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)






Saturday, 7 March 2015

'bout time I told you about stuff.....

So last time I blogged we were actually on the boat and cruising then I was eating and hogging the remote control.

Lots of miles now done - on the road, over 4,000 in the last 8 weeks. The biggest change has been the light, you really do appreciate the light when living aboard. So do my batteries, the solar panel has been giving 10% on sunny days,  without the fridge on this is more than I use in an evening so net gain.

A couple of really special walks in the last three visits down south. The coast two weeks ago and today a great 8 mile round walk in the South Downs. Pictures always help.....

We are slowly working our way east to west on our coastal walks  - and keeping an eye open to places we may want to buy into.... but is flippin expensive !!

Here we have a city boy trying to look like a local.... on a small causeway at Bosham.


we walked away and around at one point finding a sign saying check tides as the path was under water at high tide....I checked on my phone and all was ok....so we walked it.


Imagine my surprise to find the tide well in when we reconnected with the coast.... lesson learnt, don't rely on cursory web page checks.... we had a nice lunch in this cafe in Bosham. This was not high tide, there were many cottages in the village with permanent flood defences at their gates and doorways. The dog who lived in the cafe was called Flood !


Back at the cottage it was crackling fire time 


Of course there was canal time in between. The teasingly longer days giving opportunities for twilight walks after work.



Plus the mornings are light for the time being, eating breakfast listening to the ever louder dawn chorus is a good way to start the day. The bailer twine CaRT use does not get any stronger.... click the image to enlarge...


We also celebrated our eldest son Tom's birthday while we were in Derby last weekend. Tom and Courtney have just brought a house that backs onto the Erewash canal.



After a day working at home in the cottage yesterday I took Leia and my 'copter' up a copse close to the to the Droke




Today we went off on a circular 8 mile plus walk in sublime spring like weather. 


Getting close to the high point.... with Goodwood racecourse in the background


It was a tad windy on the top but some views


Close to the end of the walk now.... the hill in the far distance is the one Rachel was standing on a couple of hours earlier.... click on the photo for the 'big picture'. 

I still cannot get used to how empty the woods/footpaths  are when walking, suits my desire for selective solitude I guess.




Tuesday, 24 February 2015

English tonight....and the benefits of an opposing thumb

One small positive thing that being a LAT brings is food selection. Ok I have to cook myself (not a problem as we shared the cooking when not LAT'ing) and I have to do the washing up, yes no dishwasher on this tug !

On my way to Percy after work last night I called into Morrisons and purchased my food selection for the rest of the week - in a basket. Last night it was Chicken Jalfrezi, tonight as the title suggests it was smoked Cod with mash, cauliflower, Broccoli and carrots.

Tomorrow I/we if Leia gets left overs.... more on that later*,  will be eating Italian, Pasta with salad, olives and garlic bread. Leaving Thursday for a simple chicken and sweetcorn soup with extra noodles added, and I might eat the second nan with it 'cause I can !

* Confession time, I had a two people piece of Cod tonight and a tad too much mash. That is the risk, eating for two and not in the normal pregnant way. Italian will be easier as I'll cook for two and eat the second for lunch at work on Thursday.

I am also having to drink a bottle of Rioja to myself !

One positive I am not doing puddings.... maybe some fruit but that is all.

So dear reader fear not for me on the food front. I am eating around the world this week. I think we are Greeking it on Saturday for Toms birthday.

So now I have to decide on Netflix or the football - and as Leia does not have an opposing thumb I have the remote all to myself.






Sunday, 15 February 2015

Naked on the towpath 3am involving myself with amorous Shenanigans

Well after all it was Valentine's Day ish..... Only problem is was not our own romantic entwinements rather those of the bloody ducks !!!

Opening the windows and asking them to go away only seemed to encourage them more, then the dog got involved with some serious barking. Bear in mind we were on  a nice remote mooring outside the village of Whittington so your brave author took to the tow path in his all together and used the well placed mole hill mounds as lumps of artillery to dissuade the loved up ducks to take it somewhere else, no ducks were harmed in the process. The local moorhen got involved in the reallocation of the waterways. Eventually the ducks moved on and so did their awfully loud 'quacking'

So sorry dear reader it may not have been the details of the anniversary romps you feared, but another episode of living on the canals !

PS for the sake of your breakfasts no photos are included !

Saturday, 14 February 2015

30 years

Today is our 30 year wedding anniversary. 30 years �� together, through much but nothing like some have to endure. We have two intelligent and responsible sons, a beautiful daughter in law, a beautiful and intrepid girlfriend in law if such exists.

We got married on Valentine's  day which over the years, whilst romantic, has resulted in celebrations in quiet, sometimes  romantic locations but not restaurants. However ironically last year we were in a fine hotel overlooking the Conway valley looking at properties to buy in Wales what a year we have had.

Due to a Care Quality Commision inspection at Rachel's hospital we could not celebrate abroad which would have been our preference, having celebrated our 25th on the Nile. In fact much like our wedding day 30 years ago when Rachel had to be back at work the next day as they would not give her leave.....the NHS has and continues to be a major influence in our lives.

So today we are having a cruise down the Coventry.... Not sure where we will stop but it will be in the middle of nowhere where we can reflect, relax and maybe plan for the coming year.

Watch this space .....