Sunday, 16 November 2014

No fixed Doctor..or is it?

When we moved on to a narrowboat just over six years ago I transferred to a GP (doctor) close to our correspondence address which was/is nowhere near a canal.  Fortunately I haven't needed the ministrations of the medical profession and I always knew that should I need a Doctor I could simply get an appointment anywhere as a visitor and that is satisfactory...but
Your medical notes are not available or updated and, you don't get routinely screened for the nasties that age can/may bring.  When I joined The Association of Continuous Cruisers I learnt that I didn't need to have an address in the catchment area for a GP but could/should be treated as a 'homeless' person. Armed with this information I tried to sign on with a GP in Market Harborough last winter. My application met with a polite but firm rebuff.
I gave up.
This year I found that I had been 'de-registered' by my GP.
I wrote to NHS England and asked for their assistance stating that;
I am a British C!itizen since birth
I am fully paid up re National Insurance
I have no fixed abode
I need a GP close to a canal
I want to sign on with a GP in Market Harborough.
A number of emails, phone calls later and I was registering with a GP in Market Harborough and everyone I dealt with was helpful and pleasant...
A miracle in itself given the disposition of too many NHS personnel.
I am now able to access preventive screening for bowel and breast cancer etc.  and Joe, who has also transferred to a Doctor we can get to if necessary, has access to all the Man stuff he needs to be screened for.
Where there is a will there is a way.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Things afoot for next year..

I travelled down to Essex on Saturday, train from Rugby to Euston, Underground to Earls Court...Earls Court?  Yes,  those that know London will realise that either I was hopelessly lost, heading off towards the west rather than the east, or I was up to something....
Earls Court Exhibition Centre was hosting The Kennel Club's Discover Dogs a two day extravaganza where you get to meet two hundred or more different breeds of dog and their breeders.  Joe and I went years ago when we were thinking of getting a dog and at the time we were looking at Great Danes, Mastiffs, Spinone and Leonbergers...we finally decided on Labradors hence Fletcher and Floyd.  Now our wonderful boys are ten and nine and we are considering adding a small dog to the 'pack' ahead of the of them dying and leaving their mate alone.  We have thought that introducing a 'boat sized' dog next year would provide enough time to establish the new pack member and barely take up any room on the boat. The new dog had to be small, robust, happy to walk the miles we cover, a swimmer, sociable and healthy.
Of the breeds I looked at, half a dozen or more appealed to me, we opted for a Norfolk Terrier.  We have been to meet a breeder and will be looking to see if will can get a puppy next summer!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Moored, Yelvertoft

For the last couple of weeks we had been quietly moored out at Foxton ahead of a weekend gathering of three of the four crews that are making the Wash crossing from Boston to Wisbech next year.  I had booked a table for Sunday lunch at the Waterfront, a restaurant/bar that occupies the former bonded warehouse at the basin so ahead of that date we slipped into Market Harborough and a pre-booked mooring. 
Over lunch on Sunday, a lovely lunch I might add, we sorted out where and when we are going to meet next year ahead of our cruise to Boston.  We won't know the tide times until after Christmas so at this stage we are guessing at what our likely window for the crossing will be.
L-R Sheila of Nb. Clarence, Joe, David of Nb. What a Lark , Derek of Nb. Clarence and Lisa of Nb. What a Lark. 
Missing from the gathering is Geoff and Mags of Nb. Seyella who couldn't make it as they are currently nowhere near Market Harborough.
 Passing David and Lisa on What a Lark  - Lisa horrified as I point a camera at her, "Lesley, I haven't done my hair!!"

Come Monday Morning were watched the F1 Grand Prix that Joe had recorded, filled with water and slipped out of our mooring.  Our destination now was Yelvertoft Marina where Yarwood is going to spend the winter while we are away in Spain.

 On our way up the Foxton flight
A glorious day for cruising. I walked the dogs from Harborough to Foxton, mooring at the bottom of the flight I nipped into the shop at Bridge 61 and bought a couple of their Cornish pasties which I slung in the oven to cook as we ascended the locks.   At the top we moored up and had our hot lunch before setting off again towards Welford where we moored for the night.

 Misty start
Tuesday morning just before 8am we set off again.  There was a thick autumn mist and the tunnel light made an appearance though we never met another boat until we arrived at Yelvertoft wharf.

 Mist in the bridge hole

As we came through Yelvertoft bridge, Joe slowed and  I loaded the dogs back on board Yarwood and stepped onto the gunwale at the back. No sooner were we clear of the bridge than I spotted a CRT work boat pushing a loaded flat towards us but immediately behind the first boat was another. The second boat was going far too fast and lost control of the flat he was pushing, crossing our bow, Yarwood now in screaming reverse, the flat rammed the bank to lose some speed, straightened then took the rest of his speed off down the side of Yarwood which sent me scurrying back along the gunwale towards the stern to get out of his way and potential broken leg his empty flat offered me. A sheepish "sorry mate" to Joe and a filthy look from me and we were passed each other.  What a twat!

I had called ahead to Yelvertoft to find out where they wanted us to moor so we were able to turn in and reverse on to our pontoon with little difficulty. So that's it for cruising this year. We are now preparing ourselves to decamp but ahead of that their is family visits and winterising Yarwood to be done.

Looking down from the dog walk above Yelvertoft marina

Thursday, 23 October 2014

We made it to BRIDGE 61!

We serviced Yarwood at Kilby Bridge before heading off in the company of our new lock buddies, Jo and Robin on Nb. Harold.

The 'staff' are revolting again..
more phone calls and little sign of scrubbing, polishing, ironing, cooking going on!

 Arrh, a shared lock at last

 Approaching Kilsby bottom lock

 The last lock, we will  be pulling over for a break and some lunch shortly. Homemade celery and stilton soup produced by boat guest Val...between phone calls.

 Entering Saddington Tunnel

 Obscured approach to a bridge hole as we come into Foxton
 Moored up and looking forward to a meal at The Locks to mark our sixth anniversary living on a narrowboat.
 Nb Harold moored just in front of us
 Bridge 61. 
Our anticipated meal in The Locks Inn was not to be as they were closed and under refurbishment. So it was Bridge 61 for the evening and a pint , or three, and a Cornish pastie.  No problem with the beer as the Bridge is our preferred watering hole when at Foxton and the pasties are very appetising anyway.  We were joined by Robin and Jo later and a merry evening was had by all.

Joe and Val...two or three glasses in

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Leaving Leicester

We stayed in Leicester over the weekend where Joe's daughter Abby and her other half, Wardy, joined us.  They had arranged to stay at the Holiday Inn which is adjacent to the Castle moorings and travelled up after work on Friday.  We got together on the Saturday and had a wander around the City including the wonderful market in the City centre.  Being Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) members they had identified a number of pubs that needed to be checked out and we dutifully accompanied them...just in case something untoward occurred..
Saturday evening we went to Kayal on Granby Street for their renown South Indian cuisine.  Our visitors then left on Sunday afternoon but come Monday morning we had another visitor who travelled by train from Stamford (Lincs) and was staying the week!  Yes boaters, a visitor for a whole week!  This would test the new sofa bed and seating arrangements aboard Yarwood!
Val duly arrived at Leicester rail station where I met her and found a taxi to take us back to Yarwood.  It isn't too far to walk normally but Val had recently had an operation on her foot and was brandishing a crutch so walking anywhere was a little restricted.  We stayed in Leicester Monday as I was thinking to take Val to Kayal for a meal but in the afternoon the heavens opened and the wind howled so we chickened out and I cooked aboard Yarwood.  Our guest still got a curry, but perhaps not quite as good as a Kayal.
Come Tuesday, a quick dash to Tesco to stock fridge and larder and we were off.  Leaving Val on the boat pottering around, I walked the dogs and did the locks stopping at Blaby overnight. 

 Joe 'assumes the position' - back of lock at an angle. we have found that this works quite well in the double locks, I can open the paddles in a certain sequence and Yarwood is not knocked about at all.

 Val, pottering on the phone..
She is meant to be dusting and polishing.. you just can't get the staff!

 A carefully placed work boat..widebeam workboat mind you, dumped on the lock landing and making access/egress just a tad difficult.
 Moored up Kilby Bridge
Wednesday we pushed on to Kilby Bridge where we moored up and headed for The Navigation Inn for lunch.  There was a great atmosphere in the pub with a goodly mix of boaters and locals.  We met a couple of boaters, Jo and Robin of Nb Harold, who were heading our way so arrangements were made to tackle the next twelve locks to Foxton together in the morning.

The Navigation Inn  Kilby Bridge

Friday, 10 October 2014

Mission accomplished...Hello Leicester

We left on Loughborough Thursday morning in high winds and slight rain, we arrived Barrow-on -Soar  Deep lock in moderate winds and a downpour!   No photo's of that bit of the journey because some dumb cluck forgot to replace the memory card in the camera..
Okay yes, that was me!
We had arranged to meet up with Geoff and Mags aboard Nb.Seyella.  Geoff was providing lunch, delicious homemade soup and I was providing fresh doughnuts, Tesco's finest, not homemade mind you.  Mags is fond of doughnuts, I named her the 'Doughnut Queen' so when we meet I always try to bring doughnuts to the party.  Nb. Seyella is one of the boats joining us in our crossing of the Wash next May, its was Mags idea,  so we were sorting out arrangements and timescales etc.  Geoff is also about to do his Short Range Radio training so we left him with the course handbook as bedtime reading. Enjoy Geoff.

 Meg, Seyella's boat dog came calling
 Yes, Geoff is STILL in shorts

Nb. Seyella as we passed this morning, no sign of Mags

This morning we didn't set off early, Joe had a lie-in and I got  a bit of laundry out of the way before we re-filled with water at Barrow services ahead of the weekend.  The sun had come out, a bit breezy still but sunny so not complaints from me.  I stayed aboard, as did the dogs for the first stretch as Yarwood could travel faster than we could walk.

 Leaving Barrow-on-Soar

 Sileby Lock
 River views
 MGM boat builders at Thurmaston
We stopped above Thurmaston lock and grabbed a cuppa and a sandwich before continuing our journey.  The last four locks coming into Leicester had the top gate left open which was a bit of a pain as I had to close the gate and then empty the lock.  I spotted the miscreant (how polite is that?) after the second lock and not more than twenty minutes ago the little *xz* moored in front of us. Deep breadth.

 Ninja terrapin at Thurmaston lock.  This is the second one I have seen in the last week.

 The National Space Centre

Safely moored up on Castle gardens

Thursday, 9 October 2014

River crossings and a night out

After a quiet night in Shardlow we prepared ourselves and boat for the rivers. We were about to drop down off of the Trent and Mersey canal on to the River Trent, cross the mouth of the River Derwent where it joins the River Trent and then turn south on the River Soar towards Loughborough on the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union canal.

 River preparations - anchor out and attached to fore stud just in case, life jackets on, just in case

 The traffic lights at Shardlow flood lock are not on red indicating that both the Trent and the Soar are navigable,  we are clear to go.

 Derwent Mouth lock, the last, or first, in the Trent and Mersey canal

 Calm as a mill pond, the River Trent.  We head down stream under the approaching ornate pipe bridge and the concrete span off the M1 motorway pass the marina at Sawley

Heading for Sawley locks
Lock control panel Sawley
 The lock complex at Sawley is automated, wonderful thing hydraulics! Press a button and the paddles open and press another and the rams open and close the gates.  I could wish for this on the Buckby flight!

 Ratcliffe power station

 Approaching Trent Lock.  Here at a bend in the River Trent we have the start of the Erewash Canal, that strikes north into the former coalfield of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, Cranfleet Cut that takes you into Nottingham and the confluence of the River Soar where we are heading. 

 On the Soar
Ratcliffe lock
 Approaching our second lock, (we had passed through Redhill floodlock which was chained open, no flooding, no need for the lock to be operating), at Ratcliffe I could see a boat exiting the lock, how opportune.  We were greeted with, "I expected to see you, I read your blog!"  This time I did ask their names unlike my omission when I working through Fradley on Sunday.

 Here are boaters and blog readers Mandy and Graham, nice to meet you!
The rain had started by now and the wind a picked up a tad so the rest of the journey up the River Soar punctuated by heavy showers. 

 Kegworth Deep Lock
The lock filling is quite violent...I restricted the flow by only opening one paddle and keeping Yarwood pinned to one side.  We met boats coming down stream at the next lock at Zouch (pronounced Zotch) so were soon through Zouch cut and heading pass Normanton and approaching the outskirts of Loughborough.

Driving the Canada geese ahead of Yarwood's bow
The heavens opened after we came up through Bishop Meadow lock and off of the River Soar.  We serviced the boat and continued into Loughborough through the final lock of the day and before mooring up.  A quick lunch prepared and partaken of and I was off to Tesco to get some provisions.  It was then a case of getting ready to meet our guests for the evening, John and Louise of Nb. Blue Moon  or rather their new boat, Nb.Fiona B. 
We hit the town.
First a drink in The Albion, a canalside boaty pub that is different.. you just have to try it.
The beer is lovely and the landlord knows how to keep it, none of this cask marque too cold real ale, but rather served at 54 degrees and perfect.   We were recommended, by the landlord of the Albion,  to try the Grand Thai restaurant which is adjacent to The Swan in the Rushes pub in town and we were not disappointed, a real treat!  We returned to the Albion for a nightcap, rude not to really, before taking our leave of our visitors and returning to the boat.  A lovely evening, delightful company, good beer and great food!

Last nights mooring.