Thursday, January 31, 2013

Boaters Big Night Out !

Elaine here ...

Well - not really such a big night out but a night out none-the-less!  One of the boaters, Mick, is heading to Oz at the weekend for a few weeks, so 'the gang' from the marina joined him down in Stone (on a cold and windy night!) to have farewell drinks with him.

We started off in the Swan and then mooched off to the Star - where we met up with some other boaters, so a jolly old night was had by all !

Dot and Gordon - not sure what they were up to !
and again - behaving that time !
Paul and Toni 
Mick and Carol
Carol and Barry and Paul snuggling up to Diane in the absence of Ray!
Me - snuggling up to Ray !
Dot and Gordon plus Richard inspecting Gordon's strip of aluminium !
       We had a great night - we split up at about 10 pm with Toni, Dot, Mick and myself getting a lift back to the Marina with Andy and leaving Ray, Paul and Gordon to make their own way home - which they did eventually - stopping off at the Three Crowns on the way.  (I think Paul led them astray!)

Tomorrow we are heading off to Cornwall for a week of R & R - and to catch up with another long-lost mate down there!  The poor cats are having another holiday of their own in the cattery again but the dogs are coming with us, which they are greatly relieved about!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Damp and Decluttering

We had a really good Australia Day yesterday ... the actual  day is on the 26th but the holiday is on the Monday 28th.

We had a 'do' in one of the marina huts.  It was a good turnout - we kicked off at 14.00 hrs and called time at 19.00 hrs. I even drank Fosters ....yuk! 
Aussie memorabilia

Gord-o, Bazza and Mick-o

Ray-o, Toni-o and Elly-o 
Mick was a man of many hats
It was a really funny afternoon - with some very funny stories, but I can't really write about them ... apart from that Mick is not very fond of fellow Aussie, Hugh Jackman!!

Which brings us to today ... this morning I thought the boat smelt a bit whiffy - especially the bedroom ...I removed some of Elaine's socks but it was still there!

So, I pulled out some crap from under the bed and noticed that it was very damp and mouldy at the back of the mattress and on the wall under the bed.  I think the problem was that we had so much stuff under there that it was restricting air flow -  although, to be fair, I think boats plus damp weather are a pretty good formula for mould!

So today we decided to have a massive clean-out and clean-up of all the wardrobes and under the bed.  We bought a fan heater to give it all good dry-out and an airing ... it seems to have done the trick.

Tomorrow we will go to Macclesfield to see Elaine's dad - while we are there we will replace the  few bits and bobs that we dug out today .. back into our storage boxes there!  We need to concentrate on our 'air flow' issues in the cupboards on the boat !

Tomorrow night we are off down the Swan in Stone for 'early doors' as quite a lot of people are escaping the marina soon and it could be our last drink with them before we all go our separate ways in March.  (Carol and Barry are off to Thailand, Mick is off to Oz and we are off to Cornwall).

Sunday, January 27, 2013


We have been to Klosters, Switzerland for the last week.  One of Elaine's very best friends (Lesley) from Sydney has lived there for the last 18 months.  So the main reason for the trip was for Elaine to have a catch up and good old gossip ... I tagged along to carry the bags, drive the hire car to and from the airport - oh, and to complete a long held dream to ski in Europe!

The reality was that it was just the best and most incredible ski trip I have ever been on!  I learnt to ski in Australia and whilst you can get good snow in Australia, it was always a bit of a gamble whether  the snow quality would be any good.

The scenery was beyond imagination - it was picture post card at every turn.
I will let the pictures tell the story ...
View from our living room
Lesley's Pad
In Klosters
View from another balcony
Horse drawn sleigh in Klosters
Me waiting for the bus down to the Gondola
Lesley chillin' on a bench on top of a mountain !
Klosters station
Lesley and Elaine

View from the ski slopes
Ski Tracks
One of the many Chairlifts
No crowds, no wonder Charlie goes there !
View of Klosters from the Gondola
Look at that snow!
Yours Truly
Just Magic
What can you say?
So Lovely
Flying in over a Snowy England on the way home
Whilst we were there we also went to Davos, which is just a about 7ks from Klosters.  The World Economic Forum was going on so there were lots of VIPs about with massive security every where.  It was quite funny having lunch in a quaint little Swiss restaurant, with us wearing our winter gear but on the next table there being a group of diplomatic types and their entourage all immaculately dressed!

So, you may ask, what has this got to do with narroboats?  Well if we weren't in the UK living on a narrowboat we wouldn't have gone to Switzerland would we!

Talking of the boat, she is now all warmed up and as cosy as when we left her!

The dogs had a little holiday of their own this week - in kennels in Grafton Regis and the cats in a cattery in Stafford - but they are all back home now and re-discovered their respective positions near the fire!   

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Caxton 1 Year On

We have now owned the good ship Caxton for one year.  We even now truly own it -  as its now officially in our name!   It was in my brother's name for the last year as it was too hard to put in our name from Australia.

It has been a fantastic and reliable boat - in fact the other day someone asked me what I would like to change about her ... I thought for a few seconds and said "nothing, she is just perfect as she is".

Regarding blacking the boat, we have managed to book into the Stafford Boat Club hard stand on the 3rd March, where we will have 6 days to black the hull and get her shipshape for the coming long hot summer!

We are off to Switzerland tomorrow for a week, toodloo for now!

Friday, January 18, 2013

On with the Snow Boots

And on with the ski pants and off I went for a walk to Aston village, Elaine stayed at home with the boys!


Love It !


Hates the snow...

He has really thin fur and feels the cold really bad

Bombo likes it, he has really thick fur.

As I hadnt driven in the snow for a few years we went for a quick drive, we didnt go too far in case the snow got too heavy.


We are now back on board the boat defrosting the dogs!

I love it!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Trentham Gardens

Another freezing night last night, but so lovely and cosy on the boat.  I was dreading the winter as I havn't experienced one since 1980, but I would have to say that I am really enjoying it!  I love walking in the cold and there being no crowds ... which brings us to today's post - a visit to Trentham gardens and play 'spot the fairy'!

I wasn't looking forward to it at all, as I am not into gardens and can take or leave fairies, but it turned out to be yet another brilliant day out in this wonderful little country.  I will now pass over the post to my able assistant, Elaine who will give a more detailed description of the day!

My version would be.....went for a lovely walk around a lake, spotted a few fairies and had a look at some dead gardens ... well it is winter after all.

Oh and we spotted two monkeys!

Elaine's version is.........

Hmmm - that was a very 'boy' version !  Elaine here ... I have been trying to get him to go to Trentham Gardens for days as people had told me how lovely it was - they had also told me about the fairy statues that are scattered around the gardens ... there are 8 in all to find - I think we only spotted 7 of them - not sure where we missed one !  

When you first enter the 'lake walk' you see these amazing swan statues in the water ... 

The lake itself was pretty frozen up - which was quite surprising to us as it is such a massive body of water...
You can see in the foreground how frozen it is 
?? Fairy footprints in the snow ... !

This is the first fairy - bit hard to see but there she is sitting on the branch ...
 Here is another fairy taking in the view !
 and a fluffy fairy sitting atop a rhino ... as you do !

Second real fairy - in the lake this time ...

Third fairy atop a waterfall...

Beautiful walk around the lake ...

Monkeys high up in the trees ... 

Close up of the monkeys - they are Barbary Macaques apparently !  The Monkey Forest itself is closed at the moment but these two were just 'hanging out' inside their fence !  Bombo and Sam thought they were big squirrels - good job they didn't see them close up !

Fourth fairy on a gate ...

Two fluffy fairies in a tea cup !

We tested the ice on the lake by putting the dogs on it !!!  (BAD parents!)


Fifth fairy flying under a tree ...

Sixth fairy - sunbaking !
 Seventh fairy - mucking about on a tree trunk ...
That was it for our fairy spotting (Paul was enjoying it really !).  The 8th fairy was a mystery to us ... we finished our afternoon walk by looking around the gardens - which I am sure would be completely wonderful in the spring and summer !

We stopped for a hot chocolate in the gardens cafe and a little robin joined us ... toooo cute!

Gardens - looking a bit sad - yet still spectacular...

Church in the Trentham Estate ...

View from the Church end (on a temporary viewing platform)

Bizarre sculpture ... made of plastic

One of the old buildings - part of the Trentham Estate - Paul said it felt haunted ...

Crumbly and sad ... needs a fairy on top !

The previous entrance of Trentham Hall - plans are afoot to retain this frontage and make a lovely hotel behind it ...

Paul and Sam trying to break into the Church !

Last but not least we came across a Statue of Perseus hanging out with Medusa's head ... nice!

We had a lovely afternoon's walk - the dogs were muddy and exhausted, which is always a good thing !

As we headed back to the Marina it started to snow - a preview to the big snow to come tomorrow!

When we got back to the Marina we met Roland (from NB Klara) who told us that he had found a working tap on our arm, so he lent us his very long hosepipe and we promptly filled up our water tank!  (The outside water taps all freeze up when it gets icy - so we can't get water to fill up our tanks ...  we were getting worried that we were going to have to start walking over to the shower block for our showers - Thanks Roly for saving us from that!)

Now sitting cosy and warm in the boat :)
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