Monday, 31 July 2017

I've met a few....and a bit of fame

This blogging lark does allow you to make friends and offer opportunities outside of the canals. I know there is a little group who formed a team (albeit seemingly out of a common kinship against their winter marinas rules) that meet up in Southern Spain and are planning adventures further afield this winter.

Other bloggers have ventured to India to meet up with friends made on the cut. How special is that.

I have met some of the serial bloggers, some I'd class as royalty of the canal blogging community and now a new and entertaining Vlogger has been helped through Fradley - well one lock.

Journey with Jono  click here is a very entertaining and inspiring vlog about a sailaway but rather than opting for a marina or hard standing to fit it out Jono has started the big tour before and while doing the work on the boat. A bit like the Guy Marin series but with skill and ability - on the fit out and the boat handling.

Jono was spotted waiting at keepers lock the other week, so I went over and introduced myself and locked him through on his way to Nottingham to have a focussed period on the boat fit out. He has done more rivers in a few months than I have done all my boating and I have been on and off boats now for what must be pushing 20 years !

What interested me was the different kit he had to film with. We all watch the Vloggers now but it takes a lot more work to get something on Youtube than it does to get a post like this up. Then again I do not do it for any sort of income (not saying Jono does) but some do so it is a return on investment I guess.

Anyhow he was a really nice fella and I look forward to his on going videos of his fit out and paint job.

The picture was as I left Jono filming the Keepers lock he had just left.

I have just seen Jono's latest vlog and its the best yet, I am a little biased as I am in it.

A little embarrassed  as he is past a location that I have yet to get to but will be a landmark for my cruising. Shardlow or rather the last lock before Derwent mouth  was a favourite conker spot for me and my lads and it was also a place my dad took us to to do the same when I was a lad. It was also a place where my mum and dad used to go fishing before they were married - they used to cycle to it of course, no one in my family owned a car then.

Its part of the Leicester ring of course, see previous post here ..... click me 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The reinvention cruise planning

When I recently  undertook a pre-retirement course (which was very interesting in that I was the only one there with what I considered enough hobbies to keep me entertained) there was a general discussion on what retirement 'meant'

For me work has defined me, probably more than I would have wanted, but that is another blog post for when I have left. So to be changed, albeit over 30 years, I need to change again. So henceforth it is not "retirement" but "reinvention".

Part of my planning, and I am trying not to do too much of that, is a couple of weeks on Percy, so it feels like a holiday I start but never end !

To this end I spent a few hours looking at 2 week cruise out and back from Fradley Junction. Click the image below to bring it up in a larger view

It was easier to compare the respective routes by putting the into a spreadsheet so there was some immediate comparisons. Apart from the four counties option all the planning was based on 5 hours a day cruising. Not exactly reinvention  pace but that'll come.

What would you choose ?

Froghall is top of the list  (being top of the physical list is by accident ) as I will only have Rachel on board for one week as sadly she needs to go back to something called work? This means I can walk home from the terminus, have a bath, wash some clothes then collect the car, and she can drive south while I do the return trip on my Jack Jones.

The Ashby is a beautiful canal and a lot less locks, We did it on Waterlily a few years back - all the way to the end. Plus this is where Percy was born ! I guess a taxi (or son pick up ) is not too bad from here or we could leave a car in the area....

The Macclesfield is a beautiful canal but going the wrong way for a trip south. Might be one to have for a four week cruise when we both retire. Plus I'd be doing the Bosley locks on the return trip, I hear some of my single handed friends having a little titter at this  !

Stourport... not a great deal more than the top two in locks and distance. I could always wind at Kinver. I like the Staffs and Worcester and it will be a regular trip.

All of the others are a little grander or should be part of a joint summer cruising plan in a couple of years when Rachel finishes.

So Froghall or Ashby.... I think it will be the former with the Ashby being a possible trip later in the year when the canal are quieter and I have a back stove fitted.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Sadly another blogger has to depart

Just as my time comes to get more canal miles another friendly boat blogger has to depart. Due to family support reasons the Aussie crew off NB Ferndale have put the boat up for sale and are returning to down under  - link here 

It follows on from some other very sad news from Chas of NB Moore 2 life here, truly heart breaking news of a terminal illness forcing them off the cut immediately. So sad and I hold them in my thoughts.

So, again it is life telling us  - reminding us it is limited and so precious, no time to delay if you can seek your goals, ambitions, aspirations then do it before fate catches up with you.

I have been remiss in not updating this blog, Facebook does not help as small thoughts and events get recorded instantly, but the photos used do give me a great prompt to update this blog. After all as I have said before this will be my diary of what I did for me when I am a dribbling mess  and hopefully inspire my sons and grandson to not wait too long to realise those dreams  - however small or personal they need to be realised.

So where was I ..... handing in my notice and walking my valley and being on my narrowboat. Yes the narrowboat, the reason most read this blog I guess.

So in a boaty theme we were out walking the south coast, Chichester harbour in the main earlier in May. Dreaming of learning to sail and buying a boat and doing the uk coastline bit by bit....

Vlogging seems to be the next must do thing, but you have either have to have a BBC voice or good looks and nice tits like the couple who started blogging on their yacht and got so popular they were give  a million pound catamaran to cruise the world on!! All the detail here . Anyhow we just dreamed of owning this little boat !

Then I was off to France/ Belgium/ Germany with 8 other bikes to do a fantastic battle fields tour with a good friend who is a guild of battlefields tour guide.

Educational, emotional everyone needs to experience the sad, reflective  peacefulness of an American war cemetery. Pictures do better than my poor words.

We stopped off at the V1 V2 launch site on the way back 

A great group of blokes

The tour was focussed on the battle of the bulge in the December months of 1944, allied success was based on the bravery of small groups of soldiers fighting delaying skirmishes against quite a large German army. 

This was the American cemetery 

Bastogne was the location of fierce resistance and was never captured even though it was in effect surrounded. This was the HQ in a Belgium barracks 

Last decent picture of my Honda Pan European ST1300. I hit another bike on the return trip. There is a story to it, those who know me know how it happened. Bottom line was the insurance company wrote the bike off - bugger

After the Belgium/ Germany trip it was family time with all of my family coming to the cottage for a lovely Sunday meal and then a walk after before we all went back to our respective locations.

This little fella is all our futures, Teddy Wells and grandad Wells 

Don't feel too bad for my bike accident, I am lucky enough to have another - half the size in CC terms but still quite capable. On the trip to Germany there were two other riders on 650 Deauvilles

I took these pictures as the sun was setting reflecting off the cottage windows

More to come but I needed to get at least one post in July !