridge that is, but at over a tenner each we didn't bother.

Wandering down one of the lanes we came across these beautiful flowers outside Sunset Cottage.  Their back garden was lovely too, with a veg patch to die for.

After dropping Chico off back at the boat we headed for the one and only pub.  The Tudor Arms was doing a roaring trade, especially with people who had been to Slimbridge.

Their cream teas are heavenly

I wonder if Chico would sit in a bike trailer like these two little dogs? I can just picture him wearing a seat belt and crash helmet.

Tomorrow we're heading back towards Gloucester to meet up with our other two cruising partners but first we'll be stopping for a cheap pump-out.

We used this one the last time we were on the G&S and it's possibly the best one we've come across anywhere. Unfortunately we're having real problems with our toilet tank at the moment.  It STINKS!!!!!   We don't usually have problems, apart from the odd wiff when it's almost full, so I reckon this smell is the result of me having just had a course of extra strong antibiotics for a tooth abscess. I think the antibiotics have also killed off the good bacteria in the tank which is why it's so smelly.  Hopefully a really good flushing out (pardon the pun) will sort it out.

Bye for now, take care and see you soon

Sunday, 29 May 2016


Hi, it's been the hottest day of the year so far here so I hope you're enjoying similar weather wherever you are.

It seems quite surreal to me to be on a canal in this country and to see more of these sailing boats and large "gin palaces" than narrowboats.

Yesterday we moved to Saul Junction passing this sunken barge on the way. It's being made good use of by this swan who has built herself a huge nest right in the middle.

There was no sign of any eggs yet though.

We moored on the 48hr visitor moorings opposite the pirate boat

and this morning were invaded and surrounded, literally, by sailing yachts.

They'd come from Cardiff, sailing up the River Severn into Gloucester and were the reason we'd had to vacate the moorings which had been reserved for the weekend. The visitor moorings are quite short and we're used to having David breast up with us, but we've never had a yacht breast up before.  The crews of all 4 boats made a bee-line for the shower block as soon as they'd got moored up and then carried on their journey after lunch, with their towels and laundry blowing in the breeze hanging from the rigging!

After lunch we took Chico for a walk along the route of the old canal which used to join the Gloucester & Sharpness canal to the River Severn.  There's not much of it left in water but this section has been cleared, presumably by the residents of the canal-side cottages or maybe by the pub.

When we saw the Ship Inn we thought we'd stop for a little liquid refreshment but it's closed down so we carried on towards the river instead.

This was our first glimpse of the tidal River Severn. It's not suitable for narrowboats due to the strong currents and sand banks.

Following the Severn Way footpath we came to this vantage point which is signed as being a good spot to watch the Severn Bore come up river.  There was an assortment of small abandoned/damaged rowing boats and canoes which I can only assume had been used to "ride the bore".

Leaving the Severn Way we headed back inland, walking down some really pretty narrow roads lined with wild flowers.

Fields of buttercups were everywhere too.

We had a lovely walk, calling in for a drink at the Bell Inn in Frampton on Severn on the way home.

By the time we got back to the boats we were all a bit foot sore and Roger went on Google Earth to measure how far we'd actually walked.  6 miles !

It was the Monaco Grand Prix today and as we were going walkies I'd set the box to record it.  The boys are now sipping mojitos and watching the race highlights while I make the Sunday roast. Pampered pair!

Our 48 hrs will be up tomorrow so we're moving off again but we're not sure where to just yet.

Come back soon and find out.................

Bye for now

Friday, 27 May 2016

Gloucester temptation was too much!

Hi, nice to see you again

Mooring in big towns is all well and good but it does nothing for my waistline or Roger's wallet, especially when there are temptations like the Gloucester Outlet Mall and the Brewhouse pub & restaurant within a few hundred yards from the boat!   I've recently realised that both Roger and David are addicted to shoes and with at least 5 shoe shops in the Outlet Mall there's just been too much temptation. They both succumbed and David even popped back last evening for another sneaky pair!

We had lunch in Brewhouse yesterday. It's a micro-brewery as well as a bar/restaurant and they recommend beers to match the food in a similar way to the posh restaurant we went to in Birmingham for my birthday, the one that matched different wines with each course of the tasting menu.

How about this for bottle recycling? Shame we don't have room for something similar here on the boat.

I really liked the lights over the bar, made from empty beer bottles.

This is the brewery section of the pub.  They run brewery days every Saturday. For £85 you get breakfast, lunch, a course in how to brew beer and a mini-cask of 8 pints of ale to take away.  I was really surprised that Roger and David didn't take me up on my offer to book a day for them.

It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon and I sat out on the pontoon reading and catching some rays while Roger played his guitar indoors.

Later in the evening this hot air balloon flew over the docks, following the course of the canal towards Sharpness.

It always makes me feel like royalty when bridges are raised for us to pass through. Llanthony bridge marks the end of the docks and we're now on the Gloucester & Sharpness canal.

If anyone fancies a floating Des Res the old light boat is currently for sale. 4 bedrooms plus various other rooms details HERE

We're now moored in the middle of nowhere.  NO pubs  NO shops BLISS

Bye for now, come back soon if you can

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Into Gloucester Docks

Hi,  nice to see you again

We left the rickety moorings at Haw Bridge after lunch yesterday. Roger had checked the tide tables to make sure we had the easiest possible trip down the East Channel to Gloucester Lock.  The last time we made this trip the channel was really overgrown with hanging trees and bushes but this time it was totally different.

It was still a work in progress but they've done a splendid job, especially on the bends, so you can now see on-coming boats which tend to be on the wrong side of the channel

Roger finally managed to use the VHF radio on the approach to contact the lock keeper, who asked us to speed up to catch up with 2 other narrowboats who were in the channel in front of us. Once we'd caught up we shared the lock which is extremely slow filling and 20 minutes later we moved into the dock.

The skipper of one of the boats in front of us was worried that he wouldn't be able to find a mooring spot but he needn't have worried as there were only 2 other narrowboats moored there and plenty of empty pontoons.

After mooring up and having a brew we went walkabout.  The Outlet Village shopping mall is really good with a huge variety of stores. There's also a cinema and a vast choice of bars and restaurants. Sadly the National Waterways Museum is closed for refurbishment at the moment. We popped into Weatherspoons on the way home to spend some CAMRA beer tokens and make plans for the next few days.

On the way back to the boats we found a little white dog which was wandering on it's own round the back of the dock warehouses. It was very stressed and obviously lost.  I  managed to get Chico's lead on it and a man in one of the flats that overlook our moorings shouted out of his window that he thought it belonged to one of the boats that had shared the lock with us earlier in the day.  I knocked on both boats and eventually, after a lot of knocking, someone stuck their head out of the hatch and recognised the dog.  They hadn't even noticed he was missing!  I told them where we'd found the dog and how stressed he'd been and they took him in........and never even said thank you!

For Bob & Nicola - there's good dog walking around the nature reserve over the lock that should suit Bentley when you get here. 

We're staying here in the docks today as it's 48 hrs mooring but we'd have had to move tomorrow anyway as the moorings are closed for the weekend.  I think we're going to explore the city so I'll share with you tomorrow.

Bye for now

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Haw Bridge Inn moorings

Hello, welcome back

Before we left Upton yesterday I popped back into town for a few groceries. The bakery sells delicious pasties so I picked up a chicken & chorizo for Roger and a veggie one for me. We had them with salad for lunch. They were so nice it would be worth stopping off just to buy them, even if you don't intend staying overnight.

Upton is a very floral town and there are poppies everywhere, which is nice as they're my favourite flower!

The boys were waiting for me to return so we could carry on our journey

but there was no need to rush as these dragon boats full of kids were passing through. They were having a great time and I could hear the laughter and screams from a long way off.

We've never seen the gravel barges in operation before

Why is it that you always meet something like this on a blind bend? It was very heavily laden.

We passed this trip boat as it came out of Upper Lode Lock. Once again the lock was set for us so Roger couldn't try out the VHF radio but he has managed to listen in on a few conversations so we know it's working.

We decided to split the trip to Gloucester into two halves and moored at the Haw Bridge Inn for the night. The guys said it would have been too long a trip at over 4 hours in one hit, but I suspect they'd plotted to go to the pub - which they did while I cooked dinner.

It's not a dog friendly mooring as the walkway up to the pub is very rickety and full of holes. It's safe enough for humans but I had to carry Chico up and down as I didn't want him to get a paw caught in one of the holes.

We're carrying on into Gloucester later today.
See you soon

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Duck with sage anyone?

Hi, welcome back on this glorious sunny morning here on the River Severn.

I LOVE rivers!

We moored at Worcester on Sunday night, nice quiet moorings but £4 a night - and the rubbish disposal point has been removed.

Yesterday we moved down stream to Upton on Severn.  The weirs are big but well guarded

Roger wanted to try out his VHF radio by contacting the lock-keeper to get him to set the lock for us, but they've installed CCTV cameras since we were last here and the lockie beat him to it as he saw us coming.

Everywhere is green or in blossom and there was a viola growing on the lock wall.

As soon as we moored on the pontoon at Upton we were visited by this very tame female. She was trying to hide from the drakes and tried getting inside the boat at one point.

This morning another female had stowed away in my herb tub. She'd dug herself a lovely little hallow right in the middle of the sage and was trying to pretend she was invisible.  I know sage goes very well with duck but she was taking her chances moving in with us. We love duck - with sage and orange sauce of course!

I checked she hadn't laid any eggs before evicting her. Cheeky thing came straight back as soon as I turned my back so I've had to put a fender in her spot until we move later. The sage is totally squashed but no doubt it'll spring back.

We're moving on again later and are aiming to go into Gloucester tomorrow.

See you soon, don't forget your sunscreen!