Monday, 13 April 2015

The 10p whopper !

A bit of a catch up more photos than words.

I recently put the SD card from my camera into my Mac and a few pics from the last few months downloaded.....

This one must have been early into my 2014 life afloat....a peaceful moonlit evening. On reflection the winter was fair to me, just a few learning points but whatever anyone tells you it is an existence and a test on your systems and sanity living off grid alone in the winter. 


This was my November trip from Chichester to Stranraer...Loch Ryan  - the peninsular on the middle left is where my friends John and Carrie live a remote and peaceful life. Elsa Craig is the mound just off the peninsular, recent sold for 1.5 million or thereabouts.... now that would be solitude !


Back to a misty autumnal south downs ... very bucolic and captivating (and expensive !!) Last night whilst loading the car for my early morning trip back to the Midlands there was a 15 plate Rolls Royce with chauffeur picking up someone from the Star and Garter pub across the lane.... some taxi ! 


A couple more of the woods I love so much




Back to an equally captivating landscape around Alrewas  - this was a nice walk up to Wychnor 


Another beautiful sunset looking across the canal with the Rugely power station outputting its steam on the right of the tree. That is a 4 hour cruise for us.



Click this one.... only a fisherman or woman would get this ....stillness and expectation....


The reason for the title.... I purchased a seeded 'Bloomer' loaf  - close to its sell by for 10p from the Coop and caught this whopper Bream (my biggest from the canal) 


My day was completed earlier by a 130 mile refresher on my Pan European motorbike . Chesterfield, Long Eaton and Stone were visited. Tempted myself with a BMW, but decided to stay with my trusty Honda


Final shot of the day.... a favourite destination for a coffee and a gongoozel !!




Wednesday, 8 April 2015

An alternative viewpoint of home - and the best view in reality !

Took the quadcopter up to just short of 400 feet last night and looked straight down. Percy is the boat in the middle of the shot.



I then lifted the camera to get the Fradley Junction view.



To be honest the best view was from the back cabin doors this morning.....



Sunday, 5 April 2015

Fradley junction from the air - and I am the pilot

A good couple of years ago a good friend of mine John who lives on the west coast of Scotland got me interested in remote controlled flight... not the basic stuff but the technical stuff that included intelligent flight controllers that worked on GPS height compass etc.

My aim was to build something that I could capture the canals with from height to get a different perspective. I built and crashed a few and got some good footage but not of the canals..... until now.

Today was a day off as I was full on pain mode from a few days of excess. It was not too busy first thing so I got the copter out and up she went.....

As with all my photos best click them to see them full resolution




I then tried to see how close I could get to the images that you are now seeing more and more of using Quadcopters for TV to get some decent shots. I need more practice but this will be a nice reminder of the first days of Spring later in the darker days of winter.



Saturday, 4 April 2015

.... And they're off, taps open at the marinas

Well it seems there is evermore a season for boating  and it started this morning. There has been a constant  flow of boats, most being very respectful in their speeds passing us.

I ended up running to the Post Office for my Rod license after re-mooring a boat that had been pulled loose opposite us. Just getting there with 4 minutes to spare.

Seems it will be a weekend of watching and maybe a bit of fishing while all the others do their 2 weeks Easter boating

Friday, 27 March 2015

Ancient spiritual woodlands are where my heart is

If I could have the ultimate home it would be in the middle of a wood. Not too dissimilar to the great log cabin Tom took us to last year... I blogged about it here  Now if there was a canal running through it  - heaven. I really must go back to the woods above Woodend lock - that is such a place and I have said before one of my very favourite locations to moor.

Anyhow I am not aboard at the moment but back in the South Downs. I still cannot believe such beauty and tranquility exists so close to some large populations. It is only this that makes me hanker for my log cabin in the woods of the Galloway forest - now that is a remote area.  

I feel I need to share my walk today - after working in the cottage I took Leia out up onto the hills and into the East Dean forest. It was all mine.....the twilight was approaching and it was just magical. I walked much further than I planned.... I kept walking paths away from the cottage, being tempted into the charms of the forest, it felt like an enchanted forest,  it was quite a spiritual experience.

Leia hunts squirrels and when she chases one up a tree she yaps to encourage them to come down.... they never do !

So here we are in the middle of the forest.... if you can stand the yapping... it stops but it also echo's so wonderfully I think.

Please go large screen and turn the sound up...well after Leia stops her yapping !


We came to a beautiful view of the setting sun.... I just stood watched and drank in the expansive views of my England. I imagined who else had stood in this spot over the years marvelling as I was at  natures spectacle.



I'm sorry you were not there with me to share the joy.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Three days to watch a film ! A timelapse video for you tells the story

One thing that I do not like abut living aboard is being static. We brought Percy to cruise on.... the engine note deserves to be listened to and shared !

So on a whim on Friday morning we decided to explore the Barton Marina cinema and dining experience. The film Suite Francaise  was a worthy watch, sad, romantic and sobering. The food beforehand was well presented and the atmosphere in the restaurant prior to the film was good.

So we may do it again. Not sure I'd want the marina mooring, good if you were just living afloat, not cruising and wanted facilities but I prefer nature to pubs. It was not lost on me on a beautiful Sunday morning only one boat came out of the marina !

Anyhow the trip....

Back from work Friday evening we did the car shuffle leaving a car at Barton Turns marina then we set off in the twilight to Alrewas.

Saturday AM we cruised off from Alrewas to Barton turns then picked up the car and went off to Derby to help Sharon and Andy with some house packing and disposals... back to the boat, shower, bit of Rugby then a walk over to the Marina for food and cinema.

Sunday was a fine cruise back to Alrewas, water up, long walk up to Wychnor park and back in lovely sunshine. Then a cruise back to Fradley followed by a ride up to Ripley to visit someone in hospital.

Anyhow you may wish to see the compressed canal bit..... so here it is. Captured on a GoPro at one shot every 10 seconds.

Click here to go and watch on Youtube.

Or here is you wish to stay on the page...


First time I have tried this and it was interesting to watch back so may do it again.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Solar Powered Pagan Person Possibly Probably

I reflect a lot. Having time on my own on the boat allows this amongst other things. I was musing to Leia the other day about power and our use of it when aboard.

I got back to Percy with 100% on the Smartgauge I left this morning with 92% and I hope to have a full 100% again tonight. I really like having a light touch on the planet on how I live... but maybe that is for another day.

Anyhow I was thinking that to stay alive I rely fully on the sun  - I therefore think if I were to worship anything it would be the sun. I think that sends me on the path to Paganism, but lets not go there today !

All I eat relies on the sun, the water I drink is evaporated and condensed from the sea by the sun. I am warmed by the sun and I live my day by its rising and setting. Even the coal I burn is from the trees grown by the sun.

I like the sun a lot.

We were discussing this at the weekend and I was, as I tend to do, extolling the virtues of my resource limited solar powered life aboard. I wished for a time we took the sun and its provision more seriously as a way to reduce or eliminate our demands for power. The on the news last night there was a report that if I heard it correct predicted solar would be delivering  more power to our homes that gas by 2020

This makes interesting reading

I cannot understand why every new house does not have some form of solar capture device built in. Devices such as fridges and freezers should have battery storage included. It will happen. We will then use what fossil resources we have left to develop and expand solar technologies (as well as the other renewable capture technologies)

But solar is it for me.... we have a resource that will last for billions of years and to put this into context...

One second of the Sun's energy output would power the USA for 9 million years !!! 

All hail the sun (other worship-able objects/deities are available)